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2006 Sienna, Structure

# 8 – 2006 TOYOTA SIENNA, STRUCTURE:

The 2006 Toyota Sienna is part of the 2004-2010 model range. 

NHTSA investigations and recalls related to “Structure” 

Spare Tire Carrier

Recall 14V-273, filed May 22, 2014, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing Toyota is recalling certain model year 2004-2011 Sienna vehicles originally sold in, or currently registered in, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The affected vehicles have a spare tire carrier assembly mounted under the vehicle whose attachment cable may corrode due to high concentrations of road salt splashing onto the spare tire carrier.

Recall 10V-160, Filed April 20, 2010, 1998-2010 MY Toyota Sienna Spare Tire Carrier Assembly. Toyota is recalling certain model year 1998 through 2010 sienna passenger vehicles manufactured between August 7, 1997 and January 4, 2010, currently registered in or originally sold in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The subject vehicles are equipped with the spare tire stowed under the vehicle. If the vehicle is operated in the cold climate regions of the united states where road salt is frequently used, water splashed backwards with high concentrations of road salt can reach the spare tire carrier and corrode the spare tire carrier assembly cable.

Liftgate Gas Struts

PE06-029, Opened August 2, 2006; Upgraded December 1, 2006; Unexpected Liftgate Closing:

The Liftgate gas struts for the subject vehicles may have damaged gas seals that allow the Liftgate to drop unexpectedly. The rates for complaints, alleged injuries and warranty claims are higher for vehicles with the power Liftgate option. The power Liftgate may automatically power-close at the completion of a power-open command without input from the operator. Some owners are caught unaware of the power-close operation while under the rear Liftgate door. ODI has upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis (ea06-020) and modified the scope to include only the subject vehicles with the power Liftgate option.

EA06-020, opened December 1, 2006; closed June 25, 2008; unexpected closing of power Liftgate:

On May 30, 2008, Toyota initiated a safety recall to replace the Liftgate struts in approximately 196,000 model year 2004-2006 Toyota sienna vehicles equipped with power Liftgates (recall 08v-244). The recall will provide the opportunity for vehicle owners to obtain new struts that are more robust.

Based on these actions, the agency has decided to close the investigation. While Toyota has not made a decision that the recalled vehicles contain a safety-related defect, in view of the recall, further use of the agency’s resources does not appear to be warranted. The closing of this investigation does not constitute any finding by NHTSA. The agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.

Recall 08v244, filed June 3, 2008, power rear Liftgate:

Toyota is conducting a safety improvement campaign involving 196,222 my 2004-2006 Toyota sienna vehicles equipped with power rear Liftgate struts. The gas struts used to help lift and support the rear power Liftgate could wear out sooner than expected. As the gas struts deteriorate, the performance of the Liftgate will begin to degrade and the power rear Liftgate will operate more slowly than when the gas struts were new.

EQ12010 – Component(s): STRUCTURE Stabilus Rear Liftgate Struts Failing

EQ12-010 Closing Resume

On February 16, 2012, American Honda Motor Company (Honda) notified the NHTSA that it had decided a defect exists in certain model year 2008 through 2009 Odyssey vehicles. Gas-filled struts that help to raise and support the liftgate of vehicles equipped with a power liftgate system may be prone to early life failures due to a manufacturing flaw. The flaw can result in a leak of the pressurized gas, leading to reduced strut performance. Struts with diminished performance can lead to unexpected closure, increasing the risk of personal injury. Stabilus was identified as the manufacturer of these gas-filled struts. This matter was assigned recall number 12V-062.

In reviewing past records, RMD discovered similar recalls conducted by Toyota, Ford, and Honda between 2006 and 2010. On February 8, 2010, Honda notified the NHTSA of the same rear liftgate gas strut issue in its 2005 Odyssey vehicles. This issue was given recall number 10V -055. On May 30, 2008, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) notified the NHTSA of the same issue found in its 2004 through 2006 Sienna vehicles. This issue was given recall number 08V-244. On March 6, 2006, Ford Motor Company (Ford) notified the NHTSA of the same issue found in its 2005 through 2006Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles. This issue was given recall number 06V-069. These three recalls did not originally identifythe supplier of the gas struts;however, all three manufacturers have since confirmed that Stabilus supplied the equipment at issue in each recall.On October 1, 2012, the Recall Management Division (RMD) mailed an information request (IR) letter to Stabilus. RMD requested a list of all customers that purchased the same or similar gas-filled struts as well as list of customers that purchased any struts that were sold in the replacement market. On October 19, 2012, Stabilus submitted a written response to NHTSA’s Office of the Chief Counsel (NCC) under a request for confidential treatment. As of the close of this Equipment Query (EQ), Stabilus’ request for confidential treatment has not yet been granted nor denied. As such, Stabilus’ attachments marked “Confidential” will not be posted publically until/unless NCC denies Stabilus’ request for confidentiality of those documents.

In its response, Stabilus noted that it did not agree that the struts contained a safety related defect. Stabilus identified language in Honda’s 10V-055 reportand Toyota’s 08V-244 report supplementing its disagreement that the defect related to safety. In its report, Honda stated, “Though Honda recognizes the problem is not a safety defect, Honda has decided to conduct a product update campaign to replace those struts that may fail prematurely…” and Toyota stated, “Although Toyota is willing to identify this campaign as a safety recall in the owner communication about the campaign, Toyota has not determined that the condition described above is a “safety-related defect” within the meaning of the federal vehicle safety laws.”

Stabilus maintained that “all struts will eventually and gradually lose pressure” and the true fault lies with ineffective “Catch a falling gate” power liftgate software that may allow a failed strut to fall in an uncontrolled manner. Stabilus noted that Ford’s gas-strut recall (06V-069) did not involve the replacement of Stabilus struts. The remedy or that recall included only a software modification to the power liftgate control module in order to prevent the liftgate from falling freely without warning.  As to the list of purchasers that RMD requested, Stabilus noted that it “supplies struts for nearly all motor vehicles produced in North America; however, Stabilus did not supply the “same” struts like the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, or Ford Freestar struts to any (other) customer as these struts were manufactured for those specific vehicles only. Each vehicle utilized a custom strut comprised of a unique combination of length, diameter, force and internal components. These parameters are dependent on the vehicle structure and customer requirements and differ from vehicle to vehicle.”  However, Stabilus considers “similarly-affected” struts to be those sharing the common design trait of a small diameter rod with a relatively large diameter tube, and used together with a power liftgate option.As the strut used in the Honda Odyssey was the longest length ever used by Stabilus in an automotive application, Stabilus “can therefore confidently confirm that there are no struts similar to the Odyssey strut which were sold to (other) customers.”  As to the struts recalled on the Ford Freestar and Toyota Sienna, similar strut combinations were also installed on six (6) other vehicles:  The MY2008 Ford Freestyle, MY 2009 Taurus – X, MY 2009 – Current Chevrolet Traverse, MY2008 -Current Buick Enclave, Saturn View, and GMC Acadia. However, these struts received several significant design improvements prior to installation into these additional vehicles.  As such, “…it is Stabilus’ position that there are no other vehicles for which Stabilus manufactured and sold ‘similarly affected’ struts.”

RMD also queried Stabilus as to whether the same or similar struts were manufactured, sold, or distributed into the replacement market, and, if so, to provide a list of purchasers for those struts.  Stabilus identified 258 Honda Odyssey struts that were sold into the replacement market without the same product improvements noted above. The aftermarket struts could have been used on manual or power liftgate applications.Stabilus estimated approximately 25 percent of those struts were used on power liftgate applications.

The purpose of this EQ was to identify any same or similar gas struts to those recalled under the various safety recalls referenced above, and that have not been campaigned. The only struts this investigation uncovered were aftermarket and then only a small number, further limited by application to power applications. Accordingly, given the small population, lack of traceability inherently associated with aftermarket sales, and limited agency resources,this investigation is closed . ODI will continue to monitor complaints for this issue and will reconsider if the circumstances warrant further action