By on March 23, 2010


Nearly a month ago, Toyota’s Jim Lentz was asked by National Public Radio about the then-new “shim fix” for sticky accelerator pedals.

NPR asked: “if I’m a Toyota owner subject to this recall and I say ‘I don’t want a repaired accelerator pedal, I want a new one.’ Is that an option?” To which Lentz replied: “it will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.” When NPR asked for Lentz to clarify what he meant by “case-by-case basis,” he said “It’s really up to… between the dealer and the customer. We would like to see customers get this fix done with the precision cut steel bar and see how that is. I think the customers are going to be very satisfied with overall quality of the pedal and the feel of the pedal.”

At the time, this was interpreted as a not-so-great sign for Toyota’s “precision cut” shim fix. Reinforcing the impression that some might not be happy with the fix, a Toyota memo to dealers has surfaced today at the AP [via Google], which requests that:

If a customer is not satisfied with the operation and/or the feel of the accelerator pedal after the reinforcement bar has been installed, please assist us by assuring a replacement pedal is provided at no charge to these customers

Which makes us wonder: is there anyone out there who has had the shim fix done to their recalled Toyota only to have the problem reoccur? Has anyone requested a replacement pedal instead of the shim fix, and had a Toyota dealer turn you down? Toyota is probably playing it safe by asking dealers to provide new pedals, but we’re cant help but wonder why they would cast suspicion on the shim fix this way. Any ideas?

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29 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: How About Those Repaired Toyota Pedals?...”


  • avatar

    I had the procedure done on a 2010 Matrix….no issues before, no issues after and no change in pedal feel. Total non issue. Are we looking for filler after dropping the TSB article?

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      We’ve received an e-mail from at least one customer who was very unhappy about the change in feel of the pedal:
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/toyota-recall-creates-unintended-accelerator-consequences/
      Given the variability of manufacturer’s specs, it’s almost inevitable that some will have a noticeable change in friction that may be objectionable.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Where did the TSB article go?

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      Was wondering that myself. Autoblog, Jalopnik, AOL, Yahoo are all showing the 2002 TSB. Why was it removed?

    • 0 avatar

      The TSB article was removed after a firestorm of complaints from the B&B. They rightly pointed out that “surge” is not “unintended acceleration.”

      If Autoblog, Jalopnik, AOL, Yahoo don’t know their technology, then that’s their own problem. All TSB’s are submitted to NHTSA, as required by law, where they become a matter of public record. A 2002 TSB about surge is a non-story, as it has been pounded into us by at least 20 comments, until we took the story down.

  • avatar

    In case of Toyota, it’s not important if the whiner has grounds for the whine, the important part is to have him/her to stop whining, whatever it takes. One has to be mad to let them even do this recall in the first place, unless it’s a full-on replacement to Denso unit right away. It’s a completely senseless recall (unlike, say, broken half-axles in Tacoma).

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I assume Toyota is going this route because a hunk of metal – oops, I meant to say precision cut steel bar- is cheaper than a new pedal. Labor I imagine is similar with either fix.

    If I had a Toyota I’d be pressing for a Denso pedal.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the time to manufacture was the driver, not the raw cost. Labor is most of the cost anyway. But at rates Denso makes pedals, it would take them 10 years to produce enough — if they stopped istalling them into new cars! But the rate to produce shims is almost infinitely higher. There’s probably a machine out there that can make all necessary shims IN ONE DAY.

  • avatar
    pudelpointer

    I had the shim and shave done last month on my 08′Camry SE. I couldn’t tell the difference. It doesn’t matter anyway,as the dealer is buying out my lease early and I am getting in on the lease special on a 10′Camry XLE fully loaded. With a .00001 money factor,it’s almost like free money.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    TTAC showed us how the pedal , and the fix , works . It is pretty obvious that the shim will look after the safety issue , but that there will be issues down the line with the “looseness”(or feel ) of the pedal.
    Give me a cable-operated throttle every time.

  • avatar
    Angainor

    I had my Camry fixed but when I pulled out of the parking spot it took off uncontrollably.

    But then I took my foot off the gas pedal and put it on the break instead and it worked just fine.

  • avatar
    pudelpointer

    Angainor
    Did you get a sudden urge to call 911 and your spouse to hear thier voice one last time?

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    If my pedal.. was replaced (if I bought one of these fuckin things..)

    I want it guarenteed that Im not getting a CTS Pedal.

    Then again..
    If I did buy one of these goddamn things… (a 07 Highlander, just for shits sake) I want to know why it isn’t recalled… knowing its got a Camry motor, Camry frame with Camry parts on the Camry line along with 7 other vehicles that share parts with the very same CAMRY!

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      07 Camry (current gen) shares almost nothing w/ an 07 Highlander. The 07 Highlander is off the older Camry platform. The 08 Highlander is from the newer platform.

      Also, North American Camrys are almost built in the US. Highlander wasn’t domestically produced until fall of 2009.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    It’s not just the defect, but the multiple defects, the burying of the defect, government lobbying to avoid a recall, the botched recall and the other non-related safety defects that have emerged over the last five years. What kind of bonehead would even consider a new Toyota after this? “Quality” my a$$. They have a lot to prove before “Toyota” will ever be synonymous with “quality” again.

  • avatar
    pudelpointer

    My wife and I have owned Toyotas since 91 when we bought our first Tercel. Since then we’ve owned various Tercels,Corollas,Camrys and 4Runners,some bought some leased. With the exception of a Jeep GC Laredo in 99 which was a steaming pile. And in almost 20 years of Toyotas I have replaced 1 starter in a 99 4Runner and a heater fan motor in a 2001 Corolla,thats it,aside from regular maintainence. And I use my 4Runners hard during 7 months of various hunting seasons,and they take a beating. So yeah,Toyota has earned my business,I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      We’ve only had two Toyos since 1992 and replaced an alternator, cracked exhaust manifold and the exhaust system (before stainless systems were available), all of this on the the ’92 Corolla. The ’03 Matrix was flawless at 167,000 miles. So yeah, we like em. But didn’t go that way when we wanted a small SUV last year, got a Subie Forester instead. Would buy Toyota again however.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Maybe it’s all in the angle of the dangle.

  • avatar
    Buffs Fan

    A friend of mine is a service director at a Toyota dealership. He said the part cost is about $275, so the shim is considerably cheaper — probaly costs less than a buck. The labor is the same either way. “Case by case basis” is a way for Toyota to avoid putting a new pedal in every vehicle — they will wait for the customer to complain about the shim. No complaint, and Toyota saves $275. The shim must meet the legal requirements for the recall (or Toyota convinced the Feds that it does), so Toyota isn’t obligated to replace the pedal. With millions of vehicles affected, that adds up to a lot of money saved for Toyota

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      The part may retail for $275, which means it probably costs Toyota about $5. Likely less.

      But still, compared to under $1 per unit for the metal strip spacer, well, it adds up fast.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      It’s been confirmed by Toyota in their SEC filings that the pedals cost them $15 each.

    • 0 avatar
      Tricky Dicky

      And just say that they gave everyone full pedals which were say, 15x more expensive than the shims, then they’d end up with some silly shareholder lawsuit for destroying value. They can’t win.

      They simply have given their retailers the discretion to make particularly unhappy customers more satisfied, with the option of a full pedal replacement. It’s just common sense. Not enough of that around. I bet hardly any asks for it, because there’s hardly anyone that has any experience at all of a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      steve05

      Personally I have owned a 96 RAV4, two Corolla XRS’s, one a 06, and now I have ’10, (loving it), my wife has the 09 Camry SE, all vehicles were/are manual transmission. Neither of my vehicles will get the new pedal, fix, or Denso pedal. Don’t want them, don’t need them. To get the same concern that others have “said” they have had, (remember not one single case has been proven that sudden unintended accelaration was blamed on the pedal, look to the 2 cases of Prius driver’s in this last month, also interesting that the claims went up by 2000% as soon as there was notification that a suit was going against Toyota, greedy Americans), i would need a chance of 1 in 5 million. Hell, I have been playing the lottery for years now, and I keep reminding myself that lotteries are also called a fool’s tax. Pedal works great and just loving my Toyota!!

    • 0 avatar
      Accazdatch

      Steve05

      Well of course not.

      The manual tranny cars don’t have those problems.
      They already had / have the antidote..

      Its called A CLUTCH!

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Thanks Paul. That’s an expensive piece.

  • avatar
    Buffs Fan

    Hey porschespeed — not sure what it costs Toyota to buy it from the supplier, hopefully more than $5! Either way, $275 is what they would have to reimburse the dealer for installing it. Manufacturers sell the parts to the dealer, and then reimburse the dealer for the dealer cost plus a markup. (I spent some time at a dealership in parts and service). Some of that $275 is Toyota margin when they sold the part to the dealer, but most of it is money out of their pocket. Also since they already put the spacer in, each pedal replaced would be a new labor charge — I think my friend said it was about 2 hours labor — many dealers are close to $100/hour, so the total to Toyota is almost $500 per vehicle. So every 2 million vehicles would cost them about $1 Billion. Even for Toyota that’s some real money!

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      From my experience of charging warranty cost back to suppliers and manufacturers, your numbers are so, so, so wrong. The cost for the manufacturer to completely replace an engine is usually between $3000 and $5000. You’re trying to tell me that a simple pedal replacement is $500 in parts and labor?

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      I was low on the price, according to SEC filings via Mr. Niedermeyer, it’s $15.

      As to the rest, I don’t have my software handy, but pedal replacement booking out at an hour sounds right, two sounds really high, but I’ll take your word for it.

      Regardless of the accounting trick or reimbursement scenario, what it costs Toyota is basically $15 per pedal + labor reimbursement to the dealer.


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