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Help! Dealer over-filled oil, claims battery died.

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by theSaj, Apr 2, 2012.

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  1. theSaj

    theSaj Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2002 Prius
    Model:
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    2002 Prius
    190,000 miles

    Friday I had an oil change & tire rotation done at the dealer. Afterwards there was a kind of soft "whirl/whistle" sound. At first, I thought it might just be due to the tire rotation & fresher tread (fairly new tires).

    But I noticed that it only occurred when I let up the gas (ie: during regenerative breaking). It did not happen if I accelerated or played with the pedal to just use the electric motor. The regerative breaking also felt firmer, it wasn't quite as firm and hard as breaking mode, maybe 20%-25% between normal and breaking mode


    I was going to return on Monday and have the dealer take a look. Yesterday all the lights came on, and I dropped the vehicle off at the dealer. I also checked the oil and noticed it was overfilled. I had a tech at the dealer check and they confirmed it was overfilled. (A couple of years ago the same dealership over-filled the oil and had to clean out the valves and such.)

    So my initital theory was that they over-filled the oil. This made it more difficult for the regenerative breaking to turn the engine/generator system. And that was why I was hearing that soft "whirr" sound when I was coasting/regerative breaking.

    So that was my expectation of the problem. Now the dealer is telling me the battery is bad and it will be $2,900. (I am not sure I really trust the competance of this dealer, they've shown great incompetance in the past, and I am considering getting a second opinion.) I am concerned that they over-filled the oil and have damaged the car and are trying to burden me with the cost by claiming the battery has died (leaked)

    We've had no signs of problems or issues with the battery to date. Not sure if there is usually an accompianment of symptoms before failure (ie: poor mileage, etc). But our mileage has been very typical, toward the high end of our normal in fact.

    Please advise....

    UPDATE: Dealer says it's a P3009 code.

    According to this chat, it's common for battery but means it's a High Voltage Ground Fault and could be other issues.

    priuschat.com/forums/generation-1-prius-discussion/96825-dreaded-code-p3009.html


    I'm just wondering if the over-fill of the oil making the engine harder to turn for the regenerative breaking could have caused the P3009 fault.

    Luscious Garage had a post describing inverter/transmission failure also giving P3009 code. However, they also note a "whirrr from regenerative breaking" as a symptom. This is EXACTLY what I was hearing.

    Now my stupid dealership wants to charge me a second diagnosis charge. Argh.
  2. theSaj

    theSaj Junior Member

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    I had been really hoping, expecting even, that my first Toyota would make it to "200,000+" miles.

    :-(
  3. theSaj

    theSaj Junior Member

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    UPDATE: So after arguing with the dealer for some time. And then them exclaiming to me that they would have to charge me another $89 for further diagnosis - guess what?

    I was right and they were wrong. It is in fact the inverter that has gone bad at a replacement cost of $4,500.

    I really really wish I knew if that is due to them over-filling the oil. I highly suspect it to be a contributing cause. :-(

    Seriously, they wanted to charge me $89 to correct their mis-diagnosis.
  4. k9frog

    k9frog New Member

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    In the one year ive owned my 2011, what i found is,first prius is a great car, second never go to a dealer for service,it kinda seems toyota is lacking in that catergory.
  5. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    DO NOT PAY $4500 for an inverter.

    Shop around for a used one. Have an independent shop install it.
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    DTC P3009 is a high voltage ground fault. The amount of engine oil in the crankcase has nothing to do with that fault.

    Assuming that the inverter is in fact the failed component, I agree with the suggestion that you should look for an independent shop that is willing to install a salvage unit. That might keep your repair bill down to the $1K+ range.

    Note that you can drive the car indefinitely if P3009 is the only DTC logged by your car. It is not the safest thing to do because in the event of an accident which shorts a high voltage line, the existing ground fault may lead to serious sparking, discharge of the traction battery through the car's chassis, shock hazard etc.
  7. theSaj

    theSaj Junior Member

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    Okay, so they originally diagnosed it as bad battery. But that didn't explain the "whirrrr" sound I was hearing during regenerative breaking. Suspecting that the P3009 code was actually from the inverter/transmission, I asked them to re-diagnose - despite the additional $89/fee they wanted to charge me.

    Well, I was right, they were wrong. The fault lies in the transmission. They said the actual inverter (stator) looks to be good. That the gears are the issue.

    Not sure if it's possible to buy the gears and re-build it....???

    ---

    Anyone know how long one can drive this way? At this point it seems like all I can do is try to trade it in as an "car auction" vehicle.
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Well, your car may have two issues. It may have a mechanical issue within the transaxle which is causing the whirr sound, and an electrical issue somewhere in the high voltage path causing P3009. A mechanical issue by itself would not cause a high voltage ground fault.

    I would suggest that you live with the whirr sound for now, but if you want to do something about it, the least expensive solution would be to buy a salvage transaxle and have it installed.
  9. theSaj

    theSaj Junior Member

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    I commute a 100 miles a day, I don't think my Prius will live with the "whirrr" sound.
  10. theSaj

    theSaj Junior Member

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    Hi Patrick,

    I took your advice and looked into used transaxles. Talked to Eric at Adopt-A-Part (after seeing a few of his posts), he was very helpful and insightful. Also gave me another contact who might be able to assist finding someone in the Maryland/Pennsylvania area.

    Thanks for all the insights everybody. Much appreciated.
  11. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer

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    Hope you get it fixed. Let us know/keep us informed.

    Good luck.:)
  12. jhknight

    jhknight Junior Member

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    I too have a 2002 Prius, 115000 miles. Dealer ALWAYS overfills the oil!! and this results in poor mpgs for awhile. Cant get oil changed anywhere else cause nobody knows how to drive a fricken hybrid without screwing it up (they leave it in neutral and discharge the battery!) My average MPG's are down to 44 lately, possibly I bought the wrong tires.
    I distrust the dealer techs, they lie to me often. The told me they never replace struts on a Prius! Bullshit!
  13. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul 6 Gen1s, 3 Gen2s

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    Gen1 Inverter/Tranny/Battery issues can be hard to diagnose...especially for someone that rarely works on Gen1s. I've had many customers pay dealer $$$$ for an inverter, then the dealer says "sorry, you need a tranny too", or "you need a Hybrid battery too".

    Ideally you can find an independent shop near you with lots of Gen1 experience...even if you have to go a couple hundred miles it will be worth it.
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