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Toyota 4WD systems explained



  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The V8 is always in 4WD. You may be looking at the center differential lock button. Don't mess with it unless you're really playing off road. Even then, you will probably find the conventional mode does everything you need it to. The system in the '03 Runner ensures that there is always power to all 4 wheels, with more being diverted to those with more traction.
  • pschreckpschreck Posts: 524
    Forgot the 4Runner has a locking center diff button. My mistake.
  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    Yep, I've only locked the center diff once in my V8 '03 4Runner, and that was offroad when slightly high-centered on a muddy surface. Locking the center diff is probably the only 'dangerous' operation for the system. It shouldn't be locked on dry pavement.

    The only other thing you can do with the 4WD in the V8 is to put it in low range. This is also mainly useful for offroad, but I've used it a couple times in deep snow, too. This just makes your vehicle go slower for a given engine speed in each gear, resulting in better crawling ability. I don't think I've had my vehicle above about 20mph in 4LO.
  • Taking 2000 tlc on sand beaches on Cape Cod. Any recomendations, based on past experience, as to hi/low range, tire pressure, locked ctr diff of not, likelihood of getting stuck, etc. Have michelin ltx at's.

    wwest: bug off, especially if you're not driving a toyota!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Ownership or use of a particular brand of vehicle are not prerequisites to participating in any of the Town Hall discussions.

    tidester, host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Besides, a Lexus is a Toyota. Sort of. Use your down arrow if you don't want to read certain posts.

    Check out SUV for Beach Sand in the archives for lots of tips.

    Steve, Host
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    Just last week I took my 2003 4Runner V8 4WD on the beach on Martha's Vineyard. My suggestions would be 1) tire pressure to 15 psi, 2) lock the center diff, 3) keep in 4WD high, 4) keep your speed high, but reasonable (around 15 mph). When you stop, try not to hit the brake hard because that will cause you to dig in. When turning, try to turn gently; turning sharply will help cause you to dig in. If you do get stuck, try to back out of whereever you got stuck.

    I didn't have any problem.
  • alkoalko Posts: 13
    I have siimilar problem on my 2002PreRunner with
    only 15K miles on it. :-( Mechaninc sais that it's normal "transmisiion loosen up" which i think is not true.

    Check - issiontrubleshtng/transmissiontrublesht_guide.html#NOISE%20IN%20T- HE%20TRANSMISSION

    they say it can be a problem with CV or U joints...
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    Stay in the tracks. Don't go cutting a new trail. If you don't see any tire tracks somewhere, there's probably a reason. If you do see tire tracks, then someone already went there and didn't get stuck.

    Finally, stay off the dune grass...
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    at least until you come to the place where the SUV ahead of you is stuck!

    Reminds me of the story about the guy following taillights in a heavy fog at night....
  • thanks for tips for sand driving, folks. have another question for you but maybe wrong forum: changed tires on tlc from 275-70-16 to 265-75-16, truck is about an inch or two higher, but shift points seem off, compared to old smaller tires. truck seemed quicker with the smaller tires. local toy dealer says they know of no way to reprogram, but local mechanic says it can be done. speedo is also 2-3 mph off but not a problem. any experience with this?

    ps. also installed bilstein shocks and they greatly reduced body roll in corners around town.
  • Isn't this the Sequoia discussion area? What's with all the 4 Runner posts in here? Even Land Cruiser posts. Why don;t you knuckleheads go to Dodge for the info? Differetn trucks guys. You're gonna run into problems!
  • did you install shocks yourself? It looks easy in the book, but if you have any tips it would be great. thanks
  • Some people seem angry around these boards. Always shouting and telling people what to do. Lets all go sit in our TOYOTA'S and enjoy the good decsions that we have made and not worry about what the other guys are doing.
  • This board is for ALL Toyota 4WD systems.

    The 4Runner and Land Cruiser are both Toyota vehicles.
  • Just my personal experience. Great advertising at AAMCO but all are independently owned and some don't have the "best techs". Knock on wood my Sequoia does not have any tranny issues currently. The Ford Explorer (exploder) it replaced.......

    101,000 no warning tranny fluid started "pouring" out of front of tranny almost in front of AA beep beep MCO. They had to drop tranny to find problem. Bad bearing caused torque converter to wobble and trashed seals etc. We can fix it for about $2,000 includes 12 month / 12,000 mile warranty. Tax, etc. a couple extra parts $2300 I'm good to go 7 days later. No issues, nice! 13,000 miles and 13 months later(how convenient) hear whine from tranny RPM related. Bring it back to have checked. Bad pump inside tranny, Torque converter always gets sent out, repeat customer just out of warranty they covered the labor as a "good will gesture" parts $460 (3 days) fixed again OK. 3 days later won't shift into 1st gear bring it back, keep for a day doesn't do it can't duplicate not a problem. take home, next AM same thing no 1st gear after 1 minute drive. Go direct to shop, doesn't do it. Take home, next AM same thing back to shop (and buy FOR SALE SIGNS) 2 days can't duplicate problem. Have MGR take home still no problem. Pick up next day all is well. Next morning (Sunday) no 1st gear 1 minute drive, right to shop block bay door take keys home. Monday AM get to shop before they do and wait. Tech shows up, drive truck FINALLY no 1st gear, says it feels like valvebody is sticking when cold. leave truck drop valve body (dirt or something causing something to stick) NO CHARGE (WOO HOO) They always kept it in the shop 60+ degrees and the MGR has a heated garage in his house. I unfortunately have no garage so it sat in 30 degree driveway. When tranny warmed up (shop, garage, and 7 minute drive to AAMCO) the metal expanded enough to not cause sticking problem! 3 weeks later another noise sounds like pump / something rubbing out of round. Bring back, drop tranny install new bearings, bell housing, centering pins (seems it wasn't a tight fit, kind of oval from original vibration) 3 day's to get all done again, at least there's no charge and got 6 month warranty signed by owner. Truck was quiet and seemed ok OFF LOADED ASAP.

    BEWARE, AAMCO only replaces the worn / out of spec parts on rebuild, not everything. So your re-built tranny has 15 new pieces (but the other 985 still have 100,000 on them) Get full info on what will be replaced and do some research even if the car sits for a day or two.

    The Ford dealer and my regular mechanic would have put in a Ford Factory Re-built unit in (2 day turn around) $1900 complete at both places and OH YEA, 3 year / 36,000 mile Ford Factory Warranty!! Now I really feel good I went to the Transmission Experts.
  • Thank you for stating the VERY OBVIOUS.
  • I'm planning on a Tacoma double cab, but even the 2003 is a little too hard on my pocket, but I don't know is there any other older version. I've never seen any Tacoma double cab older than '03. Can anyone help me, since when they made that, and how does it compare to Nissan Frontier.
  • Local brake and muffler shop installed four shocks for about two hours time, $100 +/-. LC rides more like a truck but corners a lot better. Also replaced all differentials with syn oil. Larger tires make for slower starts, are fairly noisy, will probably use them (Mich ltx at's) for winter tires only.
  • abcabc Posts: 9
    I have reread the info on this message center and the Toyota 4Runner brochure, and have talked with everybody at the dealer so please bear with me.

    Is 4-Hi a genuine full time 4WD that can be used continuously on concrete or dirt? Is it identical to the full-time 4WD with the V8? What are the differences, if any?

    In 2-Hi, which set of wheels are the non-driving wheels? Are the axles from the non-driving wheels totally inactive and not turning when vehicle is moving? By that I mean are they fully separated from their wheels and the active drivetrain?

    Thank you all.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    The 4-hi is a full-time 4WD and can be used on pavement. I don't know if it is identical to the 4WD on the V8. In 2-hi, the rear wheels are driven. I don't know where the disconnect is for the front (axles or hubs).
  • yes, once engaged, the V6 4wd system is identical (at least in function) to the V8 4wd system. It can be used on ANY surface. It has the same Torsen center diff.

    In 2wd mode, the rear wheels are driving. Yes, the front wheels are totally disengaged.
  • I leave mine in 4wd all the time. I have experienced virtually no difference in gas mileage and no problems with tire wear either.
  • Can the Sequoia also be left in 4wd on any surface?
  • Absolutely. Mine has been in 4WD almost continuously since 2001.
  • When you do this, it MAY actually be better for tire wear.
  • I have 46K on the original Dunlop Grabbers on my 00 LTD 4Runner and while they aren't the best tires I believe I can put another 15k to 20K miles on them. They have lots of tread life left on them. I do rotate them every 5K.
  • ddw5ddw5 Posts: 23
    One of the reasons I bought the V-6 4runner was the ability to drive in 2wd 90% of the year. I could see no reason to run power through the additional half-shafts and differential when it is completely unnecessary. This has to reduce drive line stress and increase long term durability. I've heard enough horror stories with high-mileage full time 4wd/awd that I didn't consider it. Any thoughts to the contrary?
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    Toyota LC (similar to 4runner's full-time V8 system) has been around since 1998/1999 with the current 4wd system. I have not seen one case of failure or problem. Remember, this LC has been around the world.

    The center differential on the TLC and 4runner (also since 1999 with the full-time capability) is GEAR-based, not clutch- or viscous coupling based. Gear-based differetial is far more reliable/durable and requires little maintenance.

    I don't think that it will be a problem for the Toyota 4wd systems.

    Full-time is ALWAYS safer than 2wd. Just imagine running into an oil slick in the middle of the road on a sunny day. Or how about an emergency evasive maneuver.

    There's plus and minus to both systems. Durability is likely NOT a minus to the full-time system.
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