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2001 Warning Light And no Reverse!

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Technical Discussion' started by nuclear_j, Jan 2, 2009.

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  1. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    Our 2001 Prius was working fine one day and the next morning when I tried to take my wife to work. The warning light was on and I also could not drive it in reverse. A buddy of mine had to help me push it out of the driveway so he could get out! And I drove it back in and put it in the garage.

    Upon further inspection today, when the key is turned halfway, i noticed a low whirring noise of something trying to turn but it seemed to be stuck. I turned the car on fully and the the dash said the problem was solved! However the check engine light is still on. And when I turn the key halfway now that low, stuck whirring noise is no longer there.

    I assume my first step to resolving this is to get a readout of the warning codes? How would I go about getting them from the dealer? How much should I expect to pay? Do they give them out willingly? Or is there something special I have to do? Thanks in advance for your expertise!
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Hi,

    You would recognize the brake accumulator pump sound, right? It sounds a lot like a ... low stuck whirring noise, and you'll often hear it as soon as you turn the key to 'on' (unless the brake pressure is already up from recently running). So my guess is that's the sound you're hearing, which is normal.

    The last time I asked a dealer to hook up a scan tool and read out codes, they quoted me $60 over the phone, and then forgot to charge me anything when I got there.

    -Chap
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Yes, you should visit the Toyota dealer as soon as possible and expect to pay for one hour of labor time. Ask to have all DTC retrieved and for the tech's diagnosis. Then if you post them we might be able to suggest whether the tech's diagnosis is reasonable.

    Based upon the symptoms you mentioned I would say that you have a hybrid system problem: the hybrid vehicle ECU, the traction battery, or the transaxle.
  4. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Welcome to PriusChat. Based on what you've told, there may be no urgent need to ask for a code scan unless some (new) issue presents itself.

    Some shops willl do it for free, and if yours is one, then by all means go take advantage of that. Bring them a package of cookies as a gift.

    Well, patrick posted first and said "go", so I guess you'd better. but it is driving OK, right?
  5. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    Hey all, thanks for the great suggestions. The car's check engine light was on this morning and I only reversed it out of the driveway and back. And it had stayed in the garage while I was at work. I'll take it for a test drive tomorrow and call up local shops to see about getting those DTC codes. Thanks again for the help! and I'll update later.
  6. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    So I started the car up again today and the problem sign (car w/ exclamation) came on again! I fiddled with the ignition and the problem sign went away. Once I started it up the engine ran for a little bit, like 6 seconds, and then it seemed to "fizzle out"? There was mild shaking and a low rattle as the engine the problem light came back on and the car shut off.

    Any ideas on what this problem seems to be?

    Would it be wise to try and drive it to the shop? My instincts say probably not.:(
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    How far is the Toyota dealer from your home?

    Can you drive around the block in your neighborhood without major drama occurring?
  8. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    It's probably less than five miles. I think what I'll do is drive it as far as I can and if it gets weird call and get it towed.
  9. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    Okay so I drove it to the dealership with no real problems, except that it was all electric, no motor. The codes that came up were:

    P0300 - Random misfire?
    P0301 - One of the cylinders did not fire?
    P3191 - Engine does not start

    The service guy said that the ECU, Relay, and the fuel tank need to be replaced. Fuel tank?! Parts and Labor = $2000 How can I mitigate this repair price tag?
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    This is a common problem for Classic Prius in cold weather. TSB EG011-03 provides the thinking behind your service writer's recommendation. However the TSB suggests that the tech actually do troubleshooting to determine the failed part. The service writer instead is saying just to replace everything, which is easy for him/her to do if you are willing to pay the $2K.

    Here's what I suggest you do:

    Make sure the car is tuned up by installing new iridium spark plugs (using the correct NGK or Denso plugs only) if they have not been recently replaced. The fact that you are getting misfire codes (P030x) implies that you have a problem at minimum with the spark plug in cylinder #1 - or maybe with the fuel injector for that cylinder.

    Check the engine air filter and replace if dirty. Make sure the engine oil level is correct (not overfilled) and 5W-30 viscosity or thinner. Finally, clean the throttle body and throttle plate using the appropriate cleaner.

    Then drive the car for a while and see if you still have engine start problems. If yes, then find the engine ECU located behind the glove box and note the part number. If the ECU part number is not 89661-47054, then see if you can buy a used ECU with this part number from a salvage yard, the going price is ~$300. Install the ECU, and your troubles should be over.
  11. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Patrick's got you covered. You might also confirm that the connections to cylinder 1 (ignitor and fuel injector) are firmly plugged in. Heck check all 4 cylinders' connections, why not?

    It is rare but unknown for TSB EG011-03 to require the fuel pump relay and fuel tank assembly to be replaced. If there is evidence that you might need those, check in again because the price of those parts is not actually not excessive. THe fuel tank assembly takes several hours, so that would be the worst thing to actually face.
  12. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    Hey guys thanks for all the great info. I will for sure check out the spark plugs, cylinders and such. But when we went to pick up the car, it was running fine. My wife is out right now getting groceries.

    They must have reset the codes or whatever and now it is back to normal. I will check out that stuff to prevent it from happing again but the worst part of it is we had to shell out $125 for them to read the codes from the car and mis-diagnose it. Live and learn...

    Thanks again for all your helpful insight. :rockon:
  13. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    I understand that some retail auto stores (Kragens,etc) will allow you to use thier scan guage to look at codes. Would these codes show up on a Prius?
  14. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Hi Andy,

    Since the engine ECU logged those codes, it is likely that a generic OBD-II code reader would produce them. However if the hybrid vehicle or traction battery ECUs produced codes, a generic reader may or may not produce them.
  15. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    Thanks Pat, Just for kicks, I bought a scan guage at Harbor freight, cheap, like $50.00. It showed me absolutely nothing, so I bought it back for a refund, 10 minutes later. Of course it only promised to pick-up error codes, which I probably had none. I had used the old diagnostic system on my 84 Camry, which was an interesting procedure, but tedious. Short two pins and then observe the dashboard screen and look for and count pulses. This was all covered in the Toyota Repair manual, which was then about $35.00 I never quite figured it out as the car always registered OK. It's hard to fix something that isn't broke. Andy.
  16. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Hi Andy,

    Well - if you want to buy an OBD-II code reader and test it, it is easy enough to force some DTC to be present. For example, you could disconnect the wiring harness connector to one of the spark igniters or fuel injectors to get an engine DTC. You could remove the traction battery interlock to get a DTC from the traction battery ECU (and maybe hybrid vehicle ECU.)

    Some problems have "two trip" detection logic, so you may need to start the car a couple of times before warning lights will come on.

    Then to clear any codes, restore whatever you had disconnected. Then disconnect the 12V battery negative terminal for a few minutes, or use the code clearing function of the code reader.
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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  18. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    :focus:

    Okay so I've replaced the spark plus and I am still getting the error. Should I disconnect the battery to clear the codes? If so where is the battery? :confused: Also how do I clean the throttle body and plate if I have to do that?
  19. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Did you notice any problems with the spark plugs or the igniters, especially for the cylinder logging the misfire code?

    Yes, you can disconnect the negative terminal of the 12V battery for several minutes to clear the DTC. The battery is located on the left side of the trunk area. When you open the trunk you will notice a small access cover that has three or four plastic fasteners. Remove the fasteners so that you can take the cover off. Then you will see the battery.

    To clean the throttle body and plate, remove the air filter cover and air filter after the car is IG-OFF. If the air filter is dirty, replace it.

    Look down the throttle body. Twist the throttle open, rotating the spring-loaded shaft by hand. You will probably see black deposits. If so, remove them. Probably easiest to use throttle body cleaner spray (that is safe for use with catalytic converters.)
  20. nuclear_j

    nuclear_j New Member

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    Well the spark plugs did look worn and I just replaced them about six months ago. I do not know how to tell how the igniters are, how would i check that? I will go and disconnect the battery to clear the codes.
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