by Bob Beranek
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The following Toyota recall notice reminds me that many technicians are either unaware or don’t pay attention to the design of the interior garnish mouldings. Their correct placement is vital to the proper deployment of the side air curtains.

These are the decorative interior “A” pillar mouldings that many technicians remove to aid in the cut out and removal of the windshield. Some of these are easily removed and their removal gives peace of mind to the technician who now doesn’t have to worry about damaging them during the installation. However, some mouldings are attached to the body frame by a secondary attachment that keep them from becoming a projectile and hurting the passengers if the side curtain air bags are deployed.

Any vehicle that is equipped with an air curtain has a method by which the interior mouldings are displaced for deployment, but not completely detached. The methods used to retain the feature after displacement are straps which are fastened to the “A” pillar. These can be progressive releasing clips, or two-stage clips. Whichever, method is used to retain the moulding, the technician must make sure that they are properly re-installed after removal.

The straps used to hold the mouldings are usually made of heavy fabric and are attached to the “A” pillar with the use of fasteners like a screw or bolt. When the air bag is deployed, the moulding is blown away from the frame but the strap holds it in place. The progressive-clip system is one that uses progressively stronger retainers that release in the proper order as the air curtain is deployed. The two-stage clip is one that releases its first stage to move the moulding away from the pillar to allow deployment, but the second stage holds it from completely detaching.

The removal of these mouldings can be a challenge to the automotive glass technician, but with today’s heated windshields and other performance technology, you may have to remove them to disconnect the wiring. However, properly used modern power tools and others (like wire-out tools) will allow the technician to bypass the removal of the “A” pillar mouldings most of the time. This installation does require that the well-equipped automotive glass shop and mobile unit has a selection of clips and fasteners for the proper replacement of moulding retention systems, if necessary.

Report Receipt Date: APRIL 22, 2015

NHTSA Campaign Number: 15V240000

Component(s): STRUCTURE

Potential Number of Units Affected: 387

Vehicle Make, Model, Model Year(s)

  • TOYOTA SIENNA 2015

Manufacturer: Gulf States Toyota Inc.

SUMMARY:

Gulf States Toyota Inc. (GST) is recalling certain model year 2015 Toyota Sienna vehicles manufactured January 23, 2015 to April 13, 2015, and equipped with non-Toyota-brand overhead entertainment accessories installed by GST. During reassembly of the interior after the overhead entertainment system installation, a trim panel securing clip may have been reused instead of being replaced.

CONSEQUENCE:

If the clip was damaged during the entertainment system installation, in the event of a side curtain air bag deployment, the trim panel may detach and strike one of the vehicle occupants, increasing the risk of injury.

REMEDY:

GST will notify owners, and dealers will replace the trim panel securing clip, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin June 8, 2015. Owners may contact GST customer service at 1-800-444-1074. GST’s number for this recall is 15R1.

NOTES:

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.