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Toyota Halts Sales of Popular Models - Accelerator Stuck Problem Recall

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  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,130
    Sharon....I'm not an engineer. My degree is in computer science. Unfortunately, I started an MBA, but put it on indefinite hold several years ago, choosing to spend more time with my family over night classes and hours of "home time" studying. Some say I did the right thing. I does bother me from time-to-time that I never finished the MBA....maybe after I retire many years down the line (when it will do me the least good).

    Overall, they've been a good corporate citizen to the local communities and to the U.S. But, P&G has their moments to make one pause with "what were they thinking?". It's definitely a different culture.....knowing a lot of their employees. You'll know a "P&G-er" when you meet one. That's not a bad thing. The reason I left Xerox after 10 years was for the same reason. I was engulfed in that culture, and didn't want to be.

    Enough about me, back to Toyota. From working with them, and having friends who work with them, overall they're very secretive. For a very long while, their engineering staff used a Computer Aided Design/Engineering (CAD/CAE) tool that was developed by them alone, even though there were much better solutions in the commercial market place. They've change in recent years and do now use commercially available CAD/CAE tools. But, those tools are only good if you implement them.

    I think one of Toyota's issues with relation to their current woes relates back to not doing enough CAD/CAE. They have to to get their vehicles designed. But, it's clear, in their race for expansion, that they didn't do enough. Nor, did they do enough real world testing. They can even do electronics and software simulation that would have uncovered a good portion of this issue. Clearly, they didn't do enough of that. They were in too much of a hurry to get new products out the door and onto the showroom floor.

    I read most of the automotive trade rags. Usually, there's a car that someone snapped a pic of showing real world testing in remote locations for things like extreme cold or extreme heat operation for example. I've seen those tests from just about every major auto manufacturer. Can't remember ever seeing Toyota do that....ever.

    I've owned Toyotas.....3 of them to be exact....one Tacoma, one Camry and one Avalon. They weren't any worse than any other brand I've owned when it comes to glitches. They weren't necessarily better, either. Maybe back in the '80s and '90s when General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were really making junk they were better. But, not now.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,884
    I've seen those tests from just about every major auto manufacturer. Can't remember ever seeing Toyota do that....ever.

    Funny you should mention that. On one of my trips to Hawaii I saw the then not released Lexus RX400h being driven around the Big Island. I stopped into the local Toyota dealer in Hilo and they had no idea they were there. So was it testing or just using the testing budget on a trip to Hawaii? It seems I read later they had 6 of their new hybrid RX models in Hawaii for the press to do reviews. So it was probably advertising and not testing.
  • carbuff1171carbuff1171 Posts: 77
    edited February 2010
    Rhonda Smith testified that at 35 mph, pushing the ignition button still did not shut off the ignition but at 33 mph it did shut off. There are numerous other NHTSA accounts that the electronic input to the computer to shut off the engine was being ignored. The same is true of Rhonda's experience that the electronic command from the shifter to put the car in neutral or reverse was ignored. The gas pedal's electronic input that the engine should be at idle was being ignored. Even when the car did shut off, the dash lights stayed on indicating the car was still in a confused state. When her husband put it in neutral, the car made sounds like it was trying to start again. Keep in mind that the computer controls virtually everything.

    Has your PC ever locked up to a point where CTL-ALT-DEL and all other inputs are ignored? Have you ever had to hold the power button down on your laptop for a hard shutdown (which works due to a built in hardware override)? These sudden acceleration incidents are sometimes triggered at the same time that the driver taps the brake (sends an input to the computer), not the gas. If Toyota's engine control computer's confused state sets throttle to "full" and ignores further inputs, that would basically describe these incidents. The emergency advice to put the car in neutral, pull over and shut off the engine will prove futile. It only works in the demonstrations on TV because the computer is working during the demo.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,884
    edited February 2010
    Has your PC ever locked up to a point where CTL-ALT-DEL and all other inputs are ignored? Have you ever had to hold the power button down on your laptop for a hard shutdown (which works due to a built in hardware override)?

    I have had those situations on almost every computer I have worked on or owned. It is either a Firmware or Software glitch. Hardware problems become evident very quickly and can be fixed. Software anomalies can and do happen. The NHTSA has said they were able to cause problems in Toyota DBW systems with EMI interference. They dropped that back in 2007. And who made that decision? Was it the employee ties shared with Toyota and the NHTSA?
  • Exactly. This point may have been made earlier, but whatever effect the brakes do originally have quickly becomes less effective as they get glowing hot from the first 1000+ feet of hard braking against a WOT.

    I think it is taking a long time for it to sink in that the computer controls virtually everything and most driver actions are just "electronic requests". I am sure we will ultimately learn that Toyota has a design flaw that other manufacturers did not miss in their designs. The data log they keep talking about that saves a few seconds of information may also prove useless. In this "confused" state, who knows if the computer will have written anything meaningful to the log? Unfortunately for Toyota, finding it may require a technician to be under the hood running diagnostics while the vehicle is in that confused state racing down the highway out of control. Please see my post #1725.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,130
    gagrice...the tests I've read about usually take place in harsh environments like the desert, or in the northern areas of Alaska.

    I don't think Hawaii would qualify as a "harsh testing" environment.... ;)
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,130
    edited February 2010
    carbuff....I did some basic calculations in one of the posts. At 60 MPH, a car is traveling at 88 ft/sec. At WOT (or 120 MPH) you double that to 176 ft/sec. In Ms. Smith's case, even pressing the on/off button, and holding it for 3 secs, as Toyota stipulated to turn off the engine, she mentioned that the car was traveling at about 100 MPH. Rough numbers, that means she was going at least, about 100 ft/sec.

    So, that being the case, holding down the on/off button (if she knew she had to hold it down for 3 secs), she was traveling the length of a football field before she realized the on/off button wasn't working. All this, while she was trying to dodge other traffic.

    Brakes are going to fade pretty quickly at those speeds, and coincides with other witnesses stating that smoke and flames could be seen coming from the car.....the brakes had way overheated, and I'm sure became ineffective, very quickly. So, that debunks Toyota's statement that the brakes will always overcome acceleration.

    The real question here is, how did the car slow and eventually come to a stop (after miles of this harrowing experience. We don't know...well, because Toyota didn't want to know by getting the car into their labs and finding out what happened. I'm certain that Lexus didn't want to buy the car back from them, because Lexus wouldn't agree to do so (that costs Toyota money). What's even scarier, is this car is still on the road, being driven by someone who probably has no clue about its history. So, it could happen again....to someone else. That puts not only the driver's safety in question, but also anyone else who's on the same road, at the same time.

    Even at this juncture, I don't know if Lexus is trying to track the car down to get it into their labs to find out the root causes. Should be easy enough to find out by running the vin#, though.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Since that Lexus was repaired it may have had new throttle system installed???? I reviewed Sean Kane testimony he gave under oath to congress and found mention of Gilbert's preliminary findings, Does seem to have something to do with ETC?? But can not find Dave Gilbert's report anywhere???

    This is a question I have, and was not stated at hearing. Since vehicle has had no further problems it may have new system, or Mrs. Smith's bug was only a one time bug?? Updates, etc, are done all the time. I know at Ford, I got one, and was just told needed update - told
    was no big deal. No info on work order though??? Also had checked and Toyota work order where I complained about electrical and my minor incidents of increased engine acceleration were not on work service order either. I can't make any allegations because I am not sure why omissions of info and have no proof.

    I just have to be more viligent and insist complaints on work order, and make sure written documentation exist on final report. I accept blame myself, as I did not insist and was too lax. No excuse, considering all the professional CE continuing ed courses - documentation and law over the years.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Don't forget at hearing one congressman asked Lentz why Toyota never took each of the problem cars and tested them thoroughly. Since these cars had the problems those are ones that should be tested, not the ones that had no problems. This congressman said that should have been the first common sense approach???? I would have to check my notes who this congressman was.
  • jdm9jdm9 Posts: 38
    Yes of course, weve all had computer freezes where Control alt delete or even holding in the off button seems to take much longer than 3 seconds or maybe even doesnt work at all , but lets take it a step further. and please anyone feel free to correct me on this as I have no computer/auto technical/computer control system expertise whatsoever.
    I dont think that my computer has ever kept working after Ive pulled the plug out of the wall. How exactly can that be accomplished (mechanically, bypassing all computer controll) in a vehicle?
    Some have suggested a fuel cut off /limiter and it seems to me to be reasonable to think that if you did that , the vehichle would have to stop. Others have suggested some sort of mechanical cut to an electrical wire/battery cable/alternator wire or possibly even an instant drain on the oil pan. As I said, Im a technical neophyte, and electronic engineer /computer wizards may just dismiss these ideas as so 1970s.
    Its true that the expertise of some of the posters here like ww, graphic, sharon yourself and many others are phenominal and all add to the general pool of information that Toyotas total lack of leadership has failed to provide. I think, however that finding a suitable mechanical solution is just as valid an approach and will present a suitable solution that at least gives Toyota owners peice of mind, decades before Toyota ever mans up.
    Comments please.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..same time that the driver taps the brake..."

    Hmmm..

    On rare occasions, well past occasions, I have noted that my headlights would often dim as I applied the brakes. I always assumed that was the result of the sudden instant load of the rear brake lights on the 12 volt system.

    But.....maybe not.

    All of these new cars have an Anti-lock Braking System and that means they have an ABS pumpmotor. I know for a fact that when I "tap" the brakes on my '92 LS400 the ABS ECU checked the pumpmotor manifold's reserve brake fluid pressure and if it is not up to a predetermined level it starts the pumpmotor almost simultaneously with the brake "tap".

    That ABS pumpmotor is, can be, one hell of a load on the car's battery and charging system, the pumpmotor's startup SURGE current would undoubtedly result in a HUGE downward spike in the 12 volt supply system.

    I have experienced instances with my '01 Porsche wherein the ABS system seemed to go wacko with a marginal battery. While still able to crank and start the engine did so only slowly. The ABS fault light would come on shortly after starting the engine. New battery and the symptom went away.

    Another thing that I mentioned earlier was the probable EMI spike to the 12 volt system at WOT when the A/C compressor's electromagnetic clutch circuit is opened.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You may have noticed that even if your PC remains unplugged for a long period of time it still retains the correct date and time of day information. Not so noticeable is taht it also retains ALL of the setup information that can be modified by the user. That is done by incorporating a small wristwatch style/type "button" battery on the motherboard, generally good for 10 years or more.

    In your car the information kept in "volatile" memory, memory that must be kept powered if the information is to be retained, is continuously powered by the car battery even with the ignition switched off.

    Unplug your car's battery for a long enough period and these "learned" parameters will be lost and must be relearned over a fairly short period of driving.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..design flaw that other manufacturers did not miss..."

    IMMHO it is much more likely that Toyota/etc's firmware supplier, Denso, has incorporated a new feature, firmware feature, at Toyota/etc's request, that has not yet been migrated, adopted, by other asian, along with a few US marques, using Denso as a prime supplier.

    The fairly recent firmware integration of the TC, VSC, BA, EBD, etc, functions comes immediately to mind. And one of the more recent "features" added by Toyota/etc, FIRMWARE features, was the addition of the routine that "watches" the rate at when foot pressure is removed from the gas pedal in order to avoid a needless, and sometimes detrimental, transaxle upshift.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..that debunks Toyota statement...acceleration..."

    No, most braking systems will probably RESTRAIN the car from accelerating from a standstill or even from a reasonably low speed. Not trying to defend Toyota/etc by any means.

    "...how did the car slow...."

    Metal to metal rotor and brake pad's metal backing contact once frictional material burned away...?? It's also possible that the ATF became so overheated (boiled..??)that the transaxle's hydraulics began to fail.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited February 2010
    You should be aware that the "surface" cause for reflashing my not be the BASE cause. The dealer may not actually know, even for reflash causes seemingly fully disclosed, what "corrective" measures are incorporated into a reflash, industry "IP" secrets and all that.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Thanks for responding. Computer science. I do understand what you are saying about not getting you MBA. Going to night school and family are extremely difficult. You would be missing out on many
    of those special one time moments with your family.

    Yes, the "corporate veil"!!! Understand this quite well. Familiar with CA codes.

    One Question - You say P&G???? I mention PGE??? Here in California known as Pacific Gas and Electrical. Same??? Different in your area - different regional area?? I live in California.

    PGE sure made big mistake with their role in placing hired guns on this California Blue Ribbon Panel and their hired guns role publishing false scientific study on chromium. Of course panels findings thrown out finally, and journals retracted study. But the unethical integrity publicly on display was evidenced in court proceedings - & by PGE second lawsuit loss 2006 for chromium pollution in another area. Yes, corporate protection first!!! Wrong approach. But they march on.

    I can also definitely understand your comments about that type of culture. And your leaving. Just from family insider knowledge about corporations

    Toyota being secretive. Yes, it does appear they are very secretive. I think most of auto manufacturers are secretive, but have heard Toyota is more so. Whether true - not sure. I have lots of difficulty comprehending US Toyota does not have more control over US decisions. Differing cultural & legal systems come into play also. Corporate approach to UA/SUA??

    I am still upset they used Exponent to defend their electronics though. And for good proven past undesirable actions. I don't believe DHTSA can pay $1,0000,000+ to have another nonbiased firm analyze and report. DHTSA only has two electrical engineers plus small staff dedicated for defects & investigation issues is not large. I am not sure legally DHTSA can make Toyota turn over all their designs, firmware, etc. to conduct excellent independent nonbiased engineering tests.
    ???? Department has many other issues to address too. Answer to this????

    Toyota is not only auto manufacturer with problems of UA/SUA. The others had better clean their act up too. Toyota is taking heat because of San Diego accident deaths and UA/SUA events. Do they need to?? Yes. It was their vehicle and they have had problems. Is it fair??? Yes sadly. Once again it is their auto. If it would have been Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc it would be that manufacturer taking the heat. Sometimes officials are too complacent, and do not act as good watchdog agency for many diffferent reasons. And auto manufacturers don't behave is my personal guess. Hear too much -
    this excuse of proprietary information!!!

    Toyota reliability - seems manufacturers are catching up to Toyota. I strongly feel all autos in US should be required to have mandatory brake override. And those systems need standards imposed into regulations as well. Best system.

    There were questions at hearing about the black boxes (EDR)
    for autos. I was very disturbed no congressman or LaHood was aware there was already a panel that addressed this issue in past. And law was passed. Standards are set already. Implementation date too! I found this quite disturbing!!!! I think the date is September 1, 2011. And EDR's must be made publicly available. DHTSA will have then too.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    No - no tests I found at 100/mph. Claims it can be done. Documentation articles for lower speeds. Just am not sure a woman would have strength/force to do it.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Big question and lots of questions why Toyota did not take this car that had problems documented and attempot to produce ame event??? This was a vehicle that had fault occur. Why take an auto that has no problem and test??? Most good business mind approaches to problems would deduct this. Then legal issues come into play it seems/maybe!!! Lots more going on here it seems. This asked at hearing too by congressman. Lentz gingerly walked around question. Said he would try to get.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited February 2010
    "..why Toyota(/etc) do not take this car.."

    Much too great a potential for the public/press learning of the incident and thereby coming to the conclusion of a problem. Japanese culture does not readily allow for open admission of mistakes. On the other hand we cannot rule out the possibility of a problem that was already well known to Toyota/etc but wished to keep it secret, well hidden from the public eye.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Seems was both Toyota and DHTSA. Was Bush administration appointees then. DHTSA now has Obama appointees in upper management slots. Then you throw in the two prior DHTSA employees who left and joined Toyota representing them at DHTSA. I was not happy to see where they threw out all high speed events!!!! Doing so made complaints look like minor issue. Deaths from high speed discarded and eliminated. ll long duration and high speed gone. Appeared to possibly affect all future investigations in the futre over multiple years.

    Now at hearing congressmen kept saying to Toyota 70% of UA/SUA events ae not dealt with through recalls. Guess we wait to see if they are finally addressed properly. See if all manufacturers have to address too??
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,130
    Sharon.....too many regional acronyms.... :shades:

    P&G=Proctor & Gamble
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Corporate liability and cultural issues - seems both and probably more too! This would definitely/undeniably be the first good management common sense approach. Test the known problem car!! This could produce the UA/SUA answers!!!
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Proctor and Gamble. Now we were talking about two different corporations!! Quite familiar with P&G. Loved them. But PGE - I am disturbed at theirs unethical action. I can imagine what you were thinking if you thought I was attacking P&G.

    Thanks for clarifying.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    Mrs. Smith said in testimony her car decided on it own to decrease speed, but was still at higher acceleration when she stopped, but not racing like it was six miles earlier. She indicated - erratic up & down a little at end. Just turned off once stopped per her testimony. Then when attempting to load on AAA truck flatbed - husband shifted to neutral for vehicle loading & vehicle attempted to restart itself. AAA witnesed this.
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    I understand what you are saying. Thanks.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Didn't she say the cruise control light came on about the same time the car started accelerating...??

    Makes me wonder if the cruise control knob/lever, or the CC "firmware", somehow got stuck in the set/accelerate position.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Wow...

    The 2010 ES350's ABS pumpmotor/manifold assembly has 2 fuses, a 50 amp fuse and a 30 amp fuse. My guess would be that the 50 amp serves the pumpmotor and the 30 amp the various solenoids involved. That might mean as must as 100 amp" short term surge current each time you "tap" the brakes.

    And the A/C compressor clutch is served by a 10 amp fuse but with absolutely NO EMI/RFI supression around/for the electromagnetic clutch coil. Probably one HUGE spark, HIGH voltage spark (25,000 volts..??) across the clutch relay contacts as they open when WOT is used.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    There is one road on the Big Island that the rent a car companies will not let you drive on. It's an old road stretching across the island and if you ever make it to the Big Island I highly recommend the trip as I use to drive it couple of times a year on an Army contract. It's called Saddle Road.

    Saddle Road

    http://www.saddleroad.com/
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    A description was given in CHP report of brakes SanDiego accident. Seemed like they were totally ruined from excessive attempts to brake. Since this was a dealership loaner brakes should have been good shape when loaned. Loaner vehicle probably had low mileage as well.

    Toyota dealership had indeed placed incorrect floormat in car.

    I have a copy saved in my files, but because of privacy can not send. Anyone else have??
  • sharonklsharonkl Posts: 660
    I forget if she did. Just reviewed my notes - not there either. If she did I missed it. Checked both Mr. & Mrs. testimony notes I took.
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