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Hi all,

We got a hell of a cold front and some snow here in CO this morning (yesterday's high was 80, today's is 28). As this is my first snow with the FJ i was super excited to test her out. Also, I just grabbed some General Grabber AT3's that I was excited to test out.

Anyhow, it appears my 4 wheel drive may not like the cold. I tried to engage 4HI and got nothing, not even the yellow 4x4 indicator. When i tried to go 4 lo, i just get a blinking red 4x4 indication.

I have used the 4 wheel drive a lot recently in the mountains. Does anyone have an idea what the issue could be?

2012 Manual 6spd 4x4
 

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Zack...apologies if I am being pedantic...but a bit confused about your post. The 6 speed manual FJs are full time all wheel drive... plus the have HL (high locked) and LL (low locked) settings. The 'locked' settings are locking the center torsen differential.

Still doesnt sound like the center differential is locking properly and I hope someone can chime in on what you are experiencing.

But here is where I am confused. Even without the locked center differential, you should have had no problem playing or driving in the snow without the locked center differential since it is still full time AWD.

Secondly, when you mention that you have been using 4WD a lot lately are you saying the you have been using the high locked (HL position) on the transfer case lever? And, if you are using this when driving in the mountains....are you using it only on low traction surfaces such as snow/ice, dirt/gravel? Or are you saying that you have been using it in HL position while driving paved roads in the Colorado mountains?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ive been using 4H and 4L only while on rough trails (rocky trails up to mountain passes) or in mud (recently had some fun muddy uphill trails). Never on pavement.

I didn't know that it was full time AWD. This is my first 4x4 vehicle.

I had no issues in the snow and ice this morning, so the awd + tires explain that. I just noticed that when i tried to engage 4h (getting out of my apt complex that wasn't plowed yet) I didn't get the usual yellow indication. This was interesting, so i stopped and tried 4L and got blinking red indication.

I'm definitely not taking you as pedantic. I'm a noob, so you can assume ignorance (maybe even a little stupid mixed in there)

So that i understand completely, 4H sends 50/50 power to front/rear via locking the center diff? 4L gives you a low range, but does anything else happen? (I know I have to separately lock the rear when i need it in 4L). A-trac also only works in 4L correct?
 

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Ive been using 4H and 4L only while on rough trails (rocky trails up to mountain passes) or in mud (recently had some fun muddy uphill trails). Never on pavement.

I didn't know that it was full time AWD. This is my first 4x4 vehicle.

I had no issues in the snow and ice this morning, so the awd + tires explain that. I just noticed that when i tried to engage 4h (getting out of my apt complex that wasn't plowed yet) I didn't get the usual yellow indication. This was interesting, so i stopped and tried 4L and got blinking red indication.

I'm definitely not taking you as pedantic. I'm a noob, so you can assume ignorance (maybe even a little stupid mixed in there)

So that i understand completely, 4H sends 50/50 power to front/rear via locking the center diff? 4L gives you a low range, but does anything else happen? (I know I have to separately lock the rear when i need it in 4L). A-trac also only works in 4L correct?
4H does the same thing as the AWD mode except it locks center differential (e.g. you can get drivetrain bind when you are on high traction surfaces). 4L locks center differential and gives you low range gearing. The locking rear differential only works when you are in 4L and is usually only used during certain circumstances when you want both rear wheels to be locked together (e.g. driving the same number of revolutions). I believe A-trac only works in 4L but I am not 100% certain without consulting the owners manual My suggestion is that you read the owners manual closely to learn how to properly operate and when to operate the various 4WD systems.

If you don't have one, you can go to the Toyota site and download the appropriate owner's manual.

Now to address why the center locking differential was not engaging when cold whereas it was working before...lets see if some others can chime in. @FJtest...any thoughts?
 

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or @mikey; he's got cold/snow and a manual.

and because I can't help myself, it sounds like the shift fork on the center diff has some sticky grease. Now, I'm making some assumptions: its similar in design to the front diff engagement mechanism, it has grease that is wearing out, it has grease and cold could possibly affect grease like that.

had another idea and I like this one more: the cold weather has pulled a failing connector apart. when it's warm, the connection isn't great but it works. Now that it's cold, things shrink and the connection is broken. do you have a friend with a garage you could take over to warm up the FJ?

yep, that's all i can think of without knowing anything at all about the manual boxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Interesting. I'll browse around for loose connectors. I'll also try it again today as its warming back up.

Are the center and front diff electronic like the rear? How are they actuated? Solenoid?
 

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or @mikey; he's got cold/snow and a manual.

and because I can't help myself, it sounds like the shift fork on the center diff has some sticky grease. Now, I'm making some assumptions: its similar in design to the front diff engagement mechanism, it has grease that is wearing out, it has grease and cold could possibly affect grease like that.

had another idea and I like this one more: the cold weather has pulled a failing connector apart. when it's warm, the connection isn't great but it works. Now that it's cold, things shrink and the connection is broken. do you have a friend with a garage you could take over to warm up the FJ?

yep, that's all i can think of without knowing anything at all about the manual boxes.
Incorrect guess ...

The Torsen center differential used in the manual transmission FJs is internal to the transfer case, and has absolutely no similarity to anything in the front differential. The FJ front differential does not have locking capability, just the ability to engage and disengage drive to the passenger-side front axle.

Being located inside the transfer case, the Torsen diff is lubricated by gear oil, there is no grease to thicken or "wear-out". The locking function shift-fork is directly mechanically controlled by the transfer case lever, so there is no motor-driven "actuator" to go bad. If you physically shift the transfer case lever into HL or LL ranges, the diff is locked, unless there is some other mechanical fault in the transfer case.

I don't see any solid indication here that the OP actually has any kind of mechanical problem in the driveline, just that the indicator instrument panel indicator lights are not correctly showing the actual locked/unlocked status of the center differential. The sensing switches on the transfer case are failure prone, and sometimes do not electrically "close" when mechanically actuated. The switch function can be easily checked by unplugging the connector and using a digital multimeter to measure internal resistance: switch OPEN should be several megohms, switch closed should be <0.5 ohm

I'd suspect that there's a problem with the locked-diff sensing switch or wiring harness.
 

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Incorrect guess ...
, just the ability to engage and disengage drive to the passenger-side front axle....
This is only true for an FJ with an automatic transmission, OP has a 6 speed manual.

When it is cold -30 or lower the transfer case works just fine. It might be a little stiff until it all warms up.

One thing with the 6MT FJ when in H and the FJ gets squirrely.....trust the traction aids (nannies). It is counterintuitive for sure but....man do they work.

In the winter if it is slippery and you are having trouble to get going, start of in 2nd winner winner chicken dinner every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the info @FJtest!

I just tried 4H, 4L, and diff lock over lunch and everything is working fine now. I'll check the electrical connection to the sensor over the weekend.

Thanks everyone else for the info and patience with my ignorance. I'm enjoying this forum and my FJ.
 

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Thanks for the info @FJtest!

I just tried 4H, 4L, and diff lock over lunch and everything is working fine now. I'll check the electrical connection to the sensor over the weekend.

Thanks everyone else for the info and patience with my ignorance. I'm enjoying this forum and my FJ.
shoot, if it weren't for ignorance I'd never learn anything Hope it works out!
 

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This is only true for an FJ with an automatic transmission, OP has a 6 speed manual. (snip) /QUOTE]

You're 100% correct, I forgot to include "auto trans" when talking about the front diff actuator/no locker functions. The MT front diff is just a conventional open diff without any actuator, position sensor, etc.
 

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I'm still a little confused. I have an auto trans.. 6 speed transfer case knob doesn't have 4H or 4L on it. ????
Auto trans transfer case knob:

auto knob.jpg


6 speed transfer case knob

manual transfer.jpg


To add to confusion, 6 speed shift knob and an auto transfer case knob. Has it got an incorrect transfer case knob?

auto 6 speed.jpg
 

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I'm still a little confused. I have an auto trans.. 6 speed transfer case knob doesn't have 4H or 4L on it. ????
Auto trans transfer case knob:

View attachment 1095684


6 speed transfer case knob

View attachment 1095686


To add to confusion, 6 speed shift knob and an auto transfer case knob. Has it got an incorrect transfer case knob?

View attachment 1095688

All those are correct. The 6MT is an all wheel drive drivetrain. So it's ALWAYS in 4 wheel drive. No need to move the transfer case selector to engage the front wheels. They are always engaged. On the 6MT transfer case knob:
  • H = High
  • HL= High Locked
  • N = Neutral
  • LL = Low Locked
Anything with "locked" in the name locks the center differential giving a 50/50 power split between the front and rear wheels and will cause binding while going around corners on high traction surfaces (like asphalt).

The automatic transmission drivetrain is always in 2 wheel drive with the front drive shaft disconnected until you move the transfer case knob to something with a 4 in it.
 
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