2004 Lexus RX 330

2 Defect Investigations from the NHTSA

NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2004 Lexus RX 330

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2004 Lexus RX 330, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE05009

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: February 10, 2005
    • Date Closed: June 15, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components:Master Cylinder
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist:Vacuum
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist:Vacuum:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings

    Summary: On February 10, 2005, the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation to investigate alleged loss of brake power-assist in certain 2004 model year (my) Lexus RX330 vehicles built through approximately June 30, 2004.the subject vehicles were manufactured at Toyota motor manufacturing Canada, Inc.'s cambridge, Ontario assembly plant and were equipped with vacuum brake booster assemblies sourced from aisin seiki co., ltd (aisin) subsidiary advics North America, Inc. (advics-na).to date, ODI is aware of 146 non-duplicative reports that allege loss of brake power-assist and 6 crashes allegedly caused by loss of brake power-assist (resulting in 1 minor injury) on the subject vehicles.the subject vehicles use a conventional brake booster assembly that contains a rubber diaphragm to separate the fore and aft pressure chambers.the outer edge of the rubber diaphragm is held in place via a retaining groove on the brake booster body.if the booster loses vacuum (e.g., operator depletes the vacuum by pressing the brake pedal several times while the engine is off), it may cause the diaphragm to deform in the area of the retaining groove to the point that insufficient seal exists between diaphragm and booster body, thus causing a momentary loss of brake power-assist.the advics-na supplied diaphragm has slightly different material properties compared to the diaphragm inside brake boosters supplied by advics Japan, Corp. (advics-J) and used on 2004my Lexus RX330 vehicles manufactured at Toyota motor kyushu, Inc.'s assembly plant.the softer rubber used in the advics-na diaphragm allows greater deformation and is less resilient when compared to the advics-J diaphragm.loss of brake power-assist most often occurs at vehicle start-up and appears to be more prevalent in colder temperatures.most owners report that brake system operation returns to normal within a few seconds after vehicle start-up.testing conducted by the manufacturer indicates that the advics-na diaphragm's reduced ability to return to shape is exacerbated by colder temperatures and that loss of brake power-assist at start-up may last for a maximum of 95 seconds at temperatures below 20 degrees celsius.however, the subject vehicles have a back-up system that can sense a loss of brake power-assist and enable the ABS actuator for brake hydraulic pressure support (I.e., brake pedal force assist).the manufacturer will conduct a service campaign (Lexus special service campaign #5la) to replace the vacuum brake booster assembly on all affected subject vehicles.the action taken by the manufacturer is sufficient to resolve the issues raised by this investigation.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Unintended and Uncontrolled Acceleration

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ10003

    Component(s): Electrical System: Software
    Vehicle Speed Control:Accelerator Pedal

    Summary: On February 16, 2010, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened RQ10-003 to determine whether the scope of prior Toyota recalls relating to potential unintended acceleration were sufficiently broad, including, among others, Toyota recalls 07E-082, 09V-388, 10V-017, and 10V-023.NHTSA also requested information regarding potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.I. Pedal Interference from Floor mats, Carpet Covers and Plastic Pads in Carpets.During the RQ10-003 investigation, ODI reviewed a large volume of documents to assess whether additional vehicles should be recalled.Following the agency's analysis, NHTSA requested that Toyota recall additional vehicles.Toyota complied with the agency's request.The details of these recalls are set forth more fully in Toyota's reports to NHTSA pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573.These recalls are as follows:Recall 11V-112: (1) model year (MY) 2004-2006 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid; and, (2) MY 2004-2007 Lexus RX330, RX350, and RX400h (hybrid model). The total estimated population under this recall is 769,379 vehicles.This recall remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment caused by a loose floor carpet cover (trim panel). Recall 11V-113: (1) MY 2003-2009 through 2009 Toyota 4Runner; (2) MY 2006-2010 Toyota RAV4; and, (3) MY 2008-2011 Lexus LX570.The total estimated population under this recall is 1,381,000 vehicles.This recall supplements recall 09V-388 and remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment by an unsecured floor mat.Recall 11V-115: (1) MY 2006-2007 Lexus GS300 (all wheel drive vehicles); and, (2) MY 2006-2007 Lexus GS350 (all wheel drive vehicles). The total estimated population under this recall is 19,647 vehicles.This recall remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment caused by inadequate clearance between the pedal linkage and a plastic pad embedded in the vehicle's carpet.II. Potential Electronic Causes of Unintended Acceleration.After NHTSA opened RQ10-003, NHTSA launched a ten-month study of potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.NHTSA launched the study in the spring of 2010 in light of concerns aired in Congressional hearings.NHTSA enlisted engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to assess whether electronic systems or electromagnetic interference played a role in incidents of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.That study has concluded.Two reports are associated with the study and are available on NHTSA's website.NASA's report is entitled "Technical Support to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the Reported Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Unintended Acceleration (UA) Investigation, " NESC Assessment No. TI-10-00618 (Jan. 18, 2011).NHTSA's report is entitled "Technical Assessment of Toyota Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) Systems" (Feb. 2011).Both reports should be read in conjunction with each other. As stated in its report, NASA did not find an electronic cause of large throttle openings that can result in unintended acceleration incidents. NHTSA did not find a vehicle-based cause of unintended acceleration incidents other than the physical pedal interference causes that are being addressed by Toyota's recalls. This RQ is closed.

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