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2011 Toyota RAV4 Sport(V6 4WD)
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99 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The title states my primary question: How Do You Know If Your Car Is A Good Swap Candidate?

I am still working on purchasing a new car, but since I specially ordered my 01 RS I am having second thoughts on selling it. What parts of the car (frame, etc) would I need to examine to see if it is a good candidate for a swap.

By swap I mean engine, trans, driveline, axles, hubs, etc.

If I did one I would probably just buy a complete V8/V9 swap and enjoy the JDM goodness. But since my car is a decade old, has 190K+ miles, and has been through some tough winters and salt I don't want to get too invested if it is not going to last or be safe.

Thanks,
C.H.
 

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1998 2.5 RS, Brilliant Red
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1,357 Posts
1) look for & eliminate rust (subframes & quarter panels likely)
2) refresh suspension parts
3) replace bushings w/ urethane set
4) swap away... :)
all this will still be a bit less expensive than a comparable new car, most likely.
Plus you will save on insurance.
 

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1993 Subaru Impreza L 5smt AWD
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716 Posts
1) look for & eliminate rust (subframes & quarter panels likely)
2) refresh suspension parts
3) replace bushings w/ urethane set
4) swap away... :)
all this will still be a bit less expensive than a comparable new car, most likely.
Plus you will save on insurance.
I think upgrading brakes would help too.
At least if you're going from the 1pot setup I have on my 93L.
 

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1998 2.5 RS, Brilliant Red
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1,357 Posts
yeah, if you are adding more 'go', probably a good idea to add more 'stop' too !
a nice wrecked STi as a donor car, maybe ?
 

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2011 Toyota RAV4 Sport(V6 4WD)
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99 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank for the information so far guys. I think the JDM sellers on NASIOC sell the full driveline setups so it would include the STI brembo setups and all of the needed supporting parts.

I have a few electrical gremlins (cruise light and fog light switch lights not working, headlight beams just slightly unbalanced, etc.), would this be something that needs to be resolved on my end or would a swap shop take care of that during the swap process?

Best,
C.H.
 

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I kill threads!
2000 Ver 6 STI - 1996 Gravel Express
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3,762 Posts
If it didn't before, they're probably not gonna care if it works afterwords. I'm sure you can ask them to fix it, but they could just add that into the cost of the swap. The headlight beams slightly unbalanced isn't even something they'll touch, unless you ask. You can just do that yourself anyways with a screw driver.

As for the clips having all the hubs, subframes,etc , they'll make your car sit wider. This can cause your tires to end up rubbing the fenders. May need a fender roll or coilovers. Also, you'll need new wheels to fit over the Brembos, if your current wheels already don't.

There's also the issue with emissions if you go JDM (that's if you have emissions). In a 95 or older car, they're OBD1, so no issues with emissions.

Anyways, if you plan to swap all that, then really, there isn't much point in doing anything more than taking care of any rust that's on the shell. The rest of it you'll be replacing, so who cares if it's rusty.
 

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wood grain grippin'
v2 STi wagon
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3,399 Posts
Is there rust? If no...
Is there damage? If no, or it's on easily replaceable parts...
it's a good swap candidate. Not really concerned with much more.

I'm on my 2nd swap; my requisite checklist is short
 

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2011 Toyota RAV4 Sport(V6 4WD)
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99 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Do the switches still activate the cruise control and fog lights? If so then the bulbs inside the switches are probably burned out :)
The switches still function but the lights do not work, yet they are not burnt out, as I have had them checked and then even put in new bulbs with still no result? Not sure what the issue is?

Is there a trick to pulling the buttons out and putting them back that I am not aware of...

Its certainly not a huge deal, but it would be nice to have them working again. They just stopped working about 3 years into ownership
 

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Modsterdomus
2000 STM RS Sedan 5spd
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7,849 Posts
I agree with BL easy.

Is there rust or damage?

No?

Swap.

Anything that was broken before is likely to stay that way.

As for PMP's opinion. How long have you been driving? Have your taken any high speed driving courses and defensive driving courses? The current driving tests are stupid easy and really don't teach you to handle a car. When you bump up the power into the STi ranges you have to have a thorough understanding of the dynamics that effect a light powerful car. Otherwise, you are WAY more likely to crash your freshly swapped car.

My brother in law raced BMW's. One of his racer friends bought an 04' STi and started tracking it. This is a guy who routinely drove nice fast cars and he said the thing is a monster. He loved it, but it could easily kill you if you forget to keep it on a short leash. Take the time to learn from a professional and you will be able to appreciate the car more and most likely for a longer time.
 

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97 GF8 Battle Wagon
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296 Posts
One thing I have learned from experience is to just check the underbody thoroughly! Because if your going to do a full swap from motor to drivetrain all those old crossmembers and subframes are gonna have to come off. So take into consideration that if these parts are extremely rusty its gonna make things ten times worse. lol....little to no rust on a swap candidate is always a plus! Good luck on your search
 

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Miatamiatamiata
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2,707 Posts
One thing I have learned from experience is to just check the underbody thoroughly! Because if your going to do a full swap from motor to drivetrain all those old crossmembers and subframes are gonna have to come off. So take into consideration that if these parts are extremely rusty its gonna make things ten times worse. lol....little to no rust on a swap candidate is always a plus! Good luck on your search
big +1, always get under a car before committing.
 

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2011 Toyota RAV4 Sport(V6 4WD)
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Sorry for the delayed response. All great advice and a good point regarding the potential change going from 160CHP to 300CHP. On paper it is amazing, but I am sure once you are behind the wheel it will take a lot of time to truly understand such a change and maxamize it.

Thanks again for the feedback. Out of curiosity I am assuming if I had concerns for the subframe I could simply swap in WRX or 04' STI ones yes?
 
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