90-100K Major Maintenance & Timing Cover Question

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by blhootz, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. blhootz

    blhootz Junior Member

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    Howdy! I was overdue for my 90,000 major maintenance to begin with, and then the pandemic hit, and now I'm much closer to 100,000 miles than 90,000, truth be told. (Although I'm practically not driving it *at all* at the moment.) Nevertheless, I have an appointment later this week for my first major servicing since buying this car.

    When I had my first oil change about 10K ago, they informed me of a small oil leak, indicating an *eventual* timing cover replacement. As a former Subaru owner, I'm all too familiar with oil leaks. It's practically a way of life.

    Beyond the very basic stuff that a 90,000 mile service includes, the dealer shows these options:

    - A/C deodorizing service (pretty sure I'm skipping this one)
    - Complete fuel system cleaner
    - Crank case cleaning service
    - Brake fluid exchange service
    - Transmission fluid drain & refill service

    And then if I'm not mistaken, at 100K the engine/inverter coolant is to be replaced, right?

    Now then, besides wondering which of the above options are totally worth having done now, and what, if anything, might be dealership bloat worth skipping, I think my biggest question is the following...

    Whenever I *do* wind up replacing the timing cover gasket, I'm going to have to replace the engine coolant, at least, at the same time, right? So which one makes more sense to you? 1) Do them both together in order to save an extra $400 (or whatever) for a second engine fluid replacement; or 2) Do the engine/inverter coolant replacement now, when it's recommended, and just not worry about that minor oil leak until much, *much* farther down the line, when the gasket is truly in need of replacement?

    Thank you kindly for any recommendations.
     
  2. mikey_t

    mikey_t Active Member

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    I would definitely do the all of the fluid changes. If you want to clean the fuel system, run a can of BG 44K through a tank and a half. I wouldn't worry about the gasket until it's actually time to worry about it. At that point you might need to upgrade to a newer car anyway, especially if it's a *head gasket* issue that the dealer would likely recommend swapping in a whole other engine so the coolant would be the least of your worries.
     
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  3. Paul E. Highway

    Paul E. Highway Junior Member

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    Aloha!

    Marin County boy here.

    Are you handy? A lot of this is very easy, there are videos at the top of this section that are very clear and explain what to do. Engine coolant, inverter coolant (use the factory stuff), transmission fluid (factory fluid) are all pretty simple, fuel system cleaning they probably probably throw a can of cleaner ($3.99) in the gas tank, air condition deodorize kit is easy about $20 at dealer. No idea what crank case cleaning is, brake fluid exchange is a good idea, I need to do this too.

    If you can do yourself you just saved about $700! Maybe more!

    Cheers
    PEH
     
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  4. blhootz

    blhootz Junior Member

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    Thanks to both of you for the replies. I am minimally handy only to a certain, non-car geek point. I did, for instance, install my own cabin air filter last year. I'd be fine doing the engine air filter, too. Oh well, next time. But changing fluids? I'm happy to leave that to the pros.

    I like the idea of having them take care of all the fluid stuff, and chilling on the gasket. I'd been leaning in that direction, but just wanted some confirmation from others. So thanks!

    I wish! I'll bite the bullet on the fluid changes, but it is nice to save where one can, especially when dealing with dealership prices.

    I noticed that you both mentioned cleaning additives. Maybe I'll call them up and ask if that's really all they're doing. I sense from this forum as well as others that cleaning additives are always a controversial subject, with both fervent proponents and detractors. Don't want to put an unnecessary or deleterious something in my car just because the advertising makes it sound like a good thing to do. But if it's really beneficial — and hey, if the dealership is doing that, then I can, as well. Again, I'm still new enough to Priuses that I just don't know.

    I still have two leftover cans of additives from my old, high mileage Subaru days: a bottle of LubeGard Red ATF Protectant, and a can of SeaFoam. Clearly I'll save the LubeGard for my wife's Subaru as it continues to age, but now I'm curious as to whether the SeaFoam is a perfectly fine (and hella cheaper) alternative to the dealer's fuel system cleaner.
     
  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Toyota USA says, in a very convoluted manner, with footnotes, in the Warranty and Maintenance Booklet*:

    Engine coolant: change at 10 yrs or 100k miles, whichever comes first

    Inverter coolant: change at 15 yrs or 150k miles, whichever comes first

    Change both thereafter every 5 years or 50k miles yada yada

    * This booklet is included with every new Toyota vehicle sold in the States, and if yours is missing, you can download a PDF (for free), from Toyota Tech Info website, under the “manuals” tab.

    (FWIW, Toyota Canada recommends to change both at 10 years or 160k kms (roughly 100k miles.)
     
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  6. blhootz

    blhootz Junior Member

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    For the record, this is the reply I got back from the service rep: "The crankcase cleaning service is a solution that we run through the engine to help remove any sludge that might be building up in the engine. The fuel system cleaning cleaner is an actual cleaning of the fuel system/injectors."

    Meanwhile, I just now called a guy that I trust: the former Toyota tech who's now an indie service guy who did the pre-sale check on my vehicle before I bought it back in 2018. He recommends both (and all) services offered as good, preventative maintenance items for long-term health of my car, especially in light of the possibility of a future head gasket issue. (I would take my Prius to him for servicing, but he's in the far South Bay and I'm up here in Marin. Oh well.)
     
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  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    I’d consider cleaning the Exhaust Gas Recirculation system, and the intake manifold, which has Exhaust Gas Recirculation passages.

    Its labour intensive, accordingly expensive to have pros do it, especially do it thoroughly. And it’s not a mainstream service, so... Maybe the indie guy you mention?

    It’s well and truly due, and neglecting it is a classic “you can pay me now, or pay me later”. Head gasket failure and bent piston arms wait in the wings. Allegedly...

    if you can DIY it costs almost nothing.
     
    #7 Mendel Leisk, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
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  8. blhootz

    blhootz Junior Member

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    Yikes! I just started reading up on this whole EGR thing for the Gen 3's. Yeah, I'd say that's plenty enough above my comfort level. Even if I can take things apart, I don't feel comfortable that I can always put them back together again! :LOL:

    I definitely appreciate being alerted to this so I can put it on my radar. AFAIK, I currently don't have signs of any engine "death rattle" at startup. So then, presuming that things aren't bad right now, is it suggested that one go in as a preventative measure, *anyway*? From the little I've read so far, it looks like it's mostly just an mpg issue. But you're implying that this affects much more than that, eh? I clearly have a lot more reading up to do. Thanks for sending me down that rabbit hole!

    And I do have a local indie shop here in Corte Madera, plus my old regular mechanic who I brought my Subarus to. Maybe they'd be the ones to talk to about cleaning out the EGR & IM. (Thanks for spelling it out and not using the acronyms in your original post. There are *way* too many acronyms out there to know them all.)

    With the greatly reduced amount of driving I did this past year, I had really gotten out of the mindset of servicing my Prius. I think this thread and preparing for my major maintenance tomorrow has been a good reminder that I bought this vehicle with the intention that spending a little more for regular, suggested maintenance was a worthwhile price to pay for having a healthy, reliable car for years and years to come. Obviously I don't want to get fleeced on items that I can easily do myself. (e.g., air filters) And for a non-car geek like me, it's not always easy to know what's overkill. But overall, I do still like the idea of getting most everything I need to keep this car in top condition. Good to be reminded of that.
     
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  9. mikey_t

    mikey_t Active Member

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    If you take care of the EGR cooler now, then you likely wouldn't have to worry about it for another 50-60 thousand miles. And you'd have some peace of mind about your head gasket not needing to be replaced. I would order one from eBay, clean it yourself, and then have a mechanic swap it in if it's something that you want to take care of. Along with the other maintenance and crank case cleaning, I would imagine that your car would run cleaner for much longer afterwards.

    Maybe your buddy in South Bay could take care of it one afternoon if you paid for beer and pizza.
     
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  10. Paul E. Highway

    Paul E. Highway Junior Member

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    One option to cut down on time/labor, is what I did, bought an egr cooler, egr valve, egr pipe, and latest revised intake manifold and swapped them all in an afternoon. If you have a shop do it, at least you're not paying them to clean stuff. The cooler really needs multiple soaks and pressure washes. I now have a spare clean egr cooler and egr pipe for the next cleanup.
     
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  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    At most I would just get the Exhaust Gas Recirculation cooler (salvage); everything else is relatively easy to clean. Even the cooler cleaning is doable.

    More info:

    Bad Flywheel | PriusChat

    Now is the time to do it.
     
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