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How do you put the Prius in neutral to push or tow it?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by pumpiniron, Sep 14, 2008.

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  1. pumpiniron

    pumpiniron New Member

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    Ok so I have a wrecked Prius. The car doesn't start or even turn on. I'm wondering how you go about pushing the car in neutral? As far as I know you can not get it in neutral without the car being on since the transmission is shift by wire. Is there a way to manually put the car in neutral so I can push/tow it?
  2. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    if the car will not turn on, at least to the point of being able to be "ignition on" and not ready (push power button on twice without foot on brake), theres no other way to put it in neutral. your going to have to jack it on rollers to tow it.

    i think a tow truck can still lift it from the front and tow on its rear wheels, but watch out for the angle, too high of an angle can dent the rear


    only the pre 2004 prius had a mechanical release for the parking brake

    this is pretty much what the emergency response guide says.
  3. pumpiniron

    pumpiniron New Member

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    I guess I can thank Toyota for not thinking of this one.
  4. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry EPA MPG #'s killer

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    Hopefully Hobbit or one of the other Prius gurus will chime in but, I thought I heard once that there is a mechanical way to disengage park from under the car.
  5. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    according to the official toyota response guide, there is no way to disengage park
  6. pumpiniron

    pumpiniron New Member

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    Technically speaking there should be some sort of way. The idea of the transmission being shift by wire would mean that at some point in the system there would have to be a solenoid of some sort that the computer would control to shift the gears.
  7. Rangerdavid

    Rangerdavid Active Member

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    I'm not aware of any way to do what you are asking. It can be towed though, although you may not want to watch.............

    RD
  8. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    the only way to move a prius that will not turn on (2004- present) is to put it on a towing dolly/wheels, or tow it from the front (i think) period, end of story. do not pass go, do not collect $200, regis that is my final answer

    concentrate your efforts on getting that car turned on instead, once its turned on, the flood gates are open and you can push it all you want. its just not a good idea to tow it in neutral with all 4 wheels on the ground for extended periods, because the transmission is always in gear
    dbcassidy likes this.
  9. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    In theory, the manual way would be to raise up the vehicle front, and remove the shift control actuator assembly from the transaxle case. Then it would be necessary to rotate the parking pawl to disengage.

    However this will be messy, so it would be best to either figure out how to power the Prius up (perhaps it needs a new 12V auxiliary battery?), or else raise up the front and tow it.
  10. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Patrick is correct. You can mechanically remove the parking pawl assembly, but this is more bother than simply using a dolly.

    Tom
    dbcassidy likes this.
  11. zaxinc

    zaxinc New Member

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    This is a classic case where technology overlooked the simple things.
  12. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    The little 3-phase drive motor is on the back of the tranny under
    some fiber shielding and *very* close to the firewall and frame
    members, and would be pretty difficult to remove with it still
    in the car. There's a shot of one opened up in my training slides.
    It pretty much works like a stepper motor.
    .
    What surprises me, at least as far as I know, is that Toyota
    doesn't have a tool to plug into where the transmission ECU is
    under the passenger-side dash and simply drive the pawl motor
    from an external source. It wouldn't be that hard to build.
    You could theoretically do it by powering the correct wires
    in sequence but with that 60:1 reduction it would take a while
    to spin the thing far enough to completely pull the pawl.
    .
    _H*
  13. EZW1

    EZW1 Active Member

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    Toyota says DO NOT tow a Prius by the front wheels. Doing so would spin HSD with MG2, generate electricity, and possibly burn wires. They say the only way to tow a Prius is with the back wheels on the ground.
  14. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    yeah maybe i stand corrected, i thought i heard it was okay to tow it for short distances with all 4 wheels on the ground in neutral for short periods. a short period would be defined like a mile or two or just enough so you can move it to tow it properly... i thought this scenario was mentioned in the emergency guide as well, and that was what i meant in the original post.
  15. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    Like -ANY- FWD car, "DO NOT TOW WITH THE FRONT WHEELS ON THE GROUND".

    Why is this difficult? Why is this a downside to technological developement? It's the same for all FWD cars. If you tow an "ordinary" FWD car for any distance with the front wheels on the ground you can destroy the transmission - even with it in neutral.

    The -ONLY- difference with the Prius, is you can't even drag it a short distance with the front wheels on the ground.

    ALL towtrucks have dollies as standard equipment (to pull illegally parked cars around the block, for example, without taking them out of "P". ALL towtruck operators would tow the Prius with the front wheels off the ground (for short distances, say up to 10 miles). For longer distances they use a tip-up flat bed truck.

    I don't see any problem here. ;)
  16. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    toyota prius 2007 instruction manual page 373:

    NOTICE I AM NOT ENDORSING THIS DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK

    if towing service is not available in an emergency your vehicle may be temporarily towed by a cable to chain secured to the emergency toyowing eyelet inside the front bumper. use extreme caution ... a driver must be in the vehicle to steer and operate the brakes... towing in this manner may be done only hard surfaced roads for a short distance at low speeds. wheels axels drive train steering and brakes must be in good conditiion. never tow a vehicle from the rear with all 4 wheels on the ground this may cause serious damage to the transaxle..

    so it is assumed that toyota has no problem whatsoever with towing a prius in an emergency and no towing service is available, with all 4 wheels on the ground as long as its a short distance and under 40 miles per hour.... and not having the car backwards...

    reminder : i said emergency towing. your keyfob not working, you ran out of gas, or you have a flat tire is not really an emergency, this is spefically for a last resort.... and if the car won't power on enough to put it in neutral, you are stuck and have to have it towed professionally

    second reminder:
    the extended warranty comes with free roadside assisance., and if the original poster bought it from prius chat, this whole topic is moot

    if the front wheels are off the ground? then why is there a need for someone to stay in the back to steer?
  17. rigormortis

    rigormortis Active Member

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    exceeding 42 mph will cause serious damage and ruin and total out mg1
    exceeding 100 mph will casue serious damage and ruin and total out mg2
  18. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    Low speeds is the key phrase. See my generated EMF analysis
    and consider how high you'd want to let the voltage get inside
    the inverter without any of its electronic monitoring/control.
    You could certainly push the car across the shop or yard, but
    high speed in a powered-off state seems inadvisable.
    .
    I think Bob Wilson's got a detailed and fairly hairy towing
    story from a little while ago... in an NHW11, which is a little
    different.
    .
    _H*
  19. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    In order to tow as posted with all four wheels on the ground you -will- need the FOB, because you -will- need to have the car in "N". That part was missed in the above post.

    I -think- you could have the car left in "N" if you shut it off while moving (it shifts to "N" if you do this). I haven't tried this so I'm not sure if it goes into "P" when it stops.
  20. statultra

    statultra uber-Senior Member

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    if u have a 12 volt battery, shift it into neutral by turning IG on.

    if u cant do that, pull the shift cable until u know its in neutral
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