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Old 12-05-2007, 09:31 AM   #1
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when to lock the center differential?

hi, i've been off-roading with the runner around 5 times and i'm amazed of how capable this truck is, never letting me down and performing as well as my friends lifted fjcruisers, however i'm a little confused when to lock the center diff, in what situations is this feature best? uphill,muddhole,snow,while stuck, etc. thanks
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:07 AM   #2
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I would lock the cdl any time i am going to be going off the road. The reason to have it unlocked its to run on high traction surfaces (pavement). So anything off pavement where a wheel could slip and optimum traction lock the cdl.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:07 AM   #3
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I lock mine when the terrain is really rough or loose, and it's better to lock it before you get stuck. While just driving on gravel roads I leave it open. When it's locked you basically have the same as a part time 4wd and you need slippage on one or more wheels to prevent bind up.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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It can take some distance to get the center diff locked up. So don't wait to lock it until your stuck, because by then it may well be too late.

The only significant offroading I do is on the beach or on a snow-covered, unplowed dirt road to the rifle range. I lock the center diff for both.
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:06 AM   #5
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A centre-diff' lock on a full-time 4WD is open to abuse - see the manufacturer's handbook. If it is engaged on firm surfaces it can cause transmission wind-up and rapid wear. If it is not engaged on loose surfaces the diff' can overheat and fail; it is small and does everything three or four times faster than the road wheels. It is quite strong enough if used correctly.

Googled info, I was curious myself, hope it helps.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fastkevman View Post
A centre-diff' lock on a full-time 4WD is open to abuse - see the manufacturer's handbook. If it is engaged on firm surfaces it can cause transmission wind-up and rapid wear. If it is not engaged on loose surfaces the diff' can overheat and fail; it is small and does everything three or four times faster than the road wheels. It is quite strong enough if used correctly.

Googled info, I was curious myself, hope it helps.
what do you mean by fulltime 4wd? like the v8 4runner, mine is a v6 and i have to switch to 4hi to use the 4 wheels otherwise its just RWD.
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:43 AM   #7
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The V8 4Runner is fulltime 4WD -- it does not have a 2WD mode. It is either in 4WD hi or 4WD low.
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:58 AM   #8
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Will the center diff only activate in 4 Low?
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:28 AM   #9
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The center diff can be locked in 4 hi as well. It doesn't take me any time to get it locked, I shift to neutral, put my foot on the brake, push the button, and wa-la, its done.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:34 AM   #10
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The center diff can be locked in 4 hi as well. It doesn't take me any time to get it locked, I shift to neutral, put my foot on the brake, push the button, and wa-la, its done.
Mine will usually go right in. But on occasion, I have to turn it back off, shift out of neutral, move a couple feet, and try again. YMMV.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by caturi View Post
what do you mean by fulltime 4wd? like the v8 4runner, mine is a v6 and i have to switch to 4hi to use the 4 wheels otherwise its just RWD.


then why are you asking when to lock the center diff you obviously dont have one
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:29 PM   #12
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All 4th gen 4Runners have a center diff lock which is similar to the 3rd gen '99-'00 Limiteds and then all the SR5s got it in '01.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X-AWDriver View Post
All 4th gen 4Runners have a center diff lock which is similar to the 3rd gen '99-'00 Limiteds and then all the SR5s got it in '01.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the 99-00 Limited's got Rear Lockers. CDL's came in 01+ models.

EDIT: Okay, I had to confirm it, so did some research. 99-00 Limiteds listed on ebay confirms that they did come with Rear Lockers, not CDL.

2000 Limited

1999 Limited

It's too bad that they did away with it in the 4Runners. I have a 2002, and it would've been awesome if I had VSC/TRAC AND a Rear Locker.
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Last edited by cackalak han; 12-17-2007 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:12 PM   #14
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Oh yes,the rear lockers didn't disappear til '01 but the Limited prior had a the multi-mode auto tranny with the center diff lock which was activated just buy pushing the button on the side of the 4wd lever. It was similar to having an AWD mode which can be used on dry pavement as well as wet.

Not all Limiteds had a rear locker but it seems most did,my mom's '99 has it but I doubt it's ever been used by her.
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:11 PM   #15
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I have a 03 with the V6. I have a button for the center dif lock on the left side of my panel. I was in 4wd most of Sat & Sun pulling my little trailer w/ hunting dogs thru corn fields and dirt roads covered w/ 6" of snow & ice. I just have not messed with the CD lock since it was doing so well in 4Hi. Now I'm hearing I should have locked the CD to keep it from overheating on slippery surfaces?? Next time I'll hit the CD lock. How can I tell if I've done any damage?
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
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then why are you asking when to lock the center diff you obviously dont have one
Because he does have one. All 4th gen 4Runners have a lockable center differential. As described on Toyota.com for the V6:

Quote:
Multi-Mode 4-wheel drive with Torsen® limited-slip center differential with locking feature
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:50 PM   #17
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This is a great link for learning about diffs.

http://www.lcool.org/technical/diffs/diffs.html

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:30 AM   #18
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Was hunting all last weekend, pulling smal trailer thru mud, snow, very soft gravel (thawing) I used my Center Dif Lock quite a bit. When I got on dry asphalt I turned off the Center Dif Lock, if I went on a 2 lane hiway that was dry I went back to 2 high.. Anyone know if all the switching back and forth will wear out the switching mechanism early? I know it will wear out, but is a lot of back and forth ok?
Hit 175,000 over the weekend too.. When I made it back home you had to look behind the sunroof on top to find any blue..
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:46 AM   #19
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Hi, I am planing to buy a 4wd suv, and confused between 2013 4runner or 2013 jeep grand cherokee trail hawk. Is 4runner as capable as the trail hawk? Also is 4runner limited as good in offroading as the trail edition? Knowing that the trail has rear lock diff and limited has a center lock diff. I would appreciate if some one can furnish me with some info. Thanks
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:47 AM   #20
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You're on a toyota site... So, 4runner all the way! The new grand cherokee's are just cars with big bodies on them anyway. and the Trailhawk is slighlty more capable than a stock cherokee. I would say that the 4runner is going to be more capable and have more aftermarket offroad support for modifications..

But thats just my opinion.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:47 AM
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