• Dec 18th 2009 at 1:57PM
  • 59

Toyota/Lexus gas pedal recall modification – click above for gallery

Late last month, Toyota announced that it would begin its biggest recall action ever, summoning 3.8 million cars and trucks back to its dealers to combat "pedal entrapment" by cutting down the accelerator pedals of customer cars to avoid them getting hung-up on floormats, resulting in "unintended acceleration." Although Toyota plans to eventually substitute redesigned units for the shaved pedals (beginning in April), for the moment, it's shaved pedals or nothing.

Up until now, we didn't know what went into the modification process or how the finished pedal looks, as Toyota has worked hard to keep this process confidential. However, thanks to an anonymous Autoblog reader who happens to work in service at a Lexus franchise, we now have a much better idea of what goes into the process. Our source reveals that he's only witnessed the alteration carried out on a ES350, not the IS or any other Toyota model, but we imagine the process is quite similar for other vehicles.

In any case, the procedure is surprisingly involved, with the automaker providing the following tools to every dealership: A cutter, an electric sanding wheel, a gauge to measure how much of the pedal is to be removed and a smaller foam block to go under the carpet. Lexus is disbursing people from its area offices to train dealer technicians on the process, and Toyota is undoubtedly doing the same.

We'll let our source take it from here:
"We will have to remove the gas pedal from the vehicle and place it on a vise. Using the gauge, we are to mark the amount to be removed and cut it off. After this, we take the sanding wheel and angle the edges to make a smooth contoured surface that both looks nice and will not stick to the floor carpet or floor mat.

Also included in the repair is to replace a foam block under the floor carpet with a smaller one to lower the height of the floor slightly behind the gas pedal. What was explained to us is the foam block is glued to the bottom of the floor carpet from the factory. The block will need to be removed by heating the top side of the floor carpet with a hair dryer – not a heat gun. This is to prevent burning of the floor carpet.
(Click through to the jump for the rest of the process and more details)

The dealer rep did state that any carpets damaged would not be warranted by Lexus and is the responsibility of the dealership to replace. He did not have much to offer about the computer cutting power of the engine when both pedals are pressed at the same time, but did state they were still working on a solution. I would guess that after completing a few of these, the job can probably be performed in around an hour.

We have not modified any pedals for customers, as the recall will begin sometime after the new year. I cannot touch on customer satisfaction because of that, but in my opinion, most customers probably will not even notice. The customers who are not satisfied with the modification will have the option to have the pedal replaced at a later date as parts are made available."
Our source was kind enough to supply us with before-and-after photos of the pedal which you can view in our gallery below. Not sure if your car is covered under the recall? Click here to learn the full details.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Such a sorry sight, this hacked-up "fix." All because people can't be bothered to check if their carpets are slipping up and interfering with their pedals.

      The carpet in my '83 Porsche started slipping around after the velcro (yes, velcro!) attachment points wore out. When it started bunching up behind the clutch pedal, I just took it out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I suppose in this case it's a rigid floormat, not a carpet. But still, common sense dictates that the foot well should be clear of any hazardous obstructions!
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a DESIGN DEFECT not an operator error. Accelerator pedals do not belong on the floor and if this were an American domestic you would agree. Of course we wouldn't have to worry about that with an American domestic because they all have known this for decades.
        • 5 Years Ago
        daleam STFU. "American domestic" this and that. Get real.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Unfortunately people can't think for themselves anymore (seems like that especially in the US) and companies have to take all the flak (getting sued etc.) hence all the warning labels on everything. Ridiculous state of affairs. There is no such thing left as common sense it seems. Idiocracy here we come.
        • 5 Years Ago
        who needs common sense when you can sue!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone think of removing the foolish floor mats. First think I do when I get a car is move the stupid froor mats to the trunk, to use to change a tire if needed. I paid for the carpet, I am going to use it. What am I saving it for, the next owner????

      • 5 Years Ago

      “More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into trees, parked cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Times review of federal records has found.
      The crashes resulted in at least 19 deaths and scores of injuries over the last decade, records show. Federal regulators say that is far more than any other automaker has experienced.”
      "Dr. David. W. Smith, an emergency room physician from San Dimas, has yet to receive a satisfactory answer from Toyota about his Lexus GS 300. Smith said he was driving with his cruise control in Central California on Highway 99 last year, not touching the accelerator, when suddenly the vehicle accelerated to 100 mph. The brakes did not release the cruise control or slow down the vehicle, Smith recalled. Finally, he shifted into neutral and shut off the engine. "I am sure it is the cruise control," he said. "I haven't used it since.""

      Toyota Denied Sudden Acceleration Problem For More Than 5 Years

      Toyota's troubles too long ignored

      Toyota's reputation for safety and reliability suffered a major hit recently when it issued recall notices for close to 4 million vehicles susceptible to sudden acceleration.

      But the automaker's actions aren't the only ones that warrant scrutiny.

      Since 2001, more than 1,000 owners of certain models of Toyota and Lexus vehicles have reported problems with over-acceleration, according to a review of federal data by the Los Angeles Times.

      Many of the incidents ended in crashes, and at least 19 people have been killed. The number of deaths is higher than the 11 linked to similar problems in vehicles produced by all other automakers combined.
      • 5 Years Ago
      is that a raw chicken breast in the picture???
      • 5 Years Ago
      opps, i over-cut it, what should i do now?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now why would anyone think Toyota would replace it with a new design?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because they agreed to? This is just the temporary fix until they can make 3.8 million pedals. I don't know if you guys realize this but parts manufacturers don't usually have the ability to instantly come up with millions and millions of parts for several different models of cars overnight.
      • 5 Years Ago
      if you dummies don't remember, it's not solely the pedal becoming stuck, it's because people have misused floormats. Otherwise there would have been hundreds if not thousands of cases where people have been getting their pedal stuck. Secondly, as people have said, this happened in other cars that were not Toyota (a Chevy I think). The problem is not immediate as the difference of having the proper floor mat and not having one is whats causing the problem. Regardless, Toyota is having "remedy" and bringing out new pedals, so I don't get what you guys are not understanding. Do you have reading comprehension problems?

        • 5 Years Ago
        "Do you have reading comprehension problems?"
        Yes, they do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This has nothing to do with ECU problems. that's a separate issue. This has to do with the pedal getting stuck. I'm not being a fanboy, I don't care for toyotas. But I noticed all the toyota-haters came out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, you're the dummy here, it's not soley the pedals comming stuck, it's the ECU being f-ed up. There are cases everywhere of people that don't use ANY floormats (Toyota branded, aftermarket, one ontop of the other, or otherwise) and still had problems with acceleration.

        "Eric Weiss was stopped at a busy Long Beach intersection last month when he said his 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup unexpectedly started accelerating, forcing him to stand on the brakes to keep the bucking truck from plowing into oncoming cars.
        ... But Weiss is convinced his incident wasn't caused by a floor mat. He said he removed the mats in his truck months earlier on the advice of his Toyota dealer after his truck suddenly accelerated and rear-ended a BMW. "

        • 5 Years Ago
        Quick look! Toyota fanbois!

        n _ n
      • 5 Years Ago
      Back, not "pack". Edit feature, what edit feature?
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, we should all dance a jig around the 600 pound gorilla in the middle of the room? It's not the pedals Toyota, that is a red herring. At best, the pedals and driver-error are responsible for a small percentage of these incidents, but it's the ECU people. The run-away cars with NO floor mats present should provide good evidence of that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You know, I regularly take my car to the track and use the accelerator and brake pedals in concert to control engine speed (blip the throttle/heel toe) and weight balance of the car. If Toyota's stupidity in design in this one instance makes all new cars exclude that possibility I am going to be very angry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well good thing Toyota doesn't currently make anything you'd ever want to take to the track.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What kind of heel-and-toe shifting are you doing that requires the extreme bottom-right and bottom-left corners of the pedal? It's not literal "heel" and "toe" usage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A disaster.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't get it. If it's at the point where you have to take the pedal out to fix the issue, why don't Toyota just make available pedals that aren't angled to get stuck, and have the dealer install that instead? I can't believe there aren't such pedals available out there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        so, just to be clear, people will need to bring their car in AGAIN for the 'REAL' fix?
        • 5 Years Ago

        Yes, this is obvious from this article, and from the articles before it. Toyota also mentioned it in their communication releases.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you read the article, Toyota has designed and is producing redesigned pedals, but they won't be available until later. This is an interim fix.
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