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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced November 9, 2011, that Toyota will recall approximately 420,326 certain model year 2004 Avalon vehicles, 2004 and 2005 Camry, Camry Solara, Highlander, and Sienna vehicles; 2006 Highlander Hybrid; 2004 and 2005 Lexus ES330 and RX330; and 2006 Lexus RX400H vehicles, manufactured from June 1, 2004 through March 31, 2005, that are equipped with the 1MZ-FE or 3MZ-FE engine.

According to the NHTSA, this recall is due to a “crankshaft pulley problem” that ultimately could cause the belt for the power steering pump to become detached, which could result in a loss of power steering and sudden increase in steering effort that may increase the risk of a crash. Apparently, the amount of adhesive used between the outer ring and torsional rubber damper (inner ring) in the crankshaft pulley in certain engines may not be sufficient. Without the proper amount of adhesive, the outer ring may become misaligned and not rotate with the inner ring properly causing noise and possible malfunction.

Toyota will notify all the owners and has agreed to have its dealers check the crankshaft pulley to learn whether the pulley was provided by a U.S. supplier. If so, Toyota dealers will replace the pulley at no charge. (There is no provision for “if not”…)

This recall is not expected to begin until mid-January 2012. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or contact the National Traffic Highway Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and reference NHTSA campaign 11V539000, or visit the NHTSA website at Check with Toyota or NHTSA if you have questions about your Toyota vehicle.

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