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The Gist

On September 7, 2018 Toyota announced safety recall J0T (NHTSA ID 18V-579) to its Unites States dealers. J0T covered nearly 200,000 2016-2018 Toyota Prius vehicles because an engine wire harness could wear and lead to a fire.

Toyota’s remedy (recall repair) was two pronged:

  1. If copper conductors were already exposed due to wearing of the wire harness, replace the entire wire harness
  2. If copper conductors were not exposed, install “abrasion resistant” tape on ONLY the Left Side (driver’s side) engine wire harness to prevent wearing.

On November 15, 2018 Toyota announced an update to the “remedy procedure” for the J0T safety recall. The updated safety recall repair calls for an additional point of inspection for wearing and the installation of abrasion resistant tape to an additional location. However, Toyota still considers Prius vehicles that had the old safety recall repair done to have their J0T safety recall “completed”.

Toyota’s J0T update documentation states, “All vehicles that have not already had J0T completed should receive the updated remedy procedure.” Toyota has not directly notified Prius owners who had the J0T safety recall completed prior to the update of the additional new procedures in the J0T safety recall repair.

Between September 7, 2018 and November 15, 2018 Toyota dealers across the nation performed the original J0T safety recall remedy on thousands of Prius in their new vehicle inventories. Toyota’s safety recall databases still classify the J0T safety recall on new vehicles which had the remedy done before the November 15, 2018 procedure update as “completed”.

These new vehicles still in dealer inventories may be offered for sale despite the fact that their remedy procedure did not include the additional protective tape procedure and additional inspection point from the update J0T instructions.

Similarly, it’s possible used Prius vehicles which had the J0T safety recall repair completed between September 7, 2018 and November 15, 2018 may be offered for sales as Toyota Certified Used vehicles – despite missing protective tape in the additional location – because Toyota still classifies the remedy as “complete”.

ADDITIONAL ABRASION RESISTANT TAPE LOCATION

As seen below, Toyota’s original J0T recall repair instructions ordered technicians to apply abrasion resistant harness tape to only one location – the Left Hand (driver’s side) wire harness.

Toyota’s updated J0T recall repair instructions require technicians to apply abrasion resistant harness tape to the LH (driver’s side) and RH (passenger’s side) wire harnesses.

 “CONSISTENT APPEARANCE” THE REASON FOR ADDITIONAL ABRASION RESISTANT TAPE?

Toyota’s updated J0T recall repair instructions state the abrasion resistant harness tape is being applied to an additional wire harness (Right Hand – passenger’s side) “to provide a consistent appearance.”

Stories in popular online forums such as PriusChat indicate that the RH (passenger’s side) wire harness is susceptible to dangerous wearing that may lead to wire exposure – but Toyota’s instructions state that the additional abrasion resistant tape location was added to the repair procedure for “consistent appearance.”

One owner stated that he had the J0T recall completed prior to the November 15, 2018 safety recall repair update. The RH (passenger side) wire harness was left un-taped. The owner reported that damage to the wire harness was visible to the eye even though Toyota still considered his safety recall to be “completed.”

Another Prius owner who hadn’t had the recall completed yet stated that the Right Hand (passenger side) wire harness was the only one in contact with another component leaving it at risk for wearing that may lead to wire exposure.

How many Prius owners who had the original J0T safety recall repair completed have RH (passenger’s side) wire harnesses without abrasion resistant tape leaving them at risk of wearing that could expose the copper wires within?

TOYOTA’S MAY 2018 PRODUCTION COUNTERMEASURE ADDS INTERNAL PROTECTIVE SLEEVES TO THE LEFT HAND (DRIVER’S SIDE) AND RIGHT HAND (PASSENGER’S SIDE) WIRE HARNESSES

Toyota’s defect information report for the J0T safety recall (NHTSA ID 18V-579) was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on September 5, 2018.

The defect information report states that, “Prius vehicles manufactured on or after May 16, 2018 have a protective sleeve on the engine wire harness connected to the PCU.” Toyota also issued a new wire harness part number (82181-47173) in May 2018.

The defect information report discloses a “protective sleeve” (singular) on the engine wire harness. Actually, both the LH (driver’s side) wire harness and the RH (passenger’s side wire harness) began being manufactured with internal protective sleeves.

The protective sleeve may not have been added to the RH (passenger’s side) wire harness for “consistent appearance.” The sleeve is not visible to the eye when inspecting the wire harness. A wrapping must be peeled back to reveal the internal protective sleeve over the RH (passenger’s side) wire harness.

The original J0T safety recall repair procedure did not order technicians to apply abrasion resistant tape to the RH (passenger’s side) wire harness.

 

WHY WOULD THE ORIGINAL J0T RECALL REPAIR ONLY APPLY ABRASION RESISTANT TAPE ONLY TO THE LH (DRIVER’S SIDE) WHEN BOTH HARNESSES HAVE BEEN MANUFACTURED WITH INTERNAL PROTECTIVE SLEEVES SINCE APPROXIMATELY MAY 2018?

According to Toyota’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the United States Department of Justice – in which they were fined $1.2 billion and plead guilty to wire fraud – although “Toyota is not required to notify NHTSA of any engineering and design changes it made to Toyota and Lexus models sold in the United States, it is required to file a DIR for any safety-related defect addressed by such an engineering and/or design change.”