• Oct 17, 2006
A few years back I had the good fortune of owning a WRX wagon whose tenure began with me leaving it unmodified for as long as I could stand. All told, it only took about two months for all rational thought to be overwhelmed by the relentless pursuit of ponies and I found myself at a highly regarded, local tuner.

After several conversations with the owner, I was informed that the ECU of the Subie was highly adaptive and had the ability to learn a few tricks from its driver. In the end, a quick reflash of the ECU's fuel and ignition maps could bring a few more ponies to the party. All it took was a laptop and a couple dyno pulls, and I was ten HP richer.

It seems that Toyota has a similarly adaptable ECU in its Camry, which takes cues from the driver's inputs and then operates the engine accordingly. If the driver is say, timid and easy on the throttle (not going to make generalizations about Camry drivers here) then the ECU will recognize the driver's overall character and taper back on the heavy dumping of fuel and air into the cylinders.

The problem it seems, is that when said timid driver needs a boost of juice, the Camry's brain doesn't cooperate, causing driver's to complain of mild bucking and hesitation. The drive-by-wire throttle (we still like our cables, thank you) is partly to blame, as it sends the majority of information back to the ECU.

Toyota released a TSB for the issue and a quick software tweak seems to solve the problem. Only owners that recognize a hesitation in acceleration are encouraged to come in for the service, though it's safe to assume that most Camry drivers won't notice a problem.

[Source: Automotive News]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      According to owners responding in forums at Edmunds.com, there are more issues than 'mild bucking'. If this was GM or Ford, the sky would be falling. Since it is Toyota it reported as a minor issue.
      Stay tuned for today's Audi commercials.
      • 8 Years Ago
      'Actually, it's not a dream, Jeff. See, GM is still number one.'

      Here are the raw numbers and I will let you decide who is #1:

      2005 Revenues: GM: $192.6 bil Toyota: $186,806 b
      2005 Profit GM: $-10.6 Bil Toyota: $12.119 b
      Profit Change GM: -476% Toyota: $11.2%
      Stock Price GM: $32.14 Toyota: $113.52

      I think the Toyota product is quality-hyped(what is quality anyway and are we counting recalls where Toyota was #1 this year) and GM's product is unfairly degraded but what do the raw #'s and the bottom lines tell us about who is #1?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hey, that's a great story about your Subie, but how about some relevant and important information in the summary, like which years are affect and a link to the actual TSB (or, hey, how about just a link that work?!?!)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am a long time Toyota enthusiest, and last month when my lease on my old camry ran out, I leased a new 07 camry. The salesman, told me it had more power, but to me, the car looks heavier.

      Nobody, including the salesman, said anything about the " New revolutionary software interface ".

      The other important feature for me, was that the car is suppose to get 30 miles a gallon.

      Now that I have had the car for a bit of time, here's what I have found.

      1) The actual mileage is about 18 miles a gallon, not 30.

      2) The car tends to think, ( as the Toyota Mechanic's describe it ), rather than accelerate.

      3) Because of the lack of responsive accelation, there have been at least 3 very close calls. In each incident, the car decided to think, instead of accelerate.

      The software, seems to still be in the experimental stages of development. I qualify this as dangerous. In this regard, I posted a complaint with Toyota USA, and have taken it back to the dealer twice, so the problem, could be documented.

      The car looks OK, but performs dangerously sluggish.

      The first time I called and explained the situation to the mechanic at the dealership, they told me to bring it in to let them check it out. Nobody would fess-up to the slow / sluggish reaction of the acceleration. When I arrived, they sent me on a test drive with a master mechanic. I explained the problems to him, and SHOWED HIM, what was happening. He discribed the problem / process as " thinking ". After some questioning, he stated that several people have been very concerned about the same thing. I described the " thinking " process of the car, as dangerous, and a direct result of inadequate, and not quite perfected engineering... " BETA ". He agreed !!!

      He told me the car would be learning my driving style, and would start to improve. I asked him if it had AI, he said sort-of ???

      I said, what if I get into an accident before the car, has finished learning? He got quiet!

      Why should I have to TRY, and OUT THINK THE CAR ?????

      It should respond.... Not make a determination !!!!

      This is a 3 year lease. Do you get that... I'M NOT HAPPY!

      As I mentioned earlier, I am a long time Toyota enthusiest, and I have gone through ALL the channels to effect a resolution to this very dangerous situation, and the encompassing response from Toyota, was ... To kiss me off !!!

      Now, I am documenting everything.

      research2020
      • 8 Years Ago
      If people only cared about car looks, there would be no minivans on the road.

      The fact that anyone buys a minivan tells you that some people have other requirements, like functionality.

      If everyone in the world drove a cool looking sports car, our cool looking sports cars wouldn't stand out anymore!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually, it's not a dream, Jeff. See, GM is still number one.

      Scary, huh.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Toyota claims "Fly by wire" is the wave of the future for their cars (including Lexus). I don't think so. I, too, like cabled throttle.

      I have two Avalons, a 2001 and 2005. The '01 is more responsive than the newer one (which has "fly-by-wire"). When I drive the '05 in stop and go traffic, the hesitation in acceleration is very noticable. For example, when my lane starts to move, and I step on the gas pedal, the car revs up but doesn't move. 1-2 seconds later, the transmission kicks in and jerks me forward.

      At least Toyota issued a TSB for this problem. When I complained about my '06, the Toyota technicians basically told me to live with it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Last night, I had a dream that a very large global producer of automobiles who made very cars of very average quality and with less than average looks had managed to convince the auto press and brainwashed consumers that they were the best. This company managed to hold a reputation of mythical quality while covering up their shortcomings. This company had quietly became the world's largest producer of cars for the masses.

      Their dealerships grossly overcharged for the cars and pressured consumers into paying even more.

      Whew, glad it was only a dream. Thank goodness I woke up.

      • 8 Years Ago
      To counter your generalization of Camry drivers, the ones I see here in Tampa are THE WORST drivers. They are usually the ones flooring it, tailgating others, and darting in and out of traffic. I do occasionally see the grandma driving a Camry, but most of the time it is the clueless idiot....
      • 8 Years Ago
      It seems like something like this could be a clever/shady way of giving a car better mileage in the EPA tests than it should.
      i.e. Car is tested and sold chipped for fuel economy, but then it becomes standard practice for the dealer to remap for performance. Is this legal?
      • 8 Years Ago
      this isnt just a problem with the camrys. my 2006 corolla also has this "problem". its not a real problem really, its just the unbearably slow DBW system, which i see could be a safety problem. on all 05 and up corollas (with DBW system) stomping on the gas pedal from a stop does nothing, it will hesitate for a good second then lift off and accelerate quite slowly. ive actually had to relearn how to "floor it", in my car you have to give it 75% throttle and slowly increase to full if you want any instant response. flooring it will do nothing, and its a potential hazard. one time on the freeway i needed to get out of the lane because the car in front of me completely stopped out of no where, i accidently floored it, and tried to change lanes, i went no where and was almost rear ended because the car hesitated before it wanted to go.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I will have to agree, If this was GM or Ford all hell would break loss.
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