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2008 Toyota Highlander



  • In regards to mileage, I also believe that "winter" gas is a different formula, and that may also partly explain the lower mileage. I also talked to a friend at work, whose brother works for a Toyota dealership in San Diego area, and he said the reason the 2010 Highlander is on the list, and the 2008 and 2009 are not, is that they went to a completely new and differenct "drive by wire" circuit for the accelerator, and that is likely the culprit.
  • krb1krb1 Posts: 15
    Thank you for the input, typesix. I did not make myself probably too clear in my previous message regarding the cruise control. Most of the time it works fine - "just right", but couple of times it just seemed different from the typical performance. It speeded up unusually fast - to the point that I was afraid that I will not be able to slow down or stop and hit the car ahead of me. I used to drive 4Runner before(2002 model). I put 120,000 miles on and never experienced that problem.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    If you are a Toyota owner and interested in sharing your reaction to the recall with reporters, send an email stating the vehicle you own, your telephone number, and the best time you can be reached.

    Send to:

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  • findmefindme Posts: 36
    Thanks for sharing the info of why the 08 and 09 are not on the recall list (thardgrave). I'm hoping that this drive by wire is the culprit and they will be able to fix all cars involved. I don't want my HL involved in the recall, but I want to be sure it's not going to develop a problem later. I have a daughter who will be driving in less than a year and I want to be sure I can trust the safety for her, too.

    I do love my HL sport! It has 25,000 miles. We purchased it new and we have been very pleased with it. I have not had any problems.
  • knwpskknwpsk Posts: 8
    Cruise control uses a "proportional" calculation to decide how much gas to apply to your engine. It takes the difference between your current speed and your intended speed, and then decides how fast you should accelerate to get to your intended speed. As soon as you turn the control back on, it instantly makes this calculation and applies the acceleration indicated.

    So yes, sometimes, it will accelerate faster than others, by design.

    I have experienced the same thing you're describing -- i.e. cruise control suddenly puts my car into overdrive, and it may be surprising or even alarming. I've also had this happen when cruising at a constant speed but then as I start going up a steep hill, CC puts the car into overdrive to keep up.

    If you think it's something more extraordinary than what I'm describing, by all means, take it to a dealer for checkout!
  • beachfish2beachfish2 Richmond VAPosts: 177
    Actually it's a downshift accompanied by higher engine revs, not a shift to an overdrive gearing. The same things happens if you give the car a little gas while going uphill - it downshifts. All cars with cruise control do this, at least the ones I've driven during the past 50 years.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    By pure happenstance your roadspeed may have been in a range that "required" a downshift when the CC called for acceleration, that would explain the "harder" acceleration over normal.

    2002 4runner was likely a more simple 4 speed tranny. New ones are six speed....
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Overdrive was being used in the context of "warp" speed.
  • beachfish2beachfish2 Richmond VAPosts: 177
    I've driven trucks with true overdrive. Some cars have overdrive gearing in top gear. Never had a car with warp speed. I used to watch Star Trek back in the '60s and reruns until I graduated from college in 1972.

    And I wouldn't use cruise control in traffic anyway, so there's no danger in running up on another car and hitting it. Too dangerous. I only use it on the open road if it's clear.

  • beachfish2beachfish2 Richmond VAPosts: 177
    Should we just sit around with serious looks on our faces until Toyota announces The Fix?

    Or is the fix in and we're all out of luck?

    Stay tuned.


    P.S. - Coasting in neutral is called Georgia overdrive. Saves a lot of fuel on those big trucks, although it's not recommended.
  • My understanding as to why the 2008 Highlanders are NOT in the recall is that they were all made in Japan and they have "Denson" accelerators, NOT CTS accelerator pedals. CTS is an American company that supplied parts to the 2010 Highlanders. I know my Highlander came from Japan and it has a Denson on it.
  • findmefindme Posts: 36
    As of Jan. 28th, the 08 and 09's are on the new recall list. They added these to the recall list when they stopped sales of toyotas yesterday. Check ABC news for details. I had read somewhere that even if ours are on the recall list, if the VIN # starts with J, then your car probably won't need the repair, but I'm not positive. . . This AM, the news said that the part is being shipped out, but that some believe it still won't fix the problem. Just what I wanted to hear!!! With my daughter turning 16 this year, it really scares me!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The current recalls only "speak" to a couple of possibilities for causative factors. Until the FINAL causative factor is found and announced ALL Toyota/Lexus/Scion vehicles should be suspect.

    Or if firmware is found to be flawed, say software spec'ed and engineered by NipponDenso, Denso US (very highly likely IMMHO), then this might be much more widespread, virtually all vehicles of asian manufacture.

    Now that would constitute one hell of shot in the arm for european marques and those in the US, if any, that don't use Denso as a firmware source.
  • krb1krb1 Posts: 15
    I saw several segments on TV discussing what to do if the vehicle suddenly excessively accelarates. I understand that I am suppose to shift to N and press the breaks with both feet. They also suggested to turn the key by1 click, but what about those vehicles (such as mine) that has the "push button" instead of key starter? I did not hear anyone talking about that?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    "If the vehicle is equipped with an engine start/stop button, manufacturers have different procedures to shut off the engine while it is in Drive. Check your owner's manual next time you get in your car for which method it uses. For example, some carmakers require you to firmly and steadily push the button for at least 3 seconds to turn off the engine. Others require you to press the button three times in succession."

    How To Stop a Runaway Vehicle
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    You seem to be saying that for some manufacturers with PB start/stop there are "unique" procedures for switching off the ignition with the transaxle still engaged vs being in park or neutral.

    Wouldn't it then "follow" that there might be unique procedures for "switching" to neutral with the engine under load...??

    Just thinking out loud...

    Since it would be unusual in the extreme for someone to move the transaxle selection to neutral under the described conditions might the manufacturer have required a special, unique procedure for doing so. Or in the worse case, purely inadvertently, no foresight, not even have made allowance for a switch to neutral with the engine ROARING at WOT and under load..??

    Are the shifter switches polled or interrupt driven...??
  • I am sure Toyota will replace your engine/transmission for you if you have a 'stuck accelerator' and damage the above.

    Put it in neutral and use the brake to slow down. I wouldn't worry about anything else.

    I've tested my 04 Corolla and 08 HL LTD, both easily move to neutral under (moderate) load.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Is it still true that the drum type clutches in these transaxles use ATF pressure to hold them engaged and a spring for release?? It is possible to have so much rotational, drive, torque on a spring released clutch that it will not release...?

    With the engine at WOT, operating FULL BORE, and the brakes being applied mightily to the front drive wheels, might so much rotational torque prevent the drum clutch(es) from releasing...??
  • erik_herik_h Posts: 77
    The march issue of C/D tested a Toyota Camry, Infinity G35 and a 540HP Rousch Mustang. They found the brakes will stop all of these cars with a WOT from 70 and 100 MPH. The Mustang took excessively long from 100 but the rest were not much different then stopping with no throttle from the same speeds. Do a search on "Unintended Acceleration Camry" to find the article. They tried just hitting the brakes, putting it in Neutral and turning off the vehicle. The results from all are in the article.
  • 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 Posts: 52,572
    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.
  • 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?
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