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  • Toyota throttle problem

    Toyota has had to halt sales of Camry, Corolla, Highlander, and other models, all of which can experience a stuck throttle. Is it merely a faulty floor mat configuration, or is there something else going on here?

    This sort of issue almost sunk Audi several years ago. But I don't think that unexpected acceleration was ever proven. There is no doubt about Toyota's problem.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    The first recall was for faulty floormat design. The latest one is more complex.

    From the NHTSA recall database: "TOYOTA IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2005-2010 AVALON, MODEL YEAR 2007-2010 CAMRY, MODEL YEAR 2009-2010 COROLLA, COROLLA MATRIX, RAV4, MODEL YEAR 2010 HIGHLANDER, MODEL YEAR 2008-2010 SEQUOIA, AND MODEL YEAR 2007-2010 TUNDRA VEHICLES. DUE TO THE MANNER IN WHICH THE FRICTION LEVER INTERACTS WITH THE SLIDING SURFACE OF THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL INSIDE THE PEDAL SENSOR ASSEMBLY, THE SLIDING SURFACE OF THE LEVER MAY BECOME SMOOTH DURING VEHICLE OPERATION. IN THIS CONDITION, IF CONDENSATION OCCURS ON THE SURFACE, AS MAY OCCUR FROM HEATER OPERATION (WITHOUT A/C) WHEN THE PEDAL ASSEMBLY IS COLD, THE FRICTION WHEN THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL IS OPERATED MAY INCREASE, WHICH MAY RESULT IN THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL BECOMING HARDER TO DEPRESS, SLOWER TO RETURN, OR, IN THE WORST CASE, MECHANICALLY STUCK IN A PARTIALLY DEPRESSED POSITION."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by aostling
      Toyota has had to halt sales of Camry, Corolla, Highlander, and other models, all of which can experience a stuck throttle. Is it merely a faulty floor mat configuration, or is there something else going on here?

      I remember a silent recall Ford had back in the mid to late 1970s. What would happen is the cruise control would suddenly apply WOT to the vehicle. Stepping on the brake would not kick out the cruise control. The only way to clear the fault was by shutting off the ignition. Ford had their dealers disable the cruise control before delivery of a vehicle.

      Audi and VW cars that have the "drive by wire" throttle system are immune to any sort of failure like that. If the accelerator and brake are depressed at the same time for more than 2 seconds, the engine will drop to idle speed regardless of the position of the throttle.

      It is amazing to me that anyone would not be able to stop a vehicle with a stuck throttle. The 71 series GM diesels would do that if the injector rack jammed. That is why they have emergency shutoffs installed on the engines.

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      • #4
        What am I missing

        As an owner of several less than new cars in my lifetime I have had throttles stick. I have never had a wreck because of it. Isn't it a natural response for an over revving engine to shut the ignition off? Richard-TX, I sure remember the airbox shutdowns on the 8-71s, Ran the overheads on a few of them in my youth. Somewhere in one of my toolboxes is a set of pushrod wrenches, guages and an assortment of injector timing pins. John

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        • #5
          The Toyotas (and Pontiacs) in this case are also "drive by wire". The problem with just shutting the ignition off is that for these cars, as I understand it, you have to "hold the button" for 3 seconds. Now, three seconds can be a lifetime in an emergency of this nature. I think that we'll see a magic fix sometime next week, perhaps in the code used to actuate the throttle condition or even a hardware correction. I suspect it is a combination of both, but the code fix will be quick and if done correctly will prevent the event. May make the cars a bit less "driveable", but better safe....

          I realize that Toyota and the press are trying to de-couple the earlier "carpet cutting" issues to the current situation. However, I can assure you that there are lawyers chomping at the bit to connect the two and the potential litigation costs to Toyota are emormous. Toyota and the press are also playing up the "voluntary recall" nature of this situation. And indeed that is the best thing that Toyota can do at this time for publicity sake. But, based on what I have read, NHTSA has publically stated that they prodded Toyota into doing this recall. This is as close to a Federally mandated recall as a car company can get. And Federally mandated recalls are accompanied by huge fines and bad publicity and again, emormous litigation costs. There is no doubt that they will be hurt by this, but they are doing everything they can to mitigate the damage.

          During my 33 years at GM, I spent many an hour/day/week on recallable issues. There are some very stressed out Toyota engineers and managers right now and none are getting any sleep. At GM, these things were reviewed all the way from the very top to the lowly release engineers responsible for the systems. But we the public will never know all of the findings, etc.

          Richard

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          • #6
            Sounds like a hydroscopic plastic problem,everything is fine until it soaks up a little water,then it sticks.
            I just need one more tool,just one!

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            • #7
              Isn't it a natural response for an over revving engine to shut the ignition off?
              All our modern vehicles' steering locks up when the ignition is switched off. I don't think that would be very safe. I'd rather move the shift selector to neutral and let the engine self-destruct. At least I'd retain directional control that way.

              Orrin
              So many projects. So little time.

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              • #8
                All our modern vehicles' steering locks up when the ignition is switched off.
                Oops. Sorry for the brain fart. The steering only locks when removing the ignition key. Perhaps that same sort of confusion is why some people have not turned off the ignition when their throttle stuck.

                Orrin
                So many projects. So little time.

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                • #9
                  About the ignition key activated steering wheel lock which, judging by the huge number of autos stolen every year, doesn't appear to be that effective. Anyway, I just wanted to mention my father's 1948 Ford truck which also had a steering wheel lock. However, it was activated by a toggle lever, near the ignition key. The key could be turned on or a gazillion times without locking the steering, but once the toggle was moved to the lock position, it could not be unlocked until the ignition key was inserted and turned. One other thing, recently in San Diego, Calif., an off duty cop was driving a Toyota when the vehicle went to WFO. The car accelerated to 100 mph and in the ensuing crash he and his family were killed. I read somewhere that that was a "keyless" system of some sort. I don't know whether or not that was true, but in any event, if it happens to any one of us, for God's sake, kick the tranny into neutral and break. Sure, the engine will over-rev and likely blow, but so what.

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                  • #10
                    Just apply the brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop. There isn't a vehicle made that the brakes cannot overide the engine even at WOT.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      I could be wrong, but I believe the cop in the Toyota smoked his breaks. I heard his cellphone conversation just before he crashed. I'll try to Google it. I honestly didn't pay too much attention to the details of the incident, just the overall tragedy of it.

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                      • #12
                        My wife's car is affected. It's a 2009 Corolla. The throttle has no linkage, it's 'drive by wire' and also manual transmission.
                        The throttle response is ridiculous, but perfectly safe, 'nuff said. I suspect the throttle response was optimized for an automatic so ...

                        I bought Toyota stock today because I believe in those guys, they make VERY reliable(boring) products. If this was a GM, Ford, or Chrysler issue there would be no news because it has happened before, many times.

                        American Engineering is among the worlds best. Fluke, HP, Tektronix ...
                        American automotive Engineering? - not impressed

                        My therapist forbids me to discuss American Automotive Engineering.
                        Best leave me alone.


                        Mike
                        Mike

                        My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Evan
                          Just apply the brakes and bring the vehicle to a stop. There isn't a vehicle made that the brakes cannot overide the engine even at WOT.
                          Oh, that is a myth....... if you have air-assist brakes, and you almost certainly do, the vacuum is what runs them. If you bleed off the vacuum, as with WOT, then the brake pedal pressure may go up 4 to 10x. A 98 lb woman is not going to hold that.

                          As for the wheel lock, it is NOT TRUE

                          a) that only pulling the key locks the wheel.

                          b) that turning off the engine locks the wheel.

                          At least not in any Chevy I have driven. You must press a button and turn the key all the way to the removal position before it locks.

                          The key need not be actually removed. But the extra action of pushing the button is required to get there. I agree that becomes automatic, but........

                          Now, without engine, the effort to turn the wheel goes WAY up, especially as you come to a stop. So the 98 lb woman may as well have a locked wheel.
                          1601

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan

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                          • #14
                            Okay, I just Googled san diego cop killed in toyota and the story came up along with the 911 cellphone call. Sorry, but when I tried to copy the URL but it just played the video. I'm really not that computer savy. Anyway, Google san diego cop killed in toyota and it will take you there.

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                            • #15
                              I could be wrong, but I believe the cop in the Toyota smoked his breaks
                              Smoked disk brakes? I find that hard to believe. Disk brakes will work up to red hot. The braking system has far greater ability to lock the wheels than the engine has to turn them. Even at WOT the brakes should be able to lock the wheels.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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