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04 Highlander
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know what the ETC Snow button really does? I assume it locks the center differential. The manual tells you nothing except to push it if you are starting up in snow. The manual never tells you to drop the button out. If it locks the center diff., I would definitely want to unlock the diff. once I got going.:confused:
 

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98 Camry XLE V6
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3,116 Posts
i dont think the HL has a locking differential.

at any rate, the ETC SNOW button basically forces the car to start in 2nd gear. It increases torque, while decreasing upper end hp. Try driving with it. you'll notice a difference. If anything it gives you a smoother start. I've used it while driving in the city with very heavy rains. However this feature tends to heat up the transmission more, so thats why they say use it in snow because the conditions would be colder, preventing the transmission from over heating.

so basically if you need extra traction without the traction control module working overtime you can activate that feature.
 

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2005 HL Ltd. 4WD V6
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535 Posts
ECT Button

I think Nod is correct in saying the HL doesn't have a locking diff. I think the ECT button is pretty "low-tech", actually. The competing Honda Pilot has a locking diff, which works under 18mph, and can be turned on and off with a button. I suppose starting out in 2nd gear can help, but with the 4wd system, I have not needed to use it. By the way, here in Eastern Pennsylvania, we've had about 1/4 inch of snow this winter so far. Unbelievable!
 

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98 Camry XLE V6
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3,116 Posts
my family has the 2wd v6, it helps. i hope the 2nd gen HL comes out with a locking diff, as well as downhill assist and an option to turn off trac control on the 4wd model. Basically i hope toyota makes it like a 4 runner, except i know it will still be another camry on stilts.
 

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2005 HL Ltd. 4WD V6
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535 Posts
brake assist

You know, Nod, my 05 HL has some kinda brake assist. When I'm going down a hill and pump the brakes, I can feel the car, at times (not always), boosting my braking action a bit. I don't recall what Toyota called it, but it's some kinda "adaptive braking", or something like that. When I first got it, it felt weird, as the car seemed to think I wasn't braking enough, so it added a bit more, but now I'm so used to it I hardly notice it. Could that be the same thing you're referring to?
 

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Believe he's referring to an extra low gear that provides more engine braking when descending steep hills, not the brake assist that one feels when one presses fast on the brake.
 

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2005 HL Ltd. 4WD V6
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535 Posts
clarification

The below is a description of the 05 Highlander braking system:

Braking is certain and smooth. Standard on all Highlanders are anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. ABS helps the driver maintain steering control under hard braking. EBD optimizes brake force at each wheel under different load conditions and as the car's weight shifts forward under braking for improved stability and reduced stopping distances. Brake Assist detects an emergency braking situation and automatically maintains enough brake pressure to engage the ABS even if the driver makes the mistake of relaxing pressure on the brake pedal.
 

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98 Camry XLE V6
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3,116 Posts
no im not reffering to electronic brake assist that has gotten me nearly rear ended multiple times on the highway.

its an adaptive smart system that can be found on vehicles like the FJ Cruiser or the new 4runner. Its not a standard feature i believe. And it would only be helpful on a 4wd vehicle.

By the way dont pump your brakes on an abs enabled vehicle. Although it doesnt matter too much these days, but with my slightly older minivan pumping the brakes leads to a disaster.
 

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2005 HL Ltd. 4WD V6
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535 Posts
Abs

Absolutely true. It goes against all that was taught years ago, but now, just hammer 'em and keep steering!! <grin>.
 

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04 Highlander
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for that clarification. I have a 2004. I don't like the feel of the brakes under emergency or hard braking. It feels like I have lost my brakes. When I slam the brakes I have a firm pedal until I apply a certain level of force (don't know how much force I use), then my pedal drops to what feels to me as hitting the floorboard. The pedal may move suddenly down 1/8"-1/4". The vehicle continues hard braking, but now if I try to modulate the braking force by lifting up on the pedal, the car still continues braking unless I practically take my foot off the brake. I have complained to my Toyota dealer and they say this is normal. Thank you for an explanation that no one else has given me.
I still don't like the feel of my brake pedal!
 

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98 Camry XLE V6
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3,116 Posts
me neither, but the idea is that most people in emergency situations do not press the brakes hard enough to utilize full braking strength, so this system helps them, but not us. Like you said, it keeps on going till you let off, so in my cases i would either have to suffer a rear ender or rear end someone.
 
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