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Toyota Sudden Acceleration Recall: Anonymous Whistle Blower IDs Cracked Throttle Bodies

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Safety Research & Strategies, headed by independent safety expert Sean Kane, has reported that a "Concerned Citizen" in Franklin, Kentucky has identified broken throttle body shafts as a culprit in the Toyota gas pedal problem. Safety Research & Strategies has been a leader in identifying and publicizing the sudden acceleration problem and has identified more than 2,100 separate sudden acceleration events.

On November 27, about a month after NHTSA closed its latest Toyota unintended acceleration investigation with another pedal interference conclusion, some Kentuckian’s conscience got the better of him/her. Here is the anonymous note addressed the then-Acting Administrator Ronald Medford:

“There are potentially hundreds of Toyota and Nissan vehicles driving American highways with cracked shaft throttle bodies. Japanese management up to and including company president was aware of the cracked shaft problem and told everyone to be quiet about this problem.

The failure mode on DFMEA for broken throttle shaft is no throttle control and potential wide open acceleration. The Toyota floor mats caused American deaths. Will you sit on this information and possibly cause more American deaths? It bothers me that I did not tell anyone sooner. I have another throttle body in same condition that can be sent to Automotive News.

Concerned Citizen”

Coincidentally, Franklin Precision Industry (FPI) in Franklin, KY manufactures throttle bodies for Toyota and Nissan. FPI is part of Aisan Industry Co. Ltd., a large automotive supplier based in Japan, with its major shareholders Toyota Motor Corporation, at 35 percent and Toyota Industries Corporation at 18 percent.

NHTSA didn’t place the potential whistle-blower’s letter in the public file until Jan. 4.

Safety Research & Strategies also notes that it is likely a combination of defects and/or events that have combined to create the massive and deadly Toyota sudden acceleration problem.

As we all should have learned nine years ago from the Ford Explorer-Firestone tire maelstrom, it’s not often just one thing that creates a catastrophe of epic proportions. Defect issues that rise to the top of the charts are frequently the result of a multitude of problems that align to create a widespread hazard.

In the Ford-Firestone case, it was the marriage of tires with several poor design characteristics compounded by manufacturing problems and the application on an unstable vehicle. Add in the huge number of Explorers sold and the tires’ longevity, which kept them on the roads long enough to fail, and the result was rollovers, injuries and deaths. Now comes Toyota, with thousands of unintended acceleration complaints across different models, makes and model years and an easy-one-size-fits-all root cause: floormats.

That explanation is swiftly becoming unraveled as quick-thinking owners – like the 2007 Avalon owner from New Jersey who managed to wrest his out-of-control vehicle right to the dealership, where the evidence was revving and smoking in front of the tech’s eyes and couldn’t be floor-matted away. (see Sudden Acceleration in Reverse).

The anonymous whistleblower’s statement has been tacitly confirmed in recent media reports, particularly a recent USA Today article in which Toyota admitted problems with certain throttle components.

Where have the government safety regulators been during this? Why did this whistle blower’s letter only make it into the government file on January 4? Why did this letter sit on some bureaucrat’s desk for more than a month?

Toyota’s blatant misconduct and disregard for its own drivers (and the rest of us on the highways) must be stopped. Toyota must be held accountable for putting — and continuing to put — these dangerous vehicles on the road.

I have been chronicling the Toyota sudden acceleration for months and you can learn more at our auto safety blog.

Learn more and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

4 Comments

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  1. Facebook User says:
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    So, they are going to replace an accelerator pedal that isn’t the problem? Certainly, Toyota knows about the throttle body issue.

  2. Pearl Reardon says:
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    On October 19th, we purchased an M45X Infiniti. On Nov. 14th as I turned to park in our garage, the car went diagnol like a rocket. It ploughed down a trees, went over a large boulder, and ended up jammed into a large redwood tree in our sideyard. It was horrific. Had it not been stopped by the large tree, we would not have survived. Nissan is denying that it happened, and blaming us for mistaking the gas for the brake. After we exited the car the engine continued to rev and had to shut it while it was jammed against the tree. Franklin Precision manufactured the throttle bodies for the Toyota and Nissan. They won’t do anything until more lives are lost or it is brought to the attention of the public that Infiniti owners are experiencing the same problem.

  3. Technician says:
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    Since early 2000, a LOT of electronic products have been acting up, acting erratically, or dying.
    As an electonics repair technician, I have seen enough to know, and guess what?…..
    It’s those darned Chinese Electrolyic capacitors used in these products!
    Yes!…. China in the headlines again!

    If, and I suspect, Toyota’s ECM’s contain these capacitors (and you can google “bad electrolyic capacitors” for more info on this) then Toyota should bring this up front and stop being vague.

    People’s lives are at stake here!

    That is unless, they want to protect China’s interests.

  4. Angelyna Singsay says:
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    Per Posted by Pearl Reardon:

    Hi Pearl, were you able to get resolution for your problem. I have 2007 Infiniti G35 and have problem with the throttle auto body and the delear is denying any defects.

    Any suggestion?