2006 enters fail safe after 3hrs of driving

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Uncle Shane, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    Hi-

    I have seen this problem listed before on 2006 models, but the only solution I found was to replace the HV water pump, which has already been done (Jan 2011). I have taken it to the dealer (3 different ones) a total of 4 times now this year for the same issue and have my 5th appointment scheduled for tomorrow.

    It just happened again last night around 1am, on a nice cool starry night, on the side of an interstate, in the middle of nowhere, after about 3 hours of driving on the highway at about 65-70mph--Red Triangle, VSC, ((!)), maint req, hybrid system warning light and check engine light all come on with concurrent loss of gas engine power. I pull over, let the car sit for 20 minutes or so, and can start it again. If I try to start the car right away without waiting, the gas engine tries to start, but seems to sputter and runs very rough and then shuts off completely. In either case, Red Triangle of Death stays on, so does maint req, but all other warning lights have shut off.

    When I get to the dealer (usually the next day or later in the day after the car sits off in my driveway), same thing every time, they find no trouble codes, and no warning lights.
    Attempts so far:
    1st visit: told me it was debris in the air intake and replaced the air filter. didnt solve it.
    2nd visit: told me it was the spark plugs. replaced those. didnt solve it.
    3rd visit: told me it was the fuel injection system. flushed that. didn't solve it.
    4th visit: told me it could be software problem. updated and reset ECM. didn't solve it.

    I have an electrical warranty and they have checked the 12v and hybrid battery and say they are fine. The car has 64k miles. I plan to drive the car for 3 hours before the appointment tomorrow to duplicate the problem, but if there are any other suggestions out there, please, please let me know.

    Thanks so much.
    Shane
     
  2. nh7o

    nh7o Off grid since 1980

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    That is very strange to have all those warning lights and no codes read by the dealer? Loss of 12V is one way to erase trouble codes. I would like to know what the 12V line reads when the lights come on. I would not trust the dealer to check the 12V battery, as they have been wrong for some posters here. If it is original, it is time to replace anyway.

    There are some reports of coolant pump failures after replacement. Make sure there is turbulence in the coolant reservoir when the car is in ready. The pump should be audibly running.
     
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I agree that the 12V battery should be replaced now, as loss of 12V power is the most likely reason for no DTC being stored. Then drive the car as needed to replicate the problem. When the problem reappears, immediately visit your Toyota dealer so that the DTC can be retrieved.

    There is no point in returning to the dealer unless there are DTC for the tech to work with. Without codes it seems the average tech is without a clue.
     
  4. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    Thanks for the response! Yep, they've said since they can't get any codes and cannot duplicate the problem they can't figure out the problem and can't fix it. I have a voltmeter and will keep it handy for the next occurrence. I'll check the pump and have the dealer take a look tomorrow too. Sounds like I need to have the 12v replaced as well.
     
  5. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Don't wait for the next occurrence. Go stick that voltmeter on the jump point or the battery terminals now, with the car OFF. What does it read?
     
  6. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    Well, it's an analog meter, which might not help me here, but, stuck it on the terminals and the arrow stopped a hair below 12v.
     
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    If your meter reading can be relied upon, this provides a further indication that your battery is marginal and needs to be replaced.
     
  8. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    If this helps at all, I just to put the car into diagnostic mode. Did that and the Prius voltmeter read 12.3v without any load (other than the display screen and dash). 14.6v after I started the engine.

    Also, the only warning light left when I started it just now is the check engine light. Last night before I shut it off the Red Triangle was still on along with the check engine light and the maint req'd light.
     
  9. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Try inspecting the 12V battery compartment. Is anything rattling around loose in there?
     
  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Why does everyone only report the 2 modes of mfd check? The first one which is battery not under load the the 3rd one whihc is charge mode. The 2nd one is the important one: The battery under access load. Whats that number?
    Thats probably 11.6 or worse dead batt territory..

    But I think there's 3 things going on. A bad 12 volt battery for sure but why is the engine sputtering? Thats either spark plugs or the throttle body is really clogged with soot. Look at that asap.
    Take engine air filter cover off and open throttle body butterfly by turning the spring loaded shaft on the left side. Crack open the butterfly and with a flashlight look how sooty the throat is top to bottom. I bets it looks like a bat cave.

    The 3rd thing is there's probably air in the Inverter Coolant. From when they changed it.
    What you call the HV pump. Thats the Inverter pump. Air pockets usually cause poor cooling and the Inverter is overheating & crowbarring and shutting down. Very bad for Inverter and transmission. next time it has an event open the hood and feel how hot the Inverter coolant resevoir is. Or the top of the Inverter. Both run pretty warm but never super hot.
    To check for air pockets make car ready and wait till engine shuts off after it warms up. Open hood and listen to this pump closely. Its right behind the drivers side headlight. Down at the bottom. It has 2 black hoses hooked to it. Should sound very smooth hum like an aquarian pump. No gurlging or sputtering.

    That and we need the codes but these are the first you can check for free.
     
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  11. northwichita

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    Driving with a Scangauge would let you instantly check most CEL's. I also have the Haynes manual in the car to look up the number (s) reported . Since you still have a CEL showing you could visit a auto parts store that checks them for free as noted above and report back.

    I do like the suggestion to check for problems before they cause another stranded situation, most probable not near a Toyota dealership.
     
  12. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    Ok. So I didn't realize there were 3 modes of the MFD check. Now I do. Thanks Ed.

    1) Not under load: 12.5v
    2) Access Load: dips to 11.9 and then up to 12.3
    3) Charge: 14.5 to 14.6

    Also, I looked through the butterfly and the throat looks clean...everything I see is the silver color of the engine.

    To Richard's question, nope, everything is secure in the battery compartment.

    And to Nh70 and Ed, the pump sounds fine (a constant hum, like an irritating large mosquito) and I see turbulence in the reservoir.
     
  13. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    Thanks! I'll get one of these.
     
  14. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    The batt under load looks pretty good. In fact my car looked like that for weeks before I got a new battery and in the meantime never really did anything stupid. And the throat is pristene. And good & smooth Inverter Cooling pump
    sounds.

    I'm stumped. Its got a problem out of the usual. Need codes.
     
  15. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    So an update:

    Took car to dealer this AM. Dealer could not replicate problem. I told dealer I would be happy to try myself tomorrow, but because I would be taking a day off work to drive it 3hours and help them solve a problem they cannot fix without my help, they should provide me with a courtesy towing (ie no charge to me) when my car fails on the interstate. The service rep thought about my suggestion a second and then told me flat out "no, we aren't going to be able to that for you." They want to charge me $100 to tow me back to the dealer when the car quits. Unbelievable.

    I called the Toyota customer experience center and lodged a complaint. I'm waiting to speak with the manager at the dealer tomorrow, who had already left for the day at the time of the service rep's call. I am livid. Should I take it to another dealer at this point?
     
  16. RobertK

    RobertK Member

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    Did you replace the 12v battery?

    The charging numbers you are getting (14.5v to 14.6v) indicate an attempt to charge a very weak battery. A normal Ready voltage is 13.8v, and I have never heard of a Prius showing more than 14.2v in Ready even with a low battery. Mine was charging at 14.2 most of the time when I replaced it, and the new battery (Optima) usually charges at 13.9v at startup and goes to 13.8v after a short time in Ready mode. From what I have read on Priuschat this is the normal operating condition for a healthy 12v battery.

    I suppose that there is a chance that you are getting indicated voltage readings that are 0.5v higher than actual, in which case you have a low voltage situation. I checked my Prius with a digital multimeter when I was considering a battery replacement and found the difference between it and the MFD to be less than 0.1v. You also might want to check the battery cable connections to ensure that they are clean and tight, especially where the negative cable bolts to the car body.

    If you are running the original battery you probably need to replace it now regardless of what else might be wrong with the car, and you might just solve your problem in the process.
     
  17. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    Hi everyone. Just wanted to provide what I hope is some closure to this issue.

    Long story short, a family of mice had been chewing up my hybrid wiring harness, slowly. The tech said it looked like they had built a village throughout my engine. This problem has been intermittent for almost 2 years. (And yes, I live in the country). I found another post with the same problem here: Mouse chews hybrid wiring harness and causes $1166.79 damage | PriusChat

    So the wiring damage apparently caused all these erroneous codes and problems (listed earlier in the thread), some of which would put the car into failsafe mode. Just in case this pops up for anyone else, one of the codes was P3120, info code 250: HV Transaxle Assembly Malfunction, Motor Temperature Sensor Performance Problem, which the tech said he had never seen before, and which the dealer told me was a $7,000 transaxle replacement, because the sensor is somehow built into the transaxle assembly (my car is 2000 miles over the expiration of the extended toyota financial platinum warranty, and well past the powertrain warranty).

    Thankfully, they did further diagnostics and found the transaxle and sensor were all good. Another bit of good news is that my comprehensive insurance policy (liberty mutual in MI) covers this kind of damage. Grand total to replace everything would have been around $2500 (mostly labor).

    If the replacement harness doesn't fix things, I'll be sure to post any more news.

    Thanks for all your earlier input.
     
  18. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Bummer. So may mieces to pieces stories here.

    Btw, is the car rarely driven or are they that active overnight?
     
  19. Uncle Shane

    Uncle Shane New Member

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    I was using the car as a commuter daily...I never noticed. We had a problem with them getting into our house too, and they were mainly nocturnal.
     
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