TOYOTA BRAKE BOOSTER PUMP CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by Tim Jones, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    7,177
    8,820
    0
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
    Yikes! If that happened to me and the dealer/s couldn't/wouldn't fix it, I would have a different car by now.
     
    dig4dirt likes this.
  2. Inquisitor

    Inquisitor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Thanks Jerry. I've considered getting a new car but I'd lose so much value on this one that I paid off. I guess I'm stubborn. I have the parts on order from the dealer (odd, but there seems to be a national backorder on these particular parts... (n)) and they have agreed to do the repair because I'm going to pay for it. I had $3k worth of hail damage a couple of years ago that I put toward the loan so it's a wash. I am going to dispute Toyota's claim and follow the NHTSA petition and class action lawsuit in the hopes this gets resolved. It's a nightmare and I wonder how many other Prius drivers are dealing with the same issue but getting gaslighted by Toyota.
     
  3. Inquisitor

    Inquisitor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I have called Toyota's corporate "Customer Experience" four times (!!!) starting back in September 2019 to discuss this issue and my questions about the Customer Support Program ZJB letter, and the fourth conversation was even escalated to the "Senior Colleague Department" where the masters of obfuscation and evasion seem to work. I don't blame the dealer I'm working with, they are trained technicians not Toyota design engineers - on my last visit the service department even contacted the technical support service Toyota dealers have access to and they also got nothing but blown smoke. It's truly insane.
     
  4. Inquisitor

    Inquisitor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Dude. Really? I don't think I'm the one struggling with details here.

    (1) A direct quote from the “Customer Support Program Notification - ZJB” that Toyota mailed to me in August 2019 (and is in my hands right now) states: “This Customer Support Program provides coverage as it applies to the brake booster and brake booster pump assemblies.” You must be confusing ZJB with some other program when you say it has nothing to do with the brake booster pump.

    (2) I spoke extensively to the Toyota technician who inspected my car and we got to talking about how the brake booster, ABS and other systems work in the Prius. The pump moves the hydraulic fluid around to power the brakes (including when ABS and stability control systems are activated). The assembly includes a whole bunch of components including the ABS actuator, ECU and associated chips and wiring. Maybe you could explain to the dealer-trained career mechanic who works on Toyotas all day what he’s getting wrong so he can understand how all these parts actually have nothing to do with each other.

    (3) Let’s not confuse lawsuits with investigations. The dealership I mentioned (Claremont Toyota and Capistrano Toyota) did not file a lawsuit, they filed a detailed petition to the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) asking them to launch an investigation into the brake booster problem that seems to be plaguing so many of Toyota's vehicles (including my Prius which is part of CSP ZJB, but also Highlanders, Camrys, Avalons and more). Apparently the dealer felt so strongly about the issue they voluntarily pulled millions worth of inventory off their lot rather than risk selling potentially dangerous cars to people while the NHTSA investigation is ongoing. Kudos to them for doing the right thing instead of being guided by greed! (BTW, if anyone has experienced a serious problem with their brakes or anything else, you can file a complaint to NHTSA directly on their website).

    (4) Let’s also not confuse lawsuits with other lawsuits. OP’s link refers to the brake booster class action that was recently filed in January which you assume has no merit. I didn’t bring up any other lawsuits in my last post, but for a little background I think it’s helpful to understand this latest class action is being filed by the same firm that successfully sued Toyota over a faulty accelerator problem several years back. That’s the one that KILLED a bunch of people, and Toyota wanted everyone to believe people across the country were simply getting their gas pedals stuck under the floor mat. “McCuneWright Set to Take Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration Case to Trial in Los Angeles - Mar 28, 2017: McCuneWright has been leading the fight against Toyota for the sudden unintended acceleration defect since 2009, when it filed the first class action case against Toyota about this defect. Other cases were soon filed, and that litigation led to major recalls and the payment of billions of dollars in settlement and government fines.” Given their experience, I think it's pretty unlikely this firm would get sucked into another big case against Toyota if it didn’t have any merit.

    (5) You assert “there has also been an all-Prius-generations normal behavior that tends to startle new owners.” It’s now 2020 and I got my Prius in early 2015. Does that still make me a new owner? My car never terrified me with braking problems during the first few years I owned it. I thought it was awesome and safe and bragged to all my friends about how great it performed on icy and snowy roads while also giving me spectacular gas mileage. Now something is going terribly wrong. I don't know what "normal behavior" you're referring to, but in my opinion major design dysfunction of crucial safety systems isn't something new or experienced owners should ever have to put up with. If you were in my shoes I wonder if you might be a little more than “startled” when one day your brakes straight up failed on you going toward a red light (one example of a thing that happened to me), and possibly a little more than concerned when you live to bring it to the dealer only to have Toyota say “there’s nothing wrong with your car” and as you learn more about the problem it becomes clear what they really mean by that is “we refuse to issue an actual recall and we’re doing our best to get out of paying for anything under this warranty.”

    ***I hope other Prius drivers reading this who are also experiencing weird braking problems take away this:
    Don't let anyone gaslight you into thinking bad brakes are normal!
    Believe your own experiences and observations - remember, you were there when it happened!
     
  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    3,192
    3,059
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    The sudden bailout of the regenerative brakes and automatic changeover to service brakes can be terrifying in the right traffic & traction circumstances. I was surprised the first time I felt it. Because it happened to me in a pretty ordinary setting, I carry around the expectation that other Prius drivers have experienced the same thing.

    Now, the fact that you haven't differentiated between one of these changeover events and whatever your car did that's worthy of a recall is what concerns me.
     
  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    8,484
    6,115
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Great, let's take a look at that notification.

    zjbhl.png

    I added the highlighting. The yellow bit introduces where it tells you what the specific covered condition is. That follows in the red bit. The covered condition is internal malfunctions of the brake booster. Not the brake booster pump. The brake booster. Those are separate assemblies in a Gen 3.

    If your brake booster has the condition, you get both assemblies replaced (the bits in green). Why exactly? They don't say. But if your brake booster has had an internal leak for any length of time, that will mean your brake booster pump has been working overtime for that same length of time, keeping the pressure replenished. That wouldn't be a bad reason to replace it at the same time.

    You're replying to my correcting you when you said the booster pump assembly contained an ECU.

    Toyota's nomenclature here confuses a lot of people, some of whom even work at dealerships. If it were up to me, I would not have one part called the brake booster and a different part called the brake booster pump. The names are too similar, and people mix the parts up.

    This is what the Gen 3 brake booster assembly looks like:

    [​IMG]

    This is what the Gen 3 brake booster pump assembly looks like:

    [​IMG]

    Take a look at the first picture, the brake booster assembly. The rectangular, flat, heat-sinky area facing you is the brake/skid ECU that is built into it.

    Now take a look at the second picture, the brake booster pump assembly, which you wrote contains an ECU. You see a pump (the round silver-colored thing), an accumulator (the round black thing), a very minimal manifold with a spring-loaded relief valve, a couple hydraulic connections and not much else. You will not find an ECU there, and neither will your dealer-trained career mechanic.

    If he actually said there was an ECU in the pump assembly, and that wasn't simply something you took away from what he said, then sure, feel free to show him both pictures.

    Fair point. I did mention those together.

    That's been covered here before and I support it. The investigation will probably lead to all of us knowing more on this subject, and I'm all in favor of that.

    Though I have to say, I've just re-read his petition, and even Roger Hogan repeatedly mixes up the booster assembly and the booster pump assembly, right there in his letter. He also repeatedly calls something a "brake booster pump assembly with master cylinder", which is a nonexistent beast. If you look again at the pictures, you see that the master cylinder is part of the brake booster assembly, not the brake booster pump assembly (you're looking at the rubber boot, pushrod, and clevis sticking out to the right in the photo).

    He almost got the official name right, but for the other part. "Brake Booster, with Master Cylinder" is its full name in the catalog.

    So ok, Roger Hogan is a dealership president. The guy in the corner office isn't always the guy with the right part names at his fingertips. We can make allowances for that. But his petition letter would be stronger if somebody who knew the details had given it a look-over.

    It also has some more serious logic errors, probably not fatal, but sloppy. He mixes up what D0H was about (a leak of nitrogen gas out of the accumulator, part of the booster pump assembly) with what ZJB is about (a leak of brake fluid through valve wear in the booster assembly). You can see NHTSA titled the investigation correctly ("Brake Actuator Valve Wear"), so somebody got the confusion straightened out, but the sloppiness in Hogan's letter didn't help.

    Hogan also reads a lot into having the same DTC (C1256) mentioned for both D0H and ZJB:

    He is glossing over that C1256 is stored in both cases because both involve a drop in accumulator pressure, which is what the code means. You will get that code with any problem that keeps the pressure from holding. We already know of two different ways that can happen, a gas leak in the booster pump assembly (D0H) or a brake fluid leak from valve wear in the booster assembly. And even if this Brake Actuator Valve Wear investigation does turn up a systematic reason that the actuator valves are wearing out early, it will not be the case that every car with a C1256 code has the code for that reason. A DTC by itself does not tell you what's wrong with the car.

    I followed the acceleration cases with interest, and I'm pretty sure a lot of the credit for success of the cases goes to the meticulous work of the Barr Group in studying the design of the ECU firmware: keeping the details accurate and avoiding the kind of sloppiness seen so far here. If McCuneWright hopes for a similarly successful outcome here, one hopes they will step up to the same bar. Heck, I hope they will step up to the same bar, because I do want useful information and outcomes to result from all this.

    There is such a normal behavior, it has been in all Prius generations, and it does tend to startle new owners. I asserted that because it's simply the case, but no one has asserted that your experience in your car is that exact behavior. You've even heard from davecook89t and jerrymildred and me that it doesn't sound like you're describing the same thing, and we would be concerned about what your car is doing.

    Right, that's not it. And it's better for everybody to keep any discussions about possible major design dysfunction clearly focused on that, and make sure not to stir in other things at the same time that we know are characteristic of Prius brakes but are not major design dysfunction.
     
    #26 ChapmanF, Feb 17, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
    fuzzy1 likes this.
  7. Inquisitor

    Inquisitor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Bravo, you have impressive dedication and time on your hands. My main takeaways are: 1) you think it's possible a lot of people could be confusing a serious brake problem with some weird but normal regenerative brake thing the Prius is apparently known to do, and 2) we still don't know anything about this unidentified "internal malfunction" Toyota has admitted for the brake booster pump/brake booster assembly in the 2011-2015 Prius (and other cars). Past history is not a guarantee of future results. That's true for the stock market as well as the relationship between the old D0H recall you keep bringing up and this current ZJB warranty. Is it a leak? Who knows. A problem with the ECU? Toyota won't say. Dirty or corroded sensor wires? A faulty ABS module? Contaminated hydraulic fluid? How about air in the brake line? None of the Toyota dealers around here seem to have an answer. Or even a theory. They are crippled without the aid of diagnostic trouble codes to tell them what to think.

    You don't like this class action lawsuit. I get it, it's cool, I don't think the lawyers' feelings are hurt. I didn't even know it existed until my third trip to the dealership came up with no answers and I turned to the All-Knowing Internet for succor. Its existence does make me feel less alone in the experience of Unsolvable Mystery-of-the-Ages Brake Anomalies. Is it productive to make exhaustive semantic arguments over whether something is called a "brake booster", a "brake booster pump", a "brake booster assembly", a "brake booster pump assembly", a "brake booster with master cylinder", or whatever the f--- else these components are called because even lofty Toyota Motor Company (or my dealer's mechanic) can't be precise or consistent about it? Baffling terminology has not helped me come to any greater understanding about what could be going wrong with my car's brakes. Although I'm pretty sure the main problem is not being a jumpy new hybrid owner.
     
  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    8,484
    6,115
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    You've already had three people in this thread, including me, clarify that we don't think what you're describing in your car would or should be lumped with the normal regen-to-friction transition, and that it would concern us. Your continued effort to make us out as saying what we are not stands as one measure of your seriousness.

    We know more about recalls than we do about service campaigns, because NHTSA requires extensive reporting on recalls, including identified causes, and makes those reports public on a website. Non-recall campaigns, like ZJB, not so much. But we already have more than zero information about ZJB, and the NHTSA investigation initiated by Roger Hogan is likely to result in more information becoming available, to anyone who is genuinely interested in understanding it.

    This passage has a distinctly Ron-Johnson-y flavor, as if you're not as much interested in learning what might really be going on with the brakes, as in flinging a lot of spaghetti in all directions to see what'll stick to a wall.

    Nothing wrong with that as far as it goes, especially if one remembers that the All-Knowing Internet knows a lot of stuff that isn't so.

    One person's "exhaustive semantic arguments" are another person's "sufferin' succotash, is this person really (1) unable or (2) unwilling to grasp that these are two different parts in the car's braking system, or what their different jobs are?"

    In picking one's way through the morass of the All-Knowing Internet, questions like that can be pretty helpful in deciding which sources are going to be worth relying on.

    If getting even those basics right doesn't interest you, that doesn't make you a bad person, only a bad source of information about Prius brakes. That can easily improve; the parts and functions of the system are a lot easier to keep straight if you look at, say, the extensive explanations and diagrams you can find in the New Car Features Manual (more info) not to mention the whole technical library also available on TIS.

    Whether you're interested in learning any of that is up to you. It will reveal to others how serious you are about wanting to understand what might really be going on versus flinging spaghetti around. But it's your choice, nobody's in a position to require it of you.

    Now, lawyers who want to argue a case on the matter also get to make such a choice, and there will be a judge to weigh in on how they make it, and the whole exercise will be more useful and constructive for everyone if he or she does.
     
  9. Inquisitor

    Inquisitor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Enough already. Let's call a truce and be done with this ridiculous and unproductive argument.

    Never have I ever claimed to be a reliable or authoritative source of information on Gen3 Prius brakes. But if that's what you thought I was doing then I get why you'd accuse me of "conflating" every issue you think "I've ever heard" about Prius brakes and "throwing spaghetti" around. In all honesty I'm just here to describe my personal experiences with weird braking problems in the hopes it will help others in the same boat, because seeking answers to this intractable problem is what brought me here to this forum in the first place. Perhaps you can also be a touch more forgiving if I can't perfectly articulate my thoughts about these various brake "assemblies" given even YOU once acknowledged:
    Here's what I know as absolute facts:
    1) I have had my brakes fail. This includes a couple of instances where I thought I was about to do some normal non-emergency type braking but instead the brake pedal smashed all the way to the floor, and my car did not subsequently stop, slow down, engage ABS, or do any other possible fancy modern computer-controlled stability/traction/power-whatever braking thing to prevent my car from becoming an unstoppable deadly road projectile. Trust me, this is not something you ever want to have happen to you while heading toward a red traffic light - I ended up being extremely lucky.
    2) My car belongs to the class of cars included in the ZJB warranty regarding an unspecified problem (perhaps a "leak," but where?) with the "brake booster and brake booster pump assemblies."
    3) Toyota tells me I'm not eligible for ZJB because my car is not throwing the right codes.
    4) Fine, whatever. I still want my brakes fixed and I'm willing to pay $$$ out of my pocket for it even if I'm not covered by Toyota's warranty because MY LIFE IS ON THE LINE (go ahead and doubt the "measure of my seriousness" but I assure you I am deadly serious). Toyota keeps telling me the equally magnificent $1852.00 integrate-everything-into-super-assemblies trending "brake booster" is NOT the problem, but they're also not coming up with any other ideas ("spaghetti") to explain possibly why/how my brakes have already failed, and therefore they won't recommend or perform any repairs.

    So, what are your ideas?
     
  10. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    8,484
    6,115
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I do agree with you that there is a learning curve, and this proves it, as I'm not sure if you realized you caught me in a mistake in that 2015 post. I should not have said the accumulator was included in that magnificent assembly in Gen 3 (in Gen 2, it was). 2015 was before I ever owned a Gen 3, and I must have jumped to that conclusion from reading stuff other than the docs (which I generally recommend against, for just that reason).

    Shortly thereafter, I had a Gen 3 of my own, and had taken the time to correct my ignorance, so by a 2017 post I was able to get it right:

    So I'm not saying we don't all face learning curves or make mistakes. It just matters what we do next.

    I don't think the forum software will let me edit my 2015 post to add a correction, but I might be able to get a mod to do it.

    So here's what's weird about your approach. What's your priority here? To understand and resolve a problem? Or to find ways of making it sound like if you don't understand it, it must be that nobody does?

    What's with the scare quotes around "leak"? If you're unsure about "where", what would be wrong with looking at a diagram?

    utbhc.png

    Your possibilities for "where" could be the linear valves (outlined in blue), the reduction valves (outlined in gold), or the spring relief valve shown below the reservoir in the accumulator pressure line (but that one's in the "booster pump assembly", not in the "booster assembly", and really never has any reason to open in normal operation, so has little reason to wear or develop leaks).

    You do understand nobody's talking about an external, fluid leaving the system, leak, right? Leakage through the linear or reduction valves would just be sending fluid back to the reservoir, and preventing pressure from holding.

    The inside info about ZJB that we don't have is stuff like: is it one of those valves in particular that always develops the leak, or more hit or miss? Is it wear, foreign matter getting stuck there, or what? Was it designed to have a useful life of n00,000 miles but ending up leaking at (n/2)00,000 miles, or something? Is that because a supplier messed up?

    There's a good chance those kinds of details are gonna get filled in as the NHTSA inquiry proceeds in response to the Capistrano filing. And it will be interesting stuff to learn. But to somehow pretend that, without it, we have no idea what ZJB is really about, or alternatively that hey, it could be about whatever we want it to be about, is more lawyer-gaming than it is constructive engagement.

    I wanted to be a touch more forgiving about the learning curve and all, but this is you, after being shown that the same document you're selecto-quoting from actually does state clearly what the covered condition is if you read the whole thing, still continuing to selecto-quote from a passage where that information isn't. It's a playable game, but what does it win you?

    They might have a point. You've described some very scary stuff happening, and I hope you can get it fixed, but I am not sure how to twist the stuff that's been happening to you and make it fit the picture of a small internal valve leak, which is what ZJB is about. There's no law of nature that guarantees your brakes haven't gone sideways in some other way. (Have you had a chance to try a long-form bleed sequence, by the way? I've had a theory of my own about that in cases that sound more like yours; it's speculative and still unconfirmed, but if it were happening to me I would certainly try it.)

    A change of subject might clarify what I'm saying about approach.

    When I had a Gen 1, a generation where the power steering torque sensors could have issues, there came a time, years after the end of the original warranty, when Toyota said, "you know, we think too many of those went flaky and it was a raw deal for the customers, so we're going to do an extension and replace those for customers who are having that problem".

    It wasn't, of course, a "get new steering in your 200,000 mile car because you would like it" program; I'm sure they couldn't have made it that, because they needed that stock of parts for the cars that were having the problem. In fact, the counter price of the part about doubled around the time they announced the warranty extension, probably with the aim of reducing counter sales and making sure they had enough for the program.

    Well, sure enough, my Gen 1 started doing the thing, and I went in to the dealer and said "hey, you've got this warranty extension and my car does the thing," and they said "well, it'll have to have the corresponding codes, or do the thing while our tech is in it."

    So I thought about saying "well, have your tech hop in and we'll go see my sister, 'cause it usually gets pretty unmistakable by the eighth or ninth hour of driving, and then you'll know." But I hadn't cleared it with my sister, and I didn't want to pay eighteen hours of shop rate, and I didn't know if the tech would make good traveling company.

    So instead, I said "[​IMG]. [​IMG].", and the service writer said "let me get the service manager."

    So the service manager came in and said, "h᠎i, I'm the service manager, how can I help you?", and I said "[​IMG]. [​IMG]?" and the manager said "let me call Toyota", and next thing they said they'd be calling me when the part was on hand. Decent outcome, right?

    But that was after I invested the effort to make sure I understood the basics of the system, how it was meant to work, what the warranty extension was about, whether that was connected to what my car was doing, and how to present that information for them in a way they knew they could trust.

    What if I had gone in there waving my arms, mixing up parts of the steering, showing no interest in getting them straight even after correction, and insisting that no matter what my steering was doing and no matter what anyone said, it had to be the warranty issue because there was a warranty issue and my steering was doing something and nobody knows what the warranty issue is really and maybe I'll go to PriusChat and post in all capitals about lawsuits?

    Does it seem likely that dealers sometimes see customers like that? Does it seem like a promising way to constructively solve a problem?
     
    #30 ChapmanF, Feb 25, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
Loading...