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Toyota RAV4 pre-2006



  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    I just spoke with a salesman who told me that the RAV4 (AWD) version is not available with both the 5-speed MT and a leather interior. This dealership (unfortunately the only one within 50 miles of me) has a spotty local reputation, known for guiding customers to the easiest models for them to get and sell. So, I went to the Toyota website to build my own and discovered that I can only build from an automatic transmission model. Very annoying!

    Ideally I want a RAV4 AWD MT with moonroof and leather seats and premium sound. Is this even possible?

    Second, I am comparing the RAV4 MT (which I have not yet driven) with the Forester XS MT (which I have driven). I did not like the Forester's lack of assertivenes at 40-55 on open, back roads with curves and rolling hills (this is 70% of my driving). Would the RAV AWD MT be peppier in this range?

  • m4ethm4eth Posts: 101
    mcdawgg stated "The "dash" rattle is really the cowl in front of the windshield, under the wipers. I am amazed that some still have the problem, because my dealer fixed it two years ago and I have had no rattles since, even in the extreme cold."

    Mcdawgg...could you ask your dealer how he fixed...I would assume he put some type of rubber spacer in the plastic cowl that may vibrate agaisnt the metal hood region???
  • znalgznalg Posts: 9
    "I just spoke with a salesman who told me that the RAV4 (AWD) version is not available with both the 5-speed MT and a leather interior. This dealership (unfortunately the only one within 50 miles of me) has a spotty local reputation, known for guiding customers to the easiest models for them to get and sell. So, I went to the Toyota website to build my own and discovered that I can only build from an automatic transmission model. Very annoying!

    Ideally I want a RAV4 AWD MT with moonroof and leather seats and premium sound. Is this even possible?

    Second, I am comparing the RAV4 MT (which I have not yet driven) with the Forester XS MT (which I have driven). I did not like the Forester's lack of assertivenes at 40-55 on open, back roads with curves and rolling hills (this is 70% of my driving). Would the RAV AWD MT be peppier in this range?"

    I was told the same thing by a dealer today: No MT and leather without ordering from Japan. I'll bite it and get the car w/o leather. I also checked out all the vehicles listed by rbleland. With regard to the Forester, I looked at the XT. However, I found 2 problems: I was uncomfortable in the seat and, much more significantly, there is currently a NHTSA investigation of Subaru for ABS failures (specifically the '02 WRX). In my own investigation on forums, people are reporting the defect on most models including Foresters. The defect can reportedly cause near total brake failures extremely intermittently and unpredictably; perhaps once every few thousand miles. Having experienced the same type of problem on my '97 Toyota 4Runner, I don't want to risk it again. So, that brought me to the Rav4. The '04 improvements made it worth a look IMO so, I gave it a test drive and was really impressed. It's fun, safer (with all the airbags) and quicker. I actually really liked it and was surprised. I plan to place an order this week! Good luck.
  • I just picked up a manual transmission mica blue Rav4 with AWD, airbags, L package, and a bunch of other things. I'm not picky about color and if you get one off the dealer's lot, they're easier to bargain with. I'm having the moon roof installed today by an aftermarket company. It cost a little more than the factory one, but it comes with a life time guarantee and closes automajically when the ignition is turned off. You can also have the leather interior done after market, but here in Pittsburgh, it's either too cold or too hot for leather so not a big deal for me. I also feel kind of funny loading up from Home Depot into a leather interior!
  • Congratulations on your purchase. I'm also looking to buy an SUV and I'm having a hard time deciding between the RAV and CRV. In my case we need to have good cargo space and decent rear seat room for trips to the cottage 2 adults a teenager and our gear/groceries. It's a tough decision. I had a long test drive in the CRV and a short drive in the RAV. The space in the CRV is tough to beat....I did'nt get a chance to get the RAV up to highway speeds etc... What are you folks seeing with respect to RPM's at 60 mph? What about NVH? Is the engine that big a diff. this year? How would you compare it to the CRV?
     I really would have liked to get the traction Control, and VSC the U.S. folks are getting. I wonder if this will be brought in next year in Canada and hurt the depreciation of the 03 model?
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    Well, both are excellant choices and the differences are not that great. I agree that if rear seat space and cargo room are #1 with you, the CR-V is probably better for your needs. This is not that important to me. The RAV front room is as good, if not better than the CR-V, but the rear is better for sure in the Honda.
    I do believe that the '04 RAV 2.4L engine is a big step up from the previous '03 and earlier RAV engines, which were 2L and tended to be "buzzy" at speed. My '04 RAV is not fully broken in yet, but it seems that 60mph is about 2300-2400rpms. For a small car-based SUV (or wagon if you prefer), I find the '04 RAV is very quiet (better than the previous ones). I have driven a friend's '03 CR-V and don't think it is appreciably different in NVH from the new RAV. I feel that the new RAV feels lighter to drive and is more "sporty". The RAV is about 200lbs lighter than the CR-V. You might check a few threads on CR-V engine fires for '03 CR-Vs but maybe just internet nonsense. Apparently, about 7 CR-V engines have caught fire after oil servicing in the U.S. in past few months. As to the VSC, traction control (and rear disc brakes I might add), I doubt it would hurt existing '04 RAVs much as the future model (if it got these things) would have to be priced higher (which is why I'm told the '04 RAV doesn't have rear discs in Canada). The '03 RAVs (you said '03 above) have to deal with being the last year of the 2.0L engine and if that will hurt their future value (I have no idea!!)
    Both '04 RAV and CR-V are very good choices - you have to decide what things are most important to you and then pick.
  • My 2004 RAV4's "dash rattle" came back. Unfortunately, my dealer could not reproduce it (it's a long story). Instead of wasting my time at dealer's service waiting room, I plan to fix it myself, if it is not too complicated.

    If you know of ways to locate the problem area and perform the fixes, please share the info with me. Thanks for the help.

    (Since the dealer had performed the rattle fix once, I felt that there is probably no financial incentive for them to fix it again under warranty.)
  • Thanks to everyone who responded on the roominess/suitability of a RAV-4 for a family. I have another question. What kind of gas mileage are you guys getting, especially anyone in California (we have reformulated gas)? I know what the tag says it will get, but on my current Windstar, I don't even get the city mileage with all highway driving. So I would like to know what is realistic to expect.

    Didn't get to test drive a Rav4 yet, my little one got sick. Maybe this weekend. Almost hope its dash rattles so I can ask the salesman about it and see what kind of response I get.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    If your dealer fixed it once under warranty and the rattle came back, take it back! As to fixing it yourself, there is a great website for the Rav4 that has step by step instructions and pictures. I probably can't say the name, but just do a search for RAV4 and you'll find it.
    My cowl was fixed years ago after the second try. They used a new cowl and a "revised" TSB. They also called the Toyota Tech line. It's been silent ever since.
  • Thanks the info. I have some diffculties asking the dealer to seriously look into this annoying (yet not safety related) issue. I felt that the dealer does not have the financial motivation to fix my problem (they view it as a business transaction not as a customer service).

    Why do I say so? Because the way they tried to reproduce the problem.

    Background: my car has the cowl rattle when the weather is cold and dry.

    Imaging the car sitting in the garage over a cold night. The temperature was cold (10F ~ 25F) in the morning when I started my 25-mile commute to work across a country route that has potholes and bumps sparsely waiting ahead. A similar situation occurred when I started my commute back home, after the car sitting in the cold parking lot for several hours.

    Now, consider how the dealer tested my car.
    1. Kept the car in their warm building for at least 30 minutes before working on it.

    2. The route they test-drove the car had minor bumps (they did not even drove the car over railroad tracks nearby).

    3. Turned the dash vent to the "defrost" position, so that the hot air could blow in the windshield area, even thought it was sunny.

    4. Told me how the car drove smoothly over a newly paved road (sure, I knew that).

    In the end, they wrote down that they could not reproduce the problem...

    I was thinking should I *bribe* the tech staff to get him seriously looking at my car? Or should I pay someone to get this issue fixed? Or should I live with this issue for as long as I own this car?

    Maybe I should try fixing it myself since I am the one who owns this car and drives it daily...
  • My 2004 RAV4 4WD averages about 23 mpg (I have about 2000 miles on it). A FWD one driving in sunny CA should do better.

    Given that you will be test-driving a RAV4 soon and that you have a "bigger" family than mine, I would recommend that you also take a look at the 2004 2.4L FWD Highlander (base model); it is priced similarly to a loaded RAV4 4WD. The mpg is 22/27, the same as my 4WD auto RAV4.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,679
    It is obvious that your dealer is bad. I thought everyone new that cold AND dry conditions produce the rattle, and the fact that they are saying "can't reproduce" is really lame. I THINK that they do make money on this repair (Toyota pays them), so take it back and demand that they do it right. Have them call the Tech line, if necessary, and make sure it is cold and dry when they test it. If you don't want to do this, then try a different dealer. This isn't a tough problem to fix. You might want to call Toyota about this dealer. That will get their attention.
  • Thanks for the advise.

    I called the Toyota service line and asked for help. They are going to open a case on my issue (Thanks Toyota).

    The rattle was so obvious this morning (10F~14F sunny) that I kept asking myself on my way to work why the dealer could not reproduce the problem?!

    I'll try to tape the rattle, let them hear it, and see what the dealer says.
  • Since my dealer had done the "rattle fix" on my car once, I could not switch to a different dealer now, even if the work is under warranty.

    Next time when I buy a new car I'll take the service inssue into consideration, not just the price.

    Dealing with this dealer to get the rattle fixed is a major headache for me now. :-(
  • I have a 2004 RAV4 that has been rattling since October on cold, dry days. The dealer tried to fix it 3 times with no luck until last week when Toyota tech in Cincinnati recommended the fix that worked. The black plastic cowl has a softer plastic edge sealing against the windshield. When it is cold it hardens and contracts enough to rattle against the windshield. Rain seems to lubricate it and prevent rattling also. This has nothing to do with the TSBs from 2001 and later relating to the windshield clips and adding felt pads. Toyota had the dealer install "Toyota anti-squeak tape" (no kidding) and it worked. They removed the black cowl after marking the cowl location on the windshield with crayon. They then applied the clear tape to the windshield so that the cowl edge now rides on the tape. They adhered the top edge of the tape about 1/8 to 1/4 inch up from the plastic so that it would be sure to always contact tape rather than glass. Apparently the tape is slick so the plastic can slide even when cold. Don't let the dealers insist on duplicating the rattle since it won't help them solve it even if it is very loud. On a previous attempt to fix it the tech rode with me with an acoustic probe and headphones but it didn't help. He could tell it was at the windshield edge and not the dash but that didn't lead to the fix. The Toyota tech in Cincy said they had recommended this for several '04 RAV4s and it seemed to work for all. My rattle was terrible and now after a week between zero and 25 degrees F and several hundred miles it is absolutely silent all the time. It was hard to appreciate what a great vehicle this is until the rattle was gone. I've never driven an earlier RAV4 but this one has plenty of power and the best handling of any SUV I've driven. It also handles great in the snow. Good Luck.
  • m4ethm4eth Posts: 101
    Tape to fix a!!! I wonder how long this tape will last??? Most likely 5 years but for the long term may need to be redone.

    I would also think that shaving the edge of the plastic cowl to increase the gap between the windshield and the cowl would also be a seems that in time the tape would get hard and may start to separate from the windshield and the problem could re-surface????

  • m4ethm4eth Posts: 101
    Can someone tell me any experiences they have had in getting damage repaired in the aft of the vehicle because of collision with another vehicle?

    I hear that the RAV does not have a bumper...would installing a trailer hitch help reduce damage to the rear of this vehicle?

  • Thanks for the great news. I am so glad to learn that there is a fix for this annoying issue.

    I'll tell my dealer on Monday.

    You really made my day! :-)
  • I hope I will not ever have the rear end damage. :)

    It's true that by design the RAV4's rear is not protected by a bumper (a spare tire is there).

    As long as my car insurance is reasonable and I back it up carefully, I am not too worry about this issue.

    The 2004 RAV4 is so "fun" to drive that I am starting to worry about getting a speeding ticket. :)
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    ...just enjoy the '04 RAV as it is fun to drive!! Don't worry about potential rear end damage, that's what insurance is for. :>))
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Hey, tape can fix lots of stuff!

    Seriously, lots of the body side moldings are held on with adhesive tape these days and plenty of front end bras and other accessories get taped on and last the life of the car.

    Steve, Host
  • I am planning on buying a 2004 RAV4. I live in Washington, DC, we get some snow but not a lot. How does the 2WD(front wheel drive)RAV4 do in snow on paved streets. I like the fact that the two wheel drive is cheaper and gets better gas mileage, but I obviously do not want to get stuck. If it is any help-I currently have a '97 Honda Civic front wheel drive, and I have never once had a problem with the road conditions here in snow/ice.

    Thanks for any help.
  • rblelandrbleland Posts: 312
    dcdoctor - FWD should be OK for you in DC as long as you put on snow tires, preferably all 4 wheels. If you have been getting around OK so far w FWD only, you s/be OK w a FWD RAV4. Where I am in Western Canada, the 4WD is preferable but we get a lot more snow (I assume). We can't even get a FWD RAV in Canada, all are 4WD. Enjoy your RAV - the new '04 is great w the new engine.
  • 325iRAV4: Could you E-Mail me with the Dealers name in Cinncinati so I could get some info on the tape that they used on your windshield? I have a 2004 RAV that has been rattling since I picked it up in October also - dealers in Mass are useless. I actually called the 3 Cinncinati dealers and they had no idea what I was talking about as far as "anti-squeak tape" PLEASE HELP!!!
  • Just sharing with you fine folks my experiences taking our new RAV4 4wd 5spd on its first road trip. From the coast to the mountains and back, over 550 miles, I averaged right at 23 mpg. As for the conditions, yesterday we returned in hard snow, sleet and mushy roads....the 4wd did its job well; the 5spd gives an added measure of control, be it psychological or practical. The contributor from Washington should consider the 4wd for the conditions they get up there. The real surprise of the trip was that despite snow, blowing wind and sleet, and 26 degree temps AND bumpy mountain roads, the dash rattle monster failed to raise his ugly head. Seems no rime or reason to mine....but please remember that some time ago, before I joined you all online, a very thoughtful contributor attached a step by step fix-it program with photos...go back quite a few pages and you should find it.
    Please let me know if any of you have found your CDs getting hot to the touch....when I eject at the end of the disc it is really warm...could this damage the discs? and yes I too noticed the difference in the CD volume and radio volume.
    Thanks, and safe traveling!
  • if your state has the Lemon law. Let the dearler fix it under warranty. A DIY fix will void the claim.
  • 325iRAV4:

    Please provide more info.

    Is there a part number for the "Toyota anti-squeak tape"?

    When did the dealer fix your rattle using the tape?

    Thanks for sharing the info.
  • rav4driver, toyotafan71 and others with the dreaded cowl rattle: I just called my dealer for some clarification on this fix. I'm in northern Ohio and they fixed my RAV4 on January 12. The fix did not come from another dealership but from Toyota Regional Technical Assistance (available only to dealers). They incorrectly originally told me that the advice was from the Cincinnati Region - now they say that it was actually the California Region. A Technical Service Bulletin is not yet issued - apparently it takes a while to do this officially. My dealer's Service Technician got telephone advise on how to do the fix from California. He went to an auto supply store and bought 3M anti-squeak tape - part number 06356. They pulled the "wiper cowl" and applied the tape (which is clear) to the windshield and then reinstalled the cowl. It works perfectly. My dealer's advice to you all is for you to call your dealership and ask them to talk to Toyota California Region technical assistance and refer to my case number (040080052). Good luck again.
  • I am most grateful for your help, because my dealer ignored me completely (If they told me that a fix is not available now, then that will be a proper answer; we need more civility in the auto business!).
  • Here is the info about the 3M tape.
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