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OH CRAP!Red Triangle + Check Engine + (!) Lights Just Popped On!!

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by nottheliving, Mar 4, 2012.

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  1. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    Location:
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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I've got a 2009 Prius with 67k miles on it. The car has a salvage title, but has given me over 20k+ worry free miles. The past few days the car has been acting a bit odd (i'm not sure if these are related or not but I figured I'd just throw it out there as well).... The right front headlight has been on the fritz as well as the wireless door opener has been working sparsly (sometime it wont lock, sometimes it will). I just ran the test to make sure teh 12V battery was okay, and all of the voltages came back in the "normal" range.

    The hardest part about all of this is that all of this happened while I am on a family vacation in Arizona (I live in Southern California, 8 hours of desert away).

    After reading though previous post, I'm GUESSING the problem might be the inverter coolant pump going out, but I have not read how I can check to see if this is the problem or not. Has anyone had similar problem?

    Thank you so much for your help....I'm guessing I'll be stranded out in Chandler, Arizona for a few more days, so If anyone knows of any good/trustworthy mechanics out here...by all means, I'm all ears!
  2. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Right front headlight: Do you have HID headlights (you would also have fog lights). It may be unrelated.

    Best advice is to visit a parts store like Autozone or OReilley's and get the codes read. If it is salvage title, it is possible that you have a bad connector that either got wet (been to a carwash lately?) or disintegrated.
    1 person likes this.
  3. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    I do have aftermarket HID's...but no fog lights.

    The weird thing is I just had a Tune up two days ago.....I had my wife take it to "her guy" so he didnt give us a receipt so I'm not quite sure what work was done on the car....but I'm curious what people may think my issue may be.......

    The last thing i want to do is take the car on our extremely long trip with my six month old through the desert when theres a possibility that there is something extremely wrong with the car.
  4. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

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    this is excellent advice and costs you only a trip to an auto parts store, let us know what codes pop up.
  5. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    Will autozone or oreileys scan my car for free? I didnt know they still did that...Also, I'm kind of worried about driving the car, even though it seemed to be fine even after the error codes came up....
  6. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

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    yeah, most towns have a little 'strip' that has all the auto parts stores and used car dealerships within a mile of one another. I assume you are at a hotel on vacation, either ask the front desk or use your smartphone or laptop to figure out where this is and go there. autozone will scan for free, if one place won't then just drive a block to the next place.
  7. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    It would be unusual for the inverter coolant pump to fail on a low mileage '09.
    This is something that might be a concern at 90-100k miles.
    There was a inverter coolant pump recall on the 2004-7's but the new,
    improved pumps were OEM starting in '08.

    That said, it can't hurt to check.
    With the car in READY, open the hood.
    The Inverter coolant reservoir is back towards the firewall near the centerline
    of the engine bay.

    ....................................................... This is it: \\\///

    [​IMG]

    The pinkish coolant color shows through the reservoir.
    Take off the reservoir top and look inside.
    The pump runs constantly when the car is in READY.
    If you see any kind of waves or undulations on the surface of the coolant,
    the pump is working.

    Also, what is the level of the coolant in the reservoir?

    Unless the 12V battery has been inadvertently discharged, (ever needed a
    jump start for any reason) it should still be good. However, to be valid
    the battery tests need to be run after the car has been unused 6-8 hours.

    I may be wrong on this, but IIRC, you get the red triangle and check engine
    lights if the gas cap is not tightened until it clicks. It's worth checking anyway.

    First thing on Monday morning you should call the mechanic and find out what
    work was done before the trip, it might have some bearing on the issue.
    1 person likes this.
  8. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    Just went to the local Autozone and they pulled this code:

    POA93

    I just wanted to post this before I started to search the forum for the issue.....Hope this isnt too expensive.
  9. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    Well, you've got an inverter coolant issue.

    We still need to know if the pump is working.

    Goes the pump make unusual sounds?

    It may not be the actual pump, maybe a loose electrical connection
    or low coolant level.

    Here's a thread with some discussion:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-main-forum/91146-poa93-code.html

    On the outside chance the pre-trip service included some inverter
    service, there is the possibility that there is air in the system. A
    thread on this:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/generation-1-prius-discussion/83163-changing-inverter-coolant-fluid.html

    I don't know where it is, but there has to be a fuse for the inverter pump.
    It needs to be checked. Hopefully another member will chime in on this.

    This may be a difficult subject, but it has to be mentioned. Salvage title
    Prii are infamous for problems cropping up well after, years after, the
    repairs were made. Frequently the problems are electrical (broken wires,
    split connectors, etc) and very difficult to diagnose, find, and repair.

    You said you're away from home and your papers, but can you say what
    the nature and location of the damage was that resulted in the salvage
    title? And better yet, what the repairs were?
  10. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    I havent noticed any unusual sounds from the pump.... Is the resevoir you were reffering to the one with the Yellow top in the picture above? If so, that water seems clear (not pink) and is standing still with no motion when the car is in the Ready position......

    Is this something that I should take to the dealership (warranty/recall work is out of the question, right?)...or should I try to find a local auto repair shop? Also, do you have any idea how long this would take to fix, and any ballpark figure at what i'm looking at price wise..... The car SEEMS fine to drive, but I'm just way too afraid to drive it 400+ miles.

    (thanks for your help by the way.....i cant help but stress out over all of this)
  11. hmcgregor

    hmcgregor New Member

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    2012 Prius Plug-in
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    Plug-in Base


    Where are you in Arizona right now, several people can probably give recommendations of where to take it, but only if we know where you are.

    For example, myself I have only worked with Precision Toyota in Tucson, and my parents have used both Desert and Precision in Tucson, and we have been reasonably happy with both.

    I don't know any of the independent Toyota shops around here, but have worked with Stuttgart, which is mostly German vehicles, and have been happy with them.

    -Harry
  12. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    I think you should sit tight for a while on this. Typically, West Coast
    members check in during the evening hours out there. I for one
    would like to have a few more technically/electrically oriented heads
    working on this.

    FWIW, I was editing my prior post when you last posted. You should
    read it over again.
  13. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    I'm currently in Chandler, Arizona. I'm kind of worried about taking it to a dealership because I know they think everyone who owns a prius is rich,... and I'm not.... and would much rather give my money to a ma-pop kind of place anyway. I already took tomorrow off work back in L.A, but would love to get back on the road by Tuesday....I'm hoping that thats possible! Should I have the car towed to wherever I end up taking it, or should I risk gingerly putting it somewhere?

    The guy I bought it from says that there was "minor damage in the front driver side area".

    As for the work that was done before the trip, I'm beginning to wonder if the guy might have swapped the "blue" fluid with water when he "flushed" the system?(sorry thats all my wife retained from when she picked the car up (lol)... Is that possible, and would that cause this error code to be thrown?
  14. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Yes your pump has failed as evidenced by no motion in the reservior.
    Not sure why the coolant is clear also but thats bad too as there has been no corrosion inhibitor and could be the reason the pump failed to begin with. Lots of corrosion going on there as it coolant is circulated through aluminum components.

    But do not drive it as it will overheat the Inverter...unless the dealer is really close.
  15. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    It shouldn't be either blue or clear, it should be pink SLLC (toyota super long life coolant).

    You need to get the invert coolant pump (sometimes called the HV coolant pump) changed and the coolant flushed and re-filled with toyota SLLC.

    The wrong coolant may have caused corrosion that wrecked the pump. It might have also caused corrosion issues in the inverter. It sounds like you're getting some pretty dodgy maintenance there that mightn't really be saving you any money in the long run.
    1 person likes this.
  16. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Yup, pretty much what everyone else has said: Go to the nearest dealer, have the pump replaced, and the correct fluid installed. Choice of dealership does not matter because this is the most common Gen II repair. It should be about a $250 or less repair. You can make it to the dealer on a cold start without worries. When my pump went out in '09, it was 90F and I still went another 30 miles, with no lasting consequences.
    1 person likes this.
  17. nottheliving

    nottheliving New Member

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    Thanks for your help everyone...I'm going to cruise on down to the local dealership!
  18. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    $250 in an ideal world, maybe. Dealerships will want a diag charge, mark up the pump, then probably 2 hr of labor. I can't see him getting out of there for under $450- $500.
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