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Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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99 Toyota 4 Runner stuck in 4 wheel drive. How do I get back

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'99 Toyota 4 Runner stuck inXXXXX How do I get back toXXXXX

Thank you for using just answer.

Do you frequently use the 4x4? Or did you use this for the first time in a while and now it will not disengage?

Is the 4x4 light on solid or blinking all the time now?

There are 2 systems on the older 4-runners, do you have a 4WD button on the side of the transfer case lever?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We useXXXXXoccasionally when it snows. 1st time this winter we've had to use it. The lights are blinking. There is a button on the side.

Ok, thank you.

Did the system fully engage and operate in 4wd when commanded or did this malfunction also?

If you turn your wheels to the side on pavement can you feel front end resistance to verify that the truck is indeed still locked in 4wd?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes theXXXXXdid engage. There is resistance on front end.
Ok, if you go to disengage the 4x4 with the engine at idle and in neutral do you hear any clunk noises under the truck?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

No, when trying to disengage it acts like it is going to disengage, but lights stay on and it is still inXXXXX


I think I know what is going on here but I am asking specific questions for a reason, please answer the above question, do you hear a clunk noise when trying to disengage? Or a electronic motor under the truck working....
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I do not hear a clunk noise or an electronic motor working. but my hearing isn't the greatest either.....

Fair enough, thank you.

Unlike older vehicles that you had to manually lock the front hubs on your vehicle has automatic locking hubs, the 4-runner has an eletronic motor on the front differential called an actuator that works very similar to how a window motor operates, if the 4x4 is not frequently used these motors go bad internally and tend to jamb, even if not needed it is a good idea to cycle the 4x4 in and out about once a month to keep this system operating, what is happening here is the front actuator is stuck and keeping the 4x4 engaged, sometimes you get lucky here and if you tap on the black electronic actuator on the front differential while having someone cycling the system on and off you can get it to start working again, if not then plan on replacing the actuator.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Do you know what an "actuator" will cost? and can any mechanic replace it?


Any decent mechanic can replace these, roughly $200 for a part
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


Thanks I'll try kicking it a few times before I take it to the mechanic.May I ask how long it will take to replace the actuator.

Bolts in and out, only takes about an hour to do
Toyotapro and 2 other Toyota Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks...I appreaciate your suggestions. let's hope I just have to kick it a couple of times. I'm just on Social Security and can't afford to spend too much .