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    AOL Autos went to LaFontaine Toyota in Dearborn, MI to get a first-hand look at how Toyota is fixing their recalled vehicles. (Sam Abuelsamid, Autoblog)

    by: Reilly Brennan, AOL Autos
     

    On Wednesday, Toyota dealerships around the country received their first box of metal inserts that will go inside the 2.3 million potentially faulty accelerator pedals now under recall in the U.S. AOL Autos and Autoblog went along to a Toyota dealer last night to see how technicians will make the repairs.

    When we arrived at LaFontaine Toyota in Dearborn, Michigan, the dealership had already started practicing the installation procedure. A row of brand new Toyota Corolla sedans sat inside their service area, each ready to receive about 30 minutes of work to fix the problem with reported sticky accelerator pedals.

    The fix can come none too soon -- LaFontaine's Todd McCallum said they've received too many phone calls from their customers to count, but estimate the number of concerned owners who have called has been "in the thousands."

    The process for installing the metal shim -- which is about the size of your thumbnail -- is fairly straightforward:

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    - Is this the right pedal? The technician checks the pedal to see if it's one of the recalled pedal systems (Toyota has two part suppliers for its gas pedals and only one -- made by CTS Corporation -- requires the pedal insert, while the others -- made by Denso Corporation -- will receive a software update and a pedal modification where the dealership will cut it down for size). If it's on the recall list, the technician removes it by unhooking the wiring harness and unscrewing the pedal from the firewall.

    - Measuring: Next, the technician uses a feeler gauge to measure the distance of the space between the bottom of the pedal housing and the spring housing. This distance will determine which metal insert will be used (there are 7 different inserts of various thicknesses).

    - Installing the insert: Based on his measurements, the technician picks the right insert from the parts bin, then carefully slides it inside the pedal assembly. The fit is tight as a drum and reduces the surface tension and excess friction that can occur on contact points in the back of the pedal assembly.

    - Does it feel right?: The technician gives the pedal 5 pumps to see if the feel of the unit has been compromised. If there is a problem, he can remove the insert or modify its installation. If it feels right, he puts it back in the vehicle.


    - Check of the vehicle: Next, the technician plugs in his mobile diagnosis unit and runs a complete software check of the car. His computer is linked to wifi and he can check if there are any recalls current on the vehicle that require attention. He's then able to see if the pedal is within the right tolerances given the modification he's done to it. Toyota has a set of tolerances for the pedal when it's at idle and when it's at wide-open throttle. He checks this not by measuring distance, but by taking a voltage reading from the computer system. Remember, these Toyotas are all driven "by wire," meaning there is no mechanical connection between the gas pedal and the throttle body.

    - All systems go: If everything checks out, the car is ready and the technician removes his gear and prints out the confirmation page for the customer. All in, the process takes about 30 minutes.

    Toyota says that customers will start to receive notices from their dealers starting this week. LaFontaine, for example, received a box of 300 inserts Fixes start taking place today but the entire rollout of all recalls and remedies could take the entire year, according to the technicians at the dealership.

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    1 - 20 of 51 Comments
    laihui1314 Mar 29, 2011 3:15 AM
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    scare1 Jun 24, 2010 10:05 PM
    Bought a 2006 Avalon, great car, dealer was very nice and always satisfied me. Woke up and found an oil in my drive way. The Toyota dealer wanted $ 750.00 for the repair plus towing. Dad it fixed with Toyota parts by local shop I did not know. for $563.00. and change no towing needed. Had it checked at dealership and every thing was done correct with new Toyota parts per dealer. Toyota would not reemburs the total amout do to paperwork eror by repair shop. It is Toyotas business employees that will stop me from ever buying another Toyota, it has caused me to talk 3 others out of buying a Totyoto. Guess the approx. dif. of $ 150.00 was not worth it it Toyota. They will continue to loose sales for the wrong reasons. Never did I say anything negative about their cars It is managment and the way they do business. Buy American and deal with it, at least American's will have jobs.
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    menendezjm001 Jun 22, 2010 2:14 AM
    I will never buy another toyota, And that is the only car I have ever had since 1965 POPS
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    cecorporation Apr 08, 2010 5:37 PM
    Well my 2010 tundra was fixed I think but the padal seems ok but my truck is down shifting on it's own at speeds around 5-10 miles per hour. I noticed that today with the auto ac on. I hope it does not start to up shift on it's own. If the problem continues it's going back to the dealer to be checked. It's not the pedal I think it's the fly by wire system or should I say drive by wire system which is used on gulfstream jets and will be in all vehicles worldwide in the near future. I think that system is very scary. It's not mechanical but electronic. The system can take over at any time and that's how you can lose control.
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    teamster407 Mar 12, 2010 6:05 PM
    What about Pontiac (VIBE) Toyota drive train. We got a recall from GM. They want to put in a shim and take out floor mat, and give it to you. The new if (ever) floor mats aren't available. It all sound like BS and a waste of time, on top of we have to drive in Cleveland winter without a mat. I'm buying a Ford next time.
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    jmclu4x4 Mar 11, 2010 9:30 PM
    Does anyone know if the Toyota NASCAR cars use this electronic gas pedal, or do they use an old fashioned wire cable? I know they use a carburetor on a Toyota V-8 engine neither of which exist in the real Toyota car world. Some stock car eh? Maybe it doesn't matter because the NASCAR drivers want them to have intended acceleration at all times.
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    twosongs Mar 10, 2010 12:05 AM
    The remedial procedures described in the video does not convince me as fool proof process: too many manual processes, also judgement factors involved are source of concern. It should be remembered that all technicians are not equal in skill, judgement, training levels, etc. Insertion of simple single shim which comes in various sizes and it's up to the technician to decide which and how to insert on millions of cars boggle my mind. I'm a professional engineer, designed, manufactured, maintained and did major overhaul of many rolling stock. The simple repair process described (insertion of a simple shim in the brake assembly) does not convince me Toyota addressed the problem properly. If the brake pedal assembly is at fault, the entire brake pedal assembly should be replaced with factory fabricated unit. Technician's job should be just to replace the assembly. Also, why does he have to check the computer software?
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    tomylegacy Mar 09, 2010 3:55 PM
    ANOTHER TOYOTA COVER UP! READ WHAT A LOCAL VETERAN FILED AGAINST A LOCAL TOYOTA DEALERSHIP THAT GOT HIM FIRED! READ THE WHOLE STORY ON THESE BLOGS AND SPEAK ON IT AMERICA! SHOULD NASCAR INVESTIGATE SINCE GERMAIN TOYOTA RACE UNDER THEIR NAME?
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    prmeh Mar 04, 2010 9:05 PM
    Don't complain, we are their # one consumer, have been and will be, even with the recalls. If we continue to buy, they will continue to sell.
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    joe0751 Mar 01, 2010 6:41 PM
    mikiepp, you are sadly misinformed. It is a shame that Toyota let their quality control slip and then tried to cover it up, they should be fried for that, but it was no worse that Fords exploding gastanks, runaway cruse control, Chevy's exploding gastanks on its p/u trucks, Firestone's exploding tires(lot of exploding recalls), all which were covered up for years. Cars made in Canada and Mexico (a lot of Ford and GM) are not anymore American then Toyotas built in the USA. And by the way, Toyota's workers are not union members, that's why American built cars like Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia, etc are all built in the southern US (non union states ). I tried to buy an American made car...there are none, all have parts from all over the world. It's also sad that the defective part was one of the many American made parts in the US assembled Toyotas In your rantings, did you notice that Ford issued a recall on the Fusion Hybrid (made in Mexico, by Mexicans) for the same problem that the Toyota Prius was recalled for.....not much headlines about Ford, by they sure got on Toyota. By the way, Ford buys it's hybrid technology from Toyota...same parts, same problem. All these companies are in business to make money and don't really give a rat's ass about the consumer unless it affects advertising.
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    robrory Mar 01, 2010 6:38 PM
    Why do you think so many people bought foreign made cars, especially, Toyotas; it's because of the crap the Big Three put out in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90,s, especially GM. I think back to the time I had to go back to the dealer for a multitude of problems, and never ever got the problems fixed.
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    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 11:03 PM
    i really like the new toyota ad of the old people, s*cking up their social security, telling us how great toyotas are (like they would have any idea anyhow). where you think your SS check is coming from? Japan? ever wonder why you never got a raise? toyotas are junk, the people here that defend them must have a financial stake in it all. bad enough they screwed the american public pushing a product that hurt the american people financially, but now it seems they don't care that they are killing their customers. no morals at all........ you can always tell a scum bag toyota wage earner, they always try to incite the public with this old union bs.
    Report This
    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 11:02 PM
    i really like the new toyota ad of the old people, ******* up their social security, telling us how great toyotas are (like they would have any idea anyhow). where you think your SS check is coming from? Japan? ever wonder why you never got a raise? toyotas are junk, the people here that defend them must have a financial stake in it all. bad enough they screwed the american public pushing a product that hurt the american people financially, but now it seems they don't care that they are killing their customers. no morals at all........ you can always tell a scum bag toyota wage earner, they always try to incite the public with this old union bs.
    Report This
    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 7:31 PM
    or dunce caps........
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    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 7:27 PM
    they ought to issue crash helmets for toyota drivers.......
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    thickey47 Feb 27, 2010 7:17 PM
    When I'm on the road, I want any and all Toyotas in front of me. As far as i'm concerned they all have the right of way, steer clear of all of them!!!!!!!!
    Report This
    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 6:44 PM
    these things rank right up there with the yugo............
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    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 6:43 PM
    heck, put it in reverse and get to the dealer if it sticks......... rico624 Feb 25, 2010 5:48 PM Question? Why can't you put the car in neutral and use the brake when gas pedal sticks?
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    mikiepp Feb 27, 2010 6:41 PM
    i'll never buy a fricken toyletta again
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    drosse Feb 27, 2010 3:57 PM
    I've been told repeatedly by Toyota that my '07 Camry, because it was manufactured in Japan using Denso parts, is exempt from the gas pedal recall. Only CTS-made pedals reportedly are involved in the call-back. That assurance does not jibe with your recall report: "(Toyota has two part suppliers for its gas pedals and only one -- made by CTS Corporation -- requires the pedal insert, while the others -- made by Denso Corporation -- will receive a software update and a pedal modification where the dealership will cut it down for size)". So, are both CTS and Denso pedals potentially subject to failure?
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    Toyota started fixing their sticky gas pedal situation on Wednesday and we were on hand to see how it's done.
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