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Buying used: need advice (4x4 related)

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by chilow, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:27 AM
    #1
    chilow

    chilow [OP] Active Member

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    In the market for a used 01-04 1st gen. Never owned or used a 4wd equipped vehicle. Just spent half an hour searching about proper uses of it on this forum and think I got it covered. People say NEVER to use 4hi on dry pavement. When I go check out a truck I want to buy, how can I safely test the 4wd features (2hi, 4hi, 4low, Neutral) without damaging the truck? It doesn't snow where I live, and I doubt I'm meeting the seller where there are uneven pavements.

    BTW, tell me if I got this right:
    -4hi: Use only off-road or slippery areas such as snow
    -4low: Use only when crawling and do not exceed 5mph. Shift to 4low only when you're transmission is in neutral.
    -2hi: Always leave it in 2hi for normal city and highway driving.
    -Neutral: Can somebody tell me when I'll need to be in Neutral?
    -It's safe to switch from 2hi to 4hi when going <55. I assume I can switch from 4hi to 2hi at any rate of speed, as long as I throw the transmission into neutral beforehand?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:32 AM
    #2
    krimson

    krimson Nothin

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    You can test the 4wd in a parking lot with rocks, or any type of surface that isn't paved.

    The truck will need to be in neutral to put in for 4LO, till it is engaged. If i can remember correctly.
     
  3. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:36 AM
    #3
    Blumpkinson

    Blumpkinson Fuelled by plutonium and wild animals

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    Honestly, i would look for a dirt road or gravel parking lot. That's what i did when i bought mine. If you can't find anything, then just put it in 4wd hi and lo on the pavement. But don't make any turns and don't do it for very long. Just make sure everything is working and there aren't any strange sounds. If it's a trd also check that the locker works, by pushing the rr diff lock button behind the steering wheel on the left. You may need to make small turns to get it to engage/

    I have the push button 4wd so you can go in and out of 4hi whenever you like, granted your not on pavement. If your going to fast the computer won't let you put it into 4wd. For 4low i come to a stop and leave the tranny in neutral for engaging and disengaging.
     
  4. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM
    #4
    wildjerseyfirefighter

    wildjerseyfirefighter I sell fishing and fishing accessories

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    You never needed a use for 4x4 before, why do you need one now?
     
  5. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:39 AM
    #5
    macgyver

    macgyver Well-Known Member

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    -4hi: Use only off-road or slippery areas such as snow

    Yep

    -4low: Use only when crawling and do not exceed 5mph. Shift to 4low only when you're transmission is in neutral.

    You can go faster than 5mph. Yes, it won't let you anyways.
    -2hi: Always leave it in 2hi for normal city and highway driving.

    Yes

    -Neutral: Can somebody tell me when I'll need to be in Neutral?

    Neutral to engage 4LO

    -It's safe to switch from 2hi to 4hi when going <55. I assume I can switch from 4hi to 2hi at any rate of speed, as long as I throw the transmission into neutral beforehand?

    Yes it's safe. I don't think it will let you >55mph anyways. But I could be wrong, never tried. The fastest I have switched while moving is about 50mph while crossing an icy bridge on the interstate during a snowstorm. A big rig blew my rear end loose when he passed me.

    While test driving it's ok to switch into 4x4 on dry pavement to see if everything is working. Just don't turn the wheels, stay straight, and don't stay in it very long.
     
  6. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:42 AM
    #6
    macgyver

    macgyver Well-Known Member

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    Because he wants it. I don't use 4x4 99% of the time, but that 1% when I do need it, its a switch away and I'm not stuck and kicking myself for buying a prerunner.
     
  7. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:55 AM
    #7
    chilow

    chilow [OP] Active Member

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    Push button? Do you have a 1st gen? I thought the 1st gens have a "shifter" and not a button?

    I rather have it just in case I ever need it.

    Well said.

    Just to be clear, we're talking about the Neutral that's on the 4wd shifter and not the transmission one?
     
  8. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:58 AM
    #8
    chilow

    chilow [OP] Active Member

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    BTW, if I do test it in a parking lot, how do I tell if the 4wd is working? Does it feel significantly different? Would a person like me, who's never driven a 4wd truck feel it engage?
     
  9. Jun 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM
    #9
    macgyver

    macgyver Well-Known Member

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    There should be indicator that will tell you if it engaged on the instrument cluster.
     
  10. Jun 24, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    #10
    chilow

    chilow [OP] Active Member

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    Thanks! I assume the indicator tells me which gear I'm in as well, such as 4hi, 2hi, etc?
     
  11. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:17 PM
    #11
    pittim

    pittim mittip

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    driving in a straight line in 4wd on pavement isn't going to hurt anything. its once you start turning that stuff gets bound up.

    First gens had the option of two transfer cases. One is a J shift, the other is push button. On the Jshift case, you have to physically move the shifter from 2hi to 4hi (shifter will move right) then up one is neutral and up another one is 4lo. On the push button, its the same as the right side of the J shift (lo being at top, hi being at bottom) where all you do to get into 4hi is push the 4wd button. Once you put it into lo it automatically goes into 4wd, but you can get 2Lo by simply unplugging a connector underneath the truck.


    There is no indicator that lights up, you'll be able to tell what the case is in by looking at it.
     
  12. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM
    #12
    NoDrAmA357HK

    NoDrAmA357HK Well-Known Member

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    Preparing for the ZOMBIE Invasion....need 4x4 Just in Case we gotta head to dem HILLS :) Well that is why I got mine :D
     
  13. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:29 PM
    #13
    chilow

    chilow [OP] Active Member

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    Thanks for the info. Did not know 1st gens had a button option. Always thought it was only the J shift you were referring to.
     
  14. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:37 PM
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    pittim

    pittim mittip

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    afaik, there isn't really a reason as to why some trucks had it and some didnt. might have been something about trucks with the limited package or something, but there is no toyota literature about it that i've read..
     
  15. Jun 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM
    #15
    medic2230

    medic2230 Ditch Doctor

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    Neutral on the transfer case is for if you want to tow the truck with all four wheels on the ground with a tow bar hooked to the front or behind a RV.
     
  16. Jun 24, 2011 at 1:07 PM
    #16
    gonzo6up

    gonzo6up Well-Known Member

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    On the push button model you should be able to feel the front hubs engage when you start driving. One way would be to free spin the front spindles with the truck in 2wd then put it in 4wd and try to spin the spindles again, if it's locked in the spindles won't turn by hand. This is a way to test if the system is engaging if you don't feel comfortable driving on pavement in 4wd.
     
  17. Apr 8, 2016 at 11:23 PM
    #17
    eon_blue

    eon_blue got boost?

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    I know this thread is 5 years old but I'm reviving it because it was incredibly helpful for me, and likely for someone else in a similar situation. I am not new to trucks, but I am new to 4x4 vehicles and just got my first one this week (an '04 Tacoma, 4x4 5 speed). I'm planning on taking it off-roading on some local trails tomorrow to use the 4x4 system for the first time, and having never used one before this thread proved to be VERY helpful.

    One question I still have though; I have the TRD package and am equipped with the factory locker...I have experience with lockers from my previous truck (a 2wd Prerunner) but from what I understand on the 4x4 model, I have to be in 4lo for it to activate. Do I need to activate the locker while stopped or can I switch it on while I'm moving? I know 4 lo is only for crawling, but can I press the RR Diff lock button and have it activate while I'm crawling or do I need to stop first?

    Also, I have the push button 4WD lever on my truck (from what I gather, first gens came with either that or the J-shifter)....if I want to shift into 4HI, all I have to do is hit the button, correct? Provided I'm not going over 50mph

    Whoever owned my truck before me took the 4WD instruction sticker off of the visor so I don't have that to refer to :sadviolin:

    Thanks guys, I have a lot of Prerunner offroad experience, but I'm very much a 4x4 noob....looking forward to changing that asap :mudding:
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  18. Apr 8, 2016 at 11:32 PM
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    neverstuck

    neverstuck Well-Known Member

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    1. I can't really remember. There is however, a mod you can do (snip a wire) for locker anytime so you don't actually have to be in 4lo (or even 4hi for that matter). I did it on my in-laws FJ and it worked great.
    2. It is a shift on the fly transfer case so you can switch from 2hi to 4hi on the go. Make sure you are traveling in a straight line and ideally able to let off the gas and coast while it engages. Doing it while under load or accelerating up a hill is not ideal.
     
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  19. Apr 8, 2016 at 11:37 PM
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    IronPeak4x4

    IronPeak4x4 Uh huh

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    advise switching to 4wd at far low speeds than th max. Like sub 20mph......EDIT: What @neverstuck sez above let off gas coast as switching not under load if possible and on a gradual DH slope also in a straight line forsure if possible
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
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  20. Apr 8, 2016 at 11:38 PM
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    eon_blue

    eon_blue got boost?

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    You're referring to the grey wire mod right? I read about that awhile back on these forums, that's something I'll have to do as I'm used to being able to have my locker on full-time while off-roading when I had my Prerunner.

    The shift on the fly makes sense, but do I have to put my truck in neutral when I engage or do can I stay in whatever gear I'm in, so long as I let off the gas?

    Thanks!!
     
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