TOYOTA has issued a recall notice for MY2016-2018 LandCruiser VDJ76, VDJ78 and VDJ79 models, to have a modified heat shield fitted to the exhaust to prevent the build-up of dry grasses that could ignite and cause a vehicle fire.
The recall covers some 22,971 vehicles fitted with Diesel Particulate filters (DPF), with build dates between June 2016 and November 2018.
The potential fire risk occurs when these vehicles are driven in conditions where dry grass, bushes or seeds come into contact with the underside of the vehicle and could create a build-up of dry mass around the exhaust system. The exhaust system in vehicles equipped with a DPF runs at a very high temperature when it conducts a DPF burn–off, and this has the potential to ignite any build-up of dry matter and cause a serious vehicle fire.
The rectification for the recall is to fit a modified heat shield to the area of the exhaust system, and also enable the DPF manual regeneration customisation mode, which allows owners to conduct manual regeneration in a safe location prior to entering off-road environments with dry vegetation.
Instructions on removal of accumulated vegetation will also be placed in vehicles with a revised DPF information label affixed to the interior of the driver's door.
DPFs: You're doing them wrong
Toyota acknowledges that many owners of VDJ Cruisers will have fitted aftermarket or modified exhausts systems to their vehicles and suggest that these vehicles should also be presented for inspection, but say that in order to complete the recall, the complete exhaust system must be returned to original manufacturer condition.
Toyota Australia will be contacting owners of affected vehicles to advise them that their vehicles need to be looked at, but should you own a LandCruiser 70 produced within the date range, you should contact your Toyota dealer for advice.
DPFs: Why they're in the news
The LandCruiser isn’t the first vehicle to have had such issues with hot DPFs potentially igniting dry grass under the vehicle. This is a timely reminder to anyone driving any vehicle, but particularly those using hot DPF-equipped exhaust systems, to never pull the vehicle to a standstill over tall dry grass that could be in contact or close to the exhaust system. Also, if driving through long grasses, regularly stop, get under the vehicle and check for any build-up of grasses around the exhaust and DPF. A piece of fencing wire or a coat hanger can be used to clear away any build-up of grass and debris.
Some grasses, such as spinifex, commonly found in the Australian outback, contain seeds with ahigh content of oil, which is particularly flammable and easily ignites when near a hot exhaust, and your vehicle could be well alight by the time you smell it burning and it's too late to save.
Toyota LandCruiser owners can contact the Toyota Recall Campaign Helpline on 1800 987 366 (Mon-Fri 8.00-7.00pm AEST) for more information, and it'll help if you have your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) handy when you do.