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Toyota Repair/2001 Toyota Estima L - AWD


Hi there Ted,

I recently purchased a 2001 Toyota Estima L, 3.0Ltr V6 Automatic from a dealer in Maseru, Lesotho. It has 99000km on the clock. Drives beautifully, no weird noises. Everything works. These vehicles are imported second hand from Japan. The owners manual is in Japanese so I have a couple of questions which the dealer could not answer.

There is a button on the dash with an icon of four wheels connected by "drive shafts" and the front wheels are in a turning position. In the middle it says "Auto". When you depress it, it lights up an icon on the display which looks the same. What does this mean and when do you use it?

Secondly, on the rear window there is a sticker which says Active Torque Control 4WD. What is this and is it connected to the button mentioned above?

Do you know where I could purchase an English owners manual? I would like to know capacities and grades of oil, brake fluid, anti freeze and Auto Trans fluid to use. And, also what owner services can be carried out. This is the first vehicle of this kind, computerized, that I have owned. I have always done my own servicing and repairs including engine overhauls but this looks a bit daunting.

Anywhere I could find out about the real 4WD capabilities of this vehicle? I understand that it is not an "off road" 4x4. Perhaps some owners reviews on the internet. I would like to do some exploring in Lesotho some dirt roads with fairly steep gradients and a bit rough but not rocky. Also some ice and snow. I am an experienced 4x4 driver having owned a Nissan Safari and an old Series 2 Land Rover. Both great vehicles.

Thank you for your help. I look forward to your reply Ted.

Best regards,


That button is for locking the center differential to over ride the automatic AWD system, use it only in non paved off road conditions or snow/ice, using the center lock provides traction to all wheels. I don't know where you live but it must be outside of the US, the estima is the same as our Sienna, there are downloadable service manuals available online for a small cost or you can contact for your region and order a factory service manual or an owner's manual for the Estima.  

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Ted Ritter


I have more than 28 years experience as toyota technician, I will be able to answer most questions related to the Toyota product line up to the present year models,I am located in the US but welcome questions from other regions of the world. When asking a question please provide specific information: year,model, engine,transmission information. Provide as much information as possible including a brief repair history if possible. I have been a volunteer here for more ten years an have answered over 16,000 questions helping Toyota owners with their problems and save thousands of dollars without any compensation, some of my answers are published on many other websites including google and various automotive forums. DONATIONS ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED, IF YOU HAVE RECIEVED HELPFUL INFORMATION PLEASE MAKE A DONATION. AS OF TODAY (JULY 22, 2014) ALL REQUESTED GRAPHICS, ILLUSTRATIONS, DIAGRAMS, PHOTOS, WILL REQUIRE THE MINUMUM DONATION UP FRONT.


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