1. Offline

    zmre2b Junior Member

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Posts:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    US
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    gas station was alot farther than I thought it was. Ran out of gas. ICE dead. Battery was full, and made it only about a mile, but a big hill kept me from reaching the gas station a mere 200 yards away.

    Put 2 gallons of gas in it. Pressing power button with brake seems to turn on the dash lights (including big red triangle), but not the ICE. And the transmission will only go into Neutral, not drive or reverse. MFD still says "Add Fuel". ICE still doesn't start.

    Neither of the battery lights are on (all power works in the car from the 12v, although HV hybrid battery must be pretty low at this point).

    Over the phone the dealer said to try to jump it, but that didn't work.

    Any ideas? thanks.
  2. Offline

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Posts:
    3,778
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    Park View, Los Angeles, CA. U.S.A
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    leave it in D? does the MFD show battery level? or.. keep it in D... hold the break and press the gas. this is a bad way to charge the battery. what it might do is keep trying to start the engine. eventually it will get gas. make sure you have some battery power though. If the HV battery is dead, you're stuck. the 12v battery can't possibly turn the motors to start the engine.

    keep that in mind. it takes turning of an electric motor above 1,000rpm to turn the ICE so it can start.
  3. Offline

    Kyle Pehrson New Member

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Posts:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    S.L.C. Utah
    It would be nice to have scan tool. If you run out of gas because of all of the lights and codes that are going to come on when the engine can't start.
    Good luck
    Sorry
  4. Offline
    • Moderator

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North

    Member Since:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Posts:
    28,173
    Likes Received:
    1,446
    Location:
    Canada
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Add more fuel. The fuel gauge will register a fillup only after you've added approx. 11 litres (3 gal) of fuel. I recall someone saying that's for the gauge to confirm is a fill up and not a variance on the.... something.. darn it, I can't remember but add more than your 2 gallons.
  5. Offline

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Posts:
    3,778
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    Park View, Los Angeles, CA. U.S.A
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    variance in the bladder? yeah.. have to add over 3.. but... i wouldn't think this to make a difference to the engine starting. hmm.. check and see. it's interesting to have only 1 bar left.. ad 2.5 gallons.. have 1 bar still.. go add 2 or so more gallons.. still on 1.. you can fill up the tank and sty on 1 bar if you add in less than 3 gallons for each fill up

    gee.. that was a little off topic.

    give it a try.

    i'm still curious to know how much of a charge your hv battery has.
  6. Offline

    zmre2b Junior Member

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Posts:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    US
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    Tideland: thanks very much: you nailed it.

    I had the car towed to the dealer last night for them to look at in the morning, but before they opened I tried your fix with more gas. I added 2 more gallons for a total of four now in the tank. (But uh, it still wouldn't start?! -- oops forgot to put the gas cap on!). With a total of 4 gallons in the tank and the gas cap on securely (and just one pink bar of HV battery) it started up right away.

    After it started it still had one flashing bar on the fuel guage, but the MFD "Add fuel" went away. Also the VSC, check engine, brake and a few other lights were on, but they turned off after I drove about 20 yards.

    Lessons Learned:

    1) the obvious one: doh!
    2) when the last fuel bar starts flashing, you don't always have 50 more miles left (especially when the last quarter mile is up hill).
    3) when the HV battery is nearly discharged, the engine will only charge it to about 4 bars. To get it to charge more I turned the heat on to max which kept the engine running and the battery charging.
    4) Don't trust the sales manager (the service dept. was closed) who tells you need a jump after running out of gas because you drained the HV battery. Just add more than 2 gallons (4 does it). (Isn't it just the the 12V battery that starts the engine just like on any car?)
    5) Toyota roadside assistance has NO technical skills at all. All it seems they can do is dispatch a tow truck and pay for the tow. If they had known to tell me to add at least 3? 4? gallons of gas, they could have saved themselves the cost of a tow.
    6) after the car was on battery alone the first time, I parked it on the side of the road and let it sit for a bit and then it did find enough gas to start again and go another half mile. But that only worked once.
    7) the postive post to jump the battery in the fusebox under the hood is buried in a way that made it nearly impossible to position the jumper cable clamps on the post. You need a really small jumper cable clamp to connect to it.
    8) With the car totally empty of gas, I added 4 gallons by gas can, (let that slosh around as I drove to the gas station) and then 6 gallons at the pump before the pump auto shut off kicked in. I slowly squeezed in another half gallon for a total of only 10.5 gallons inside what is supposed to be an 11.9 gallon gas tank.

    That last point is worth repeating: There was only room for 10.5 gallons of usable gas in my tank: either the last 1.4 gallons sat inaccessible in the bladder, or the bladder capacity shrunk, or the bladder expands so slowly as to make the only moderately patient person unwilling to baby the gas nozzle for another 1.4 gallons. Perhaps its a combination of all these. In anycase, if you only fillup to the first autoshut off at the pump, you might have only 10 -- not 11.9 -- gallons of usable gas.
  7. Offline

    Ray Moore Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Posts:
    833
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    When I ran out of gas, I added one gallon and the car started right up. I drove to the station and added 11 more. I have pumped as much as 12,75 gallons into mine and regularly put in around 11.5. My usual tank takes me 650 miles with around 75 and as many as 134 miles on the last flashing bar.

    Your Bladder May Vary!

    Unless you like to go 650 miles (or 763) on a tank and push the car to it's mileage limits, there is just no good reason to push it beyond 1 or 2 bars.
  8. Offline

    DanMan32 New Member

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Posts:
    3,775
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    First, you may have drained the HV below the 'safety point', though I haven't heard anyone else being locked out of restarting after refueling. If this is the case, leaving it alone overnight may have allowed the HV battery to rejuvenate enough to signal that it has some more power.

    two, there is a condition, known as Hang on Ig-On (it is in the KB), where even though you go through proper steps to go to ready, it goes to Ig-On mode (dash warning lights lit, amber light on power button, and no READY near speedo) and gets stuck. The way out of Ig-On hang is power down (may take a few seconds to respond), then power up normally.

    Lastly, it may be true that since the car has already triggered a failed to start due to being out of gas, that it won't try again until it senses more gas. However, it should have gotten into ready mode at least briefly.
  9. Offline

    zmre2b Junior Member

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Posts:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    US
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    DM, I think it was the latter. Here is the order that I think things happened:


    1) ICE senses gas supply running out ; ICE shuts off
    2) run on battery until battery very low and park on side of road.
    3) let car sit and more gas settles into the line or the pump or the bottom of the bladder,
    4) ICE starts again and powers car for another 1/2 mile, then loses all gas and shuts off again.
    5) battery is very low, so only go a few dozen yards on battery
    6) (I think) Now after two shutdowns ICE will not even try to start until it senses more gas has been added. "Add Fuel" notice is constant on MFD.
    7) Adding 2 gallons isn't enough to turn "Add Fuel" notice off (and presumably signal ICE that it is ok to try to start),
    8) Even being jostled around by a tow truck wasn't enough to make the 2 gallons signal that it had enough gas to start. And it still didn't start after sitting overnight.
    9) added 2 more gallons and the "Add Fuel" notice went off and it started right up.


    So, if I could have added even a little bit of gas after the first time it stopped, I would have been ok, since it didn't yet go into "I'm-not-even-trying-to-start-until-I-sense-that-you've-put-more-gas-in" mode. It didn't go into that mode until I ran out the second time.
  10. Offline

    DanMan32 New Member

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Posts:
    3,775
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Hmm, maybe the ECU gives you one or two grace starts, after that it wants nominal conditions to re-attempt. After all, you keep doing this, you'll really be in big doo-doo.

    One thing you didn't address in your list was the power mode: ACC/IG/Ready. If you aren't in READY, you can't get ICE to start, no HV.
  11. Offline

    jayman Senior Member

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Posts:
    13,448
    Likes Received:
    594
    Location:
    Winnipeg Manitoba
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(zmre2b\";p=\"85528)</div>
    Well, no not really. If you carefully examine the ICE on the Prius, there is no conventional alternator or 12 v starter. The MG (Motor/Generator) is responsible for all the high voltage power and is also responsible for starting the ICE. The variable speed electric A/C compressor is also run off the high voltage system.

    The tiny 12 vdc battery in the rear hatch is critical though. You need that to "boot" the car when you power on. All the relays, the computers, the CANbus, the brake booster, lighting, radio, and HVAC cabin blower are powered off 12 vdc. So if the 12 vdc battery is dead, it doesn't matter if the NiMH main battery is fully charged, you're not going anywhere.

    The Inverter/Converter will take the nominal 208 vdc from the NiMH battery pack and keep a constant charge on the 12 vdc battery, as long as the car is in "Ready" and you're not in N.

    This is also why you really shouldn't use the Prius to boost a conventional car or pickup. First of all, the 12 vdc battery is so small you probably wouldn't be able to turn over anything much larger than a Honda Civic. Secondly, you could damage the electrical system on the Prius.

    If something had drained the HV battery pack, it would be impossible to "boost" it at the side of the road anyway. You need a special 208 vdc battery charger to charge the battery if the ICE isn't running.

    All "boosting" does is allow you to "boot" the car if the 12 vdc battery has run down. Since this is critical, it may pay to invest in one of those emergency booster kits. You don't need much capacity just to bring the Prius to life.

    Canadian Tire here had a sale on those emergency booster packs last fall, so I picked up a 700 amp capacity one. So far I've had to use it twice to assist other motorists, and it started them up just fine. I didn't have to worry about damaging my Prius either.

    As far as running out of gas, your tale is just one more good reason not to run the gas so low that Mr. Blinky turns on. We've all noticed that thanks to the bladder system used to control evaporative emissions, there appears to be a lot of variability in how much fuel we really have onboard.

    Once Blinky turns on, do you have 75 miles? 50 miles? Maybe 10 miles? Who knows!

    There have been some TSB's out for the tank and the fuel gauge, but the results appear to be iffy. Since the bladder appears to be having so many problems, I hope we don't have to put it on prescription medication.

    I suppose I could always borrow some FLoMax off my Old Man, they appear to work for him. Maybe toss a pill a week in the tank?

    The computer is quite paranoid in how it protects the hybrid system. Once it senses the ICE has stalled or won't run, it does appear to block any further attempts to restart. The 2004 Prius had a TSB where it was too paranoid, and sometimes it would conk on you for no good reason.

    Mine did that in traffic last fall, they reflashed the ECU and cured it.
  12. Offline

    DanMan32 New Member

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Posts:
    3,775
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Thanks Jayman, I thougth I saw someone saying they thought the 12V battery started the car, but when I posted, I couldn't find it.

    As for the ECU re-flash, yes some have gotten the triangle for no good reason, but they were able to get going after a reboot or two. Sometimes the problem never reappeared after the reboot.
  13. Offline

    zmre2b Junior Member

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Posts:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    US
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(DanMan32\";p=\"85592)</div>
    'fraid I didn't pay attention to the Ready status specifically. The main thing I was concentrating on was that the car would only go into neutral.

    I am impressed that the MFD was flashing the right information: "Add Fuel". I just ignored that msg after I put two gallons in thinking that it just didn't reset out of "Add fuel". But when I put two more gallons in, the Add Fuel msg went off. THe MFD worked well here.

    Although the thing really ought to have a full diagnostic mode.
  14. Offline

    NuShrike New Member

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Posts:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    0
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    This must be the only car where so many people have so much fun running out of gas.

    In most regular vehicles, grinding the starter for a while to get the car started is usually the best way to tell if you're really really low; not on the Prius! :)
  15. Offline

    tuck14 New Member

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Posts:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    I learned a few lessons when I ran out of gas last week.

    1. Do not wait until the last bar starts flashing. I ran out of gas 4 miles
    after the flashing started. From now on I will refill at 2 bars.

    2. You can not go very far on the battery alone. I was only able to go about one mile up a slight grade.

    3. If the ICE shuts down due to low fuel there may be some fuel left in the tank. After running on battery alone until the charge level dropped to one bar. I was able to shut down then restart the ICE and drive the last one mile to a station. The tank took 11.2 gallons to fill.
  16. Offline

    canuckican New Member

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Posts:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    Reading these boards one gets the impression that Prius owners are forever running out of gas! Why is that?? I was paranoid of running out of gas in a "normal" car, with the Prius, I double that paranoia. Am I the only one? Is it normal for a Prius owner to say, "Gee, the car is telling me it's almost empty. Should I just keep cruising in a Kramer-esque quest for knowledge?" Would the people who do this also drive on blissfully in a "normal" car if the gas gauge needle was on "E"? Or is it just with the Prius and its calculation of mileage? Or is it that most people assume (and perhaps rightly) that the flashing bar is equivalent to the "add fuel" LED on a normal car and only then do they need to add gas? But who drives their car to such a low level of gas anyway?

    I am honestly curious about this very confusing behavior.
  17. Offline

    zmre2b Junior Member

    Member Since:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Posts:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    US
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Confusing behavior?

    1) lots of posts and discussion about running out of gas doesn't mean lots of running out of gas.

    2) the car has uniquely complex behavior when it runs out of gas that is worth discussing, and for some people, testing.

    3) the car can actually go a 1/2 mile or two after running out of gas; people know this and might rely on this "reserve." Some will be unlucky.

    Proposing costly private accounts that worsen the SS fiscal imbalance -- now that's confusing behavior.
  18. Offline

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Posts:
    2,693
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    South Burlington, VT
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Unless I know I am going on a long trip, I have always waited until I got down to E, OCCASIONALLY with the amber fuel light going on if I'm near home. With the Prius, I do the same, wait until I'm about 25 miles into 1 bar, or even get to 1 bar flashing and fill within a couple of miles. Fingers crossed, no problems yet. ;)

    Knowing that my Prius' long term computer MPG is about .5 MPG high compared to long term 'actual', I am confident in filling when I do.
  19. Offline

    vprius New Member

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Posts:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bakersfield, CA
    Re: out of gas, out of battery, added gas but still won't st

    :lol: I think testing the limits of "empty" is part of the game some people play driving the Prius...trying to eek out every mile. I personally don't have the personality to allow my tank to get down that low, but my husband is a different story! I can't tell you how many times he has aggravated me by passing up gas stations, telling me we still have at least 30miles to empty (in a regular car). Why not just stop and fill it up and avoid any possibility of a problem?! I am really worried about him driving the Prius! Too much temptation!

Share This Page