2020 AWDe missing panel under rear bumper?

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by mancuz28, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. mancuz28

    mancuz28 New Member

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    Here's a strange one...Recently got a 2020 AWDe LE and got under it the other day to install a hitch. All the video installation instructions I saw involve removing three black plastic panels under the rear bumper, one on each side and a longer one in the middle. The middle one needs to be cut to make room for the hitch.

    Well I get the two side panels off, then realize...I don't have the middle one! I suppose something could have changed in 2020, since the videos were mostly 2017-2019s, but seems there is a lot of open space down there, as you can see from my photo (this was taken after hitch install and reassembly). There even seem to be two pushpin holes with nothing in them...

    Can any other 2020 owners out there confirm if they have this central bottom panel in the rear? Should I be concerned? I just worry it might allow water / salt up in places where it shouldn't be...

    Of course now that I have installed a hitch, the dealer probably won't fix it for me even if it is an issue...
     

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  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Not sure. Could be 2WD vs. AWD-e?

    I don't believe the panels were for environmental protection but rather for aerodynamics.
     
  3. PriusOffroad

    PriusOffroad Junior Member

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    My 2019 AWDe doesn’t have it either. I’ve yet to see an AWDe with the center panel. Not sure why.
     
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  4. Tande

    Tande Active Member

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    Cooling air for electric motor? .......I'm just rambling
     
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  5. mancuz28

    mancuz28 New Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone...strange that they would decide to remove it, but glad to hear it at least seems to be intentional!

    Hey, at least it saved me the trouble of having to cut a hole in it to install the hitch!
     
  6. mancuz28

    mancuz28 New Member

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    Hahaha...nah, I think it's weight reduction.
     
  7. Vman455

    Vman455 Active Member

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    I don't why that is, but yes--the AWD-e is missing that panel, and has a smaller muffler that is painted black. I first noticed this on the display car at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, and last summer when I was at a dealership with a friend looking at cars I took the opportunity to have a look under the several AWD and 2WD Prius they had on the lot.
     
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  8. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    See catalog Figure 58-01, Floor Pan & Lower Back Panel.

    The rear floor cover is in detail ③, where its part name code (58167E) is shown with the note symbol ※2, explained in the image as “※2 ZVW50,51,” that is, applicable only to vehicles with model codes ZVW50 and ZVW51, and by implication, not to those with AWD-e, model code ZVW55.
     
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  9. PriusOffroad

    PriusOffroad Junior Member

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    The exhaust on the AWDe drives me crazy. It hangs further down than the 2wd and is tilted at a strange angle that makes it look like an after thought. Im really tempted to cut it off and move it up/rotate it.
     
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  10. Vman455

    Vman455 Active Member

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    I've been wondering since last year why they chose to design it like that too. The muffler is physically smaller; if they needed the clearance for the rear motor, surely the muffler could have been moved back and tucked up since the closeout panel is gone anyway? And the black paint has me stumped, unless it has to do with rear motor heating issues and exhaust reflectivity/emissivity. But again, increasing the physical separation between the muffler and motor would address that as well. Who knows....
     
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  11. DKDCprius

    DKDCprius New Member

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    I have a 2020 awd-e with no center panel. I am also interested in installing a hitch for a bike rack. What kind did you get and was it hard to install? It looks like the Curt hitch requires trimming the driver’s side panel (and obviously not the center panel on the awd-e), but I could not get confirmation on that. Were there any specific differences in the installation vs. the videos of the fwd gen 4 hitch installation? Thanks.
     
  12. mancuz28

    mancuz28 New Member

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    I got the Drawtite 1 1/4 hitch from etrailer.com, but I'm guessing install is similar for Curt. It was not terribly difficult, but fairly time consuming (but I'm no mechanic...). Would be easier if you can lift the car, but I did it on the ground. I did need a second pair of hands to lift the hitch in to place as I bolted it on. I did not have to trim any panels, the two side panels did not interfere, and of course, no center panel to worry about.

    The video instructions I used were for an earlier FWD model, and were basically on target, except some of the lower bumper trim fasteners were different, and in different places. That was probably the most time consuming / annoying part actually...reaching up there and blindly trying to release the fasteners without breaking anything. But I was successful in getting everything back together with no damage haha...very happy with the result.
     
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