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CAMS advises owners on 86/BRZ recall

In an unusual move, the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) has written to its members advising them of the recent Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ recall…

LAST THURSDAY, TOYOTA AUSTRALIA issued a press release recalling more than 14,000 Toyota 86s in Australia because of the risk of power steering failure, and Subaru quickly followed suit with a notice for the nearly identical BRZ. The issue is that the electric power steering (EPS) assist may fail, leaving the driver able to steer the car but needing to apply more effort as the assistance is removed.
 
That’s a permanent failure, but a temporary power steering assist failure is nothing particularly new for owners of 86/BRZs that are driven hard in motorsports events, particularly extended motorkhanas and khanacrosses (dirt road time trials). Some owners of vehicles with modifications to increase power and wider, grippier tyres also report occasional power steering assist failure on track. And in fact, Toyota already know about this issue because the 86 owner’s manual has this:
 
86-EPS-steering
That clearly states that “frequent” steering inputs will result in reduced steering assistance, as indeed noted by many owners.
 
Then on Friday the 5th, CAMS contacted its members to notify them of the recall. It took this move because “the 86/BRZ models are seen regularly in club level through to national competition, including the one-make Australian Toyota 86 Series”, a statement that can easily be understood by attending any grass roots motorsports event. CAMS said it urged “anyone who owns or is looking to compete in a Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ coupe to make contact with Toyota/Subaru to conduct any necessary repairs for the applicable vehicles”, and that “competitors should consider the suitability of their vehicle for competition during this time”.
 
But that sounded a bit vague, so we asked CAMS to clarify and its technical department said the notification was “the result of thorough discussions with Toyota as well as our own technical staff.”
 
We also asked if a ban had been considered or if scrutineering (the pre-event safety check) had been changed, and the response was that: “had the cars been deemed unsafe then a blanket ban would have been issued. In this instance we consider the defect unlikely to impact competition vehicles and we will not be altering the scrutineering of the Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ vehicles.”
 
So what’s the bottom line? You can continue to use your 86/BRZ for motorsports events, but be aware of the issue and get it fixed as soon as possible. As CAMS says, the “notification was borne from nothing more than an abundance of caution and our desire to ensure CAMS members are provided with all necessary tools to make appropriate decisions.” 
 
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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper