It pains me to write this but up for sale is my beloved ’96 Toyota RAV4. This is no ordinary RAV4, its rare, unique and more of an enthusiast car then your typical grocery getter. It’s been modified to receive a ST215 Toyota Caldina 3SGTE engine and its E150F transmission. It’s AWD, has dual sunroofs, power accessaries, working AC as well as some more goodies!!

Check my eBay auction at:



If you’re interested contact me at scubastevoviii@aol.com. 


New Shoes Part Deux

After several years of driving on the stock 16 inch wheels as my winter setup, it was time for something new. And since I had a tire fail from a flat on my summer setup, it was time to retreat to a single all-season combo.

I always loved the look of the third generation Rav4, particularly the Sport model and its rims. So I searched the interwebs and found a set in good condition.


I got a sweet deal on a set of Falken Ziex ZE612-Plus and selected 245/45ZR18’s.


I love the new look…here’s the outcome!!

IMG_6720   IMG_6728[1]

Got Some New Shoes!

In an ideal world I would have purchased Michelin Pilot Super Sports tires and Work Emotion CR‘s with a low offset and deep concave face. While I’ve always LOVED the look of Work Emotion CR’s…I never loved the price.

As I live in NYC, one of the most unfriendliest places for wheels…I wanted something that was affordable, looked good and would hold up to the daily abuse. Shortly after I begun my search for a new set of shoes, I decided I definitely wanted a set of gray wheels with sticky, ultra high performance summer tires and a lower offset to improve the static stability factor.

I soon discovered there were some replica look-a-like versions of the Work Emotion CR’s. The manufacture was Drag…the models were DR-31. Next, I went to Discount Tire Direct to get a good deal on a set of Gunmetal Gray 18×9 with a +15 offset. Now it was time to find some super sticky tires. I then came across a sweet deal at TireRack for some 255/40/R18 Dunlop Sport Maxx GT.

Here is cool video from Motor Trend’s Jessi Lang as she heads to Indiana to experience firsthand the impact tires have on a vehicle’s performance.

Back Door Sunroof Bracket

Now that I can cruise with the sunroofs up & rear window’s popped…I’ve been dying to drive around my with the sunroofs off the Rav4. Sadly when I bought my Rav, I was left without the proper space to store it. I was missing the lower back door bracket that holds the rear sunroof securely in place. I tried searching junkyards with no luck :(. So I went ahead and ordered the bracket with the 2 knobs from Toyota.

Back Door Bracket p/n 67264-42010

2 x Removable Roof Knobs p/n 63287-42001-B1

Rear Driver Side Window Correct

My second pet-peeve was the driver side rear window…WHY DOESN’T IT POP OPENING? WHY? Just another USDM safety thing. Anyhow I decided I wanted to correct to this and hunch that all I needed was another lock latch like the passenger side’s. So I went ahead and ordered one…OEM p/n 62920-42010-B1

Here is a side by side comparison of the non-functioning window lock (left) and the functional one (right):

This was pretty straight forward, all you have to do is remove a few screws and pop the rear driver side interior panel and unbolt the upper part of the rear driver side seatbelt.

Then unscrewed the 3 screws holding the non-functioning window lock. Be careful not to drop and lose bushing and screw retained. Also caution not to allow the window to swing open as you could damage and break it while unmounted.

Now just align the new functioning latch lock and screw it in. This is what the final product opened and closed should look like.


Rear Sunroof Pop-Up Correct

After I bought my Rav4, I was excited to have a dual sunroof model. But later I was annoyed that the rear sunroof didn’t pop-up, it only popped-out for removal (only on 2dr US models). I thought to myself this is BS and after a closer inspection I realized that my MR2’s sunroof latch was nearly identical.

Then I read somewhere on Rav4World.com that the Rav4 rear sunroof base’s “slot hinge arms” protrude out further then the front’s sunroof’s base. And lastly that you can use the front sunroof parts for the rear. So continued on with my investigation and decided to unbolted my MR2 sunroof base to compare them. YUP, they were identical except for two specific area…

  1. Where the latch base holds the sunroof in the up position
  2. The latch slots on the hinge arms.

Here is the comparison of the Rav4’s (gray) and MR2’s (blue) latch:

NOTE: The slots on the hinge arms are positioned in reverse or backards on the Rav4 latch vs the MR2 latch. This is part what makes the sunroof pop and stay up.

You can pop the snap rings out on the hinge spring area and then flip the entire hinge setup around and reassemble…this would correct 1/2 of the problem.

Finally here is the comparison of the Rav4’s (red) and MR2’s (blue) latch base:

Ok now you could potentially go ahead and grind down that piece and flip the hinge assembly to get the sunroof to pop-up…OR you can just go & purchase the OEM latch base and latch:

BASE p/n # 63250-16020 from a 96-00 Rav4…$75.32 at Lithia Toyota

LATCH p/n # 63260-42020-B0 Gray from a 96-00 Rav4…$117.35 at Lithia Toyota

DO NOT get p/n # 63260-42040-B0

OR go with option # 3…which is what I did, search for an MR2 sunroof latch base. I went to ebay and bought an MR2 sunroof latch w/ base for $11 bucks. Just make sure you get the both parts. Here is a list of models with the same sunroof setup:

  • 85-95 MR2
  • 91-95 Paseo
  • 95-03 Tacoma
  • 89-95 4Runner/Pickup)

For reference:


Subject: 3.2.10) Why won’t my dual sunroof RAV4 2DR rear sunroof stay open?

Toyota apparently felt that having the rear sunroof open was a
potential safety problem. However, dual sunroofs are available
in europe and elsewhere with the rear sunroof that can be popped

You can modify your RAV4 by doing the following:
– Obtain a replacement sunroof latch from Toyota
(P/N 63250-16020)
– Replace the rear latch. This is very easy, just remove 2 trim
screws and 2 bolts that attach the existing latch, and reverse the
procedure with the new part.
– Remove the rear sunroof, and remove the latch mechanism from
the roof with 2 screws. You will need to disassemble the latch
and reassemble the locking arms in reverse so that the sunroof
will lock in place.
– The arms are held in place with snap rings that can be pried
off with a small screwdriver. Be careful! The snap rings will
fly across the room unless you cover them when you remove them.
– Remove the latch arms and replace them in reverse, i.e., the
left arm on the right, and vice versa.
– After reassembling the latch arms, reattach the mechanism
to the sunroof, and reinstall the roof.
– You can examine the front sunroof latch system to see how
it is supposed to look if you run into any difficulty.

Here is my finished “Sunroof Pop-Up Correct” project…

PS…while working on this I noticed my rear sunroof catch assembly was broken…luckily I had a spare MR2 one that was identical and worked perfectly.