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Old 07-26-2021, 11:09 PM #1
17TRDOffRoad 17TRDOffRoad is offline
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HELP Please!! - Intermittent ABS/VSC/TRAC Light Issue

Turning to the Forum for Help!!

I have a Ď17 TRD OffRoad with 100k miles, 2.5Ē Dobinsons Lift. Lift was installed in 2019, no issues for 2 years until about two months ago while on an 8hr drive home from West Texas when the ABS, VSC and Traction Control lights came on. I noticed bc cruise control immediately went out. Ever since, these lights are very intermittent, some days they come and go, sometimes they stay on for hours at a time, sometimes they donít come on for a week or longer. When they are on, all of those systems are non functioning, also no cruise control. 4WD works, however, occasionally the rear diff lock light will blink as well. When the rear diff lock light is flashing, I have no 4WD. Typically this only happens when I have been driving for hours on a long trip, the ABS, VSC, and Traction Control lights have to be on for awhile then the rear diff lock light will come on and blink.

When the lights are not on, all systems work great.
I have changed out all ABS Sensor wires and all ABS Sensors. I have performed the Zero Point/Yaw Rate Calibration numerous times. I have donek it with the lights on, and with the lights off. It does not help.
No check engine lights or codes. If the lights are on, the only way to clear them is to turn the vehicle off and let it sit off for more than 4hrs (overnight). When I come back, the lights will be off and will only come back on randomly as Iím driving. Could be a few days, could be instantly.

Iím stumped. Iíve read every article I can find with this combo of lights and everyone says ABS sensor wires or the sensors themselves. I ohmed all the original wires and sensors out and they all appeared to be fine, but I changed them anyways.

Trying to save a trip to the dealer, having a friend with Techstream come by next weekend to plug-in and see if that tells us anything. Turning to the forum for help, suggestions and/or advice. Thanks in advance!

UPDATE: 7/27 @8am CST - I managed to scan the ABS sys this morning, all wheel speed sensors are functioning properly. I drove for about 20mins on the highway and the same 3 lights came on, scanned ABS again, all wheel speed sensors are working. Now Iím thinking I need to start looking for sensors related to the VSC and Traction Control systemÖany thoughts on what I should be looking for??



SOLVED: The dash lights were being caused by the rear diff e-locker indicator switch mounted atop the rear diff with the 2-wire plug attached. After reading about this particular indicator switch, it is apparent that this is notorious for failing on all Generations of 4Runners. Itís a simple brake light indicator switch that used to be mounted under the brake pedal in older cars. When the brake pedal is pushed the switch activated, turning brake lights on. In our case the switch is mounted atop the rear diff with the switching mech inside. When the e-locker button is depressed, the e-locker motor activates, locking the rear diff, which in turn pushes the indicator switch, activating it. When the ECU reads a signal from this indicator switch it deactivates ABS, VSC, and Trac Control. Hence the reason I was seeing these lights, the switch had failed and was always sending a signal to the ECU. Swap the switch out, lights go out, everything goes back to normal. Toyota gets close to $80 for one of these, or you can order from RockAuto or eBay for less than $15. Just cross reference the Toyota Part #. I ordered a spare to keep in the glove box as it seems very easy for this switch to go bad, seeing as how it is immersed in the diff fluid and exposed to the same heat and pressures that the diff carrier components are exposed to.

Also discovered that my e-locker motor was locked up. It is not activating. The working theory is that due to the low whine I heard (read below for more info), when the failing indicator switch was sending a signal the ECU kept trying to unlock the diff, which was already unlocked. So, the e-locker actuator motor was just turning full force against itself. It was unable to find time to take it off this past weekend, but I will remove it this weekend, take it apart, ultrasonically clean it, remove all rust and build up, lube it up and reassemble to see if that will fix it. As long as none of the windings are broken, it should be repairable, and as noted below by lbro23, these are supposedly really simple and easy to rebuild. Will post back an update on the e-locker actuator motor when I complete that. As for the moment, this issue has been solved and I have no lights on my dash. Thanks again lbro23!
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2017 MGM TRD Off Road Prem - 106,000miles - Installed Mods Include:
Bilstein 5100s w/Dobinson C59-314 & C59-325 Springs - Dobinsons Upper Control Arms - Toytec Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit - Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines - LT285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers - Warn Lo-Profile Front Bumper - Warn VR Evo 10-S Winch - XenonDepot 5000K HID Low Beams RetroKit - Diode Dynamics Stage Series Pro Yellow Fog Kit - Diode Dynamics Stage SS2 Pro Yellow Ditch Lights

Last edited by 17TRDOffRoad; 08-02-2021 at 07:46 PM. Reason: Issue solved, posting solution
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Old 07-27-2021, 02:19 PM #2
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UPDATE: 7/27 @1:25pm CST - just noticed that I can be sitting still, parked in a parking lot and these lights come on. So I donít have to be moving. I went to the truck on lunch, started it, no lights on dash. About 10mins into lunch the ABS/VSC/Trac Off lights came on, went out after a few seconds, came back on, went off after a few more seconds, then came on and have been on for about 30mins now.

Could this be a bad calibration causing this?? Anything helps!!
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2017 MGM TRD Off Road Prem - 106,000miles - Installed Mods Include:
Bilstein 5100s w/Dobinson C59-314 & C59-325 Springs - Dobinsons Upper Control Arms - Toytec Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit - Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines - LT285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers - Warn Lo-Profile Front Bumper - Warn VR Evo 10-S Winch - XenonDepot 5000K HID Low Beams RetroKit - Diode Dynamics Stage Series Pro Yellow Fog Kit - Diode Dynamics Stage SS2 Pro Yellow Ditch Lights
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Old 07-27-2021, 02:31 PM #3
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It seems unlikely that it'd be a bad calibration, as it wouldn't be such an intermittent problem. It definitely sounds like one of the sensors that feeds into the TC/VSC systems is having some intermittent issues. But ABS sensors wouldn't cause problems at a standstill, and a vehicle speed sensor would affect the speedo readout. Perhaps steering angle sensor? Or the yaw rate/ accel box?
Not sure how to test these though.
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:04 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbro23 View Post
It seems unlikely that it'd be a bad calibration, as it wouldn't be such an intermittent problem. It definitely sounds like one of the sensors that feeds into the TC/VSC systems is having some intermittent issues. But ABS sensors wouldn't cause problems at a standstill, and a vehicle speed sensor would affect the speedo readout. Perhaps steering angle sensor? Or the yaw rate/ accel box?
Not sure how to test these though.
That gives me something to look at. I started thinking about the Yaw Rate / Accel Box today. They arenít as cheap as I would hope. I appreciate the response. Will dig deeper into these items.

Anyone else?
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2017 MGM TRD Off Road Prem - 106,000miles - Installed Mods Include:
Bilstein 5100s w/Dobinson C59-314 & C59-325 Springs - Dobinsons Upper Control Arms - Toytec Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit - Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines - LT285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers - Warn Lo-Profile Front Bumper - Warn VR Evo 10-S Winch - XenonDepot 5000K HID Low Beams RetroKit - Diode Dynamics Stage Series Pro Yellow Fog Kit - Diode Dynamics Stage SS2 Pro Yellow Ditch Lights
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Old 07-27-2021, 10:10 PM #5
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UPDATE: 7/27 @9:00pm CST - Started the Runner this evening and heard a weird whine noise from the rear diff. The lights are still on and now the rear diff lock light is flashing. Went back and unplugged the 2 plugs on top of the rear diff/e-locker motor, lights instantly went off and stayed off. Plugged 2 plugs back in and lights came back on. Seems like maybe the rear diff locker is going out and causing the lights. I can't seem to find any guides for replacing this, anyone have a link or some advice for swapping the e-locker motor out? Mainly, I am trying to figure out if AISIN SAT-002 will work as a comparable replacement or the Toyota Part. RockAuto shows they have this motor in-stock but the picture abs part # they provide is not the e-locker motor, it’s the 4WD Actuator. Since this is a daily driver, I can’t really be without it more than the weekend.

Also, thoughts on is it safe to unplug the e-locker and drive the vehicle? Really don't like driving without ABS, VSC, and TRAC on.

Here's a pic from above the rear diff looking down at the e-locker and the two plugs. The larger 6-pin plug is the signal wire that powers the e-locker to actuate. The smaller 2-pin plug is a signal sender that tells the ECU if the locker has been activated…essentially turns the light on your dash.

I wonder what causes these to bite the dust so early?
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2017 MGM TRD Off Road Prem - 106,000miles - Installed Mods Include:
Bilstein 5100s w/Dobinson C59-314 & C59-325 Springs - Dobinsons Upper Control Arms - Toytec Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit - Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines - LT285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers - Warn Lo-Profile Front Bumper - Warn VR Evo 10-S Winch - XenonDepot 5000K HID Low Beams RetroKit - Diode Dynamics Stage Series Pro Yellow Fog Kit - Diode Dynamics Stage SS2 Pro Yellow Ditch Lights

Last edited by 17TRDOffRoad; 07-28-2021 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:43 AM #6
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With this new information, here's theory #2: There is some intermittent short in the locker indicator switch that is causing the 4wd ECU to think its locked. When this happens, you get lights because ABS and VSC are disabled whenever you're locked up, and you get the blinking diff lock light because the 4wd ECU is sending the motor power to unlock. This would explain why you're not getting any trouble codes, as the car doesn't think anything is wrong. The 4wd ECU just sees that the locker is engaged, and should not be, so it tries to disengage it indefinitely.
However, since it's already unlocked that power gets sent to an open circuit and nothing happens. If this is the case, I'd say just unplug and tie up the indicator harness and drive the car a little bit to confirm the locker is unlocked. Then you're safe to drive in the meantime with vsc and abs. These things are worm gear actuated so it wont just slip or bump and engage the locker.

As for the actuator, I think it's been unchanged since the 3rd gen e-locker. I've had good luck rebuilding them on an '80 series LC, but those were just stuck. Might be worth taking it apart and looking for something wrong, these things really are dead simple.
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Last edited by lbro23; 07-28-2021 at 09:48 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:42 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbro23 View Post
With this new information, here's theory #2: There is some intermittent short in the locker indicator switch that is causing the 4wd ECU to think its locked. When this happens, you get lights because ABS and VSC are disabled whenever you're locked up, and you get the blinking diff lock light because the 4wd ECU is sending the motor power to unlock. This would explain why you're not getting any trouble codes, as the car doesn't think anything is wrong. The 4wd ECU just sees that the locker is engaged, and should not be, so it tries to disengage it indefinitely.
However, since it's already unlocked that power gets sent to an open circuit and nothing happens. If this is the case, I'd say just unplug and tie up the indicator harness and drive the car a little bit to confirm the locker is unlocked. Then you're safe to drive in the meantime with vsc and abs. These things are worm gear actuated so it wont just slip or bump and engage the locker.

As for the actuator, I think it's been unchanged since the 3rd gen e-locker. I've had good luck rebuilding them on an '80 series LC, but those were just stuck. Might be worth taking it apart and looking for something wrong, these things really are dead simple.
You read my mind! Haha! SoÖIím going to take it apart this weekend and see what it looks like, have gone through several articles on rebuilding or ďtaking apart and cleaningĒ the actuator. However, I was also going to order one to keep as a spare, but the Stealership wants $900 for it. I found 2 on Amazon that look identical but they donít specifically say the 5th Gen 4Runner. Both are made by Aisin. One works with the 2008 FJ Cruiser, which should be our same rear axle correct? The other works with a 2007 Tacoma, but it shows the 1GR-FE engine code. Two different part numbersÖany thoughts on this?

Links here:

Aisin SAT-008

Aisin SAT-009
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2017 MGM TRD Off Road Prem - 106,000miles - Installed Mods Include:
Bilstein 5100s w/Dobinson C59-314 & C59-325 Springs - Dobinsons Upper Control Arms - Toytec Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit - Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines - LT285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers - Warn Lo-Profile Front Bumper - Warn VR Evo 10-S Winch - XenonDepot 5000K HID Low Beams RetroKit - Diode Dynamics Stage Series Pro Yellow Fog Kit - Diode Dynamics Stage SS2 Pro Yellow Ditch Lights
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Old 07-29-2021, 10:14 AM #8
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Looks like you're paying an extra $200 for an inch of breather tube, and some sort of extra mounting plate/bolt. The castings and I'm sure the wiring are identical.
I don't usually trust the listed compatibility on Amazon, but Summit racing (who I do trust) lists the 009 for up to the '09 4runner, which is odd because I could swear the 4th gens didn't get an e-locker? Then the 008 is listed for Tacomas up to current. Also doing some searching, someone on the 3rd gen forums had good luck with the 008, so I'd just get that and save the money.

Before you do that though, the problem could just be in the locker sensor, which is a separate assembly that the 2-wire plugs into. See this thread on changing those, and sourcing a cheap replacement: Faulty 3rd Gen eLocker Switch

But the whirring sound you were talking about coming from the rear axle makes me thing that the actuator is bad too. Or the poor thing is just endlessly winding that spiral spring trying to unlock when it already is... Guess you'll just find out when you take it apart!
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Last edited by lbro23; 07-29-2021 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 07-29-2021, 11:58 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbro23 View Post
Looks like you're paying an extra $200 for an inch of breather tube, and some sort of extra mounting plate/bolt. The castings and I'm sure the wiring are identical.
I don't usually trust the listed compatibility on Amazon, but Summit racing (who I do trust) lists the 009 for up to the '09 4runner, which is odd because I could swear the 4th gens didn't get an e-locker? Then the 008 is listed for Tacomas up to current. Also doing some searching, someone on the 3rd gen forums had good luck with the 008, so I'd just get that and save the money.

Before you do that though, the problem could just be in the locker sensor, which is a separate assembly that the 2-wire plugs into. See this thread on changing those, and sourcing a cheap replacement: Faulty 3rd Gen eLocker Switch

But the whirring sound you were talking about coming from the rear axle makes me thing that the actuator is bad too. Or the poor thing is just endlessly winding that spiral spring trying to unlock when it already is... Guess you'll just find out when you take it apart!
You are the man! I really appreciate all the insight and help! I figured the same about the castings and wiring. Already ordered a new indicator switch and will get that in tomorrow, but am going to take the locker motor off as well, clean it up, give it some grease and bench test it before I put it back on. I started to think the same thing, what if itís been trying to unlock this entire time and wore itself out.

After disconnecting the indicator switch last night, I was still able to shift into 4H and 4Lo. I then tried engaging the diff lock, the light keeps blinking, which I think is normal since the indicator switch is unplugged (the ECU can not confirm if itís locked up yet). But I donít think it ever locked. So weíll just take her apart and see.

I really appreciate your help and the info you have provided over the past few days! You have no idea how stressed I was about this whole situation and having to try and figure it out. Especially after changing ABS sensors and wiring harnesses first. Guess itís never a bad thing to put new parts on the Runner since itís now at 100k, but I hate just throwing parts at an issue when I have no idea what the actual problem is!

Will report back with photos and edit my first post once I have made the repair and solved the issue. Thanks again!
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2017 MGM TRD Off Road Prem - 106,000miles - Installed Mods Include:
Bilstein 5100s w/Dobinson C59-314 & C59-325 Springs - Dobinsons Upper Control Arms - Toytec Front Sway Bar Relocate Kit - Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines - LT285/70/17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers - Warn Lo-Profile Front Bumper - Warn VR Evo 10-S Winch - XenonDepot 5000K HID Low Beams RetroKit - Diode Dynamics Stage Series Pro Yellow Fog Kit - Diode Dynamics Stage SS2 Pro Yellow Ditch Lights
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