226k mi 08 Prius - Chunk it or fix?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by DeterminedDIY, Aug 24, 2020.

  1. DeterminedDIY

    DeterminedDIY Junior Member

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    Hey guys! I just hit 226,500 miles on my 08 Prius. I bought it a few years ago at 208k for pretty cheap ($3k). Since then, I've replaced the brake actuator and the inverter coolant pump, gotten new tires and new tires sensors, done regular oil changes and filter replacements, etc. Mostly just regular maintenance.

    Recently, I had an issue with the car throwing some lights: (!), VSC, Check Engine. I had the codes pulled at Auto Zone and it was POA93, so I checked the coolant pump and it was fine. Motion in the reservoir and firm movement in the line. My coolant was low, however, so I added some more and bled the line & that seemed to fix the issue. I unplugged the battery to reset the lights and drove it for another 100 miles without any problems. My car actually seems to be running better than it has been in a while. However,

    A few days ago my check engine light came on again, along with the the warning light on the display, which I believe is the hybrid system warning light. I took it to the dealership today for a multi-point inspection because I know they can pull codes that Auto Zone can't, and boy was it a doozy.

    Here are the codes thrown:
    Hybrid: P0A93,
    ABS/VSC/TRAC: C0200, C0205, C1241, C1252, C1256, C1391
    Tire Pressure Monitor: C2179 (I just had my sensors replaced last week by Discount Tire)
    Air Conditioner: B1421 (my AC has never performed well in the Texas heat, it's off & on and not consistent w/ cooling)

    It received a very expensive estimate, largely for things I've already replaced (brake actuator and hybrid system pump (which I'm assuming is the same as the inverter coolant pump located behind the driver's side headlight)). Here's what they suggested:

    Replace hybrid system pump
    Replace 12v battery
    ABS accumulator pump & booster replacement
    Brake fluid flash

    Other suggested maintenance was a wheel alignment (which can wait) and serpentine belt (which looks simple enough to replace on my own).

    Questions:

    1. Is it possible the codes just weren't cleared from the replacements my dad and I did? (ABS system and Coolant Pump). Is there a reason why these codes would stay in the car's system?

    2. Is it worth it to replace the 12v battery? Is it likely that this will have any affect on the car's performance?

    3. Is it possible to check hybrid battery performance? I'm really needing this car to last another 2-3 years while I finish grad school, but I know the hybrid batteries usually don't last past 220k. I'm honestly surprised mine hasn't gone out yet.

    4. Is it logical to look into selling my car for the KBB value ($1,500.00)? Would anyone buy it knowing it needs the maintenance above?

    Thanks in advance. You guys have always helped me out. Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. ttou68

    ttou68 Active Member

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    If your 12V battery is original from car then it's time to replace it..
    You could take it in to AutoZone and have it tested to see if it does need replacing..

    I would start with 12V first, as it does cause codes because it has become weak..

    So, have 12V tested or replace.. clear codes and see what else may or may not showing up..

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  3. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    Hello, there. 12V battery can create strange problems and issues when it's weak. I would start with replacing the 12V battery. I expect your car will be able to last you a few more years. I also appreciate that you are able to fix things yourself, which is very important in saving money on a used Prius. You can pick up an inexpensive OBD2 adapter such as Carista (around $30 on Amazon and eslewhere) and use Dr. Prius app on your phone to read codes (including ones Advanced Auto can't read) and also perform the hybrid battery tests. It's a great app and many of us use it. But I would start with the 12V battery. Many things may be resolved by just doing that. Still, having an OBD2 adapter for your car is a must these days and is extremely affordable.

    Bet of luck!
     
  4. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    Hi Determined - I don't want to sound like a broken record, so maybe I wouldn't say that a weak 12v is a know factor in many hybrid (not only prius) issues.
    You might get better response if you post in the Gen 2 Prius section instead of the Prime section.
    Hybrids have a tendency to throw codes that have nothing to do with the actual problem, especially when there are multiple codes in the same area ( ABS/VSC/TRAC: C0200, C0205, C1241, C1252, C1256, C1391 ) and the only way to figure our what the real problem is - is to check all of the listed codes one by one and check them off as you go.

    Many times, especially with hybrids and newer cars with lots of sensors and systems, one fairly simple problem can trigger a bunch of non-related codes. And the only way to really understand that is to experience which one or two or three codes out of the bunch you see initially actually fix the problem(s).
     
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  5. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I would not worry too much about the hv battery right now although the Dr Prius app and a bluetooth obd2 reader provides a guesstimate hv battery test involving forced charging combined with a prescribed driving test to see how fast the it discharges.

    The water pump and brake booster problems are clearly the biggest concerns right now. Personally I doubt the dealer is blowing smoke (lying) about the issues although its odd if you have recently replaced both. Was that work done with new parts? Who did it? No warranty?

    Obviously you did clear the codes with a battery disconnect and they came back. The hv battery is certainly a roll of the dice. I would not put $5k or more at dealers prices to fix everything. The catalytic converter on those cars are valuable so you might get $1000 from the right guy as is.

    It may be second opinion time. Call Hometown Hybrids in Houston and ask for an independent recommendation. Other Hybrid Services | Hometown Hybrids



    19F3D180-05F0-4234-9367-A7C40222B4C8.jpeg
     
    #5 rjparker, Aug 25, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  6. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    II would be seriously worried about the hybrid battery right now its a big pain in the tookus and if you car is still on the original hybrid battery the clock is ticking really loudly.

    Don't believe me just peruse G2 repair & tech forums its becoming a very common post. There all dying. Its just time. The ones that last the longest are the cars that are driven the most like your car. Its keeps that battery constantly charged but its still a corroded mess inside that box.

    But now on top of everything else the G 2 has become a big parts theft target many G2's catalytic converts are being stolen for the precious metals inside them that are now in very very big demand. Please go on youtube and search

    Prius stolen

    and check out all the YT's about it. many posts on it on this site too it kills people in Ca which is a carb state so you must use the oem cat only so a stock replacement cat is like $3000 installed. basically totals the car if insurance doesn't weigh in.

    You wrote a great post and sound like a very sharp young lady. keep being smart let it go. Do not put anymore money into this car. get a used non hybrid car like a Hyundai that doesn't scare any mechanic.

    Thee Prius G2 was such a great car for so many years an engineering marvel but all of a sudden its 13 years old and a yawning money pit..

    It will sell very quickly put it up for $2000 then let them beat you down to 1500. and run.

    Good luck.
     
    #6 edthefox5, Aug 30, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
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  7. DeterminedDIY

    DeterminedDIY Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys! A little more and I'll be good to go:

    I decided not to have the dealer fix anything (obviously due to cost). Because of the unreliability of the codes thrown being off and on every other day, I decided to take my car to a hybrid repair specialist shop in Missouri City. (Mostly because I'm leaning towards selling the car & using the $ for a down payment toward another, and it's impossible to sell the car w/ codes and errors). I wanted to have a clear idea of what was wrong, have the work on the pump and brake actuator checked, and have the batteries tested for health.

    So far I'm out nearly $150 just for diagnostic costs. The guy just called and said he did a hard reset of the codes and has driven it twice without any issues. (Not too encouraging because what are the odds that the codes will come back on in a few days?). He asked how recently the inverter coolant pump and ABS brake actuator were replaced (last May, and last July respectively). I asked if he had tested the hybrid battery or 12 v and he basically said no, but that there weren't any codes thrown at all (seemed to avoid the question). He does say that the hybrid battery likely won't last much longer, but that it's not necessary to fix it until it goes out. He then said that he wants to re-calibrate all of the sensors/systems on the car, essentially re-setting everything to factory defaults. He wants to charge an additional $75 just for this. My question is - is this necessary?
     
  8. DeterminedDIY

    DeterminedDIY Junior Member

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    Thanks! I'm going to look into this.
     
  9. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    The codes can take time to reappear just like they did last time.

    The water pump and brake booster problems are clearly the biggest concerns right now. Personally I doubt the dealer is blowing smoke (lying) about the issues although its odd if you have recently replaced both. Was that work done with new parts? Who did it? No warranty?
     
  10. DeterminedDIY

    DeterminedDIY Junior Member

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    I replaced the coolant pump myself. My dad did the brake actuator. (Mechanic w/ over 20 years experience). I checked to make sure they weren't crappy junk parts and were OEM. The actuator was used, paid $299. I can't find the specs now for how many miles were on the car it was pulled from, but I remember I chose carefully. The inverter pump was new, verified it was the right one w/ the silver base, paid $60.
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    give jessica a call at hometown hybrids, she might be able to talk you through some things
     
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  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I third Hometown Hybrids. I would drive it a couple hundred miles first to see if the codes come back. In the meantime get the odb2 reader (see above for the $28 version I use) and be ready to pull the codes. You can also watch the inverter temp in real time.

    The pump code actually means the inverter is getting hot even though the repair is usually the pump. Apparently the counterfeit pumps don't last too long and maybe they don't pump as well. I noticed an ebay listing where its main purpose is to describe the differences (for free) by reading the description. Learn about Counterfeit vs Real OEM Toyota Prius Inverter Pump 04000-32528 | eBay

    I have heard the brake codes sometimes clear with a calibration.
     
    #12 rjparker, Sep 3, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
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  13. DeterminedDIY

    DeterminedDIY Junior Member

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    The plot thickens. I picked up my car from AAMCO. Paid for them to reset the systems ($220.00 total for diagnosis and the reset - no need to rub this in, I know I messed up-) and on my way back to work (less than 15 miles) the A/C stopped blowing cool, (which has been a problem) then the lights came on, and then I noticed a slight revving issue when pressing the gas. These are the same issues I had when the brake actuator went out last year.

    I did call Hometown Hybrids after I parked @ work and got a great thorough walk through (should have gone there first). They don't put used actuators in for this reason, and the new cost is $1800 or so for a new part (called Toyota and the part itself is $1,700 if I were to buy it personally) and labor. I only paid 3k for the car. I checked my brake actuator and the warranty was only 6 mo. Fixing it up with a new actuator just to have the hybrid battery likely go out in the next year or so seems foolish.

    In a perfect world, if I got a new actuator and a new battery, how much longer would this car run for? I think I've seen Gen 2's w/ upwards of 330k miles.... but I'm not rich (far from it) and while I really hoped this car would last until I got through with Grad School, it appears my luck has run out.
     
  14. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    So I guess it depends how nice the car is otherwise. Does it look good? Does it burn oil? Use antifreeze? Suspension rides good? Will 25k more miles get you though grad school? Do you like it and really can't handle payments on another car?

    If you want the car and its nice otherwise, I might go for it. Total outlays for repairs and buying the car is still reasonable and most of it is sunk cost anyway. I would not worry too much about the battery until and if it fails. You could get the obd2 bluetooth and Dr Prius and try the battery hv test before deciding. I might want to check the inverter temp/pump issue but it may be an artifact of the brake issue.

    New tires are a plus, a little r134a put in by a shop may make the ac great again (its ok to use an illegal to make it great as long as they know to vacuum and weigh it in). The ac code is not significant, eg B1421 is the "solar sensor circuit". It tries to calculate the amount of sun getting into the cabin to boost the ac some.

    Decisions, decisions.
     
    #14 rjparker, Sep 3, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  15. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    One thing that accrued to me while reading was. Have you had the 12 volt battery checked?

    There are ways to nurse a traction pack as it ages. But when a 12 volt starts to go, there is really very little one can do to give it extra life, besides float charging it to keep it's voltage high enough to keep the computers in the car happy. And that takes a lot of float charging and keeping an eye on voltage readings. And the computers will notice things in the 12 volt battery that the multimeter / voltmeter will not see / show you.

    I only mention it again since I read you asked the first Aamco tech that quoted you 75 not 220 and he said he didn't check. I hope I read that correctly.

    My advice, if you can and since the car has already had multiple resets, pull the 12 volt and bring it in and have it tested and verified. Than reinstall or replace. If replaced, document all the changes you notice over time.
     
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  16. DeterminedDIY

    DeterminedDIY Junior Member

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    Tech has had my car again today and stated that I did need to replace my pump because it's first gen, (but I think I actually replaced it last time with a gen 2 pump and just put the new pump on the old base. Not sure if that would lead to any issues, but I didn't see a problem with unscrewing it from the mount in order to install). I'll double check the part # to see which generation it was. If it was a Gen 1 then I will replace with the new model. They also said that my coolant was the wrong type of coolant (?) but the coolant that is in there has been in my car since I bought it two years ago (pink fluid, which I'd assume is the Toyota Long Life coolant recommended on every thread about inverters). They wanted $500+ to swap the pump and coolant, but since I've done it before I'll do this again and see what happens.

    They said that once a new pump is on and fluid replaced then I should test drive to see if it fixes the on-off engine light issue. However, he said that they tested the temps and that the temp on the inverter/converter read -58 degrees? I can't recall which specifically it was, but I'll ask when I pick up my car. In which case it seems I might need a new inverter altogether, which might actually fix several issues on the car, from what I can tell (HVAC, on and off displays, etc.) Can anyone point me to a good thread on DIY inverter replacement?

    It seems like there are no codes being thrown for the brake actuator after resetting the systems, so hopefully that won't be an issue for a while yet...
     
    #16 DeterminedDIY, Sep 8, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  17. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Who was the tech this time? Are you still driving the car around? I doubt a bad inverter would allow you to go anywhere. A hot inverter will cause issues and likely shutdown the ac since it directly provides the ac compressor's three phase power.

    A -58 on the inverter either means a temp sensor is open or more likely, the tech was not using an appropriate scanner. In any case, you previously indicated you installed a new inverter pump in May. Apparently it ran ok until now. Hard to believe its the wrong one BUT it could be a knock off as suggested above and it could be bad again. It may be intermittent or it may have low coolant flow. I would get to the bottom of this POA93 issue before doing other things. It may be all you need.

    A quick look on youtube for inverter replacement comes up with this series:


    I think I would let a Prius hybrid experienced tech decide if it was necessary and then go from there. Its also possible that a replacement inverter will need to be updated using Toyota's Techstream software.

    PS: Car Scanner app reading mig and inverter temps on my car today.

    1D3DFD29-3A18-439A-9757-B9E4A36E1322.jpeg
     
    #17 rjparker, Sep 8, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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