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Toyota Sienna Uncontrolled Acceleration



  • This situation is certainly bad for Toyota.
    The government forcing companies to recall defective products is a good thing. Time will tell if this fix is actually the fix or if there is more too it.
  • yatesjoyatesjo Posts: 186
    It isn't about what works for me it is about what creates the least danger to everyone on the road. What your wife insists on doing is dangerous to her and to everyone around her. It is the worst possible way of handling the situation. If she her age is reducing her strength and reactions, then even more so she should take the action that requires the least time, least effort and maintains the power assist in the brakes and steering. Age is no excuse for stupidity. If she persists in using it, she should be removed from the road.

    No one should expect the brakes to overcome both the momentum of the vehicle and the full power of the engine. It would take a ridiculous degree of over-engineering the brake system to do so on a vehicle of this size and power. The best way to overcome this is to take the engine from working against you to working for you.

    How you will react in an emergency can be decided by how you plan to react and practice of that reaction. Plan to do something stupid and stupidity will occur with natural consequences of pain and injury to those unfortunate enough to be involved. Plan to do something smart and you aren't as likely to kill bystanders (like me and my family).
  • revitrevit Posts: 476
    Recalls are not necessarily a bad thing.

    True, but they are in the case with Toyota as a recall has been 5 years in the making and their so called fix still does not address the actual cause of sudden acceleration when the pedals are not involve.

    More importantly, cannot recall in recent years when any other automaker was required by law to stop selling their vehicles.
  • I have a new 2010 Limited. Have had no problems with it so far. As we all know Toyota is in a world of hurt with their line shutdowns and accelerator control unit recall problems. What I have been searching for on this site and others, is this: Why was Sienna specifically excluded from the shutdown, sales and accelerator issue?

    As far as I know, only the DENSO accelerator units from Japan are exempted. My Sienna has a unit marked "TOYOTA" on it, not Denso. So if my accelerator control unit is the same (is it?) as those in the shutdown/recall, then why isn't Sienna's? How does Sienna's differ?

    Also, my VIN begins with "5TDYK....", NOT "J", which is supposed to ID vehicles made in Japan which use Denso units, and therefore exempt. My Sienna is clearly labeled and built in Princeton, IN, and was delivered in July of 2009. Other Toyota vehicle models were also excluded. Why?

    Does anyone know the "real" reason these accelerator control units are supposedly not a problem? As nationally televised, the American built Toyota's use control units built by CTS in Indiana. I believe, but cannot be certain, that mine would also be a CTS unit. I would think that most all of the other American made Toyota vehicles would also use CTS units.

    I am specifically not concerning myself with the carpet mat issue pressing on the pedal, but only with the electronic accelerator unit. I do not have any mats that can even touch the pedal in my case. Carpet issues can be easily resolved in comparison.

    Just another inquiring mind wanting to know. I'm sure others do too.

    Thanks to one and all if this question can be answered accurately.
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    I have the EXACT same concerns and questions as you do and I am sure many other Sienna owners. I have an 09 Sienna and am very concerned and now scared to drive it especially with my kids in the vehicle ! Haven't had any issues , knock on wood, but I am questioning everything now..its very scary... :(
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    on they have photos of the recalled pedals and what a denso looks like, I was wondering about the vin number too mine starts the same as yours..but the pedal looks like a denso with the star on the side in the part near the floor
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It isn't a bad idea to practice tapping the shifter in to neutral while moving.

    I would not floor the accelerator for obvious reasons, but rather just become familiar with moving the shifter around from D to N and back.

    This is true for any car, come to think of it.
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    did the guy who crashed in Cali and died with 3 others put his car in neutral do you know I am flipping out, I have an 09 Sienna and have read this thread from the beginning and now am convinced that Sienna should be in the recall . I was questioning and skeptical that it wasn't and the proof is here,,and these are just the folks who have taken the time to report on here ! I have two kids and was so excited to get my Sienna but now an terrified to drive it..will going into neutral really help if this happens, the accelaration..and since I owned this car I have noticed a revving of the engine when I turn corners, took it in 2 times they say its nothing, sounds normal, now I really wonder.. :confuse: :(
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are you referring to the cop? He was in a Lexus ES with floor mats from a different model installed. I don't think he tried neutral - he tried to turn the engine off and used the brakes (may have pumped them, not sure).

    Occurences are petty rare, just practice the "Neutral Tap" a couple of times, and never panic if anything does happen.

    There are all sort of hazards - you could get a flat tire, slip on black ice, get hit by someone running a red light, etc.

    The key it if anything does happen, remain calm and drive to the shoulder of the road safetly. Knowing your vehicle well is a good idea, as is driving defensively (give yourself time and space).

    I have noticed a revving of the engine when I turn corners

    It's probably holding a lower gear to help you accelerate out of the turn. You don't want the shift-shock in the middle of the turn because that could upset the balance of traction.

    It could also be emissions related.

    If the revs climb WAY up then I'd park it and call your dealer, and notify NHTSA's ODI division so it's documented.
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    Thanks for your reply, I will get practiced with the gear shift, but I have to say I am ready to get a different vehicle..this is so scary ! I know there are many risk factors when driving but knowingly driving a vehicle that has know incidents, for years, of this happening is just unnerving..
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    Neutral tap meaning shifting into Neutral?
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    go to sienna acceleration and recall :mad: ,,the vehicle does have reports and history of crashes and issues due to acceleration...and also reports to the proper channels and still no recall..very scary and concerned about this...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes. You tap it up, a light touch is all it takes. It won't go beyond Neutral.

    Here's an image of the shifter:


    Neutral is right above Drive, so one tap up, that's it, it won't accelerate. The rev limiter will even prevent engine damage. It would be loud (the engine would race), but you should have control of the steering and brakes to gradually slow and pull over to the side of the road.

    Try this on an empty street - coasting along at a slow speed, tap the shifter from D to N, and then pull over slowly and come to a full stop. Only turn it off after you come to a full stop (this ensures your steering and brakes have power assist).

    Keep in mind these cases are still rare, and in the one in a million chance yours is ever affected you would know what to do. And then a 0.0001% of injury would drop to 0% because you'd know exactly what to do.

    By the way - if you get a flat, a lot of people instinctly stab at the brakes, and that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. You should actually coast and steer gradually until you can pull over.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 293
    Flxmom, I'm copying parts of some posts I submitted on the "Is Toyota on the mend for 2010" discussion (sorry for the length, but it might be interesting to you):

    #4629 of 4738
    Toyota lost a potential customer by tsu670
    Jan 31, 2010 (8:45 am)
    Toyota's ad in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune almost infuriated me.

    They continue to call it a "sticking accelerator," implying that the driver presses down part way on the pedal and the pedal doesn't return to idle when the brake is applied.

    But if you read the actual complaints on the NHTSA website (I have, and there are more Toyota models affected than just the 8 they recalled), you'll see that the problem is "sudden acceleration" where drivers complain the engine was going at one RPM, but then something mysterious happened so that it ramped up to a much higher RPM on its own. The pedal wasn't stuck from the last position the driver pressed it to; the vehicle actually bolted to a much higher speed into the sky blue yonder without any driver input.

    Toyota had the highest number of sudden acceleration complaints of all makes since 2008. Ford was second.

    No, I'm not an engineer, but it only took a few hours of research to be convinced that the problem is Toyota's throttle-by-wire sensors and computer controls, not sticking pedals or sliding floor mats. If Toyota says they are using shims for the accelerator pedal fix, they are fixing a mechanical problem that doesn't exist. They should be fixing an electrical/computer problem. And they should add an electrical/computer override of the throttle-by-wire accelerator when the brake pedal is depressed like other car builders.

    I was really interested in Toyota's new 2011 Sienna minivan that will be soon arriving in dealer stores. Yes, I know it was not on the list of models recalled, but it should be since the Sienna, too, has complaints filed with NHTSA for sudden acceleration (yep, I checked). And the latest specs published by Toyota say nothing about a "brake override of the electronic accelerator" feature on the 2011 version.

    Is Toyota on the mend for 2010? Not hardly. Not when it insults the intelligence of its customers by refusing to use the words "sudden acceleration," but instead says "sticking accelerator pedals in some of our models" which are caused first by driver error, then by incorrectly installed floor mats, and now by a faulty accelerator pedal that just needs a shim and all will be better.

    IMHO, Toyota owners will remain as much at risk after this latest "fix" as they are now and were a couple of months ago after floor mats were adjusted. I fear the company will continue on a downhill spiral unless and until it does the right thing and installs an electronic override of the computerized throttle-by-wire accelerator when the brake pedal is depressed on ALL of its models that have throttle-by-wire accelerator systems.

    Otherwise, if the bad publicity doesn't do the company in, the lawsuits will.

    #4680 of 4736
    Re: Toyota lost a potential customer [tsu670] by tsu670
    Feb 01, 2010 (6:57 am)
    CNNMoney reported today that "[ToyotaUSA President Jim] Lentz said he is confident that resolving this issue and the floormat entrapment problem will solve the problem for Toyota. The automaker has also said it is making "brake override" -- a system that cuts engine power to the wheels as soon as the brake pedal is pressed -- standard equipment on all of its cars.

    The "brake override" software will also be added to the internal computers on some cars as they are brought in for recall repairs, a Toyota spokesman said."
    Toyota announces gas pedal fix

    #4691 of 4736
    Re: Toyota lost (may have gained back) a potential customer [imidazol97] by tsu670
    Feb 01, 2010 (9:12 am)
    Thing is, should we be bashing Toyota for the sake of what we perceive as justice, or should be we bashing Toyota until the company comes around and finally does the right thing? If the CNN story is correct in its statement that Toyota will, indeed, be adding an override of the electronic throttle when the brake pedal is depressed, then maybe we should be satisfied that the company is coming around after all.

    But that isn't the end of it, is it? In fact, it might be just the beginning of something much bigger.

    I am the original owner of a 2008 Toyota 4Runner, a year and model that was not included in any of the accelerator recalls. I've noticed on occasion that the RPM surges by 200 to 300 for a second or two when standing at a red light. In checking the NHTSA database, I see there is a similar complaint filed (I haven't filed a complaint yet, but will). With all of the reading I've done in the past week, I'm thinking I might have one of those Toyotas that could also bolt by itself into the wild blue yonder some day. Should the owner who filed the NHTSA complaint, me and other owners of 4Runners with throttle-by-wire be entitled to the brake override fix? I think we should, but what kind of battle will we all have with Toyota to get it?

    Those who have suffered damages from sudden unintended acceleration can fight their battles in court or otherwise find settlements with Toyota. For families who suffered injuries or lost loved ones because of this tragic defect, our sincerest condolences and best wishes in your quest for deserved justice.

    But for the rest of us, the challenge will be to make sure the company makes the right fix, in a timely manner, and to ALL affected vehicles, not just the ones Toyota decided to include on its list; and to make said fix before we, too, are included among those families who have already experienced damages, injuries or deaths.

    I'm willing to support the folks at Toyota in their effort to do just that, but will be critical of them if they don't. -end of post.

    Flxmom, I understand later this month, like maybe February 25th or so, Congress will be holding hearings about this issue. I did some digging around, and it looks like the person to send your concerns to is (if someone finds out differently, please let me know):
    Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), chair of the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation
    Pull down the "Contact" menu near the top and click "e-mail Bart". Fill in the form with your name and other information, then compose your message in the box provided. When you send your e-mail it will probably come back with something like "Since you don't live in my district I can't respond to your e-mail," but I think your message will get through to him anyway. All the best, Ken.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    With all due respect - you're freaking out. Put the car in neutral - worst thing that happens is the engine revs really high, but you wont crash.

    This is the standard limitation of the human brain - improper risk assessment. We freak out when we see some longshot chance of dying and assume that it will happen to us, but we underestimate common things. Did you exercise today? Did you eat a Big Mac? Did you drive ANY car around the neighborhood? Did you cross a busy street?

    I'd guess there are many ways which give you a much greater chance of dying than this Toyota sudden accel thing.....ESPECIALLY if you don't freak out and just be prepared should it ever happen.
  • Sorry Hogan773 - It actually IS a big deal. There have been over 2000 occurrences of Toyotas suddenly accelerating, Without the fix, the answer is to (a) drop into neutral AND (b) switch off the ignition. Doing that causes the driver to lose power steering. If you are going 65-70 MPH and suddenly accelerate PAST that speed and then to regain control of your vehicle you have to lose power steering it's what I would consider NOT a safe, simple solution.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually, I'd skip step (b).

    The rev limiter will protect the engine. Only switch off the ignition after you have left the road and parked.

    Just put it in Neutral, then pull over.
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    Thank You tsu670...I wonder what Toyota will do when I go to the dealer and ask for the " brake override software", they will say my van has not been recalled, but it should be since it too has had numerous rapid and uncontrolled acceleration !
    Also If I put the gear into Neutral will the brakes then work? Maybe Maybe not...?
    Its scary,,no other way to say it..I am on edge driving my vehicle now, every time I am in the car, and when I am on the high speed roads passing trucks and the like, its going to be very stressful, I have two kids,,!
    I believe Toyota has not been forth coming and its making me very angry. I am now questioning even why this van was turned in after only 20,000 miles, they said the owner wanted a different make, but ya never know..
    There was another person who had the same issues with her rav 4 and her year wasn't recalled !
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    So where is the proof that only vehicles with this pedal have this Acceleration issue? Is this really true or not? Does it have anything to do with the pedal and the system connected to this specific make of pedal? How to find out, since the dealers are not forth coming or just dont know them selves and Toyota is not telling the whole story or truth..
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    I am freaking out on the inside, I will not on the outside, its normal to feel this stress and anxiety in a situation where you never know if your vehicle is going to take on a mind of its own, knowing that its brothers have quite often ,,I am ready to do the neutral thing but its scary despite it, and if this happens it could be horrible no matter if I do the neutral thing or not..this is a very bad thing :mad:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The brake ought to work because at that point you're not fighting against the power of the engine. Also, you can slowly coast to the shoulder.

    What might put your mind at ease is that Toyota is under the microscope right now, so whatever problems do exist will have to be addressed, whether they are cooperative (voluntarily) or not (NHTSA-forced recall).
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    Yes if there is a shoulder to coast to, passing a truck or vehicle on the left at a high speed and this happening is not a good scenario ,,I will do it but , in a perfect scenario its sounds easy and safe and simple, the truth is,,it could be devastating thats the truth..I wonder what my dealer will say when I go in and tell them I want my vehicle fixed with an override system even tho its not on the recall, even when I have proof there is an issue with the Sienna and its been documented...
  • I have a 2004 sienna LE... this are the problems that we have since we have the van.
    List of problem
    1) Gas lick (flooded to ground) after replacing the fuel tank.. took them 2 weeks to fix.
    2) Driver side front door has popping sound - welding problem- initially they refuse to fix until the recall got in.
    3) Driver side sit belt not easily release - wants $300 to fix .. Safty issue? Not fix yet.
    4) Steering wheel arm cushion broke - bad for driving and alingment- cost $700.00
    5) Passenger automatic door broke - require 800+ to fix claiming motor problem. took it to a independent auto shop , fix it for $200.00. The cushion of the arm that hold the door worn off and therefore the door is scratching the side of the car.
    6) It looks like that the there is a yellow residue on the radio led window.. electrical shortage?
    6) the most current one... I do not know whether it is related to rain or not.
    it happen 2 times last week ( before the recall), It is very hard to turn my steering wheel when I am in drive mode, have to restart the car to solve this problem. I am lucky that both incident happened in parking lots. I believe there is major issue with the electrical system. I took it to a automobile repair shop. The owner show me a list of recalls or notifications for the 2004 model ( maybe around 20 to 30) . And he said one of the notification may be related to the problem i have. My question is how come I, as the owner of the van were not notified, because the recall or notification were issued in 2004 and it clearly stated that, repair only if under the 30000, 3 years warranty if the owner complaint about it. If they knew the problem, why don't they inform the owner to check out whether their van has that problem instead of wait till some accident to happen first.

    Is there any repair shop owner willing to list all the problems of the sienna.
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    #382 of 387 We need advice by greennovice Feb 02, 2010 (7:53 am) Save | Reply
    We ordered a 2010 Prius and the day before we were to pick it up the recall announcement was made. We were so relieved that the Prius was not on the list. But the morning we were to pick it up we saw a report of a Prius owner experiencing the unintended acceleration problem in 2006 and of course that caused us serious concern. We began researching right away.

    We learned that there have been 21 vehicle acceleration complaints about the 2010 Prius that have been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We think most may have to do with the dual brake systems and the weird felling that occurs when you hit a pothole or man hole cover and the brake shifts to the ABS system. But other reports are not that easily explained. We read the FAQ page on Toyota's website and called the Toyota Customer Service number to ask a specific question -- Why did Toyota conclude that the Prius does not have an acceleration problem and should not be included on the recall or sales/manufacturing freeze? We did not get a direct answer, but rather the person just reiterated what was on the FAQ page, i.e. that Toyota is confident that all affected models have been identified and other models are not affected. I also spoke with someone at the NHTSA, but the person could not answer my question directly either. That really didn't reassure us.

    From our research it appears there have been three separate possible causes identified concerning the unwanted acceleration problem -- 1) pedal entrapment caused by floor mats; a sticking pedal caused by mechanical problems with the pedal itself; and 3) electronic or computer program malfunctions. We are not concerned about the floor mat issue. With respect to the pedal, it is our understanding that the Prius does not have the same pedal as the models Toyota has identified as having the problem. We think this is probably why Toyota decided not to include the Prius among the affected models.

    This would have alleviated our concerns, except for the fact that the problem has been reported by Prius owners. When I asked the Toyota person about the possibility of an electronic or computer problem, she offered no response. When I asked the person at NHTSA, he said both the pedal and the electronic/computer systems are being investigated. When I asked him when they might have an answer, his response was that they would know when they got a report from Toyota. However, from my call with Toyota it appears that Toyota has concluded that the problem is caused by the pedal and is not investigating the electronic/computer issue.

    In a nutshell, our concern is that there may, in fact, be a problem with the electronic or computer system that affects the Prius. From what we've read/seen, it sounds like the fix for such a problem is an override whereby applying the brake cuts off the accelerator. We have been told by the dealer that the 2010 Prius has such an override, but it is not referenced in any written materials the dealer can show us. But assuming it has the brake override, is that sufficient to make the car safe from unwanted acceleration problems? We're not engineers, so we can only rely on Toyota or others to help us evaluate this.

    The bottom line is that we really want to buy the car. When we picked the Prius after a month of research and shopping we really didn't have a second choice. And we got 3.65% financing that won't last indefinitely. The question is -- should we buy the Prius or would we be stupid to do so in light of the uncertainty about the electronic/computer system? We need to make our decision and every time we decide to go ahead with our purchase, another anecdotal report comes out. This morning it was that the owner of a Sienna, another model not included, was killed in an unintended acceleration crash.

    Help -- any thoughts are
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    Sounds like it would be better for you if you sold the Sienna - sounds like you're a nervous wreck every time you drive, and that can't be good for your safety either. Being overly stressed every time you're driving will take a toll on your alertness and sanity.

    To me the biggest concern is a fender bender prospect that seems to have happened often - ie the car just lurches and you hit your garage or a car in a parking lot. If I'm on the highway going 65 and the car starts accelerating without my command, I'll feel it right away and realistically it won't be going more than 75 or 80 by the time I process the situation and take action - this is a minivan and not a Porsche - it doesnt move THAT quickly. And to say "if I put it in neutral will the brakes work? maybe not" -- unless the whole car has electrical gremlins, then YES the power brakes will still work (the engine is on, after all). So put it in neutral - the engine will rev up and hopefully will stop at the redline but in any case it doesnt matter, and calmly decelerate the car.

    Does anyone know WHY the off-duty patrolman had time to be calling on cellphone etc but didnt think to shift to neutral? Or turn off the car? (I think on the latter I recall that maybe his car was one of the pushbutton starts, and therefore he didnt have the presence of mind to hold it down for 3+ seconds.....) I'm not passing judgment on him because in pressure situations the brain can forget even the most basic things - that's why pilots drill over and over on procedures so they're not really thinking - they're just "doing" - in an emergency.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    pilots drill over and over on procedures so they're not really thinking - they're just "doing" - in an emergency

    That's why I recommend practicing the Neutral trick. That can help prevent panic.

    True story...

    A while ago we went to Florida on vacation with another family, visited another friend that has a pool. One of the children from the other family accidentally fell in the pool, with shoes on, about 4-5 years old. The parents screamed and panicked - but took no action.

    I was calm and dove in to the pool and immediately pulled the child to safety. I can't explain why I was so calm when everyone else was screaming, parental instincts differ I guess.

    Sadly people drown in pools every year, but with proper supervision and calm reactions to emergencies, that can fortunately be prevented.

    The little boy was fine.

    My BlackBerry, on the other hand... :D
  • flxmomflxmom Posts: 24
    I am ready and practiced, I have had close calls driving , things in the road hitting my vehicle , gettting stuck in the wheel on the thruway, a semi blowing its tire while passing me, shrapnel all over my van , a huge herd of deer jumping over, in front of me..bad drivers etc and did remain calm...but this whole deal just doesn't sit well with me..Thanks for your help !
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You've had some pretty tough breaks! :sick:

    Let's hope you've already had more than your share of bad luck. These occurences are still relatively rare.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    Wow - sounds like those other things make an unintended acceleration look like peanuts.

    Want to know how many kids will die today in some freak accident that nobody could have predicted? No you don't, because it will just make you sick. That's why I hate our TV news - nothing but 1/2 hour of fires, earthquakes, shootings, chokings, molestations, etc. Oh yeah plus weather and sports at 25 past the hour.....
  • I had the same experience as the original poster of this thread in my 2006 Sienna. On June 9, 2009, I was making a sharp and slow right-hand turn into my parking spot at work, when the car accelerated at full throttle and smashed into the wall. The front bumper was heavily damaged and I had a decent case of whiplash; fortunately, no one else was hurt.

    At the time, I thought maybe I had mistakenly pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal. When news of the recall first came out, I was glad to know that it may not have been a mistake on my part, after all. After reading this thread, I, too, am angry that Toyota hasn't included the Sienna in the recall (and that the gas pedal fix may not even solve the problem in the first place). I'm heading over to the NHTSA site to file a complaint right now.

    And, of course, I'm wondering what to do with my van. I don't feel entirely safe driving it, but it is paid off and I don't want to take on a car payment for a new vehicle right now either. *sigh*
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