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How to tell if battery is dying

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Don Friedman, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. Don Friedman

    Don Friedman Junior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I've been reading a lot of post about the Gen 1 Prius (purchased new in 2001) and haven't yet figured out how to tell if my battery is becoming problematic. Perhaps someone here can guide me as I lack the technical sophistication that many here seem to have. My Gen 1 Prius has 136,000 miles on it and the 12V battery has been replaced a couple of times. Lately I've notice a general downward pattern in my mileage and on occasion I've been noticing that the engine isn't shutting down when it should. Other times it does. I've been unable to create a correlation between any outside factors as it might affect this process.

    For the most part the car drives well and dependably but at the same time I'm seeing the engine not shut down there seems to be some hesitancy in acceleration, as if it's going to stall but then it recovers nicely.

    What should I be looking for? I'm hesitant to bring it to my Toyota dealership as I suspect they'll simply write me up for $4000 of work and that'll I have little chance to do anything except spend the money at the moment or trade it.

    Thanks in advance for your input on this matter.

    Don Friedman
    Pittsburgh, PA
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
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    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    FAQ

    These folks sell Prius batteries for $1475.00, if you have them do the install, it is $282.00 more. It would be an 8 hour drive each way.
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Location:
    Huntsville AL with 2003 Prius
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Hi Don,

    I have a Graham miniscanner coming off of instrument rental this week. This unit allows you to:

    1) check codes - Hybrid, Engine and Battery ECU
    2) check traction battery health - look at minimum, maximum module pairs, and temperatures
    3) check transaxle temperatures - MG1 and MG2
    4) there are over 50 parameters that can be checked

    If you are interested, send me a PM and we can go over the details.

    Other things you may want to check out, preventive maintenance:

    • throttle plate cleaning - this typically causes the car to not start.
    • transaxle oil change - although rated at 60,000 miles, we find operationally, it needs to be changed at 30,000 miles based upon oil sample testing.
    • inverter coolant change - it should be changed ~60,000 miles but typically doesn't cause a problem until the coolant pump clogs up.
    • tires and alignment - many of us use tire pressures closer to maximum sidewall and four wheel alignment
    Bob Wilson
  4. prius2001

    prius2001 New Member

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    Location:
    New York
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I have a 2001 prius with 120K miles and also need a new hybrid battery (codes P3000, P3006, 3016, C1259). After the Toyota dealer (Fordham Toyota, Bronx, NY) originally quoted $3900, then $3500, I called Toyota Customer Assistance Center and with their help got the price down to $2699 + tax for the new battery and install.
    I called Springfield Toyota outside of Philadelphia, and they quoted $1920 (20% discount from MSRP) for the battery and $480 for labor.

    As an alternative I checked JimboPalmer's link and spoke with Tracy (male) at Taylor Automotive in North Carolina. Quoted $1475 for rebuild, which he said uses Gen II battery cells in Gen I casing. He says he uses a non-corrosive material for the bus bars as well (stated that the Gen I cells more likely to leak than the Gen II as well, and Gen II cells lighter and last longer). He warranties for one year, and says he's done about 150 rebuilds and only had to redeem warranty on two. He uses PIA (spelling?) freight company, with pickup usually same or next day as requested and round trip shipping about 200-250 dollars. He offered to locate a garage in my area that would perform the work (he charges $282 labor if done there), and said a fair estimate for removal and replacement total time is 4 hours labor. Seemed like a nice guy. Any word from anyone who has used this rebuild? Is it safe/better to use the Gen II cells.

    Any thoughts on whether to go with the dealer offer or the rebuild, assuming both come with one year warranty?

    Hope this helps, and thanks.
  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Location:
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    Model:
    III


    Hi,

    Either one will work but I'm partial to Re-InVolt:
    [​IMG]
    It took two of us from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM to swap out the old for the new battery. My testing and the new car features has shown the NHW20 modules are superior to the older NHW11 modules. This is important IF you are going after heavy use (aka., lots of hills, hot weather, high speeds.) However, if you'll baby the NHW11 (cruise at 65 mph, climb hills at 55 mph, park in shade in hot days,) your mileage will go up and the NHW11 modules will last a very long time.

    I have no financial interest in Re-InVolt except as a supplier I trust. I've spoken with David Taylor and he has his head screwed on right. But the Toyota solutions are good too. It is like asking, "Do you prefer cake or pie?"

    Bob Wilson
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