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Have a 2009 Toyota Tacoma four cylinder with cruise. While driving in cruise at 70mph when I come to a long hill it shifts down to SECOND. Toyota claims thats the way it is designed and its operating the way it should. I can’t believe this and they say theres no fix. What do you think?

I think that if it isn’t redlining then you are fine.

But I also think that this is a 4 cylinder pickup truck. If I hit a hill that my vehicle can’t reasonably maintain speed on I turn off the cruise, control by foot and lose speed if that’s what it comes to.

The other thing about cruise controls is that they are fairly stupid - in the sense that they don’t know that you’re about to climb a hill. My cruise (but we’re talking a Ford Escort) is a little slow to figure this out, so I actually start to throttle up a bit as I come to hill. This picks up a bit more momentum and carries the hill better. Next time you come to a hill, just think “my cruise control doesn’t know how to drive” and take over.

Thanks for the feedback. I guess what bothers me is I’ve had four pickups with the same setups, four cylinder, eccess cabs and all shifted down on this same strech, but they all shifted down to third not second. The last being a 2007 suzuki, went to third and right on up hill. This Toyota doesn’t even try third.

If it’s an automatic, how do you know it is second gear, and not third gear? Transman, it there a specific “passing” gear in these transmissions?

Are you sure the downshift is into 2nd gear? 2nd gear at 70 mph would be a whole lot of rev’s, like 6,500 or more. Your Tacoma has a 4 spd auto and I suspect it is shifting into 3rd. The 1st downshift is the torque converter unlocking, then it goes from 4th to 3rd.

If you floor it from a dead stop you can see where the shift from 1st to 2nd comes in (likely about 30 mph or less) then 2nd to 3rd (which I expect comes at a 55 to 60). 2nd at 70 mph is just screeming in a PU.

Well, I’d say that going straight to second is not something I’d expect. And I can’t say whether it is normal or not. I know that I have an old '95 Caravan that would pull most any hill w/out downshifting or maybe down to third. I now also have an '00 Olds Silhouette and despite similar engine size & gear ratios won’t pull a hill to save its life. If I leave things to the cruise control it will end up in 2nd - but only by way of 3rd. I have figured out that at least some of it has to do with a worse cruise control in the Olds. I can’t use that cruise on anything but mostly flat roads - worst (stupidest?) cruise control I’ve ever owned.

Anyway, if you have direct comparisons to past trucks I don’t know enough to tell you what makes the difference or if you should pester Toyota some more. Keep in mind that Toyota will tell you whatever keeps you out of their hair.

Good point about the TCC, and maybe it is third.

Edw - what are the rpms at this point?

If it’s not in cruise control, does it do the same thing?

ok, here’s my take.

  1. i suspect the tranny is going from OD to Fourth, then to Third.

  2. TO MAXIMIZE MILEAGE, most newer vehicles have taller (low numeric ratio) final drives. this lowers revs at any given speed, at the cost of less torque delivery. so upon hitting a grade where more torque is needed, the tranny MUST downshift. if you’ve already lost substantial momentum, it may have to shift down twice.

there is a grade on my way home. normally, i’d pull it down at ~50 - 60 mph in OD. if there was a vehicle slowing to turn off, i used to have to downshift to 4 th or even 3rd if i lost a bunch of momentum.
now, there is a turnoff lane, so i rarely have this ‘problem’ anymore. and i can continue to pull down all grades in 5th/OD, which has long been my preference.

as cigroller said, the dumb CC cannot anticipate hills. YOU have to do that and speed up ahead of time, if you want to forestall a downshift. if there is traffic ahead, you have no choice but to put up with the need for a lower gear.

It is flat out redlined. On this same hill if I anticipate the shift and manually put it in third it climbs right on up with little effort. When this first happened I had a toyota rep ride with me and even he was surprised at the action.

There’s no question its in second as the rpm is right on the red line and on lesser hills when it goes to third its hardly noticeable. Also if I manually put it in third you hardly notice it.

The old vacuum operated cruise control actuators could only pull the throttle open so far, vacuum would drop, and that was it…You slowed down, usually without a downshift…Today’s fly-by-wire throttles allow the cruise unit to open the throttle wide (if necessary to maintain speed) and this can force an unexpected downshift which can be unnerving but it’s normal…

Like everyone says…It may be normal and doing what it’s suppose to do, keep you at 70 mph at all cost. If it drops two shift points, I’d take a mechanic for a ride to make sure. But, the dealer would love to show you a lot full of v6 Tacos as a fix…

Sounds pretty normal to me. It’s just doing what you told it to, it’s keeping you at 70 MPH at all costs. Keep in mind a 4 cylinder will have to work harder to keep the truck at speed than the V6 model would under the same circumstances, so it’s not suprising that it would have to drop a gear or two.