March 24, 2010

Document Hints at Possible Toyota Cover-Up

A 2002 Toyota document warning automotive dealers that certain makes and models of their vehicles could experience engine surging issues has surfaced, showing that Toyota may have known about the electronic issues, contrary to recent testimony by the company.

The Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) in question was issued on August 30, 2002, entitled "ECM Calibration Update: 1 MZ-FE Engine Surging." It stated that some Camry models released that year could experience "a surging during light throttle input at speeds between 38-42 MPH" and that revised engine control module (ECM) calibration could resolve the problem.

The TSB was first revealed on CNN by reporter Drew Griffin on Monday evening.

Toyota has repeatedly denied any problem with the engine control unit, insisting that the problem is limited to the accelerator panel and other mechanical issues.

Earlier this month, company representative Yoshimi Inaba told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, "We have commissioned a comprehensive, independent evaluation of our electronic throttle control system by a world"class engineering and scientific consulting firm. In our own extensive testing, we have never found a defect that has caused unintended acceleration."

However, the information contained in the TSB would appear to contradict that.

"The document is important as it is one of few -- if any -- official documents from Toyota where the company has acknowledged a known link between engine surging and vehicle electronics, something that has become the subject of much discussion over the last few months," notes AOL Autos Editor in Chief Reilly Brennan in a March 23 article posted to the website.

"The link between the surging Toyotas and its electronic systems is unfounded, says Toyota," he also wrote. "They maintain that the issues surrounding unintended acceleration are limited to issues with floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals which have a mechanical problem, not an electronic one."

An unofficial AOL poll that accompanied Brennan's report notes that 90-percent of the 7,500-plus visitors believe that the TSB document proves that Toyota knew about electrical problems in its vehicles. Those statistics were accurate as of 6:00pm Central time on Tuesday evening.

Thus far, approximately six million Toyota vehicles have been recalled by the automotive manufacturer. Included among the affected vehicles are the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2008-2010 Highlander, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2004-2010 Prius, the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2005-2010 Tacoma, and the 2007-2010 Tundra.


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