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LaFontaine Toyota's Master Technician Doug fixes a recalled pedal – Click above to watch video

Earlier today we showed you exactly how a Toyota dealer will fix each of the 2.3 million potentially defective accelerator pedals involved in Toyota's latest recall. Thanks to our friends at AOL Autos who joined us on this field trip to LaFontaine Toyota, we now present video of Doug the Master Technician doing what thousands of Toyota service people will soon be doing to millions of Toyota vehicles in the coming months. Follow the jump to start the show, click here to follow along step-by-step and don't forget to check out Autoblog's Ultimate Toyota Recall Guide for the big picture.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Holy crap thats a hill billy fix. You just drop a shim in place to take up the slack? What if it vibrates out? Can't? Pressure?

      Other comic notes:
      No torque wrench - gutentite or gutenfugentite.
      Tons of shims, yay manufacturing tolerance.
      15 - 20 minutes per car? 4 million cars? $60 an hour = $80 million just for the service? Awfully cheap to F* UP!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Unlikely; it's under the pressure of the return spring assembly. Furthermore, for some unexplained reason, there's a lip on the assembly that serves to retain the shim.
      • 5 Years Ago
      with all the comments I'm reading i think autoblog should do what engadget did and drop a ban hammer on idiots and spammers that all they do is complain and crap on autoblog. sometime without comments would make people appreciate this site more. i used to read the story then quickly open the comments and now i hesitate since 70% of the comments are crap and nothing good just people flaming other people and the site.
      • 5 Years Ago
      but doesn't that plate just keep people from pushing the pedal all the way in? aka. less acceleration and less sticking?
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, it doesn't because it's not in the pedal's line of travel. It simply keeps the PLASTIC friction teeth farther apart to they are less likely to bind.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, what I think I heard him say is that it increases the return spring pressure.

        So I don't think it fixes the interference problem, it just makes the spring stronger so it is more likely to release the pinch-point if it does bind.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should issue a software update to their diagnostic software so that it checks that the voltages are in the right range automatically, instead of relying on a human to check. Just pointing out a source of potential error. I work in IT so I know that a good application should and can do that to reduce the load on human beings.
      Kudos to Toyota for the fix and autoblog for giving everyone and especially Toyota owners an inside look at what is being done to their cars.


        • 5 Years Ago
        Fatoid,

        You prompt the user to press the pedal, it records the numbers and does the check. Then displays the results. It should be left to the software to check the ranges. I would rather have the software check than a worker who has been doing this for 10 hrs to get OT and is extremely tired.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure. Write me a program that will depress the accelerator pedal.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i dont understand this toyota bashing.. when it makes 1 million cars in USA? i bet this is more than many domestics. also dont inderstand people saying dont buy camry made in usa .. instead buy american.. fusion made in mexico...lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      KUDOS TO YOU GUYS!
      Love the AB!

      Sam, you're a credit to your industry. Too bad you'll never become a rich man from this interweb thingy! :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      'Master Technician' for a Toyota dealership sounds like some code-of-honor quest that a mechanic must go through, 'Kill Bill'-style.

      Only when you've mastered the Five Pointed Palm Exploding Heart Technique may you perform service work on the Prius.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know if you noticed, but this isn't a Toyota-only dealer or service station (look at his patch).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think a lot of you really don't understand things, and don't realize that you don't, so you run off at the mouth.

      He says he doesn't know the purpose of the shim because the Engineers didn't tell him. They aren't supposed to tell him because then he's liable, too. He didn't engineer it, and he's not supposed to sell how it fixes the problem. It's about protecting the technicians. Of course he knows how it helps - he's a mechanic, and a master mechanic at that. He knows what he's doing, and you can see him sort of start to explain things here and there, but only go so far.

      As for his appearance, he's not doing some official video. I just hope he doesn't lose his job once Toyota finds out (hopefully they knew ahead of time). And, frankly, I don't want that. While I wait for my Highlander to get fixed, I'd rather see what a real mechanic can do with it, rather than some corporate mechanic in a white lab coat who helped develop the fix or something.

      As for the varying gap width, if you noticed, he said he's only done 4 cars, and they're all 2010 Corollas. The gap width varies because of manufacturing tolerances. The differences he's quoting are in millimeters. That gap wasn't deemed to be a critical measure, so the tolerance is wider. The shim is meant to fill the gap as this reduces the causes of the problem, so filling a gap with low(ish) manufacturing tolerance will inherently mean that you need quite a few different shim sizes.

      Lastly, he didn't flash the car because many Toyotas already have the break override. It's an incresingly common feature on cars with drive-by-wire systems, and especially in newer ones. All Nissans have it, all Chryslers with DBW have it, most Fords, etc. Toyota is no different. The only car company that doesn't have it on a single model is Honda. If your model needs a flash, you'll get it (which is what checking the Internet does on that computer - it's not to hide anything, nor does the Net run the tests - that's all done locally).

      It's fine to question things, but you need to recognize what you don't know, and stop stating your views as facts or damning someone or some company based on them. It's ignorant and foolish.

      I'm also really curious how many people that are going off about this even own a Toyota.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good question, and I should have mentioned the source(s). If you Google a bit, you'll find a few articles that talk about it, but the most recent (the one that also mentioned the Nissan, Chrysler and Honda points I made) was in today's Bloomberg news (via the iPhone). It's a really good piece about what the changes to regulations are likely to be in response to all of this.

        The key, according to some engineers, is that the regulation insist that the controller be separate from the one managing the DBW throttle. His point, which is really rational, is about how if there's a problem, then there's a good chance the DBW computer is malfunctioning or tied up with some error, so it wouldn't be able to process the brake override. They didn't go into how current car makers implement the override, so it's very possible that Toyota - where they have it - hasn't set up a second controller. I'm guessing they didn't if they're talking about merely flashing the ECU to deliver the functionality.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd like to know where you are getting your information from about toyotas having brake override programming. Some of the other so called xperts on here have been vehemently claiming that Toyota is one manufacturer that does not have it. So just want to know who is lieing here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great video. I live right up the street from that dealership and my friend gets her oil change there because it's only $10 for any make.
      • 5 Years Ago
      those techs looks so clean...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, the fix is relatively easy, i wonder if Toyota would haven been able to do a low key recall since all that there is to it is a tiny piece of metal...


      However, my first quip: if the pedals are the same design, same manufacturer, same model of cars, why are there so many differences in the original tolerance leading to different size shimmies? wouldnt that create another potential for F&%$# Up?

      2-pump the pedal 5 times, i would have though Toyota would have come up with a more rigorous test to be performed after the pedal is installed, like depress pedal with X amount of weight for x amount of time to see if it will stick, not relying on a computer diagnostic "connected to the net" where it is possible that it might be hiding a major defect by actually updating the throttle mapping software rather than just doing the said diagnostics.

      3- If this is a Toyota dealership, and it truly represents Toyota, don't you think the techy should be a tad better presentable at least when there are camera's rolling. (no offense to his actual work and him as a person) but when cameras are rolling his superior should advise him to tuck it in.... visual impressions go a very long way....

      This recall fix seem to me like a rag tag approach, all shimmy, procedure and technicians....
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the tech was perfectly smart enough, given that he has to rummage around under the pedal box on the floor of the car. He seemed like a perfectly competent and articulate bloke to me, albeit not knowing exactly what his fix was doing.

        He did his job well, but I'm still not convinced.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey, Problem is not a pedal.
      Problem is more electronic and s/w related.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Funny how all you so called experts come out of the wood works claiming to know more than the engineers who are actually investigating the problem. This is what's called media hype.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Funny he is down ranked when he is absolutely correct. Silly Americans and their shims. LOL
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol,

        Autoblog engineers are the best.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Toyota is a Typical Japanese comapny.
        cover-up is not bad thing to Japanese mind.
        --------------------------------------
        Revolving Door: From US Safety Agency to Toyota Representative
        "Federal Investigations of Runaway Toyotas Excluded Most Serious Cases After NHTSA Official Is Hired by Car Company"

        The memorandum was written on March 23, 2004, shortly after the NHTSA official, Scott Yon, met with two former NHTSA colleagues who worked for Toyota, including Chris Santucci, who had left the agency only six months earlier, according to his testimony in a civil lawsuit.

        "We discussed the scope," Santucci testified. "I think it worked out well for both the agency and Toyota."
        Twenty-six of the 37 initial complaints of runaway Toyotas were excluded from the federal investigation in 2004 following the negotiations between the safety agency and the Toyota representatives.

        The 26 excluded incidents included 25 cases in which accidents or crashes were reported. They were never investigated.
        http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/RunawayToyotas/revolving-door-us-safety-agency-toyota-representative/story?id=9747342

        "Toyota is a very secretive corporation," Biller, 47, said in an interview. "It doesn't believe anybody outside the corporation deserves to know what is going on inside, even if it kills somebody."
        http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toyota-lawyer3-2010feb03,0,7374631.story
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