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Guide to Practical Use of Off Road Model Features

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Old 10-31-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
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Guide to Practical Use of Off Road Model Features

Hi TW

I'm rather new to the truck scene and even newer to the forums. I've come from a long line of car ownership, my last being a Subaru WRX. A few months ago I picked up a 2010 O/R DC in White - LOVE IT.

I've read the entire owners manual and while I understand what all of the O/R features do technically and what are intended for, I'm somewhat at a loss of their practical use.

I tried searching and really haven't found a comprehensive thread on this, so can the knowledge and experience masters shed some light on WHAT scenarios the following features should be used and WHY? This all came up when I saw some users talking about using X for "rolling back and forth when stuck in mud" and Y for "snow conditions, this and that". I'm looking more for real world examples versus the generic descriptions found in the owners manual.

1. ATrac
2. Rear Diff Lock
3. DH Assist
4. 4 Low

Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beavis0076 View Post
My God I am terrible at searching...
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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Any idea on what the ideal and max speed for 4H and 4L is?
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:11 AM   #4
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I have yet to use the downhill assist, but I have been pleasantly surprised by A-TRAC. I have had a lot of success with it in muddy and wet/sandy conditions. I have read a thread or two that have said that A-TRAC is only active once you hit a certain RPM, but I cannot remember the exact range. The situations it has come in handy for me have been longer portions of trail that are muddy, where I am keeping the RPMs high and trying to maintain momentum. The locker is pretty straight forward, but for me it has been handy on crawling obstacles where I am moving slower and one of my rear wheels is slipping or has limited contact due to weight shift of the truck, i.e. it's not on the ground or is barely touching.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:43 AM   #5
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I strongly recommend the locker anytime mod, my favorite mod to date (although if you need this you should also do the diff breather mod). It is really easy and I use it all the time. We have some local mud holes near me and playing around in 2wd will really surprise you as far as what these trucks are capable of with decent tires. A couple weeks ago I was out messing around and when anyone asks how the truck did...lets just say that I hate to see what finally sticks it. I walked the dog through things that I would have never though it could. In 4wd low, it was pleasantly surprising. The Taco crawled through some slick hub deep mud like it was in a contest. Always better to check your capabilities when you have another truck to pull you out instead of hoping you get through a spot in the woods. I have yet to use A-TRAC but one day maybe. The DAC is a fancy button that I have never used/needed to use. Long story short when traction is needed, 4-lo and locked will get you there. If it doesn't you shouldn't have tried in the first place. It also depends on what you use your truck for. I will mud the hell out of it but am a complete rook with rock crawling. Each to their own but the truck won't be the limiting factor.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
I believe 4hi is reccomended not to exceed 60mph..
No thats not right it's says don't engage 4hi above 60mph meaning don't drive 70 and put it in 4 Hi too many things moving too fast its a good chance something could break. With it already engaged you can pretty much go as fast as you want. ( i wouldn't suggest it though) I've had mine up to 90 in 4 hi with no problems.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronbuell View Post
I've had mine up to 90 in 4 hi with no problems.
Under what circumstances, for the hell of it? Out in some dunes or whatever? Why the heck would you need 4hi at anything over 20 or so? Yes capable, necessary...probably not.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:03 AM   #8
Where is the snow?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beavis0076 View Post
I believe 4hi is reccomended not to exceed 60mph..
unsure of 4lo.

4 hi I always engage under 60mph. I usually leave it on all winter since the roads are ice for 5 months here. I drive at whatever speed is safe for the conditions... remember (like so many up here seem to forget) that 4wd is great for keeping control most of the time but doesn't do shit for you when you are stopping...

4 lo on the other hand, I only use off road. and at slowwww speeds. It gives the truck lower gearing and more torque. it helps a lot off road so I dont feel like i have to ride the clutch to keep the speed down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronbuell View Post
No thats not right it's says don't engage 4hi above 60mph meaning don't drive 70 and put it in 4 Hi too many things moving too fast its a good chance something could break. With it already engaged you can pretty much go as fast as you want. ( i wouldn't suggest it though) I've had mine up to 90 in 4 hi with no problems.
I usually find that if I want to have it in 4wd on the road that I don't want to be going that fast. However, after several unfortunate and extremely lucky experiences of me thinking that roads were clear and then hitting black ice and spinning out uncontrollably, I have concluded I would rather replace my transmission than roll my truck and possibly die.... so I leave it in 4wd if there is any possibility of moisture on the road and the temp is at or below freezing. that said, I was in Utah and there is a stretch of highway that the speed limit is like 85 or something. It had snowed that morning so I had it in 4wd.... And whatta know, 2 years later no problems.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefManyWrenches View Post
Under what circumstances, for the hell of it? Out in some dunes or whatever? Why the heck would you need 4hi at anything over 20 or so? Yes capable, necessary...probably not.
I will often engage in 4hi prior to getting on the highway in extreme rain/downpours and I will go 60mph. This is for a couple different reasons.....
In the summer months, it's a very good idea to engage 4WD once a month to ensure the system is working/lubricated. It's more or less 'peace of mind' knowing the 4 wheels are driving to help prevent hydroplaning & fishtailing. Along with - when you let off the gas, the truck slows down faster meaning you're less likely to need to use brakes in such conditions. (I have mechanical LSD and no traction control on my 07).

But that's my theory and I'm sticking to it..... Most folks would probably doubt those theories. I will never be convinced otherwise.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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Well, I live in Florida so snow will never be a concern but heavy rain is pretty common. I have never hydroplaned but I usually slow down to accommodate the conditions. I engage my 4wd usually once a week or so and the locker gets clicked in more often than that depending.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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For most of us here...we all learned by the seat of our pants.

If you're a newbie at 4WD.... the key is:

DO NOT use 4WD on dry pavement.
DO NOT make TIGHT turns while in 4WD.
Basically - the drive line can 'bind up' and things could break.

The other key is: Recognizing the symptoms of when the drive line is binding up and knowing how to prevent it further.

If & when you're in 4wd and you step on the gas and the truck doesn't move....STOP and don't force the gas. If the truck Jerks or bucks....STOP and don't force the gas. These are signs the drive line is binding up. There are a variety of ways of getting out of this....taking it OUT of 4WD and going in reverse or forward a few inches until the 4WD disengages. Then, continue what you were trying to do and when you are done - and back on straight flat surface again...engage back into 4WD.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:26 AM   #12
Where is the snow?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janster View Post
For most of us here...we all learned by the seat of our pants.

If you're a newbie at 4WD.... the key is:

DO NOT use 4WD on dry pavement.
DO NOT make TIGHT turns while in 4WD.
Basically - the drive line can 'bind up' and things could break.

The other key is: Recognizing the symptoms of when the drive line is binding up and knowing how to prevent it further.

If & when you're in 4wd and you step on the gas and the truck doesn't move....STOP and don't force the gas. If the truck Jerks or bucks....STOP and don't force the gas. These are signs the drive line is binding up. There are a variety of ways of getting out of this....taking it OUT of 4WD and going in reverse or forward a few inches until the 4WD disengages. Then, continue what you were trying to do and when you are done - and back on straight flat surface again...engage back into 4WD.
You get a lot of opinions of when to use and not use 4wd on here..... this is the best and most comprehensive advice I have seen on here.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:54 AM   #13
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Couple questions:

If I'm just turning on 4H quick to activate it this month, what does it matter if I do it on a dry road vs when it is raining? Especially if it is going in a straight line.

Also, with the locker anytime mod - I thought when the rear diff lock was engaged you couldnt go over 5mph??
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zk6760 View Post
Couple questions:

If I'm just turning on 4H quick to activate it this month, what does it matter if I do it on a dry road vs when it is raining? Especially if it is going in a straight line.

Also, with the locker anytime mod - I thought when the rear diff lock was engaged you couldnt go over 5mph??
Because the Tacoma being part-time 4WD doesn't have a center diff to relieve driveline tension like that of an AWD/Full-time 4WD system. Our 4WD system likes to have slippage...which pavement won't allow. That is why people say it is better to engage it once a month to lube the system when its raining rather than dry.

You can't engage the locker outside of 4Lo without a locker anytime mod. But you can have it engaged past 5mph.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:08 PM   #15
Where is the snow?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zk6760 View Post
Couple questions:

If I'm just turning on 4H quick to activate it this month, what does it matter if I do it on a dry road vs when it is raining? Especially if it is going in a straight line.

Also, with the locker anytime mod - I thought when the rear diff lock was engaged you couldnt go over 5mph??

AS LONG AS YOU ARE NOT TURNING SHARP, turning on 4wd on dry pavement is ok. You can feel the steering bind up when you try to turn on dry pavement. When the pavement isn't dry, the tires are able to slip, and it is better on steering components and drive train since the slipping is relieving that pressure....
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:16 PM   #16
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There's likely not much of an issue using 4 Hi on dry pavement with a differential front end. In the olden days, when all 4-WD vehicles were equipped with locked front 3rd members, the difference in turning radius between the front wheels would stess the axles and you could break one (hence, locking hubs). Usually, because one of the wheels would start hopping because it couldn't slide around on a loose surface in a tight turn. I don't know about all Tacos, but I believe mine has a differential front and shouldn't matter.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zk6760 View Post
Couple questions:

If I'm just turning on 4H quick to activate it this month, what does it matter if I do it on a dry road vs when it is raining? Especially if it is going in a straight line.

Also, with the locker anytime mod - I thought when the rear diff lock was engaged you couldnt go over 5mph??
doesnt matter as long as you're going straight. the turning on an equal resistance surface is what can cause damage

and the locker can be used way above 5 mph... I've used mine to hill climb and whatnot, going much faster than 5

basically

4hi when you need pull from the front wheels. even plane rocks, dirt, what have you.
4lo when you need lots of torque and not much horsepower. big obstacles, hill climbs and whatnot. low gear ratios make the truck have lots of torque but no vroom, hence the "crawling" term.

A-TRAC and the rear locker are additional traction aids, when on off camber situations where an open differential will just have all power go to the wheel with the least traction.

imagine you're in this situation, and trying to get up the hill (ignore the fact that im just being broposer on the hill)
open, all the power goes to the wheel in the air and you go nowhere

locked, the rear wheels spin at the same rate, equal power goes to the wheel with traction as the one without.

A-TRAC is just an electronic aid that "brakes" the loose wheels in an attempt to get more power to the wheels with traction. both only really need to be used when facing off camber/larger obstacles/loose traction obstacles
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:58 PM   #18
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i have a 2013 4x4 and have never engaged it one time. i have about 7k miles on it in about 7 months of ownership
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:02 PM   #19
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i was unaware that i was supposed to engage it periodically. this is the first truck that i have ever owned. i live in texas so i wont see much snow, if any at all, and it really hasnt rained very much at all this year. im not even sure why i bought a 4x4. i just figured since i was buying a truck that i might as well get a 4x4
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:24 PM   #20
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On a newer truck it would probably be less of an issue however you probably want to at least try it out. The more you use it, the easier it goes in and out. Especially with the locker. If you were unaware you were supposed to engage it periodically, you probably didn't read the manual too well either...
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