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2008 Toyota Highlander



  • Today after reading that my 2008 Highlander is now included in the recall, I decided to go through the motions and practice how I would handle a stuck accelerator.

    I drove to a long straight section of interstate highway with little traffic. I slowed to 35mph and then floored the accelerator. I then shifted into neutral and engine revved pretty high. I then turned the ignition to the off position and released the accelerator pedal. Steering and braking were slightly more difficult but I was easily able to coast onto the shoulder and come to a complete stop.

    I decided that this process was simple and could be carried out very quickly. I was happy with my performance and felt more confident I could do this again if I needed to.

    Next I shifted into Park and then turned the ignition to On and then to Start. To my surprise and horror, the moment the engine started it revved up and stayed at Wide Open Throttle! I depressed the accelerator to the floor and released it again. It had no effect. The engine remained at WOT. I then turned the ignition off, let it sit for a few seconds and restarted. WOT again. I had to turn the ignition off 2 more times while constantly pumping the accelerator through it's full range before it finally started and went to idle.

    So what is going on here? I don't see this occurring during normal every day operations as no one should be shifting to neutral and turning the engine off at WOT but it's still scary and should not happen like this. If you start the car with the pedal released it should start at idle, not wide open! I can't help but wonder if this is related to the "stuck pedal" WOT reports that are pouring in.

    I'm also wondering what the rev limit is for the 2008 Highlander. It sounded pretty high to me. Does anyone know?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..I don't see this occurring during normal..."

    Apparently neither did the folks that specified the firmware.
  • vtgk7vtgk7 Posts: 17
    2008 Highlanders are NOT included in this recall. It is only the 2010 Highlanders, and the 2010 HYBRID Highlanders are excluded.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,971
    I don't know but it's an interesting theory you came up with. I had read something about the sensors locking up the transmission at wide open throttle and the theory is that you can't shift the transmission into neutral when that happens.

    But I'm just quoting stuff; I certainly have no engineering expertise.

    Btw, Shifty pointed out that for the cars that have the 3 second off button (like the Prius), you will travel about the length of a football field in that 3 seconds if you're going around 60 mph.

    I don't know what Toyota has for switches in the Highlanders or hybrid Highlander.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My memory of the drum type clutches used in today's automatics has faded with time. But it seems to me that with a substantive torque level applied the two sets of clutch discs may not quickly separate, if at all, when the hydraulic pressure is released.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    My guess is because you turned the ignition off at WOT and then released the pedal is why the engine started at WOT. Had you released the pedal first (the more natural reaction should this problem manifest itself on its own) and then turned the ignition off, you might fare better, but who knows?

    As for rev limits, anything above 6500 is gonna be bad if done repeatedly or for more than a few seconds. I understand your desire to simulate a problem and practice a response (good), but cannot for the life of me imagine why you intentionally reved (or quite possibly over-reved) your engine (bad.)
  • I was thinking that as well. It does seem to me that when I powered the computer back up it should sense that the pedal is not depressed and adjust the throttle to idle position. As for over revving, my initial estimate was that I would only have the engine at high rev for a second or two and that it should most certainly have a rev limiter with all the computer control that vehicle has on board. Time at WOT was very limited. 2 sec, 2 sec, 2 sec.... Of course I only originally planned on first 2 seconds total. Thankfully she doesn't seem to be acting any worse for the wear. I just changed the oil with a good synthetic as usual and that probably doesn't hurt.

    I definitely won't be testing your theory about lifting the pedal at the last second before turning the ignition off. I think I now have the instinct to shift to neutral and turn the ignition off at almost the same instant. I'm pretty sure you can't shift the transmission while it's powered down as it is also a "by wire" system like the throttle.

    As for all the people wondering about whether the angular momentum prevents you from shifting to neutral while wide open, I've tried it, it allows you to shift to neutral just fine.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    " for all the people.."

    "..angular momentum..." ????

    "...I've tried it.."

    No, you haven't.

    What I was saying is that with all the TORQUE(***) applied to the gear teeth of the two sets of clutch discs inside the transaxle's drum type clutches are they likely to remain engaged even with the hydraulic pressure released..??

    *** FWD or F/awd, engine operating at WOT and with the brakes heavily applied.

    With RWD or R/awd the brakes would/might probably still lock the front wheels and while the rear wheels might spin-out you would probably be able to bring the car to a stop. And without the FWD vehicle's level of torque on the gearbox you could undoubtedly successfully shift to neutral.

    And if your RWD had TC the engine just might get dethrottled automatically.
  • rzepa1rzepa1 Posts: 55
    I am reading conflicting stories. I would like to get an extra remote and program without dealer being involved. I do not have the "smart" one now. I am not talking about the key, just the remote. Some people say they have done it and some that dealer trip is a must. Anyone here can comment ?
  • I recently bought a leftover 2008 Highlander and think I am having the same problem you once had..The fuel consumption rating will not remember my previous mileage, it only displays current. I brought to dealership and they had no clue..did anything eventually work for you?
  • My dealer ran my VIN and told me I would receive a Recall letter and then call for an appointment for them to shorten the pedal and flash the ECM. Don't know if that includes a new floor mat or not. We have 47000 + miles and have not experienced any of the referenced problems with our car. My VIN does begin with J.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    There still seems to be conflicting stories. I have an Highlander08 Limited with a VIN that starts with J, and it is NOT ON THE RECALL LIST.
  • ronnronn Posts: 398
    You need to check with your dealer again. There is no mention of the 08 Highlander being on the recall list.
  • list the 08 Highlander for the floor mat portion of the general recall. See the entire listing in the special section devoted to Toyota. It seems my dealer is correct in providing me the information about the "fix" for the 08 models.
  • Whats the deal with the rear wipers? What is the size? Do all auto parts stores have them? I've been to several and they don't carry them....neither does RainX.
  • My clock shows the accurate time. However when I use the navigation system, my arrival time is one hour ahead (hasn't updated for daylight savings). How do I change? My vehicle is 09 Highlander Limited.
    Thank you!
  • jgantjgant Posts: 10
    I found the Trico, size 12-A for the rear wipers. Also the dealer also carries the correct size inserts. Hope this helps.
  • skf2002skf2002 Posts: 1
    Toyota definitely sacrificed quality for quantity. I purchased a 2008 Toyota Highlander from a dealership in Hackensack NJ. This car had been back to the dealership in the past year more for defects rather than regular services. The final straw was what happened on 12/2/08. While double parked in Manhattan, NY, I had the car in aux mode with the radio on for a few minutes and when I attempted to restart the car, there was no response. I had to have the car towed to the nearest toyota dealership and in order for the tow truck driver to get it on the flat bed, he had to open the gear box to get the car in gear. I had the car towed to a dealership in NY. When I got the car back, it was explained to me that they had to replace the main fuse due to an improper battery boost. However, it couldn't be determined why the car wouldn't start in the first place with the key. Being that there was a history of other problems with this car, I called dealership of purchase, to discuss the options of replacing the car being that I felt that my car had a undiagnosed defect or bringing the car in for a complete diagnostic to determine the cause of why a new car failed to start and to prevent the issue from re-occurring. Long story short, the dealership refused my request.
    The same thing happened again on 1/8/09.the car wouldn't restart. I had it towed to a dealership and toyota's New York Headquarters told the dealership not to give me back the car until they sent their own field technician to check it out. The technician pulled apart the electrical system and found out that there were two alarm systems on the car. the second alarm was tied into the same circuit as the main fuse. I was totally astounded because when I bought the car, I was told by the finance director that there was no alarm system on the car and I agreed to purchase an off the market system from them for $575. The dealership agreed to remove and refund the $575 and reimburse me for towing fees. Well weeks went by and I was notified that if i wanted a refund, I would have to sign a release that absolves the dealership of any liability if there any long term damages. I didn't sign the release and I didn't get my refund.
    In June, I had to take the car back to the dealership because there was a leak which was caused by a clog in the AC drain. The entire cabin floor was saturated. Toyota agreed to replace the carpet in the car( which had to be shipped into the country). I have asked Toyota to replace this car again being that there has been so many problems with it but they refused. They claimed that it isn't their policy to replace cars but they will repair defects under warranty. This has been a learning experience. Within a month, there was another leak, and the interior was soaked again. After 18 months of ownership, I had enough. I was disgusted by the way Toyota addressed my concerns. I traded in the car. I lost a few thousand dollars on the trade but it was worth it. Toyota wasn't concerned about my safety and the reliability of their vehicle. I will never recommend toyota nor will I ever own another Toyota.
  • vtgk7vtgk7 Posts: 17
    OK, so you got rid of the Toyota Highlander....what did you buy next???
  • rzepa1rzepa1 Posts: 55
    My 2008 is developing rust problem. This is mainly in one area, on the back hatch in the cavity where the license plate is located. It is not behind license plate but in the vicinity of . Upon closer inspection, there are multiple pin needle size rust spot and one which drew my attention to the problem, has now radiated to a dime size.

    I took it to Toyota and the manager basically said that this is the dirt getting into clear coat and making its way thru to the metal. He said something about acid/clay bath to get rid off the smaller ones. He said it is especially vsible on lighter colors cars ....which makes sense. If I had black, I would not be able to see it .

    Anyway, my take on the whole thing is that the finish on my car is not adequate and some corners were cut. My 10 year Avalon which is subjected to the same conditions is yet to develop one of these spots. I am not clean fanatic and did not buy a car to wash it every other day.

    Anyone else seeing problems in this area ?
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