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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Its been a well documented issue that the 2006 - 2007 Highlander Hybrid sometimes have issues where the TRAC (traction control) and VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) will practically shut the car down, and refuse to move.

This type of situations sometimes happens in loss of traction situation like climbing a hill with not so ideal tires (non snow tires in the winter) or trying to say pull a boat out of the water.

This tends to render the vehicle both pretty and useless.

TO OVER COME THESE SITUATION - Just disable the TRAC/VSC

[edit: This statement is now confirmed incorrect]Toyota might have figured that this was a real issue going forward, so for the 2008+ Highlander Hybrid, they installed a "TRAC/VSC" disable button that will temporarily diable TRAC/VSC, and turn it on the next time you restart the car. [/edit]

Folks - read carefully - and read well. If you own a 2006 to 2007 Highlander Hybrid, you must memorize these sequence of steps.

TO DIABLE TRAC/VSC TEMPORARILY ON YOUR 06/07 HH:

1) Turn the Key from Off to ON/RUN (without starting the car)
You now have exactly 1 minute to execute the following (lots of time):
NOTE: Hold your brake peddle down throughout this proceedure
(this allows you to shift from P to N)


2) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

3) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in N(eutral)

4) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

5) With the brake peddle still pressed, Start the car.

Your car will now display that you are in FWD Maintenance Mode and your TRAC / VSC will be disabled untill the next time you start the car.

I've tested this out, and it works for my 2006 HH. However, we are still stuck without the ability to force it into 4WD mode. I haven't tested to see if the Rear Motor would even work at all with the TRAC disabled.

Now everyone go out and train yourself in this dark art, and let me know if it works for you too.

:chug:

I am sure Toyota's got a way to force the rear motor to output - else, how would they test / diagnose it.

I guess that would be the next challenge.
 

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BY the way, the 2008+ Highlander Hybrids DO NOT have a TRAC/VSC disable button. The disable button is only in the non-hybrid version of the vehicle.

I did try the steps above on my 2008 HH and they do indeed work. Too bad it disables TRAC/VSC and leaves the vehicle in 2WD mode. To rock out of ice/snow having 4WD would be best.

Still, the best solution seems to be GOOD tires and if necessary good WINTER tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BY the way, the 2008+ Highlander Hybrids DO NOT have a TRAC/VSC disable button. The disable button is only in the non-hybrid version of the vehicle.

I did try the steps above on my 2008 HH and they do indeed work. Too bad it disables TRAC/VSC and leaves the vehicle in 2WD mode. To rock out of ice/snow having 4WD would be best.

Still, the best solution seems to be GOOD tires and if necessary good WINTER tires.
OK - I spoke too soon, and gave Toyota too much credit. I guess this would also be good to know for alll Highlander Hybrids.
 

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steamn2
2009 HH LTD
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TO DIABLE TRAC/VSC TEMPORARILY ON YOUR 06/07 HH:

1) Turn the Key from Off to ON/RUN (with starting the car)
You now have exactly 1 minute to execute the following (lots of time):
NOTE: Hold your brake peddle down throughout this proceedure
(this allows you to shift from P to N)

2) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

3) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in N(eutral)

4) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

5) With the brake peddle still pressed, Start the car.

Your car will now display that you are in FWD Maintenance Mode and your TRAC / VSC will be disabled untill the next time you start the car.

JoeBoxer - Am a little confused, possibly cause my 09 HH has no key. But shouldn't instruction 1 say (without starting ....) instead of (with ....). Haven't tried yet -wife has HH out of town - but want to save/print instructions to have in glove box when needed.

Also, do you think there would be any significant effect on gas mileage if HH was run with TRAC/VSC turned off 100%?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
JoeBoxer - Am a little confused, possibly cause my 09 HH has no key. But shouldn't instruction 1 say (without starting ....) instead of (with ....). Haven't tried yet -wife has HH out of town - but want to save/print instructions to have in glove box when needed.

Also, do you think there would be any significant effect on gas mileage if HH was run with TRAC/VSC turned off 100%?
Hi Ron, for the 2008+ Highlander Hybrid ... I think this will work, but I can't confirm it.

1) WITHOUT touching the brake peddle, press the start switch twice to light up the dash
2) Now hold down the break peddle throughout the rest of the proceedure
3) fully press the gas pedal twice (2x) in P(ark)
4) fully press the gas pedal twice (2x) in N(eutral)
5) fully press the gas pedal twice (2x) in P(ark)

Confirm that you are in FWD maintenance mode, via the message on the dash

6) while still holding down the gas peddle, start the car with the power button

With regards to impact on fuel efficiency, there should not be significant impact, other than the fact, but that's just talking out of my exhaust without having tested it myself.
 

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Ron, the procedure works with the 08+ with the start button. Press the start button two times without your foot on the brake. This is the on position and the engine will not start. Now step on the brake and go to step 2. When you get to step 5, with the foot still on the brake press the start button and the car will start and you will see that the Highlander is in 2WD Maintenance Mode. It worked fine on my 2008 HH Limited with a start button.

BTW, when the vehicle is shut off, the Maintenance Mode will be reset...turned off and the car goes back to normal.

Also, there might be a very slight decrease in gas mileage as the rear traction motor always helps the HH when accelerating from a stop for about 3-4 seconds. In 2WD mode, the gas engine would have to work a little harder but the difference will be very slight.
 

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I have seen this overide in the service manual.

Important note, the manual says you can do serious damage to your hihi if you drive in this mode and that it for "diagnostics only".

I would think that means that once you get yourself unstuck, you should turn the car off/on and get out of that mode before driving any real distance.

So far, my experience with the HIHI in snow have been pretty good, I have gone places where all other cars got stuck. In on case I had to drive though a snow bank to drive around a car that had gotten stuck in the middle of the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I have seen this overide in the service manual.

Important note, the manual says you can do serious damage to your hihi if you drive in this mode and that it for "diagnostics only".

I would think that means that once you get yourself unstuck, you should turn the car off/on and get out of that mode before driving any real distance.

So far, my experience with the HIHI in snow have been pretty good, I have gone places where all other cars got stuck. In on case I had to drive though a snow bank to drive around a car that had gotten stuck in the middle of the road.
Cool, I need to get myself a service manual.

Regarding the ruggedness of this car, starting to sound like all those "Toyota Tough" commercial is a bunch of farce. This thing is starting to sound like a very delicate wimpy vehicle. More of a car than a truck.

Does the Service Manual say how to activate the rear motor when we get stuck?
 

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I'm trying to find the exact page that had this stuff, and of course i can't find it now. I'm sure I read it though. I remember there was no real explanation as to WHY dirivng in this mode was a bad idea, but there was a big warning.

My memory is that there was no "options" to disable trac but maintain 4wd mode. It is my understanding that the rear wheels are electric only, there is no mechanical trasmition to the front wheels. (hence very efficient in two wheel drive mode) They only come on "as needed" ie the car must detect the front wheels slipping in order to decide to power the rear ones. Given this level of integration with the traction control system, it is not surprising that if you turn said system off, your back wheels won't get power.

I read in a forum somewhere that removing the gas cap can have the same effect? Not sure if this is true.

You can buy the manual from most dealerships or on-line, it comes as three books, and each costs a zillion dollars. I got what I have from
https://techinfo.toyota.com
I got a one day subscirption, about $10, and downloaded as much info as I could in one day.
 

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Its been a well documented issue that the 2006 - 2007 Highlander Hybrid sometimes have issues where the TRAC (traction control) and VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) will practically shut the car down, and refuse to move.

This type of situations sometimes happens in loss of traction situation like climbing a hill with not so ideal tires (non snow tires in the winter) or trying to say pull a boat out of the water.

This tends to render the vehicle both pretty and useless.

TO OVER COME THESE SITUATION - Just disable the TRAC/VSC

[edit: This statement is now confirmed incorrect]Toyota might have figured that this was a real issue going forward, so for the 2008+ Highlander Hybrid, they installed a "TRAC/VSC" disable button that will temporarily diable TRAC/VSC, and turn it on the next time you restart the car. [/edit]

Folks - read carefully - and read well. If you own a 2006 to 2007 Highlander Hybrid, you must memorize these sequence of steps.

TO DIABLE TRAC/VSC TEMPORARILY ON YOUR 06/07 HH:

1) Turn the Key from Off to ON/RUN (without starting the car)
You now have exactly 1 minute to execute the following (lots of time):
NOTE: Hold your brake peddle down throughout this proceedure
(this allows you to shift from P to N)


2) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

3) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in N(eutral)

4) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

5) With the brake peddle still pressed, Start the car.

Your car will now display that you are in FWD Maintenance Mode and your TRAC / VSC will be disabled untill the next time you start the car.

I've tested this out, and it works for my 2006 HH. However, we are still stuck without the ability to force it into 4WD mode. I haven't tested to see if the Rear Motor would even work at all with the TRAC disabled.

Now everyone go out and train yourself in this dark art, and let me know if it works for you too.

:chug:

I am sure Toyota's got a way to force the rear motor to output - else, how would they test / diagnose it.

I guess that would be the next challenge.
Thanks for this info Joe. Has anyone learned how to force AWD (ie rear motors engaged with front wheels engage)? Yesterday my wife had to walk home after the HIHY stopped moving in a few inches of snow.
Thx
 

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Thanks for this info Joe. Has anyone learned how to force AWD (ie rear motors engaged with front wheels engage)? Yesterday my wife had to walk home after the HIHY stopped moving in a few inches of snow.
Thx
Ditch the stock summer/all season tires, use actual snow tires and the HH is an entirely capable snow vehicle. Even if you could override the stability/traction control, the summer tires would likely just be spinning in place on snow.
 

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Its been a well documented issue that the 2006 - 2007 Highlander Hybrid sometimes have issues where the TRAC (traction control) and VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) will practically shut the car down, and refuse to move.

This type of situations sometimes happens in loss of traction situation like climbing a hill with not so ideal tires (non snow tires in the winter) or trying to say pull a boat out of the water.

This tends to render the vehicle both pretty and useless.

TO OVER COME THESE SITUATION - Just disable the TRAC/VSC

[edit: This statement is now confirmed incorrect]Toyota might have figured that this was a real issue going forward, so for the 2008+ Highlander Hybrid, they installed a "TRAC/VSC" disable button that will temporarily diable TRAC/VSC, and turn it on the next time you restart the car. [/edit]

Folks - read carefully - and read well. If you own a 2006 to 2007 Highlander Hybrid, you must memorize these sequence of steps.

TO DIABLE TRAC/VSC TEMPORARILY ON YOUR 06/07 HH:

1) Turn the Key from Off to ON/RUN (without starting the car)
You now have exactly 1 minute to execute the following (lots of time):
NOTE: Hold your brake peddle down throughout this proceedure
(this allows you to shift from P to N)


2) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

3) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in N(eutral)

4) Fully press the Accelorator Peddle TWICE (2 times) in P(ark)

5) With the brake peddle still pressed, Start the car.

......
This works on my 2006 Kluger Hybrid (Hylander Hybrid Import from Japan).
The problem is that using this method the Kluger goes into 2WD mode! Any way around this? Thank you for how to disable traction control - great start.
 
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