AMAZING mileage....but the battery says otherwise...

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by Alex Wilsey, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    So....I am in a bit of a super duper annoying dilemma. I wrote about this in a different forum and I did a pretty big hack job explaining my issues.

    SO! Back in January my partner went from a gas guzzling jeep to a Prius until he graduates college, just a car that is not horrible to maintain and cheap on gas. The Jeep he was putting $60-100 week in gas into, the Prius ranges from $20-30...awesome!

    In July on a super hot day the RED TRIANGLE OF DEATH came on. P0A80....replace hybrid battery. Sh*t! His Prius is a 2005, currently 210k on it (204k at the first incident). The battery was replaced with a reconditioned one at around 195k by the previous owner who took pretty good care of it. It was his family's shop car (they owned a detailing shop) and they did a really nice job keeping the interior practically new. Previous owner spent about $2500 on the battery and installation with 6 month (apparently) warranty.

    Funny thing is that the entire christmas tree of lights enjoys coming on sometimes. It is driving me INSANE because I am the designated car nut in this relationship. I encouraged him to get this car for the sheer reason that it was a killer price and it would be somewhat reliable....well she has been....finicky. Had the major TSB repaired from Toyota where the spark plugs corrode and the engine misfires. That was terrifying. Currently submitting for Toyota to send a reimbursement but I doubt we will get it.

    So the death triangle has come up a few times, my partner has my little handy dandy backup code reader to clear it because I will lose my mind if it stays on. I enjoy driving his car a lot, so the lights drive me insane. First time they came on, no issues at all until about two months later, reset, came back on a week later, reset, came on today (threeish weeks to a month later). Recently, his battery holds charge REALLY well. Almost always green bars, but staying within the blue range is usually best. The first two times this happened the fuel economy was really crummy, maybe 38MPG on a good day. The past two times....46+ no matter what. I calculated it by hand, the readout in the car is on the dot accurate. Now sometimes the battery does this little dance with the battery charge. Full, empty, back up for two days. Christmas tree, reset, Won't die like that for two weeks. mileage is amazing, the weather has also been quite pleasant, no super hot days here on the east coast, most days are anywhere from 65-80 at this time of the year. The first three times the red triangle of death/christmas tree came on, the days were 90-95+ outside. This last time, we had been driving all over the Maryland area (Annapolis) looking at boats/etc. GREAT mileage. Never fell below 46.6MPG, with him driving, 47.0MPG. My partner has also gotten the pulse-and-glide down really well. When he first got the car, we got about 56.0MPG on a cruise up I-95 from Baltimore to Philadelphia, but I was also driving like a total pap. No faster than 55...on that road was a bit of a risk I probably shouldn't have taken for some silly numbers.

    So I think we have a bad cell in this refurbished pack...does anyone know of someone who can re-balance the pack and swap out that faulty cell? Because there is no way in hell I am putting another battery in that car...unless it is the Annapolis Prius specialist. He is awesome...my roommate has a 2006 with just shy of 300k, he put a bad pack in there a few years ago and swapped it immediately at no charge in less than an hour. considering having him just put a refurb unit in for $500. The guy who put the current refurb in really jacked me around, won't honor his warranty which has crazy stipulations and is really unclear.

    Does anybody know anyone from DC to Philly who may be able to swap out the bad cell and re-balance the pack? Or should we just keep clearing the codes since the mileage is still doing really well?
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Have you read any trouble codes from this car since seeing the P0A80 in July?

    Because the lights on the dash can light for so many different reasons (in the hundreds), it can be risky to do a lot of blind clearing just to keep lights off, and assume the only codes are the same ones you happened to read months ago.

    If nothing has been done about the battery, it may be reasonable to assume that P0A80 may still be among the codes you've got now, but it would be worth knowing more about the present situation.

    I don't recommend just continuing to clear. One reason is that it is likely to eventually lead to a bang, bad smells, and a walk home. Another reason is that it is a great way to miss when the car develops some new problem and you just hit clear because you think it's the one you know about.
     
  3. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    I can guarantee it is the same code. My partner checks it every time and it is only P0A80. The battery does exhibit some weird behavior sometimes in regard to the meter fluctuating a lot. I have taken the covers off in the trunk to see if the fan maybe was not cooling it correctly. The case is only warm to the touch, which is as expected. The fan never runs very loud and i have check numerous times, it runs smoothly and never operates loud. I maybe one time have heard it and it was a very hot day. Never has it done that again. That day it was 104 out and the car had been in the sun, so I don{t see that out of the ordinary. I did speak with a prius specialist and he said clearing if it is the same code should not hurt. He did say there is a strong possibility that the 12v battery is finally going bad. I have noticed the interior lights are a tad dimmer than usual and the smart key has a tendency to take a moment compared to about 6 months ago. The 12v is original or very close to it....toyota OEM battery is in there. It still looks brand new, and undisturbed. The prius guy in annapolis told me that the 12v is a strong possibility and I have also checked it a few times, when in accessory mode, it drop below 12v or just at 12v. Maybe 11.5-11.9. I forgot to add that. He said that he has seen it trigger the christmas tree several times since the traction battery is desperately trying to keep the 12v full thus draining the traction battery quicker than usual. When sitting without the air on, the traction battery rarely loses charge, maybe one bar with the headlights on.....very rarely 2 bars. Motor may kick in for 30 seconds, cycle off and not cycle on until driving begins.
     
  4. Another

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    I’m confused. You bought the new, apparently crappy refurbished, battery three months ago with a six month warranty and are not just taking it back to the place and getting them to fix the problem?
     
  5. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Can you find out from the previous owner what company did the last battery that was changed ?
    Maybe they would give you a "deal" ? Won't hurt to ask.

    P.S. I think you are WAY overthinking this.
    WAY OVER.
     
  6. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    It was replaced in Dec 2020, Bought the car in January. Symptoms in July, apparently the battery has a base 6 month warranty and the previous owner got a 6 month extention. So 6+6=12/1 year.
     
  7. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    I just talked to the previous owner. He said he had all the bad cells replaced and the entire pack rebalanced. I tried calling the company in July and the guy jerked me around for $500 to "replace" the bad unit. I found some reviews of the company that did it and there are several horror stories similar to mine. Previous owner thinks that with my symptoms there is a possibility of a loose terminal on the bus bar, since the actual charge holds fine and the mileage is right around EPA +- 2mpg or so. Sometimes battery drops to completely dead and it hops back up to a green bar or last blue bar and is fine for several days.

    Expert I asked in Maryland thinks that the 12v might be taking a crap. Hovers around 11.8v when idle and 11.2 when starting then jumps to 14 when car is turned on. I believe the 12v is original, yes, original from 2005. I have someone who can also get me a Dorman HV battery, possibly cheap. If I can get it for really cheap then I might just get that and put it in.
     
  8. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    What you're experiencing is very typical for these used battery replacements, they are not new batteries.
    If this is all that it take for the hybrid vehicle (HV) battery to behave this way then it is more of an indictment of a very poor performing HV battery. However, if it is an original 2005 12 V battery, it wouldn't hurt any to replace it, especially if one of the cells inside has died.
    I would forget about trying to be cheap and getting further unreliable used HV batteries. It would be better to put the money toward finding the most economical brand new HV battery. At the moment this would be a self-installed Toyota new battery. Shopping around online dealers web stores (but you have to pick up, they will not ship) you can often find discount off retail ($1,950), some even right down to wholesale ($1,625). It is worth thinking about it if you want reliability and the luxury of not having to think about this for the next ten years, at least.
     
  9. Another

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    Now I’m even more confused since it’s apparently guaranteed to December 2021? Typically those warranties are transferable, if not, then buyer beware.
    If you do t want to try that then I agree with Dolj to just get a real battery and see if you can cut a deal on trading in the PoS you have to whomever you get it from. Try Greentec.
     
  10. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    You need to STOP right there.
    A 15 year old battery that gives those readings is WORN OUT......and it may be the only (or the major) cause of the symptoms you are seeing.
     
  11. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    I am a super BROKE college student, as well as my partner. I am suspect that the original 12v is still in there. I am going to test it tomorrow with my voltmeter and I am getting a new bluetooth code reader (as recommended by the Dr. Prius app) and go through that to check the block voltages. I guess I'll update from there.
     
  12. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    I am going with that first. Cheapest repair, haha. The fact that we still get killer mileage suggests to me that the HV battery is fine. 12v is definitely tired to say in the least. The first time this happened, was the first time that he took a trip with all kinds of accessories plugged in....and had the music going pretty loud. That could probably suck the 12v down enough to cause some issues. Good thing is that pretty much all other repairs are done. All recalls are done (as per the toyota dealer), new struts in the back, new front brakes (September), new rear drums and shoes soon (we still have about 1/3 left), new tires (July), and a new taillight (brake light array went bad in passenger side) (September). This is really my only big issue, but i try to stay on top of everything since I am the car savvy one. Which reminds me, I need to change the oil! (I do it every 5k just for good measure, burns very little, always clean!)
     
  13. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    If it comes to that I think that will be the best option. I called them and lightly "scolded" them about their crappy practices and putting their customers in a bad position. I got a weird call this morning regarding the warranty, the guy on the other end said some slurs then hung up. Not wasting my time with those buggers. Why do you recommend greentec?
     
  14. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Greentec will only be a reasonable option if you buy a new module battery. They also sell used batteries for far too much.
     
  15. Another

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    I recommend them generally because I’ve previously purchased a replacement battery from them for a Camry hybrid. It was a refurbished battery but it came with entirely new cells. Current price is $1700 or so. There is a lot of misleading innuendo on this forum about Greentec for people who’ve never personally dealt with them and some who seem to have other agendas trying to sell their own batteries.
    Best option is OEM battery but many people cannot afford one. Other remanufactured batteries have reduced old cells. In fact Greentec also sell them for a less. Only if all someone want is to get a car running and doesn’t care about longevity. I would never buy a remanufactured battery with old cells if I were keeping the car. Just kicking the can down the road. If you had the expertise you could likely rebuild your battery for less money but few people have the skills or time to do that.
    Given the price of used Prius’s another option is to sell yours to a taxi company or someone who wants to fix the battery and drive it another hundred thousand miles and buy a simpler to maintain used Corolla or something. Even a Chevy Cruze is a good car getting in the 40 mpg range in suburban driving. The Prius is an amazing piece of technology wrapped in a car, but is not for everyone.
     
  16. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    Just looked at the greentec prices, they're actually pretty good and their rebuilt unit is only $800. I know it is kicking the can down the road, but I am broke broke. I also have my guy in Annapolis who will install with a 18 month guarantee for $800, and my friend has used him several times. He put one in her 06 and it went bad, replaced it next day for free. he honors his work and apparently the DC and Baltimore Prius people all go to him.
     
  17. Another

    Another Member

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    Prices for Prius batteries seem to be in a downward trend, so if you can get a couple of years for $800 and that’s your budget it may be an option. Greentec has a chain of shops nationwide and have been in business a while so that’s another plus. If you call the local Greentec shop they may have other options depending on inventory at the time.
    Is Livingston NJ within driving range?
    Hybrid Battery Repair Shop in New Jersey | Greentec Auto
     
  18. Another

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  19. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey New Member

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    Yes and yes! We are either in the Philly area or Annapolis area, not far from either. Car still drives totally fine and I did lower the threshold of the battery fan on the Dr. Prius app to help the battery stay cool and hopefully prevent any further damage. I also have the guy in Annapolis who is actually extremely friendly. He has put two batteries in my one really close friend’s 06 and she has about 300k and still going strong. He offers a 12 month guarantee or if I pay $25 a month, he covers any inverter or hybrid battery repairs/replacements as long as I pay that. He even is willing to help on price and payment since we are broke college students. He is mobile and his $895 price includes either one of his rebuilt units (he has killer reviews and my friend’s family LOVES him) or to give us a loaner, rebuild our current dud and return it. Either way he goes with a battery in need it rebuilding. I’m probably just going to go to him because he is very nice, provides quality product that he stands behind, and will honor his product if it fails prematurely or if we are paying the monthly $25 for a service contract in which there is no deductible and he comes out the minute we have a problem. My friend had one of his units go bad, and he replaced it the next day. Hearing that and the fact that only he services their Prius and has nearly 5 stars across the board, I think we’re going to go to him.
     
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