jamesl New Reader
March 9, 2010 11:23 a.m.

I just got my '96 Rav4 running using MegaSquirt for engine management. The MS unit plugs into the existing harness and I didn't have to do any wiring changes in the engine compartment.

If you're interested, here's a link to my "How To" article.. The key to getting the Rav4 to run was to configure MegaSquirt to recognize the 36-2 trigger wheel mounted on the crank. I understand Toyota used this wheel setup on other cars in the late 90s on up, which should make it easy to "squirt" them.

My goal is to install a low-boost turbo setup on my stock 3sfe. (I know, pretty silly MS should help me manage fuel and timing so I don't blow up the motor (fingers crossed!). This is my second MegaSquirt/Turbo project. I installed a turbo system on an '87 MR2 in late 2004. I sold the Mr2 a couple years ago, but talked with the owner a few weeks back and it's still running fine. My hope is to repeat that success with the Rav4.

dean1484 Dork
March 9, 2010 11:46 a.m.

Boost a Rav4 silly? Naaaaaa More like ultimate sleeper!!!

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 11:50 a.m.

Better keep that boost LOW. The 3sfe has some horribly weaksauce conrod bolts.

Here's what i think you should do after you blow that motor up:

Take it out, dump a later model 5sfe in there. Still not the most robust motor ever under boost, but with good tuning should be capable of more than enough (300whp/300wtq+) to blow your transfer case to itty bitty bits.

I am very interested in your write up, though, and will be reading it.

Dr. Hess SuperDork
March 9, 2010 12:10 p.m.

Cool. Good job. Now, I suggest that after you blow up that motor you put a 3SGE BEAMS motor in and boost the crap out of that. Should grenade the transfer case REAL easy.

jamesl New Reader
March 9, 2010 12:46 p.m.

My Rav4 is AWD, with a driveline similar to that used in the Celica All-Tracs. I've read that driveline can handle up to about 250 hp without major problems. I expect the 3sfe to be the weak link. My goal right now is 6-8 psi using a turbo out of a WRX. I would be happy as a clam to see 200 flywheel horsepower.

If I keep things a bit rich and retarded, I should be okay. Hmmmm there's a joke there somewhere.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 12:46 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote: Cool. Good job. Now, I suggest that after you blow up that motor you put a 3SGE BEAMS motor in and boost the crap out of that. Should grenade the transfer case REAL easy.

True. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing to excess. Caldina GT4 motor would be cheaper, though.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 12:47 p.m.
jamesl wrote: My Rav4 is AWD, with a driveline similar to that used in the Celica All-Tracs. I've read that driveline can handle up to about 250 hp without major problems. I expect the 3sfe to be the weak link. My goal right now is 6-8 psi and would be happy as a clam to see 200 flywheel horsepower. If I keep things a bit rich and retarded, I should be okay. Hmmmm there's a joke there somewhere.

Insert Celica AllTrac transmission, transfer case, and motor.

400awhp RAV4? Could be fun.... (with further work of course)

Dr. Hess SuperDork
March 9, 2010 1:03 p.m.

I saw a Caldina motor and a transmission on eBay last week for $2500 BIN from some guy in NY or NJ who was abandoning a swap project. I think the trans was FWD only, or had been modded to that or something.

Shaun Reader
March 9, 2010 1:26 p.m.
jamesl wrote: My Rav4 is AWD, with a driveline similar to that used in the Celica All-Tracs. I've read that driveline can handle up to about 250 hp without major problems. I expect the 3sfe to be the weak link. My goal right now is 6-8 psi using a turbo out of a WRX. I would be happy as a clam to see 200 flywheel horsepower. If I keep things a bit rich and retarded, I should be okay. Hmmmm there's a joke there somewhere.

I don't think it is a silly project at all, it is a very cool project with an excellent write up which I bookmarked. Thanks! The OEMS are puting small FI motors in their products to give today's small heavy cars some go when needed. good idea.

Are you an EE or ME?

I have a a particular interest as I have a very similar project in the works: A 96 honda civic hatchback with the lean burn d16y5 engine, computer, egr valve, gas tank, ex oem headers, 2.5" cat, 99-00 si cat back, yada yada yada. That part is done and passed smog here in oregon where the "DEQ" plugs into the cars ob2 port and looks for codes and "ready" signals. The car is lots quicker than the d16y7 that came in it and gets 45 mpg or so going 70 on warm days.

Next step is a mitsu tdo4 13g of a wrx running 5-6 psi and a bunch of other stuff which will of course require more puter tweakability. Which begs a question or two:

If I am not mistaken, you are dealing with ob2a. Are you in a state that is going to plug into your ob2 port and look at your ecu at "smog" time? If that is a concern, will the version of mega-squirt you are running the way you have set it up mimic the OEM ecu in terms of the ready codes necessary to pass emissions testing? It looks like it manage stuff like EGR valves....?

I am going to read you article again and check out the links... Thanks for posting.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 1:28 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote: I saw a Caldina motor and a transmission on eBay last week for $2500 BIN from some guy in NY or NJ who was abandoning a swap project. I think the trans was FWD only, or had been modded to that or something.

Overpriced. That motor is available fully dressed with transmission for $2000 shipped all day on Ebay through reputable vendors. For whatever reason, they go for less than the ST205 motors.

Brotus7 New Reader
March 9, 2010 1:29 p.m.

'96, eh? Did the RAV4 have OBD2? If so, what are your options for emissions? I know it varies state by state.

Unique project.

Dr. Hess SuperDork
March 9, 2010 1:34 p.m.

When I finish my Locost, I'm gonna need a 1zz or 2zz motor for the Europa. I had thought of a nice 3SGTE with some alphabet soup add-ons to about 300 HP, but the Renault trans would grenade at that level and I really want to try to keep the weight down. That 1zz weighs like nothing. As I lost my JDM motor supplier, (stoopid Watanabe, going out of business,) I'll be looking for a new one then.

jamesl New Reader
March 9, 2010 2:04 p.m.

I'm no engineer, electrical or otherwise. Just a hobbyist. The Rav4 does have an OBD2 system. Fortunately for me (if not the environment) our state has no emission inspection system. If it did, I wouldn't pass with MS installed. I understand you can install MS as a piggyback to get around that issue, but haven't tried it.

I really looked long and hard at a Beams swap. It was very tempting, as was the ST215 gte. I think either motor would have bolted to my transmission without much drama. In the end it was a mental coin toss. I'd say the deciding factor was my prior experience with MegaSquirt and the simplicity of keeping the stock motor.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 2:09 p.m.

Strange question.... what's the suspension like on this thing?

We just had a weird conversation here the other day about lowering CRVs and boosting them and making them handle. And for whatever reason, the RAV4 didn't come up in my mind.

Now it has.

Bobzilla Dork
March 9, 2010 2:19 p.m.

The wife's 97 manual rav ate the rear diff in 80k miles bone stock. Also ate cats, caught on fire an was a rolling pile of poo by then as well, but that's for another day.

jamesl New Reader
March 9, 2010 3:15 p.m.

In reply to 93celicaGT2:

The Rav4 was built on the Corolla platform, so has similar suspension. Still, it's a fun car to drive. The steering is quick and gives good feedback, but as you might expect it has significant body roll. It will never be a sports car but it makes a great urban assault vehicle, in my opinion.

My daily driver is a VW GTI 1.8t and I would be hard pressed to say which I enjoy driving more. The Rav's only downfall is the lack of power in comparison to the GTI.

dean1484 Dork
March 9, 2010 3:28 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: The wife's 97 manual ravate the rear diff in 80k miles bone stock. Also ate cats, caught on fire an was a rolling pile of poo by then as well, but that's for another day.

But did the throttle stick? No????? You obviously have a quality built Toyota there!!!!

OK Sorry could not resist LOL.

On another note my parents purchased one several years back and it has been absolutely trouble free.

<<<<Going back under my rock now.

Bobzilla Dork
March 9, 2010 3:30 p.m.

4 cats, 4 O2 sensors, struts twice, rear diff and a bad ECU by 80k miles. It was quick, the manny tranny's in those are non-OD so gearing was killer. 80mph on the interstate though was 4200rpms.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 3:31 p.m.
dean1484 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: The wife's 97 manual ravate the rear diff in 80k miles bone stock. Also ate cats, caught on fire an was a rolling pile of poo by then as well, but that's for another day.

But did the throttle stick? No????? You obviously have a quality built Toyota there!!!!

OK Sorry could not resist LOL.

On another note my parents purchased one several years back and it has been absolutely trouble free.

<<<<Going back under my rock now.

I had a buddy in college that had a 96 RAV4 that rolled over 325k miles in our Sophomore year, and it was rock solid reliable.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 3:32 p.m.
jamesl wrote: In reply to 93celicaGT2: The Rav4 was built on the Corolla platform, so has similar suspension. Still, it's a fun car to drive. The steering is quick and gives good feedback, but as you might expect it has significant body roll. It will never be a sports car but it makes a great urban assault vehicle, in my opinion. My daily driver is a VW GTI 1.8t and I would be hard pressed to say which I enjoy driving more. The Rav's only downfall is the lack of power in comparison to the GTI.

Interesting... i wonder how badly the geometry would get buggered up if you dropped it significantly. I know you can make Corollas of that vintage handle if you set your mind to it....

Bobzilla Dork
March 9, 2010 3:47 p.m.

then hers was just junk from the get go. It was junk too, gawd how I despised constantly working on that thing.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 3:49 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote: then hers was just junk from the get go. It was junk too, gawd how I despised constantly working on that thing.

You seem to get all the Japanese lemons.

Maybe i can use your stories as justification why i usually never have anything with less than 150k miles. If it was going to be epic crap, it wouldn't have lasted that long i guess.

jamesl New Reader
March 9, 2010 3:53 p.m.
93celicaGT2 said: Interesting... i wonder how badly the geometry would get buggered up if you dropped it significantly. I know you can make Corollas of that vintage handle if you set your mind to it....

Hard to say, here's a boosted Rav4 running in an Autocross somewhere in a far-off land: Rav4 in Action

Bobzilla Dork
March 9, 2010 3:59 p.m.
93celicaGT2 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: then hers was just junk from the get go. It was junk too, gawd how I despised constantly working on that thing.

You seem to get all the Japanese lemons.

Maybe i can use your stories as justification why i usually never have anything with less than 150k miles. If it was going to be epic crap, it wouldn't have lasted that long i guess.

That Rav was the only crap I've owned. 01 Grand Vitara from the motherland was traded in with 98k miles. Loved it. First Swift had 189k miles on it before the previous owner destroyed it. Second swift has 202k miles. Both Korean cars are racking up tons of miles (one at 174k, one at 118k)..... Jus tthe Rav. Although, she did buy it BEFORE I met her.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
March 9, 2010 4:03 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
93celicaGT2 wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: then hers was just junk from the get go. It was junk too, gawd how I despised constantly working on that thing.

You seem to get all the Japanese lemons.

Maybe i can use your stories as justification why i usually never have anything with less than 150k miles. If it was going to be epic crap, it wouldn't have lasted that long i guess.

That Rav was the only crap I've owned. 01 Grand Vitara from the motherland was traded in with 98k miles. Loved it. First Swift had 189k miles on it before the previous owner destroyed it. Second swift has 202k miles. Both Korean cars are racking up tons of miles (one at 174k, one at 118k)..... Jus tthe Rav. Although, she did buy it BEFORE I met her.

Oh, well that's why right there. Problem solved!

The Taurus that my girlfriend had before i met her was utter crap, too. Wait... that's not gone well.

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