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Old 03-10-2010, 09:35 AM   #261
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Here's the San Diego incident 911 call:

Listen: 911 Tape in 94 MPH San Diego Incident - ABC News

It's not clear from that whether the guy did try to put the gearshift in neutral or hold the power button down for five seconds. I'm curious about that.

Could one of you Prius owners tell me what happens if you hold down the accelerator pedal and push the gearshift into neutral? Also, have you tried holding down the power button? Those might be good things to do ahead of time, as a drill.

Here's the '08 Prius console:



And a close-up of the gear shft:

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Old 03-10-2010, 09:52 AM   #262
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I think it is interesting that we've had several cases where people called 911 when their cars started to behave strangely. People have become very aware of/dependent on the ever-present ability to "get help" regardless of whether it is appropriate to call or not. Is it really likely that distracting yourself with a 911 call is going to prove more useful than applying this same effort to addressing the problem of a runaway car yourself? Did the cop really suggest anything over the PA (20 minutes after the incident started) that the driver shouldn't have tried himself already?

In the flying "biz," it is drilled into students that they should always 1) Aviate (e.g. fly the plane) 2) Navigate , and 3) Communicate in that order. Outcomes are often poor when folks key the mic before addressing the immediate source of their problem.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:55 AM   #263
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Among their claims: It never happens in the real world that wires lose their insulation and short. It never happens that wires located a distance from each other can short together.
There are 230 people who were on board TWA flight 800 who could offer empirical evidence to the contrary, if they were alive to testify.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:08 AM   #264
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Actually this is one of the best things that could have happened for Toyota.
One of the issues they have been having is they have not been able to test a car immediately after this type of thing happened. Neither has the NHSTA.
Now they both are doing so.
No gaurentee of course that this was the same issue. And luckily no one got hurt. Sure wish the guy had been willing to put it into neutral, would have been over a lot quicker.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:19 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's the San Diego incident 911 call:

Listen: 911 Tape in 94 MPH San Diego Incident - ABC News

It's not clear from that whether the guy did try to put the gearshift in neutral or hold the power button down for five seconds. I'm curious about that.
According to the driver's statements afterwards, he was afraid of flipping the car if he put it into neutral, so he refused (this is also backed up by the police officer who said the driver 'shook his head' when the officer instructed him to do so).
He 'hit the power button' a number of times according to reports, however he did not hold it down. Holding the power button down for 3 seconds will turn the engine off.
However, you loose power steering and I believe power brakes. And, when racing around at 94mpg 3 seconds probably seems like 3 hours.
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Could one of you Prius owners tell me what happens if you hold down the accelerator pedal and push the gearshift into neutral? Also, have you tried holding down the power button? Those might be good things to do ahead of time, as a drill.
The design is that the car goes into neutral and you will coast. Hitting the brakes at that time, even lightly should bring you to a stop.
I have not tried either of these while the car is moving, but from hearing from other Prius drivers who have, both behave as designed.

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's the '08 Prius console:



And a close-up of the gear shft:

These are actualy the new 2010
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:24 AM   #266
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Among their claims: It never happens in the real world that wires lose their insulation and short.
This is simply untrue.
They never claimed that wires never loose their insulation and short.
What they claimed was that the odds against a short occuring in both wires at the exact same time was so remote it isn't even funny AND that the same fault can be created in other cars which also use electronic throttles in the same way.

I think secondary redundancies are a great for safety. But don't just require the backups for Toyota, require it for all cars using electronic throttles.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:27 AM   #267
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The next time I see flashing red lights in my rearview mirror while I'm going 90 mph I think I'll put the pedal to the metal and call 911. I'll either get off scot-free and be famous or I'll be cited for both using the phone and speeding.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:38 AM   #268
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One good thing about calling 911 is...if you crash and kill yourself there won't be any indication that you had problems. With the 911 call it's very clear that you didn't just speed and crash.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:41 AM   #269
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Speed Dialing
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Old 03-10-2010, 01:16 PM   #270
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One good thing about calling 911 is...if you crash and kill yourself there won't be any indication that you had problems. With the 911 call it's very clear that you didn't just speed and crash.
Maybe Toyota can get their own version of OnStar - it would save one hand for holding down the off button.
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Old 03-10-2010, 01:29 PM   #271
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Speed Dialing
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:25 AM   #272
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I am not concerned about falling residual values (I paid cash, so no risk of being upside down). I intend to keep my Camry until the wheels fall off. That's what we've done will all our cars.
Well, the wheels almost fell off my new Camry. Literally.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that one of the lug nuts on the front right wheel was missing but I did not think much of it. I thought that either the dealership forgot to install it or someone tried to steal the wheel but was defeated by the wheel lock. Anyways, I took the car to Toyota and they replaced it.

Well, tonight I noticed that another lug nut was missing and several other lug nuts were pretty loose as well. I remember hearing a loud banging noise while driving 2 days ago, and it was probably the lug nut falling off and ricocheting against the under carriage.

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Old 03-16-2010, 12:35 AM   #273
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Well, tonight I noticed that another lug nut was missing and several other lug nuts were pretty loose as well.
Who's the beneficiary on your life insurance policy? Do they have access to your car? As a thought--would you mind if I took out a policy on you?
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Old 03-16-2010, 06:39 AM   #274
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...another lug nut was missing and several other lug nuts were pretty loose as well...
Sure looks like poor workmanship. But at the factory or dealership? Did the dealer install fancy wheels for you?

About wheels falling off, I remember this story. Many years ago, driving home from work on a freeway with 3 lanes in each direction, I was in the outer lane and passed an old VW Beetle in the center lane. This VW was immobilized and as I passed it, I saw that the front left wheel was missing, and the driver sitting there stunned. So, I knew his wheel fell off barely seconds before I arrived on the scene.

This was more than 20 years ago, and we did not have heavy traffic on this freeway like we do now (and there are now 5 or 6 lanes in each direction). Anyway, as I drove past the guy, I slowed down and scanned the road for his wheel to make sure I wouldn't run over it. Some distance later, perhaps 1/4 mile, I saw it! It was still rolling down the middle of the freeway, though started to show sign of slowing down. People in cars that merged into this freeway from a later entrance were swerving to avoid it. Of course they were stunned to see a free-wheeling tire rolling down the freeway. It was GREAT!
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:47 AM   #275
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Well, the wheels almost fell off my new Camry. Literally.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that one of the lug nuts on the front right wheel was missing but I did not think much of it. I thought that either the dealership forgot to install it or someone tried to steal the wheel but was defeated by the wheel lock. Anyways, I took the car to Toyota and they replaced it.

Well, tonight I noticed that another lug nut was missing and several other lug nuts were pretty loose as well. I remember hearing a loud banging noise while driving 2 days ago, and it was probably the lug nut falling off and ricocheting against the under carriage.

I'll repeat what samclem said, but with all seriousness. Does someone have access to your car (not in a locked garage)? I really have never seen lug nuts just come loose, and if you took it to the dealer to replace one lug nut I would hope and expect them to check the torque on all the lug nuts. It may be kids thinking they are just playing around, but it could have very serious results.

If they were all loose, and the dealer only replaced one w/o checking the others, I would never go to that dealer again for anything. Seriously.

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:04 AM   #276
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I once changed a flat tire, leaving the lug nuts loose until I took it down from the jack. But I forgot to tighten them (yes I was that flaky). Heard a rumbling, and tightened them before any damage or disaster.

In any case, no one has brought up the reports that the San Diego Prius guy was running a hoax. Listening to the 911 call, I doubt it. And the claims of "We tried to reproduce it and it couldn't happen" don't tell you anything. That's how intermittent problems work.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #277
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Two words: Blue Loctite. But you may need an impact wrench when it's time to take the wheels off.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:17 AM   #278
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In any case, no one has brought up the reports that the San Diego Prius guy was running a hoax. Listening to the 911 call, I doubt it. And the claims of "We tried to reproduce it and it couldn't happen" don't tell you anything. That's how intermittent problems work.
I'm not jumping to the conclusion that it was a hoax, but there is something fishy about it. Perhaps the guy was just flakey, but at one point I read that the cops were telling him (over the loudspeakers) to put it neutral, but he wouldn't because he was afraid he would flip the car? That doesn't make sense. You are out of control, cops are giving you instructions, you follow them.

I heard that the car computer indicated that both the gas and the brake were being applied on/off 250 times (the max that are recorded, but it was not clear what time frame that was). But, if there were intermittent problems, do we trust the computer data?

Something is odd about this one. Maybe a car problem started it, but the guy appears to have reacted very badly. Since no one got hurt, maybe this is a good thing and that guy will stay off the road.

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:20 AM   #279
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In any case, no one has brought up the reports that the San Diego Prius guy was running a hoax. Listening to the 911 call, I doubt it. And the claims of "We tried to reproduce it and it couldn't happen" don't tell you anything. That's how intermittent problems work.
I thought their main evidence was the wear pattern and lack of signs of heating to the brake calipers. In a regular car, if the "throttle" is stuck open and you apply the brakes to get it slowed down, the brakes will get very hot. I'm sure things differ in some respects with the Prius.
I doubt that Toyota is conducting this entire investigation themselves. If they are smart, they've invited in some outside observers, even if it's not required.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:40 AM   #280
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I once changed a flat tire, leaving the lug nuts loose until I took it down from the jack. But I forgot to tighten them (yes I was that flaky). Heard a rumbling, and tightened them before any damage or disaster.
We were visiting DW's parents once and MIL asked me to take a drive with her as she could hear a noise she was not happy with and since FIL is deaf she couldn't convince him to investigate, or even where to look. It was an obvious rattle and rumble from the rear so I got FIL to remove the hub cap of the right rear wheel where we found 3 lug nuts rattling around and the last one only a few threads away from dropping off.

A few years back the daughter of a friend at work had a wheel come off their 4-Runner on I-10 causing it to flip over. Fortunately all escaped with minor injuries. She had had the wheels rotated as part of a standard service a few days earlier at the Dealer
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