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Toyota Recall Woes Continue

Posted in car modifications, Cars, Mechanics, Toyota by Jon | February 13th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

Lately it seems that there are three certain things in life, death, taxes and a weekly Toyota recall. Toyota has announced the recall of nearly 8,000 Tacomas that have a problem with their drive shaft . A report recently surfaced stating that a crack formed in the rear joint, causing the drive shaft to shake loose and may drop straight out of the truck. These “cracks may have developed during the manufacturing process.” Whatever the cause of this issue, it makes us ask ourselves, “How can one company self-destruct themselves in less than one month?” This most recent recall for the Tacoma’s drive shaft isn’t nearly as big of a problem as the previus recalls but how does Toyota expect to recover from all of these problems.  Anyone who may be affected by this recall can call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 for more information. Toyota dealers will also perform a ten minute inspection of the trucks and if they find any problem they will replace the drive shaft free of charge. Tell us if you would still buy any Toyota.

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2 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    “Lately it seems that there are three certain things in life, death, taxes and a weekly Toyota recall.”

    Learn to count.

  2. GIZMO says:

    TOYOTA THINKS Prius is golden, needs its fuel tanks checked anyway.


    Summary: There needs to be a general recall on all Prius gas tanks prior to 2010 because of potential for emissions control system failures.

    David, this is a follow-up on our conversation at Boulder Toyota several days ago regarding the Prius fuel tanks prior to introduction of the conventional tanks on the 2010 Prius. .

    So this is the so-called bladder gas tank of the Prius. The whole thing is a nightmare. The top and bottom are molded resin rather than metal as I had stated. It is not clear how much if any the bottom flexes to accept gasoline. It would have helped if he had shown what I assume is the bellows action that must occur along the sides as the tank fills, that is how the tank gets deeper. In any event the pictures shown in Toyota’s manuals are clearly and highly deceptive and arguably meant to obscure the issues. Frankly I can see how Toyota would not want to admit just how poorly designed this tank is. You are a sales and leasing representative for Boulder Toyota and presumably highly trained but you had trouble believing my description of the tank and for good reason. “Highly implausible” is how one might describe the design of this tank and Toyota should never have approved the design anyway.

    There are lots of posts online of users having trouble getting the tank to take on acceptable amounts of fuel, the tank spitting back after filling, of tanks being ruined due to presumed over-filling leading to replacements costing $1000, of users unexpectedly running out of gasoline, being stranded in dangerous situations, of expensive calls for tow trucks etc. Various manuals go through drawn out procedures for testing various performance issues with the tank that seem highly subjective to me, with high probability of not solving anything. There seems to be a strong tendency for Toyota to blame the user for over-filling and refusing to take any responsibility whatsoever for anything.

    There are lots of valves and controls and everything seems confusing. I would not blame Toyota for not wanting to be involved and taking the path of least resistance and declaring everything to be “normal.”

    Ventilation, by manifold vacuum, of the space between the rigid metal outer shell and this resin bladder, is not constant but occurs only upon a “duty cycle” driven by the ECU. So if gasoline is leaking into this space due to a leak in the bladder, ventilation might not be adequate to keep it cleaned out. Gallons of gasoline accumulating in this space would then lead to reduced fuel tank capacity. I would not be impressed by any of Toyota’s claims that this would be easily detected or impossible in the first place. All the steps described in diagnosis show just how uncertain Toyota itself is in the whole process. Such leaks are a constant concern to Toyota as they discuss the issues. Gasoline leaking into this space and being ventilated away clearly would help explain many of the low mpg problems discussed online.

    If this could be developed into an issue of failure of the Prius emissions controls, Toyota could and should be forced into a massive recall to replace the tanks with the new more conventional tanks.

    So there is a valve run by some sort of detector that is supposed to allow air in the space to be expelled to the outside as the bladder fills and failure of this valve and/or detector would account for lack of ability to accept gasoline and spitting back etc.

    Knowing where everything is, one should simply put the car up on a hoist and drill a small hole in a dependent part of the tank, using a battery powered drill to avoid sparks which could cause ignition of the gasoline inside the rigid shell . This would allow any gas to drain out. One should have a can to catch it in or at least be prepared to place a finger over the whole to stop the flow of gas while somebody fetches one. Remember that there might be as much as five or six gallons of gas. This would solve any problems related to retained gasoline and/or air. One could then see if the tank performs better.

    Further study would consist of drilling other small holes to allow sounding with metal rods to detect any “tilting” of the tank at near-empty. Any such tilting could result in significant amounts of unusable fuel, since the drain in the middle would simply not be in the most dependent position. Large fuel gauge errors would also result. This probing with metal rods with the tank filled to capacity would detect issues with the bellows action not allowing full expansion.

    Any holes in the bottom of the rigid shell could be easily repaired with small self-expanding rubber plugs commonly used to mount roof racks etc. Removing one or more of these plugs periodically might possibly but not necessarily allow one to detect gasoline leaks from the resin bladder. But in any event these leaks would be corrected by the general recall which I propose.

    Another diagnostic approach would be to drill one hole big enough to insert a bore-scope, such which a mechanic might use to look into the combustion chamber of an ICE internal combustion engine. A proper bore-scope would be mounted on a small digital camera to take pictures for documentation.

    Suppose that one does detect a significant leak in the resin bladder and returns to Toyota with the evidence, it would seem that Toyota would be now be more anxious to play ball and replace the tank in or out of warranty, just to suppress the news.

    It might be better to keep the tank for awhile though to do further research. For example one could mount an after-market fuel drain on in the most dependent part of the tank, operated by a cable with the knob behind the fuel filler door, with the drain tube coming out at the driver’s feet when he is adding fuel. Making a big deal out of catching the gas running out toward the ground could add a lot to a person’s day, provided enough people were watching.