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2003 toy tacoma 4whl dr-6cyl 5spd-no 4 whl drive-accuator ? -no front wheel drive

please help with this problem-cannot locate where accuator installs on front wheel drive-no good schematics-nor any hidden secrets to installing it(ie;clearences or other not sure about installation procedures)-placed order 2/23/2013 -any and all help website or search locations would be appreciated-kudos to click and clack,enjoy listening every week -great show thanks again for any and all help

The actuator is located inside the transfer case. The transfer case needs to be removed from the vehicle and disassembled in order to replace the actuator.


Just a couple of thoughts and suggestions for what it is worth as you don’t give much info.

DO NOT dive into this job. If you have electronic 4wd engage switch you may have TWO actuators. I hope you are talking about the one in the front differential ! One engages the 4wd at the transfer case and one locks the front differential to the half shafts which turn unlocked all the time. Unless you know which one to replace, you may be going down the wrong rabbit hole. So if you haven’t already, hang the truck from a lift with the wheels suspended and the 4wd mechanism engaged.

Start turning drive train components from the wheels back to see which is not working. The actuator at the differential is the easiest to replace. The other one, if in the transfer case, may require it’s removal. As the case may also support the transmission, it requires a lot more dismantling than a guy in a garage can do. It may require several hours and EXPERIENCE. Pray it isn’t that one. Hopefully you are not just replacing the one you can see and assume that is the fix…as @tester says…there is another.

One caveat. If you find everything is working in your test, but the light on the dash is not indicating, it may be engaging but the the position switch isn’t turning the lights on. Toyota actuators are tough, their switches aren’t and they require replacement with the entire actuator to get them working again.
IMHO, I would change the transfer case oil and front differential oil, go for a LOOOONNNG drive with it actuated and hope the switch turns the light on…IF THAT is the case. Without more information, we can only guess as to why you think you need a new one. If you do get it resolved, make sure at least once a month you drive at least 10 to 20 minutes with 4wd engaged to warm up fluid and keep actuators and switches working freely. The biggest cause of 4wd failure is LACK OF USE.

to both tester& dagosa-many thanks to the suggests-and know for sure that it is the diff accuator(not transfer case)-did not state before tested on racks-not engaging in front only(spinning wheels as suggested)-part is on the way-$245.00 most resonable i could find for it-for others, my info before did not include that i do not have electronic front 4 wheel drive-shift only no button ,light on dash stopped working same time 4 whl drive went south. tested wiring on front accuator-bad — i will change out oil on both as suggested in your post dagosa-thanks again ,will update if problems acure when changing out

Over the long haul, 4wd vehicles (including AWD) cost at least twice as much to maintain as 2wd vehicles…Usually, for most owners, this “feature” is needed less than 1% of the time…


Yes and no. If you don’t drive and operate them according to manual instructions and USE them to keep lubricated, then yes. If you actually use them as intended,but go off road and break things, yes. They are lots of things I do with my 4 wd that caused added maintenance. BUT none was drive train related as I have driven and maintained it according to instructions. Subarus with their added parts need less repair then many two drive vehicles. My 2wd Chevy truck was always wanting a repair somewhere, especially the trans linkage and fuel system and shocks and…while my 4wd Toyota trucks only need parts replaced as I broke them…like springs and universal joints bouncing off rocks. So, you have a point…but only doing stuff that 4wd vehicles can do and only if you don’t take care of them as they should which btw, is minimal.

But, I would give you nearly all 4wd owners who as far as mileage is concerned use 4wd just 1% of the time…But, when you need it, nothing else works any better. That 1% is worth waiting for the other 99% of the time.
That 1% renders a 2 wd TOTALLY useless. That 1% of the time means a 2wd is about as useful as shelter to get out from under the rain and nothing more. That 2wd is no longer transportation, it’s an albatross.

It sounds like you have everything covered. It should be a job you can handle and worth your effort. But, it should not be that expensive to farm it out to an independent either. Best of luck !