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there is a max speed limit to engage and use 4 wheel low. try to engage while rolling 5mph and do not exceed 20mph in this "power" gear. also make sure the all drive components are well greased. lack of grease throws off drive alignment and may not easily engage.
The RAV4 is a 4 wheel drive vehicle. All wheel drive is when all four wheels have power at all times. This can be permanent or manual engaged. Clutches are used to prevent tire damage. 4 wheel drive is when one set of wheels has power and the other two can be engaged manually or automatically. You should use 4 wheel drive when in mud or snow and extra traction is needed. 4 wheel drive can not be used on dry pavement.
The power to the switch seems to be the issue. The vacumm switch is
just a normally closed switch,meaning only when it gets power, will it
send vacumm to the hubs to allow the 4wd to work automatically. You will have to trace the electric back from the switch,to see where it goes,
a relay or fuse. You may just have bad relay contacts. Good luck.
You can always run a toggle switch into the cab,to get the system
working until you figure out what's wrong in the mean time. Just a thought. Good luck.
If the transfer case is engaging, try it in 4X4 low foot on the brake and other on the gas (power braking) and you can get the rear tires to break loose your 4 wheel drive actuator switch is bad, a common problem on these 4X4's. It is a simple repair and is located on the front differential.
I had/have both of these problems with my '92 Explorer. They were unrelated. My overdrive problem required a transmission rebuild. My four wheel drive not working is apparently a problem with the computer which is hidden behind the left rear quaterpanel (in the jack compartment). Your four wheel drive problem could be as simple as a blown fuse. There are 2 fuses for the four wheel drive system. One inside under the dash and another higher amp fuse under the hood on the battery side. Or it could be the more expensive problem like my computer problem or the engagement motor needing rebuilt. The computer has a diagnostic mode that you can access by pressing the little square white button on the underside of it with the key turned on but the motor not running. If the little red light next to the button stays on, then the computer is bad. If the light flashes, the engagement motor is bad.
Check the solenoid at the front axel. This is a rather common prob. First check that power is at the axel, got power, clean and put it back. Please do not even look at the tranfer case! At worst you may need to replace the axel solenoid! Frankster016