Toyota: Sorry We Made Your Soon-To-Be-Recalled Lexus Out Of Crap

Just kidding, they didn’t actually apologize. They did say that the new recalls are the result of small valve springs that were made from “low-quality” metal that could crack and cause the engine to stall. Whoops!

Here’s their statement:

Lexus estimates that the likelihood of a customer vehicle experiencing this condition is two-tenths of one percent (0.2 %). Lexus has received no reports of accidents or injuries related to this condition. No vehicles from the current 2010 model year nor 2009 are affected.

Lexus will send owners of the involved vehicles a recall notification via first class mail. Owners are requested to contact their local Lexus dealer for diagnosis and repair after receiving their notification. The repair will involve replacement of the engine’s valve springs at no charge.

Owners can continue to drive their vehicles. If symptoms are noticed, such as vibration, rough idling, unusual engine sounds or poor performance, the vehicle should be brought to a Lexus dealer for service.

Here’s the list of affected models. All affected vehicles are Lexus sedans with v6 or v8 engines from 2007 or 2008.


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  1. Xtopher says:

    This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …having a valve spring fail is possibly the WORST thing that could ever happen to your motor.

      Works like this:

      1. Valve spring breaks

      2. Valve does not return to it’s seat when it’s supposed to

      3. Piston strikes valve at a bajillion miles per hour

      4. Piston stops short of TDC

      5. Con rod snaps with the force of a million exploding suns

      6. Bottom part of con rod goes out the bottom of the engine block

      7. Entire motor is junk. Remove, discard, replace.

      • Xtopher says:

        Clearly this is the work of a very patient and diabolical mastermind.

        Now, back to making my low-quality metal valve springs.

      • Coles_Law says:

        Wouldn’t that only happen on an interference engine? I thought Toyotas were non-interference.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          I don’t believe I have ever heard of an engine that had a squish chamber (or piston dents) big enough to accomodate a valve sticking into where it’s not supposed to be.

          Unless someone can stupefy me with some amazing 4-stroke squish chamber design, there’s no way that a floated/hanging valve isn’t going to cause massive engine failure.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            K well I Googled it myself (it’s a hardship) and found out that there are indeed many such non-interference engines on the market. Which honestly seems strange to me considering the compromises that must have been made in the squish area and piston designs…but meh.

            Apparently though, not all Toyota engines are thus. And apparently no motorcycle engines are, or I’d have heard of it before…as my mechanical knowledge is all motorcycle-based.

            • chrisexv6 says:

              If the valve spring breaks, but the engine is still running with the cam spinning, it might be possible that the valve comes loose from the valve retainer (or the valve retainer somehow gets messed up because of a busted valve spring and lets go of the valve) and then drops into the cylinder.

              At that point interference vs non-interference no longer matters.

              Good to see more cost cutting working out for Toyota/Lexus. And we all know how truthful they are on the first round of recall announcements. How long until they “realize” it affects many more vehicles and years.

      • mythago says:

        Ah, so THAT’s what happened to my Ford Windstar.

      • ktetch says:

        It’s not QUITE so extreme. I had a broken cam-belt on my civic, which IS an interference design.

        You’re fine upto and including 3. Then you go on to say that a valve, whith a upper-end thickness of what, 4mm, will stop the inertial weight of a cylinder piston, and destroy the crankshaft (which, lets remember, is carrying the forces of the engine, and which is, at it’s thinnest point thicker than the valve is at the seat. The valve will get squished, yes, maybe the piston head damaged, but that’s all.

        Was a damned pain to fix the civic though, after the valve was chipped, took me almost 2 days to redo the head.Most of the problems were the hell of getting the exhaust system off.

    • tbax929 says:

      It’s not considered a big deal because it’s Lexus/Toyota. You know they can do no wrong. /sarcasm

  2. TasteyCat says:

    This time there’s a real story at least. 09 not affected, so I have dodged the bullet yet again.

    • Tracer Bullet says:

      They haven’t discovered why they are going to recall the ’09 yet. Give it a year.

  3. madtube says:

    This will be job security for the Lexus techs. A repair like that is sure to be extensive. Toyota uses a shim-under-bucket design for the valve adjustment on their engines. To replace valve springs usually means to pull the heads. Lexus techs just got a bunch more warranty work.

    • MoveZig says:

      Depends on how many hours they pay. For warranty work, and especially for these recalls, they don’t have the times right. They may say the job should only take 2-3 hours, but it takes the technician 4, he loses becuase he only will get paid for the time the factory says it should take, not what it actually does. Also, the dealership is generally paid at a lower rate for labor from the factory than what they are for normal work. Also, no money is made from the parts needed to perform that work. Something that involved is going to be more than just the springs. That being said, if there is a lull in business and techs are having a hard time getting work in the door, it might help.

      I’d argue it’ll help with new sales… at least with the ’07s. Most of those 07s are coming in off lease (at 36-39mo), as are some 08s (you’ll see a lot of 24mo leases on “premium” lines). Also at that age, you can use all sorts of fuzzy math to get the car to show at even value. So you get a new sale, and a potenitally used sale out of it as well. If you’re up at that price point, you can explain to someone there’s a chance it’ll leave them stranded out somewhere, but the brand new ones don’t have that problem. Look at some of the reactions below. Once that kind of cash is plunked down, you have certain expectations.

      I’m interested to see how they found out. They say there were no accidents or injuries, but how many of these just laid up and died in the driveway, garage or parking lot?

  4. Randell says:

    While this is a problem for Toyota, it is virtually impossible to make sure every part on every car will be of the highest quality. Our company sends out spec of exactly what we need to our suppliers. Sometimes a defect is found. In the best of situations it is discovered before any of the product is used, other times after a problem happens. Toyota is doing its job and recalling the cars. If something happened to your engine because of it, they will replace it for you. I prefer this to hiding it, or not telling anybody, and saying it is somebody else’s fault for the way they drive, or its a defect because of the way you hold the phone or the guy who makes the bars is stoned.

    • sqlrob says:

      They would’ve been better off skipping the “0.2%” crap. In (relatively) recent memory, that’s bitten both MS and Intel pretty badly.

    • mythago says:

      “Hiding it, or not telling anybody” was precisely the problem that Toyota has had with its cars up until now.

  5. Duckula22 says:

    Man, how can a company that made it to the top screw up so much and so bad? Toyota had it all. I’m a Toyota owner, and my car, a 2007 Yaris Hatchback 2D, has never had any of these issues known to us as of late, but I have lost trust in Toyota anyway, I mean I may buy another Toyota after Toyota gets themselves back on track, and that could take a good 10 years.

    • Randell says:

      How is this a screw up? Every car manufacturer that has ever been in existence has had recalls. This is a relatively minor one. They are not hiding any information. They are fixing it. How is that a problem. If you demand perfection on every car, no person could ever afford a car.

    • blandname says:

      They’re doing what Mercedes-Benz did, work for decades to build a sterling reputation for bulletproof build quality and reliability, then after a few decades slowly cheapen the cars and raise prices to rake in massive profits, because people will pay a premium for them based on their past reputation.

  6. Eli the Ice Man says:

    Lexus: The relentless persuit of perfection.

  7. JollyJumjuck says:

    It just goes to show that even by paying more money, you won’t necessarily get more quality. When someone buys something cheap and it breaks, the saying is, “Well, you get what you pay for.” Guess the saying doesn’t always apply.

    • sqlrob says:

      It never has applied. “You get what you pay for” implies just raising the price would make it better.

      “You don’t get what you don’t pay for” is much more accurate.

  8. incident_man says:

    How’d this happen? You’d think that, by the way owners of Japanese vehicles talk about them, that they’d be made of gold.

  9. Press1forDialTone says:

    Keep in mind that the Lexus is, as they say, top-o-the-line and
    incredibly expensive. This type of failure should -not- happen
    in a vehicle of this class and price level. Should -not- happen
    period. Here’s an interesting fact: The famous GM/Cadillac
    Northstar V-8 engine is its own legend of good design, power,
    emissions and general all-around excellence. They put it in
    the Cadillac, GM’s flagship. They also say to you after you have
    plunked down your 60K plus (Lexus territory) that if necessary
    you can drive the car with the Northstar at 50mph for 50 miles
    most engines of any size, power or price. Sometimes GM gets it
    really really right just as Toyota does, but across time, American
    engines win and if they do need repair, the parts are less expensive.
    Toyota blew it big time with the low quality valve springs. Absolutely
    inexcusable at that price level. Sorry Toyota, (and many other high $
    non-American makes), GM wins with the Northstar. BTW, the new
    Chevy Volt is going to rock your worlds big time.

  10. Hardwired says:

    The funniest (or saddest) thing about all these Toyota/Lexus recalls is that people are still lining up to not only buy them, but to overpay for them. Thank God for stupid people.

  11. Jemaine says:

    Sad as I may sound, I would rather buy a car from one of the Big 3 who try to cover up their problem, than one who apologizes. I roll my eyes every time I see BP air their apology commercial and think why don’t people hate on Toyota just as much. I my fear of being in a wreck went up 1000% after Toyota’s huge recall. Some other manufacturers had the same problem, but no one is talking about them.