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Toyota 4WD systems explained



  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    You're taking things a bit to the extreme...the original poster said nothing about having the front tire with 20,000 miles while the rear is brandnew.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Was asking about possible problems that might arise from running a locked diff'l system on some sort of schedule to keep things lubbed up.

    I could have advised not to do any tight, nor continuous turning, but opted for go "straight" instead. The only possible problem that might arise from my "straight" advice is if there is some significant level of F/R tire circumference difference.

    I try my very best to not give bad nor incomplete advice.

    If you can think of any other possible problems then please throw them in here.

  • I am confused. Here is what I believe:

    The V-6 2003 4Runner when put into 4 wheel drive is the same as the V-8 is in Full Time 4 Wheel drive. It is safe to leave it in 4 Wheel Drive continually with no concern about damage (not required to be on a slippery surface).

    If you feel the need, you can push the button on the left side of the dash and lock-up the differential (cancels VSC). I believe this requires that you are on a surface where your tires can slip some.

    If I am correct, I don't understand the concern about placing the V-6 into 4 Wheel Drive at least once a month (You should not require to lock-up the Torsen differential). It is a full-time 4 Wheel Drive system that you can engage/disengage as you desire.

    AM I CORRECT??? I don't bother asking the dealer because they have not answered one question correctly yet!

    Thanks in advance for your help and clarification.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The Toyota literature itself reads in a very confusing manner on this subject, V6 vs V8 drive types.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    Yes, it is safe to leave your 4wd system in full-time.

    However, IF you choose to use 2wd mode most of the time (as i do), then you should run it in 4wd for 10 miles/month. This also applies to the older 4Runners with part-time 4wd system.

    Yes, do NOT lock your center differential on dry land.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The confusion actually lies in the fact that I think the question was about an older Runner that did not have the Active-Trac 4WD system. On those models engaging 4WD on dry pavement can be a problem if you turn a corner.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    turning a corner!

    You can easily damage portions of the drivetrain of a AWD/4WD with the center diff'l locked with an extended drive, more than a few miles, straight down the road.
  • The original question seemed to tip the scales. My question came to mind when I was reading the owner's manual for my new '03 about driving the Taco in 4WD for 10 miles a month to keep all the parts lubbed up. I remembered a Toyota service manager telling me to avoid putting my transfer case in 4WD on dry pavement and it just seemed to be a good question.

    Thanks for the input.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Was a good question and remains so. I stand by my earlier statement, 10 miles a month on dry pavement with a locked center Diff't means you accrue 480 miles of extreme drivetrain wear in just 48 months. I certainly wouldn't want to be the unlucky person who purchases your (WELL) used SUV after that.

    And are you really sure that your owners manual doesn't refer to putting your "taco" into AWD (sometimes referred to as "full-time 4WD") once a month? It seems to me that would serve the need for lubbing up all the gears just as well as putting it in (part-time) 4WD.

    Asked the question although I have no idea if the taco has an AWD mode.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    The Tacoma does NOT have a AWD mode. It is a simple, part-time 4wd system...2wd, 4HI (center lock), and 4LO (center lock). You canNOT use the Tacoma's 4wd system regularly on dry land. HOWEVER, like the manual says, you need to put into 4HI about 10 miles/month. If you're not the off-roading type, then you need to drive in a straight line 10 miles a month.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Manual says ten miles a month, with no caveat?

    Hard to believe, but if y'all say it's so!

    Personally I would NEVER follow that advice, or I would find myself a nice low traction 5 mile (10, out and back) "run", say on a (loosely packed) gravel road.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I have a serious question for you. If you don't know about the Tacomas 4WD system and didn't bother to read the first several posts of this topic where I describe the 4WD system and don't have access to an owners manual, why are you answering this question? The Tacoma is a simple part-time 4WD system. It has NEVER had an AWD system of any type. The owners manual does have the advise to engage the 4WD system once a month. The manual has ALWAYS has this.

    Before auto hubs became standard, I always advised my customers to lock the hubs once a month. With ADD this became impossible. I stopped advising customers to do anything during the dry months. Unless a person has access to a dirt road, I believe the benefits to lubricating the 4WD parts to be less than the risk of damaging something. In short, I disagree with the manual.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you look back over my posts, looking for the common thread, I think you will find that you and I are in perfect agreement. At least with the last sentence of post 884.

    Does that bother you?

    Not me.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    We may be in agreement on the issue of the manual dispensing poor advise but I still question why you got involved. I'm very serious here. This guy has a Tacoma and asked a great question about the operation of the 4WD system. You don't seem to know what kind of 4WD system the Tacoma has, yet that didn't stop you from answering him. What you did was to give him bad information which was to go ahead and engage the system on dry pavement.

    The thing is... I know you are smarter than that. I know that you are aware of the differences between part time and full time systems. What you did was to assume some things about the Tacoma and if this guy had not posted follow up questions and had followed your advise, he would have damaged his truck. Please be more careful in the future.
  • shek3shek3 Posts: 72
    the word is adviCe
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Picky picky.

    How about we try to concentrate more on the 4WD stuff and less on each other. Besides, we're all fluent in chat typos.

    Steve, Host
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Buy you a drink? Where?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    That's pretty gracious of you. If you're ever traveling through Northern VA, I'll take you up on that.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Ok, this place is sort of central to everyone. Let's all meet there for the plate lunch on April 31 - I'm buying and Tidester is gonna wash everyone's SUV for free!

    Steve, Host
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Hmmm... Arkansas in the spring eh? I'm sure I could find a good fishing lake there. Also, since I'm sure my boat will need more warranty work this spring (it always does), I can drop it by the manufacturer in Flippin AR.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Tidester is gonna wash everyone's SUV for free!

    Sure - and we'll add free wax 'n buff along with new windshield wiper blades! Thanks a bunch, Steve!! LoL. :-)

    tidester, host
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Will ya do the boat too? It could use a good buffing.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Sure! No problem - as long as it's hitched to your SUV! We'll toss in Edmunds bumper stickers to the 1st dozen to show up.

    tidester, host
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Maybe. Don't get to the Philly area very often, need a hoagie and cheese steak fix, soon.

    Are y'all serious about AR in April?

    My 01 C4 says Tyronza on the WA plate and I have an AR "Tyronza" plate also. Small town about 30 miles from Memphis.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Check the date again Willard ;-)

    Maybe I can sell you an Ice Classic ticket?

    Steve, Host
  • I write for a daily business newspaper and am seeking Rav 4-EV drivers [that is...the environmental version]. If you drive this vehicle, please email me at
  • Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of buying the '03 Tacoma with the off road package. I have it narrowed down to the 4x4, V6, Auto & Ext Cab but going back and forth on whether or not do the Off Road package. Can anyone give me some advise on this?
  • We've got a 2003 Sequoia 4X4, and recently tried to engage the 4WD. It takes almost 1 mile of forward travel for the flashing light to go out, if it does. About 1/3 of the time, it does not stop flashing. If you stop the vehicle, back up a few feet, then move forward again, the light stops flashing and everyting is OK. Is this standard ops for this system or is there a problem?? Say what you will about Chevy/GM/Ford products, but the 2500HD/Tahoe/Expeditons that we have owned have engaged 4WD almost instantly.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    If you're on the move, to make the 4wd/2wd transition faster, just tap lightly on the brakes OR accelerate...that should do the trick.

    If you're parked, you can shift into Neutral and back into drive...or change to any other gears and back into drive.
  • pschreckpschreck Posts: 524
    intmed is correct. Mine can pop in and out of 4WD almost immediately with that trick. Mine will engage or disengage by simply letting off the gas under load and then accelerating.

    But most of the time, I just leave the 4WD engaged.
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