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I have a 2008 automatic 4WD FJ and this is my second winter in interior Alaska. When temps get really low, shifting into 4WD gets difficult if it has been sitting outside for a few hours. The tranfer case shifter is hard to pull back without "extreme" force compared to normal, until things warm up.

Does anyone else experience this? It is resistance at the shifter lever and not really an issue going into 4WD once the lever is moved.
 

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I've experienced this a few times as well. If possible I try to warm things up a bit by driving around or idling in neutral if I can't do that (with my foot on the gas a bit to keep up the rpm's so I actually get some heat).

If I'm doing an overnighter in the bush in the winter I will just leave it in 4Lo or 4Hi.
 

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^ Definitely run synthetic!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Are you running synthetic or conventional gear oil in the transfer case?

If conventional, switching to synthetic will reduce viscous drag when the lube is cold, and should improve shifting into 4H range.
I am definitely running synthetic. It feels more like the shifter is frozen in place and after a few minutes of driving I can shift it with my pinky lol

Just a minor inconvenience when leaving work and there is weather that I'd rather be in 4WD and I have to stay in 2WD or really yank on it (which I don't ever want to)
 

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It wasn't as cold here, but we recently had a cold snap and some snow. I drove to work on Monday, it shifted from 2H to 4H (and back again) easily. The next day (roughly same temps), it would NOT shift from 2H to 4H - same thing as the OP, like the lever was stuck. Luckily, the snow was light and I was able to drive for a bit in 2H to warm it up to see if that would fix it. Still wouldn't go. I stopped at a light, put the trans in N and tried, still wouldn't move. I figured I shouldn't mess with it on the road (in case the tcase gets stuck in N or something). So, I drove home, backed up my driveway (with a slight incline), put it in P, put on the parking brake, then it shifted into 4H no problem. I don't know if it was going into reverse, being in park, or what 'fixed' it but then it worked fine after that.
 

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I know that my owners manual specifically states that it will difficult to shift from 2WD to 4WD in colder temperatures, and I have found that when the temp is below 15-20 deg f it just won't do it while I'm moving.
 

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I know that my owners manual specifically states that it will difficult to shift from 2WD to 4WD in colder temperatures, and I have found that when the temp is below 15-20 deg f it just won't do it while I'm moving.
"Won't" I feel is a subjective variable.

Mine is definitely harder at -40.... but I make it work.
If possible.... drive it a bit prior to trying. Or better yet.... if you feel like you will need 4wd in the morning, put it in 4wd when you park it.
I've done that on wilderness camping trips, etc.
 

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"Won't" I feel is a subjective variable.

Mine is definitely harder at -40.... but I make it work.
If possible.... drive it a bit prior to trying. Or better yet.... if you feel like you will need 4wd in the morning, put it in 4wd when you park it.
I've done that on wilderness camping trips, etc.
I'm sure that if I forced it, it would go into 4WD while I was moving. I just don't want to do that, I'd much rather stop and shift it if it doesn't want to go freely. Also, living in the mountains of Colorado, I have been know to just leave vehicles in 4WD for a week or two at a time.
 

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Like @FJtest said , change the oil to some synthetic. Mine was easier to shift and noticeably quieter after switching to redline gear oil.
 

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Like Winter says if you know your going to need 4H put it there the night before. That's what I do :)
 

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X2 on the synthetic oil!!

All oils should be switched to synthetic.... without doubt.
 

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There was a thread from a guy in Kenya asking if the 6MT transfer case can replace the AT transfer case (advantage: Full Time 4WD) I believe it's the same transfer case on the 4Runner except the T4R uses a servo rather than a lever.
I don't think that thread went anywhere, but I reckon it would be a great mod for you guys in colder climates.
 

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There was a thread from a guy in Kenya asking if the 6MT transfer case can replace the AT transfer case (advantage: Full Time 4WD) I believe it's the same transfer case on the 4Runner except the T4R uses a servo rather than a lever.
I don't think that thread went anywhere, but I reckon it would be a great mod for you guys in colder climates.
I'm happy with what I've got 😎
I like being able to drink my coffee while driving. :geek:
 

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I'm happy with what I've got 😎
I like being able to drink my coffee while driving. :geek:
Just the transfer case, not the tranny!
 

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a real driver can drink his coffee, hold his girlfriend's hand and shift a manual transmission at the same time!

(and pull away from a stop on a hill without rolling backwards)

:)

Of course, a real cowboy looks down on those who can't handle a horse, but that isn't a necessary skill anymore either. (Debbie Downer "wah,wah" sound)
 

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It's been quite a while since I cinched a latigo.... Lol.
 

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Another win for the MT......in the frigid temps (-25F and lower) by the time I can shift gears smooth the transfer case shifts smooth.
 
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