Last post on Aug 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM
You are in the Toyota Sequoia
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Sequoia, Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Tacoma, Truck, SUV
#478 of 2493 Real off road use
May 29, 2002 (5:58 am)
It took me some time, but I went back through the archives of the Sequoia topic to find a post from a Sequoia owner who used it off road. Below is a cut and paste of a post from Slickrock who seems to have abandoned the Town Hall.
While looking for this, I was reminded of how long Heatwave has been looking for things to complain about.
#1760 of 5543 Sequoia in Sand and Sandstone by slickrock Mar 29, 2001 (09:59 am)
Thanks Cliffy, I thought nobody would ask...
I spent a fair amount time off-road last week in Moab, Utah, and learned quite a bit about how the Sequoia performs in actual off-road conditions. The trails were rated up to 3 1/2 (at 4 you risk vehicle damage), and included sand, slickrock (sandstone), streams, and slopes. I have some pictures, but haven't figured out exactly how to share them here.
First let me say that my baseline is an older ('84) stick-shift Landcruiser, so while the Sequoia was different, it was familiar in many ways. Here are some observations and possible points for later discussion.
The Sequoia can do trails rated up to 2 1/2 in high range. Beyond that you need low range. I will limit the rest of the discussion here to low range performance.
In low range, the Sequoia has plenty of engine and braking power for the steepest hills (~35 degrees) that I tried. It also had no power problems climbing ledges, but traction was sometimes an issue when there was loose dirt mixes in with the rock.
I did some experimentation in Low/Low (locked center differential) vs Low/Second (VCS/Tracs). What I found was that you had to turn VCS off, otherwise it kicked in (and messed with the throttle and braking) when you didn't want it to, because the wheels will slip on sand and dirt.
On the other hand, I ran into at least one case climbing a dirty rock ledge where L/L wouldn't make it up(diagonally opposite wheels were slipping), but L/S (and Active-Trac) got me up. It was not smooth or quiet, but it outperformed the locked center differential.
However L/S was deadly going down hill (on steep hills). There was definitely insufficient engine braking. But you don't need (or want) Active-Trac going down hill. So my rules for off-road driving-mode selection are actually pretty simple:
1. In 4WD Low Range off-road, turn off VCS (push the button) and use L/D.
2. In Low Range going up a difficult hill, use L/S (Active-Trac).
3. In Low Range going down a difficult hill, use L/L (Max. Engine Braking).
The second thing I noticed is that size matters. The Sequoia is long and wide. The width came into play in maneuvering around large (>1 ft.) rocks on the sides of the trails and narrow trails. There were also some very tight turns that required a bit of jockying. But it's better than a Hummer, and to tell the truth, the tightest turns were in the City Market parking lot.
The length is another story. The Sequoia is a looooong truck. It has plenty of ground clearance (I may have hit the skidplates once or twice), and so the breakover angle was not a big issue. I thought the running boards would take hits, but they are high enough and tucked in well enough that they were not a problem. But I would want to remove them (8 bolts each) before trying a 4-rated trail.
I only touched the underside of the front bumper once, so I am satisfied with the approach angle. But the departure angle (and that long tail) leaves a lot to be desired. I hit the trailer hitch receiver many times (that's to be expected -- I consider it part of the skid plate system). But I also hit the underside of the giant one-piece plastic rear bumper a few times (which is 2" higher, but who said the rock was perfectly level).
The PLASTIC bumper is definitely not part of the skid plate system (or at least not for very long). Hey Toyota people who supposedly read this board, when sandstone meets plastic, guess what always wins!! This was a design mistake.
So crossing gullys (and any other concave surface) became an interesting challenge, and I would have to say that the limiting factor to the Sequoia's off-road performance is the integrity of the giant one-piece rear plastic bumper cover.
Do 2001 4-Runners and Land Cruisers also have these plastic bumber covers??
I should also mention tires. I did these trails with some trepidation given the stock passenger car Bridgestones. In the future, I will replace them with something starting with LT and having a C or D load rating. Maybe Michelin LTX A/T 265/75R16's. That would be add 1/2" to the height, and be much safer off-road. The odometer would take a 3.4% hit (that improves the warranty), but the speedometer would finally be right. I also think the ABS/VCS/Tracs ECU's could wouldn't notice the minor difference.
Beyond the 1/2" tire lift, I do need a solution to protecting the left and right underside of the rear bumper cover. Some sort of real skid plate or sacrificial add-on. Any suggestions would be welcome. I would be reluctant to consider lifts or air shocks, because I don't want to mess too much with the suspension or ride. Maybe TRD or Toyota off-road will offer something someday. In time there will be Sequoias in the junkyard with good rear bumper covers. Maybe I can make something suitable out of one of them.
Finally, I must say that it was a pure pleasure to cruise the western freeways at 75-80 mph. I never felt fatigued even after a full day of driving, and the vehicle generally performed flawlesly on the highway. On the other hand, it only got 15 - 16 mpg at 75 mph (I suppose it would have done better at 55 mph).
#479 of 2493 Proposal..
May 29, 2002 (8:10 am)
May I suggest new definitions for SUV categories ???
Some people need/want SUVs for SPORTS off-road.
Others simply want an SUV for reliable "on-road" wintertime, or any low traction surface, point A to point B, travel.
It occurred to me on reading the above posts that maybe what is needed is a third SUV category that the manufacturers and the public can use to define their vehicle's capabilities.
1. SUVs like the RX300, Highlander, and MDX that are primarily minivans with four doors, high seating and reasonably large interior volumes but little or no ability to travel in wintertime relaibly on low traction surfaces.
2. SUVs such as the Sequoia, X5, and ML that can travel on wintertime low traction surfaces reliably but cannot and/or should NOT be used for true SPORTING style off-road.
3. SUVs that fall into the Jeep category, can be used in true off-road SPORTING events, mud racing, etc.
May 29, 2002 (8:14 am)
How about Sport wagon, Sport utility vehicles and utility vehicles? I actually disagree with your assessment on the Sequoia, but I get your point.
May 29, 2002 (12:05 pm)
Does your Porsche have any LSDs in it, or does it get around them by using the AWD and a great set of tires for traction purposes? Just wondering.
#482 of 2493 Porsche
May 29, 2002 (12:23 pm)
My 2001 911/996 has PSM and a VC mounted in the front in line with the drive line to the front diff'l. The PSM system supplants the need for a mechanical LSD by applying moderate braking to either rear wheel that loses roadbed traction.
I suspect, but don't really know, that there is no PSM/LSD activity at the front wheels since the clear majority of torque is always to the rear wheels.
I have never had the PSM actuate the traction control mode yet (both rear wheels slipping) but I understand it to be much like the GS300, apply braking first and then moderate the throttle if the driver doesn't.
May 29, 2002 (12:31 pm)
So, according to what Wwest tells us, it looks like Porsche did things on the cheap like Toyota by eliminating the LSD (aka magic differential) on its model.
#485 of 2493 In addition,
May 29, 2002 (2:18 pm)
The Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover also use a braking-type system. In the case of the 99-2001 Discovery, the braking/traction control system is the only torque distributing system. There is no center locking, VC or LS diff, either in HI or LO mode, in the 99-2001 Disco.
Also, the Mercedes M-Class also uses such a system, and Audi may have also used a braking type system in some of its cars in the past, along with a torsen center diff.
Notwithstanding Heatwave3's earlier comments, Toyota certainly is not going it alone in implementing such a system in its vehicles.
#486 of 2493 Missing posts
May 29, 2002 (2:24 pm)
I was just going over the posts from the past couple of weeks. There seems to be a few missing. I wonder why.
May 29, 2002 (2:28 pm)
I think you are correct in your prediction as to the demise of the old systems. Technology doesn't stand still does it?
Thank you for answering my question about your Porsche. I can only imagine what it must be like to climb into something like that, let alone drive it.