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2008 FJ Cruiser 4-Wheel Drive not engaging

Help! My 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser’s 4-wheel drive is not engaging. I’ve tried it in park, neutral, and while driving. Nothing. At first I thought it may have been just the sensors not showing me that the vehicle is in 4WD, but it definitely is not engaging when put into 4WD. It has always worked great. Recently I did have an auto repair shop replace my water pump. In replacing the water pump, is it necessary to disengage the 4WD? Could they have forgotten to reattach something? I’m leary of taking it back to that same shop now, but I’ve got a hunch this is related to the water pump replacement. Advice?

There are solenoids that activateb at the front differential to engage with the front drive shafts and not just at the transfer case and is the easiest to deal with… I would take it to a dealer and have it evaluated to see if something was left unplugged and perhaps check the contacts. Placing it on a lift to see exactly what is turning and what isn’t is important. Is it still under drive train warrenty ? I have had luck with simply changing the fluids and making sure I ran the unit for at least twenty minutes at a time, once a month. Hopefully, it’s something that simple, which it should be for this vehicle that new.

If per chance it is something more serious, and still is under the 6 year part of the warrenty, it would warrant a big whine to the customer relations deptment at Toyota head quarters USA. I got satisfactory results for a similar problem on my much older 2004 4Runner. The dealer will try to charge you. Work through them if it’s cheap and the manufacturer if it’s expensive.

Not under warranty unfortunately.

  • So there should not have been any correlation between replacing the water pump and that interfering with the 4WD components then right?

  • Sounds like there is no way for me to tell if something is “unplugged” without getting it up on a lift?

I did have the dealer do an oil and brake change a while back, and they were recommending a differential service, but I already had that done a couple of years back. They may have unplugged something during that most recent inspection. I’ll get it into the dealer for a look.


Are you using the 4wd infrequently…which is usually the biggest problem.
As I mentioned earlier, just because it has more then 60k miles, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the manufacturer. They pay the dealer, the dealer gives nothing away. Unplugging something is not usually going to go UN noticed. I would not count on that. But service may help. I would op for that first. If it does help, use the thing regularly on straight roads if you have to, to warm it up. Both the front diff and transfere case…change the rear too, especially if you have a locker.

I didn’t use it much over the past 6 months. I’ll get it checked out and will start using it more often.Thanks for the advice!