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Toyota Sticky Accelerators and the Life Saving Shim

The Great Shim Sham

In recent months Toyota has recalled more than two million vehicles in this country for allegedly having sticky accelerators. The deaths of some nineteen persons over the past decade have been linked, in part, to sticky accelerators. While those deaths are of course horrible tragedies, every year more than 30,000 American motorists die in motor vehicle accidents. And, over the same ten year period more than 300,000 American motorists lost their lives in accidents.

To the rescue Toyota has introduced the ?life saving shim.? The ?life saving shim,? reportedly, a piece of steel about as big as a postage stamp, and as thin as a dime, that is inserted under the pedal return spring - your trusty Toyota is transformed from hazardous heap to champion chariot. However modestly, the ?life saving shim? should increase the pedal return spring force and reduce the likelihood of the accelerator pedal failing to properly return. For the most part however, this solution is little distinguished from a physician seeking foremost, to do no harm to an otherwise healthy patient, and dispensing, ?take two Tylenol and call me in the morning.?

However appealing, a sticky accelerator has not been conclusively determined the cause of the accidents in which nineteen persons lost their lives. Moreover, the effects of a sticky accelerator can typically be overridden by shifting into neutral. Thus, given the millions of Toyotas on the road and the billions of miles that those vehicles have, without incident, transported their precious cargos over the past decade, it hardly seems possible that Toyota has been guilty of slipping shoddy product passed an unsuspecting public.

What then, might motivate Toyota, to spend millions of dollars to install these ?life saving shims??

Last year two of Americas largest companies, in what had been America?s largest industry, went bankrupt. Thanks to unemployment insurance, severance packages and a variety of other arrangements, the full effects of those bankruptcies have yet to be realized by far more than those who either lost or are about to lose their jobs at GM and Chrysler. Once these payments expire, however, and no new jobs have become available, the effects of their and America?s altered circumstances will be less conveniently ignored. And, it is for those unpleasant realities which Toyota would like to have no association. The ?Life Saving Shim,? enjoy the show while it lasts!

What worries me is that regarless of the mechanical problem, govt officials feel there might be an interference problem from out side sources with the electonics…how easily can you replicate and find the problem if that’s the case ?

the ?life saving shim? should increase the pedal return spring force

Is this really what it does, or are you just guessing?

[i] >the ?life saving shim? should increase the pedal return spring force

Is this really what it does, or are you just guessing? [/i]

I believe the shim only keeps the pedal from going all the way down. I don’t believe it makes any difference on the return force.

Actually, the shim would decrease the spring force required to return the gas pedal to its home position. In the old design, the wear on the mating surfaces would cause the pedal to stick. The shim doesn’t wear nearly as much and therefore reduces the spring force needed after excessive wear occurs.