03 Power Steering

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by phlsphr, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. phlsphr

    phlsphr New Member

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    My wife's Prius (which she loves) has developed a problem. We've only experienced this on long trips. The warning lights will all come on. Sometimes that will be followed by a message that the Prius was able to resolve the problem on its own. Sometimes the power steering will go out. There is a temporary fix, fortunately, in that if we pull over and turn the car off and let it rest a bit, the car resets itself and the lights are gone and the steering is normal (until the problem repeats itself).

    So I took the car into the dealership today. They charged me $88 to read this code off of the computer: C 1513 Bad Torque Angle Sensor. They tell me that the only fix is an entire new steering rack, and that I may need to replace the P/S ECM as well. Ouch.

    Any suggestions? Similar experiences?

    Some quick searching on the web turned up this link. But this was in 04. Is there any hope I can get the same results in 07? I could use any advice, ammunition, etc. before I call Toyota. Thanks.
     
  2. lusciousgarage

    lusciousgarage New Member

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    Hello phlsphr,

    Is the car an 07? Or an 03? Thanks.
     
  3. phlsphr

    phlsphr New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(LusciousGarage @ Aug 15 2007, 08:07 PM) [snapback]496525[/snapback]</div>

    It's an 03, with just over 60,000 miles, driven very, very gently (I am only rarely permitted to drive it, since I do not have the skills, apparently, to get the optimum mileage).
     
  4. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    There were two earlier versions of similar problems with 2001 and 2002 Prius. Many of those (incluidng mine) were replaced at Toyota expense. I have not read of this in the 2003, and so supposed that they had substantially improved those sensors.

    But let's say that yours needs to be replaced. You should gather up documentation on the earlier problems and call toyota 800-331-4331 and get a 'case number'. Then you should remind them that Toyota is well aware of the sensor problem and has made many replacements at their expense.

    Also politely remind them that you participate in a large internet group where Toyota's support for Prius is held in high esteem. That you do not want to have to post (to thousands of readers) that you were the one left hanging out to dry.

    Please tell us the odometer reading, in case that is low enough to provide further ammunition.

    If all this does not work, and the price for a new PS assembly seems prohibitive, the only known option is to hunt for one out of a classic Prius from the salvage vehicle dismantler community. From the 2003 MY would be preferable, because an earlier may or may not have been upgraded.

    Sorry it happened to you, but do post again about your progress.
     
  5. annakl88

    annakl88 New Member

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    I also have a 2003 prius, and 6 or 7 weeks ago I experienced a very similar problem. First the steering shook a bit, like I was driving on a washboard gravel road, and then I got a scary error message on the screen. Like you, I was able to stop the car, restart it, and have the problem fix itself. When I took it in to the dealer 2 weeks ago, they told me that I needed a new steering rack. I decided not to make that $2500 repair immediately, especially since I haven't seen the problem again for several weeks. My car just hit 85K miles. phlsphr, did your steering do the shaking thing?
     
  6. phlsphr

    phlsphr New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(akl03 @ Aug 16 2007, 08:47 AM) [snapback]496809[/snapback]</div>
    Yes it did. The first time THAT happened we were just backing out of our driveway. My guess at the time was that we had rolled over something loose on the road that one of the wheels had spun on and that the antilock brake had engaged. It was very quick and very startling. And we just sat there saying "What the heck was that?" But everything seemed fine, so we just went on. Then that happened one more time on the way home from a week of vacation in the Adirondacks. I was driving on that occasion, and also noticed the steering just felt a little funny--like the power steering was tired. The lights came on briefly, but before we could even stop it said that it had resolved the problem. We stayed overnight and then drove on the next day, and that is when we got hit with lights coming on and the steering going out. We stopped, tried to figure out what the heck we were going to do with our Prius in rural PA. But we decided just to try letting it sit. Sure enough when we started up a half hour later--no problem.

    That was early July. It hadn't happened again, and I was hoping it was just some freak occurrence that had fixed itself. But it happened again, repeatedly on our family vacation down to Tennessee last week. Indeed, for the last hour of the 8 hour trip home my wife had to stop 5 times. So, off to the dealer I went.

    The service manager said that their Toyota representative would be in today and that he would talk to her about it. Am I better off just waiting to see what comes of that, or initiating something directly with Toyota corporate?
     
  7. phlsphr

    phlsphr New Member

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    Update. I went back to the dealer today. I talked over what I had learned, and showed him the posting from cartalk where Toyota had repaired the guys car for free. He said he would talk it over with the Toyota rep when she got in that afternoon. I said great, that I felt the dealership had always treated me well in the past re the several cars I have brought from them, and that I hoped we could keep that good relationship. They called me back just a few minutes ago. They now are offering to pay for the parts, but they want me to pay for the labor which will be over $500. That is still huge progress from the over $2000 we were at yesterday. However, it seems to me that Toyota is basically acknowledging that there is a problem. If so, shouldn't they cover it all? Looking back at the cartalk post I linked above, I see that they made the same offer to the guy who posted there, but eventually they paid the whole bill.

    So, my only question now is should I go ahead and ok this, and try to argue after the fact that they should reimburse me for the labor, or should I make that argument now? So far, I haven't called Toyota corporate. Should I?
     
  8. phlsphr

    phlsphr New Member

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    Further update. I called the dealer and told him to go ahead and order the part, but that I intended to pursue the argument further with Toyota corporate re the labor costs. I got a call back from the service manager--who has been very professional and nice in dealing with me. He told me he had to persuade the Toyota rep to get the concession he got (he promised to buy her lunch--her original position was to cut the bill in half). So, he advised that to call Toyota at this point would just produce irritation. The ticket would come to him, and he would have to respond to it, and go back to her just after she has already made a big concession. So, his advice on how to handle it is to go ahead and have the work done, and then write Toyota a nicely worded letter asking for reimbursement. So, I'm inclined to follow that advice at this point--but I would welcome any further advice or suggestions from those on this board who have had much more experience with this sort of thing.

    I think it helped, by the way, that we have only had the car a year and this is the second big ticket repair of a major defect. (The first was a problem with the computer and gas tank--on that one I replaced the computer which was under warranty, but not the gas tank which they also wanted to do) So, that was part of the service manager's argument: "Look, these folks have had this car less than a year, this is the second major problem they have had, neither of which was their fault."

    We love the car, but it is scary having these huge problems that only the dealer can diagnose and fix, at major expense.
     
  9. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Personally I would not be concerned about 'irritating' the Toyota Customer Experience Center (the 800 # I posted above). On the other hand, it may not be possible to negotiate them lower than a $500 cost to you.

    I do not agree that paying $500 now and asking for reimbursment later would be your strongest position.

    There should be a case # associated with this, however it gets resolved. Better to do all you can to create a paper trail. It will happen to other folks later. Although not too many I hope.

    Would you please elaborate on the ECU and fuel tank replacement? This is another issue (TSB EG011-03) that was more common in 2001-2002 than 2003 models. It was most often resolved by only replacing the ECU, not (also) the fuel tank assembly and/or fuel pump relay. What was your cost for that repair?

    Agreed that many Prius systems are hard for independent shops to work on. They exist, but are few in number. But the 3 standard responses are:

    We knew it was techie when we bought it.

    Overall reliability has been high.

    Toyota has cost-shared in many instances.

    Good to hear you are making some progress, and looking forward to the wrap-up message. You may not really appreciate this suggestion, but a 'thank-you letter' at the end would be good form. Copied to the local shop, regional, and TCEC. Take one for the team phlsphr, in the hopes that the next victim will have an easier time.
     
  10. sarahr

    sarahr New Member

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    We have an 02 Prius, 63,000 miles. For the past year I have noticed that sometimes the steering wheel seems to jump a bit. sometimes at slow speeds, sometimes while sitting at a red light. Sometimes on the freeway.
    Today my son was driving it on the freeway, and lots of red lights came on, including the P/S light, and the power steering went out.
    He pulled off, turned it off, then restarted. All was fine.

    Do you think the episode today is related to the jumping steering wheel?
     
  11. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Sorry PDX but I know of nothing but this PS problem that will give the symptoms you've described. Consult your local Toyota shop to see what sort of a mood they're in.

    Anyone who has ever turned the volume control on a radio and heard scratchy sounds, this is the same phenomenon. Too bad that in Prius (before the adoption of Hall effect sensors) dirty potentiometers mean an expensive major assembly replacement.

    Any news, phlsphr? Forgot to mention it before but $500 labor to R&R the steering assembly seems a bit generous. If you feel like asking the shops hourly rates, and then ask if their parts list quotes anything other than 4.0 hours labor for this. That's what my parts list says ;)

    Gosh I can be a real stinker about this stuff, but Toyota is quite a rich company and they *ought* to do the right thing when their poorly designed system fails. Prius buyers are their lab rats, and we deserve to have our cages kept clean.
     
  12. jk450

    jk450 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(phlsphr @ Aug 16 2007, 03:34 PM) [snapback]497152[/snapback]</div>
    The rack is out of warranty, yet Toyota is offering to pay for it. The technician, however, who does not work for Toyota, deserves to be paid, so Toyota is asking you to pay labor. Sounds fair.

    If you get it all done for free, great - but keep in mind that most manufacturers wouldn't have offered this much. There are a lot of people on Prius forums who think that Toyota should pay endlessly for repairs, regardless of age or mileage.
     
  13. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jk450 @ Sep 4 2007, 10:03 PM) [snapback]507183[/snapback]</div>
    That may be so, and perhaps you consider me among them. But if really well-versed in the NHW11, you will know that Toyota issued a limited recall and larger special service campaigns on the electrically assisted power steering. They did so because of shortcomings in the original design, and have in some cases been generous in extending coverage to more recent units. I completely support their decisions to offer such extensions. A substantially new design came with the model change, and many will agree that this was wise.

    The NHW11 battery has suffered from some electrolyte leakage and resultant terminal corrosion. Toyota issued an SSC for that as well. In some cases they extended coverage to more recent units. I completely support their decisions to offer such extensions. A substantially new design came with the model change, and many will agree that this was wise.

    The NHW11 engine control module emitted error codes because it was 'intolerant' of slightly slower gasoline engine starts. Toyota revised the programming on the ECM, and issued a technical service bulletin to get the new version into cars within the warranty period. In some cases they extended free replacement to post-warranty units. I completely support their decisions to offer such extensions. A substantially new design came with the model change, and many will agree that this was wise.

    A few of the NHW11 power split devices (transmissions) have failed, been replaced under warranty, and (in some cases) replaced free (or reduced-cost) after the warranty period. This is different from the above examples, because there has been no official indication from Toyota that anything was 'wrong' with the original design. However, in this case as well the PSD was substantially redesigned (now it's an HSD). Only more time will tell if the original design will continue to perform as intended, and if any needed replacements will be paid.

    In all of these cases I would strongly assert that Toyota has had much of its long-term field testing on these revolutionary designs done by Prius owners. The company has learned a great deal about its hybrid systems in this way, and as a consequence can now market more durable hybrid vehicles and make money selling them. So I guess my perspective is quite different from jk450's. I feel that we early Prius buyers were (and are) part of the product development team. They 'outsourced' the job to us, and have paid (by very rough estimate) $100 million for the knowledge they've gained. Company profits are very strong, so it looks like they've made some good decisions. I just see the need to remind them, from time to time, that we're still out here. :)

    In other areas, if I break or wear out my Prius, I fix it or pay to have it fixed. Apologies for the long position statement!
     
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  14. Stalix

    Stalix New Member

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    I wave the same problem with the power steering dying out and the PS and exclamation point lighting up. I called the 1-800 number and they gave me a case #. after 2 days the women called me up and said since I have such high mileage(84,7000) and my vin # isnt one affected by the problem according to them that they aren't going to fix it.

    should I fight harded or is it pointless?
     
  15. BoltonJoe

    BoltonJoe Junior Member

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    I was about to post my own Toyota power steering saga, when I was directed to this thread. I have not logged onto this forum for ages because I have, until now, had no problems with my 2008 Prius (slightly over 61,000 miles).

    However, I just returned from a trip from Massachusetts to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and back. Here's what happened:

    Day Two of the trip, weather is hot and humid.

    We departed Winchester, VA, and took a side trip from the horrors of truck-dominated I-81. We went up the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, descending the ridge on a narrow, windy mountain road that required lots of steering-wheel action.

    As I approached the Tennessee state line, I told my wife that the steering felt funny. Then, I told her: "I've lost the power steering. I can steer the car, but it is obviously in manual mode."

    In a panic, we pulled into the huge rest area just into Tennessee. After looking under the car and pawing through the manual, I found this item on page 171:

    Much relieved, I opened the hood, and we rested under the shade (it was about 91 F.) for 20 minutes. Then we continued to our destination.

    Since I had been steering "excessively" while we came down the mountain, I assumed this was the end of the story.

    However, the problem cropped up again on Day One (Monday, 06-14-10) of the our return trip (yesterday). We had been driving on highways only (although one stretch was pretty curvy through the Great Smokies). The temperature was unbearable, and the air-conditioning was running.

    We had just crossed into West Virginia; my wife was at the wheel when she asked, "what does that triangle with an exclamation point mean?" Sure enough, the Warning signal had come on.

    I told her to pull off the highway, stop the engine and wait for 10 minutes.

    We started again. The warning indicator was still on, but everything seemed fine.

    We pulled off the highway, and I called the Service Dept. at my dealership in Massachusetts. They were very courteous, and asked if I had just filled the tank. (I had.) Had I tightened the gas cap sufficiently?

    I didn't know, so my wife tightened the cap again, making sure there were lots of clicks.

    We started driving, with the warning light still on.

    Then the top row of the display screen went black, while a "P/S" warning signal lit up.

    I called Service in Mass. again. This time a service tech got on the phone, said he had never heard of this happening and he didn't know if we should continue driving or not. I made an appointment to bring the car in to the dealer tomorrow (Wed., 06-16-10).

    Since the steering was still working, we drove into Pennsylvania--with the air-conditioning off. Then we stopped at a shaded rest area, turned off the car and left the hood open for 20 minutes. During the stop, a cold front came through and the temperature dropped to a comfy 77.

    When I started the car, the Warning light disappeared and the screen returned to normal. We continued our trip, not needing air-conditioning and with no problems.

    Summary: My steering system malfunctioned twice during this trip, once after conditions described in the manual (with no warning light) and once, at least according the the warning lights, during highway driving.

    Suggested Actions:

    I plan to:

    1) notify Toyota of the situation as suggested above;
    2) bring a copy of this thread with me to the dealership.
    3) report back to Priuschat on the outcomes.

    Footnote:
    I purchased an extended warranty, through Prius Chat, when I bought the car. It is still in force.

    Thanks,

    --Joe
     
  16. BoltonJoe

    BoltonJoe Junior Member

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    Following up:

    I spoke with a customer service rep at Toyota, who assigned me an incident number. I made a point of mentioning that I had reported the incident to PriusChat.

    During our conversation, which was very professional and courteous, I mentioned that "I do not expect to pay for this."

    Her concrete advice, after listening to my narrative was:

    "Be sure to speak with your dealer's customer-service representative."

    She also said that the dealer was the "ultimate authority" in these matters, and that Toyota would require a diagnosis before it could proceed.

    She also said that the dealer's C-S Rep. would "determine if the repair was covered by the extended warranty."
     
  17. Eric Prag

    Eric Prag New Member

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    I just tried to contact Toyota about fixing a malfunctioning issue with my Electric Power Steering in my Toyota Prius 2001, which the dealer said was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced.

    After checking it out on toyota.com. The toyota rep told me over the phone they would not help with the cost of the replacement, even though the hardware involved was involved in an earlier recall.

    I will never buy a Toyota again unless they prove to me they are willing to fix issues like this.

    Eric Prag
    202-607-3932
     
  18. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I understand that you might feel upset about this.

    However, you might have trouble finding another auto manufacturer that will take care of a problem on a 9-year-old vehicle free of charge. Good luck with that search.
     
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