Like a Niva, it’s only better: is it worth buying a Toyota RAV4 II for 500 thousand rubles (part 1)
Just a month ago, we thought about buying a third-generation Toyota RAV4 and found out that one of the main problems when choosing is a considerable price level for such a popular model, which many even consider to be overpriced. What to do if you want a crossover from Toyota, but you don’t have a million in your pocket? One of the obvious answers is to collect half a million and buy the RAV4 of the previous, second generation: our colleagues from Avito Auto confidently say that for this amount you can buy a live car. Their prices are already more or less market, and the lack of a clearly middle-aged age is compensated by some technical features in which the “second” RAV4 is even better than its heir. Which ones?
Determining the maximum age of cars on the market is not difficult: the second generation RAV4 appeared at the turn of the century, in 2000, so that the oldest copies will soon celebrate their twentieth anniversary. The youngest are 5 years younger: the next generational change took place in 2005. That is, these crossovers have long come out of the age when the year of release can play a role in choosing a car – the decision must be made solely on the basis of the state.
Age, of course, imposes additional difficulties on finding a car, and the popular nameplate will again remind someone of the high residual value: after all, for the half million that we put on a conditional purchase, you can buy a car half to three times younger, or even a new Grant from salon. However, those who believe in “the same” quality from the past and look not at age, but at the opportunities offered for a unit of money, may indeed be satisfied. For example, the second generation RAV4, unlike the third, is equipped with permanent all-wheel drive with an interaxle differential and a viscous clutch as a lock, has simple and reliable motors (well, almost everything) and offers the opportunity to choose an automatic transmission as an alternative to mechanics. Add to this the choice between the three-door and five-door versions and a decent clearance of 20 centimeters – and get a portrait of the “ideal Niva”. True, Niva for this money will be almost new – but you often have to sacrifice something in life, right?
The condition of the body, for example, just refers to such “victims”: Niva may rust faster than RAV4, but here the age inevitably takes its toll, so the choice of the “Japanese” will begin with finding out how lively it has iron. The situation is slightly facilitated by the fact that the quality of the paint is very good here, so the chances of finding a well-groomed car are not so mythical. The main problems are easily predictable: it is corrosion of thresholds, arches and areas where moisture and dirt accumulate under plastic. The thresholds themselves, even though they are covered by plastic, partly suffer just because of it, so it’s worthwhile to assess the condition of the metal under the pad and especially the condition of the seams and plastic attachment points. The same applies to arches: massive protection does its job well, but the cavities behind it need to be washed periodically, which not every owner does. Decorative door linings rarely provoke rust, but their very presence means an additional point of control.
The front and rear are also not surprising. On the front there are few complaints about corrosion of the windshield frame, but enough for the glass itself and the area under it. Glass wipes faster than we would like, and often bursts among fans of quick heating and cooling the cabin. Well, under the glass, the problem lies in the drain zone: water enters the wiring harness passing through the engine shield, and through it penetrates the passenger compartment, accumulating in the carpet from the driver’s side. Given the age, the presence of hatches and the condition of the seals, this is not the only source of moisture in the cabin, so it is imperative to evaluate the condition of the carpets, but rather look under them to make sure there are no rusty fields.
The same applies to the trunk: water here is not uncommon, but it can bring enough problems. In addition, the hinged rear door, on which the spare wheel is suspended, inevitably sags with age, so evaluate the condition of the hinges and the operation of the lock. It is better to spend 10 minutes on examination than money later: some small things are not cheap here, for example, the door travel limiter costs 5 thousand rubles.
Inspection from below is another mandatory part of the RAV4 purchase program. Firstly, many owners abuse the capabilities of the car, and secondly, these crossovers are already young and inexpensive, so some people buy them for a really active holiday, and not just to deliver the boat to the fishing place or to the hunting place . Traces of outdoor activities in the form of stripped side members, jammed sills, dirt in the cavities and damage to the exhaust system and bumper mounts suggest that it is better to look for another car. On three-doors, by the way, there is a muffler in the risk zone, suspended sideways under the rear bumper: it turns out to be one of the restrictions on the exit angle.
The pendants here are independent: on the front is MacPherson, and on the back is a simple multi-link. Their maintenance and repair will not make any difficulties, the main thing is not to look at the prices of original spare parts. Here, of course, there are “affordable little things” like stabilizer racks for a thousand rubles, but in 95% of cases a huge selection of non-original for every taste will help out. For example, the leverage is expectedly expensive (and for a 15-year-old car it is indecently expensive): 12-14 thousand for the front and 15-18 for the lower rear, but for the front there are substitutes from 2 thousand, and for the rear, an assortment of silent blocks for several hundred rubles . An original ball joint costs 3 thousand, but “economists” can buy a non-original 10 times cheaper, and a high-quality version will cost less than a thousand. There are complaints about the resource of wheel bearings, which do not like water, bumps and abnormal wheels, but the original part will cost 2.5-3 thousand, and SKF – 2. By the way, when inspecting the suspension, evaluate whether its tuning has touched: sometimes budget elevator options with spacers. Well, the rigidity of the chassis is an innate feature, so do not rush to conclusions when traveling. In the absence of expensive and complex elements, the suspension here is just an indicator of car care and a reason to bargain, but there are simply no options to go broke for repair.
Toyota RAV4 ‘2003-05
A similar situation is with brakes and steering. The former can throw up age-related problems: often even good owners change pads and monitor the disks, but ignore the condition of the brake lines. Meanwhile, the chances of corrosion of the brake pipes are already very high, and hoses should also be given attention. In the most advanced cases, the owners put up with the fact that the brakes are supposedly a weak spot, and soured calipers are an inevitable problem. However, if the brakes are the only nuisance of the car you like (which is unlikely, quite strange owners usually save on the brakes), here all the problems can also be solved with little blood, since the choice of aftermarket parts is great. Brake discs can be bought for 2-3 thousand instead of 5-8 for the original, hoses – for 1.5-2 instead of 4-5, and only rusty tubes can ruin 10 thousand, since there are no substitutes. But the steering is reliable and predictable in terms of life: usually it’s 150-200 thousand without problems, provided that the fluid is replaced at least once every 60-80 thousand, and then the knocking rail can be replaced with a non-original one for 20-25 thousand or repaired. The pump will also remind itself in advance of a buzz, and in extreme cases, it is not necessary to buy an original unit for 30 thousand: there are new and restored options for 5-15 thousand on sale.
All-wheel drive is equipped with more than 80% of the cars that were presented on Avito at the time of writing, and this is not surprising: almost all front-wheel drive options are cars with the initial 1.8-liter engine. Here, of course, you can save on maintenance and repair: there is no distributor, no cardan, or a rear gearbox with a constant velocity joint, so changing the oil remains only in the gearbox. But, firstly, with the same cost of cars on the secondary, such savings seem illogical, and secondly, the question of the motor arises here … But more on that later.
Toyota RAV4 ‘2003-05
In the meantime, back to the transmission. Four-wheel drive here, as we recall, is permanent, with an interaxle differential, and besides it, in the transfer case there is a viscous coupling that acts as an interaxle lock. Accordingly, the razdatku need to inspect for leaks and listen for noise. The viscous coupling performance can be checked “in the field” by hanging the rear wheel of the muffled car and turning it, after first transferring the gearbox to neutral: the wheel should spin with a noticeable effort. It is better to pay attention to this: the clutch is non-separable, the new one costs under 80 thousand, and in the event of its death the all-wheel drive efficiency drops noticeably, so you will either have to drive as it is or search the disassemblies. In addition to distributing from below, it is imperative to inspect the rear gearbox and the condition of the cardan. The gearbox is simple, and the rear-wheel drive is reliable, but repairing a running unit can cost a pretty penny. But the maintenance of the cardan is predictably inexpensive: instead of the original outboard bearing for 7 thousand, you can put an analogue at a price of a thousand rubles, and for an elastic coupling there are repair kits all in the same thousand.
The vast majority of cars on the secondary are equipped with an automatic transmission, but for those who basically want a mechanic, there are about 20% of the total mass of offers. In principle, such a desire cannot be called unjustified: the box is expectedly reliable, and if oil was changed at least once every 60-80 thousand, more than 200 thousand kilometers will pass before the death of the bearings and synchronizers. Another thing is that the runs of many cars have already overcome this threshold a long time ago, so you still need to listen and “feel” the box. Aisin full clutch kit can be assembled for about 10 thousand (half the price of the original), since the clutch release bearing is ordinary and inexpensive.