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Engine failures in MR2 Spyders

6/11/2014 - Updated the original post by entering direct links to reference material, and added remarks about the legal issues involved with...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Another big recall. Blogger targets Akio.

Apparently, Toyota is tryin' to get in a few more big recalls before 2013 runs out. The latest recall (fifth biggie for the year, second recall in the past week) involves a whopping 885,000 units, featuring - of all things - spiders tampering with air bag deployment. Call this their "Halloween recall," bringing the total number of recalled units to six million for 2013. According to Toyota (I won't belabor that one), the nasty little critters can even play havoc with the steering. Toyota is "aware" of multiple instances of air bag, etc. malfunctions, resulting in two "minor" injuries.

Don't blame it all on spiders, jus' some of it, sez the Recall King. Now that's good advice. An Omaha woman has just been awarded $6.2 million in her airbag lawsuit dating back to a Lexus crash in 2007. The jury deliberated all of four and a half hours to conclude that not only was the airbag defective, but "the car did not 'conform' to the generally recognized and prevailing state of the art in the industry at the time the 2004 Lexus ES 330 was first sold by Toyota.”

Spiders? Hmm... Reminds me of all those MR2 "Spyders" mysteriously plagued by suddenly disintegratin' engines. Yessir, the 'ol Recall King definitely has a bug problem. Great material for another story in Design News' "Made by Monkeys" section.

Meanwhile, one of Toyota's many irrate customers has created a blog - and a Facebook page - titled "Route 44 Toyota Sold Me A Lemon." Her 10/18/2013 blog post, "Dear Mr. Akio Toyoda:" calls out none other than the Godfather - er I mean the Prince - himself. Reminds me of a post I made several years ago.

Keep these 2013 recalls - failing engines, brakes, airbags, etc. ad nauseum - goin', Toyota. 'Specially those recalls of recalls when the initial recall failed to fix the recall problem. Keep it up. Ya might be able to set another record.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Design News publishes my article

Just want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Rob Spiegel and Design News for publishing my article about the pre-cat problem in MR2 Spyders. The "Made by Monkeys" section is SO appropriately titled for stories about Recall King Toyota.

I'm honored - sure makes my day :-)

Update 10/16/2013 -
Interesting comment by tekochip: 
"Another example of complex systems failing in complex ways. As the pre-catalyst fails you would think that the exhaust gas pressure would keep all the containments from flowing back into the engine, but the MR2 engine features variable valve timing. Under some conditions the valves change their timing to allow a little exhaust gas back into the cylinders, sort of a vale timing version of EGR. So, with the variable valve timing sucking in exhaust and the pre-catalyst failing, the result is containments scoring the cylinder walls and valves."
Rob Spiegel chimed in, confirming that the pre-cat problem is all over the Internet:  
"This seems to be a widespread problem with this model. A quick Google search found TONS AND TONS (emphasis mine) of references to pre-cat problems."
Absolute disgrace that government allows corporations like Toyota to kick consumers around with such impunity.

Update 10/19/2013 - I'm delighted to see comments focusing on pre-cat environmental considerations and the EPA. Instead of coddling Toyota with wrist-slappin' fines, and allowing them to cut deals whereby Toyota makes no admission of wrongdoing, government should have reigned the Recall King in long ago on the pre-cat issue.   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Toyota told to conduct "awareness campaign"

"The campaign will raise awareness on the effective use of the (brake override) system and how to deal with inability to control or stop the car."

Uh oh. Now we learn that Toyota - that unabashed paragon of public safety - had to be "instructed" to launch a public awareness campaign, addressing issues associated with the Recall King's never-ending sudden unintended acceleration problems. Saudi Arabia's government - reminiscent of Japan's response when an heir to the Imperial Throne was endangered - is taking the issue seriously.

I wish our own government would "instruct" the Recall King to address those engine failures in MR2 Spyders. With owners being forced to either remove pre-cats (illegal for street use) or risk ruined engines and exhaust systems, it's obvious that neither Uncle Sam nor Toyota are really all that concerned with air pollution. Isn't it a hoot that Toyota presents itself as some sort of "green machine" operation? How many Spyders are being driven on the streets with owner-altered emission control systems?

When it comes to Toyota, where is the much ballyhooed Environmental Protection Agency? Hey, hey, EPA: Not questioning yer integrity, but the pre-cat issue has been all over the Internet for the last 13 years.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Massive Toyota recalls continue for 2013

"Toyota is first to all other companies in its total amount of recalled vehicles worldwide, and this is not the first time that Toyota has recalled hundreds of thousands of vehicles this year." Shannon Walsh, WebProNews

Been a while since I've posted, but it certainly hasn't been for lack of subject matter. Amidst lawsuits galore over sudden, unintended acceleration, Recall King Toyota has spotlighted their incompetence by demonstrating that the parade of defects - eight major recalls for 2013 - in their obviously lousy products is far from over. How can anyone still argue - with a straight face - that the "Toyota Way" is now new and improved?

'Bout a year ago, it leaked out that Toyota customers need "reassuring" that their vehicles are safe. Wow. If they needed "reassuring" then, what do they need now? Frankly, I'm beginning to doubt mainstream media's claims that the Recall King has "bounced back" from their sales plunge of recent years.

And when it comes to keeping things quiet...

One of the most hearbreaking stories has to do with the death of 29 year old Chris Eves when his new Tundra veered off the road and hit a tree. Hair and scalp tissue was found near the accelerator, and Chris' dad refuses to be silenced, choosing to speak out instead of accepting Toyota's offer of what amounts to hush money. If there's anything the ol' Recall King is good at, it's confidentiality agreements and cozy deals with NHTSA which allow Toyota to settle "without any admission of wrongdoing."

Toyota's attitude toward customers - epitomized by their lack of response to engines suddenly disintegrating in MR2 Spyders - is beyond horrendous. So what if a customer loses the better part of $10,000 in repairs? So what if the defect lurks in the engines of Spyders currently for sale on used car lots? So what if folks who have their engines rebuilt are left to wonder - and rightly so - if the defect was corrected? And so what if owners have to choose between removing the pre-cats (illegal for street use) or risking a ruined engine and exhaust system? Click the link. Read about Toyota's pre-cat problems (addressed all over the Internet), and tell me it's not a disgrace when an automaker is allowed to treat people in such a manner. What kind of car company ignores the pleas of its own product's sports car clubs? I wonder if sudden engine disintegrations didn't play into Toyota's decision to discontinue production of the MR2 Spyder. There's no excuse for any government allowing an auto manufacturer to get away with the kind of shenanigans Toyota is now notorious for pulling.

As Toyota "vigorously" defends itself against hundreds of ongoing lawsuits, this is an excellent time to "recall" an Associated Press investigation that concluded Toyota is deceptive when sued. And lotsa folks would say it's not only when they're sued. Meanwhile, just tell me one thing:

Why would anyone trust Toyota?

Update 10/3/2013 - The link regarding pre-cat removal (and the fact that it's illegal for street use) suddenly stopped working. The current link connects - at least for the time being - with a different article.