Toyota has announced today that they may be recalling 270,000 Lexus cars after discovering a problem with the 4.6L V8 and 3.5L V6 engines used throughout the lineup — from the Wall Street Journal:
The auto maker has found a problem with the valve spring of 4.6 liter V8 engines and 3.5 liter V6 engines installed in the Lexus LS460, Lexus LS600h, Lexus LS600hL, Lexus GS350, Lexus GS450h, Lexus GS460 and Lexus IS350 and the Toyota Crown.
The problem could cause the engine to stall, the Toyota spokeswoman said.
Of the 270,000 vehicles powered by the affected engines, 90,000 were sold in Japan and the rest overseas.
Toyota has received 200 complaints about the engine problem, the spokeswoman said, and no related accidents have been reported.
It’s important to note the 270,000 units would only account for a fraction of vehicles with the 4.6L V8 and 3.5L V6 engines, meaning this recall is likely due to a temporary manufacturing issue. This is backed up by a Voxy NZ article:
Routine long-term reliability tests in Japan have discovered a manufacturing flaw in some springs, which could cause abnormal engine noise or unstable idling.
Debbie Pattullo, National Manager for Lexus New Zealand, says the springs will be replaced over the next few months, purely to remove the possibility of future problems.
Even more than that, here’s a quote from Mike_TX of Club Lexus, who was affected last year by what seems to be the same issue:
According to them, there is a set of robots that assemble these engines. In late 2007/early 2008, one of the robots was found to be out of adjustment, such that when it installed the spring, it scraped it and caused a “score” mark on it. That small score mark created a weak point that can cause a failure of the spring after thousands of cycles.
At this point, it’s all speculation, but more details are sure to be released shortly.