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Lose all propulsion when TRAC activated!!!!

775 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  2018 XLE
I'm driving 2012 Sienna LE AWD. We had what I would call a light snowfall last night - about 1.5". New all season tires with very good snow and wet traction ratings. The absolute WORST vehicle I have ever driven in the snow (50+ years experience). When does the AWD work? It NEVER even kicked in. What is with the entire drive train shutting down when the traction control kicks in? Felt like I lost all control of the vehicle! Thankfully there was no traffic when I pulled onto the road. Overall a horrifying experience.
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I read the original entry last night but didn't have a chance to reply. I'm very happy to see that my fellow moderator deleted the next few entries. If we see something like that again we might be deleting a few members too!

So, back to the original question.... I take it that WisJim is not the original owner of the van. The AWD system used on the 2011+ is a part time / on-demand system. Most members have found this AWD system to be pretty effective, although maybe not as fast to kick in as the Gen-II van's full time AWD (which was somewhat functionally similar to the system used by Subaru).

But there have been a number of complaints about engagement clutch failure that results in no rear axle connection. This might further confound the Stability / Traction Control system operation because it's sending instructions for AWD operation but doesn't know why it's still operating as FWD only. So it might be worth getting it checked out.
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My daughter's 2018 RAV-4 AWD will bring the rear axle on line automatically as required, but also has the manual lock button. I like that feature and wish the Sienna had that feature too. I believe it keeps the rear engaged to 28 mph, and then reverts back to automatic operation.
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