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How and when do you use S mode?

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010+)' started by toys4all, May 19, 2021.

  1. May 19, 2021 at 4:34 PM
    #1
    toys4all

    toys4all [OP] Toyota Family

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    Hello again friends,
    Day 13 with new to us 2020. Like any great relationship set to last a lifetime ..... wait! ...... are you serious? ..... just ask the question.
    Have never owned a new car like this before.
    I know what S mode is and how it works (both wife and I have driven standard since we were kids.
    Would you please share under what conditions you use S mode.
    How and when is the correct way to use it? How is one to best benefit from this feature?
    TIA
     
  2. May 19, 2021 at 4:44 PM
    #2
    4Runner fun

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    Congratulations on your new 4runner!
    That is a long answer but here is my short of it.
    First, don't think Sport mode. It is for Sequential.
    Say if you start in S3. The transmission will shift 1,2 & 3rd then stop shifting.
    We use S4 for everything but 50mph+ (no hunting for gears).
    S4 is what to use when towing.
    Using S 1-4 creates the best driving experience if you ask me.
    I am sure others will expand or correct me.
    Ryan.
     
  3. May 19, 2021 at 4:57 PM
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    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    I use mine the same way. My favorite term for S is “select”, as in selecting the allowable range.

    S will also be useful whenever in 4Lo. Because if you dont select 1 or 2, it will shift through the entire range in flash. The low gearing isnt as nice to the rest of the drivetrain, so it tends to be a little rougher on gear shifts in 4LO
     
  4. May 19, 2021 at 5:08 PM
    #4
    kmeeg

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    I may be wrong.. But the only time I use "S" mode is on down hills on highways and steep mountain drives to keep low gear and use least amount of brake applications so I don't over hear brakes.

    For example when I select S3 it will only shift up to 3rd gear. I have even used S1 or S2 coming down Pikes Peak. There are even a check point coming down Pikes peak where you get checked for brake temperature. If its too hot you are forced to parked at the parking lot until your brakes cool down.

    upload_2021-5-19_18-8-32.jpg
     
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  5. May 19, 2021 at 5:19 PM
    #5
    Thatbassguy

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    3 different and correct answers!

    It can (and should) be used any time it improves your driving experience.

    I use S mode whenever I am towing, or driving in conditions that cause a lot of down-shifting..

    I also use it off road when low speed and engine braking are beneficial.

    Think about how you would drive a manual, and that will help.

    I even use it for engine braking on hills as @kmeeg mentioned.
     
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  6. May 19, 2021 at 5:42 PM
    #6
    toys4all

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    Thank you Ryan,
    So let me ask a couple questions based on your first example. In S 3 tranny shifts 1,2,3 and that’s it.
    1. So that would be used if you intend to reach and maintain a particular (slow) constant speed, right? If so, why not do the same thing in D? If you’re rolling along steadily at say 30, what kind of tranny shifts would occur in D?
    2. If you start off in S 3 but forget you’re not in D and intent to get up to 70, can you? I believe the answer will be yes. Vehicle will take over automatically up shifting, correct? So why have it? If you’re doing S mode wrong, the vehicle will still compensate as if there were no S mode.

    S 4 for towing.
    1. Do you stay in S mode whether city or freeway and even when stopping and starting?
     
  7. May 19, 2021 at 5:55 PM
    #7
    toys4all

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    That’s how I WANT to think of it and that’s why it’s confusing to me. Because it’s not like manual. Not when the car will take over and shift correctly when you’re doing it wrong by being in the wrong S mode for the speed your going. What I mean is you can take off from a light in S4 but you could never take off in anything but first gear (sometimes 2nd) with a manual. Or are you saying when taking off in S4 you’re telling the car “this is the range I’m planning on going”. Then when you reach the top of that range what happens? What if you don’t up shift anymore yet keep accelerating to 80?
    It’s also not like manual because when leaving from a stop in S1, I don’t have to shift to S2 then S3 like a manual as my speed increases do I? Won’t the car up shift automatically when I leave the light in S1?
    I hope my tone doesn’t sound like I’m challenging you. I know you’re right and that my way f thinking is WRONG. But I want to know the correct way.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
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  8. May 19, 2021 at 6:17 PM
    #8
    Thatbassguy

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    If you are in S1, it will not go beyond 1st gear. The main thing S(equential) does is limit the highest gear the transmission will engage. That's why S4 is great for Towing, as the transmission would be dropping into 4th a lot. If you drive in S4, the transmission will use 1st through 4th as it sees fit, so not truly like a manual I guess. It will function as an engine brake, though. Which I use it for a lot.
     
  9. May 19, 2021 at 6:30 PM
    #9
    toys4all

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    Okay that’s helpful. So maybe that’s where I’m wrong. I thought regardless of which S mode gear I’m in, the vehicle will over ride and auto shift according to my increased speed. You’re saying that’s wrong. I will NOT be able to increase to 70 if I’m in a low S mode gear, right?
    If I’m stopped in S 1 what top speed roughly will I be limited to?
     
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  10. May 19, 2021 at 6:31 PM
    #10
    Thatbassguy

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    The transmission will want to shift into 5th to save fuel. It's fine if you're on level ground, but will constantly downshift in hills or a headwind. This is why S4 is good for towing.
     
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  11. May 19, 2021 at 6:33 PM
    #11
    Thatbassguy

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    I think S1 will get to 30-35 MPH, but at redline.

    I drive 70 in S4 when I'm in hills, headwind, or towing.
     
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  12. May 19, 2021 at 6:41 PM
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    DRobs

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    Pinstripes, lots of em.
    Lots of hills here, only time I use S mode is when off road. Usually 1-3.
    I may have to try it on the highway. I figure it downshifts just fine on it's own though.
     
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  13. May 19, 2021 at 6:50 PM
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    Singleminded

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    Wow, I learned something cool and new here. Did NOT know about the sequential feature that allows you to select the range of gears that can be used, e.g. forcing the tranny to use only 1-2 or 1-3. I'd assumed it was like other "manumatics" where the S mode prioritizes acceleration over MPG and you can also then manually select the gears you want while driving, in case you don't like what the computer chooses. That's how every other auto trans with a gear selector feature has worked for me (or did some of them have this sequential feature and I didn't even know it?!). In some cases their S modes will just cut out the top gear (that's what I thought the 4Runner's did), while in other cases it will also hold each gear higher into the rev range.

    Anyhow, I've only used my Runner's S mode on hills at highway speeds. As others have noted, it tends to switch back and forth between 4th and 5th under those conditions, which is annoying. Mine seems to do that even more when cruise control is on. So I often just put the gear selector in S to prevent it from going from 4th into 5th at highway speeds. I haven't found a use for it otherwise, as the default shifting behavior is ok with me in the other conditions I've experienced (I have not towed).

    But now I'm gonna experiment!
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  14. May 19, 2021 at 7:00 PM
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    toys4all

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    Okay I see. That was my big misconception that vehicle will take over anyways if you’re screwing up S mode. But it won’t take over in that if I’m starting off in S 2 then S 2’s range is as fast as I’m going to go.
    I was confused cause I wanted to up shift from a stop starting in S 1. In a few feet my manual head wanted to up shift to S 2 and I did. But felt no response, nothing different. It didn’t allow me to go faster case I could “feel” vehicle increasing regardless of what I was doing. Like a manual, if you up shift too early it will bog. This car didn’t as I upshifted (maybe too early). Then before I knew it, as speed increased, my manual head told me to upshift again into S 3 yet felt absolutely nothing as if it’s making no difference at all.
    Do you see what I’m talking about?
     
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  15. May 19, 2021 at 7:03 PM
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    21TOR

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    Agreed this has been an informative thread.
     
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  16. May 19, 2021 at 7:10 PM
    #16
    toys4all

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    Is S 5 overdrive? Why doesn’t anyone mention S 5 in these examples?
     
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  17. May 19, 2021 at 7:19 PM
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    2Toys

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    Yes, S5 is overdrive. When in S mode (which automatically puts you in 4) you can shift up to 5.
     
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  18. May 19, 2021 at 7:25 PM
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    Singleminded

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    On a side note, it's frustrating the way many car makers implement "manual shifting" modes. The way it should work (IMHO lol) is as much like a manual as technically possible. For example, let me run the gear up to redline and allow the rev limiter to prevent engine damage. Don't upshift into a gear I didn't choose. Our Mini cooper will let you select specific gears, but it then shifts up for you before redline. That's maddening. And it won't let you downshift if the resulting RPMs would be, IDK, even only like 5K RPM. It's like it's afraid. It also automatically downshifts for you as you slow down.

    If I can redline -- or bog -- a manual trans car with the gear I choose, why can't I do that in a manumatic?
     
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  19. May 19, 2021 at 7:26 PM
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    4Runner fun

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    Sadly no this is one thing I don't understand from this thread...
    Maybe I am misreading it.
    Sorry,
    Ryan
     
  20. May 19, 2021 at 7:28 PM
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    4Runner fun

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    Yes, and you beat me... lol
    Ryan
     
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  21. May 19, 2021 at 7:32 PM
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    4Runner fun

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    My question after all this is now Torque Convertor lock speed...
    This may require a whole other thread but maybe that is another function of S mode.?
    I am not a mechanic,
    Ryan
     
  22. May 19, 2021 at 7:48 PM
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    toys4all

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    So you’re saying when in D, vehicle will eventually get into 5th (OD) then you shift to S mode it will display 4 not 5?
    I’ve tried that at 55ish and 65ish and yes it always displays 4. I figured because 4th is the gear D mode currently selected. If that’s true then when D mode gets into 5th, why wouldn’t it display 5?
     
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  23. May 19, 2021 at 7:51 PM
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    2Toys

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    Yes. In D the transmission will do what it wants, sometimes annoyingly so.
    When shifting left from D to S, the transmission will downshift to 4 and display 4. You can bump the shifter up to go into 5, or down into a lower gear. In S mode the display will show what you shift it into.
     
  24. May 19, 2021 at 7:58 PM
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    toys4all

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    HEY! Get your hands off my thread with all this lock torque converter speed crap (whatever that is). START YOUR OWN THREAD........ just kidding hahaha But you realize I’m just learning how to shift, right? I’m like the teenager just learning how to drive a stick. I’m not ready to incorporate it all into daily traffic! Big difference huh?
     
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  25. May 19, 2021 at 8:00 PM
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    toys4all

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    Got it thanks!
     
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  26. May 19, 2021 at 9:39 PM
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    4Runner fun

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    lock torque converter speed crap (whatever that is). START YOUR OWN THREAD........ just kidding hahaha
    The torture converter speed is the particular gear that is 1:1 with the engine and the transmission. "
    Screenshot_20210519-233428_Google.jpg
    I have no clue what it does in our 4runners but in my diesel trucks it means a lot for transmission work.
    Pardon me if none of this is applicable.
    Ryan.
    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Ryan.
     
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  27. May 19, 2021 at 9:43 PM
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    4Runner fun

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    I am only trying to increase the knowledge of a 4x4 part time truck. I will begin a separate thread if that is your desire..?
    Ryan.
     
  28. May 19, 2021 at 11:25 PM
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    McSpazatron

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    Lol. Interesting and good question regarding the torque converter. No expert here , but every automatic transmission has a torque converter. It’s best to look up the principles of how those generally work elsewhere (very interesting stuff), but basically its the heart of how a traditional automatic trans works.

    Anyway, in day to day functioning, you might notice subtle “half shifts” if you are going, lets say 65mph, and you add a little throttle. The trans might think downshifting to 4th would be too harsh in that situation, so instead it will “clutch in” and let the power go through the converter. You were on Overdrive, but now the trans is effectively slipping a bit so the slightly higher rpm gives you a tiny boost. In real life, this kinda feels like it downshifts half a gear.

    The use of S mode, i believe, will not make use of the torque converter. It will only use the physical gears. This is important for towing because TC slippage can cause overheating if there is extra weight being carried around.
     
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  29. May 20, 2021 at 3:03 AM
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    Thatbassguy

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    I think so..

    I'm guessing you're referring to the fact that it will not upshift on demand. Am I correct?

    It's not intended to be driven like a manual. It only limits the top gear used. This is super handy while towing, driving in the hills, and off-road.

    I will use 4LO and S1 on steep descents to help control speed. It's also handy when you're going through rough terrain slowly.
     
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  30. May 20, 2021 at 5:04 AM
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    DRobs

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    Pinstripes, lots of em.

    I do the same. However, I'm finding I probably need to re-gear. With all the weight of my armor and now heavy 33 inch mud terrain tires, 4Low S1 just isn't slow enough going down hill. I find I need to ride the brakes, a lot.

    When Ronny Dahl came to the USA, they stuck him in a 4Runner. One of his complaints, other than the lack of mud tires, was gearing in the 4Runner was too high. Pretty sure this is the episode:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuwOrpfG1qM
     
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