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Toyota Announces Recalls To Replace Faulty Nuts And Drive Shaft

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On: Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 9:27AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Toyota Announces Recalls To Replace Faulty Nuts And Drive Shaft

This is getting BEYOND ridiculous. Even I'm getting sick of these stories, and I'm being PAID to write them. But when you can turn Toyota's tragedy into dirty-sounding comedic gold, well, here we are.

This episode in Toyota’s ongoing series of product recalls deals with U.S. and Canadian 2001-2003 Priuses and 2011 model Venzas and Siennas with all-wheel drive.    Though I’m not old enough to be officially nostalgic about anything, I still fondly remember the days when people bought Toyotas because they DIDN’T want a car with problems. But that was then and this isn’t. Onto the dirty innuendos!

There are arguments that it’s the firm’s headlong rush to achieve global sales supremacy that has skyrocketed the firm’s recall rate. But that could explain only the second recall here; it in no way addresses the first.

Speaking of firsts, it’s the hideous-looking first-generation Prius that’s being recalled. Some 52,000 of the 2001 to 2003 models sold here—the global total is 106,000—have been diagnosed with potentially bad “electric power steering pinion shaft attachment nuts.”

But unless you are a gorilla or are violently-addicted to opposite-lock steering you’re probably going to be fine.

Let’s have Toyota explain it:

“If the steering wheel is repeatedly and strongly turned to the full-lock position, there is a possibility the nuts securing the pinion shaft in the steering gear box assembly may become loose. If the vehicle is continuously operated in this condition, over time, the customer will gradually notice significant increased steering effort when making a left turn.Toyota dealers will install improved nuts that secure the pinion shaft at no charge to the vehicle owner. The repair will take approximately four hours depending upon the dealer’s work schedule.”

So there you go. All you early-adopter greenie weenies out there can rest assured that all the bits that set your car apart from, say, a Corolla (except the butt-uglyness) are, so far as we know, at this exact moment for the time being, fine. For now.

Speaking of ugly, Toyota has also filed what they are calling a “separate recall” (in spite of the fact that both recalls are on the same page) on just-born Venza AWDs and Sienna AWDs due to “insufficiently heat treated front right-hand driveshafts.”

Seems Bob got into the sauce again before coming to work a few weeks ago, and thanks to news that his wife is cheating on him again (with his brother this time) he was pounding them down with a vengeance before his shift at Toyota’s driveshaft heat-treating station.

Fortunately, his inebriation was clearly evident and his supervisor caught him early in his shift, which lead the boss to conclude no harm—apart from Bob’s firing—no foul. But, it seems Bob did indeed succeed in exacting a little drunken vengeance on the world—though probably not planned as such—by failing to properly heat-treat some right-hand driveshafts that were put into some all-wheel drive Venzas (the bloated Camry “crossover”) and Sienna minivans.

OK, I might have made most of that up. But seeing as how Toyota’s recalling just 34 Venzas and only16Siennas, it’s very probable that it was just one worker who screwed them up in just one shift.

Speaking of screwing up, I fear that Toyota will be recalling this press release due to improperly added-up totals or imprecise record-keeping. Though 34 and 16 add up to 50, they say that “only 38 are expected to have an insufficiently heat-treated driveshaft.”

Kidding aside, this problem is actually quite serious—compared to the first one I mentioned, anyway—as Toyota explains:

“Due to insufficient heat treatment, there is a possibility that the front right-hand driveshaft may break. If this occurs, engine power will not be transmitted to the wheels and the vehicle will coast to a stop.”

Toyota says that owners of affected vehicles will be notified “by first class mail” in June (Venza, Sienna) and July (Prius) while “detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recalland the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.”

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