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Skyvisions, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 14505
Experience:  Toyota Master Diagnostic
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I have an 02 4Runner sport edition 4wd, I tried switching

Customer Question

I have an 02 4Runner sport edition 4wd, I tried switching into 4wd but the lights continue flashing no matter what I do. The center diff button does nothing either while I push it, the whole thing just keeps flashing. When I bought it 4 months ago all this worked fine, I have found that when I first start it up and put it into drive that the back passenger tire seems to be locked up and I have to really give it some gas to pop out of whatever it's doing and then it drives fine. I'm just very worried it's the t-case which I don't have 1,000s of dollars to fix... Is there a chance it's just something small?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.

Did you try all the normal things like popping it into neutral allowing the vehicle to roll slightly and engages into four-wheel-drive? Are all of the tires worn evenly for our to the tires newer than the rest?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have tried all those things, when in 4L it seems like part of the truck is in neutral as it drives but also revs like in neutral, 4h it seems likes its switched over by the feeling but the lights are always flashing and never solid. All the tires are worn evenly, none of them are wearing unevenly
Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.

If the lights are flashing then the system is not engaging four-wheel-drive. The problem is usually never the transfer case itself. 90% of the time it ends up being the actual actuator that amounts to the back of the transfer case. What I have done in some cases is climb underneath and the rubber mallet bang on the actual transfer case actuator carefully while someone tries to engage the four-wheel drive. Block the wheel so that you don't hurt anyone. Or ideally put it on a lift. Sometimes jarring the transfer case drive motor will cause it to shift back and forth and it does then move it in and out multiple times while it is working at one time. The bad news is the transfer case actuator is about $1000 and the labor is about seven hours times your local labor rate. I know that's not what you wanted to hear but hopefully if you can get it to start to engage and disengage by using it multiple times it will free up. This normally happens due to lack of use probably from the prior owner. The wheel locking up in the back it's possible the rotor or caliper could be hanging up. Once it breaks loose then your normally fine. I would have the brakes inspected if you have not done so already.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I finally got it to switch off, I then ran through it again to try and figure it out. The 4wd works fine it clicked like usual and the green wheels stayed lit. The problem seems to be when I engage the center diff lock or whatever that orange light in the middle of the wheels. I switched everything off again and it all turned off after a few minutes. What would the center diff lock be useful for anyway? Can I just use the 4wd and not worry about the diff lock? The most off-roading I do is just driving on snowy roads and the 4wd seems like enough for that. I will look into the breaks in the rear, I crawled under the back and saw the coil spring on the side that locks up is slightly off its space and is hanging off the side a little. Would this be causing that wheel problems at all?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not sure if you can see to the left of the coil but that's where it should be resting somehow it's off to the side a bit, the other side it correct though and it never has that weird locking thing happen
Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.

The center differential lock simply engages the front and rear wheels so that you have no slip from front to back. The criteria to get the center differential lock engaged can be quite troublesome sometimes. I know it has to be in neutral and temperatures have to be a certain way. Essentially this is designed for off-road in situations where you're in mud and it's deep and you need all four wheels spinning with no speed differential or slippage front to rear. You can simply continue driving Using the four-wheel drive as normal without the center diff lock it won't hurt anything. It will perform just as good and most people never notice the difference. That picture you sent looks like the coil spring might be broke that in itself will not cause it to lockup as you have described but you need to have it addressed so that it doesn't continue to cause further problems. Should not be displaced like that if it is in fact out of the seat cushion.