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Toyota readies dealer fix for faulty pedals

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 00:00:00 -0800

Toyota Motor Corp. is fine-tuning a dealer remedy for faulty accelerator pedals in 2.3 million recalled vehicles and aims to announce the fix as early as next week, a person familiar with the matter said.

The procedure involves inserting a metal shim into a gap in the friction lever of the pedal. Doing so will reduce friction and prevent the pedal from sticking, the person said.

“As early as next week, we will have some guidance for dealers,” the source said. “We are still trying to solve a few technical issues.”

Among the last-minute tweaks are testing for durability and ensuring that the remedy is something that dealers can easily employ.

“We have to make sure that dealers can do this according to the instructions without making mistakes,” the source said.

Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said the automaker hasn't yet decided on a final dealer remedy and is still unclear on a timeline for rolling it out.

The actions come as Toyota grapples with a Jan. 21 recall in which the world's largest carmaker called back the 2.3 million U.S. vehicles to address gas pedals that can return too slowly to their original position or even, with age, get stuck and cause unintended acceleration.

Toyota is taking a two-pronged approach. It has to develop a remedy for the cars already on the road that the dealers can implement. It also has to develop a new part that can go into cars on the assembly line. The solution is likely to be different for each set of vehicles.

One of two supplier's of the pedal mechanism, CTS Corp. of Elkhart, Ind., on Thursday said it is shipping replacement parts to Toyota's assembly plants in North America.

Toyota and CTS changed the material used in that mechanism and also some of the measurements to ensure that it won't stick, the source said.

CTS also said it was working with Toyota on a dealer remedy, without providing details.

In addition, Toyota is looking at having the other supplier of the pedals, Japan's Denso Corp., provide replacement pedal mechanisms for vehicles being manufactured and for cars that are waiting in factory lots to have their defective pedals replaced, the source said. But the issue of interchangeability remains an obstacle, partly because Denso and CTS use different wire harnesses.

By Hans Greimel- Automotive News