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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I use my RAV4 TRD OFFROAD for that at times, I've run into an issue. It got pretty muddy on this one backwoods road and a few times that morning the display came up with an alert saying something to the effect of "AWD system Overheating Switching to 2WD". this ended up getting me stuck, and I hate to wait until it cooled off in order to proceed.

Any thoughts? Is there a way that I can avoid this in the future? Or any mods that I could make to assist?

For the record, not off-roading is not a valuable suggestion... Thanks anyways.
 

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A quick search and I found this there here where someone had a similar issue and it ended up being a sensor that Toyota replaced.

How fast are you driving? The AWD system is rated for about 25 mph in mud before it disengages. Since it uses electromagnetic couplers I would imagine that sustaining that speed for extended periods of time would create a lot of heat especially covered in mud where it cannot cool itself.

Also what terrain mode did you select, I am assuming mud/snow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dangit! I searched on my first question and overlooked it on the second one. Thanks for googling that for me!! hahaha

Actual speed of the vehicle was not much more than a crawl... 10km/hr would likely be a stretch. Speed of the ever slipping wheels however? Full spin, full power. It did it 3 times, each of which were when I was going up hill and had to put my foot into it in order to not stop up and get stuck.
 

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Carry water in some type of container that can be pressurized and a hose to direct the water to blast the mud off?

Switch vehicles to a dedicated 4WD system (ie 4Runner).
 

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I would hazard a guess that if everything is working correctly it's just overheating due to being covered in mud and having to be fully utilized before it has a chance to cool off. Heck, even my 1st gen would overheat the rear differential if it was covered in mud and locked for extended periods. You have to think, it's not a true AWD system in the gen 5's. It's AWD when needed via electromagnetic couplers. It's really just meant to get you out of sticky situations, not for mud crawling like a true 4wd or AWD system is.

The Rav4 Adventure is a competent vehicle for off road usage however it does have it's limits. NameofUser has a good suggestion of carrying something to clean off the couplers to let them cool.
 

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A pressurized kids squirt gun should do the trick (Super Soaker and the various competiting brands).
These squirt guns come in various size and hold volume of water proportional to size of gun.
The volume of pressurized water that comes out should easily blast off wet to semi-wet mud.

Super Soaker is one option. Brings back memories. Fun times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Carry water in some type of container that can be pressurized and a hose to direct the water to blast the mud off?

Switch vehicles to a dedicated 4WD system (ie 4Runner).
Yeah... this was not the plan for this vehicle. Life changed. Oops. Now I have to try to make due.

So.... just spray the rear end?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would hazard a guess that if everything is working correctly it's just overheating due to being covered in mud and having to be fully utilized before it has a chance to cool off. Heck, even my 1st gen would overheat the rear differential if it was covered in mud and locked for extended periods. You have to think, it's not a true AWD system in the gen 5's. It's AWD when needed via electromagnetic couplers. It's really just meant to get you out of sticky situations, not for mud crawling like a true 4wd or AWD system is.

The Rav4 Adventure is a competent vehicle for off road usage however it does have it's limits. NameofUser has a good suggestion of carrying something to clean off the couplers to let them cool.
It does do surprisingly well off road... not gonna lie. This is my first true complaint. I can't really grumble about the ground clearance... it's a rav... lol
 

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Most likely you'll have to "Super Soaker" that rear differential, to clear any mud, IF it gets covered in mud when you go off road again, and encounter wet/muddy conditions.

This should prevent an overheat issue. Inconvenient, but waiting for a cool down even more so. Gunning it in only Front wheel drive not any more convenient, but could make a bad situation worse.
 

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As I use my RAV4 TRD OFFROAD for that at times, I've run into an issue. It got pretty muddy on this one backwoods road and a few times that morning the display came up with an alert saying something to the effect of "AWD system Overheating Switching to 2WD". this ended up getting me stuck, and I hate to wait until it cooled off in order to proceed.

Any thoughts? Is there a way that I can avoid this in the future? Or any mods that I could make to assist?

For the record, not off-roading is not a valuable suggestion... Thanks anyways.
No one has mentioned the problem with traction control in AWD vehicles. When going off road in mud or other slippery conditions, there will be a lot of wheel spin. Since the RAV4 has open differentials ( differentials that are not lockable), the computer controls the wheel spin by applying the brakes to the spinning wheel. If you do that a lot, you end up with the brakes over heating. (The same thing can happen with front wheel drive cars as well).

Even dedicated 4x4 vehicles, such as the 4Runner, can have that problem if they do not have locking differentials. My 4Runner SR5 (without locking differentials) turns off traction control in 4 Low to avoid that problem; the driver, however, can turn traction control back on, if needed, by pressing the "ATRAC" button.

Thus, it may not be your differential that is over heating, but it could be the coupler that enables AWD or the brakes.
 

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No one has mentioned the problem with traction control in AWD vehicles. When going off road in mud or other slippery conditions, there will be a lot of wheel spin. Since the RAV4 has open differentials ( differentials that are not lockable), the computer controls the wheel spin by applying the brakes to the spinning wheel. If you do that a lot, you end up with the brakes over heating. (The same thing can happen with front wheel drive cars as well).

Even dedicated 4x4 vehicles, such as the 4Runner, can have that problem if they do not have locking differentials. My 4Runner SR5 (without locking differentials) turns off traction control in 4 Low to avoid that problem; the driver, however, can turn traction control back on, if needed, by pressing the "ATRAC" button.

Thus, it may not be your differential that is over heating, but it could be the coupler that enables AWD or the brakes.
That's....what we have been talking about lol.

And as for wheel spin....
Speed of the ever slipping wheels however? Full spin, full power. It did it 3 times, each of which were when I was going up hill and had to put my foot into it in order to not stop up and get stuck.

So...wut?
 

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This is an interesting off-road test. They took a Rav4 TRD and followed a Jeep Wrangler mudding. They overheated the AWD system too and had to wait for it to cool. I guess slick traction surfaces and a lot of skinny pedal will overheat the electronic coupler/transfer case.

 

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This is an interesting off-road test. They took a Rav4 TRD and followed a Jeep Wrangler mudding. They overheated the AWD system too and had to wait for it to cool. I guess slick traction surfaces and a lot of skinny pedal will overheat the electronic coupler/transfer case.

That was an interesting read. I will say it's impressive that a 5th gen was able to keep up with a Wrangler in those conditions.

I did a trail with me in my first gen and a buddy in a 5th gen hybrid where I followed him. He had to slow down a lot to clear things but it was always smooth. I could power through everything no problem except in one spot where my wheels started to dig. But that was because the ground was loose and having the heavy hybrid go first shifted the dirt a lot. However the takeaway is that even though he had to slow down from time to time to do things a tad bit more cautiously he was able to do the trail without issue. Both of us are fully set for off road with larger off road tires, lift kits, ect.
 

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One thing to point out, the gas only Limited, Adventure and TRD trims have a different AWD system than the standard 5th Gen gas only RAV4. They do have independent clutches for each rear wheel drive line. I don't believe Toyota uses these as a locker of sorts, but this is the difference in the AWD systems. Toyota does use them for low speed cornering and to disconnect the rear drive line for better fuel economy once you get over 35mph (This is for the 2019 version, I believe Toyota changed this to 50mph in the 2020+ models. This was hinted at in the buzz/groan TSB resolution).
 

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One thing to point out, the gas only Limited, Adventure and TRD trims have a different AWD system than the standard 5th Gen gas only RAV4. They do have independent clutches for each rear wheel drive line. I don't believe Toyota uses these as a locker of sorts, but this is the difference in the AWD systems. Toyota does use them for low speed cornering and to disconnect the rear drive line for better fuel economy once you get over 35mph (This is for the 2019 version, I believe Toyota changed this to 50mph in the 2020+ models. This was hinted at in the buzz/groan TSB resolution).
Good point! I wonder how the non-torque vectoring AWD would do in similar conditions overheating-wise. And of course, the hybrid AWD system shouldn't overheat, at least not in the same manner, since front and rear drivelines are independent form each other.
 

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One thing to point out, the gas only Limited, Adventure and TRD trims have a different AWD system than the standard 5th Gen gas only RAV4. They do have independent clutches for each rear wheel drive line. I don't believe Toyota uses these as a locker of sorts, but this is the difference in the AWD systems. Toyota does use them for low speed cornering and to disconnect the rear drive line for better fuel economy once you get over 35mph (This is for the 2019 version, I believe Toyota changed this to 50mph in the 2020+ models. This was hinted at in the buzz/groan TSB resolution).
Correct, the regular Gas model uses a different AWD system as seen on the Toyota site. The screenshot I have here is comparing the LE with AWD, Adventure, and TRD.


The Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive (TV-AWD) uses a clutch pack to engage the rear differential. Inside the rear differential are two more electromagnetic couplers that will apply power to each wheel individually.

The ones the gas models use is a single electromagnetic coupler before the rear differential and the differential has clutch packs inside.

TV-AWD is limited to no more than 25mph in Mud/Snow mode and 15mph in other modes before it disengages. The regular gas models are limited to 25mph in all conditions. Not sure if they updated it to 50mph though that wouldn't make sense as the point of it is to get you moving and then switch to FWD for fuel efficiency. Not arguing it, just stating my own thoughts on if it's true or not.
 

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And of course, the hybrid AWD system shouldn't overheat, at least not in the same manner, since front and rear drivelines are independent form each other.
The rear electric motor is air cooled so I'm almost certain it will overheat too if you push it hard at low speeds.
 

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Regarding the change from 20 to 50 mph is noted in the attached TSB regarding the rear driveline disconnect:

Rectangle Line Font Circle Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No one has mentioned the problem with traction control in AWD vehicles. When going off road in mud or other slippery conditions, there will be a lot of wheel spin. Since the RAV4 has open differentials ( differentials that are not lockable), the computer controls the wheel spin by applying the brakes to the spinning wheel. If you do that a lot, you end up with the brakes over heating. (The same thing can happen with front wheel drive cars as well).

Even dedicated 4x4 vehicles, such as the 4Runner, can have that problem if they do not have locking differentials. My 4Runner SR5 (without locking differentials) turns off traction control in 4 Low to avoid that problem; the driver, however, can turn traction control back on, if needed, by pressing the "ATRAC" button.

Thus, it may not be your differential that is over heating, but it could be the coupler that enables AWD or the brakes.
Interesting point. Thanks!!
 
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