5.7-liter Toyota Tundras Hit with Camshaft Failures
By: Mike Levine Posted: 05-28-07 12:09 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com

Page: [1]

Update #3: 05-31-07 11:57 PT

Playing down the imminence of a recall, Toyota spokesperson Bill Kwong tells PickupTruck.com that, "It's still too early to tell if a recall is necessary, but if it is, we'll initiate it."

But even a limited recall could turn into a very expensive proposition for the OEM. Jim Hossack, vice president and head of the pickup truck consulting practice at AutoPacific, a West Coast marketing and consulting firm, estimates the costs at upwards of $5000 per truck to replace a broken 5.7-liter i-Force V8 motor.

"At this point, they'll probably issue a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) to their dealers, instead of doing a recall," says Hossack.

$5000 for each engine swap could be a relative bargain though versus the short term cost that this incident has caused Toyota's reputation for building high quality automobiles.

Still, Hossack thinks both Toyota and the Tundra will be fine in the long run because of Toyota's relatively unblemished quality record.

"Toyota will be forgiven and will come out of this unscathed, as long as there are no other major problems after this, but if the same situation had happened to a company like Hyundai, they'd be skewered," says Hossack."

Tundra owners impacted by a failed camshaft will face their own costs, especially if they depend on their truck for their livelihood. In this case, Bill Kwong says Toyota dealers will do what they can to help.

"Our dealers have approximately 1,600 new Tundras nationwide for disposal as a loaner vehicle while a customer's truck is being repaired," says Kwong, "and that doesn't include older Tundras and Tacomas."

Toyota has also been proactively managing the camshaft problem with some of its most loyal fans. Toyota communications and public relations reps have posted apologies and responses to comments in online discussion forums at ToyotaNation.com, a general Toyota news and community website, and at TundraSolutions.com, an online neighborhood of Tundra and other Toyota vehicle owners.

Update #2: 05-31-07 02:10 PT

The Detroit News, after speaking with a Toyota spokesperson on Wednesday, is reporting, "[Toyota] may recall Tundras equipped with 5.7-liter V-8s to replace the engines."

Update #1: 05-28-07 22:50 PT

In a written reply to our inquiry asking for further clarification on the number of 5.7-liter engines potentially impacted by the camshaft issue, Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels tells PickupTruck.com, "The casting defect was found very early and immediately corrected. Because the heart of the Toyota production system is the continuous flow "just in time" method, there is no such thing as a "batch" of engines. In general the same holds true for suppliers, who keep very small inventories. So the advantage is that problems are quickly found, countermeasures taken rapidly and there aren't large quantities of potentially defective parts in the system.

As a result only a very few production engines were effected from the
earliest production. No, this absolutely will not impact all 30,000 5.7
liter engines sold to date. It will be a very small number. 20 units
represents less than 0.06 percent of vehicles sold. We are confident that very few customers will experience the problem but pending the on going analysis it is not possible to give a precise number."

For Tundra customers who might be impacted by a faulty camshaft, Michels added the following, "As mentioned in the story, rather than replacing the camshaft, many customers whose engines have a broken camshaft are receiving a new engine, via airfreight to the dealer. Feedback from customers indicates that this exceeds their expectations.

Two side notes:

1.) I'd like to thank Mr. Michels for his very rapid response back to us during this Memorial Day holiday.

2.) I also corrected a typo, where I mistakenly said Toyota will pay the costs to replace the entire engine of any new Tundra with a failed crankshaft. It should have said 'camshaft'. I regret the error.

- Mike

The launch of the all new 2007 Tundra full size pickup continues to go anything but smoothly for Toyota. Automotive News is reporting on a string of twenty recent camshaft failures in Tundras equipped with popular i-Force 5.7-liter DOHC V8 motors. Toyota is trying to determine how many of the 30,000 engines built so far might be affected by, "...a metallurgical defect in the casting," according to Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels in the story. The company is blaming the defect on the camshaft's supplier and says it has been corrected.

A camshaft is a metal rod with lobes, or cams, that spin and push open an engine's intake and exhaust valves to let the air/fuel mixture into the engine and the exhaust out during combustion. Double overhead cam motors, like the 5.7-liter V8, use four cams - two per head - to allow for better gas flow and more power.

Toyota will pay the costs to replace the entire engine of any new Tundra with a failed camshaft.

This bad news for Toyota follows surprising and disappointing four star safety ratings in government crash tests, unexpected incentive pricing to kick start sales of regular cab Tundras, and at least $430 million in cost overruns building the Tundra's new Texas manufacturing plant.

Page: [1]