Nacho's RAV4 Build Thread... (yes a RAV4)

Somewhere for the non Suzuki owners
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nacho001
Mud Mad
Mud Mad
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 6:48 am
My Vehicle(s): 2.0 Grand Vitara
Location: Ferndown, Dorset

Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:50 pm

Hi All... :-h
as many of you know, with the exeption of a short time with a Pajero, i have been a suzuki man for a while now. Had 7 of them.
This being the last...
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Dont get me wrong, it was a fun capable car, which served me well. But the 2 doors, small rear seats, 2 kids, a wife and... not good... mpg kinda begged for something else.
I also wanted to be able to kip in the back, if needed, have more storage and more security over the soft-top.
I was also running a Volvo S60 as the daily.
So decided to go a bit more softroader for a while and see how that went.
So with the choice set between a CRV, RAV4 and an Xtrail.... the toyota as the middle runner in most things, won through in the end....
Here she is, as bought, bone stock and in need of a service.
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So the first thing to do, as they were low on tread and winter was aproaching, was to buy new boots....
went for some Dunlop Grand Treks. They had good reviews and looked the part, so departed MT land to arrive in AT land.
The eagle eyed will also note, the removal of the aluminium side steps, which with there steel under pinnings were quite heavy.
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So where to start with the mods, sensible ones first, she was still on non-modded insurance changed from the volvo until it runs out.
How about that roof rack... or should i say rails. They dont look very handy... So off with those, used a technique called lofting, and measured up for some aluminium ones. Also discovered a 3rd set of fixings not being used by the rails.... could this be the first signs of some Toyota heritage in the plucky RAV4...?
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With the sides riveted to some aluminium angle for rigidity, i attached some aluminium extrusions for the cross bars. This stuff has t-nut slots on all side, making it a dream to bolt stuff down to.
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They did 'eventually' get painted, although i took me nearly 2 months to do it... :ymblushing:
Also note, the addition of a side awning. at 2.0m long, it just about fits on the RAV4's diminished roof line, but is proving very handy.
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Time for some illumination, supplied by eBay special 'slim' LED light bar.
And fitment of a through roof CB antenna.
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Time for some internall changes i reckon...
Allthough the car came with in dash GPS navigation, all through that little LCD screen (propper little map and everything) it was hideously out of date, and the stereo was decidabley long in the tooth.
That and the CB radio had to go somewhere... so out with the dash board, and about a mile of un-necessary cables!
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I also fitted an android head unit with a 7" screen to run the OS mapping software.
Sorry got no pics of that to hand... :(

Next i said 'lets tint the windows, thats an easy job' is it @"%$££'s
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Much swearing and perciverance later... some tininted windows were achieved. Although the back one isnt perfect, but is plenty good enough.
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Whats next on the list??? What about that nice big, and very low for a 4x4, boot...?
Got to have something a little more organised in there i reckon....
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Getting there... still not entirly sure thats up to scratch though... :)
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Now we are getting somewhere...
Just a little more fettling.
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Yes... now we are shaping up!
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And thats a handy space for those...
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Small job, not much glamour involved, but nessesary non the less. polishing the head lights. i was very supprised how effective the 3M kit was.
they came up like new!
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So now on to a more involved task than i thought it was going to be.
I had researched 'lift kits' before i had bought the car. With a 2" lift kit with springs and dampers being available from ARB (Arbil in the UK)
OR SO I HAD THOUGHT...!!! On actually putting an order through on their website, i was contacted the next day by 'Alan from Arbil'
'We are very sorry mr 'Nacho001' (names changed to protect the Innocent) but we dont appear to have that kit in stock. I will contact our euro stockist, who will surly have it on the shelf.....

Next day, Alan: we are even more sorry, the euro stockist does not have it on the shelf... in fact they cant find a record of having sold that kit for quite a while.... x_x
We contacted ARB, and they stopped making that kit...! We will refund your money.. but you might be able to get one shipped from Austrailia from ARB direct. Thank you have a nice day...!

Bugger, not getting one from Oz, so contacted a motor sport spring manufacturer, and long story short... he custom made some lift spring for the car.
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Just one other thing...
I thought these Toyota's were reliable...!
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It threw a complete wobbly, AA man had no idea, i thought that was it... buggered.... :-ss all i turned out to be, was a loose earth to the block. \:D/ easy fix.

Although in its defence, i do keep finding little tell tails that the RAV4 has had some bleed through from Toyota's off road experiance, the wheel nuts are 21mm sleeve type with captive washers, the under body cross members and 'chassis rails' have threads included for skid plates and the suspension components appear to have been shaped and positioned to keep them out of harms way.
Time will tell weather the lack of low range, and only a viscous locked center diff, will cut the mustard 'off-road' but it will be fun no matter what happens.

So thats pretty much up to date...
The to do list includes lift, skid plates and a new exhaust routing that doesn't take it UNDERNEATH the rear diff... #-o not Toyota's best moment...
The lift kit will be fitted this weekend, when the insurance is swapped to a modded policy. Looking forward to seeing it.
Will of course update the thread when its done.

Happy trails everybody. :-bd
jimny-dave
MUD NUT
MUD NUT
Posts: 2586
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:50 pm
My Vehicle(s): Modest Lil' Jimny ;)
Location: 'Laning-Heaven (Waleshire)

Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:00 am

Liking that! :-bd B-)
nacho001
Mud Mad
Mud Mad
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 6:48 am
My Vehicle(s): 2.0 Grand Vitara
Location: Ferndown, Dorset

Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:48 am

Hi Dave. Cheers.

I hope to have some more pics from the lift this weekend soon. I will also hopefully be starting a new build thread on my newest project.
An off road caravan! Australian style.

Will keep you all posted.
nacho001
Mud Mad
Mud Mad
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 6:48 am
My Vehicle(s): 2.0 Grand Vitara
Location: Ferndown, Dorset

Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:38 pm

Well that was more of an effort than any Suzuki i have lifted.

So... with rear springs having been made to spec for me, and some front spacers to install atop the Strut (its coil overs on the front) I settled in to the job Friday afternoon.

Being a little nervous of the 'un-known' of lifting rear independent suspension... that's where we started.
Had a few issues that needed the angle grinder out to 'persuade' off a bolt, but all went ok and took around 40 mins.
Having done allot of learning on the left rear, the right rear was seen done, and back together in 15mins tops... winner... :biggrin:

The front was 'the easy' end... or so i thought.
Getting the struts off was no big effort. In fact, other than the fact that the spring is wrapped around the strut, and there are 3 bolts on the top, not one, it is very similar to the Grand Vitara.
The issue came in the garage, when I tried to fit the longer 'pressed in' (like hub studs would be) M10 studs.
They are long enough to allow for the spacer on top, but it transpires that they cannot be fitted to the flange, without the removal of said flange, and the resulting decompression of the spring.
So with no spring compressors on hand, and a severe lack of drive to be stripping struts down, another solution was required.

Enter... Screw fix!
I had the brain wave that if studs couldn't be fitted, I would weld nuts to the underside of the flange, and drop bolts in from the top... what could possibly go wrong.
It worked perfectly...!
Back on track, struts re-fitted, camber bolts fitted, and all re-assembled.

There was not many shots taken through the process, but here is what i have.

New spring, next to old ones...
Longer coil and thicker wire...
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Stopped long enough on the right rear to take a snap... (isn't it always the way that when things are getting out of shape taking photos goes to the back of your mind)
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So lets dispense with the technical photos... mainly due to the fact that that was all i took... :ymblushing:
So here are the 'money shots'
Before....
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And drum roll please...
After...
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So I was hopping for 2" of lift, and had a suspicion that the rears had sagged enough that it might be more towards 3".
But allas, I think an optimistic man would call it 1.5"... its not huge, but it will help out. Especially as the rear springs are thicker than the originals, giving a little more rate, so she will dip less with gear on board.

So today (Saturday).... what a lovely day...
Shame to waste it. Got in to some MORE... head light polishing. This time the fogs... I am still amazed by this little kit...
I think they came out very well. :-bd
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Then i thought, hang on... the rear lights are plastic too. Oooo... lets go polish them too.
Hell yes... they came out awesome too, I love this kit...
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I then got in to some sort of syco polishing twirly thing...
Polished the wife's PT Cruiser head and fog lights, polished my dads V70 head lights (they were HIDs so made a big difference) and rang my brother in law, and told him to get himself over here tomorrow, and I will polish his head lights too. (transit connect)

So while the sun was shining i thought time to do some sorting of gear in the truck, and take some photos of her in 'full on adventure mode'.
Hopefully it will give a better picture of what everything does, and where I was going with it.

So you may have seen the photo further back in the thread, where the draw unit can be seen in the boot of the car.
That's part of a 3 part system to turn the back of the car in to a flat load bed/sleeping platform.
The front 2 boxes take advantage of the RAV4s system of removable rear seats. They fold flat, hinge forward and can then be removed.
This leaves only the mounting pins in the floor that the 2 front boxes are designed to pick up on. One is wider than the other, to allow for fitment of one of the seats in the rear should I need it, and to ensure maximum flexibility in terms of storage. (i.e. if a bit of kit doesn't go in the small one, it may well fit in the larger one)
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The observant of you, will spot the extra leaves of ply fitted to the underside of the lids, this is what forms the last section of the bed, to allow me to sleep in the car. You can see the last section extended, in the above photos.
There are to legs tucked away that slot in to these, to support my heavy... Feet... :biggrin:
This can then be folded away, in on itself, for a once again flat load bay.
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Last little party piece...
The rear box with the drawers fitted, has shaped side wings, that are fitted using magnets. Allowing for quick removal to access to the otherwise wasted space between the square box, and the curvy car interior. There is one the other side also, next the fridge.
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So regrettably that is about it. The only thing i haven't done to show you, is paint and fit the skid plates, but they are just big sheets of plain steel. So not to much to miss.
I am of on a trip with good friends in 4 weeks, so hopefully i can put some of this to the test. There will most probably be photos, so watch this space.

All the best to you all.
Cheers
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ubermeister
A very Special Boy
A very Special Boy
Posts: 1457
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:07 am
My Vehicle(s): The Old G.O.A.T.
Location: Nottingham

Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:34 am

That looks proper that does. I like how 'factory' it looks with the carpet. Be good to see in use in Wales.
jimny-dave
MUD NUT
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Posts: 2586
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:50 pm
My Vehicle(s): Modest Lil' Jimny ;)
Location: 'Laning-Heaven (Waleshire)

Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:25 pm

Blimey! Who's a clever boy then?

Very ingenious storage / bed system :ymapplause: :ymapplause: :ymapplause: :ymapplause:

Dave
nacho001
Mud Mad
Mud Mad
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 6:48 am
My Vehicle(s): 2.0 Grand Vitara
Location: Ferndown, Dorset

Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:36 am

Thanks for the kind words chaps.
Really I treated to see how she does off road., Although a little apprehensive... :-ss
Time will tell I guess.
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