Toyota RAV4 4WD

Hi
I have a 2007 Toyota RAV4 Base. It is supposed to be 4WD and automatically activated when needed. This weekend I went to Cape Cod
in Massachustes. I stopped to take some pictures of the landscape and I got stucked on the sand. I pressed the LOCK button and activated the Reverse and the truck was running in false. I tried putting on the lower gear and setting the LOCK on and nothing. I had to wait for the police to pull me out of there.
Question: Does my RAV4 have problems? I got stuck in the SNOW once also and the 4WD did not worked. The slippery light on the panel was on, but I did not see the 4WD light on.
Here is a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YNatf98oV0

Note that the front wheel doesn't activate, only the rear one. I was in reverse, of course, but with the lock on.
Thanks!
Eduardo
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One more video, with a closer view:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsNBjeLVtxU

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Check your owner's manual to see if you have to be in forward to activate the differential lock, then shift into reverse.
--

Ray O
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You should review your owners manual. As I understand the system, pushing the Lock button guarantees that the coupling to the rear wheel drive shaft is engaged, it does not provide the sort of differential lock you seem to think you have. Also, your movie only showed one side of the car. Are you sure the front wheel on the opposite side was not spinning as well? As far as I can determine from the specifications, you probably don't have a limited slip differential at either the front or the rear.
BTW, I suspect you could have driven the car out if you would have lowered the air pressure in the tires (temporarily of course) to 15 lbs or so. I've seen old two wheel drive cars get out of worse situations by "airing down."
Again, I think you need to carefully review your owners manual. I think the system was operating as designed. 4WD can help you get out of some situations, but if you get into a situation where there is no traction, whether your are spinning 1, 2, 3, or 4 wheels you can still get stuck.
Ed
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Hi Ed
Thanks for the information.
Actually, the other side wasn't spinning. When I first got stucked I locked the diferential and put on the lower gear. The slippery light started to blink and the car simply got stuck. The 4WD light on the panel did not came on, so it was definatly not working.
Not sure if I have to take the car to the shop in order to be looked into this possible issue.
Eduardo
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I am not sure how you can say that. The car is primarily a front wheel drive vehicle, and in your picture the rear wheel was definitely turning. This implies that the clutch to the rear wheels was engaged. What I don't understand is how you can have a rear wheel turning without a front wheel (one of them at least) also turning. I have a RAV4 shop manual at home, I guess I'll have to look over the 4WD system. I must not understand somethnig since I was of the opinion it was not possible to have just a rear wheel turning under any circumstance.
Ed

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Thanks Ed, looking forward for your response.
Eduardo
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Well the RAV4 repair manual is not entirely clear on the operation of the 4WD system, however, I still don't see any way you can have just one rear wheel spinning and not have at least one front wheel spinning as well unless something is broken in the front drive system. The transfer case that drives the drive shaft to the rear axle is just a simple ring gear and pinion. It bolts to the right side of the transmission and takes its drive from the transmission (it fits in between the front differential and the right hand front wheel half shaft). The transfer case drives a drive shaft connected to a solenoid activated clutch attached to the rear differential. The rear differential clutch is clearly working since one rear wheel is spinning.
As for your traction control system. You don't have a limited slip differential, you have a traction control system that works by applying the brakes to a spinning wheel and modulating engine power. The following is from the owners guide:
When the traction control system is operating, the following conditions occur:  The system controls the spinning of the front wheels (two?wheel drive models) or 4 wheels (four?wheels drive models). At this time, the slip indicator light blinks.  The vehicle may vibrate or make a noise due to brake operation. This indicates the system is functioning properly. The slip indicator light comes on for a few seconds when the ignition key is turned to "ON". If the indicator light does not come on when the ignition key is turned to "ON", contact your Toyota dealer.
"VSC" warning light
This light warns that there is a problem somewhere in the following systems:  Traction control system  "AUTO LSD" system  Vehicle stability control system  Downhill assist control system  Hill?start assist control system
The light will come on when the ignition key is turned to "ON". When the systems are work properly, the light turns off after a few seconds. If the light comes on while driving, all the above systems will not work. In such a case, the brakes will operate when applied (no electronic assistance will be available), and it will be possible to continue driving the vehicle.
In the following cases, contact your Toyota dealer:  The warning light does not come on when the ignition key is turned to "ON".  The warning light remains on after the ignition key is turned to "ON".  The warning light comes on while driving.
The "AUTO LSD" system aids traction by using the traction control system to control engine performance and braking when one of the front wheels begins to spin. This system is used only when wheel spinning occurs in a ditch or on a rough surface. This system is effective in case one of the front wheels is spinning.
The following is from the owner's guide for the 4WD system:
Active torque control 4WD system
The active torque control 4WD system controls the engine torque that is applied to the rear wheels according to the driving conditions and road conditions. When the vehicle's driving conditions are stable such as driving straight ahead, the engine torque is applied to only the front wheels.
FOUR?WHEEL DRIVE LOCK SWITCH
When the vehicle is driven on loose surfaces, such as sand, gravel, or deep snow, or if the vehicle gets stuck, pushing the four?wheel drive lock switch to ensure that the engine torque is applied to the 4 wheels.
When the four?wheel drive lock switch is pushed, the four?wheel drive lock indicator light blinks twice and remains on until the four?wheel drive lock is canceled.
To cancel the four?wheel drive lock, push the switch once again and the four?wheel drive lock indicator light will go off.
When the vehicle speed exceeds 40 km/h (25 mph), the four?wheel drive lock will be cancelled automatically.
The four?wheel drive lock indicator will come on for a few seconds when the ignition key is turned to "ON".
If the indicator light does not come on when the ignition key is turned to "ON" or the four?wheel drive lock switch is pushed, contact your Toyota dealer.
NOTICE
Use the four?wheel drive lock only when driving on the loose surfaces, such as sand, gravel, or deep snow, or if the vehicle gets stuck. After the four?wheel drive lock is used to provide traction, cancel the four?wheel drive lock. Using the four?wheel drive lock at other times may cause damage to the four?wheel drive system.
SYSTEM FAILURE WARING
The "4WD" warning light warns that there is a problem somewhere in the active torque control 4WD system.
The light will come on when the ignition key is turned to "ON". When the system works properly, the light turns off after a few seconds.
If the warning light does not come on when the ignition key is turned to "ON", contact your Toyota dealer to service the vehicle.
If the "4WD" warning light flashes...
This indicates that the driveline temperature has become too high. Without turning off the engine, do either of the following to cool the driveline:  Reduce vehicle speed until the light goes off.  Stop the vehicle at a safe place and allow the engine to idle until the light goes off.
If operation of the vehicle is continued while the light is flashing, the system automatically shuts off the engine torque that is applied to the rear wheels to protect the driveline. If this happens, the light will flash faster.
When the driveline temperature falls enough, the light will go off.
If the "4WD" warning light remains on...
This indicates that the system may not work properly. Contact your Toyota dealer to service your vehicle.
I am not a trained Toyota technician, so it is entirely possible that I am misinterpreting what I am seeing in the manual. However, at least to my eye, it does not appear possible to have just one rear wheel spinning. It seems to me that you could have just one front wheel spinning because the rear drive shaft clutch didn't engage (or disengaged because you overheated it) or that you have one front wheel and one rear wheel spinning and that your traction control system is not operating, either because you are spinning the wheels too fast (it disengages if the speedometer indicates 40 mph or more (this is easy to do if only one wheel is spinning) or because it is broken. However, if it is broken, there should be a warning light telling you there is a problem.
I just can't picture a scenario where you have only one rear wheel turning unless you have broken something in the front wheel drive system. If it was my car, I'd take it to the dealer. If they can't find a problem, I'd jack up one front wheel at a time, leaving the engine off, the transmission in park (or in first gear if the vehicle is has a manual) ,and with the other three wheels firmly on the ground three on the ground and confirm that the wheel off the ground cannot be "spun." I just can believe there is something wrong with the front wheel drive system that doesn't make the car drive strangely.
Ed
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