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Toyota 4Runner

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  • I've recently begun to shop for a new SUV. I currently drive a 1993 Camry and was actually shopping for a new Camry when I decided to take a look at a 4Runner at a nearby Toyota dealership. The 4Runner was impressive; however, I'm curious as to how this "truck based" SUV compares to models such as the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander. I haven't had the time (or the desire) to go to so many different dealerships. Has anyone else compared such models when shopping, and if so, how did the 4Runner compare?
  • Totally agree with you on dumping the 3 hole dash design.

    This morning I made a comment to my friend who purchased my 2002 4Runner Sport Edition that I preferred the gauge package on his new truck (my old) vs. my 04's. Maybe with time I will accept this, what other choice do we have?

    The former design is very easy to read. They should have taken / borrowed the Sequoia or Land Cruiser's display rather then try to create this sort of retro look. They both have the oil pressure and voltmeter gauges, why not on the Runner?

    And the information display is even worse. You are right, fire that bozo and his boss. At night it looks o.k. but in bright sunlight it is difficult to read, not logically designed.

    Again, they can not please everyone, maybe most folks do not notice or care.

    Overall I would not give up or trade this truck for anything with one exception, its big brother, the Land Cruiser.

    If they made the 4Runner close to perfect with all the upgrades that you and kjack100 recommend, then who would buy the GX470 or even the Land Cruiser? I have had my new Runner for 4 days and now am thinking of what improvements the 2008 should have? ......time to get a life and enjoy this outstanding truck!!!
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    I like the guages personally. I don't have any problem seeing them unless there is a lot of sunlight entering from the driver's window from the rear. I do agree that perhaps the lettering on the gauges might be improved it there was more contrast or if another "font" was used. Oil/volt meter gauges would be nice to have, but it looks like they have been phased out on more and more vehicles over the years.

    The center information display would be nicer if there was more contrast (ie. more settings). I haven't had much problem with seeing this dispaly w/ or w/o sunglasses. I wouldn't fire the boss, but would send him back to the drawing board.

    I do agree that with polarized sunglasses it can be impossible to see the NAV screen, although that is due to the lens design and not a fault of the screen.

    The lit sterring wheel mounted controls are very dim. I wish that they could be adjusted, but I assume that Toyota intended them to be dim to reduce distraction while night driving.

    I considered purchasing an LC, but figured that the 4Runner would be more than enough for my needs. Besides, the 4Runner is much more affordable and is more fuel efficient (but hardly anything to rave about). :)
  • bg31bg31 Posts: 3
    Absolutely agree with bmw323is. Instrument panel with guages has very poor visibility. I cought myself turning on position lights before anybody else on the road just to be able to see the instruments. There is no sufficient contrast between numbers and instruments background. On top of that gauges are recessed too deep for daylight to reach. To my opinion even in the night instrument cluster should have more lights on it, I keep my brightness potentiometer always on maximum.
  • In on road situations the traction control will save you and not be a hindrance.
    If you want to turn it off for deep snow or off roading then lock the center diff and turn it off.
  • I want BOTH. I have hedged on going back to buy my 4runner for a bit now. Other SUVs in the 40K range offer both with no problem. I find it odd and frankly dumb that Toyota cant put NAV and 3rd row seats in the 4runner. Surely they can figure that out, cant they??? Im hoping the late 04's or 05's will give that option. So.........as long as my other car holds out, so will I..........
  • PLEASE offer NAV and 3rd row for Gods sake...........
  • kheintz1kheintz1 Posts: 213
    I own an AWD, V8 Limited, and I've read my owner's manual several times over. When I was recently in the mountains of North Carolina during a snow storm, I knew to frequently LOCK my truck's center differential, since if you read the manual you'll learn that doing so DISABLES the "stability control system" with the AWD model, but whether it does so for the 4WD model is a bit more confusing (read on). At any rate, I was on treacherously icy and snowy mountain roads over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I never encountered any of the problems that gsj3 encountered, whether my center diff. was locked or unlocked (but it was frequently LOCKED!)

    With regard to the manual, look first at page 138 and beyond (for the AWD model), or page 141 and beyond (for the 4WD model). Here, you'll note the following recurring message (quoted here from page 138):

    "Use the center differential lock system if your wheels get stuck in a ditch, or when you are driving on a slippery or bumpy surface. When the center differential is locked, the vehicle stability control system is automatically turned off... because the function that controls engine performance [sic: traction stability?] interferes with the process of freeing your wheels...Use this [e.g., the center differential LOCKED mode] when you experience a loss of power [sic: traction?] such as wheel slipping, [that might occur while driving] in the center differential unlock mode..."

    On the other hand, page 148 of the manual seems to contradict what's been quoted above, especially the yellow-highlighted cautionary note immediately below the heading "ACTIVE TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM (4WD MODELS) which reads:

    "Under certain conditions, full traction of the vehicle and power to the 4 wheels cannot be maintained, even though the traction control system is in operation. Do not drive the vehicle under any speed or maneuvering conditions which may cause the vehicle to lose traction control. In situations where the road surface is covered with ice or snow, your vehicle should be fitted with snow tires or tire chains. Always drive at an appropriate and cautious speed for the present road conditions."

    And then, even more confusing is the bold-typed note on the same page 148 (again referring to "4WD models"), which says "Leave the [active traction control] system on during the ordinary driving so that it can operate when needed." Hmmm, this last statement would seem to indicate that the TRAC can in fact be turned off, but how? Even though it is not clearly stated, in my opinion the most likely "off switch" would be the center diff. lock/unlock switch!

    Clearly, Toyota has not done a very good job of translating the owner's manual into english, and in fact I complained about this manual in one of my first posts here. This is why I've taken the risk of including my above [bracketed] re-interpretations of the poor translation of the manual, and which I suspect are probably good approximations.

    Now, based on how poorly this manual is written and translated, several questions are obvious. First, might there in fact be some type of *difference* between the 4WD vs. AWD models with respect to the Active Traction
    Control System (TRAC), which the manual may not have specified? (I'm currently rather suspicious of this possibility). Secondly, a literal interpretation of the poorly translated manual would seem to suggest that locking the center diff. disables ONLY the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), but not the Traction Control (TRAC). However, I wonder if perhaps when the center diff. is locked, that maybe, both VSC and TRAC are DISABLED? In other words, when the poorly translated manual refers to "the vehicle stability control 'SYSTEM'..." is it actually comprehensively and inclusively referring to both VSC and TRAC, or is it literally referring to ONLY the VSC? If the manual is actually referring to both VSC and TRAC, this would certainly explain why the manual recommends locking the center diff. when driving on very SLIPPERY surfaces, and it would also explain the previously mentioned comment on page 148 which says "Leave the [active traction control] system on during the ordinary driving so that it can operate when needed." Needless to say, I would love to hear the considered opinions of others who are actually driving and living this vehicle.

    By the way, I personally have no complaints about either the styling or visibility of the Limited's instrument cluster, guages, dashboard, mid-console data readouts, etc. I can see everything just fine, and in fact, I absolutely love this vehicle's cockpit, but that's just my opinion.
  • ---Locking the center diff (the switch on the dash) turns off the VSC.

    ---"VSC off" will light up in your instruments.

    ---Locking the diff/turning off the VSC is the same thing in the 4Runner. Locking the diff effectively is the "VSC OFF" switch.
    It evenly splits the power 50/50 to the front and rear wheels.

    ---The system is the same in the part-time and full-time 4wd 4Runners.

    ---For loose traction conditions (taking one poster's deep snow/slow driving scenario) Locking the diff/turning off the VSC is the appropriate response for increased traction.

    ---In 99% of on road driving, leaving the system alone is the appropriate response for the safest driving.

    ---Locking the differential is mostly an off-road feature and owners need to understand it is not something you turn off and on on the road when there is a puddle or rain.

    --- Locking the diff on road is worse in some conditions. The 4Runner will automatically find maximum traction (up to 70% power to the correct set of tires) instantly. The TORSEN center diff is the finest production limited slip diff available. Locking the diff (locking out the TORSEN) splits power 50/50 front/rear and if you happen to need 70/30 or 60/40, you have locked out that capability for the 4Runner to instantly react and change power delivery for maximum control.

    --- Sand, deep snow, off roading situations-- these are appropriate areas to lock the diff/turn off VSC

    ---VSC, TRAC, DAC, HAC--- these are not features that make driving more fun. On the contrary, they often make things more boring because they increase safety and control.

    Doing donuts in a parking lot might be fun. Toyota equipped the 4Runner to be safe.
    No it's not a perfect system but the TORSEN diff and all the other features are the best on the market at the moment and I have enjoyed the use of some and hope never to use others.

    I also like the interior. I think it looks and functions great. The only thing is that I wish they angled the clear plastic downward instead of upward (the clear plastic over the speed, tach, etc).

    I will never blame a company for trying something different. Everyone complains about stuff looking the same but when something unique comes out, they have no patience for it and want the same old.
    I applaud Toyota for going out and trying something new with the HVAC controls and other interior bits. Some work better than others but overall the interior is a 9 in my book.
  • smg1062,

    Unless you can get an answer on when the 3rd row seat with NAV will be available, this is another alternative.

    How safe and reliable this seat is I have no idea, maybe a dealer could advise.

    This installation must be done so that the seats removal is easily done. Access to the NAV system for upgrades or repairs needs to be available.

    http://www.littlepassengerseats.com/toyota_4runner.htm

    http://www.jatdesign.com/

    http://www.shadetreeonline.com/cerullo/3rdseatsandconsoles.htm

    http://www.ultracar.com/Add-On%203rd%20Row%20Seating/3RD%20ROW%20- JUMP%20SEAT.html
  • rogers12rogers12 Posts: 140
    In the paragraph you quoted from page 148 of the manual:

    "Under certain conditions, full traction of the vehicle and power to the 4 wheels cannot be maintained, even though the traction control system is in operation. Do not drive the vehicle under any speed or maneuvering conditions which may cause the vehicle to lose traction control. In situations where the road surface is covered with ice or snow, your vehicle should be fitted with snow tires or tire chains. Always drive at an appropriate and cautious speed for the present road conditions."

    In the second sentence of the above paragraph, I will guess it is misstated and the word "control" in the second sentence should be omitted. This sentence then fits the context in which it is inserted. This portion of the paragraph would then read:

    "Under certain conditions, full traction of the vehicle and power to the 4 wheels cannot be maintained, even though the traction control system is in operation. Do not drive the vehicle under any speed or maneuvering conditions which may cause the vehicle to lose traction."

    Maybe you figured this out, but I didn't catch it if you did.
  • Highlander, thanks for the info on the 3rd row seats. I plan on going with the stratosphere mica and for some unknown reason the 3rd row seat is unavailable in this color. This way I have some flexibility if I determine that a 3rd row seat is warranted for my purposes.
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    Please offer 05 NAV with CD Changer.....
  • I bought my 2004 4Runner with the 3rd row seat option. I also wanted NAV but then I needed to buy Limited trim and the thing get too pricy, I thought. My understanding is the anchor of the seatbelts interfare with speakers that comes with NAV/upgraded JBL system.

    These days, we can buy very neat NAV systems with a 6.5- 7 inch monitor that can tuck into the console. I guess the aftermarket NAV systems have more flexibility and functions. Many of them also has a port for rear-view camera. How do you guys think about it? The complete system (DVD-GPS, retractable monitor, and AM/FM/CD) costs more than $2,500, though.
  • Had my 4Runner for 3months now, unfortunatley I wasn't paying attention and tapped someone's rear end going just a few miles an hour, left no damage on here $6k cavalier but now my front bumper is cracked where the lower black pastic grille (behind the license plate) meets the raised painted lower bumper area. It's only about 3" long but it's a pretty good crack. Anyone have any similar experiences where you just tapped something with your front bumper on the new 4Runners? This damage dissapoints me since I was barely even moving. Thanks for the posts, they're all useful!!
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,547
    Rogers12, Terrafirma & Pat84 - thanks for the thread last month about the timing belt/chain. I got a note that the Edmunds Maintenance Guide is going to be corrected at the next update (if it hasn't been already?).

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • kheintz1kheintz1 Posts: 213
    I'm well aware that locking the center differential defeats the VSC. The question is whether or not locking the center diff. also defeats the traction control feature.

    You wrote "---Locking the differential is mostly an off-road feature and owners need to understand it is not something you turn off and on on the road when there is a puddle or rain." I never implied or suggested that one should lock the center diff. when faced only with a puddle or rain. GSJ3's vehicle evidently became temporarily undrivable in the scenario he described, in which he deliberately put the truck into a slide on snow and ice in order to see what it would do and how it would react. The solution would have been to lock the center diff. before executing those maneuvers, but the question remains as to whether the TRAC is also then defeated.

    GSJ3's brief anecdotal report raises concerns about whether this vehicle might actually become unsafe when driving on UNIFORMLY icy/snow-covered roads while its center diff. is UNLOCKED, and the VSC and TRAC remain active. Furthermore, UNIFORMLY icy/snowy roads are not at all uncommon in many parts of the country at certain times of year, especially in rural areas, where roads often go unplowed or infrequently plowed and salted. (I, for example, drive on rural roads quite extensively as part of my job.) And of course, there are winter storms that may be so heavy that even the best equipped county road crews can hardly keep up with them, even on an interstate or turnpike. (I, for example, drive on rural roads quite extensively as part of my job.) Thus, I respectfully disagree with your blanket assertion that "...In 99% of on road driving, leaving the system alone is the appropriate response for the safest driving."

    Toyota's "Product Knowledge Booklet" for the '03 4Runner, says on page 7:

    "The heart of the 4.7 liter V8 engine's full-time 4WD system is the Torsen torque-sensing limited-slip differential with locking capability... For more extreme conditions requiring maximum traction, the center differential can be locked, providing a 50/50 front/rear torque split."

    This same booklet say, on page 9:

    "Vehicle Skid Control is a system that employs the sensors, actuators, and computer electronics of the anti-lock braking and TRAC Traction Control systems to help reduce vehicle skids caused by oversteer and understeer conditions. In an oversteer situation, VSC controls the engine output and brakes the front and rear wheels on the outer side of the turning circle to relax the oversteering tendency (when the rear end slides out). In an understeer situation (when the front end "pushes" the vehicle away from its intended path), VSC controls the engine output and at the same time brakes the front wheels and inside rear wheel to help control the understeering tendency of the vehicle.... Four wheel drive models are equipped with four wheel TRAC Traction Control, which, when the vehicle is in 4x4 mode, monitors all four wheels for excess wheel spin. Both systems use selective selective brake and throttle intervention to control wheel spin."
                 
    And finally, on page 8, this booklet says:

    "...All 4Runner models are equipped with... transfer cases equipped with a Torsen torque-sensing limited-slip center differential. In addition to the ability to transfer torque to the wheels with traction, the differential is set up with a rear-drive bias. The torque split in normal conditions is 40% front and 60% rear. When the front wheels slip, up to 71% of the torque can go to the rear wheels. When the rear wheels slip, up to 53% of the torque can go to the front wheels. This rear wheel torque bias favors controlled tracking on- and off-road, whether decelerating or accelerating. This system is further enhanced with VSC and TRAC Traction Control. TRAC will further reduce wheel spin in low traction situations... enhanced low-traction performance [is] available through a locking center differential and a two-speed transfer case. With the center differential lock switch engaged, the front and rear axles locked together for better grip in low-traction situations..."

    I agree that this is a great system, but I don't agree with the assertion that "...In 99% of on road driving, leaving the system alone is the appropriate response for the safest driving."
    In other words, I don't believe, based on my preliminary driving experiences with this truck while negotiating LONG stretches of uniformly icy/snowy on-road conditions, that the center diff. should only be locked in certain OFF-ROAD situations. I do believe I'm wise enough to read the prevailing surface and weather conditions in order to recognise when it would be quite appropriate and advisable to lock my truck's center diff., and by the same token, I can well recognize when it would subsequently become appropriate to unlock it. (Likewise, I also understand when it would be appropriate to shift the transfer case into its low gear setting.)

    Since I first began driving mid-sized SUVs in 11/95, I've probably logged at least 100,000 "SUV" miles, all (fortunately) without ANY accidents, fender-benders, scrapes, strandings, or other mishaps whatsoever. And in 5/96, I quite safely drove a friend's 4WD Grand Cherokee over a highly challenging mountainous off-road trail near Thurmond WVa., after she froze-up and panicked about 500 yards up the trail. I've also had other challenging off-roading experiences in my last 4WD Explorer, including other mountainous areas in WVa., as well as in the Allegheny Mountains around Altoona, PA. (I used to do a good deal of railroad photography and "rail-fanning".) While I frankly don't care much for the very real bodily and financial risks of non-trivial off-roading, my point here is that I'm no stranger to being in non-trivial off-road situations with an expensive SUV, nor do I believe I'm just any chump when it comes to merely driving an SUV on-road.
  • Well I didn't intend to suggest you specifically didn't know that locking the diff isn't required while going over rain or puddles. At the end of your post you asked what other 4Runner owners thought about VSC so I just gave my opinion on the system.

    Everyone here comes to the table with various levels of 4wd/ off road experience. Let's not debate the resume of skills of particular drivers as the real issue is understanding the features and use of the 4Runner.

    Yes I think leaving the VSC alone in most on road situations is the preferred and suggested method by Toyota.

    Having seen the original press videos on the 2003 4Runner, I think in deep snow locking the diff would be beneficial.

    On road ice and low traction situations? I can't speak from personal experience. I do know that the VSC was designed to "find" the best traction in on road conditions and since, yes, diff lock disables VSC and TRAC, I would not do it myself.

    In the conditions you describe with constant no/low traction ice, I simply do not know. I have limited experience with that situation and don't know how the VSC would react. My gut tells me to lock the diff in that particular situation. I agree with what you are saying there.

    Toyota describes VSC in this way:
    "VSC is an electronic system designed to help the driver maintain cehicle control under adverse conditions. It is not a substitute for safe driving practices...."

    "VSC+TRAC- VSC can help compensate for a loss of road traction that can cause a vehicle to skid....through a dedicated computer that analyzes info such as yaw rate, G-force and steering angle, the system... monitors speed and direction and compares the vehicle's dirextion of travel with the driver's steering, accel and braking inputs. TRAC... helps to avoid slippage...utilizing brake and engine throttle control...distrubutes torque to the wheel(s) with the most available traction and helps ensure vehicle control...on slippery roads."
  • The hatch back on my 2003 Sport needs to be pushed up whenever I open the back.

    When I bought the vehicle in January I remember that the back would spring up nicely.

    Does anyone know how to remedy this ailment?

    Should I take it to the dealer? It has 13,000 miles - should be covered by warranty

    Thanks!
  • gsj3gsj3 Posts: 20
    Thanks for everyone's input on this subject. I am a bit concerned with locking the differential when driving at 50 mph down the Interstate. After all, I bought this vehicle because it had a "full time" 4X4 system unlike my previous 4x4(93 Explorer). I'm concerned that doing this might put excessive wear on the drive train. As I said before, I need to experiment more with this vehicle. Perhaps there is something specific to my parking lot spin that killed engine power, that might not occur in a real situation. Either way, I feel that the driver should be able to shut this off without locking anything. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
    Thanks again for any input or experiences.
  • The experience of gsj3 reminds me a little of one of my own with this vehicle. I've hardly had any chance to drive this thing on slick surfaces, but did get a few minutes. One attempt to get it to slide did get the stability control system going, and the result was de-throttling and automatic application of the brakes on only one slide. A nifty feeling, and something I obviously couldn't accomplish on my own.

    Sounds like gsj3 got a spin started and the combination of his spin/slide and the direction his steering wheel was pointed caused the system to think it had no choice but to reduce power dramatically and persistently. I guess you could argue that's just what the system is intended to do, though lots of decisions are made in the design of the system about just how conservative it will be. Maybe this one is too conservative (for some people at least) in some situations.

    I'll bet the lawyers had a hand in this, and that includes the decision not to have an independent "VSC Off" button.

    As a previous poster said, systems like VSC can make things more boring.

    BTW, azrunner, you should take your rear hatch in for warranty service. I'm betting that one of the gas struts has lost its pressure. The door should move up by itself rather forcefully once you have gotten it more than abut 25% of the way up.
  • "I've recently begun to shop for a new SUV. I currently drive a 1993 Camry and was actually shopping for a new Camry when I decided to take a look at a 4Runner at a nearby Toyota dealership. The 4Runner was impressive; however, I'm curious as to how this "truck based" SUV compares to models such as the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander. I haven't had the time (or the desire) to go to so many different dealerships. Has anyone else compared such models when shopping, and if so, how did the 4Runner compare?"

    Well JB I was/am in your situation and like you I started out looking for Accord, Avalon, ES330 etc. But I have a dog and they just didn't provide the room we needed to travel with him. So then I started looking at the car-based SUV's since many suggested I would prefer the drive to this better, well here was my assessments about the one's I have tested.

    Honda Pilot= very roomy, nice gadgets, quite sluggish to accelerate and kind of felt more like a big minivan than an SUV. Also most dealers were starting at MSRP on up due to so-called high demand and limited inventory.

    Acura MDX= drove well, handled well, ample acceleration, but to me it had a very plain interior for the price and the exterior looked like a minivan.

    RX330= I like the styling of this alot, however, you might've read in some of my posts that the sloping back took away cargo space and it also decreased visibility in the back window for me. You may not have this problem if you are taller however. Had alot of nice features but once again because of limited supply dealers seem very hesistant about going more than like $500 under MSRP.

    I'm going to combine the following for space sake...lol

    I have driven the Sequoia, Explorer, Navigator, Escalade, and just this weekend the 4Runner.

    Of all of them I found the Sequoia and 4Runner to be equivalent, excellent handling, excellent acceleration, roomy, comfortable, solid feeling. However, driving around all day in the very large Sequioa seemed cumbersome to me not to mention it was just too large for my needs. So the 4Runner suited me just fine.

    The rest of the vehicles I drove are not really worth discussing since I thought the 4Runner and Sequoia was the best. However, if you have questions about those you can just ask.

    My personal assessment in moving from sedan to car-based SUV to truck-based SUV is that you WILL notice a longer braking distance, however, this is to be expected since you are increasing the weight of vehicle. Secondly, IMO in the SUV's you gain more visibility as far as seeing in front and behind you is concerned but you do have larger blind spots so you have to make sure to give the quick head check before switching lanes etc. Although, this should be done in any vehicle. And finally IMHO the car-based SUV's are practical, they will take you where you need to go but they are by no means exciting to drive OR exciting to look at (i.e. Highlander, Pilot). But if these things do not concern you then you may want to check them out, depending on your price range, I would consider Highlander, Pilot, Acura and RX330.

    Hope I helped some!
  • Does anyone have an idea about how this is supposed to work?? The first time I used my 4Runner to pull my boat out of the water, when I took my foot off of the brake, the vehicle just stayed put on the ramp - I was impressed. When I pulled the boat out for the winter, the Hill Start did not hold - 4Runner and boat started drifting back. Also, while visiting family in PA over Thanksgiving, I tried it on a very steep hill with no trailer at all (I live in a state with no major hills). The 4Runner immediately drifted back and started making a clanking sound. I took it to the dealer for normal service and had them look at it, and was told that this is normal. They stated that the system is designed to only hold for a second or two, and the clanking is a warning sign to get on the gas?!?! Maybe I'm going crazy, but I SWEAR the first time this summer (stated above) that I pulled my boat up a ramp, the entire rig (4Runner and boat) stayed put for 5-6 seconds with no brake on.

    Is the dealer crazy or am I??
  • likalarlikalar Posts: 108
    Maxwell, don't worry; we're all crazy. We have lots of steep hills, (S.F., CA) and I live on one. FWIW, here's what my new truck does: If I stop while heading up a steep hill, and take my foot off the brake, the truck rolls backwards a few inches. At that point, the Assist kick in, and a rapid ratcheting sound can be heard while the brakes are being pulsed to prevent the truck from picking up speed. When your truck and trailer on the ramp held steady, any chance your parking brake was partially engaged?
    IMO, this hill hold is probably a neat feature, but with an auto tranny and two feet, I'll probably engage it just to show off for the neighbors. In fact, what's Toyota got in the works to save me from myself if I happen to need hill assist while heading DOWN a big hill? LOL! Maybe at the very least, it's a good indicater that the truck's computers are in working order. :-)
    Larry
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    They have DAC Down hill Assist Control. It's selectable in 4WD lo range. It uses the brakes and low gearing to get you down big hills, presumedley off road.
  • jcliffrojcliffro Posts: 108
    Sorry about that bumper tap, but SUVs are notorious for doing poorly in low impact crashes. Last month, the Insurance Institute of America did a test of 9 large SUVs to see how their bumpers fared in a 5 MPH bump. 8 of the 9 sustained major damage, with the 2004 4-Runner doing the absolute worst in the front barrier test and "second to worse" in the rear barrier test, earning it a POOR rating. Here is the website for the bumper test and the subsequent 40 MPH crash test in which the 4-Runner did attain a top score. http://www.hwysafety.org/
  • gsj 3
    We've had snow on the ground since the end of Oct. here and lots of chance to drive in it.
    This year I bought a horse trailer and have been towing that too. Last week I drove into the field to fetch the trailer and the snow was higher than the bottom of the truck. I left it in high range ( low range is worse in the snow) and locked the center diff. I was probably plowing about 3 in of snow with the bottom of
    the truck and it wasn't too bad. That is to say we pretty much went through without too much spinning of the wheels. I drove around a bit because that is what guys with toys and felt reasonably confident I could go any where in the field without getting stuck. A couple of times I would stop and let the truck settle and the unlock the center dif and the truck would spin and then lurch forward repeating this until it would just just be stuck. I would be out in an instant once the diff would be locked.
    I decided against trying to pull out the trailer as if I got stuck I'd be blocking the path for others.
    Around here(Calgary) we get some warm periods and soon will have some melt.
    With the center diff locked there is some loss of steering control and would not recommend it on highway or secondary roads. In fact I don't ever use mine (2nd winter on 03 sport V8) unless I'm stuck or anticipate being stuck. The regular system (AWD)works so well there is no call to use it.
        I found that with the Diff locked and the VSC off both the skid control and the traction control systems were disabled.
          I find that the systems on this 4 runner work a little differently from the ones on my previous 01 Sequoia. On the Sequoia the VSC cut in right away. As soon as the front plowed or the back end came loose the warning light was flashing and beeping and the truck immediately was brought back in line ,sometimes with quite a jerk. On the 4 runner , it allows me to get just a little loose,that is to go into just a bit of a slide before cutting in. I really like this as I can have just a bit of fun but can't get into trouble.
          Note: for deep snow the standard Dunlops don't cut it after the first 2/32 of tread is gone.
    I use 4x4 Alpins and find them a good compromise. Good on dry/wet , excellent on ice / snow and more than sufficient in deep snow. (there are better if it's just deep snow)
         Anyone thinking buying one of these would be wise to have the dealer take these Dunlops off from the start and pay the extra to have something good put on .
        Anyways that my 2 cents.
    Cheers Steve.
  • ladyofluxury brought up an important point about visibility, especially for someone driving an SUV for the first time.

    Visibility in the 4Runner is ok, though it isn't as good as the Honda Pilot. The Honda folks really seem to understand visibility, though they don't seem to care about real off-road and towing.

    From years of driving trucks and pickups I learned to use my side mirrors a lot, especially since they were the only way to see to the side/rear of the vehicle, and there was typically no inside rearview mirror. The way that many people adjust their mirrors is to have the side of the vehicle visible in the mirrors, and in my opinion that's not the best way to do it. It results in substantial blind spots, and wastes part of the mirror coverage.

    I hope I'm allowed to post a link here, to a site that describes an alternate procedure that works well. http://cartalk.cars.com/Columns/mirrors.html

    It takes some getting used to, but it's probably the way that outside mirrors were intended to be used in the first place, and in many vehicles it eliminates blind spots entirely.
  • jcliffro -

    Thanks for the response, after my post I read on the internet about it's low test scores in low speed fender benders. Geeze, I haven't even taken the thing off road yet and I already cracked it! I imagine those who regularly go offroad have dings, dents, cracks and god knows what else. I love my 4Runner but come on, let's make these bumpers a little more durable. A $6,000 cavalier has better bumpers!
  • stp1stp1 Posts: 8
    We got several inches of snow in Maine this weekend. I was driving on a paved road with about one inch of snow when my right side tire slipped off the edge of the pavement and sent me sideways at 45 mph. The VSC kicked in immediately and straightened the vehicle out. That is one safety feature I thought I would never use and thought it was a waste of money. I guess you could say my opinion has changed on the matter! Love this vehicle more and more.
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