Toyota RAV4 > Engine > Engine — removal and installation

Engine — removal and installation

Warning: The models covered by this manual are equipped with a Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), more commonly known as airbags. Always disable the airbag system before working in the vicinity of airbag system components to avoid the possibility of accidental deployment of the airbag, which could cause personal injury (see Chassis electrical system).

Warning: Gasoline is extremely flammable, so take extra precautions when you work on any part of the fuel system. Don’t smoke or allow open flames or bare light bulbs near the work area, and don’t work in a garage where a gas-type appliance (such as a water heater or a clothes dryer) is present. Since gasoline is carcinogenic, wear fuel-resistant gloves when there’s a possibility of being exposed to fuel, and, if you spill any fuel on your skin, rinse it off immediately with soap and water. Mop up any spills immediately and do not store fuel-soaked rags where they could ignite. The fuel system is under constant pressure, so, if any fuel lines are to be disconnected, the fuel pressure in the system must be relieved first (see Fuel and exhaust systems for more information). When you perform any kind of work on the fuel system, wear safety glasses and have a Class B type fire extinguisher on hand.

Warning: The air conditioning system is under high pressure. Do not loosen any hose fittings or remove any components until the system has been discharged. Air conditioning refrigerant should be properly discharged into an EPA-approved recovery/recycling unit by a dealer service department or an automotive air conditioning repair facility. Always wear eye protection when disconnecting air conditioning system fittings.

Warning: Wait until the engine is completely cool before beginning this procedure.

Note: Engine removal on these models is a difficult job, especially for the do-it-yourself mechanic working at home. Because of the vehicle’s design, the manufacturer states that the engine and transaxle have to be removed as a unit from the bottom of the vehicle, not the top. With a floor jack and jackstands the vehicle can’t be raised high enough and supported safely enough for the engine/transaxle assembly to slide out from underneath. The manufacturer recommends that removal of the engine/transaxle assembly only be performed on a vehicle hoist.

Note: The TRANSAXLE COMPENSATION CODE and RESET MEMORY procedures (A/T initialization) must be performed when replacing the automatic transaxle assembly, engine assembly or ECM. The TRANSAXLE COMPENSATION CODE and RESET MEMORY can be performed only with the intelligent tester and should be done by a dealer service department or transmission repair shop.


1. Have the air conditioning system discharged by an automotive air conditioning technician.

2. Park the vehicle on a frame-contact type vehicle hoist. The pads of the hoist arms must contact the body welt along each side of the vehicle (see Jacking and towing at the front of this manual).

3. Relieve the fuel system pressure (see Fuel and exhaust systems).

4. Place protective covers on the fenders and cowl and remove the hood (see Body).

5. Remove the air filter housing (see Fuel and exhaust systems).

6. Remove the cowl cover and the vent tray (see Body).

7. Disconnect the battery cables and remove the battery and battery tray (see Engine electrical systems). Also remove the battery tray reinforcement brackets.

8. Remove the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) (see Emissions and engine control systems).

9. Loosen the front wheel lug nuts and the driveaxle/hub nuts, then raise the vehicle on the hoist. Drain the cooling system and engine oil and remove the drivebelts (see Tune-up and routine maintenance).

10. Remove the coolant expansion tank (see Cooling, heating and air conditioning systems).

11. Clearly label, then disconnect all vacuum lines, coolant and emissions hoses, wiring harness connectors, ground straps and fuel lines. Masking tape and/or a touch up paint applicator work well for marking items (see illustration). Take photos or sketch the locations of components and brackets.

12. Remove all fuel and/or emission control components that might be damaged during engine removal (see Fuel and exhaust systems and Emissions and engine control systems).

13. Remove the engine wiring harness connectors from the engine compartment junction box.

14. Remove the alternator and the starter (see Engine electrical systems).

15. Remove the engine splash shield fasteners and splash shield from the sides and bottom of the vehicle.

16. Remove the cooling fan(s), shroud(s) and radiator (see Cooling, heating and air conditioning systems).

Note: This step is not absolutely necessary, but it will help avoid damage to the cooling fans and radiator as the engine is lowered out of the vehicle. If the radiator is not removed, it will still be necessary to detach the transaxle oil cooler lines from the bottom of the radiator on automatic transaxle equipped vehicles.

17. Disconnect and cap the refrigerant lines to the air conditioning compressor, then unbolt the air conditioning compressor (see Cooling, heating and air conditioning systems) and set it aside. Make sure to cover the openings on the compressor.

18. Remove the front section of the exhaust system (see Fuel and exhaust systems).

19. Disconnect the shift cable from the transaxle (see Automatic transaxle). Disconnect any wiring harness connectors from the transaxle.

20. Disconnect the intermediate shaft from the steering gear (see Suspension and steering systems).

21. Remove both front driveaxles (see Driveline). On AWD models, remove the rear driveshaft.

22. Detach the stabilizer bar links from the bar (see Suspension and steering systems). Remove the two bolts securing the steering gear to the front crossmember and the fasteners securing the lower balljoints to the lower control arms (see Tune-up and routine maintenance0). Support the steering gear from above with rope.

23. Attach a lifting sling or chain to the engine (see illustration). If no lifting hooks or brackets are present, you’ll have to fasten the chains or slings to some substantial part of the engine — ones that are strong enough to take the weight, but in locations that will provide balance. Position an engine hoist and connect the sling to it. Take up the slack until there is slight tension on the sling or chain. Remember that the transaxle end of the engine will be heavier, so position the chain on the hoist so it balances the engine and the transaxle level with the vehicle.

i. 23 With the chain or sling attached securely to the engine, take
up the slack until there is slight tension on the chain — typical procedure shown

Toyota RAV4 Engine | Engine - removal and installation; With the chain or sling attached securely to the engine, take up the slack until there is slight tension on the chain - typical procedure shown

24. Recheck to be sure nothing except the mounts are still connecting the engine to the vehicle or to the transaxle. Disconnect and label anything still remaining.

25. Remove the front crossmember/lower radiator support mounting bolts and lower the crossmember from the vehicle.

26. Remove the subframe left and right rear brace mounting bolts and braces (see illustration).

i. 26 Subframe left and right rear brace mounting bolt locations

Toyota RAV4 Engine | Subframe left and right rear brace mounting bolt locations

27. Remove the subrfame left and right reinforcement mounting bolts and reinforcements (see illustration).

i. 27 Subrfame reinforcement mounting bolt locations

Toyota RAV4 Engine | Engine - removal and installation

28. Remove the through-bolt on the driver’s side transaxle mount and the passenger’s side engine mount (see Engine).

29. Remove the subframe (see Suspension and steering systems).

30. Slowly lower the engine/transaxle from the vehicle.

Note: Placing a sheet of hardboard or paneling between the engine and the floor makes moving the powertrain easier.

31. Once the powertrain is on the floor, disconnect the engine lifting hoist and raise the vehicle hoist until the powertrain can be slid out from underneath.

Note: An assistant will be needed to move the powertrain.

32. Reconnect the chain or sling and raise the engine with the hoist several inches off the ground. Remove the through-bolts on the front and rear mounts and slide the front crossmember out from under the engine. Lower the engine back to the ground and separate the engine from the transaxle (see Automatic transaxle). Disregard the steps that do not apply since the transaxle is already removed from the vehicle.

33. Remove the driveplate/flywheel and mount the engine on a stand.


34. Check the engine/transaxle mounts. If they’re worn or damaged, replace them.

35. Inspect the converter seal and bushing. If the seal and bushing are okay, apply a dab of grease to the nose of the torque converter.

36. Carefully guide the transaxle into place, following the procedure outlined in Automatic transaxle.

Caution: Do not use the bolts to force the engine and transaxle into alignment. It may crack or damage major components.

37. Install the engine-to-transaxle bolts and tighten them securely.

38. Slide the engine/transaxle over a sheet of hardboard or paneling until it is in the appropriate position under the vehicle, then lower the vehicle over the engine.

39. Roll the engine hoist into position, attach the chain or sling in a position that will allow a good balance and slowly raise the powertrain until the mount at the transaxle end can be attached.

40. Reinstall the subframe and attach the passenger side engine mount. Tighten the subframe mounting bolts to the torque values listed in the Suspension and steering Specifications.

41. Reinstall the remaining components and
fasteners in the reverse order of removal.
When installing the air conditioning compressor line, replace any 0-rings with new ones specifically made for the purpose and lubricate them with refrigerant oil.

42. Add coolant, oil and transmission fluids as needed (see Tune-up and routine maintenance).

43. Run the engine and check for proper operation and leaks. Shut off the engine and recheck the fluid levels.

44. Have the air conditioning system evacuated, recharged and leak tested by the shop that discharged it.

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