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Unread 10-31-2011, 08:28 PM   #1
bigblue
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Default 03 4Rnr center diff trouble.

Hi gents, I'm new here and relatively new to 4 wheeling.

I have a 03 4Runner with a V8 and continuous 4WD which I really like but I'm having troubles with the transfer case / centre diff. Long story short, my truck was at a tranny shop and the tech took apart the TC only to discover, lo and behold, the WAS nothing wrong with it. After reassemble, the actuator motor gasket leaked, which I insisted he repaired. Well he solved the leak but ignored my informing him of the service bulletin about disconnecting the battery before you screw around with the actuator. So I drive it away with LOTS of pretty lights on my dash and have to pay the dealer $1800.00 for a new 4WD computer and a new yaw rate sensor. Flash forward two years…my centre diff lock feature doesn’t work (never worked great after my misFORTUNE). Sometimes it would lock when I pushed the button and thus deactivate the VSC, but most times it would just blink. On occasion I would drive slow and turn hard left and right and sometimes it would lock, I have since discovered this is not a good thing to do – oops. The last time I tried this it made some banging noise and then it seemed to bind and stop the truck, so I pushed the button again and backed up and it was back to normal variable 4WD.

So here’s what I’m wondering, can the actuator motor be damaged so that it has some power, but not strong enough to move the shift forks…….. Or does it sound like the centre diff is pouched and I need a whole new TC?? One more thing, I had the dealer check it out and we had to fight with it to get it to lock then it wouldn’t unlock. When they put it on the hoist, one or more of the wheels turned a small amount, then it unlocked. Another time it wouldn’t lock, but when they lifted it off the wheels the same thing happened and it would lock. Since then I have jacked all 4 up and it does not lock.

If it wasn’t such a bugger of a job to replace the actuator, I would just do it to see if that solved the problem. A wrecker TC with actuator is about the same as just the actuator from the dealer. Other than that…. I love my Toyota.

Thanks a bunch.
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Unread 10-31-2011, 10:38 PM   #2
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Unfortunetly, my understanding is that when you do not disconnect the battery before screwing with the actuator you run the risk of screwing up the shift rod connected to it. This was explained to me by an older technician who has seen a few of them come through like that.
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Unread 10-31-2011, 11:03 PM   #3
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ya I have heard it can mess it up. I'm just not sure if it can be "broken" to a degree. In other words, work sometimes, or if you zig zag around long enough it works, or is it a case of when it's fried it will never work.

Last edited by bigblue; 11-01-2011 at 06:10 AM. Reason: spelling
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Unread 11-01-2011, 09:38 AM   #4
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Why did you pay the dealer to fix something another shop broke? Sounds to me like the tranny shop should cover all costs, and if not, small claims court.
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Unread 11-01-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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Ya I hear you, don't make me start crying again...

After a month with them and two complete tear down and reinstalls, I couldn't take anymore.
The original trouble shoot was for severe banging that would start at 80km/h and continue till almost a stop. I fluctuated the steering, the speed, the brakes while this was occuring and I couldn't effect the banging. Once stopped it would be fine untill I got up to 80 km/h again, then the same thing all over. I thought it possibly had something to do with the drive line, thus my talking to a tranny shop. They called me once the looked at it and told me the found metal in the TC oil ??? What do I know. Once they toar it open and examined, they manned up and said they could find nothing wrong and put it together. That's where we pick up with the oil leak and the second tear down and reinstall to fix that. I paid them nothing which sounds like an obvious outcome but for a softy like me knowing they had something crazy like 20 - 30 shop hours into it, I still felt a bit bad.
Now if your really trying to bring back bad memories for me, I need to tell you what was the cause of the terrible noise. Remember when I said I screwed around with the speed and steering and brakes, trying to isolate the noise? I thought the Ebrake engaged the calipers........ wrong (I'm a rookie). As probably everyone of you know, the Ebrake is a set of shoes inside the hub, so I didn't fluctuate the pressure to see if that chaged the noise. That's right, a seazed Ebrake cable kept the shoes on one side braking and for some reason when you get up to speed, this loud banging would happen. So yes, ALL these troubles over a seazed Ebrake cable.

Now, whether it's related or not, my actuator motor doesn't seem to have the balls to get the job done.............. or........ is my center diff shagged???
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Unread 11-01-2011, 08:59 PM   #6
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I recommend that you just get a replacement TC.

Check out car-part.com, may end up being simpler than keeping going back to get a TC fixed with a zillion shop hours.
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Unread 11-01-2011, 11:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulldog View Post
I recommend that you just get a replacement TC.

Check out car-part.com, may end up being simpler than keeping going back to get a TC fixed with a zillion shop hours.
I'm going to side with Bulldog, it sounds like its an intermitent problem caused most likely from a slightly bent shift rod. Sometimes it can engage and other times it binds up. Most likely caused by the previous shop playing with the actuator while it had battery voltage.

If you do replace the TC, save the old one to have torn down, if the shift rod is bent (which it most likely is) I would use that as evidence and take the shop to small claims to cover the repairs they charged you as a result, the cost of a new TC, and also any compensation you feel obligated to.

But seriously, they more than likely screwed the TC and I think they should pay for it.
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Unread 11-02-2011, 06:14 AM   #8
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Thanks guys for the input. That carparts.com is a great site, it looks like I should be able to get a complete TC with actuator for close to the same price as a new actuator. I came across another thread on this site where someone, can't remember who, cracked his TC and brought in a replacement from carparts.com and he seemed very happy with it and the transaction.
As for the tranny shop, I didn't pay them anything, and I just want to forget about it and learn from those misfortunes.
My wife wants me to buy her a car, this means I can play more with my 4Rnr.
I'll keep you informed as to the progress, this is a site great resource for learning things about my Yota.
Many thanks.
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Unread 11-12-2011, 07:39 AM   #9
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Replacement TC on it's way, bought it through car-part.com. I'll let you know how this project progresses.
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Unread 11-18-2011, 10:16 AM   #10
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Replacement TC arrived. IMG_4111.JPG

IMG_4112.JPG

Shipping with pick-up from Ontatio to Alberta for $86.35 by Day & Ross, not bad.
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Unread 05-29-2012, 02:06 PM   #11
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Swap complete, nice weekend job.
The only thing that surprised me is the 8 bolts attaching the TC to the Tranny are only torqued to 17 pounds. The clowns that worked on it last had it troqued so tight I had to use a snipe, and one actually snapped off.
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