Toyota RAV4 > Suspension and steering

Suspension and steering

1. The front suspension (see illustration) is a McPherson strut design. The upper end of each strut/coil spring assembly is attached to the vehicle’s body strut support. The lower end of the strut assembly is connected to the upper end of the steering knuckle. The steering knuckle is attached to a ball joint mounted on the outer end of the suspension control arm. A stabilizer bar reduces body roll.

1. 1 Front suspension and steering components

1 Strut/coil spring assembly
2. Steering knuckles
3. Ball joints
4 Control arms
5. Tie-rod ends
6. Stabilizer bars
7. Subframe

Toyota RAV4 Suspension and steering |

2. The rear suspension (see illustrations) employs a trailing arm, upper suspension arm, lower suspension arms «A» and «B», a coil spring and shock absorber (per side) and a stabilizer bar.

i. 2a Rear suspension components

1 Subframe
2 Lower suspension arm «B»
3 Coil spring
4 Upper suspension arms
5 Lower suspension arm «A»
6 Shock absorbers
7 Trailing arms

Toyota RAV4 Suspension and steering |

i. 2b Rear suspension components

1 Trailing arm
2 Shock absorbers
3 Lower suspension arm «A»
4 Lower suspension arm «B»

Toyota RAV4 Suspension and steering |

Electronic steering system

3. The electric power steering system consists of a serviceable power steering motor that is incorporated into the steering column as well as the ECU, torque sensor and steering angle sensor.

4. The use of an electronic power steering reduces weight as well as the need for hydraulic fluids. For the most part, the electronic power steering is virtually maintenance free. Replacement of the electronic steering system or components will require re-calibrating the steering angle sensor and the ECU to the data system of your car. See the appropriate repair facility to accomplish the reprogramming.


5. Frequently, when working on the suspension or steering system components, you may come across fasteners which seem impossible to loosen. These fasteners on the underside of the vehicle are continually subjected to water, road grime, mud, etc., and can become rusted or frozen, making them extremely difficult to remove. In order to unscrew these stubborn fasteners without damaging them (or other components), be sure to use lots of penetrating oil and allow it to soak in for a while. Using a wire brush to clean exposed threads will also ease removal of the nut or bolt and prevent damage to the threads. Sometimes a sharp blow with a hammer and punch will break the bond between a nut and bolt threads, but care must be taken to prevent the punch from slipping off the fastener and ruining the threads. Heating the stuck fastener and surrounding area with a torch sometimes helps too, but isn’t recommended because of the obvious dangers associated with fire. Long breaker bars and extension, or cheater, pipes will increase leverage, but never use an extension pipe on a ratchet — the ratcheting mechanism could be damagedё Sometimes tightening the nut or bolt first will help to break it looseё Fasteners that require drastic measures to remove should always be replaced with new onesё

6. Since most of the procedures dealt with in this Chapter involve jacking up the vehicle and working underneath it, a good pair of jack stands will be needed. A hydraulic floor jack is the preferred type of jack to lift the vehicle, and it can also be used to support certain components during various operations.

Warning: Never, under any circumstances, rely on a jack to support the vehicle while working on it. Whenever any of the suspension or steering fasteners are loosened or removed they must be inspected and, if necessary, replaced with new ones of the same part number or of original equipment quality and design. Torque specifications must be followed for proper reassembly and component retention. Never attempt to heat or straighten any suspension or steering components. Instead, replace any bent or damaged part with a new one.

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