Fixed my Scion by removing floor mats?

bud_wiNovember 21, 2006

I just bought a 2005 Scion Xa. I've only had it a couple of weeks, and half the time it would not start. Dead. Just dead. Just a click. It doesn't sound like the engine is trying to turn over. Then sometimes it will start just normally with no problems at all.

I tossed around all the possibles in my head; electrial problem, weak battery, carburator, starter.......

Today it started right up and I ran an errand. When I came out ten min later it would not start. I was stranded again. I called a Scion dealership out of the Yellow Pages, (I bought it used at a GMC dealership,) and told them of my problem thinking that maybe there was something "new" in Scions, like a saftey feature of having to have your seatbelt on, or it won't start or something like that.

I had actually tried different things like that 'seatbelt on/off' and 'parking brake on/off'.

Well, here is what the guy told me.........He said "Do you have floor mats? Take out your floor mats." I thought he was just toying with me. I did it and the car started perfectly.

He told me that there is a sensor on the floor and if the clutch pedal does not make direct contact with it the car won't start. The floor mats I had were not thick, just the free ones the dealership had tossed in. They are just some sort of cardboard with fuzz sprayed on them.

I've driven manual transmission since 1972 and never heard of this or had a problem like this.

I researched cars before my purchase and I now just got done searching the internet for info on this weird floor mat voodoo. There is nothing.

Is this just a coincidence that my car started right after I removed the floor mats? I mean this car starts sporadically and maybe it would have started an hour later anyway whether the floor mats where there or not.

Anyone know about this "clutch pedal sensor thingy" the guy told me about?

I have an appointment to take the car back to the dealership where I bought it and they are going to take a look at the car. The salesman who sold it to me told me he drove it for a week and had no problems with it. (Of course!) I haven't told them about the floor mat voodoo that the Scion place told me about.

Is my Scion going to be OK now or, should I start hassleing the place that 'sold me a lemon' with an electrical problem?

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There is no real way for anyone to know if it is fixed yet or not. The floor mats not allowing the clutch pedal to be fully depressed and causing a no-start, wont crank, is something that has happened for years on many different cars. I've also seen people pull their floor mats out when cleaning their car, and then when they put them back in they put them under the brake pedal, but in front of the gas pedal. Then they wonder why the engine starts racing everytime they stop!

As far as them selling you a lemon, first of all, if they had seen this car do this, they would not have sold it. They don't need that kind of a headache with any customer.

You could test this out yourself, and put the mat back in. Then the next time it happens, move the mat and try and re-start. Plus simply look down at the pedal, and see how far you normally push it with and without the mat. You can also turn the ignition key, and play with the clutch pedal to see exactly at what point the starter does get engaged.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 9:20PM
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When you go in to get it looked at just ask them to measure the free play on the clutch pedal and also ask them to re-adjust the clutch safety switch a little higher please. When it comes time to change the clutch in the future you will have to have these two measurments re-evaluated, they normally are not by your typical technician.

What I just said is not normally checked, but in your case, a paper thin fuzzy floor mat that probably was not all bunched up under the clutch pedal should not have been enough to keep the switch from making contact. If it was bunched up then there you have it. Ask them to make these adjustment to spec and they should have no issue with making an adjustment. OR just direct them to make the switch contact at the very upper limit of the free play zone.

If you are going to retest you may be putting too much pressure on the pedal all the way to the floor with the mat under the pedal, since you are now aware of the problem and the test is now biased and unfair. Its quite fair to assume that your seat is too far back and with the mat behind the pedal your leg was just too short to get the switch connected, try shortening your stroke length by moving forward with the mat inserted, but again, your biased still.

It also works under the gas pedal, owner complains of loss of accelleration with pedal to the metal, remove floor mat voodoo here too.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Thanks guys.

I'll ask them to check the clutch play. Hopefully it is something simple like that, that is causing the problem. You are right, I don't think they would have checked the clutch. I can take the car in to be checked and be "armed with knowledge".

The dealership mats were stiff thin cardboard in a general size/shape. I was going to buy some decent ones anyway and I will try to get some Scion mats if they are available so they fit exact.

I feel better now knowing that the car mats may have been causing the problem.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 6:02PM
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I have a Scion XB (auto) When it comes to buying floor mats, etc, check out Ebay, lot cheaper than the dealership!! I bought my Floormats, centre console off ebay for a lot cheaper than the dealer. Floor mats were the exact same as the store. In fact the place I purchased them off ebay was a Toyota dealership!! Cheers

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 9:24AM
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