Welcome to PriusChat

We'd love to have you join our community and participate in the conversation! Sign up for FREE today.

Sign Up

Inverter failure part number and advice

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Johnunit, Jan 4, 2012.

Social Buttons

  1. Johnunit

    Johnunit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Hello, I've got a 2001 Prius I bought about a month ago, and I love it... other than the inverter apparently dying.


    The situation:

    With no warning that I could discern, while going about 50mph in 30F weather, no real stress on the hybrid system to speak of, the car died. PS warning, hybrid system, and hybrid battery warnings go on. Momentarily the engine revved somewhat (as if charging the battery despite SOC showing 3/4). No drama or anything, no weird noises, just lots of lights to tell me all was lost. I pulled over (the ICE engine now off, I think... this was on the side of the world's busiest highway in a snowstorm), doubly confirmed with the owner's manual that it was a bad idea to try to move the car, and turned it off. While waiting for a tow truck I tried 4-5 times in the course of at least an hour (got down to the blue cold coolant light being on) to get the car to start, but the engine did not attempt to start and the lights remained on. Every in-car thing seemed to function normally, but the car made no attempt to move


    After being towed back to a seemingly reputable toyota dealership (I've found no negative reviews of their service, beyond some nitpicking about bodywork) the prognosis has come back that they are "pretty sure" it's the inverter. The quoted price was "4200-4500" Canadian. They indicated their normal salvage place didn't have a used inverter, and that they couldn't 100% guarantee it's the inverter.


    The Questions:

    1. This sure sounds like an inverter from my own research. How sure do you think I can be that the cause is the inverter, as opposed to something else major? What are the odds another MAJOR component would present as an inverter?

    I'm inclined to assume that the "we can't guarantee it" is because it's hard to diagnose everything else in the drivetrain with a 100% non-functional inverter. Thus, they're pretty sure the inverter is the problem but can't pretend they've actually witness other parts working. The electric motors can't be energized, the engine can't turn over, etc. so they can't swear by it. Sound logic?


    2. I've found a few potential salvage inverters, but they're something of a drive and I don't have easy access to my Prius. I don't know the build date but I have the VIN. How can I assure myself I have the right PN# salvage inverter? I see lots of references to needing the right part number (or even just a part number "after" the original's) but no clear way to tell what's newer or what's acceptable.

    2a) is there any way of telling the health of the inverter beyond the salvage yard's claimed mileage of donor vehicle?


    Anything else people can think of that I seem to be overlook is appreciated. I'm pretty handy (would be doing this myself if I had a garage or lived in a place with nicer winters) but I don't have any hands-on experience to speak of on a Prius.


    Thanks,

    John
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,330
    Likes Received:
    1,930
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Can you give us the DTCs?

    It might be just the inverter coolant pump or perhaps (wild guess) an air bubble in that coolant loop.
  3. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul 6 Gen1s, 3 Gen2s

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Boulder Hybids, Boulder, CO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Any 2001 to 2003 prius inverter will work in your car. Ask for a printout of error codes including the INF codes (sub codes). I concur with cwerdna. A lot of "inverter" problems are inverter cooling system related.

    Regarding OP question 2A "is there a way to know if salvage inverter is good" the answer is not until you install it a car where everything else works normally and drive it for a while. Best to buy from a Gen1 enthusiast dismantler. Eric at AdoptAPart in Denver might be able to pull a "known good one" from one of his drivers and sell it to you, since you are in Canada, it would be a hassle to return the inverter if it didn't work out.
    2 people like this.
  4. freidawg

    freidawg Prius Recycler

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2003 Prius
    Model:
    N/A



    Paul, thank you for the referral.

    We can supply a known good, tested inverter to Canada and we are happy to help you make sure you need it (i.e. help with the diagnosis) before we ship. Feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance.

    Eric
    Adopt A Part
    800-508-2211
    1 person likes this.
  5. Johnunit

    Johnunit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Thanks for the replies! I'll try and get the DTCs (may be an issue as they were pulled almost a week ago and the dealership is very busy), I'll check that they checked the possibility of an inverter pump or air bubble.

    I'll give Eric@ adopt-a-part a ring later today. "Known Good" sounds fantastic right about now.
  6. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,330
    Likes Received:
    1,930
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
  7. Johnunit

    Johnunit New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Just wanted to update people:

    I bought a used inverter through Adopt-A-Part, 500 dollars US shipped, including duty etc. to my dealer in Ontario. It was installed promptly by Scarborough Toyota, who were great about having a new customer come in, having the car sit for about 2 weeks, using a 3rd party used part, etc. The total cost from the Toyota dealer was
    $488 CAD tax in, so in Canadian dollars I paid a tad over 1000 bucks. The car works perfectly in the 100km since the repair.

    So my problem was an inverter and I'd HIGHLY recommend Adopt-A-Part and Scarborough Toyota. Both of them were cheaper, faster, and more reliable than any alternative I found. Can't ask for more than that.
  8. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul 6 Gen1s, 3 Gen2s

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Boulder Hybids, Boulder, CO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Glad it worked out for you, and nice to hear Scarborough Toyota allowed you to BYOP (bring your own parts), many dealers won't allow that.
  9. freidawg

    freidawg Prius Recycler

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2003 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    We are very happy it worked out and we value each and every customer and referral. Thank You Thank You!

    Eric
    Adopt A Part
  10. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul 6 Gen1s, 3 Gen2s

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    338
    Location:
    Boulder Hybids, Boulder, CO
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    We're seeing quite a few inverter water pump failures on Gen1's. If you are changing your inverter or tranny, it is wise to install a NEW inverter/tranny electric water pump at that time and thoroughly bleed the inverter. Toyota has supposedly improved the pump design in recent years. (the new pumps have silver/gold mounting base instead of black from when car was built) This may save you from having to swap one of the expensive items again. Water pump part number is G9020-47022 list price around $145.
Similar Threads: Inverter failure
Forum Title Date
Generation 1 Prius Discussion Inverter Pump Failure - again! (200k miles later) Sep 15, 2014
Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting Inverter failure? Sep 11, 2014
Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles Inverter Failure - Part Backordered - No ETA Jul 23, 2014
Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles 2010 Prius died - P0A94 - Inverter Failure - Replaced Jun 26, 2014
Generation 1 Prius Discussion Inverter failure in 2003 prius Oct 22, 2013