Run away cars

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What, we don't have any readers here with a toyota prius?
I know a couple of prius owners and they're not willing to do a full- throttle shift-to-neutral test on their cars.
I really want to see if the stuff I've been reading about the computer not letting the transmission shift into neutral to protect the engine are true.
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On Mar 11, 9:43 am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Almosst certainly _not_ true but it would be nice to have an official source.
No need for the Prius owners to do a full throttle test, just driving normally is good enough. The claim from the "speculators" is that they cannot be shifted while moving.
Of course when it is proven that they can be shifted while moving they will then claim "but can it be done on the 5th Tuesday of a month"
Harry K
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Yes, I think we all would like to see a link to any credible source. All I've seen is:
A - speculation from various individuals that it might be possible that some of the Toyotas can't be shifted into neutral under runaway conditions
B - some of the people driving the runaway cars have claimed they could not shift them into neutral
C - Toyota has said at least on the Lexus that they can be shifted into neutral at any time. They may have also said it about more cars than the Lexus, not sure about that.
If there were an intentionally designed system to prevent shifting into neutral while moving, I would think there is a 99% chance we would have heard about it by now.
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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 05:43:31 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

We are discussing cars that are malfunctioning. Perhaps not being able to shift into neutral is connected to the malfunction in some way. Or, perhaps not. You can't rule it out without correctly and completely diagnosing what is causing the runaway problem.
I'm also not sure how many people, in the midst of a crisis, would be quick to assume that turning off the key would NOT lock the steering and make things worse.
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On Mar 12, 8:56 am, snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

I agree 100%. I've said several times in the various threads here that you need a thorough independent investigation of the cars involved which includes looking at how the transmissions are designed and also analyzing the actual transmissions. An investigation similar to what the NTSB does for an airplane crash.
But what I was responding to here was someone making a post saying that they had scene reports that the transmissions were actually designed so that they could not be shifted into neutral while moving. I have surely haven't seen that and would like to see a link if the person has it.
On another note, I read an article yesterday that said attributed the fatal Lexus crash with the CA partrol officer driving to a stuck floormat. That's the first and only time I've seen a cause listed, so not sure as to the accuracy.

Yes, that could be a factor. BUT, the longer these drives go on, the less likely you would think that would be. The latest guy drove 20 miles. Surely in that time, a few things would happen. One would be that you'd very likely have a straight section of highway and/or a section where you had some space off to the sides, etc. So, if you shut it off and the steering wheel did lock, it would still seem to be a far preferable choice to just continuing to ride along out of control not knowing what was up ahead. Even if the wheel locked, by applying the brakes, you'd very likely stop before having a fatal crash. That choice sure looks good to me compared with just going along out of control.
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On Mar 12, 7:28 am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Same here. I mentally tried to come up with a scenario where continuing to runaway would be better than shutting off the engine even it it locked the steering. Can't do it.
On a side note, I tried the 'shut off engine' and 'lock the wheel without removing key' in my Ford 500. No problem shifting to nuetral or shutting it off under fairly hard acceleration. The locking without removing key? Dunno. The steering was so stiff at a stop that I couldn't turn the wheel far enough to tell if it was locked.
Harry K
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

If the California Highway Patrol are driving Lexus automobiles, well, that explains a lot.
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On Mar 12, 10:28 am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

There are several instances of this being stated on answers.yahoo.com: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100308222153AAXey3P http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100309153458AA9gkGx http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100311052352AAIFak7 ...to name a few.
Yes, I know that's not exactly an authoratative source of information but it's the best I can find. I tend to give some credence to consistent intelligent-sounding responses. I take them with fewer grains of salt.
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On Mar 12, 11:03 am, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Good grief. Not exactly an authoratative source? In yahoo answers anyone can post anything. Those threads are nothing but pure speculation without a single reference to any credible source of info. And besides that, it simply makes no sense. Why the hell would anyone purposefully design a tranny so that it could not be shifted into neutral while driving? Engines today with electronic controls have rev limiters that would prevent the engine from over revving. Plus, I don't recall hearing reports about cars blowing up all over the place because they can be put into neutral. What about all the manual tranny cars?
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On Mar 12, 11:19 am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Here's the latest news on the San Diego runaway Prius guy, from Fox:
On Monday, James Sikes called 911 to report that he was behind the wheel of an out-of-control Toyota Prius going 94 mph on a freeway near San Diego. Twenty-three minutes later, a California Highway Patrol officer helped guide him to a stop, a rescue that was captured on videotape.
Since then, it's been learned that:
— Sikes filed for bankruptcy in San Diego in 2008. According to documents, he was more than $700,000 in debt and roughly five months behind in payments on his Prius;
— In 2001, Sikes filed a police report with the Merced County Sheriff's Department for $58,000 in stolen property, including jewelry, a digital video camera and equipment and $24,000 in cash;
— Sikes has hired a law firm, though it has indicated he has no plans to sue Toyota;
— Sikes won $55,000 on television's "The Big Spin" in 2006, Fox40.com reports, and the real estate agent has boasted of celebrity clients such as Constance Ramos of "Extreme Home Makeover.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It's amazing that when anyone makes the news, people start digging up anything that they can find on them. That's probably why a lot of heroes remain unsung, they prefer it that way.
TDD
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But this guy is no hero. He is stupid at best, a scam artist at worst. I'd not be surprised if he ends up doing jail time along with Balloon Boy.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Didn't quite mean to imply that the guy is any kind of hero, it was a general comment about anyone winding up in the news.
TDD
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Unless I misheard it on the news, the Sheriff there said "I don't _think_ it is a scam". Obviously it is being looked at closely.
Harry K
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I heard that too. But of course that is what the sheriff in the Balloon Boy case said at first too. The more I hear, the more suspicious it sounds. Fox News did a good job investigating his background. With a bankruptcy for $700K a year ago, no payments on the Prius for several months, it looks more likely a hoax to me.
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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 08:03:14 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

It's all "i've been told" that it "may be".
Absolutely no credibility at all.
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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 07:28:30 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

That was given as the cause the day afeter the crash It had a winter floormat from a fifferent model installed OVER TOP OF the original equipment floor mat. It did not fit right, even if it had been installed the way it was supposed to be (which is with no other floor-mat underneath it)

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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 08:56:20 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Everone is looking for an electrical or electronic boogeyman to blame - and I can tell you, absolutely and without any doubt, there is NO electrical or electronic failure that could POSSIBLY make it impossible to shift the vehicle to neutral, as the neutral control is STRICTLY MECHANICAL. No need to diagnose what caused the runaway problem, because there can be NO inter-related issues.
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On Mar 12, 5:08 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Excuse me if I doubt that you have the personal experience with the design of every model of Toyota made over the last 7 years to be able to make that blanket statement. It may have a high probability of being true, but clearly you are over reaching here and just discredit yourself.

Yes there is.. Because cars are not supposed to just randomly go to full throttle by themselves. Whether it's because of sticking floor mats, sticking throttles or an electronic problem, the root cause needs to be found so that these cars can be fixed and the potentially fatal problem avoided in future automobiles. Would you just sweep an airline crash under the carpet too?
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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 14:55:41 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I didn't say there was no reason to diagnose the failure. I said there is no reason to diagnose the failure to determine if any possible electrical fault could keep the vehicle from being shifted to neutral.
There IS one transmission I am not 100% sure about - and that is the CVT. This is only used on the Hybrids (on toyota it is still a planetary system but has 2 motor-generator sets in it - the planetary is a "power splitter". It may not have a mechanical linkage. However, shutting off both motor-generators puts it in neutral. The electrical circuit for dissabling the electric motor-generators is apparently not controlled by the computer to meet the requirements of the law that the motor can be disconnected from the drivetrain at any time, under any conditions.
Since I don't know THAT system intimately I need to take the vidence of an expert.
Jake Fisher, an automotive engineer for Consumer Reports, said the Toyota hybrid has a pretty funny shifter.
Neutral can be hard to find for those who never use the gear. Nonetheless, Fisher said the tests he has done on cars show that all engines, be they hybrid or conventional, become disengaged from the drive line when they are put into neutral.
"No matter what the situation or what the car was," he said, "if you just put the car into neutral you can safely and easily stop the vehicle."
ALSO SEE http://sharing.theflip.com/session/9773c358173490d9e5bda837e1c08184/video/11407344 for actual demonstration of a prius at speed.
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