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Toyota Sienna Uncontrolled Acceleration

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  • I read with interest your dilemma. I have a 2010 Sienna, which for all intents and purposes, is identical to your 2009 (except for model year - no changes that would make mine any different than yours). At the beginning of this year, I took a cross-country trip to the west coast and back, but did NOT have any issues. However, with all the reports going on, and having my Sienna checked when we got back, I wanted to know if the gas pedal assembly was one of the "problem children" involved in the recall, even though Toyota said no in the advertised recall models. The checkout said it was a different assembly, so not to worry.

    But, when I read what happened to you, and the Toyota position that their electronics is NOT at fault and won't cause any sudden unintended acceleration, I still have the same concern that you now just experienced. We drove back east with the "shift into neutral" and "press the brakes" message engraved into our minds, just in case, even though it didn't happen.

    I also believe that you didn't hit the gas by mistake, though neither of us can prove it. If you did hit the gas by mistake, why is it that it seems only Toyota vehicles have this happening, no other makes of vehicles seem to have this as a problem? GM, Ford, Chrysler, and all the other makes seem to never have anyone accidentally pressing the gas for the brake? I don't think so. The "untold" story continues.

    Just wanted you to know that others still do share your concern in this matter.
  • Thank you "fromjustus". I'll let you know if I learn anything new.
  • I had an eerily similar thing happen to me this morning. I, too, had turned hard to the left (I was turning around in my in-laws' driveway). When I went to roll down the hill to reverse out of the driveway, my van lurched forward into the wall lining the driveway. The engine revved, the tires squealed on the wet pavement, but then the car and engine came to a halt when I stomped on the brake. I believe my foot was on the brake and I was shifting into reverse at the time. Like you, I say logic suggests it must have been my error. But typically, I never press the accelerator in this situation. I use gravity to roll the car down and turn the van around.

    Anyway, I'm interested how you resolved your issue. Like you, I have 3 kids and need my car for transportation. But now I'm hesitant to drive it anywhere. From all of the posts, I'd be surprised if they find anything if I take it to the dealer.
  • Did you take your Sienna in earlier this year for the floor matt and foot pedal repairs? Bill
  • Coincidentally, I had taken all the floor mats out of my car because of a 5 gallon water cooler spill last weekend. So I know floor mats were not the culprit. I'm not sure about the foot pedal repair - my husband took my car in while I was on a trip with the kids.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Has the interior dried out properly?

    I ask because I went camping in my Sienna a while ago, and we got tons of rain. The interior was damp and two people inside added to the condensation.

    Any how, on the way home, one of the dome lights inside would come on and off, as if there was an electrical short or something.

    Once the van dried that never happened again. It was very odd, though.
  • Boy, this news is just great! :( I just purchased a used 2005 Toyota Sienna thinking I was buying a pretty good vehicle - guess not????

    I just sold a Honda Odyssey due to transmission issues Honda has had for what appears to be a decade and they refuse to address their transmission problems. Looks like the 2 supposedly premier vans out on the market (Siennas and Odysseys) are flops. :(

    What's left?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your van is no different than it was yesterday.
  • You are fortunate. A guy driving a Toyota Sienna 30 miles South of me was killed two days ago when he slammed into a tractortrailer on an exit ramp near Lisbon Indiana. It will probably go down as driver error although the police said the driver was not on drugs and had not been drinking. The exit ramp was dry, so weather has been factored out. The guys was 37 years old. His sienna dash was lodged under the back of the tractortrailer which killed him instantly. Although it will never be known for sure, this appears to be another case of unexpected acceleration.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited January 2011
    Although it will never be known for sure, this appears to be another case of unexpected acceleration

    What you really mean to say is that YOU think its another case of UA.

    Nothing like an objective opinion....

    Possible driver error?

    NAH.... No way!

    I'll never understand why some people feel the need to incite fear in others...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    edited January 2011
    That's only about 30 minutes into Indiana on I-70 from us. That article doesn't mention an exit ramp but just suggests it was on a straight away, and that section of road is straight and relatively level.

    "Williams said Scott was traveling westbound in his Toyota minivan near the New Lisbon exit when he reportedly rear-ended the truck. When Williams arrived on the scene around 9:21 p.m., he observed the van's dashboard was smashed completely under the rear of the semi."link title

    >Although it will never be known for sure, this appears to be another case of unexpected acceleration.

    And you are exactly right, unless there's more investigation going on by the police looking at the data recorder (which toyota probably doesn't have a reader for, grin) and other witnesses. No witnesses were mentioned in the article.

    Of course no one knows it was NOT uncontrolled acceleration.

    To analyze what ifs: the speed limit is 70 mph on that part of the road. Most trucks are going 70 and above. So to impact the rear of a truck thus the car would have been going 15 or more mph about 70-75, i.e., 90 mph. Not a likely speed for the auto to crash with that much damage.

    Furthermore, if it were uncontrolled acceleration the driver might have had an option to go around on the shoulder. But there was likely snow on the shoulder or part of it. The driver possibly could have passed on the left (assuming the truck is in the right hand lane).

    If the driver were going at an unusually high rate for a period of time, a witness should have stopped to tell the authorities that the driver had been driving excessively fast. However, if SUA just started, that might not have been the case of having a witness.

    Another possibility is that the truck taillights were not illuminated, so the driver hit it without realizing he was approaching it.

    In other words, no one knows, but it certainly is suspicious.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited January 2011
    In other words, no one knows, but it certainly is suspicious.

    Agreed.

    There simply isn't enough information available to come to a conclusion, one way or the other. There are far too many variables in play.

    So, to imply UA is certainly unwarranted. To do so is simply a type of "scare tactic".

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/traffic/west-palm-beach-man-dies-in-violent-bm- w-1205635.html

    I wonder if anyone thinks that accident was UA. Also, I wonder how many would think it was UA if it had been a Toyota product .vs. a BMW.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I doubt the van could have been doing much more than the posted speed, and truckers never go the speed limit.

    Even if the van was doing 100, I can't imagine there would be that much damage if the truck was doing 80. The 20mph difference is not enough to cause that much damage.

    More likely the truck was stopping or slowing when the van rear ended him, inattentive driver didn't notice, perhaps?

    In other words, it's more likely the truck's slow speed vs. the van's high speed. The Sienna has the aerodynamics of a barn door.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited January 2011
    the van's dashboard was smashed completely under the rear of the semi

    OK, just read the full article. That's a serious collision. Massive amounts of energy to absorb.

    We know from the IIHS 40mph front offset collision, the passenger area stays intact.

    So for that much damage to occur, it's safe to assume there was MUCH more than 40mph difference in speed.

    Time for some detective work...

    OK, from C&D's last minivan comparo, the top speed of that Sienna is 110mph. So even if the truck was doing the speed limit, and not over like they always do, the difference in speed, worst case scenario, would be:

    Top Speed of 110 - Truck at Speed Limit of 70 mph = 40 mph difference.

    So the crash would have been similar to the IIHS test, which is done at exactly the same speed!

    So now let's look at those:

    Frontal offset test results Frontal offset test results
    Good 2011 models
    Good 2004-10 models
    Good 1998-2003 models

    So SUA can be ruled out - it had to be that the truck was going MUCH, MUCH less than 70mph, else the driver would have had Good protection, and that was clearly not the case.

    That pretty much proves this was NOT a case of SUA.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    >We know from the IIHS 40mph front offset collision, the passenger area stays intact.
    >So for that much damage to occur, it's safe to assume there was MUCH more than 40mph difference in speed.

    Many trailers don't have very good bars that extend lower to keep cars from going under. Some of the bars I see look like welded angle iron which wouldn't stop a SmartForTwo let alone a van like Odyssey or Sienna.

    I wonder if the bars that are supposed to keep cars from going under didn't absorb or resist and the back of the higher trailer ledge hit higher on the Sienna's front end. That would explain the heavy crushing into the passenger compartment.

    I didn't find a picture of the vehicle.

    Also the possibility that the trucker was slowing down would explain a driver on the that stretch of straight road not realizing it unless the emergency lights were flashing.

    Nothing was said about the driver claiming a high speed on the van's part.
    Nothing was said in the article about any witnesses of higher speeds than typical.

    Doesn't look like a pattern for SUA.

    Only odd thing for forensics on this with the given information is that the truck driver was upset. Perhaps he had slowed down without proper lights and felt some responsibility, but I'm just guessing on his reason for concern.

    Also he didn't say the car came up on him at high speed, nor did any other truck drivers. At 9 pm that road has a good density of traffic and probably lots of truckers who would have noticed.

    Nothing here in the report suggests SUA. Maybe hypnotized van driver after miles of boring mostly straight I-70.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited January 2011
    Vehicle crash compatibility is crucial. Example:

    image

    URL if you cannot see the image:

    http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/files/2010/10/semismashweb.jpg

    In this case, though, they did mention the dash was destroyed, so a lot of energy was absorbed. Not enough, sadly.

    Toyota added brake overrides to the throttle in 2010 for Siennas, and ironically it's the competition that has yet to add that feature. Nissan has on the Quest, an exception.
  • Uncontrolled acceleration rarely happens. It's usually a combination of malfuntions in various systems. If you want to see what industrial terrorism looks like using uncontrolled acceleration as the WMD, go to www.CarWarsEbook.com.
  • Once when crossing the Golden Gate bridge going south into San Francisco on a motorcycle, it was a dark and blustery night, a bit foggy, visor wet, I perceived the two pair of stop lights in front of me were two separate vehicles with a clear lane in between where I could pass between vehicles.

    Luckily, when the TRUCK crossed the grating between bridge and highway,
    everything came into perspective as the two "cars" jumped several feet into the air and I realized just in time, the two "cars" were pairs of tail lights mounted on either side of the TRUCK so I cooled it, slowed down.
    Truck bumped up a few INCHES where as cars it seemed like it was FEET.
    so that CLUE told me to back off, something's amiss in my visual perception

    Perhaps some unusual lighting initiated a similar optical illusion for driver
  • Nothing new.. There are a few reasons this is caused.. 1st is the most typical which happens to a LOT of older drivers.. Simply, they push the wrong pedal and accelerate into things.. Then, there is number 2. Which is usually found on older toyota's they have a left over weld that hangs off the throttle body that causes the throttle body to stick at WOT and cause the car to uncontrollably accelerate.. Luckily most older toyota's are low HP and stick, which can be easily fixed by pressing on the clutch and pulling over.. The last one. Which is an issue with the computer, the new toyota's and most other new cars are "drive by wire" which is mandated by the USDOT.. aka idiots.. the issue is not common, but what most people don't know is that all toyota's after 2007 and honda's after 2006 have a "black box" which records all actions by the driver.. so if you were not pushing the brake then the box knows, if you released the brake and the car accelerated into a wall, it will know if you depressed the accelerator.. If you did there is a specific code, if you didn't there is another code.. the box has an internal code block of ROM which does not require power to save the cause of the, or any accident.. it has an infinite amount of storage and records everything.. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING.. (Which is why the Prius Unintended acceleration charges were dropped)

    Lastly, which is also common, the accelerator uses a crap code.. Which in English means that when you push the pedal the Toyota will have a 1/2 second delay before you accelerate, which can cause a lurching motion.. Bad code is the reason for this, it is also an issue in the new honda's, which in 2006 was so slow you could floor it and release the pedal before it even registered it was pushed.
  • billwh87billwh87 Posts: 18
    I read this a few months back and was unaware the courts had thrown out cases based on the black box. At that time, there was questions concerning the reliability of the black box in all Toyotas. Watch to the following weblink:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRN1CnKrc84&feature=related
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