DIY 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

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Thread: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

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    Default 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Hi guys- Sorry in advance for a long post about my 4wd blinking orange light problem...

    I've been reading many posts on this wonderful site as well as others devoted to toyota trucks as I've got the blinking orange light - 4wd problem as well on my 2002 Sequoia SR5 that I've owned since buying it 8 years ago next month brand new - 79,000 miles on it. I am trying to avoid opening up my wallet for the dealer if I can fix it myself with parts.

    I'll give you what I've done and figured so far and ask you guys to chime in with advice to nailing down the solution.

    So this past summer I engaged 4wd - first time since the winter before - to get out of a slick muddy driveway and the orange light began blinking - and i had trouble getting out - now realizing i wasn't in 4wd. the 4 green lights were on but the orange was bliniking and has continued to blink since June - though I have been in 2wd all the way. I normally only put the truck in 4wd each winter - NOW I KNOW TO EXERCISE THE THING MORE!

    So we had a big snow in Dec. in Virginia and I couldn't get out of my street spot that i didn't clear because my toyota trucks always just launch out of snowed in conditions. thus i figured i had no 4hi no 4 low, no locking center diff in 4 lo L shifter position. Blinking center light - no 4wd.

    This week i removed transfer case actuator cover with motor and found the elec contacts of the wheel/gear to be in about the middle of the run where they ride the tracks powered by the worm drive and motor - not all the way rotated either way. so i was able to manually rotate the gear around to 4wd position and then back to 2wd position. everything felt smooth and good transfer case gear wise. at this point the drive axle going to the front diff spun freely.

    after putting actuator cover back on then i put the ignition in on position and pressed the 4wd button and - i hear the buzz - but the orange light was still blinking. so i pull the cover again and the gear/wheel is in middle in 'no mans land' again. so I manually rotate it to 4wd engaging the front drive shaft and then back to 2wd freeing the front shaft.

    at this point i decide to road test it and as I begin in 2wd I notice NO BLINKING ORANGE - which had been on since june. then i try to engage the 4wd hi low/locked diff, etc. forward reverse, rolling, stopped etc. - nothing. blinking orange back on - greens go on and off with switch - but only in 2wd.

    i pull the transfer acuator cover with motor take it in to the bench and put 12vdc to it and get it to spin fine - so it seems like motor is o.k.

    The front ADD I can't take the cover off because the phillips screw heads are rusted and don't grip at such a long reach - and though I was able to break the 4 12mm bolts free with PB Blaster I realized that I would drain the differential fluid if I pulled the whole assembly - so i held off on that so far. I think i will try to put 12vdc to the front actuator and see if i can get it to 'actuate'. so far i haven't heard any noises coming from it - but it could be not getting a signal to actuate due to the incomplete shift of the transfer actuator and a faulty position switch maybe?

    so is it possible that one of the position switches is bad - sending the wrong signal or no signal to the 4wd ECU which in turn will not activate the 4wd through the front ADD?

    So according to the Service Manual Diagrams that I've attached there appear to be:
    5 - 4wd position switches



    1. No. 1 4WD Position Switch
    2. no.2 4wd position switch
    3. L4
    4. Neutral
    5. Transfer 4wd Position Switch on the second diagram
    6. and there's another one marked Transfer L4 Position switch - unless this is a repeat?



    Do I simply try to unscrew each of these and test for continuity? The ADD and Transfer case sections of my service manual seem to cover removing them but not testing them.

    Also - how do i get to the 4wd ecu to test it - as there is a whole table of voltages to test what's happening. Is it behind the center console?

    And - is it possible that even though my transfer actuator spins and buzzes it is partially shot not having the power to go 'all the way'?

    Could both actuators be bad at the same time? (I think I know the answer to this.)

    I'll try to post some photos of what I'm doing as this must happen to lot's of Sequoia and Tundra owners who don't use their 4WD's regularly enough.

    Any advice appreciated!

    Thanks!

    vasequoia
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Very lengthy but very detailed post. It sounds like you actuator may be operating properly as it worked when you bench tested it. I would lean towards the transfer position switch, it may be sending a false signal to the 4wd ECU telling it is either fully engaged or not engaged which is causing the actuator to quit in mid stream as the ECU believes it has already fully engaged.

    I believe the 4wd ECU is behind the glove box, not positive though. I believe the only thing in the cener consule is all your stereo components.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Yeah...good luck. I have no help but am following your thread as I have had a similar problem before and will probably soon have it again. WHY can't they make the switch to 4wd less complicated or at least less "touchy"? I can't believe I have to remember to exercise it in the warmer months. I almost always forget for months on end.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Thanks 4342 - it is a rather large posting, sorry. there are just so many elements to this 4wd system.

    so on the transfer position switch - even if I've manually turned the transfer gear/wheel all the way to 4wd - it's position may not be sensed properly by the front diff via the ecu - and thus the ADD is not kicked into action - and thus no power goes to the front wheels - even though the front drive shaft is locked to the rear.

    It is correct that the front ADD 'grabs' onto the front driveshaft to send that power to the front drive? So the ADD not only has the locking diff function - but also must operate to be in 4Hi as well?

    So in this theory - if I can put 12vdc directly to the front ADD and get it to 'buzz'/actuate - then it should indicate that there is a bad switch/sensor - causing the ECU not to send the requisite power to the ADD? (or a worse case would be bad 4wd ecu?)

    If I can't get it to 'actuate' I guess I'll bite the bullet and disconnect the whole front ADD assembly and drain whatever diff fluid that comes out. If I do this and bench test it - and need a new one, or whatever - can I bolt it back on - and only driving in 2wd - drive it for a while before I refill it with diff fluid? I would envision waiting for a new actuator assembly, etc. from the dealer but needing to occaisionally drive it in 2wd. Luckily I have a 4wd 2002 Tacoma as my every day run around work truck.

    Thanks again!

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by vasequoia View Post
    Thanks 4342 - it is a rather large posting, sorry. there are just so many elements to this 4wd system.

    so on the transfer position switch - even if I've manually turned the transfer gear/wheel all the way to 4wd - it's position may not be sensed properly by the front diff via the ecu - and thus the ADD is not kicked into action - and thus no power goes to the front wheels - even though the front drive shaft is locked to the rear.

    It is correct that the front ADD 'grabs' onto the front driveshaft to send that power to the front drive? So the ADD not only has the locking diff function - but also must operate to be in 4Hi as well?

    So in this theory - if I can put 12vdc directly to the front ADD and get it to 'buzz'/actuate - then it should indicate that there is a bad switch/sensor - causing the ECU not to send the requisite power to the ADD? (or a worse case would be bad 4wd ecu?)

    If I can't get it to 'actuate' I guess I'll bite the bullet and disconnect the whole front ADD assembly and drain whatever diff fluid that comes out. If I do this and bench test it - and need a new one, or whatever - can I bolt it back on - and only driving in 2wd - drive it for a while before I refill it with diff fluid? I would envision waiting for a new actuator assembly, etc. from the dealer but needing to occaisionally drive it in 2wd. Luckily I have a 4wd 2002 Tacoma as my every day run around work truck.

    Thanks again!
    I would suggest testing the sensors first for continuity. The tundra manual shows how to do this. I'll see if I can post up the page. This would be the easiest. If it's the sensors, the signal is not being sent to the front ADD and there fore not shifting the fork in the front diff to complete the 4WD engagement. If all sensors check out to be fine then, the issue is more than likely with the front ADD in the diff. I do not recommend driving with an empty front diff. Unless you have manual hubs. Realize, even if you are not in 4WD, the front diff is still spinning because they are still connected to the CV axles, wheel/tire assembly. If you drive without oil, your chances of destroying the gears/seals are high.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Mike - thanks.

    will go forward on testing sensors- any sense of which one is likely culprit? any photos/locations so i know i get them right?

    so if i remove front ADD and partially drain - I can catch the fluid - put it back in a bottle and add it back in through the fill in the Diff? (i had all the gear boxes done not too long ago with synthetic Mobil gear oil so it should be good). Is that like a big hex key nu higher up on the diff? any photos or diagrams to that?

    Thankyou!

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    Default 2002 Sequoia 4WD Problems: photos front differential Actuator and Transfer Sensors

    Still working on this problem.

    I did remove my front differential ADD Actuator assembly. Drained about a half a quart of gear oil as I unbolted it. Not too bad.

    removed front actuator cover with vice grips to the phillips screws (why not hex head?) - and as I pulled cover it wanted to spin - meaning there was some bottled up torque in it - meaning it was locked up for some reason.

    lot's of yellow (lithium?) grease migration. cleaned it up - moved grease to where it should be on worm drive and hub of wheel gear, etc. put it back together and got full actuator function with 12vdc from cigarette lighter plug terminals 2 and 6 and then in reverse to move it back (tried with ac-dc adaptor - which would spin unloaded motor - but it didn't have the amperage to move the wheel gear and move the actuator arm.

    In putting it back in - can I manually move the differential that the actuator arm moves to see if it moves freely and can be manually be slid left and right?

    can't seem to test/move the transfer actuator. there is a wiring diagram of jumpers from the heater relay - that have baffled this engineer a bit in trying to replicate with a simple 12v dc source + and -. it's clearly not simply pos. 12vdc to one terminal and negative to another. I'll guess i'll have to find that relay and try to wire it up as shown.

    Looking at the sensors/position switches on the transfer case/transmission - can anyone help me identify which are the likely culprits? the two right on top of the transfer actuator would seem to be ones I should check. Do I just unscrew them? Do they have actual 'moving switches' that I can test for function/continuity?
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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    a few more photos...

    thanks for any thoughts.

    I'm going to put the front ADD actuator back in and see if maybe I've unfrozen it - and that was the whole problem.

    If not I'll continue to test the transfer actuator and 4wd position sensors/switches.

    Is that the VSS vehicle speed sensor shown in the first photo on the drivers side of the transmission?

    Also - how do I get to my 4wd ECU? What does it look like?

    Thanks!
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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    To test the motor, plug the connector to the ADD motor. You can do this witout actually installing it back in and have it secured to something (zip tie or something). Then you can test it and engage the 4WD. Look back under and see if the fork moved.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Thanks Mike.

    So after getting good function from the front actuator and arm in my lap by putting voltage to pins 2 and 6 and reversing. I bolted it back in there - and put the test voltage to it and it moved fine both directions - with direct voltage from the cigarette lighter. Then I hooked the harness back up and 'voila' was able to get 4wd - and heard both actuators do their thing - in Park with the ignition to on but engine off.

    Then a short little test drive and the transfer actuator buzzed - but the front actuator would hesitate coming out of 4wd - and then made a clunk sound as it finally came back out and the orange blinking stopped. I put it back in the driveway and cycled it in and out in Park and with engine off and ignition on. And again the front diff actuator began to hang up. The transfer actuator would work consistently - and then the blinking orange and nothing. So I'd go under and tap it and BUZZZ the front ADD actuator would cycle. Then as I kept testing it - it would hang up and by merely slamming my door or bouncing on the running board would coax it to buzzz and go into or out of 4wd.

    So I'm convinced I've got a 'worn out' or bad or hesitant front actuator assembly and I'm going to order a new one. The only thing that makes me hesitate is - it seemed to move more robustly with the test voltage to it from the cigarette lighter - possibly indicating a lack of voltage or amperage coming through the harness meaning maybe a sensor or ECU problem?

    Any rec's on getting that front actuator assembly at a good price? Will it be from Toyota dealers only? Any sell remotely or online and ship to me direct?

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    It's definitely a part to get from the dealer if new. However, the front ADD motor can also be found on tundras and tacos. So, you find someone selling their front diff, you can do that. It would probably be cheaper to buy a used front diff than buying a new ADD motor. It's harder to find just the ADD motor by itself but, you might get lucky. Check craigslist, ebay, TTORA.com, other off road forums.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    I got it fixed!

    Thanks for the help - from this and other threads.

    I got a new front ADD actuator assembly from a nearby Toyota dealer for $320 - had it next day - and put it in. I then refilled the differential up to the fill plug height with mobil synthetic 75w-90.

    Then tested it in park, and while driving, etc. - but on dry roads. It worked great - seemed to need a slight 'hesitation or accel/decel for the 4wd operation to complete - but i'm thinking it was always like that - I just never watched that blinking orange so closely or listened so intently.

    Then - thanking my lucky stars - it snowed 6" this weekend and I was able to put my Sequoia through its 4wd paces - 4 hi/lo and locked front differential in 4 Lo and Column Shifter down in L. It performed like the beast that it used to be! Whew! And Just in the nick of time as we have our family ski weekend coming up and we can't get there or move around up there without 4wd.

    Thankyou Toyota Tundra/Sequoia Forum and Owners - this is the first real repair I've done since I was a much younger guy. I finally feel like a real man again busting around the snow in my 4wd Sequoia - that I fixed myself!

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Good to hear it's fixed. Always feels good when something you worked on actually works.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    ISSUE SOLVED!!!!!!! (on mine any how) as a good place to start with the 4X4 off (the orange light will still blinking) I removed the MOTOR ASSEMBLY/COVER ONLY (four phillips screw) of the front ADD actuator, sure is easier than taken the front differ. out, I bench tested the motor and it work, It did not when I tested installed (terminals 2&6 it was only click, click...) I engage and disengage the front differencial by hand by rotating the exposed gear, the mechanism felt smooth, only thing I noticed was a dry gear and worn gear, I cleaned with a fine grid sandpaper (couple of passes) the rotating contacts/limit switches, bended a little the contacs towards the cover to create more pressure against the contacts on the cover (they made of stainless so they strong) lubricated the gear and worn gear, rotate the exposed gear all the way towards disengage, installed back and TATAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

    I followed the manfacture trouble shooting by toyota maintenance manual and just when I was about to toast $360.00 for the whole ADD actuator, I decided to do it my way, real trouble shooting to the actual failure/issue, as a say before, is just a good place to start.

    As you were...
    Last edited by Capitan; 07-12-2010 at 10:25 PM.

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    Default Re: 2002 Sequoia No 4WD, Blinking Orange Light, Actuator Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capitan View Post
    ISSUE SOLVED!!!!!!! (on mine any how) as a good place to start with the 4X4 off (the orange light will still blinking) I removed the MOTOR ASSEMBLY/COVER ONLY (four phillips screw) of the front ADD actuator, sure is easier than taken the front differ. out, I bench tested the motor and it work, It did not when I tested installed (terminals 2&6 it was only click, click...) I engage and disengage the front differencial by hand by rotating the exposed gear, the mechanism felt smooth, only thing I noticed was a dry gear and worn gear, I cleaned with a fine grid sandpaper (couple of passes) the rotating contacts/limit switches, bended a little the contacs towards the cover to create more pressure against the contacts on the cover (they made of stainless so they strong) lubricated the gear and worn gear, rotate the exposed gear all the way towards disengage, installed back and TATAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

    I followed the manfacture trouble shooting by toyota maintenance manual and just when I was about to toast $360.00 for the whole ADD actuator, I decided to do it my way, real trouble shooting to the actual failure/issue, as a say before, is just a good place to start.

    As you were...

    I did the same as Capitan on my 2001 Sequoia. Very similar issues to the thread, blinking light, etc. and had to use a rubber hammer and block of wood. Got the trans case and front differential fluid changed and hoped that I would be good to go. No luck. Stuck and blinking again.... But then read Capitan's post and tried taking off the just the cap of the actuator while it was still connected. Cleaned up the yellow grease, which had spattered all over the cap. Used Q-tips to get it on the worm gear. Also bench tested the motor on 2 and 6 and knew it was working. Put it all back together per Capitan's post and TATAAAAA, it worked!

    Thanks again everyone for working so hard on your posts, pictures and details and keeping us informed on your true trouble shooting technigques. This saved $$ and time! Just have to think that the FSM should consider mention of the problem with grease mucking up the contacts, etc..., oh well...

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