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Old 05-14-2015, 11:14 PM #1
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Question Is my 4 Runner "Gear Hunting"

Hey everyone! First post here.. I've tried to find my problem w/ search and saw "gear hunting" mentioned a few times.

I have a 2014 T4R Trail Premium, with 10,700 miles. Just bought er two days ago from a local dealer. I love it to death. However, I am feeling/noticing something weird and I am not sure what it is.. After a ton of transmission issues with my Jeep, I went into panic mode.

I've noticed at higher speeds, like 75-80 on interstate, when I go up a hill, it will downshift.. It runs right at 3k RPM.. But, when I get to top of the hill, or even begin going downhill, it stays in this gear... I've tried switching into manual shift and going up into 5th, and nothing happens.. It shows 4th when I switch to manual... If I hit the brake, it will shift instantly.

Is this "gear hunting" -- If so, what is that? Is it bad? I know enough to be dangerous but that's about it.. Wanting some input from the experts... Thanks!!

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Old 05-15-2015, 11:37 AM #2
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You probably DON'T have any problem. If you are trying to go eighty miles an hour uphill the truck needs more torque to maintain that speed. Thus 3000 rpm in 4th gear. Putting it manually in 5th is only telling the tranny ECU that you are allowing it to shift up after it has crested the hill and no longer needs to be applying more torque.

In manual mode it will NOT shift to a higher gear. Manual mode is actually a TOP GEAR LIMITER: You can manually shift down gears but it won't shift up if the transmission ECU is telling it that it needs more torque.

Now then if you are in 4LO and crawling off-road say at 5mph you can use the manual mode to go into any of the five gears as long as you are not trying to crawl up a really steep hill where more torque is needed.

I hope I haven't confused you.
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Totally stock 2013 SR5 4WD. Have added Toyo Open Country M/T LT 265/70-R17 (E) tires the first week I owned it. Added second set of Toyo M/Ts at 86900 miles.Added RCI OFF-ROAD Rock Slidersat 84000 miles. Added RCI OFF-ROAD front skid plate at 90,000 miles. Daily driver and so far spending about 30% of time/mileage off-road. Previous truck 2004 Land Rover Discovery that also spent about a third of it's life off-road. I HANG AROUND HERE "THE T4R FASHION FORUM" JUST FOR LAUGHS.
Perfect vehicle as it stands for northern Nevada terrain. Keep it stock - it'll go most anywhere as is.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:59 AM #3
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Thanks for the info!! That makes sense.

I guess it just bothers me that it does it even when it flattens back out.

Also, say I have cruise at 75mph, and I have to slow down for something.. When I hit resume, it will go (eventually) to right at 3k RPM's and sit there in whatever gear that is, even on flat land.. For miles and miles.. As soon as I hit the brake it will shift, or if I romp it.. Part of me is just angry that it's sucking more fuel I assume at those RPM's (reflected in the MPG readout too).
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:13 PM #4
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Hmmm - I've never had mine at 75mph or above. Only time I use cruise is when I'm at about 60mph driving the straight flat 25 mile road between Fernley and Fallon Nevada. That's when I can get it to 23 miles per gallon. There is one RR overpass and it will shift to 4th while in cruise and then will immediately shift back up to 5th at the top of the overpass.



Maybe you should have the dealer take it for a spin at 75 mph with the cruise on. Might be a cruise control issue.
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Totally stock 2013 SR5 4WD. Have added Toyo Open Country M/T LT 265/70-R17 (E) tires the first week I owned it. Added second set of Toyo M/Ts at 86900 miles.Added RCI OFF-ROAD Rock Slidersat 84000 miles. Added RCI OFF-ROAD front skid plate at 90,000 miles. Daily driver and so far spending about 30% of time/mileage off-road. Previous truck 2004 Land Rover Discovery that also spent about a third of it's life off-road. I HANG AROUND HERE "THE T4R FASHION FORUM" JUST FOR LAUGHS.
Perfect vehicle as it stands for northern Nevada terrain. Keep it stock - it'll go most anywhere as is.

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Old 05-15-2015, 12:21 PM #5
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Just to confirm that that is completely normal behavior. When doing a steep hill climb where you really pushed down on the skinny pedal to make it go, it goes into a "power" mode (OD off?) till it decides to drop back to economy (OD) mode again.

I agree it's a tad annoying as it seems to take it's time dropping back to eco mode. I would manually use the overdrive switch on my tacoma to perfectly time when I wanted OD On/Off in those situations and I would definitely turn OD back on far sooner than the trans seems to automatically be doing it in this case.

BUT, yes, totally normal!
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:51 PM #6
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Thanks Warthog.

As I rarely put the throttle to the floor - generally manually shifting down - I wasn't aware of this mode.
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Totally stock 2013 SR5 4WD. Have added Toyo Open Country M/T LT 265/70-R17 (E) tires the first week I owned it. Added second set of Toyo M/Ts at 86900 miles.Added RCI OFF-ROAD Rock Slidersat 84000 miles. Added RCI OFF-ROAD front skid plate at 90,000 miles. Daily driver and so far spending about 30% of time/mileage off-road. Previous truck 2004 Land Rover Discovery that also spent about a third of it's life off-road. I HANG AROUND HERE "THE T4R FASHION FORUM" JUST FOR LAUGHS.
Perfect vehicle as it stands for northern Nevada terrain. Keep it stock - it'll go most anywhere as is.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:28 AM #7
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My 2015 trail downshifts when I go downhill too. I think there is a level sensor controlling this.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:37 PM #8
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Oh, man, this is a very serious problem, I hope you've already solved it. I started having the same trouble when I was 150 , is far from home and I was very worried because I didn't know what is happening and I didn't want to remain in forest with a broken car. I was going hunting that day, and I was very happy until my car broke because after reading Under Reviews I chose much nice stuff for the hunt and wanted to test it.

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Old 05-29-2020, 05:33 PM #9
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Gear hunting

I'm srry man I know exactly what you are talking about and without experiencing it it would sound normal but my sport is doing the exact same thing I never noticed it b4 and all the sudden it just started dropping gears while going down hills or even when i let off the Gas wich is normal but I don't think it's normal for an rpm spike and its definitely worse with the ac on it doesn't do it all the time but sometimes it even does it at low speeds pulling into a parking lot there's no issues shifting up or cruising on the highway it's only downshifting and it really is annoying i dont have any trouble codes but I do have an abs light on i think due to a speed sensor I don't think this would be relavant but I'm not a toyota tech srry i couldn't be more help but go with your gut if you think something is wrong there probably is there's a lot of very knowledgeable pple on here but they can't drive your truck and experience what you are
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