• Apr 21, 2010

Click above to watch video after the jump

Toyota announced a voluntary recall on Monday for some 9,400 Lexus GX 460 SUVs for wheel slippage that could occur during high speed turns. The company acted quickly in stopping sales of the GX after Consumer Reports gave the SUV a Do Not Buy rating following its own tests that showed the big SUV had trouble maintaining composure during high speed maneuvers. Toyota's press release at the time stated the recall involves reprogramming software in the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system. We weren't sure how long it would take Toyota to develop a software patch, but apparently it didn't take long at all.

The main culprit appears to be the fact that the fuel tank is located on the left side of the vehicle. A full tank of gas plus the weight of a driver in left-hand-drive vehicle could result in some hairy handling when taking right turns at high speed. That is, at least, before Toyota's software fix for the VSC system.

Follow the jump to see the effect a little reprogramming has on how a vehicle behaves. In the video, two Lexus SUVs take a right turn at 59 miles per hour. One puts on an impromptu drifting session and the other makes it through just fine. We'll let you guess which one had its VSC reprogrammed.

[Source: The Lexus Enthusiast]


Show full PR text
TMC Announces Remedy for Vehicle Stability Control in Lexus GX 460 and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Toyota City, Japan-Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces its remedy for the problem concerning the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) program in its Lexus GX 460 and certain Land Cruiser Prado vehicles.

In circumstances in which advanced driving skills are required, such as when a driver of the involved vehicle sharply turns the steering wheel in high-speed conditions, or when the driver negotiates a curve at excessive speeds, the vehicle could slide sideways, due to the insufficient activation of the VSC.

The following conditions combine to cause the problem:

- In the GX 460 and Land Cruiser Prado, heavy components, such as the fuel tank, are located on the left side, and in left-hand drive versions, the left side is made even heavier because of the presence of the driver.
- For vehicles with certain tires (on 18-inch wheels) and equipped with the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS*) and VSC, the activation of the VSC may not be sufficient in certain circumstances due to the setting of the VSC program.
- Circumstances may require advanced driving skills, such as sharp turns of the steering wheel in high-speed conditions or negotiating a curve to the right at excessive speeds.

As a remedy, Toyota will update the VSC program to enhance the effectiveness of the VSC so that the risk of the vehicle sliding, even to the point that it is almost sideways, will be reduced.

Vehicles involved are as follows:

- GX 460: Approx. 13,000 units in total Approx. 9,400 units in the United States, approx. 1,000 units in Russia, approx 1,000 units in Oman
- Land Cruiser Prado: Approx. 21,000 units in total (only left-hand drive vehicles with KDSS and VSC) Approx. 4,400 units in Oman, approx. 4,000 units in Russia, approx. 1,500 units in the United Arab Emirates. No right-hand drive units have this problem.

In total, approximately 34,000 units worldwide are involved. In North America, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) and Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) each announced a voluntary recall on April 19 (local time). As for other regions and countries involved, such as in Europe and the Middle East, TMC will work to implement similar measures as soon as possible.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      So they fixed it such that, once again, untrained drivers can feel safe behind the wheel of an oversized vehicle... great!
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hirsch, what part of "Consumer reports performs this same test on every vehicle that they purchase and only the GX460 failed this test" do you not understand?

        Second, sometimes even trained drivers need to lift off the throttle while cornering, and that is all that Consumer Reports did in this test. And it isn't safe if a vehicle goes into significant oversteer in that situation. Which is why almost all vehicles are tuned so that they will either understeer or remain neutral -- because it is safer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So now it's safer for all of those untrained drivers who will eventually get behind the wheel of one of these. What's the problem with that? The other option is to try and convince bad drivers to change their ways and that's quixotic.
        • 4 Years Ago
        better than having soccer moms flip out. emphasis on flip.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Porsche spent years and millions of dollars reducing the tendency of the mighty 911 to lift throttle oversteer, and that is a low-slung sports car. They did that for a reason.

        The GX460 is not a sports car. It is a top-heavy, softly sprung, body-on-frame SUV. It is far more likely to rollover if you get it sideways than a 911.

        Lift throttle oversteer, within limits, can be fun in a sports car. But it isn't fun or safe in a top-heavy SUV. And if you are looking to drive fast around corners and hang out the back, then you're not the target market for a GX460.

        Electronic spin control has significantly reduced fatalities, and Toyota is doing the right thing here. Asserting otherwise is just plain foolish.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jared, what are you on about? There's nothing about that statement that i don't understand. In fact i've repeatedly said that in other comments, specifically to those who don't get that there is a problem with the GX460's handling. What don't you get about my comment? I wasn't replying to you. I was replying to the original commenter who seemed to be sarcastically faulting Lexus for fixing the problem when in his opinion "untrained drivers" are the real problem. Well trying to fix all of the "untrained drivers" is a quixotic proposition. It's much better to fix the truck so it's safer for "untrained drivers" to drive, which is pretty much what i said.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The most interesting thing I learned from this article is that there is a webiste called Lexus Enthusiasts. Oxymoron at it's best.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Mact


        At least someone undertsands me.

        I have no idea why I have low stars....but w.e lol. Im telling the truth. I have been to Lexus meets and the cars there are all about performance many different models tuned in all kinds fo way.

        He said when you "think" about Lexus...no...when YOU think about Lexus you think about that.


        Take a trip over to ClubLexus.com...open up your mind some...it wont hurt.
        • 4 Years Ago
        joke.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How so?

        I go on that site all the time...the LFA IS-F even the older IS300, SC400 and the GS400 modified, engine swap with supras, tuned for track racing, drag you name it even drift.

        How is Lexus enthusiast an Oxymoron?
        • 4 Years Ago
        KeatMP,

        "He's just pointing out that Lexus and Car Enthusiast do not go together like you would think BMW and Car Enthusiast do. When you think of Lexus, you think of bland styling, cushy ride, and overall boringness, with a few exceptions of course."

        The problem is you are using the word "think" too much. There are plenty of Lexus enthusiasts out there. As miketim1 said, the IS and SC series cars have a huge following.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Keat


        "He's just pointing out that Lexus and Car Enthusiast do not go together like you would think BMW and Car Enthusiast do. When you think of Lexus, you think of bland styling, cushy ride, and overall boringness, with a few exceptions of course."

        Most of what you said is your OPINOIN...I dont think Lexus has bland styling and I dont think their boring at all. You said with a few exceptions...you cant say that and say they are boring at the same time...your contradicting yourself. Lexus is starting offer both Luxury and performance....deal with it.


        • 4 Years Ago
        @miketim1

        He's just pointing out that Lexus and Car Enthusiast do not go together like you would think BMW and Car Enthusiast do. When you think of Lexus, you think of bland styling, cushy ride, and overall boringness, with a few exceptions of course.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @miketim It's sometimes hard to take the LF-A seriously when it finishes behind a VW Golf at VLN. I realize that they were probably trying to just win their class but wouldn't you think it's class would finish better than 28th place?

        http://www.vln.de/ergebnisse/2010-03-27r.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        I dont get it.

        Does Acura or Infiniti have a vehicle that cant beat the LFA and IS-F in performance ? Theres even a GSF in the works...

        Saying Lexus and performance is a Oxymoron is kind of ignorant.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @tekdemon I voted you up as there's definitely no denying BMW's image of douchbaggery in the US. Fortunately there are still folks upholding it's racing heritage however.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @miketim1 Apart from the somewhat odd VLN results, as far as performance and racing go, it was also disappointing to see that other than Scions and an IS pace car there was no Toyota (or more specifically Lexus) racing presence in any of the races at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this past weekend. There were plenty of true performance makes such as Porsches, Corvettes, Ferraris, and even BMWs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      whoever takes turns at that speed in an SUV shouldn't have a license to begin with.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What this really shows to me is how much safety is being engineered into our cars and how we are better off for it. The good old days and we would be in a lurch. Now days cars do so much to compensate for us that the car is far more likely the better driver.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The formerly inscrutable Toyota now must contend with the wary eye of the consumer. How ironic is that they are called out by the Consumer's Union, one of their most fierce advocates (dare I say paid off)? For decades, CU prominently listed Toyota vehicles as "Recommended" and gave them a free pass with respect to reliability ratings, practically sight unseen. No domestic automaker was ever given such preferential treatment, much less a fair shake at decent ratings. In the wake of such scandal and corruption at Toyota and the federal government, CU has a lot of explaining to do.

      This luxobarge better be in CU's "Used Cars to Avoid" section in a few years, if change had truly transpired. I wouldn't count on it, though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think we all know the real fix for the problem:

      SLAM IT AND THROW SOME D'S ON DAT LEXUZ.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "When the rear end's loose, the car's fast. Loose is fast, and on the edge you're out of control."
      Harry from Days of Thunder
      • 4 Years Ago
      The thing that concerns me most about this is the fact that the fuel tank is on the left side of the car. Has Toyota not learned that in order to make a balanced chassis the tank needs to be centered in the car and should be a saddle style tank to reduce the effects of weight transfer as the gas moves around in the tank! 15+ gallons of liquid is very heavy. This is automotive engineering 101 these days. No wonder they are having so many issues. It's not only the fact that they grew way too fast to maintain the quality of their cars. It's the fact that they apparently can't engineer the cars properly either right from the start. Pffftt...gas tank on one side, are you kidding me? One thing is for sure, I will never own a 2005-2015 Toyota product.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Un-modded, unrecalled Lexus GX's will fetch top dollar from drifters! This is a feature, not a problem!

      (no, not really)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like they underestimated the weight of the fatties driving the SUV, causing more kinetic energy than programmed. ;-)
        • 4 Years Ago
        That video of that test was taken in Japan. The driver was Japanese. They still managed to get the GX460 crossed up. But I guess logic isn't your strong suit.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There are no big people in Japan? Guess cultural knowledge is not your strong suit. ;-)
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