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Clutch Problem?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by TrlBlzn1, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    My wife has a 2005 Prius with about 150,000 miles on it. She lost power while driving and the check engine light came on. There were still atleast 3 squares left on the fuel gauge but the battery charge was down to about zero. She called me at home from the side of the road. I jumped in my car and drove about 5 or 6 miles to where she was broke down. I was able to drive the Prius back home and the battery seemed to be charging back up until we got to within 1/4 of a block of our apt. and the charge dropped back down to zero. The next morning we tried and failed to drive the car to a mechanic. Only made it a half block when all power was lost and the master warning light came on along with other warning lights. We had the car towed and our mechanic checked it out and said the throttle went out on it and that it seems to be an ongoing problem with other Prius owners having throttle issues. He said that it will cost $830 plus labor!!!!! I hope he's being honest and not just taking us to the cleaners. Any comments? Thanks for reading.
  2. Tickwood

    Tickwood Member

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    Does your mechanic know that the Prius does not have a clutch?
  3. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    My mistake, I meant throttle. Sorry, not a clutch. Goes to show how little I know about cars.
  4. firepa63

    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

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    Sounds like you ran out of gas...
  5. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi TrlBlzn...,

    See if you can get the DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) out of the technician. There are people on PC here that have access to those, and can tell you what they mean.

    The common failures for Prius cars similar to yours with those symptoms are a sticky throttle plate (simple cleaning, or replacement) or a failed spark amplifier (not sure of the actual name - there is one for each cylinder). If you have never had the throttle body cleaned, that is a strong possibility. It should not cost $840 to clean that. It could also be a dirty MAF sensor (tells the computer how much air is being sucked in by the engine, in mass units). It could be allot of other things too. Like a bad 12 V battery - have you ever replaced it ?

    There are rare instances when the throttle pedal mechanism fails too, but they are rare, and more common on the 1 st generation Prius.

    BE VERY CAREFUL not to run the battery down to a low state of charge. In an older battery the individual cells are not as closely matched any more. Running the battery to a low state of charge can cause damage to an individual cell if its not closely matched to all the others. And since all the cells are in series, damaging one will require the whole pack be serviced.
  6. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Is this "mechanic" a Toyota hybrid certified mechanic, or Joe the Mechanic at the corner gas station?

    The DTC's will point you in the right direction. The throttle is drive by wire, although rare the pedal assembly itself could have gone out. Semi trucks with electronically injected motors, such as Detroit Diesel Series 60 with DDEC IV and higher, have drive by wire, and some had high failures if the cab was always wet with muddy boots.

    If the DTC points you to the TB, there is an electric drive motor that opens and closes the throttle blade. Heavy deposits can make the blade stick. A cleaning of the TB will almost always fix this issue

    If I were you, get a detailed breakdown of the DTC's and parts suggested

    And never, ever drive a Prius only on battery, you can ruin the battery pack that way. If the gas motor conks out, use the electric to move off to the side of the road, and power down

    Three bars of gas ... it's not called a "guess gage" for nothing. I'd also try filling it up
  7. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    All of the symptoms point to the gas engine not running. The real question, then, is *why* is it not running. The suggestions above all relate to answering that question. Start with the easy ones: 1) Add gas, 2) Pull the codes.

    Tom
  9. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    By all means, visit a Toyota dealer, and have somebody who is Prius certified take a look!!! It's in your best interest to do so!!
  10. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    Well, almost $1200 dollars later, our Prius is back on the road again.
    Here is some info from the service invoice:

    Check engine charging system problem.
    Codes P2103, P2111.
    Fault in throttle actuator motor, replace.
    Throttle body assembly and gasket - $837
    Labor - $280

    My biggest fear now is, whats next? The battery? If so, the economy of Hybrid fuel savings could take a big bite from our hopes, expectations and investment. Our fingers are crossed.
  11. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    P2103 = Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
    P2111 = Throttle Actuator Control System - Stuck Open

    The Prius has an electronic throttle - 'drive by wire'. The throttle butterfly valve is moved by a small electric motor. The first code means that the motor appeared to have developed a short-circuit. The second code means the sensor (which confirms the valve opening angle) value didn't change when the car asked it to. If the windings had shorted, that's not very surprising.

    The motor is unfortunately not available as a separate part. It's part of the throttle body unit.

    The unit appears to be cooled by the engine coolant path, so replacing it requires draining and refilling the coolant system, which has an involved bleeding process. That could account for the high labour charge, because otherwise all the parts are easily accessible - you take off the air filter and there it is.

    Champion Toyota list the MSRP of the part as $832.41 but would sell you one for $632.63. It should be possible to get one from a breaker. It does require a new gasket (MSRP $3.46, Champion Toyota price $2.63).

    I haven't particularly heard of a lot of failures of the throttle body. It doesn't seem to be a common topic here. Hobbit took one to pieces here, but couldn't find anything wrong with it.

    The throttle body is completely independent of anything else. A failure here doesn't indicate a future failure of anything else. The reports seem to suggest that the HV battery is particularly reliable - on 2001-2003 cars it's been failing at around 180,000 miles, but the newer design has had many fewer failures. Many other new cars are now coming with 'drive-by-wire' throttle, because it allows a software engine map to be used, adjusting the throttle level to change the pedal response with other conditions.
  12. auricchio

    auricchio Member

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    Thanks, Mike, for the detailed explanation.
  13. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    Yes, thanks very much Mike. I appreciate the info you and others have provided and I'm a little more comfortable now as far as the mechanics honesty is concerned.
  14. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    As Hobbit suggested in his link, I really, really hope this wasn't a case of the TB just needing a CLEANING. Question to OP: since it was off warranty, did you ask for the old TB back??

    If this was a case of the TB sticking due to minor deposits, I'd go back to that dealership and rip them a brand new anus.

    Much like the issues popping up about the Combination Meter going "bad." It would be cute if all you had to do to "fix" the combi meter was carefully unseat and reseat all four connectors

    Doesn't anybody give a s*** about old-timey proper diagnostics anymore? Are we just supposed to keep replacing parts until the thing works, then shrug and CHA-CHING!

    This is one of my more annoying pet peeves. It isn't bad enough to uncurl my short and curlies, but has the potential to do so in the future!
  15. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    No, I didn't ask for the old TB back and I didn't have the work done at the dealership.
  16. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    Sounds to me like the mechanic was pretty good. Got the problem solved right away. -WITHOUT- Toyota training! But we've seen how good that "training" is, watching dealer service reports. ;)

    -AND- he charged you a reasonable fee. Remember, shop rates are in the $100/hr range. So $75-$100 for diagnosis, the rest for the repair. Most dealers will charge you $50-$75 just to plug in the diagnosis tool!

    Oh, and no, don't expect more things to go bad soon. It's a Toyota! A rare failure is what you had.
  17. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    No, I haven't read any Toyota dealer service reports? Are some less than desirable?
  18. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    I'm just hoping this wasn't an issue where a TB cleaning would have worked just as well ...
  19. TrlBlzn1

    TrlBlzn1 New Member

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    I hope so too and thats basically why I posted on this forum. Just to get some feedback as to whether or not I was ripped off. Not that its ever a good time to have car problems but I was just recently notified of being layed off my job so finances are much tighter than they already were. I'm hopeful that things will get better before they get much worse.
  20. direstraits71

    direstraits71 Member

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    If that was my car I'd call the mechanic and ask for the $837 souvenir you bought. I bet someone on this forum would like to see it if you don't want it. Could be fixable, who knows?
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