600,000km taxi report

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by lucky1, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    The oldest of my 5 Prius taxi's recently went over 600,000 km. I am happy to say that it is still pretty well headache free. It no longer runs at 5 litres for every 100km but is still running around 6 litres in the warm temps. I assume that part of the reason for the higher gas consumption is the battery does not get charged as full as it used to and we get less time where the motor is off compared to a couple years ago.
    Despite putting synthetic oil in the car it is using some oil now about 1 litre for evey 3,000km .
    The good news is that there is over 30 Prius on our fleet and there has been no problems with the transaxle that i know of and that is unheard of in the taxi business. I do have to say the 3rd generation cars are not holding up very well compared to the second generation. The 2010's have all had transaxle problems and a few have had to get the battery replaced already. The improved fuel economy on the 3rd generation is greatly offset by higher cost for repairs. I have a 2010 with 250,000km and have not had any issues yet. When I do have to replace one of the cars I will be looking for a 2008 and hopefully I hear better reports on the 2011 and newer Prius after the way the 2010's have held up poorly compared to the 2nd generation.
    I have saved over $40,000 on fuel over the 5 years I have had the 600,000km car on the road. Plus the cost for repairs being half of a North american taxi and the fact that it lasts 2 or 3 times as long as a taxi means they are a great investment
    Wheel bearings are a big problem and I finally found some Moog bearings with a lifetime warranty which has helped. Drivers side axles seem to be a soft spot with the pounding these taxi's take.
    I wish we could shut off the traction control like I can in the 2010 because it is alittle embarrassing getting stuck in some of the places I have been stuck because of the extreme overkill on the traction control.
    The car still has as good of pickup as it did 5 years ago and still rides and handles well considering what it gets put through especially in the Canadian winters.

    Glad I figured out 5 years ago that 50mpg was better than 20mpg and it has increased my profits by over $40,000 a year switching the cars to Prius. And for the "green" people I save 75 tons of emissions each year.
    Looking forward to cracking 1 million km in a couple of years. There was one at about 800,00km that was written off and the owner was disappointed he didn't get to crack 1million.

    Hopefully they get their act together and I start to hear better reports on the 3rd generation Prius taxi's as I would like to stick with the Prius.
     
  2. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    Interesting details, thanks for writing about your experience. Is there any pattern to the problems that you have seen with the 2010 cars? You mentioned multiple transaxle problems. What were the symptoms or what repairs were needed?
     
  3. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Your issues with the GenIII are echoed by Grumpy, a cabby on this site in the UK.

    As for the GenII traction control you can disable it, it is just a chicken dance to do so. I am interested in your million mile update.
     
  4. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    I would love to know how to disable it because in my business you cant be getting stck when it is a snowstorm and we are real busy. No matter how careful I am with all my experience I get stck at least once a shift during a heavy snow. Usually because the person in front of me didn't know that momentum is your friend when going through some deep snow. Of course with the 2010 it is no problem with the ability to shut the traction control off. Makes me wonder who made the terrible decision to not have a button on the 2nd generation cars .
     
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  5. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    I talked to one of the mechanics today about the transaxle problems and he believes they are caused by drivers not coming to a complete stop when backing up and then putting bthe car in drive so he feels for the person who buys one for personal use that they will have no problems. Of course the same drivers would have had the same bad habit with the 2008's but there was no trouble with the 2nd generation transaxle even with the bad habits of some drivers who don't care about the car.
     
  6. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Would love to know how to do this also. Some US procedures don't work on Australian Prius though :-(
     
  7. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    Hi Pat-- I was checking out gas prices in australia and you for sure need a Prius at those prices. I am leaving on Thursday for a one month holiday in Australia and was looking at fuel prices to figure out when and where we are going to rent a car. Starting in sydney so we are hoping they start to get all those terrible fires under control--- I heard they arrested an 11 and a 14 year old kid for starting some of the fires. Pretty sad to see.
     
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  8. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Copied from a previous post of mine:

    I am 100% sure you can. :)

    Keep in mind Prius traction control is not to help or provide traction but to ease the load step on the MG's with sudden wheel spin. Therefore it is more dangerous than in a normal car for different reasons.

    As for how:
    1) Car off
    2) If not on flat surface, apply parking brake
    3) Turn on, (Not READY) -- Press Power button twice, with no foot on brake
    4) Pump gas pedal, pedal to the metal, 3 times
    5) Shift to neutral (note: this requires you to press down the brake pedal then hold the shifter over for a second or two. Release brake pedal after in neutral)
    6) Pump the gas pedal, pedal to the metal, 3 times
    7) Face towards Japan and sacrifice a small woodland creature to the Toyoda empire
    8) Put back in park
    9) Pump gas pedal 3 times again, same deal
    10) Car will beep, MFD will display "Problem!" and have a car with an '!' in it.
    11) Step on the brake, press the power button.

    Car will now be READY with the "Problem!" error. The engine will always run and not shut off regardless of stage. Traction control and stability control is disabled.

    If your wheel spins and then suddenly gets traction, all that excess energy is funneled through MG2. That means lots of current, so overheating of the motor windings, perhaps other bads. Toyota explicitly states to never ever ever ever drive in this mode. This is just for diagnostics on a lift or dyno.

    And step 7 is merely a suggestion, it could be skipped if you are in a rush. :)
     
  9. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    I know that Shaneb has had to replace some transaxles on the gen II cabs that he maintains up in Cairns. I had a look for the correspondence that I had with Shane on the issue, but cannot find it. I do remember that he did comment that the drivers in Cairns drive in two modes - pedal to the metal, then brake to the metal, so really give the transaxle a hard time. Do you rotate your drivers on your cars, or do they always drive the same car? If always the same car, it maybe the driver on your problem car who is really the problem.
     
  10. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    One question I have about taxi use in the US and Europe or Australia?

    Here a taxi must return to a designated taxi rank after a job (or pull into a quiet side road) and wait for the next customer or radio job. Do cabs in the US do the same or are they continuously on the move driving round and round the city waiting to be hailed?

    Interesting article from the op about the gen3 and how it's not as long lasting as the original gen2. I'd be curious to know what sort of mileage the batteries were failing and whether it ties in with the experience of Socrates or my weaker battery? Oh, to the op, try paying over $8 a US gallon :(
     
  11. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Could we get some more details?

    When we had our first, 2010 Prius, oil change at 5,000 miles / 8,000 km, I had the transaxle oil changed and a sample sent for analysis. I was disappointed to find the amount of 'debris' found in the oil. Small machine particles along with sealant. The oil viscosity had already decreased by 5% and 15% is considered worn out. BUT this may not be the problem(s) you've seen.

    There no longer is a coolant channel in the transaxle but rather it has an engine pump and secondary gear, 'sling-oil' system. This means MG2 and MG1 when the car is just sitting there is limited to convection cooling. It is entirely possible that there is not enough cooling air flow in a 2010 Prius in cab-duty, sitting still to handle the excess heat. A Prius-aware scanner should be able to capture some metrics. But it may mean the transaxle oil needs more frequent changing to deal with the heat damage.

    I suspect there may be a latent, traction battery cooling problem in cab service. Do you have a Prius-aware scanner that we might be able to take some measurements? In particular, I'm interested in change in traction battery temperature from 'cold-soak' to mid-shift and at shift-end. We would also like temperatures measured from the transaxle.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  12. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    [quote="bwilson4web, post: 1906100, member: 10647" But it may mean the transaxle oil needs more frequent changing to deal with the heat damage.[/quote]

    Which Toyota Europe suggest is sealed for life! Perhaps changing at 40,000 miles will be prudent for 'hard' use?
     
  13. SmogSlide

    SmogSlide Member

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    Hi Bob,

    I am interested to know where you sent the oil for testing. I have mine changed at 103k km and was thinking to have the oil tested. Nothing in Australia but found some companies that do the testing in the US.


    Galaxy Nexus ?
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I use R&G Labs: R&G Laboratories, Inc. - Home

    My standard test has been running about $20 (US):
    • standard oil test - all the elements and particles
    • 40C and 100C viscosity (extra)
    They can also do a microscopic analysis that will provide details about what is in the oil. This is extra, $50, but gives a lot additional details. I've attached the reports. BTW, R&G holds the samples for 30 days if you want to order additional tests. They send the results via e-mail.

    BTW, feel free to ask them to include my virgin Type WS oil sample test, 350120, with your results.

    Now I'm going to 'talk trash' about two other oil testing services without mentioning their names:
    • Company A - does not offer 40C/100C viscosity testing which also means they do not include the viscosity index, another metric, that helps evaluate the oil status.
    • Company B - considers their report 'copyrighted' and not to be shared with others.
    Always ask! Companies can change their offering and policies and asking is alway OK.

    Bob Wilson
     

    Attached Files:

  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    My recommendation is:
    • change transaxle oil with the first engine oil change - this will remove ~75% of the initial debris load left over from manufacturing and early service. This debris includes small metal shavings and transaxle sealant beads that show up in the first 5,000 miles / 8,000 km. . . . Use a 1 cup (0.5 L) sample for initial evaluation including microscopic analysis.
    • change transaxle oil about 15,000 miles / 25,000 km later - this will remove ~75% of the remaining, initial 25%. It in effect is the flush. . . . Use a 1 cup (0.5 L) sample for follow-up. Use the % of viscosity change to determine how much long the next service interval should be.
    • change transaxle oil about 50,000 miles / 80,000 km - again it removes ~75% of any wear material and viscosity loss. . . . Repeat the oil testing advice from before.
    I do not have enough information to predict what 'generic' oil change intervals should be for taxi service or any other. But the economics are: (1) ~$200 for transaxle oil change, and (2) ~$20 for oil analysis. With the analysis, the owner can make an informed decision instead of some Internet blowhard's mad ramblings. <grins>

    Bob Wilson
     
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  16. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    In Sydney (I cannot comment about other states, or even other towns/cities) the rules vary for each network. In my network, we are not required to ever be on a rank. We can cruise around to find the next job, or we can join a rank, or just sit by the road waiting for the next radio job. I tend to mix all three in my day. I start the day with the car in my driveway and wait for a radio job. I then spend most of the morning cruising, but if I find that there are too many empty cabs and no fares, I will join a rank. There are a couple of drivers who I see regularly parked by the side of the road waiting for the next radio job.

    I know that the largest network in Sydney operates on the basis that radio jobs are offered to cabs on the nearest rank. If no one wants the job, it then gets offered to those cruising the area.

    By the way, the op is a Canadian.
     
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  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    In the US, I believe this depends upon the taxi's location, whether it is servicing a major airport (which usually requires the taxis to wait in a designated line), etc.

    New York City, heavily dependent upon taxi transportation, is one locale where the taxis are continuously cruising around in between carrying fares.
     
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