Welcome to PriusChat

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

Sign Up

New TSB (Sept 2009) Evaporator Coil Replacement for stinky or moldy Prius

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by WestLAemail, Sep 3, 2009.

Social Buttons

  1. WestLAemail

    WestLAemail New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Los Angeles
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    My story: Bought my pre-owned 2008 Package 6 Touring on July 3, 2009, with 13k miles on it (in Southern California). Went to the doctor's office on July 14, 2009 for breathing difficulties. Been back to the doctor's 6 times since then, all for breathing issues. They could not find the right diagnosis after many tests (eg: upper GI series, asthma, sinus CAT scan, etc).

    Last week, I turned on the car in the hot sun and the AC blasted into my face. It smelled very much like opening my gym bag after forgetting that I had left my wet towel in it 2 weeks ago. I looked in the AC vents and saw what appeared to be mold growing on every vent (I've posted pics of this on my flickr page, so contact me directly for the link). I did some research and found all the threads about stinky Priuses. And then I found all the disturbing anecdotes about mold on the evaporator coils and bad odors, etc.

    Luckily for me, I bought the car with a Toyota Certified Warranty, so I took it in 58 days after purchasing it to get it checked out. They claimed that the white splotches on the AC vents are not mold, that it was actually Armor All from a bad detail job. I really don’t know, but to me, it looked and smelled very much like mold. Anyway, without much argument, the service manager agreed to replace the entire evaporator unit, per an official Toyota Service Bulletin. I had never heard of that particular TSB before, so it was surprising to me. I asked for a copy of it, but obviously, they didn’t want to release it. He did mention that the TSB just came out about a week ago (it’s 09/03/09 as I write this). The fact that Toyota would agree to perform such a huge job tells me that the problem is pretty serious. They covered my rental for the two days they worked on my car. Additionally, I asked them to replace the cabin air filter (for free—but had to fight for it; otherwise, it's $30). I argued that I would NEVER have bought this car had I known about this in the beginning.

    Ever since I discovered the “mold(?)” on my AC vents, I stopped using the AC. My breathing issues have subsided, but I don’t know if that was the reason. All I know is that I have improved a bit, and we’ll see if I will fully recover. All evidence for my breathing issues points at the Prius:

    July 3: Bought car
    July 14: First doctor's visit for breathing issues
    July 14-August 27: Breathing problems grew worse
    August 27: Found what appeared to be mold in AC vents
    August 27-Now: Stopped using AC in car, breathing improved slightly

    Anyway, the TSB on my invoice is listed as: Replace Evaporator Sub – Assembly. T – SB – 0261-09.

    Here are all the parts:
    Quantity: 1 – 88501-47041 Evaporator Sub-As
    Quantity: 2 – 90068-14010 Ring, O
    Quantity: 2 – 90099-14119 O-Ring
    Quantity: 1 – R134 ?

    Hope this helps someone out there. Google "AC mold prius" and a few helpful sites will come up, especially one from thesqueakywheel. As much as I love my Prius, mold spores pose a very dangerous health hazard to some people, and in my case, I've been suffering quite a bit. A class-action suit doesn’t seem too farfetched.

    Good luck.
    --------------------------------------------

    It's now Sep. 6, 2009. I got my car back from the dealership on Sep. 3. The day after I picked it up, a got a warning light while I was on the road. "P/S error" and "VC" or something like that. The red triangle with the exclamation point stayed on, as did the car/exclamation point on the navigation screen. The car thought the emergency brake was applied, even though it wasn't. Overall, it was still driveable, so I drove it to the dealership on Sep. 3. They couldn't find anything wrong, said something about the "codes" showing 2 circuit issues, but that nothing was wrong with the circuits, so they just reset the warning lights and turned them off and sent me on my way. Oh, the front cigarette lighter also stopped working after they put in the new e-coil. They couldn't fix this right away, so scheduled for me to come in next Tuesday to get that taken care of. Today, as I was driving around town, all the same warning lights came on again.

    I'm done with this car.
  2. Starky

    Starky Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Midwest
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    The company that provides TSB's for my business (a paid service) does not show the TSB you listed...but if it is very new, it will take it a little while to show up.

    The fact is if this problem is real, Toyota cannot hide it from the public and NHTSA, and certainly there will be warning letters to the owners as required by law.

    Do you know the local and the environment your car was operated before your purchase? Was it ever involved in a mini or semi flood situation that started the growth of the mold?

    I recall clearly the warnings we were given when working on Katerina flood cars that found their way north and into the used car lots. It was a very serious and toxic situation that warned us the use of breathing apparatus and protective gloves when we handle under the dash repairs or inspections.

    I am very curious to know how this will pan out.

    Thanks for the warning.

    Starky
  3. WestLAemail

    WestLAemail New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Los Angeles
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    My car was born and raised in Southern California. Clean carfax. The mold was not in the carpet, it was coming out of the air vents, so definitely had something to do with the AC unit. I don't think we had any floods in the recent years. There are many threads about having to clean the evaporator coil, or spraying it with Ozium or something like that because of mold, mildew, or general stench.



  4. problemchild

    problemchild New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    34
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    o8 TSB's

    ......
    [​IMG]

    Automotive Recall and Technical Service Bulletin Titles for 2008 Toyota Prius L4-1.5L (1NZ-FXE) (Hybrid). ​

    TSB Number & Issue Date TSB Title
    SB0084-09 MAR 09 Tire Monitor System - 'Lost Communication With ECU' Mssg
    SB0079-09 MAR 09 Vehicle - Long Term Storage Information
    CRIB165 MAR 09 Body - Acid Rain Paint Damage Prevention/Repair
    SB0390-08R1 FEB 09 Interior - L/H Or R/H Front Seat Squeaking Noises
    SB0142-08R1 FEB 09 Body - Ticking Noise From Windshield/Back Glass
    SB0391-08 DEC 08 Steering/Suspension - Vehicle Pull Repair Supplement
    SB0345-08 NOV 08 Tires - Inflation Pressure Compensation/Adjustment
    SB0306-08 OCT 08 A/T - MIL ON/DTC's P0AA6/P3009/Info Codes 526/613
    CRIB170 OCT 08 Body - Plastic Bumper Refinishing
    SB0301-08 SEP 08 Engine - Serial Number Locations
    SB0300-08 SEP 08 Engine - Knock From Front Of Vehicle
    SB0288-08 SEP 08 Interior - Front Seat Squeaking Noises
    SB0258-08 SEP 08 Restraints - Seat Belt Tongue Plate Stopper Replacement
    CRIB164 SEP 08 Vehicle - VIN Plate/Certification Label Replacement
    SB0163-08 AUG 08 Fuel System - Fuel Tank/Fuel Gauge Diagnostic Tips
    SB0144-08 JUL 08 Vehicle - Certification Label Information
    SB0138-08 JUL 08 Body/Frame - Protective Wax Coating Information
    CRIB167 JUL 08 Body/Interior - Trim Removal & Installation
    SB0122-08 JUN 08 Keyless Entry - Smart Key(R) Battery Diagnostics
    SB0087-08 JUN 08 Cooling - Noise From Coolant Heat Storage Water Pump
    SB0048-08 JUN 08 A/C - Compressor Oil Service Procedures
    SB0067-08 MAY 08 Audio System - Noise When Using an External Audio Device
    SB0040-08 APR 08 Body - Paint Stained Under Rapguard(R)
    SB0038-08 APR 08 Engine - Cylinder Head Cover Baffle Precautions
    SB0030-08R APR 08 Lighting - HID Headlamp Diagnostic Tips Update
    SB0020-08 MAR 08 ABS/TCS - Zero Point Calibration Information
    BO001-08 MAR 08 Restraints - Seat Belt Extender Availability
    CRIB162 FEB 08 Body - Quarter Panel Service Part Modification
    CRIB163 FEB 08 Body - Sealing Hem-Flanges & Body Seams
    CRIB161 JAN 08 Body - Collision Damage Repair Precautions
    CRIB160 DEC 07 Restraints - SRS Service Precautions
    PG007-07 NOV 07 Vehicle - Replacement VIN Plate Information
    EL010R-07 NOV 07 Keyless Entry - Remote Transmitter Programming Guide
    CRIB158 OCT 07 Body - Panel Adhesive Information
    SS006-07 AUG 07 Battery - Absorbed Glass Mat Battery (AGM) Information
    PD113-07 AUG 07 Electrical - Hybrid and Auxiliary Battery Maintenance
    PD108-07 AUG 07 Body - Front Spoiler Installation
    PG004-07 AUG 07 Body - Power Window Initialization Procedure
    PD107-07 AUG 07 Body - Rear Lower Side Spoiler Kit Installation
    PD105-07 AUG 07 Tire Pressure Monitor - Warning Valve/Sensor Activation
    SS004-07 AUG 07 Restraints - SRS Component Disposal
    CRIB155 AUG 07 Body/Frame - Sectioning Information
    CRIB156 AUG 07 Electrical - SRS And HV Wiring Repairs
    TC010-07 JUN 07 A/T - 'World Standard' Transmission Fluid Information
    SS002-07 APR 07 Engine Controls - ECU Flash Reprogramming Procedure
    CRIB146 SEP 06 Body - Paintless Dent Repair Information
    CRIB122 FEB 03 Body - Body Sectioning
    4 people like this.
  5. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    15,150
    Likes Received:
    1,385
    Location:
    off into the sunset
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Well, it's about time. While it's not been a serious problem with my car, I've heard this complaint for years.

    And it's interesting the dealer is willing to fix it for free because of a TSB. With another issue (water getting into the plugs and coils), the dealer has said "Yeah, there's a service bulletin, but we're still charging you $400." :mad:
  6. WestLAemail

    WestLAemail New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Los Angeles
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    In my case, I had just bought the car from their dealership less than 2 months ago, and it's a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle, which means I have full coverage for the first 3 months. That's probably why it was free. I thought TSB's warranted a free fix; didn't know owners could be charged for them! I guess it's not the same as a "recall"? News to me...



  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    13,365
    Likes Received:
    3,193
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    You are correct. An TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) advises that a known problem exists, and provides advice about what to do about it. The TSB also says what the applicable warranty coverage is. Although your car may have the condition mentioned in the TSB, you have to pay for the repair unless the applicable warranty is still in effect.

    An SSC (Special Service Campaign) is aka a recall. A few of those were issued for 2004 - 2006 model years, having to do with replacing the intermediate steering shaft, reprogramming the engine and HV ECUs, etc. I'm not aware of any SSCs issued for later model year 2G Prius. Usually an SSC is issued for a serious defect that has the potential to cause significant safety or longevity issues.
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,669
    Likes Received:
    708
    Location:
    Clearwater, Florida
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two


    Hi,
    Great info as I have struggled with my stinky 07 for quite a while too. I spent months whining here about it and many posters tried to help especially Jayman. Bottom line was a good cleaning of the e-coil and control settings was all it took. Toyota offers this e-coil cleaning where they shoot cleaner back up the weep hose and it floods the e-coil housing with cleaner.

    But even if they change out your e-coil unless you follow these tips your car will begin to stink quite quickly again. Thats right...you will have to do a few things or your car will begin to stink again. And this is the reason it started to stink to begin with.

    Here it is:

    The Prius unlike alot of other cars does not mix fresh air in the air mix unless selected to do so. This is important because without venting fresh air to the e-coil the e-coil which is always soaking wet will never dry off properly. It will remain semi wet and mold will begin to grow quite quickly.

    Most people use there air in the Prius on recirc only which is the most efficient as you do not have to chill warm outside air or filter outside air.

    Before you finish your trip adjust the re-circ bttuon to outside air input. Last mile or so...And when you park leave that in the fresh air positon which vents the e-coil to the outside air allowing it to dry.
    Thats the most important part. Open that fresh air vent when you park and let the coil dry.

    I can assure you this will fix the problem because about a year ago I cleaned my e-coil and followed this regimen and no smells ever
    since.

    Another issue: Since like me you have allergies or are sensitive to smells be aware of how many people have complained about the outgassing of the seats it seems. That might be compounding the issue for you. I lurked for quite a while on this site before I bought my car and heard about that so very very soon after I bought my car new I installed Wet Okole Seat covers front & rear. Great investment. Excellent color matched covers that actually add a nice cushion to the seat are bulletproof and I think becasue of this I have not experiecned the outgass issue which is real and many many people have complained about.

    Good Luck!!
    1 person likes this.
  9. WestLAemail

    WestLAemail New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Los Angeles
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Thanks for the info about how to prevent mold in the e-coil. I NEVER use recirculation mode now just because I'm so paranoid. What's annoying is recirc seems to be the default mode for the car, so everytime I turn it on, I have to remember to press the "fresh air" option.

    As for the outgassing, I have NEVER heard of this before. I don't even know what outgassing is. Can you please help explain? I have factory leather seats in mine, does that make a difference?



  10. TheForce

    TheForce Ron Paul 2012

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    3,431
    Likes Received:
    440
    Location:
    Wheelersburg, Ohio
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Can someone PM me the SB0084-09 MAR 09 Tire Monitor System - 'Lost Communication With ECU' Mssg?

    I would like to read that one.
  11. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,669
    Likes Received:
    708
    Location:
    Clearwater, Florida
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two


    Hi,
    Thank you...I wish I could claim any credit for the info I passed along but many posters told me this info 2 years ago. Time flys! And its a fact as I have not had a problem since. I live in Florida and the air is always always on. Even in the winter. Don't think I used the heater once since I bought it.
    I know what you mean it goes into re-circ automatically but I got a good habit of going into fresh air before I stop.
    I have a 10 year old cop car Ford Crown Vic (anti Prius) and the air conditioning smells fine because it mixes the fresh air . Can't switch it off. It always blends. Which sucks as you always smell outside smells but the e-coil does not get funky. So you have to weigh the good with the bad. I prefer a strict re-circ myself as I know all the air is being filtered but your going to have to do a little housekeeping or it will get stinky.
    Leather??...your good to go I think. Lots of posters complaining about the fabric seats outgassing. Outgassing is a common issue with new cars. I won't bore you with it but I just Googled
    "New car interior outgassing" and got alot of hits. Try it! Thanks again!
  12. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    437
    Location:
    USA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2009 Prius
    Just saw the info about the TSB in another thread: :)

    http://priuschat.com/forums/toyota-prius-service-bulletins-tsbs/51169-bad-smell-c.html#post1106041



  13. Supreme

    Supreme Hypebeast

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Philly
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Has anyone noticed an improvement in smell after having this TBS performed?
  14. dpoole34

    dpoole34 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    My 08 has a chemically smell when you first turn on the a/c then goes away. It is also taking much longer to blow cold air. Is this a different issue than discussed here?
Similar Threads: (Sept 2009)
Forum Title Date
Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News First Mercedes hybrid will hit dealer lots in two months (Sept 2009) Jul 2, 2009
Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News Altcar Expo in Santa Monica next weekend (Sept30-Oct1) Sep 25, 2011
Gen II Prius Accessories & Modifications Chip/install kit: Electric Only Mode Option for (Prius 2004-2009) Dec 5, 2012
Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum Prius 2010 (purchased Jul 2009) victim of Sandy, suggestions/price range for replacment Nov 11, 2012
Gen III 2010+ Prius Accessories and Modifications Electric Only Mode Option (Prius 2004-2009) available for 2012?? Jun 6, 2012