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Inverter converter gone bad

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Jen Creek, Sep 6, 2012.

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  1. Jen Creek

    Jen Creek New Member

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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
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    I have a 2004 Prius with 166,000 miles that, till yesterday, ran just fine. Now, however, it has a bad inverter converter, and the Toyota dealership mechanic said it's going to cost $4,200 to replace.

    Can I safely buy a used inverter converter from eBay and insist that the dealer's service department use it? (Will a dealership's service department typically agree to using used parts provided by a customer?) I see used ones on eBay for a couple hundred dollars or less, which sounds a lot better than $4,200.

    Are there any considerations I need to keep in mind when selecting a specific used inverter converter? (I see about half a dozen on eBay that should work on a 2004 Prius.)

    If the used part is a bad idea, then is it crazy to spend $4,200 on an 8-year-old car? I don't want to find that I'm spending $2,000 next year, and so on, but neither can I afford a new car right now.

    Thanks for any and all insights.
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Can a Prius be a Campervan?

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    You'll need to find an experienced non-Toyota dealer mechanic for putting in used parts... Also, inverters tend to fail because the inverter cooling pump is bad and there is a recall for the inverter cooling pump for certain Prius, so if that's broke, depending on your VIN number Toyota has to fix that for free. I don't know if anyone has gotten free inverter replacement because of a recalled pump that caused the problem, but that'd be cool... Maybe do more searches on here to figure it out, as well as call around to other Toyota dealers.
  3. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Why use the dealer? Buy a Inverter off eBay and find an Independant. Lots of poeple have. Start searching the phone book for a local garage.

    The dealer is very expensive at $125 an hour labor.I think the Inverter replacement is listed at 7 hours labor. Its not technical at all really. Disconnect the hybrid battery at the orange interlock and then its alot of unbolting. There was one post here a long time ago that a guy did his in the driveway and documented it pretty good. Search.

    Btw, did the Inverter fail from a coolant pump failure? How have you maintained the car? How often was the trans fluid replaced and how often have you replaced the Inverter Coolant and the engine coolant?
  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    What state are you in? If you're in CA or a CARB state, perhaps you can plead your case to Toyota. They might be willing to cover some of the bill.
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    What warning lights/warning messages appear, and what driveability symptoms are evident?

    You can insist, and the dealer's service mgr can decline your business.

    Some service departments may agree to install the used part if you accept responsibility for the outcome - in other words, if the used part does not work, you get to pay for the labor time regardless.

    If you live in a major metropolitan area, especially on either coast, you may be able to find an independent who is trained on Toyota hybrids, as an alternative to dealer service. I would not permit a non-trained individual to do this work.

    The major consideration regarding purchase of a used part, besides whether or not it actually works, would be that the part number of the replacement inverter needs to be at least the same as the original. If you are considering a part number which is higher than the original you need to check with the dealer to determine whether it is compatible with the hybrid vehicle ECU. Do not buy a part number which is downlevel from the original.

    Yes, I would think twice about spending $4,200 in repairs on a car whose market value is not too much more than that. The traction battery or the transaxle may die on you next, and either repair will be another healthy four-digit amount.
    davidigrace@mail.com likes this.
  6. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer

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    I say... Buy the used inverter and replace it yourself. It doesnt look that complicated to me...
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