In the TTAC Pedal Series “Toyota Gas Pedal Fix Simulated: Friction Reduced, But By Too Much”, I anticipated that the crude shim fix for the recalled CTS “sticky pedals” would result in an uncomfortable pedal feel at the least and quite possibly unsafe characteristics at worst. A quick refresher: a carefully controlled degree of friction (hysteresis) is essential in an e-pedal, otherwise smooth changes and maintaining steady states in throttle position become difficult if not impossible. I wrote: “Undoubtedly, Toyota’s intended degree of friction will be compromised by this fix, to one degree or another. And drivers may find the fix unpleasant or uncomfortable, also to some degree or another. Clearly, this fix is a band aid to fix the intrinsic limitations of this design.”
I’ve been counting the days until someone complained about the results of the pedal fix. Yesterday it came, from TTAC reader JAQUEBAUER:
My daughter took her 2009 Camry in to the dealer today for the Gas Pedal recall, and were very surprised and disjointedness with the “fix” that Toyota has chosen for this problem. We picked the car up, getting the keys and a copy of the repair order from the cashier. We were not told about any precautions to take or be aware of changes in the operation of the car. The Repair order indicated that the cars computer was reprogrammed, and some work was done on the gas pedal. I asked her to test drive the car in the dealers parking lot before she went home, to check for any problems.
There were 2 issues she found unacceptable, that I want to talk about here.
First, she said the feel of the accelerator had changed greatly, that it took very little foot pressure to move the pedal, that it felt very light and that she was startled when she pulled out from the parking space at how fast the car jerked forward. It seems that the fix reduced the force needed to move the accelerator greatly, and she had not expected the change, and it would take some time to get used to.
Secondly, the other part of the fix was to “chew off” the bottom of the gas pedal, reducing its length to about 4 inches. I say “chewed off” because the cut was very sloppy, looking like a raccoon has eaten the bottom end of the pedal off. It appears that they did not replace the floor mat, as it looked like that same 10 month old mat.
After calling both conditions to the attention of the service manager, he acted like we were the only one of “thousands” to complain about the recall fix. . We did NOT get acknowledgment from him that we should have been informed about the change in pedal pressure, and that an unsuspecting person might have an accident because of this change.
As for the gas pedal fix, he said that “we only do what is dictated to us by Toyota.” I asked if the cutting of the pedal was an interim fix, or the final fix, and did he agree with me that the gas pedal cutting was a sloppy fix for a $25,000 car ? His reply was to repeat that “this is what the factory has told us to do.” This service manager did not know if this was the final fix.. At a minimum, we should have been warned that there would be a change in the pressure required to depress that gas pedal, and to be careful when first driving the car. I also feel that the removal of bottom part of the gas pedal was done very sloppy, and did not conform to any quality standard in today’s manufacturing world. I am sure that Toyota would not ship a new Camry with a “chewed off” gas pedal, and that this “fix” was a “cheap way out”
If we are now safer in our Toyota Camry because of this recall, a “chewed off” gas pedal might seem like a petty complaint, and would be acceptable as an interim countermeasure. If this is the final solution, then the “sloppy” nature of the fix makes me wonder where else is Toyota being “sloppy”
Not only does this crude change in how the critical friction device change the feel of the pedal, potentially to a dangerous level, but it also negates the built-in self compensating adjustment to the friction device as it wears. That means that as the pedal ages, the friction can only become lesser. This may take some time to fully manifest, but its why we called for Toyota to replace the CTS pedal with the Denso pedal or preferably with an even better design altogether.
[Update: According to the terms of the recall posted at NHTSA, If the customer is not satisfied with the accelerator pedal operation or the feel of the pedal after the reinforcement bar has been installed, a replacement accelerator pedal will be offered at no charge when they become available. Undoubtedly that will be the revised version of the CTS pedal, and not the Denso pedal, which to my understanding is bolt and plug-in compatible. from this story, it’s quite obvious that Toyota service reps are not informing customers of this option.]