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Old 11-12-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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A lot of questions about my truck

Ambiguous title I know, but there really are a lot of questions.

First off, How do I get the front door panels off my truck? I'm trying to get to the speakers, but the DIY mod on this site doesn't explain how to deal with manual windows. It wasn't intuitively obvious how to do it, and I didn't want to break anything.

Second, how do I tell if I have a locking differential? My truck is only 2 wheel drive, but I want to learn about how it will handle in snow and mud.

Where can I buy tire chains in Arizona? I'm planning a small trip into the mountains this winter, and I want to have some chains because that seems like the sensible thing to do.

Lastly, any advice on driving a 2x4 in the snow? Obviously I can't go flying around corners or push through anything substantially deep, but I should be fine on main roads, right?
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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Door panel removal
http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/2003/Repa...rodoo/disa.pdf

You should have a "REAR DIFF LOCK" button on the left dash. No button = no e-locker.

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Old 11-12-2010, 01:06 PM   #3
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4x2's handle fine in the snow. Drive with a light foot and like you don't have any brakes. Weight in the bed directly over or in front of the rear axle helps out and good tires are a must! I put the weights all the way at the front of the bed so they don't crash into the front when you hit the brakes. Don't put the weight behind the axle or you unweight your front end. It's more important to steer than accelerate. You're on your own with the chains, I'm on the east coast but you could try online stores also.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:49 PM   #4
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Cabela's in Glendale carries snow chains that fits stock Tacoma tires...will run about $70.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:23 PM   #5
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On the rare occasion that we get snow, I always fill my bed up with snow! That stuff is pretty heavy and gives you really good traction and the best part is when you get back to a milder climate or it warms up…your weight in the bed melts and you don’t have to unload it! The trick is "Don't work harder...work smarter!"
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:39 AM   #6
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Ok, so I don't have that button. I don't suppose there is a chance that it automatically turns on and off, is there?

Should I be worried about taking my truck into the snow now? Correct me if I"m wrong, but this means that my rear wheels are locked at all times now?

I also like the idea of filling the bed with snow. I'm going to take a few sandbags, but I"ll think about shoveling some snow in there as well.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGyvR View Post
Ok, so I don't have that button. I don't suppose there is a chance that it automatically turns on and off, is there?
no chance
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:39 AM   #8
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Google tire chains/cables there are a ton of suppliers out there.Sand bags slide all over and when the roads clear up the snow in the bed is still there ( gas mileage) just take it easy.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGyvR View Post
Ok, so I don't have that button. I don't suppose there is a chance that it automatically turns on and off, is there?

Should I be worried about taking my truck into the snow now? Correct me if I"m wrong, but this means that my rear wheels are locked at all times now?

I also like the idea of filling the bed with snow. I'm going to take a few sandbags, but I"ll think about shoveling some snow in there as well.

The Off Road TRD has the locker... The locker is attached to the differential, with wire and tube coming from it... top/ front of differential. But, as others asy... you will have that button 98tacoma27 posted a photo of. If the previous owner did any changes... then you could have a limited slip differential... if so, then there should be a lable on the differential warning you to use the special limited slip diff. fluid only.

So, without a traction enhancing differential, you still can drop tire air pressure to improve the truck's off roading... and have a pump to replace the air when you get back to pavement!
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:49 AM   #10
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If your 2003 PreRunner has the TRD Off Road Package and no locker, then it's a 4-cylinder (right?). The factory e-locker was not available on pre-2005 4-cylinder automatics (even with the TRD Package).

If it's a V6 XtraCab or Double Cab, it might be that someone simply stuck a TRD decal on it (which happens ...). A factory TRD XC or DC V6 would have the e-locker.
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnolaGaia View Post
If your 2003 PreRunner has the TRD Off Road Package and no locker, then it's a 4-cylinder (right?). The factory e-locker was not available on pre-2005 4-cylinder automatics (even with the TRD Package).

If it's a V6 XtraCab or Double Cab, it might be that someone simply stuck a TRD decal on it (which happens ...). A factory TRD XC or DC V6 would have the e-locker.
Thanks for that... I wouldn't dream of having anything under a V-6 in a truck this size... So, I didn't think that he may have a 4 banger!
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MacGyvR View Post
Correct me if I"m wrong, but this means that my rear wheels are locked at all times now?
no, it means they're not locked.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnolaGaia View Post
If your 2003 PreRunner has the TRD Off Road Package and no locker, then it's a 4-cylinder (right?). The factory e-locker was not available on pre-2005 4-cylinder automatics (even with the TRD Package).

If it's a V6 XtraCab or Double Cab, it might be that someone simply stuck a TRD decal on it (which happens ...). A factory TRD XC or DC V6 would have the e-locker.
Actually, I have the 3.4L V6. The TRD package means it's lifted more than the regular tacomas, right? I have a bunch of pictures up if you want to take a look.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:12 PM   #14
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Well... really a TRD Off Road package means you have Bilstein shocks, 16" Rugged Trail TA tires (when new), and a locking rear differential... along with the SR-5 package... among a couple other things.

If you don't have a locking rear differential, then a previous owner put a sticker on your truck that doesn't belong.

A standard 'open' differential will divide the power to BOTH back tires until one tire has less traction (grip) than the other... then torque (turning force) will go to the loose (low traction) tire. So, in mud or snow... if one tire is on firm ground but another is in slush or mud... that useless tire will spin away and the good tire will do nothing.

The base reason for open differentials is to allow steering the vehicle.. since each tire must rotate at different speed when turning. Any locking differential makes steering harder, and is only recommended for emergency use.

To get unstuck with traction assist (2WD truck):

Having a limited slip differential ('05-'08 Sport Tacomas) will put some of the torque on the good, traction tire.

Having a locking differential (all Off Road Tacomas) puts equal torque on both tires. Because both tires are locked together with gears, steering will be difficult and unless off the road will bind.

Having traction control ('09 + Tacomas) brakes the spinning, non-traction, loose tire and forces torque to the good traction tire. Steering is not affected.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the same scenario, a 4WD truck will put torque to at least one front and one back tire, which doubles your traction and chances of getting out. 4WD is to be used only off of dry pavement where front and rear tires can slip a bit when steering.

A rear locker and 4WD (Off Road 4WD Tacomas) will put torque to at least 3 tires. Steering can be a bit more difficult with the rear locked over open 4WD use.

A-TRAC ('09 + Off Road 4WD Tacomas) puts equal torque to all 4 tires by braking any tire that has less traction than another on the same axle. Steering is not hampered.

A non-Toyota, after-market front locker will put equal torque to all 4 tires. Steering can be very difficult.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David K View Post
Well... really a TRD Off Road package means you have Bilstein shocks, 16" Rugged Trail TA tires (when new), and a locking rear differential... along with the SR-5 package... among a couple other things.

If you don't have a locking rear differential, then a previous owner put a sticker on your truck that doesn't belong.

A standard 'open' differential will divide the power to BOTH back tires until one tire has less traction (grip) than the other... then torque (turning force) will go to the loose (low traction) tire. So, in mud or snow... if one tire is on firm ground but another is in slush or mud... that useless tire will spin away and the good tire will do nothing.

The base reason for open differentials is to allow steering the vehicle.. since each tire must rotate at different speed when turning. Any locking differential makes steering harder, and is only recommended for emergency use.

To get unstuck with traction assist (2WD truck):

Having a limited slip differential ('05-'08 Sport Tacomas) will put some of the torque on the good, traction tire.

Having a locking differential (all Off Road Tacomas) puts equal torque on both tires. Because both tires are locked together with gears, steering will be difficult and unless off the road will bind.

Having traction control ('09 + Tacomas) brakes the spinning, non-traction, loose tire and forces torque to the good traction tire. Steering is not affected.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the same scenario, a 4WD truck will put torque to at least one front and one back tire, which doubles your traction and chances of getting out. 4WD is to be used only off of dry pavement where front and rear tires can slip a bit when steering.

A rear locker and 4WD (Off Road 4WD Tacomas) will put torque to at least 3 tires. Steering can be a bit more difficult with the rear locked over open 4WD use.

A-TRAC ('09 + Off Road 4WD Tacomas) puts equal torque to all 4 tires by braking any tire that has less traction than another on the same axle. Steering is not hampered.

A non-Toyota, after-market front locker will put equal torque to all 4 tires. Steering can be very difficult.

Hmmm. Well that sucks.

Is it possible to swap in a locking or limited slip diff into what I have? From what you said, it looks like the limited slip diff would be better than the locking. Where would I even buy that?
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:27 PM   #16
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Hi Tom... That is a major deal, changing differentials... and better to wait until your next Tacoma... and get a 4WD one if you plan on off roading a lot.

Many will give you opinions here... If you get stuck, just let air out of your tires to about 10-15 psi... and that will get you out of most situations.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:07 AM   #17
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I know it's a big deal, I'd have my mechanic throw it together. I'm just wondering on the total cost. like, ball park.
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