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Rear e-Locker Stuck On

TL;DR - I couldn't get my rear e-locker to disengage on a recent trip. Turns out that one of the wires broke at the frame harness, so I need to fix it.

Many have had trouble with their e-lockers - usually because they've not used them for long periods of time and so they get gummed up - but I've never had any issue or run into this situation before.

While out exploring Comb Ridge along the edge of Utah's Cedar Mesa, there was a short section of trail where I thought having the rear diff locked might help to keep the truck from sliding into a sandstone wall along the passenger side.

Pressing the button, the e-locker engaged as it always has, and after driving through the obstacle, I pressed the button again to release the locker and didn't give it a second thought.

Until about 300 feet later when I noticed that the locker was still on. Strange.

This is where I realized the locker hadn't disengaged.

Not sure what was going on, I performed the "usual" unlocking tricks. Forward and backward, some easy turns. Actuating the locker a couple of times. Nothing worked. Hmm.

After mentioning the issue to @mrs.turbodb, we decided that we'd better call it quits on the ruin search and get ourselves headed in the "back" direction, just in case we needed some professional help to get the locker disengaged.

The locked locker wasn't an issue as we headed south along Butler Wash, but as soon as we turned west on pavement, we experienced the telltale jumping of the rear end. It wouldn't be a problem on the highways - where turns are broad and I was aware of the issue - but I wasn't looking forward to dropping the truck off at the storage facility, where they'd have to make tight turns to park it until my next visit.

After a bit more discussion, we decided we had three options:

  1. Use the hi-lift to jack up the rear end of the truck until the tires were off the ground, and then try to rotate the wheels to jostle - and release - the locker. This wouldn't fix the underlying problem, but would at least allow us to drop the Tacoma in Las Vegas as we'd planned.
  2. Take the Tacoma to a shop and have them manually disengage the e-locker by removing the locker housing and prying the locking fork out of the differential.
  3. Drive all the way home - some 27+ hours - so I could diagnose and fix the underlying issue.

None of these were great options, but we figured we might as well start at the top and work our way down the list, since neither of us wanted to spend that kind of time on the road.

Option 1 turned out to be harder than it sounded. Trying to balance a 5500 lbs Tacoma with the rear travel of Chevy 63 leaf springs on a hi-lift inserted into the trailer hitch is nearly impossible, and no matter how we tried, it kept falling to one side or the other.

Option 2 also turned out to be impossible given the time. Already after noon on a Friday, every shop in Page, AZ was at least a few days from being able to take a look at the issue, much less solve it.

Option 3 still sucked.

So, we resulted to Option B - find a parking lot where I could take a look at the situation and try removing the locker manually. I was not looking forward to this option given that I've never performed this operation before, and I wasn't exactly dressed for the occasion.

As I slid under the truck , I took stock of the situation. All the wiring harness were plugged in and the connecters seemed fully seated. Still, before taking the whole thing apart, I had @mrs.turbodb press the RR DIFF LOCK button a couple times to see if I could hear it attempt to acuate; I could not.

And then, I saw it.

The problem.

Finding that wire that'd broken was a huge relief. It wasn't something that I could easily fix, but it was something I could temporarily hold together with a pair of pliers while @mrs.turbodb pressed the RR DIFF LOCK button to disengage the locker!

Five minutes later, the diff was unlocked and we were back on the road. I'd have to fix the actual wiring later - the next time the Tacoma ends up at home - but we'd dodged a huge bullet and I thought we might even have time to do those hikes we'd planned for our return trip to Vegas...



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