Toyota 4Runner 4WD Engagement Questions

sasolissasolis Member Posts: 4
1995 4 runner seems to keep trying to kick into 4 wheel drive automatically. Had it in the shop, they cleaned something, said it was fine, took it home and it still is doing it? Told it was a brake booster, actuator, not sure what to do or check. Any suggestions?


  • chrisdriveschrisdrives Member Posts: 1
    The 4 high and 4 low on my '93 4 runner are not working anymore. They worked great and one day i put it in 4 high it worked for a few yards and than "popped out".Note that their were no funny noices or what so ever when that happend. All thats working now is the neutral and the 2 high. Now before i start taking things apart i think its better to post this message, it might be a simple thing and easy to repair. I HOPE.....
  • sasolissasolis Member Posts: 4
    A relay clicks and it is trying to go into 4 wheel drive without being engaged in 4 wheel drive. Have reset the computer, checked/cleaned actuator. Not sure what else to do, any ideas? THanks
  • bobgordonbobgordon Member Posts: 156
    Will it "click" with the truck just sitting idling or does it only happen from road vibrations?

    Check the relay itself. Sometimes they get weak over time and will often stick or click like you are saying.

    Let us know what you find. ;)
  • sasolissasolis Member Posts: 4
    Stupid question but which relay do I need to check? I ask my husband and he said there is 3 or four? Sorry to be so ignorant about a vehicle. I appreciate you writing back. :confuse:
  • bobgordonbobgordon Member Posts: 156
    Not a stupid question at all but sorry to say I'm not sure which one you need to check.
    It should be marked on the underside of the cover (if it's located in the engine comp.) or possibly the owners manual can shed some light.
  • sasolissasolis Member Posts: 4
    Do you know the name of the relays?
  • bobgordonbobgordon Member Posts: 156
    It maybe called a shift interlock relay but I'm not 100% positive.
    And it maybe located in the center console...again not 100%, sorry.
    You could call your local dealer and they might direct you to where the relay is exactly located.
    Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
  • toecutter1toecutter1 Member Posts: 1
    i have recently bought a 1991 4runner automatic v6 3L
    when i try to put it in 4wd the dash light flicks on and off but not engage any help would be great
    plaese reply my email

    [email protected]
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    plaese reply my email

    Please reply here so everyone benefits. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • erichochmanerichochman Member Posts: 16
    hi all,

    first suv w 4wheel drive. im confused and read the manual 4 times

    do i just turn the knob to 4wheel high and thats it? or do i press the center locking button and then turn the knob.

    please let me know if you know. much appreciated.

  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Member Posts: 410
    You have 5 modes. 2WD, 4HI unlocked, 4HI locked, 4LO unlocked, and 4LO locked. Unless you are fourwheeling in extreme conditions, it's best to leave the vehicle in 2WD or 4HI unlocked. I leave mine in 4HI unlocked.

    You have a 4WD indicator light on the dash. If it's green, that's the unlocked indicator. If it's yellow, you better be in a low traction situation or risk breaking something because your center diff is locked.

    Anyway, play with it to familiarize yourself, just enough to lock it into whatever mode you want, BUT don't drive but a few inches in locked mode if you are on pavement or any surface that doesn't give.

    My responses are for a V6 model, which I have and which your prior posts indicate you have. Last but not least, I've found that 4WD takes a long time or distance to engage and I usually need a rolling start. If you even think you'll be in a situation where you'll need it, I'd recommend being in 4HI unlocked before you get to that point. I haven't seen any negative engagement posts lately, but some of us who had 2003 models posted that if they were in a stuck situation with 2WD engaged that they couldn't get 4WD to engage because the vehicle wouldn't move anywhere to allow the engagement to occur.

    Enjoy your ride. In so many words or less, turn the knob to 4HI and you are in an allwheeldrive unlocked mode (green indicator). Don't lock the center locking button unless you are in deep doo-doo.
  • erichochmanerichochman Member Posts: 16
    Thanks so much. I will bother you one more time so I can sleep well and dont runin my 2007 sr5 4runner.

    You are saying for me not to touch the Center Diff button and the only thing I have to do is turn the knob from 2Hi to 4HI and bam thats it, that puts me into 4wheel drive?

    Also, you said you run yours all the time in 4wheel drive (4HI). Is it safe to do this even driving around the city on a sunny dry day?

    Thanks again and have a great weekend.

  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Member Posts: 410
    It's been safe for 30,000 miles so far running in 4HI unlocked (green indicator on dash), aka Toyota's version of AWD. Don't lock your center diff (yellow indicator on dash).

    You can run 4HI unlocked in any weather. FYI> the V8 4X4's come with full-time four wheel 2WD option on the V8 4X4's. You're just mimicking the V8 full-time four wheel drive while running the V6 model in 4HI unlocked.

    Turn the knob from 2HI to 4HI to initiate fourwheel drive. The dash indicator will verify when it locks in. You may need a moving start to lock it in. Fyi> some dealer service personnel may move it back to the 2WD mode and sometimes give you a piece of their mind for leaving it in 4HI unlocked. Your reply is up to you, but just refer them to the owners manual.

    Last but not least, I'll tell you a story of something that happened to me, twice. The county I live in has diesel buses for public transportation. I don't know how they service their buses, but on multiple occasions I'll see the buses make a right hand turn at an intersection and diesel fuel comes sloshing onto the roadway. I guess these things are fueled up without fuel caps being replaced. Twice I've had to drive through this and I can feel the 4HI unlocked doing it's thing taking me safely through the slippery mess. The bad thing is the vehicle behind me has just bounced off the curb or spun out. So not being in 2WD probably resulted in my avoiding an accident.
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    "You are saying for me not to touch the Center Diff button and the only thing I have to do is turn the knob from 2Hi to 4HI and bam thats it, that puts me into 4wheel drive?"

    Yes, that is correct. Only lock the center diff when offroad. You could lock the center diff when the road is completely snow covered but I do not recommend it. When you lock the center diff, it also disables the spin protection, making the truck be much more tail happy.

    "Also, you said you run yours all the time in 4wheel drive (4HI). Is it safe to do this even driving around the city on a sunny dry day?"

    Yes, it is safe. It may cost you a bit in lower gas mileage, but it is safe for the drivetrain. The V8 models are full-time four wheel drive and do not have any two wheel drive mode. I've got 60k miles on my V8 4WD 2003 4Runner.
  • erichochmanerichochman Member Posts: 16
  • canddmeyercanddmeyer Member Posts: 410
    You are welcome. Enjoy the ride!
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    Check the manual for when you can shift from 2WD to 4WD. (I don't have the V6 model, so I'm never in 2WD). You may need to be stopped and in neutral, but I'm not sure.

    You should be stopped and in neutral to shift into and out of 4WD low. As other posters mentioned, it can take some time and distance to get into and out of 4WD low. Sometimes it won't go and you'll have to put it into drive, creep a bit, back into neutral and then try it. The manual explains all of this pretty well.

    The important take away is that if you think you might need 4WD (low or high), you should shift into it BEFORE you need it. If it is going to snow all night, shift into 4WD high when you park it. Otherwise, in the morning you might not be able to move it far enough to get 4WD to engage.
  • micahjmicahj Member Posts: 1
    I recently shifted my 4Runner into 4WD and now it wont come out of 4 high. Ive tried to put it into reverse but nothing has worked. Any ideas???
  • dtupperdtupper Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 4-runner. Recently it has been very difficult to get it out of 4WD Hi. There is a button on the side of the 2/4 WD Hi lever. When I push the button while in the 2WD Hi position, the indicator lights flash. Does this mean that the transaxial is in a 4 WD unlocked position or in a 4 WD on demand feature. I was in the mountains recently and pushed the button while moving in 2 WD Hi on snow covered road. The indicator lights flashed. When I released the button, the tranaxial would not come out of 4WD. Even with repeated movement of the level to the 4WD Hi and back to 2WD Hi position. After the truck sat all day in subfreezing conditions, I still could not get it out for a considerable distance (several miles) Finally, I stopped for about twenty minutes and finally got it to release. I took it into the shop and they replaced three tranaxial switches. It now goes into 4WD HI immediately when the lever is moved (indicator lights solid) but comes out only after driving a considerable distance(a couple hundred feet or so) and then unlocks with a bang. I am on hard pavement when this is happening. If I press the button in 2 WD Hi, the tranaxial appears to go into 4WD the indicator lights flash but it won't release when the button is released. Before I took it in, it wasn't locking in completely even with movement of the lever to the 4WD Hi position. The shop foreman seemed to think that it was working Ok but said the actuators may be getting weak or worn. He seemed to be unfamilar with the partial 4 WD feature while in the 2 WD Hi position. Hope that you can help or clarify the 4 WD operation. I have owned this vehicle for 9 years and used it a lot in 4 WD while in snow but only recently have had difficulty coming out of 4 WD.
  • yuzyuz Member Posts: 1
    Toyota 4Runner, SR5, 2013:

    How come, when I am in 4Hi, my wheels feel kind of 'locked' when I am turning in, or backing in to a parking space, with my front wheels cut to the right or left?

    This is the same feel I used to get out of my Pathfinder when going into 4WD with a differential lock. I used to like the Pathfinder's AWD because the computer would simply be responsible for ensuring distribution of power to the wheels with traction and the differentials were never locked in this mode. Is there any way to set the various control options on the 4Runner 2013 to achieve this?

  • axtremeone1axtremeone1 Member Posts: 1
    Hi everybody: I need some help with de 4wd indicator light. It's not working. I replaced the bulb but when I get on 4hi or 4l, the light does not get on, but all the whell work. I have a 4runner 1991, manual trasmision. What i have to replace? Where is located the 4wd switch? Any solutions? Thanks !
  • fasanifasani Member Posts: 3
    Hi! I have an incredible nice 2004 SR5 4X4 4 speed auto and I love it.
    The thing is that when I go from reverse to drive or to drive to reverse, it sounds like a crank noise and you can feel how the transmission connects the rear axle. During driving I have not a single problem or noise. It works really good.
    Any comments?
    Thanks in advance!!!!
  • sircsirc Member Posts: 1
    what,,,no help ????
  • iam_eliiam_eli Member Posts: 1
    Good day everyone, I'm experiencing a problem right now with my 2000 toyota 4runner automatic transmission, I switched to 'H4L' the 4wd indication light came up on the instrument cluster(dash bord) then when I switched back to the 'H2.H4' the light wont stop blinking, but I was able to run over 120Kpm for hours with no problem, but the 4wd indicator light showing the 4 tires and a circle in d middle wont stop blinking for 3days now. Please any help in getting it to stop blinking?
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