By on March 4, 2010

Legions of Toyota owners have brought their automobiles to their dealers to have their carpets zip-tied and their pedals shimmied. But did that end the customer complaints? You guessed it: It did not. The NHTSA has already received 10 complaints that the fixes were for naught and that cars still have a mind of their own. Understandably, do-nothing-NHSTSA, having received congressional tongue lashings about lackadaisical attitudes, is on it like sonic.

Reuters says that NHTSA “is reviewing reports that have been received since mid-February and are interviewing vehicle owners. The regulator said the allegations were unconfirmed.”

Stealing LaHood’s lines, David Strickland, the NHTSA administrator, said that the agency wants to “get to the bottom” of the matter and ensure that Toyota is doing “everything possible” to address the situation. “If Toyota owners are still experiencing sudden acceleration incidents after taking their cars to the dealership, we want to know about it,” Strickland said.

If you have a shimmied or zip-tied Toyota and you want some attention, or a new car while the old one is being investigated, now is the time to speak up.

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52 Comments on “Toyotas Recalled, Fixed, Blamed Again...”


  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Social contagion – or – maybe even litigation contagion has been mentioned as a problem with reporting post media circus numbers.

    Are these 10 vehicles out of population of ten million?

    National Public Radio did some analysis of the number of SUA events reported to NTSA per 100,000 vehicles sold. If you went just by the numbers per 100,000 vehicles, it wouldn’t be Toyota that is in the news.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124235858

    Scroll back through the years and you’ll see some unlikely names to include Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      No, it would still be Toyota in the news. They have the second highest rate of SUI after Volkswagen, which sold one-sixth the vehicles Toyota did. It’s the combination of high SUI rate combined with high sales and evasive behavior that have placed Toyota in its present position.

      It’s interesting that GM and Chrysler’s rates are more than a magnitude of order less than Toyota’s. This scotches the “little old lady” argument that SUI is a result of driver error. If that were the case, incidences of SUI would be similar across manufacturers, which the data shows to be not the case at all.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      So VW tops the list of reports as a ratio of cars sold but doesn’t end up requiring a recall or on the news with dead CHP officers.

      I’m convinced it’s because the VW ECU is programmed with a brake override. Most of the deaths from runaway Toyotas would have been prevented with this programming. Brakes on fire, melted, etc. tells you that a good percentage of the worst Toyota cases were NOT issues of pedal confusion.

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      The NPR tables make it clear that Toyota’s SUA problems began with the 2002 model year. What happened in 2002? Did the elderly suddenly switch from buying Lincolns to buying Toyotas and Lexuses?

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      Here’s the answer about 2002 from the LA Times: “Toyota introduced electronic throttle controls in 2002 on certain Camry and Lexus models, and since that time consumer complaints to NHTSA about sudden acceleration have quadrupled for these models.”

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Here’s the answer standard-lamestream-media-take about 2002 from the LA Times: “Toyota introduced electronic throttle controls in 2002 on certain Camry and Lexus models, and since that time consumer complaints to NHTSA about sudden acceleration have quadrupled for these models.”

      I fixed your (above) quote for ya!

      Also, could it be that after 2002 people became better using the internet to point, click and type a complaint? Do Toyota customers tend to internet shop & compared much more than other brands?

  • avatar
    don1967

    I don’t have a shimmied or zip-tied Toyota, in fact I don’t even have a Toyota. But a beige Camry did pull up behind me at a traffic light recently, and I’ve been having nightmares ever since. Where do I apply for compensation?

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    this will all end up being a software bug

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Carpenter

      You’re right. It’s called the faulty HUMAN BRAIN aka the loose nut behind the wheel.

      How can I be so sure?

      Easy.

      1) Toyota numbers were not demonstrably worse than average worldwide for unintended acceleration of cars until this witch hunt started through the highly suspect American mass hypnosis whoops I mean government controlled media

      2) Toyotas in the rest of the world aren’t and haven’t been driving off like Christine (the possessed car of movie fame)

      3) We have the Audi witch-hunt from 20 years ago to prove how such things can get blown out of proportion

      And finally, as many have already pointed out, whether or not the “gummint” in the US is trying to purposely hobble a major competitor when in fact said government and “friends” (read: UAW) own two major auto companies in the USA, is moot. The very APPEARANCE of a witch hunt is bad news for them, and in fact, “if it looks like a skunk, waddles like a skunk and smells like a skunk – I wouldn’t bother calling here kitty would you like some milk – to it”.

      Major Carpenter

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      this will all end up being a software bug

      Why? I know this is hard for people to accept, but pedal entrapment (or pedal confusion) really is the most likely and most frequent cause.

      I know we all want to hate software based on experience (hur, hur, Windows, hur, hur), but the code that goes into controls is nothing like the code that gets put into general-purpose computers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      I can guarantee you that the two incidents of SUA that my mom experienced were not caused by pedal confusion or pedal entrapment. In both instances, she had come to a stop at a traffic light and the engine rpms continued to rise while sitting at the light. It seems so improbable as to be impossible that she was using her left foot to brake and then absent-mindedly floored the accelerator with her right foot. Unless the carpet reached up and snared the pedal dragging it back to the floor, it was not pedal entrapment. Finally, the dealer’s suggestion that my mom had her foot on both the accelerator and break doesn’t hold water for two reasons: 1) you need to turn your foot at a weird and uncomfortable sideways angle to do so (I know I tried); 2) the break pedal does not go all of the way to the floor, and as a result, I couldn’t get the rpms above 3,000 using one foot on both pedals. I have no doubt that SUA is real based on my mom’s experience and my inability to duplicate what she described in any of the accidental/driver error scenarios that have been described.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Carpenter,
      In the US, where most cars are automatics, the numbers were significantly worse. Ford was also high. So, unless Toyota and Ford have more nut cases behind the wheel then Honda, Chrysler and GM I don’t think that is valid. Till you can proof that it is only Toyota drivers who are primarily the loose nuts and followed by Ford, then I think the rest of your points mean little.

      On point 2, it has been discussed that most of the rest of the world drives manuals and have more rigorous driving standards. If these drivers are able to avoid an accident when the problem does occur, it doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist.

      The Audi problems of years past do not effect in any way the Toyota issue of today. The conspiracy theories you talk about are laughable. The gov’t doesn’t control the media. If it did, why would congress and the president be represented so badly.

      Not that I know that this is a software bug. I have no idea if it is a software bug, but as discussed in some of the other articles, it is a bad design of the pedal sensors.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Carpenter

      Hi Steven,

      Yes, I’m aware that much of the rest of the world drive stick. But Canadians mostly drive automatics, and there are not as many problems up there.

      Canadian driver’s ed (nor driving standards) and not universally better than American.

      That’s my point, in a nutshell.

      Sure, there are issues with cars – and not just Toyotas.

      My ongoing point is that this is a witch hunt and it’s patently obvious that it is a witch hunt.

      It doesn’t help Toyota that there are genuine problems and could be genuine problems with the cars even after the fix, not including the driver’s error, in some cases.

      But I think people are also forgetting the most obvious solution if/when this UIA happens; PUT THE CAR INTO NEUTRAL. This will disconnect the engine from the wheels.

      It’s literally a flip of the arm/hand in virtually all cars and a flip of a hand on a Prius.

      The other thing worth noting is that I suspect computer “stupid-proofing” will continue on in cars until it gets so bad for those car-guys and car-guys (myself included) that we’ll have to find something else to enjoy.

      Because at the rate we’re going within 20 years, the darned cars will end up driving themselves. (THEN who gets the blame for accidents?)

  • avatar
    JohnAZ

    Anyone suggesting that these 10 events on ‘fixed’ vehicles is evidence of Toyota’s UA problem is silly, naive, and idiotic.

    The same is true for anyone getting out their calculator and trying to prove that 10 is not relevant, or suggesting the 10 are the result of someone committing a hoax for financial gain.

    Regardless of what is eventually found, it’s clear to me that Toyota has done a very poor job of managing these problems. It will now be critical for them to handle these new events well. If there is any appearance by either Toyota or NHTSA of trying to keep these under the radar, or denying them, it will be disastrous for both organizations.

  • avatar
    210delray

    There needs to be some kind of “triage” system for examining these complaints. Some have to be bogus, some exaggerated, but some could be worth looking into in depth. Separating the wheat from the chaff has to be a top NHTSA priority.

    I still think most of this is hysteria, but there is a slight possibility of something real going on here (beyond pedal misapplication, interfering mats, and sticky gas pedals), not just for Toyota but other automakers like Ford.

    I’d agree with Mr. Carpenter above on his 3 main points but not on the Government Motors aspect of trying to bring down a competitor.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Regardless of what is eventually found, it’s clear to me that Toyota has done a very poor job of managing these problems. It will now be critical for them to handle these new events well.

    Absolutely true, sir, absolutely true.

    The question is: What does it mean to to handle these new events well? What will satisfy the public?

    • 0 avatar

      I wanted to ask the same question. It has been said again and again that Toyota has handled the complaints badly. How should they have handled them?

      I think they studied the Audi 5000 debacle. I was there. Nobody knew what was going on. VW/Audi looked into it as hard as they could. Found nothing. In their typical righteousness, they said it’s pilot error. Which it was. Confirmed by NHTSA. Years after, when the damage was done.

      Me included said at the time: “You should have handled this better. You should have done something to appease the masses. Don’t argue their driving skills. Recall the cars.”

      Exactly this was done by Toyota. What should they have done instead? If you don’t know what the problem is, it is hard to fix.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      @Bertel +1

      As someone who has been on the business end of customer complaints and has had to pour through code, test results and analyses, I can appreciate the frustration.

      It’s very easy to armchair-quarterback and say “Get in front of the issue”, “You need to recall” or “You need to send a communication”. The reality is, and this is especially the case for a mass-market product, your product is in the hands of a lot of simple, frustrated and, to be brutally honestly, stupid, ignorant and/or belligerent people. They can’t help you get data to fix the problem and they’ll resent your attempts to fix it. They’ll certainly resent your attempts to fix it if you’re not 100% sure.

      And boy, once they smell blood in the water, they’ll blame you for everything (“Ever since you fixed my gas pedal, my toaster burns my toast, my washing machine vibrates and I have a ringing noise in my left ear”).

      This is made worse by “business leaders” who don’t or won’t understand that reality is not defined by absolutes. You see the same thing played out in courtrooms all the time: the legal and political professions thrive on doubt and uncertainty as a weapon, while the technical and scientific communities accept it as a factor that exists but can be minimized.

      In watching Toyota’s troubles unfold I don’t doubt that they could have handled some of the outlier issues a whole lot better, such as better empowering their dealers and perhaps acting earlier when everyone’s mind was on the recession, but in their shoes I’d probably have done much of the same thing. Being forced to kick the wasps’ nest hasn’t helped them get to the bottom of the problem any faster and could (and in my experience, often does) wastes time and attention on discussing and politicizing the problem instead of fixing it.

      If you think otherwise, true, but until you’re behind a problem like this, it’s worth thinking that perhaps it’s trickier to solve than we might think.

      Personally, I think the issue is mostly the result of floor mat pedal entrapment and people panicking, but really the issue is that what is a tricky and highly nuanced problem has been simplified by the media to the point of inaccuracy.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      Idiot proof the cars.

      Brake-shifter interlocks stopped the Audi debacle when none of their other recalls did.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Idiot proof the cars.

      This is probably going to be the case. We’re going to see brake/throttle cutoff, laser cruise control, PreSafe, significantly more sanity checks, especially for pedal sensors.

      Most notably, we’re going to see expansion of EDR systems (possibly with cameras; hey, storage is cheap!) and their data made publicly available to investigators, police and insurance. This, in turn, is going to make life uncomfortable for enthusiasts and careless drivers; the former because hoonage will be documented, the latter because “I swear, it did it itself” is going to be hard to prove then the EDR shows you stomped on the gas pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      I rented a car last week and it was my first experience with ESC that defaulted to on. I was on a fairly muddy road and the ESC was doing it’s best to keep me from actually moving (i.e. spinning the tires). Idiot proofing cars can only go so far. (sigh)

      P.S. Thanks for your comments psarhjinian.

    • 0 avatar

      Idiot proof the cars.

      Brake-shifter interlocks stopped the Audi debacle when none of their other recalls did.

      Let me tell you what stopped the Audi debacle: A priest drove his Lincoln Towncar into a K-Mart and sent some people to paradise or hell. Then it dawned on people that it wasn’t an Audi debacle, it was a driver debacle. Then the idiots got their mandated brake-shift interlock.

      Now they’ll get their mandated “smart brake.” Doesn’t protect the world from idiots who stomp on the gas, convinced it’s the brake.

      I speak from experience, I’ve been an idiot. I shifted a Caprice Wagon into D with the foot on the gas. Thank God no-one was in front of me. Once, after 8 hours on I95, I was in line in front of the G W bridge toll. 18-wheeler to the left. 18-wheeler to the right. Suddenly, my car rolled backwards. I stomped on the brake. Nothing. Kept rolling backwards. I panicked. My former wife, usually a nervous wreck, but calm under fire, pointed out that I was standing and that the two trucks left and right had slowly pulled forward, creating the sensation of me rolling backwards.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I think the problems with Toyota’s handling of the problem is the evidence of how many complaints have been brought up and the lack of action. It seemed to take a CHP officer dieing with his family to get a recall. Then it took an Avalon in a pond with floor mats in the trunk to get another recall. You couple this with the quick recalls that happened right afterwards, which suggests that Toyota quickly found out the problem was. When you take that information and you hear about how many deaths have been reported and how many complaints have been reported, it looks like Toyota didn’t try to hard to figure out the problem till the media got a hold of it. This is why the average recall doesn’t make news, but a runaway car will make the news.

      I understand that issues like this can be hard to troubleshoot. But it also seems to have had a quick fix once the media started reporting the issue.

    • 0 avatar
      baabthesaab

      “Idiot proof the cars.” A waste of effort. This is a competitive society and someone will just make a better idiot!

  • avatar
    mikey

    Face it fan boys,your beloved ToMoCo srewed up. To make matters worse,they lied and cheated. Oh what a tangled web we weave eh?

    The UAW may be guilty of a lot of things,but a conspiracy involving GM, Chrysler, the UAW the MSM and the US government?

    After thinking about it, its just not worth a comment.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      Still, for my next new vehicle, I’d rather buy a Toyota then any UAW built vehicle. And that is coming from a Jeep guy.

    • 0 avatar
      VLAD

      The part the UAW and politicians don’t get, is that no matter how much they campaign against Toyota, and even if Toyota were to be found at fault to some degree eventually, most people with even a minimal sense of fairness might avoid Toyota but under no circumstance would even consider an UAW made car on principle.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    From our friend at http://www.joesherlock.com

    “Where’s The Congressional Witch Hunt? General Motors has recalled 1.3 million Chevrolet and Pontiac models in North America for power steering failures that are tied to 14 crashes and one injury in the United States.

    The NHTSA opened a separate investigation on 905,000 U.S. Cobalt models in January 2010 after receiving more than 1,100 complaints on power steering failures.” Now then 210Delray, what was it you disagreed with me on?…..

    Since I got FODed (someone’s trailer hitch fallen onto a 2 lane road took out the exhaust to the tune of $1100) on the road yesterday, my new car is in the shop and my insurance company has paid for an Enterprise rental car, a Chevy HHR.

    What a total and complete POS, despite only have 4300 miles on it (and yeah, I know – it’s a rental car….). The engine groans and the car shakes like a $2 whore with Parkinsons, and drinks faster than a shipload of sailors on shore leave. I drove over warning strips and it resonated the whole car. The torque steer would lead you to believe it has mega-power, but it hasn’t. It’s like driving an updated 1978 Dodge Omni.

    Only 40 miles and it drank 3.25 gallons of gasoline (I have to wonder how many brainiac renters have put E85 in it since it APPEARS to be cheaper at the pump but they aren’t bright enough to realize the mileage loss on E85 makes gasoline a better deal…)

    The other thing about the HHR is that the A-pillars are as thick as the fat lady’s thighs at the circus. I have to weave and bob behind the wheel to make sure there isn’t a frickin’ semi in the blind spot coming at 60…. then there are the seats. Way too high and more like park benches than seats. Plus they have the typical GM “semi-reclining” feature as standard equipment (I had to make some major adjustments before I could even drive it). I don’t want to feel like I’m in a La-Z-Boy while I’m driving, but GM apparently thinks everyone does.

    In fact, I’m taking the rental car back early. GM should leave these pieces of drek in Mexico where they belong and where they hail from.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I am not sure how 14 crashes and 1 injury some how equates to 1000 crashes and multiple deaths. Congress won’t investigate something that is more minor. If so, where is the Congress’s investigation into the Corolla steering issues from the same supplier? Those two issues are less serious and don’t require congressional review.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    Your kidding right? Is anybody really suprised that the “fix” didn’t fix the problem. Yes, I don’t know what the problem is either but then I don’t manufacture them and run commercials telling how they are safe and that my mother drives one.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Is anybody really suprised that the “fix” didn’t fix the problem.

      Yes, but that’s because, then and now, SUA is normally a combination of pedal entrapment or confusion combined with driver panic.

      Some of the nastiest issues I’ve ever had to troubleshoot was network or application performance. Users will claim something runs slow, but they’ll be hard-pressed to explain how, when, why or if it’s different day over day, or now versus then. Quantitative measures can’t duplicate the problem, but users will insist it’s there.

      Once you acknowledge the problem publicly, though, you’re solidly in the hurt locker. Customers, even those who weren’t complaining, will become symptomatic. Existing symptomatic customers will claim the problem isn’t fixed, even when you can’t see anything in tests and they cannot reproduce it under observation.

      And all these people talk and discuss and add their own creative misinterpretations to the mix.

      So no, I’m not surprised it’s not “fixed”.

  • avatar
    Moparagain

    So do you think the “floormat fix” and the “shim fix” was an honest mistake based on the info they had at the time or a delaying tatic?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      So do you think the “floormat fix” and the “shim fix” was an honest mistake based on the info they had at the time or a delaying tatic?

      Probably a bit of both. I suspect they went hell-for-leather trying to find theoretical failures and those were (and are) the most likely candidates. At that point, they had to come up with something.

      I’ve done the same: sometimes, when you can’t prove the real cause, start throwing resources at where the problem isn’t a bad strategy, especially when you’re into the blamestorming stage.

      I suspect the floormat fix probably addressed the bulk of the potentiality. The much-publicized Saylor case was caused by pedal entrapment, as have others.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    This just adds fuel to the contention that the Toyota throttle system robustness and Fault Checking & Mitigation (FCM) circuitry is poorly implemented.

    If it turns out that there is a coding error in the mitgation section, I’d belive a major cause of the problem has been identified.

    For example, if the mitigation is coded “If throttle command is not logical, set error, set throttle voltage = 5.0V”, there is a decimal point problem.

    “5.0V” is the value for full throttle. “0.5V” is the value for idle.

    Becaue the error is latching, the throttle will re-set to the ECM-commanded value and stay there.

    (The above is psudo-code for readability, not actual PLC coding.)

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I predicted this the momment I heard about Toyotas silly fixes to this problem. A precision piece of steel acting as a shim and a zip tie! LOL whats next a retro fitted ejector seat and mandatory oversized moonroof when SUA is detected cause us dumb americans are still to stupid to put the car in neutral and shut the key off while going 100 MPH. A good friend of mine had a rental Toyota Camry LE 4 cylinder 2010 a few months ago before this fiasco. It was a typical rental car. Gray LE with gray blah interior. We drove it around all day and kept asking ourselves how this thing got to be the best selling car in America? The interior A-pillars are so flimsy they come off right in your hand if you jiggle them ever so slightly. The glovebox door was mis-aligned. The trunk needed sometimes 3 slams before it would stay shut. The cheap plastic hubcaps were attached to the wheels so flimsy that you could hear them resonate when going by a building at 20 MPH! The door remote sometimes needed to be pushed 4 times unless you were right up close to the car. The alignment was off and the front brake rotors were already starting to warp and pulsate. The cloth seats used 1980’s mouse fur that was already looking soiled and dingy. The new 2.5 liter engine did feel more lively than before but it also made more noise and the 6 speed sometimes felt like it wasn’t in the right gear. The ride and handling were ok at lower speeds but uninspired on the highway and not very precise, especially the numb steering. We averaged 29.1 MPG on 200 miles of highway travel or about the same as my larger 3.9 liter V6 Impala! This Camry was hardly the worst rental we have driven but it’s troubling and very surprising that it has been a best seller for so many years. Interesting to note that it is no longer the best selling sedan for 2010 relinquishing that spot to the Accord which IMO is far more deserving of that title.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Just have time for this comment (can’t wait to return from my meeting to see what everyone has posted above…)

    “Stealing LaHood’s lines, David Strickland, the NHTSA administrator, said that the agency wants to “get to the bottom” of the matter and ensure that Toyota is doing “everything possible” to address the situation. “If Toyota owners are still experiencing sudden acceleration incidents after taking their cars to the dealership, we want to know about it,” Strickland said.”

    Apparently LaHood has his golden line under lock and key (you remember that line: “we’re going to hold Toyota’s feet to the fire.”)

    p.s. I don’t know if anyone linked to it, but CNN-Intl interviewed a Toyota-owner in his post-repair car; him “It accelerated, I hit the brake, there was NO overide response car moved along, and then Finally, the brakes overcame the engine … I was shortly before (IIRC) going over the curb and hitting a wall” (or something to that effect.) I was wondering today, what would be the motivation for a Toyota-owner to report something like this if it Didn’t happen? He bought a Toyota, so he must have liked it better than all else, and he didn’t have an accident, so there is nothing to claim for, so what would be his motivation to make that up? I only had two ideas, a) looking for his 15-minutes, and b) he was put up to it by someone trying to collect $$ from TMC.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    The claims need be investigated quickly to see if it was a real problem. But even the Toyota has said that the recalls don’t cover all of the reported cases and that the problem is not electronic.

    I don’t know how they can know the problem isn’t electronic when they don’t know what explains the rest of the issues. Dr. Gilbert’s research shows a bad design with the pedal position sensors. While I don’t believe that it has been linked to any reported issue yet, it should be investigated to make sure that the devices don’t have some corrosion problem over time that causes some of these issues.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Dr. Gilbert’s research shows a bad design with the pedal position sensors.

      Toyota says that Gilbert’s “test” can be replicated in a number of other makes.

      Did Gilbert control his sample by testing other makes?
      If no, why?

      If Gilbert DID test other makes, was Toyota’s the only failure?

      If Toyota was the only failure, why hasn’t he said anything?

      More importantly, if Toyota was NOT the only failure, why hasn’t he said anything about other makes?

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      @ ihatetrees

      You raise several good questions. If you do a search on “David Gilbert”, you’ll get some of your answers and more.

      Dr. Gilbert’s testimony was within days of discovering he could introduce abnormal voltages into the pedal wires and the ECM did not trap obvious errors. One of his “abnormal” tests was to short the supply power to the signal, which sent the engine to full throttle and kept it there.

      He was still documenting his work minutes before he walked into the Senate Hearing room. Expect a more detailed report.

      He did try another car, a Buick LaCrosse. As of his last report, the Buick has trapped and blocked every attempt to confuse the ECM from the pedal circuits.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      It was middle of the night here in Europe as I watched the testimony in D.C., so perhaps I am mistaken (but I think not), but IIRC, he was asked if he had tested it on other makes, and he said that he had, and the GM system tossed a code into memory, whereas Toyota did not. If the tests were the same, and not apples v. oranges from OEM to OEM, then there seems a clear divergence in monitoring, control and safety between TMC and GM.

      Also, if they say the mat change and the shim add and the re-flash won’t solve every problem, and if it can be assumed that all remaining problems can not be attributed to driver error (yes, i know this is debatable), then it could also be assumed that the above-mentioned fixes are solving some bad design things that could cause SUA, but possibly still not solving the main something (if there is a technical, non driver, issue extant)…

  • avatar
    crash sled

    All I can say is, when Toyota finally does come out with those EDR readers, they better not turn up an SUA event on a complainant’s vehicle. If they do, then Toyota is in deep doodoo. I mean deep doodoo.

    So sometime in April or so, NHTSA and Toyota better get together and instrument one of those alleged SUA vehicles, and see if they can recreate this fault.

    And it’d be really smart for Toyota to put out a workhorse fleet, say 100 or so vehicles, and collect that data as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      Car Rental fleets would be a good choice as they have nothing lose.

      Car rental fleets as part of their buying specification can require a recorder that can be re-set between rentals that records things like 30-seconds prior to air bag deployment, top speed, etc.

      They can also specify error codes, pedal use, speed, and whatever.

      I personally do not believe Toyota has come clean on what they are recording and for how long. I’d ask for verifiable proof the readers are really downloading everything on the EEPROM.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      What is it you think they’re supposed to “come clean” on? They’re complying with the law, as I understand.

      If you’re hunting for a random/intermittent issue as this SUA thing seems to be, collecting a bunch of data is pretty much a useless exercise, even though I do think Toyota should do it as a first proof. If they failed that proof, they are indeed in deep doo doo.

      What you really want to do is get your hands on a suspect vehicle, and wire that up. There’s nothign to come clean on, you just record throttle position, pedal position, air intake, RPM’s, across the board and range, and see if you can find any anomalies, and see if those anomalies are recorded as faults by the system. Don’t even need to know which samuraic code the ECM is talking. Straight up observation of the engine and throttle systems oughta get the job done, I’d think. If the Devil resides in these machines, we can force that trickster to show Himself.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      What is it you think they’re supposed to “come clean” on?

      As stated in the sentence: “I personally do not believe Toyota has come clean on what they are recording and for how long.”

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Well by that definition, I doubt any OEM is “coming clean”.

    • 0 avatar
      CarPerson

      I offer this:

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35713831/ns/business-autos

      “The AP investigation found that Toyota has been inconsistent — and sometimes even contradictory — in revealing exactly what the devices record and don’t record, including critical data about whether the brake or accelerator pedals were depressed at the time of a crash.

      By contrast, most other automakers routinely allow much more open access to information from their event data recorders, commonly known as EDRs.

      General Motors, for example, has licensed the auto parts maker Bosch to produce a device capable of downloading EDR data directly to a laptop computer, either from the scene of an accident or later.

      AP also found that Toyota:

      ~Has frequently refused to provide key information sought by crash victims and survivors.
      ~Uses proprietary software in its EDRs. Until this week, there was only a single laptop in the U.S. containing the software needed to read the data following a crash.
      ~In some lawsuits, when pressed to provide recorder information Toyota either settled or provided printouts with the key columns blank.”

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      THe target date for full implementation of EDR readers is 2012. That’s the only firm milestone you can go by. NHTSA hasn’t complained about Toyota’s cooperation to this point, and I don’t think I’d be too concerned about what a few trial lawyers are yelping about in an MSNBC article. THey have their agenda, same as Toyota.

      I think you’re assuming that the all the other OEMs are “coming clean” on what they allow to be recorded, and I doubt that’s a valid assumption. I think we had a small discussion about this last week, and I mentioned that I can think of no more suitable firm to act as the Blocker of Data Flow than Bosch. Plus, Ford has some type of adapter on their PCM reader, and I wonder how that adapter is “adapting” their data?

      If you think the other OEMs are any less litigation shy than Toyota, I think you’re mistaken. And we know good and well they’re no more likely than Toyota to quickly fess up to their recall issues, as too many times over the years we’ve seen them prove otherwise, despite massive body counts not nearly approached in this case, and for recalls far more traceable and provable than this one seems to be.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Sometimes I get behind Toyotas (recent Camrys especially) and wish they would suddenly accelerate because they’re going so GD slow. (Yes, I am aware that I’m going to hell.)

    • 0 avatar
      Contrarian

      Actually, that was my complaint with an 07 I rented. It hesitated for about 1.5s when you put the hammer down. Kind of scary, it was.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      “Sometimes I get behind Toyotas (recent Camrys especially) and wish they would suddenly accelerate because they’re going so GD slow. (Yes, I am aware that I’m going to hell.)”

      If your life was a Greek tragedy, based on your experience, you would pray to go to hell in a Toyota (so as to get there slower), but the Gods (as was their wont) would grant you half of your prayer (this case getting the Toyota), then add their own snazzy little sadistic twist (this case, giving your Toyota a case of SUA) so you get what you want, but not what you were expecting!!

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    “Idiot proof the cars” A waste of effort. This is a competitive world, and someone will just make a better idiot!

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    How scary is this for Toyota? Their cars have a major problem AND THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIX THEM! And everybody knows. They in big heap of trouble.


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