2008,186k need cat converter, both O2 sensor replacement. Time for a new car? Need guidance

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Kyla, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Kyla

    Kyla New Member

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    I got my 2008,186k Prius in July 2018 for $4600 from offer up. It was my first car. Didn't have much experience and I was desperately needed a car. So fast forward to 6 months later the check engine light came on. Brought it to dealer for inspection. They replaced spark plugs. Light went away for 3 days and pops up again. This time i took it to a mechanic who did a quick read for the code and its the converter. Had a full diagnose and inspection done. Catalytic converter, both oxygen sensor and rear brake shoes and drums all need to be replaced. So the quote I got was $2500. I was be able to find another cheaper quote, but still $1900.

    I don't know if it's even worth it to get it fixed since I only paid $4600 for the car. Maybe it's time to just look for another car? But it'll be hard to get rid of it now that my Prius has the check engine light on plus it has lots of dents and dings. Either way I loose money I guess? What would you do? I'm so lost here...

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    Tough call. That’s a lot of money for a car that sounds like you would not get 4600 for when it’s done. If it were a non hybrid car I would say go ahead, but you could fix it and need a new traction battery next month, you never know
     
  3. TomB985

    TomB985 Member

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    Sounds like you in a rough spot, but this is an easy financial decision.

    If the car is worth significantly more than the repairs, which is in your situation, it needs to get fixed. It is almost always worth more in good running order than the current value plus the cost of repairs.


    I'd be interested to know what caused the converter to fail, does the car use any oil?
     
  4. Kyla

    Kyla New Member

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    This is what the mechanic wrote on the invoice :

    TEST ALL CIRCUITS AND REPORT. . . .
    CONFIRMED CODE IN SYSTEM. . .P0420
    TESTED FUEL CONTROL. . . . OK
    TESTED BOTH OXYGEN SENSORS.
    REAR 02 INTERMITTENTLY DROPS BELOW MIN THRESHOLD.
    INDICATES THAT THE TEMP IS COOLER AT THE EXIT OF THE CONVERTER. . . .HENCE THE STORED CODE P0420

    SUSPECT CONVERTER IS BEGINNING TO FAIL.
    REC CONVERTER ASSY. . . AS UNIT. . . ALSO REC TO REPLACE BOTH OXYGEN SENSORS IF THE CONVERTER IS REPLACED

    *NOTE
    The previous owner had the hybrid battery replaced at 181k from Green tech auto.
     
  5. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    The car is still driveable with the check engine light on. It's an emissions error.

    You can also buy an aftermarket catalytic converter on Amazon for around $100 and have someone weld it on. That would be the cheapest route.

    That dealer that replaced your spark plugs when the error is a catalytic converter error, you should complain. That expensive service didn't fix your problem. You should actually bring it back and have them address it.
     
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  6. Kyla

    Kyla New Member

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    The mechanic did a quick code scan and told me it's the converter. So I was like I know if I need that replacement done I wouldn't get it done at the dealer anyway because of the price. So I didn't bring my car back to the dealer.

    So this is a list of parts needed on my quote:
    CONVERTER AND PIPE ASSEMBLY WP
    Exhaust Pipe Replace Front Pipe (B)
    FT GASKET
    REAR GASKET FT
    A/F RATIO SENSOR
    REAR OXYGEN SENSOR
    REAR BRAKE SHOES
    RESURFACE DRUMS

    Sorry, my knowledge of cars are extremely limited. I'm just started to learn a little bit.
    My problem is that I don't even know what exactly parts to order online. It says I need converter and pipe assembly. Is that a set? Or is it two different parts? I was looking into the parts on CARiD and a few different auto parts site. So many options. I can just get the cheapest ones as long as it says it's a direct fit for my car?Any recommendations?

    Thank you!
     
  7. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Here are the things we know for sure.

    1. The car has 186k miles and considered high milage
    2. The car has coded p0420, normally is a catalytic converter
    3. The car also has a refurbished battery from Green Tech (OMG...this is not a good OMG) Warranty probably not transferable
    4. Mechanics are recommending the oxygen sensors to be replaced and brakes to be replaced.

    Unknowns.

    1. How much oil is this car burning to have killed the catalytic converter?
    2. Are there any other issues pending on this car that needs repair?

    Known failures on this car and retail costs for repair

    1. Hybrid Battery ($2000+)
    2. Inverter coolant pump ($500+)
    3. Combination Meter ($250+ refurbished part)
    4. 3 way coolant valve ($500)
    5. Brake Actuator ($2000+)
    6. And the list goes on for a bit more.

    Since you don't have much experience with cars, you are probably going to be ripped off by the next mechanic that you bring this car to. Do you want to deal with that?

    If the information above scares you, then you probably don't want to invest too much money into getting the car up and running. You can weld on a Catalytic converter at a muffler shop (google can help you find one) and drive it until the next problem comes up or sell it and get something a little less scary.
     
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  8. Kyla

    Kyla New Member

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    Thank you for point out these things for me to think about. That does kinda scare me lol The hybrid battery warranty from Green tech did transfer to me. But i think it has less than one year left.

    My budget for getting another used car is around $6000. So probably still gonna get a pretty old car. Not sure if I want to get another Prius again.
     
  9. Kyla

    Kyla New Member

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    If I replace only the converter not the sensor. Will it still cause the CE light to come on?
     
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    I'm not sure I buy the logic that if the repair exceeds the value it's not worthwhile. Consider the alternatives, and if they're more expensive, where's the harm?

    Definitely consider all the points in post #5. That dealership plug swap was indeed a misdiagnosis.

    OTOH, as @JC91006 says, it can rain, and then pour. Tough call.
     
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  11. T1 Terry

    T1 Terry Junior Member

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    My Prius has very high mileage, doesn't use oil between oil changes yet had a cat block up. I believe my cat failure was due to a blocked fuel filter causing a lean run, excessive cyl temps and manifold temps and caused the carbon built up to shift.
    The fix for me was an after market cat welded into the existing pipe work, the fuel filter changed and the codes cleared. Now it drives great again.
    The cost for this sort of work outside the Toyota networks is quite reasonable if you can get a recommendation for a quality mechanic near you. The blocked cat will throw up false oxygen sensor codes so ignore them for the moment, replace the cat and have the fuel filter at least removed, shaken and drain into container to see what is in it and replaced if it doesn't come up with clean fuel in the container. I think I could have planted spuds in the amount of dirt that came out of the filter on my Prius.

    T1 Terry
     
  12. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Kyla,

    I have some questions for you...

    1. Do you like the car?
    2. Does it still drive normally?
    3. Does it still get good gas mileage?
    If the answers to these questions are yes, then just drive it and enjoy it. Even with the "cat code" your car has emissions that are probably better than 90% of the cars on the road. I had a 2005 with 280k miles that I drove for over a year with the cat code and it still averaged 47-53 mpg, until it got run off the road by an SUV and was totalled out. IIRC, Washington state doesn't require emissions testing for hybrids, so the code shouldn't cause problems with registration, right?.

    I wouldn't even be in a real rush to invest significant $$ for the rear brakes. The wear rate on prius rear brakes is about non-existent. You probably have plenty of time to get a second opinion sometime in the next 12 months
     
    #12 TMR-JWAP, Jan 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  13. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Junior Member

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    I definitely agree. The cheapest possible way to fix this right now is replace only the ailing catalytic converter. The oxygen sensors shouldn't be strictly necessary, although they might be a good idea. At least one can be changed by you relatively easily if you care to learn how to DIY. The brakes are the same, probably not strictly necessary, should be a good DIY project.

    Then save up for the other jobs. Also, like JC said, it is still driveable until you fix the cat.
     
  14. kens97uber171

    kens97uber171 Active Member

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    That's an astonishing about for that work.
    You can buy a cat on Rockauto for $300. Mine came with the flanges and pipes back to the muffler.
    It ended up being a bit short.. so they welded it together for $70.

    The secondary O2 is super easy, and accessable from the passenger nside ulof the car with some roll ups.
    The wore and connector are inside the car in the passenger footwell towards the center stack under the carpet.
    Make sure the new O2 has the gromett to seal it up.. I got mine at O'Riley auto for $65 I think.
    The Primary O2 is a ROYAL pain... The angle to get to it is not easy. Maybe save that one for the dealer.. or find a shop willing to do it.... Again.. don't get the cheapest sensor..
    Rear brakes are not that hard.. just make sure you disconnect the 12V power so the brake system won't activate if someone opens the door, or gets the smart key too close..
    As long as you're not opening the hydrolics you won't have to bleed it... And the dealer will bleed it for $85.

    Good luck.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  15. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    This may fit your car.



    Does your Prius have California emissions?
     
  16. oil_burner

    oil_burner Member

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    The code doesn't affect anything unless you have to pass emissions. If that's the case you can go buy a cheap catalytic converter on eBay and have a local muffler shop install it, shouldn't cost more than $300 total. The sensor is likely not bad. The rear sensor reads cooler than the front on these cars even with a new cat likely due to their position. I've driven 100k with a p0420 code to me that code just means ignore it because I don't have emissions testing here.
     
  17. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    There are 2 catalytic converters on the car, the one that is causing the Check engine light is the catalytic converter closest to the engine, as there is a sensor downstream from that. So that's the only one that gets a good/bad reading from the car.

    If you change that one, your check engine light should go out. Unless there's specific codes pointing to the sensors, I wouldn't bother changing them on such an old car (added expense)

    And after you change the part out, be sure to get the old part back from the muffler shop. That failed catalytic converter is worth $200. There's a member on here buying them (there are valuable metals in there)
     
    #17 JC91006, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  18. Kyla

    Kyla New Member

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    will definitely try the route with muffler shop. Just got a qoute from a muffler shop for $780(cat replacement+ brake and drum).
    Probably will be cheaper if I order my own parts.
    *My car does has california emissions

    The first qoute I got from the auto shop really scared me. Wow I didn't know it could be such a big difference with pricing when you go to different place. Thank you guys so much seriously!
     
    #18 Kyla, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  19. kens97uber171

    kens97uber171 Active Member

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    Yeah California emissions complicates it significantly. it doesn't affect the car once it's all put together. But you would have to find a muffler shop willing to put a non California certified cat in the thing. Mine was but I don't live in California, and they didn't ask and I didn't tell lolz
    This will be an easy thing to do yourself if you could get the car high enough to get under it that was my problem.. it's just two bolts in the front of the cat, two bolts in the back by the muffler, and remove the downstream 02 sensor before you take it apart. oh, and you might need some new gaskets although they would probably be able to be reused.

    Rock Auto had the car for $300 shipped.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  20. oil_burner

    oil_burner Member

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    if you live in California it will be tough to get an aftermarket cat to pass. in that case my recommendation is to drive it normally until before your test date. then put a few tanks of premium gas in and also pour in some of that cat cleaner in a bottle you can get from any auto parts store. Take it on the freeway and make sure you floor it a bit. That may turn off your check engine light and work for a few thousand miles, enough to get it to pass. As for the brakes, that's a safety item so I would just take it to any brake shop they should be able to put on new shoes and drums and adjust them for you. Again not a job that should cost more than about $300.
     
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