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Skipping/binding when acclerating from dead stop in 2wd after using 4wd

Just used my 4wd to drive 5 miles to work in the snow today and after taking it out of 4wd at work, the rear end feels like it’s binding/skipping for a couple seconds when accelerating from a dead stop in either forward or reverse. Tried to re-engage and dis-engage 4wd from a stand still and still getting the same issue.

Going around corners when moving is fine in 2wd without binding, but I can still feel the skipping/binding feel when accelerating from a dead stop. Any ideas?

Background maintenance: I use my 4wd for about 30-50 miles/year in the winter and change out all the gear oil every couple of years after about 30K miles of driving. Now have 185K miles on the 4x4 truck. I grease the U-joints around every 50K.

Did this go away after a while. Or is it still doing the long after the truck is out of 4WD? Is it doing this now?

I’ll know more this evening after driving home and making some errands. I only noticed it when I got into work today and drove around the parking lot. I’m sort of hesitant about putting it back into 4wd again since I’ve never heard of a U-joint causing binding.

If this problem has gone away, it is likely the automatic locking hubs are sticking a bit. They take a little easy (not parking lot) driving to get them to release. This is a common problem for limited 4WD users on older trucks. As long as they eventually release (1/4 mile of straight driving) don’t worry about it cycle your 4WD a bit more to free things up. If they don’t unlock, your mileage will drop because of the extra drag.

You were absolutely correct. Thank you.

Turns out just the warmer temps was enough to get it unstuck since by the time I left work and through last evening and today I’ve had no issues in 2wd. Now I just need to find more dirt roads to exercise the actuator and 4wd during the warmer months. Not easy when you live in suburbia.

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Just a guess. I think the front actuators in the differential is not completely disengaging it. This happens sometimes from poor lubrication. Have the oil in the front diff and transfer case changed and make sure you use it regularly. Not using it regularly causes all sorts of problems.

If that does not work, put it in a lift to be evaluated by a competent transmission/drive train mechanic.

I change the gear oil at the right intervals as expected and just did it a year ago before using it last winter. Tire tread depths are equal on all 4 wheels. Trouble is finding a good place to exercise it in the warm weather. I’ve occasionally tried running it in a straight line on dry pavement for 100-200 yards and then pulling over to disengage it to minimize any binding but I don’t think that’s sufficient even if I were to do that once a week over a year during the warm weather. Toyota typically recommends 10 miles/month but like most I’m not sure I can get there when there are no public dirt roads to ride on where I am unless I drive an hour or so out of my way.

Need a little clarification. You say the binding feels like it is coming from the back, but the problem turned out to be the locking hubs were sticking? My truck’s locking hubs are on the front, so that’s confusing me. Do you have locking hubs on the rear wheels? So 2wd mode in your truck is front wheel drive?

It felt like it was coming from the rear when applying the gas in 2wd. The 4wd is a typical part time engagement system where the transfer case engages the front differential. In 2wd, the front should be completely disengaged via the transfer case and only powering the rear wheels.

Ok, it sounds like your truck’s configuration is similar to mine. My locking front hubs are not automatic. I have to get out of the truck and twist them from free to lock if I want to use 4wd. It sounds like yours do that automatically somehow. That would definitely be more convenient. Sometimes I get stuck in a big mud puddle in 2wd and want to use 4wd to get out. To avoid having to walk in the mud, I have to twist the hubs by crawling out the door and laying on the hood and reaching down to twist the hub controls … lol …

I’ve had my hubs bind up like that occasionally, but it has always been b/c I haven’t been diligent keeping them clean and well lubed. I’m supposed to take them apart and do that every 3-6 months, but it is usually like every 3-6 years … lol . . but I don’t use 4wd mode much these days so no worries.

Anyway, glad you got the old beast fixed and working again.

I would absolutely hate that. When the Tacoma came out in 95, I wanted to get one with auto locking hubs and ABS but nowhere in the southeast distribution area could they find one. Local dealer even did a country wide search and only found one in the DC area that a fully loaded limited.

Finally, the day came where a dealership from Dallas called me in Austin and told me they had one with auto-locking hubs in stock. I told them I’d drive up that weekend to buy it.

Due, to a sickness in the family I changed my mind and decided to move back to the MA area. The week before I left I got a call from the General Manager who asked if I could come in and buy the truck since they prematurely stated to whomever (distributor?) that it was sold and listed in my name. The guy made the comment "You’ve got me with my pants around my ankles! What do I have to do to get you in that truck? I’ll even sell it to you at MY cost (invoice - holdback). I didn’t bite, but I still wonder to this day if someone got fired over it.

I don’t know what year your truck is but I believe it has direct front hubs with an axle disconnect actuator on the front differential carrier.

On my old Jeep if I expect to use the 4WD I lock the front hubs when I leave the pavement, there is no reason to wait until you are knee deep in mud.

Sounds about right. The front driveshaft coming from the transfer case going to the front differential will spin freely in 2wd. Was able to put over 15 miles on the 4wd system today in the snowstorm without any issues disengaging.