The braking system of Tiggo is not bad, at least by design. Disc brake rotors are big enough for such weight and power, quite decent calipers with floating brackets and no strange decisions. Efficiency and tuning may raise some questions, but in this column we’re about reliability.
The service life is also good: the front pads of cars with 2,4-1,8 engines can easily go 50 + thousand, and sometimes even 70 thousand. Rear pads last less than one and a half times, but in any case these figures are quite acceptable. The more so that the original pads are as cheap as possible. The problems are different.
Unfortunately, the quality of performance floats. Everything can be fine, and you may get a caliper, assembled with different pins and with the wrong dust cap, or bloated from the factory from bad lubrication. A brake disc rotor can last a long time, or it can behave… strange. And okay would be just caught crooked (nobody cancelled overheats and puddles), but the disk can have unexpected severe corrosion from one edge up to the appearance of slight imbalance with damage to the outer surface. There are no problems with pads, but until 2010 I came across ones that had used 15-20k – may be they are still gathering dust on the shelves somewhere or, hell forbid, are on early Tiggas.
The handbrake here is drum, inside the rotor of the rear disc brake mechanism. The mechanism is generally trouble-free, but you often have to tighten the cables and sometimes adjust the pads. Resource of the mechanism, if not pulling it while running, is decent and it corrodes slowly too.
But the brake tubes are decently rotten for 10 years, sometimes they are even replaced. Wiring and ABS sensors are not of the best quality here, but not too expensive. You just need not to forget about connectors, there is grease in them from the factory, and it washes out little by little. If you see green oxides on the wire, you need to open and clean the connector.
Up to 50 thousand in typical operation, a car usually goes without any repairs, but a hundred usually does not endure – knocks and rocking starts. Basically, ball bearings (they are “floating silent blocks”) in back suspension and support bearings in front are responsible for them.
Further are nuances. So, incompatibility of spare parts is a usual thing. For example, according to the catalog, the bushing is 61 mm, but in reality it is 60 mm – it happens all the time.
Stuck camber bushings in the rear suspension are also a common trouble, combined with rather weak levers, you can get a costly repair even if the suspension is still okay in general. The camber bolts in the front are less likely to stick.
The life of the outer rear arm ball joints is very dependent on the loads and amount of dirt on the road. And their price is not insignificant. As a result, they are often converted to simple silent blocks.
Service life of hub bearings with original wheels is quite acceptable, 100-150 thousand mile they can withstand, if not to put big wheels and do not race on off-road.
In conclusion there is good news: almost all elements of the suspension are compatible with the RAV4 of the first three generations, and separately. For details – what, from what and where it fits – it is better to refer to the experienced owners.
The steering rack has moderate reliability, by mileage 200+ the knocking would be for sure. Leaks are less likely, but do happen. Installation of fluoroplastic bushings and reassembly usually helps.
The hydraulics are not very good so far for the Chinese manufacturers. The high pressure tubes are crimped so bad, and the pressure sensor in the line leaks, as on Logan. The oil-resistant rubber fails quite often after five years of operation, and it is necessary to keep an eye on the grease in the pipes and the level of the fluid in the grease control system.
Original oil from old releases is weird, very viscous and causes problems in winter. It is better to pour regular Dexron III, compatible fluids from decent suppliers. Well, you can find new tubes from more budget Chinese manufacturers, the same Lifan – they also copied “Rafik”, so the connection dimensions are often the same.
This pump is surprisingly strong, can even work for an hour “on fumes” and not die completely. But it also costs low, so it is easier to replace if there are problems.
The CVT life is not very long, and there are many variants. They are different for different engines and transmissions, and the catalog and VIN do not help at all – there is confusion. When replacing you need to count the splines to be sure. However, you can indirectly understand by the diameter of driveshaft: at 25 mm it is 30 splines, and if the size is 27 mm, then the splines are 25. Dusters from Niva are often put, they are even better than the Chinese original.
Rear gearbox suspension on all-wheel drive cars is weak, gives up to 100-150 hundred of run, especially for fans of cross-country driving and towing trailers. The price for such elements suddenly bite, so kolhozing is the usual thing, blessing the silentblocks are simple round ones.
Boxes of all series are quite strong. Most problems are related to the fried clutches and their low life, at best with motors 2,0-2,4 liters, they kept 150 + thousand kilometers, and then – replacement of the clutch and the basket with a disk assembly. The cars with all-wheel drive and off-road trips had half mileage life at best. The original Valeo kit is inexpensive, no need to experiment.
Resource is much less with 1.6 engines – often up to 100 even in front-wheel drive. But again, a complete set is inexpensive.
Less common are exhaust fused or simply stuck selector cables and problems with open roller bearings of primary and secondary shafts. Also – leaks and water ingress into the box. In general, we can recommend you to check oil level regularly with mileage over 50 thousand and listen to the car for characteristic howling. Bearings are inexpensive, and the shafts are usually not affected.
The differential dies, but at least without special effects and output of satellites axle through the frame – it just tears off its teeth and starts crunching. If you stop in time, chances are great to just wash and rebuild the box without replacing shafts and gears.
The synchronizers just don’t work well from the very beginning, so if you like fast shifts, then you should not buy this Chinese car.
The bulk of cars before the restyling with an automatic has a French DP0 box, almost the same as the one on the Duster and beyond. After restyling it was replaced by a variator WanLiYang, plus occasionally get cars with a robotized automatic transmission. The rarest exclusive is Tiggo with 2,4 and 4-speed gearbox from Mitsubishi.
It is impossible to tell something new about the DP0 in Chinese variant with designation QR425. It is the same old automatic transmission, which was made by the French, having bought the license for not bad German boxes 01N, having remade it completely and created the box of AD series, and then having screwed on the hydraulic block with electronic control, early forced lockup of automatic transmission and cooling system with a heat exchanger.
As a result, a good mechanical part is combined with not very successful hydraulics and electrics, and everything is seasoned with constant overheating and low service life of the hydraulic gearbox linings and filter. There is also a high chance of oil pollution, wear of solenoids and oil pump, crumbled washers in the mechanical part and distortion of hydroblock plate with pressure leaks.
The heat exchanger on Tiggo is quite small and weak, but there is a factory tuning, a radiator from the cars with 2.4 automatic transmission, where the cooling system works through a heat exchanger in a cold radiator tank.
True, getting rid of the problem with overheating of the box and leaks of a cooling system tee on a heat exchanger, with such tuning on Tiggo one risks to get another trouble – getting of antifreeze into ATF, because radiators here have unreliable seals. In general, it is better just to put an additional radiator for automatic transmission, the good thing is it does not need a big one. If to change oil frequently and to repair GDT in time, then you will receive just not very good working four-speed automatic transmission, cheap and simple in repair. Besides overheats, there are also solenoid wedges, speed sensor failures and selector failures, but in general it is not so bad. It is interesting that there are no special quality differences between the Chinese version of the automatic transmission compared to the French one. Perhaps because the box for Tiggo is made by Chinese DFM, which is the licensee and partner of PSA in China, it also makes boxes and parts for it, and for European cars.
The QR019CHA variator developed by WanLiYang is quite strong. It is also supported by the domestic CVTz50 software which allows quick and easy diagnosis of the Jatco, Toyota, Honda and WanLiYang variators. But like any variator, finishing it off by a hundred thousand miles isn’t a big deal.
The combination of high loads, slippage, cold loads and dirty oil work wonders. It would seem, the oil is cheap, like SPIII – change it every 40 thousand, and with a good probability the main problem up to 200+ miles will be failures of speed sensors and wiring. But there are few thrifty people among tiggovs. They manage to kill the solenoids, GDT, and belt cones long before the estimated mileage.
Do not count on a contract variator, they are not available. Fortunately, this unit is not very difficult to repair, design is convenient. There are only 4 solenoids, a strong separator plate and a good oil pump. The belt is the usual Bosch. Minimal manuals, lots of incompatible sensors and very few experts on it, but the design is intuitive and does not require complex equipment for repair.
The main thing is not to knock out the settings of stroke of two preset spools in hydroblock, otherwise there will be mismatch of operation characteristics, and the settings of limiting belt ratios will be broken. In addition to that – to watch the condition of the oil pump and its reduction valve, it suffers much here because of the presence of metal dust in oil.
In addition to full-fledged automatics the Tiggo has also a simple robot. Not the most successful and strongly scolded by everyone variant, which has been discontinued very quickly. Almost all of them are converted to conventional “mechanical” by the present time.
All-wheel drive cars are few in the population, just over 10 percent of the total. For a long time, from 2008 to 2011, the car was generally sold only in front-wheel drive. There is an explanation for that.
The original design with the location of rear axle clutch separately from the rear reduction unit has been a failure. The strong vibrations could not be eliminated neither by change of anchoring of coupling bracket, nor by substitution of shafts. Post-2012 models already have a clutch, built in the main gear in the rear axle, and they have no problems with vibration.
The clutch itself from BorgWarner is simple and cheap, but not very reliable because of the lack of torque reserve and tightness. Cardan shafts and outboard bearing are not of excessive quality. By one-hundred-thousand they start to suffer from wear of crosses and suspender. As a whole, the four-wheel drive car becomes noticeably more difficult in service, and this class does not like it.
The history of the model is divided into two stages. Firstly, the model is equipped only with licensed copies of motors developed by Mitsubishi 4G634G69 SOHC. Then began to install its own line of Acteco 1.8 engines, and then completely switched to their motors, by the time of the Tiggo 3. But no matter what engine is under the hood, it must be remembered that the quality of wiring and electrics is terrible, and the radiators and their design are very specific. It’s enough to look at the ugly “outgrowth” of the filler neck, which the service men like to break off so much. It is also worth to say some flattering words about thermostats, hoses, injectors, and even engines of radiator fans. After 5 or 6 years of service, failures due to the fault of periphery are noticeably more frequent and become a real problem.
The very first Tiggas were equipped with licensed Mitsubishi engines, which were very popular in China in the noughties. The 2.4 129hp motor is the 4G64S4M, and the 2.0 115hp motor. – 4G63S4M, almost like the original Mitsubishi. The main drawbacks in the form of design with a very problematic balancer shaft assembly in the block and a thin second balancer drive belt, as well as weak hydro-compensators the motors inherited from the ancestors. So the wear of the balancer shaft sleeves, small belt breakage and the subsequent timing belt breakage and the knocking of the hydraulics are all diseases of the ancestor, aggravated by the low quality of both belts and liners with Chinese-made hydro-compensators.
You can read about these motors in details, for example, in reviews of Mitsubishi Outlander I or Galant VIII. Overall, the engines aren’t bad, and they are easy to maintain. They are shown to have good belts, rollers, frequent timing checks, and removal of balancer shafts with installation of oil channel plugs and modifications to the oil pump.
It’s a shame that Chinese quality adds to the overall opinion of the engine. For example, the stretched cylinder-head bolts and just weak connecting rods, very unresistant to overheating exhaust valves and poor quality of many secondary parts like rocker arm tappets, oil pump and crankshaft liners and balancer shafts can greatly complicate the life of Tiggo owners. Well, ignition coils, spark plugs and gauges will complicate it for sure.
With all that said, the piston group is usually quite reliable. These cars have chances to drive 400-500 thousand until overhaul, but one needs either an amazing luck, the engine is perfectly assembled from the factory, or quality maintenance with the replacement of all important structural elements.
The Acteco proprietary engines are designed by the Austrian company AVL for Chery requirements. It is known at least 4 members of this family were installed on the Tiggo. First of all it is a pair of 1.8 (SQRE481FC) and 1.6 (SQRE481FFD), which are structurally almost identical and differ only in piston size. The junior of this pair variant almost never come across, but there is formally related 1.6 of a different design with the index SQRE4G16. In theory, the 2.0 series SQR484F is possible on the latest Tiggo 3, but in practice you can not find any trucks with this engine.
The design of all these engines is noticeably more modern than the licensed Japanese ones. These are lightweight long-stroke engines with a simpler timing without balancers, regulated intake, electronic throttles and roller collectors. The cylinder block on the 1.8 and both 1.6 engines is cast iron, and the 2.0 engines are aluminum with cast iron liners.
Their design is based on quite modern European solutions from Bosch and Valeo, which allows achieving European environmental requirements. It is pleasant, that thus there is no excessive complication of a mechanical part. By the way, a definite influence of design school of Mitsubishi is also felt: there are oil pumps co-axial with the crankshaft, the design of the cylinder block, and in the cylinder head you can see the similarity with the 4G63. At least a similar design of lube oil supply to camshafts and their very design with stops and hex 24 for easy servicing.
Belt engines 1.8 and 2.0 are not record-breakers for piston group life: even after 120-150 thousand mileage they can eat oil. Especially if you pour whatever you need and change it every 15 000 “due to regulations”. But the piston on them old-fashioned, heavy, with a long skirt around the circle, as a result, in most cases all can be solved by changing the rings (the price of a set for 4 cylinders – only 800 rubles!) Or just raskokoksovkoy. Piston pin and crankshaft life – for 300 thousand, unless you get a faulty shell or fail the oil pump. As a whole, it is quite conservative and quite sturdy motor. The quality of the factory assembly is high enough, and the construction has no tricky features, requiring complicated procedures for repair or just assembly. Except, perhaps, for the timing design.
The main problem of 1.8 and 2.0 engines is unstable life of rollers and the pump, timing belt breakage, as well as its spinning due to improper replacement. The factory set does not always run the desired 60,000 km. The main problem is with tension and parasitic rollers: the plastic breaks, the tensioning mechanism is unreliable, and the parasitic one has also a bearing which jams. You need to watch both of them, and it is better to change every 40 thousand kilometers for warranty, if we speak about original accessories. Just a quality timing belt, unfortunately, does not provide a warranty.
When the belt is changed frequently, service errors start affecting it. The design of the timing belt is keyless, with a tapered fit, and the installation is done with a molding plate and crankshaft stopper. In the absence of tooling, and also using old or simply low-quality bolts, tightening without a torque wrench, the risks of errors or damage to the cylinder head, and breakage of camshafts are very high. Tiggo owners, we must admit, go mostly to cheap services.
If the valves hit the pistons at high rpm, the piston rings can be compressed, and this will also increase the cost of expensive repair by the cost of pistons. They are inexpensive here, about the same as in VAZ, but in any case it is extra parts and work. However, pistons are often filed, and the engine becomes “without plug”.
Another significant problem is the service life of the valve springs and the valves themselves. The selection of springs is not ideal from the factory, the big difference in elasticity is noticeable even on the new engines. As a result, there is a good chance of fast valve burnout. The valves themselves are not ideal either, the sleeve and valve stem wear out quickly. As a result, the valve plates can start to fall off, valves can be undone and springs can be broken already to 150 thousand. Pistons are usually destroyed too.
Small problems with ignition coils, throttle, engine mounts, wiring, and oil leaks are expected and do not present any difficulties. Neither are the breakdowns of the ECG system.
Of the funny nuances… Since there are no “analog” parts from Japanese engines (unlike the old 2.0 and 2.4), the problem with the selection of parts rises to the full height. At least one will constantly have to solve rebuses concerning quality of pump and timing rollers, and also elements of a belt drive of additional units. And here surprises are possible: for example, pumps from China can be many times cheaper and of higher quality than the store “originals”, mechanically identical parts can cost quite different amounts, and the parts with higher quality can be cheaper.
The 1.6 SQRE4G16 engines are noticeably different in design. First of all, they have a chain timing, and with phase controllers. It significantly reduces the probability of unexpected problems, though the service life of chains is far from being record. But even ~120 thousand kilometers of stability and an obvious crackle of wear is more than decent by the standards of the Chinese car industry.
The more so, it is often possible to drag out with replacement of the chain itself – replacement of soothers will allow driving another 60 thou without superfluous noise. Telling the truth, chances for replacement of stars due to wear increase greatly. But the price for a set of timing gear makes less than 100 euros, so it is possible not to save so much.
The set of a 2,4 timing system.
Of the obvious disadvantages – less life of the piston group (without involvement in the timing process, as in the belt-driven 1.8). At 200+ miles, there is usually already noticeable wear on the cylinders and rings.
In addition, these 1.6’s warm up badly due to the unfortunate implementation of the cooling system. And the circulation of antifreeze through the heater is also very weak up to full warm-up. As a result the car in cold weather from -10 turns into a refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes, even under load.
And the fuel consumption in winter greatly increases, as the total absolute pressure and temperature sensor at subzero temperatures overgrows with oil condensate from the ECG system, dramatically reducing the accuracy of the internal combustion engine control system. In regions with regular cold weather from -30 this is already a serious problem.
But otherwise it is the most successful engine on this model. Except that it is even less tractive than 1,8, and in comparison with the crossover with the engine 2,4 the car becomes really slow, despite of seemingly close maximum capacity.
To take or not to take?
Buying a really old Tiggo (7-8 years or older) is a highly questionable venture. Yes, it is possible to get “almost RAV4” for good price, but, most likely, such car will have at least all bad with corrosion and electrics – we have written about it in detail in the first part. The suspension will disturb less, transmission is also unlikely to pump up (especially if it is front-wheel drive and mechanics), but with engines, as we see, after 120-150 thousand there will be much trouble. However, if to consider the car relatively fresh, up to 7 years old, with the most modern engine 1,6, there are chances for some comparatively trouble-free years of exploitation.