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All-Trac was a proprietary full time symmetric all wheel drive system used on a variety of Toyota badged models from 1988 to 2000. It was considered a revolutionary advance for all-wheel drive automobiles into the mainstream consumer market and its electronic/vacuum controlled locking center differential was a first for Toyota in a passenger car. The system originated in Japan under the GT-Four moniker in 1986, but was not released in the U.S. until 1988 under the All Trac moniker.

Technical information

The All-Trac system was comprised of five main parts: the front differential, rear differential, center differential, the transmission, and the transfer case. The transmission, front differential, center differential and transfer case are all one large assembly and are connected to the transversely mounted engine. The transmission bell housing, front differential and center differential can be separated from the transfer case sub assembly. The transmission output shaft feeds power into the front/center differential assembly (the center differential is contained within the front differential). The front differential distributes the power to the front wheels, while the center differential distributes power to the transfer case that will send power to the rear differential. In most of the models, when the transfer case is not locked the majority of the power is routed to the front wheels as would be in a traditional Toyota FWD automobile.

For all models except the Celica, there is a small button inside the vehicle labelled "Center Diff. Lock" and when activated, the transfer case locks, resulting in the power distribution to be 50/50 between the front and rear of the vehicle. The wheels themselves are not always going the same speed because there are still the open front and open rear differentials allowing for differences in wheels speed from left to right. The final result of this is that if the vehicle is in a situation where traction is uneven or poor (ie. muddy or snowy), all four wheels will have power transmitted to them, allowing the vehicle to use the wheels that still have traction to move the car. However, due to the open rear and front differentials, if the road conditions are very slick the wheels with the least amount of traction will still spin at a faster rate then those that do have traction.

For the Celica, the transfer case contains a viscous coupling unit that provides 50/50 power distribution to the front and rear differentials at all times. The Celica does not have a lockable transfer case, but the viscous coupling can be temporarily disabled for testing purposes via a selector switch on the transfer case assembly. The vehicle should not be driven with the viscous coupling disabled as transfer case/transmission damage will occur. Very few Celicas also had a Torsen rear differential. This style of differential is like an open differential under normal conditions, but when one of the rear wheels starts to loose traction it will transmit power to the wheel with the most available traction.

Model series

  • 1988-1991 Camry, DX and LE trim, 4cyl 1998 cc 3S-FE
  • 1988-1992 Corolla, std trim, 4cyl 1587 cc 4A-FE
  • 1990-2000 Previa, DX, LE, LE supercharged trim, 4cyl 2438 cc 2TZ
  • 1988-1993 Toyota Celica All Trac Turbo 1988-1989 for ST165 chassis, 1990-1993 for ST185 chassis. 4cyl turbo 1998 cc 3S-GTE

Predecessors and successors

Toyota's GT-Four/All Trac system was originally real eased on the ST165 chassis Celica that was only available in Japan. The system used a locking transfer case that was the same as the electric/vacuum system that is found on U.S. All Trac Camrys. By the 1988 U.S. All Trac system arrival, the Celica GT-Four/All Trac had changed the transfer case to a viscous coupling unit.

The ST205 chassis GT-Four in Japan continued to use the same system that was in U.S. Celica All Tracs, and all of the rear differential were upgraded to a Torsen differential.

See also

  • quattro - the famed Audi branded four wheel drive system
  • 4motion - Volkswagen branded four wheel drive system
  • 4Matic - a four wheel drive system from Mercedes-Benz
  • ATTESA - a four wheel drive system from Nissan
  • xDrive - a four wheel drive system from BMW