Toyota Land Cruiser CDL Switch Install Review

May. 11, 2011 By Jaime Hernandez

If you have a 1993-1997 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80, you are sitting on top of a very capable vehicle with the potential to perform even better off-road with a few little modifications. One of those is adding the ability to lock the center differential.

This illustration shows how power is delivered in a full-time 4WD vehicle like the FZJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser.The FZJ80 is a full-time 4WD that utilizes a viscous coupling type LSD (Limited Slip Differential) and center differential that allows the front and rear axles to turn at different rates.  This combination works great on hard surface, wet surface and snow, but leaves room for improvement off-road.

The Land Cruiser runs with an open center differential in high range (4HI). When low range (4LO) is engaged, the center differential locks, giving a true 50/50 power split to front and rear axles. It also shuts off the ABS brakes—which helps make braking more predictable on dirt roads.

A little known fact for many FZJ80 owners is that the Toyota Land Cruiser is actually capable of running with a locked center differential while in high range (4HI). To make this possible, a center differential lock (CDL) switch needs to be installed. 

For some unknown reason, the Toyota Land Cruiser imported into the U.S. did not come with a CDL switch.  Why the U.S. Model didn't come with a CDL switch and those in Australia, Canada, Latin America, Africa and Japan did is beyond the scope of this article. The good news is that you too can have the power to control your center differential with the push of a button.

Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80 1993–1997 transfer case with viscous coupling differential (VCD) and center locker exploded view.

Although the U.S. spec Land Cruiser didn't come with the CDL switch, it was pre-wired to accept one. It is also equipped with an electric locker in the center differential.

A genuine Toyota CDL switch can be purchased from the dealership, or better yet, sourced from the 80 Series specialist at Slee Off Road. The benefit to working with Slee Off Road is that they have done hundreds of these and will be able to help if a problem should arise while doing this modification. They also have cool stickers.

Parts List:

1993-94 Toyota Land Cruiser CDL Switch
Part #: TOY1001 - $65.00

1995-97 Toyota Land Cruiser CDL Switch
Part #: TOY1002 - $79.00

We sourced our genuine Toyota CDL switch from Slee Off Road.

The installation of a CDL switch is straight forward: take apart the center dash face, find the CDL switch cable plug, install the CDL switch on center dash panel, plug in CDL switch and re-assemble dash. 

Slee Off Road gives very good instructions on how to take apart the dash board without breaking it. The Hayes repair manual for Toyota Land Cruisers also gives a good exploded view of the assembly, screws and items that need to be removed to access the wiring behind the center dash face plate. The best advice: use a good Philips head screwdriver and a lot of patience to not break anything.

The following is an overview of how to install the CDL switch once the center dash plate has been removed:

Remove one of the blank switch templates and insert the switch by pushing into the hole.

The most common location for the switch is the left most position on the top row of switches. Locate the unused terminator on the wiring harness. This might require some digging.  It can be located behind the radio or above the A/C controls. To identify it, look for a white female plug with a terminating male plug. It might be wrapped in foam with a green/silver jumper wire on it.

Remove the terminating plug.

Feed the connector end through the top slot on the dash. Connect to the switch you installed.

Re-install the trim piece in the reverse order of removing.

To use the Center Diff simply press the switch, the ABS and center diff lights should light up on the dash.

The CDL switch mod is fairly simple to do, even for the new Land Cruiser owner. It took less than an hour to do, and the added control off-road has transformed our FZJ80 into a completely different machine. A definite big bang for your buck (less than $80).

Fully locked Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80 with front, center, rear electric lockers (a.k.a. locked x3).

In our case, we already had a factory locked front and rear Land Cruiser. Having the ability to lock the front, center and rear gives us more options for different terrains (e.g. snow, dirt, mud, sand, rock).

Our experience with Slee Off Road has been great. Both Ben and Christo have been very helpful in our quest to transform the Land Cruiser into a purpose built off-road adventure vehicle. This includes a recent eLocker Guard we added before heading out to TDS Safari.

Read Slee Off Road eLocker Guard Review

We are very impressed with our semi-stock FZJ80 Toyota Land Cruiser. Next is modifying the suspension for added clearance and extra hauling capacity for gear and supplies carried on multi-day expeditions.

Keep posted for more Toyota Land Cruiser tech here on

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