Toyota Transfer Case Twin Stick Shootout!
By Steve Hersh (steveh)

So who makes the best Toyota T-Case Twin Stick? Is it AME Inc. or Front Range Off Road?

I've now run both, the Front Range Product for 2 years, and the AME product for the last year and they are both winners! The two products both function flawlessly, yet they are different in design.

What does adding a Twin Stick do on a Toyota Truck Transfer case? It allows the driver to shift between 2wd - 4wd independently from Low - Neutral - High, so low range may be used while in 2wd. In other words, one stick shifts 2wd-4wd, and the other shifts the Low - Neutral - High.

Follow along with me and we will dissect each one and you the reader can try and In my conclusion, I will tell you which one is the best one overall, and why!

On the left, we have AME's Stick, and to the right is Front Range Off Road's Stick

The most noticeable difference is the modular base design of the Front Range sticks compared to the one piece base design of the AME's Stick. The Modular base is definitely an advantage for ease of installation in a dual case scenario. The smaller top section with the sticks can be fit through a 4" diameter hole in the tunnel. With the AME's Stick, a larger, rectangular hole must be cut in order to access the 4 bolts that secure the base to the top of the T-Case.

Taking a look at each stick completely disassembled, one cannot help but be impressed by each design. The absolute simplicity of using as few parts as necessary of the AME's Stick. Check out the 2 roll pins that hold it all together!

Equally impressive is how simple the Front Range design is. Even though it is comprised of more parts, the ingenious design that allows the stick assembly to be separate from the base not only makes the install a breeze, it also allows for maintenance of the seal should it be needed.

Here's a close up of the shift forks for each stick. Both sticks utilize hardened steel for the forks.

The only real difference is the Front Range Sticks forks are integral with the shift lever. The AME Forks have a "D" shaped key slot that attaches them to the horizontal shaft of the shift lever.

Both designs are well executed and work excellent.

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Each Stick has a breather. The AME's breather is pressed in, and is nothing more than a metal tube with a flared end covered loosely by a cap with small fingers bent under the flare to keep it on top of the tube. I believe these are common on GM SM series transmissions.

Front Range's breather is similar to the Toyota OEM style. But rather than being pressed in, it is threaded with standard pipe threads. That way it is easily integrated into a breather line system up under the hood, that many people like to add to Toyotas.

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AME to the left, Front Range Off Road to the right.

Once installed, not much difference in looks! Both look clean!!!

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Depending on which AME Retail distributor it is purchased from, there are different knobs available. (AME Inc. is strictly a manufacturer, and does not sell retail)

Since Marlin Crawler was kind enough to provide an AME Stick for this article, the picture is with the shifters labeled. A very nice touch from Marlin Crawler, and you get to choose from the four shift knobs which two knobs come with the AME Twin Stick when purchased from them.

While labeling is nice, it is not a must have, Front Range's knobs are a simple round black knob, that do the job well.

Both use a standard thread for Shift knobs, so any knob can be used.

Inchworm Rock Walkin' gear sells both the AME and Front Range Twin sticks.

When buying either Twin stick from Inchworm they use the same knob as the Front Range stick.

Conclusion:

I'm sure if you ask either AME or Front Range who has the winner, each would say "Mine Wins!!!" So how would you choose which one? These twin sticks are the best of the best, Chevy verses Ford!!

I have duals, and I took out the Front Range stick to check out the AME, and left it in. Once installed they both worked flawlessly. No reason to switch it out. But if I had to pick knowing what I know now, Front Range is my choice for my setup.

Here's why:

Because of the ease of installing the Front Range with Dual Cases. With a single case setup, accessibility to the shifter mount on the T-case is no problem, so either Twinstick is easy to install.

But, with Dual cases, it is now necessary to cut a hole in the floorboard for the shift levers. The Front Range Stick needs a smaller hole in the Floorboards than AME's due to the modular construction, and is a benefit in that situation. A 4 inch hole is all that is required to mount the Front Range shift lever assembly to the plate on top of the T-case shift mount. Because the Front Range twin Stick uses Allen Head cap screws for securing the Lever assembly to the supplied plate, it was very easy to install from inside the cab of the truck.

AME's Twinstick requires a much larger opening. I enlarged mine to about 5 inches wide by 6 inches long or thereabouts. I made it just big enough to fit the AME Twin stick in by angling it through the holes. Because I was unwilling to make the hole larger, I had to access the 4 bolts that secure it to the T-case shift mount from underneath. It was a pain.

If you have a single T-case now, and are considering upgrading to duals in the future, you should seriously consider the Front Range stick over the AME Stick. If Single is where your gonna stay, then pick the Stick you like the styling of best.

One last reason I feel the Front Range Twinstick is the overall best bet. With it's modular design, they can send out different bases. So someone with an 84 carb truck (forward shift) that goes to dual cases, and needs a top shift, simply calls up, and they can get a different bottom plate, rather than a whole new shifter. Same person rolls their truck, and decides to part it, and go Tacoma. Again, just another base plate.

A few tips for those of you considering a twin stick from either of these fine vendors.

1) Use the correct gaskets or RTV sealers.

2) Do not over tighten the bolts that hold these parts together. The Toyota Transfer case is aluminum, and if you over tighten the bolts, you will strip the threads in the case.


Contact Information:

AME Twinstick Retail Distributors Front Range Off Road Fabrication Twinstick Retail Distributors

Marlin Crawler
1543 B North Maple
Fresno, CA 93703
(559) 252-7295
www.marlincrawler.com


Inchworm Rock Walkin' Gear
3841 Quest Court #13
Shingle Springs, CA 95682
(530) 677-8111
jimmyc@inchwormgear.com
www.inchwormgear.com

Front Range Off-Road Fabrication
24192 Red Feather Rd.
Red Feather, CO 80545
(970) 881-2418
info@frontrangeoffroadfab.com
www.frontrangeoffroadfab.com
Inchworm Rock Walkin' Gear
3841 Quest Court #13
Shingle Springs, CA 95682
(530) 677-8111
jimmyc@inchwormgear.com
www.inchwormgear.com