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04 won't start - red car on MFD

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Daox, Apr 28, 2010.

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  1. Daox

    Daox Member

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    My wife had some problems yesterday with the Prius. She was driving home and the cruise stopped working. I think at that point the VSC and yellow triangle showed up on the dash (possibly more). She stopped at a store on the way home and the car wouldn't start up again when she got back out. Now, the whole dash lights up with the warning lights and on the MFD we get the "problem" and red car with exclamation point through it. The car boots up, but it won't let you shift to drive or reverse.

    At this point I did some quick digging here and went to check the car out. I checked:
    no codes - checked with SG
    12V battery (even brought one along to jump it)
    fuses - checked them all, none blown
    inverter pump is going when turned on (its right in front of the fuse panel in the engine bay, right?)
    SG shows HV pack is at 55% SOC


    So, I had it towed home, and I'm looking for more ideas.
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Odometer reading?

    Is the 12V battery original equipment?

    If the hybrid vehicle icon appears in the MFD, then the hybrid vehicle ECU has logged a DTC. If the VSC light is on, then the skid control ECU will also have logged a DTC. Scan Gauge can only be counted on to log DTC produced by the engine ECU, so it is close to worthless in helping you to figure out what is wrong here.

    Measure voltage across the 12V battery when IG-OFF. Pls let us know what you find.

    Then, if the car can be made READY, measure voltage across the battery again and see if the voltage is ~13.8VDC. If much lower, the inverter has a problem.

    Let the car cool down, and see if it will start then. If not, you'll probably have to tow the car to your local Toyota dealer for troubleshooting and repair.
  3. firepa63

    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

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    You didn't run out of gas did you?
  4. Lamboalex

    Lamboalex Hyper-Miler in training

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    iknow that no gas causes a red car picture on the top of the MFD.
  5. vertex

    vertex Active Member

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    Disconnect the 12 v battery for a few minutes to clear the codes. If you have the original battery, it is probably dead. Reconnect the battery, and jump start it, you should be OK until you turn it off again. Run the 12 v battery diagnostic.
  6. Daox

    Daox Member

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    55K on the odometer

    Not sure if the 12V is original or not as I just got the car last year. IGN off has the 12V @ 12.3ish so it is low. With the car on it drops to 12.0 and high 11s depending on the time you leave it on. The dc to dc does not kick in to charge it up when the car is on. Like I said, I brought another battery along and connected it with jumper cables. It made no difference.

    The car was cool when I looked at it.
  7. Daox

    Daox Member

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    No, it has gas, almost a full tank. I wish it were that easy. :)

    Aren't you at least able to move in EV mode without gas though?
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    When you say the car is "on", do you mean that it is READY? You need to distinguish between IG-ON, where all instrument panel warning lights are on but the car cannot be driven, and READY where the car can be driven and warning lights are off.

    If the car is READY and voltage across the 12V battery does not increase to 13.8V, then the DC/DC converter within the inverter is bad. Are you up for installing a salvage inverter yourself?

    If the car is IG-ON (but not READY) then the DC/DC converter will not be working.

    If the car is READY then you may be able to move the car in EV mode.
  9. Daox

    Daox Member

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    I am not able to move the car at all, so I guess I'm not able to get into READY.
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The READY light in the instrument panel would appear, if the car managed to reach that state.

    Anyway, without any DTC to give you a clue, it sounds like you'll need to have your local dealer's service dept tech take a look.
  11. paprius4030

    paprius4030 My first Prius

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    Hey if the car won't go into ready, could it be a bad brake switch? The car doesn't think you have your foot on the brake, right?
  12. Daox

    Daox Member

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    I thought of that too, but I'd imagine I wouldn't get the "problem" and red car on the MFD.
  13. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I assume that your car is still covered by the hybrid system warranty. There's a good chance that your problem is a warranted failure.
  14. Daox

    Daox Member

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    I took vertex's advise and disconnected the 12v. I booted the car back up to find the dash lights still on (minus the yellow triangle), and mfd warnings gone, but the engine didn't start and I was unable to put it in drive or reverse (not in ready mode). I then cycled it off and back on and the engine did kick on this time. I took it for a short drive and the lights on the dash all turned off. I got it back in the driveway and turned it off and then back on again. This time it was like the first after reconnecting the battery. I got all the dash lights on (minus the yellow triangle) and no mfd warnings. Again I couldn't get it into drive or reverse.

    So, it looks like I'll at least be able to drive to the dealer, but if anyone has any other ideas, I'm all ears. Think maybe the inverter coolant pump is running but the impeller is shot or something like that? I'd think I would have got a warning while I was driving then. But, all the lights stayed off until I powered it down and back up.
  15. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    If the inverter coolant pump was the problem, you would be able to drive the car while the inverter is cold.

    I wonder if part of the problem is that your brake light switch is intermittent? Try pressing the brake pedal very hard as you are trying to start the car.
  16. Daox

    Daox Member

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    Believe it or not that actually worked. I had to mash the brake pedal quite a bit harder than normal, but it started consistently a few times. So, the car is usable and I took it the other day to pickup some stuff. We'll see how it works and if it kicks back another code...
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    That's great. However an intermittent brake light switch shouldn't cause the hybrid vehicle warning icon to appear in the MFD. Your car probably has a second problem waiting to be discovered.
  18. paprius4030

    paprius4030 My first Prius

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    Wasn't there some program years ago that replaced the brake light switch for free?
  19. Daox

    Daox Member

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    I agree. However, is the code stored so I could bring it into the dealer and have it read? Or, did disconnecting the 12v wipe the code out completely so I just have to wait until it happens again?
  20. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    Try: Put in D, keep emergency brake ON, step on foot brake HARD, Step on accel pedal full to charge, believe it or not the car will not move. Charge HV to mostly green or totally green. Then do self diagnostic check for 12 Voly battery. At that point it should read about 13 to 13.9 volts. Check voltage separately with a multi-meter.. At this point, do not shut car off, let intermittant charge process work by itself for at least 1/2 hour. Or go for a ride. Then decide if you need a new 12 V Battery. Run no accesories, shut down all interior lights. Remember that OEM 12V is puny. Too puny.
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