When Toyota created the 2nd generation Tacoma they created yet again another best seller. It was bigger, more powerful and to most a better looking truck than it’s predecessor. The engine was brand new for the Tacoma as well as the automatic and six speed transmissions. They also added a new transfer case for the 4wd system.
The 05+ Tacoma’s transfer case is an all electronic transfer case. It is shifted by a knob on the dash board and for the purest in some of us there are no shift handles at all to be seen in the cabin. Some of us hated this while others had no clue what that little knob was doing on their dash and thus would never use 4wd.
After driving our new Tacoma off road for awhile, some of us found the problems with these new t case’s. They are shifted by an actuator at the back of the transfer case and when water gets into these, and it will, they stop working. Add in some dirt and grime and your either stuck in 4 lo or you can’t get into 4wd when you need it most.
We wanted real shift levers and we wanted control of the transfer case instead of relying on electronics to do so for us. But where were we going to find a manual T case that would work in our trucks without going to the ubber expensive Atlas, or Stak and didn’t require a ton of modifications.
Enter the Toyota FJ Cruiser. You see, when Toyota created the FJ Cruiser they thought it would be nostalgic to put real levers into the new FJ Cruiser. And why not? They were trying to bring back that mystique of the FJ series vehicles from years gone by. What they didn’t realize was that there were others out there that wanted these cases as well. They would bolt right up the Tacoma’s transmission without any modifications and the drive shafts would work as well.
We at RockSolidToys found a way to make the FJ Cruiser transfer case work in the Tacoma with all of the electronics and the ADD system and if you have a solid axle swap Tacoma, this FJ Cruiser t case conversion makes your entire 4wd system nearly bullet proof compared to what you had before.
So lets take a look at the difference between the FJ case and the stock Tacoma case.
In the picture below is the Toyota FJ Cruiser T case at the top and the Toyota Tacoma case on the bottom. You can see that the Tacoma case has an actuator at the back of it. This is where all the shifting happens with the Tacoma case.
In this picture you can see that the FJ Case at the bottom of the picture has a provision for a shift handle at the top of the case to manually shift the case from 2wd to 4wd and then to 4wd lo. The Tacoma case has a cover plate over this provision.
They are pretty much the same with the same low range gear ratio of 2.56:1 and they are both chain driven but its how they are shifted that makes them different from each other.
The Tacoma case is shifted by a single rod that shifts the 2wd 4wd shift fork when you turn the knob one spot. Turn the knob one more spot and it shifts it from 4hi to 4lo using the same shift rail. Below is a picture of the inside of the Tacoma case. As you can see the shift rod is in the center of the case as opposed to being at the top of the case like the FJ Case.
Inside the FJ Case in the picture below you can see that the shift rods are at the top of the case instead of being in the center of the case like with the Tacoma case. This way the case can be shifted from out side of the case with a manual lever. That’s what we want. You now have control instead of a little motor with a plastic gear.
RockSolidToys was the first to put an FJ Cruiser Transfer Case into the new style Tacoma and has been modifying the newer Tacoma’s, 4Runners and 1st gen Tundra's with these case’s ever since. We are now using them for use with the military in training situations where they want the vehicles, Toyota Tacoma’s, to mimic the Toyota Hilux’s they use overseas.
To use the FJ T case in the newer Tacoma’s you’ll have to override the 4wd computer and provide a switch for the front ADD system so you can activate the front differential. RockSolidToys and ATO came up with a switch to take care of that issue thus taking the computer completely out of the equation. You simply hit the ADD switch to engage the front differential and then shift the FJ Cruiser T case into 4wd and you’re on your way. You can even shift it on the fly as long as the front differential is engaged. Then to go back to 2wd you simply push the lever back to it’s 2wd position and hit the ADD switch to disengage the front diff and your back to true 2wd.
Here is a link to the instructions on how to do the wiring for your ADD activation switch.
When news of a 3rd generation Tacoma started flying around I was excited to see what Toyota was going to do. I was sure they would have an option for the manual T case in it's new TRD Pro Tacomas. I was shocked and disappointed when Toyota came out with the third gen Tacoma's and didn't give us an option for the manual shifting T case. They have it in the 4Runner trail Edition. Why not the Tacoma? But I guess it's all good for me though because sooner or later those electronic case's are going to give up the ghost and we'll be here to help.
This FJ Cruiser T case setup has been in my 2005 Tacoma now for over seven years and has never left me stranded or stuck in 4wd or 4lo. I no longer have to clean the actuator at the rear of the case only to find out that six months later I have to change it all together.
In the picture below is a 2nd gen Tacoma with the Toyota FJ Crusier T case in it. This is how the factory should have built these trucks. This one has the single shifter.
This next one was done on the six speed version of the 2nd gen Tacoma. This is how we make them for the vehicles used to train some of our military personnel. Both of them look as if they came from the factory with this option.
This is my personal Tacoma, 'The Beast". It has the FJ Cruiser T case that has a twin stick conversion sitting behind a Marlin Crawler Ultimate Taco Box. This is the ultimate setup for the Toyota Tacoma's when it comes to low gearing and reliability.
Below is the RST FJ Cruiser twin stick swap into the 4th gen Toyota 4Runner. This one is the V8 version and this is a more complicated swap, however, once it is done it's a far better option than the electronic full time 4wd case in the 4Runner. This option allows you true part time 4wd when you swap the front diff. Look for a write up on this swap soon.
I really think that Toyota missed a grand opportunity to make the 2016 + Tacoma a fantastic off road vehicle when it stayed with the fully electronic transfer case and not employing the manual transfer case found in the off-road edition 4Runners. Thank you for that Toyota.
For more information on these swaps contact us at email@example.com or call us at 714-460-3491 Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm PST
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Thanks, and see you next time.