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Anyone had luck getting good price on new HV Battery?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by HerbMPG, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. HerbMPG

    HerbMPG Junior Member

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    Anyone know the most recent best price for a new HV battery for a 2nd generation Prius? Are Toyota dealers still offering a "Goodwill" warranty or other discount on one? We have in Atlanta a highly rated Toyota shop, Toyo Techs, who have a hybrid team. They've have a pretty good price, but I think it's still about $3000+.
    After running a drain test (found on PRIUSchat), seems like my HV battery is at 40%. It seems worse when I start it after sitting for a day or more. Recently, after sitting for 2 weeks and starting up, it gave me a red triangle with "The batteries will not charge if the shift position is in Neutral" message (when it was in neutral).
    I'm also considering whether or not my Prius is worth it. I've driven it hard most of its life, but have taken pretty good care of it. What with other things possibly going wrong, I can't help wonder if it's worth replacing the battery.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how many miles on her?

    you can't get goodwill help unless your car throws a bad battery trouble code. and 2006 is unlikely in georgia unless the miles are really low.

    $2,500. installed seems about the best price available, but not in all areas.

    all prius will warn you that the battery will not charge if you are in neutral. they want to be in park, if not in drive.stay out of car washes that require neutral!

    no 12 year old car is worth keeping if you have to pay high prices for repairs, and it is keeping you up at night. maybe it's time to look at a trade in.
    all the best!(y)
     
  3. HerbMPG

    HerbMPG Junior Member

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    120000 miles
     
  4. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    These days on Craig's list I'm seeing Gen2 Prius by private-party urgent sellers have dropped into the $3K range so there's never going to be a valid reason to spend huge on a whole new hybrid battery for a Gen2 anymore.

    But you'll be relieved to know that in past dozen years there's been lots of advancements in affordable hybrid battery maintenance that could solve your problems for way under $1K. While these methods are well proven, dealerships and certified mechanics still shy away from them and they're missing out on huge amounts of long-term loyal customers like yourself because of it. Here's what you need to know about servicing yours:

    1) Your Hybrid battery is made up of 28 individual modules, and because it connected together in a series circuit, rather than paralell. If just one of those $40 modules (not much different than a laptop battery) has a problem, the whole battery has a problem. So you pull the hybrid battery and take it apart enough to be able to test voltage, as well as voltage under load, of all 28 modules. If you find a bad one, you replace it with a used $40 module that hopefully matches w/performance specs of remaining modules.

    2) Sometime if you're lucky, the problem is not a bad module, but simple corrosion. The 28 battery modules are connected together in their series circuit via cheap copper plates (bus bars). These plates are prone to corrosion, which can increase resistance/increase heat or cause a voltage sensor to get a bad reading and cause the battery's computer the throw a warning code. That mess needs to be cleaned up and upgraded with more corrosion-resistant and thicker Nickel-metal alloy bus bars as well as fresh nuts to minimize future corrosion issues.
    1 hour: replace hardware & clean posts and bus bar assembly

    3) Lastly, battery balancing and conditioning is essential. All 28 batteries work together, so if one module reaches full charge faster than the others, the others won't get the same benefits of being as fully charged/discharge, etc.. But specialized charging equipment can ensure that all batteries are perfectly balanced and fully charged. Likewise this equipment performs battery reconditioning, which is a series of controlled charges and discharges that restores overall capacity / clear memory of all 28 batteries. This maintenance can be done with easy to use equipment you purchase online and plugin at home or go to a mechanic who has a similar machine designed specifically for a busy auto shop: ProlongĀ® Battery Systems FAQ – Hybrid Automotive

    Expected hours of labor for each job:
    1 hour: pullout & put back in hybrid battery;
    1 hour: test 28 modules;
    1 hour: replace bad modules
    1 hour: replace hardware & clean posts and bus bar assembly
    1 hour: install Prolong Plug&Play Battery System Harness
     
    #4 PriusCamper, Jul 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    at 120k, a new battery might take you ten more years, but wait until you actually need one.
     
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  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Full replacement of hybrid battery is the only option for the older Honda insight, but lots of people have had success swapping out individual $40 modules within the hybrid pack. The two reasons people are convinced that full replacement is only option is 1) Toyota won't sell used parts, in this case module replacements roughly matched to battery packs age, and 2) Auto mechanics with the skills to fix this aren't educated on, nor interested in, High voltage battery maintenance, even though they lose a ton of business for being so obstinate.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    for diners, rebuilding their own battery is fun hobby, but still unreliable. for non diners, there is no other choice but new, if you are keeping the car long term.
     
  8. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    PriusCamper,

    A couple things.......

    You need to look at this from a dealership/mechanics perspective. None of them want an unhappy customer. Most customers want to drive the car, not worry about future failures. Most of them are not going to play whack-a-mole with a customers car. That's a quick way to turn a loyal customer into a pissed off customer when the "rebuilt" battery fails down the road, which could be a month or could be a year, but it's GOING TO HAPPEN.

    RARELY is a battery failure due to corrosion of the busbars. Also, the bus bars are solid copper, not copper plated as you mention. The corrosion typically only occurs on the exposed surfaces of the copper. The copper that is sandwiched between the nut and the module terminal is 99.9% of the time extremely clean on an OEM battery. The corrosion on the exposed surfaces of the busbar has effectively ZERO impact on current flow. More often, the corrosion affects the voltage sensing wires and can cause one to break or crack. This is usually immediately noted and the battery will code out. Corrosion can also affect the sensing harness plug where it connects to the HV battery ecu.

    Your 5 hour estimate for a complete turn around is pretty optimistic for an owner who has never even seen a HV battery before. This is how you end up with people that have no electrical knowledge trying to rebuild a HV battery. I still remember one poster here who was discussing how they glued a busbar in place because they broke a terminal off a module.
     
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  9. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    1) Those hours are based on direct experience and obviously the first time you do any of these task it takes way longer. The first time I pulled a battery pack out of a car it took more than an hour. The 5th time I pulled one, I used a stopwatch and had the pack on the workbench in 14 minutes.

    2) It's only a game of wack-a-mole if you don't have proper equipment to thoroughly test each module, as well as the experience to match replacement modules, as well as the balancing and reconditioning system that Prolong is selling. I'd of agreed with your point of the futility of it all a decade ago, but times have changed and one of the first shops in Bellingham, WA. that adopted the Prolong system and worked on hybrid maintenance and repairs boosted their service sales by $50K in the first year.
     
  10. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    The Prius reminds me of the days when American built cars were still king and imports were rare.
    In those days if you owned a foreign car you had to take it to the dealer or if you asked around there would be some small garage with a really good mechanic that liked the challenge and started specializing in foreign cars.
    I think we are at that same point dealing with hybrid batteries and hybrid drives.
     
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  11. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    It's only a game of wack-a-mole if you don't have proper equipment to thoroughly test each module, as well as the experience to match replacement modules, as well as the balancing and reconditioning system that Prolong is selling.

    Ok, so help me out here. Help me understand.

    How much time do you estimate is involved in the above troubleshooting/testing/reconditioning to do it right? How many labor hours is a shop or dealer going to charge? What would be the total cost out the door for the customer? Even when done right, what does the car owner have at the end of it? What kind of long term reliability?

    How does this compare to installing a new battery? What does the owner have after a new battery is installed? What kind of long term reliability should they expect?

    You have 1 hour listed for testing 28 modules. I'm interested in learning what "proper equipment to thoroughly test each module" is? Especially if it takes one hour for 28 modules and might be owned by the average repair shop. Are you talking about the prolong system available to the average DIYer or the PRO setup I had read something about a year or so ago? If you're talking about the PRO system, please explain what makes it so good, as I don't know much about it. If you're talking about the normal kit, it does zilch for individual module testing.
     
  12. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I was able to do a 2 minute load test on each of the 28 modules in about one hour on the first try. Currently I'm designing a cover that will go on top of a hybrid battery pack and do a 2 minute load test on all modules simultaneously, yet separately. Results of that test will be visual at first (via inexpensive voltmeters) and using google speech to text service to enter the data into a spreadsheet, but eventually that will get faster via exportable data that automatically gets sent to a spread sheets.

    Beyond that primary test, depending on how long the battery is in the shop for, there will be other tests, such as resting decay rate of a full charge after many days, or voltage readings at various stages during the conditioning, as well as resistance measurement during charge and discharge rates of individual modules. Still trying to find ways to do that quickly and inexpensively, but the idea is the voltage measuring cover on top of the pack, combined with Toyota Techstream data will make it easy to quickly spot modules that behave differently from the rest of them.

    As for Prolong equipment, the pro model works on all types of hybrid vehicles batteries and instead of it taking 24 hours to do a single discharge and recharge with consumer model, the pro model can do that in as fast as five hours in some cases.

    The shop I'm currently working with just shifted from consumer model to the pro model and they're still figuring out the sweet spot in terms of price for recharging, conditioning and balancing. If the price is too high, no one will want to buy, especially because regular preventative battery maintenance needs to be as affordable as an oil change. The plug and play concept of Prolong makes this outcome possible, but much more development work still needs to be done.

    One shop in Portland, Oregon quoted me $700 to do the preventative work of installing Prolong harness (part costs $150) and then doing a 3 stage discharge/charge, which is too expensive, but that's likely because they're using consumer model (requires lots of baby sitting) vs. the Pro model which is faster and automated.

    As for data, the Prolong system is designed to do charging, balancing and conditioning of the entire battery pack, not to test modules. If I was going to set up a huge shop with tons of modules it'd be worthwhile to invest $15K in the machine that works on all 28 modules simultaneously, while also gathering loads of data at the same time, but you have to do mega-volume in hybrid pack rebuilds to justify that kind of money on equipment. My goal is to help shops do this work in less costly ways so as to not throw the baby out with the bathwater, or in this case throw an old Gen2 prius out because of one or two bad hyrbid battery modules are more simply, corrosion causing bad voltage readings & too high temperature error codes.

    Point being, back in the day when spending $2,500-$5K on a replacement hybrid battery was still 1/4 or less of the total value of the car it made sense. These days with 10 year old Prius selling as low as $3k from private sellers on Craigs list, hybrid battery pack replacement is no longer an affordable option and most Gen2 owners falsely believe, or are led to believe, they have to get another car soon as there's any issue, no matter how minor, with their battery pack. I want to help change that!
     
    #12 PriusCamper, Jul 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2018
  13. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Here's some of my experience. Maybe you can figure a way to incorporate it into your device. I currently have ~1300 Gen 1 and Gen 2 modules in the shop. I do not currently use pre 2014 modules to build customer batteries, so these modules get fully cycled and tested, and the good ones will eventually find their way onto ebay, etc.. Any that fail testing get built into a core return. I have (7) EV-Peak CQ3 and (3) Hitec x4 AC+ charger/dischargers. I have the Deluxe Prolong kit for the Gen 2 Prius. I also have an electronic programmable load that can handle up to a 60 amp discharge.

    I'm currently able to cycle up to 40 modules at a time, but tend to stay with 28, as that is how my bench is set up. I have a Gen 2 bottom case fastened to one end of the bench, with OEM ductwork and fan supplying cooling air. I use the charger unit of the Prolong kit to run the HV battery fan.

    When I obtain a customers old pack, I usually install it in my car for a while, allowing me to monitor and test it, along with getting Techstream IR readings, etc. I'll then remove the 28 modules, (still in the clamp) and set them onto my bench case. I then perform no less than 4 complete discharge/charge cycles and sometimes as many as 10 if I want additional data.

    During a discharge cycle, I sometimes see (maybe even often see) that a module will have one internal cell drop out at about the 1000 mAh point, resulting in a rapid loss of 1.2 - 1.4 volts. Following that cell dropping out, there is a very steady voltage drop for the remainder of the discharge. If you miss that initial drop, one could easily think the module is ok, just a bit weak. Total capacity will usually be in the 4500-5200 mAh range. This type of failed module will not be picked up by a small, relatively short duration load like a "headlight" bulb. I have NOT YET been able to get one of these type modules to recover using charge/discharge cycling. I believe this is one reason why many people get caught up in the whack-a-mole. They throw a small load on it and it appears to be fine for a while, or at least as long as the test is performed. This defect is easy to see if discharge voltages are monitored or graphed for full cycles.

    During the charge cycle, I often see one or more modules swelling significantly and causing a gap between itself and the modules on each side. It doesn't always correspond to the IR readings obtained from Techstream. Obviously, that's not a module I would want in my battery or anyone else's. These modules tend to have a charge voltage that is noticeably higher then the others. Easy to see with individual chargers.

    There are also times where the charge voltage is significantly higher, but there's no noticeable swelling problem. Once again, not exactly a module I would like to have in my battery or anyone else's.

    The typical Prolong type device isn't worth crap at detecting these defects. If you can't obtain individual module information, all that's happening is the bad ones are being band-aided and they'll eventually leave you stranded.

    Find a way to incorporate these items as automatic tests and you'll be on to something.

    Whatever happened to the electrical engineer/guru guy that was on here a year or two ago that had developed a super pro model tester? I'm sure someone remembers him, as the language barrier tended to make him sound like he was always talking down to everyone else. I seem to remember him saying he had a few people fly across the pond to check it out/buy it/get trained on it/etc.
     
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  14. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    The "pro" is Kiwi but he hasn't been around. His stuff is really expensive and not many can afford it
     
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  15. benjita

    benjita Junior Member

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    I had to choose between remanufactured, replacing modules, replace with new, or junking the car a few weeks back. Dealers are selling the battery for $2000 in Virginia and I got it installed for about $500. The decision ends up being personal but I chose new because all other options seem to have a not insignificant failure rate and reliability was most important to me. I'd consider messing with the modules etc if I just wanted to tinker around or if it wasn't my daily driver.
     
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  16. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Wow, this is some really valuable insight into the challenges with diagnostics... And yes, you're right, there's some really subtle data that comes up that'd be easy to not notice, but if you do notice it you've found the bad module before it goes bad.

    The characteristics of a higher charge voltage in a failing module is something I'm familiar with... Same with how a slightly bulging battery can give different reading, often slightly lower voltage than other modules.

    If I had a mountain of money and a team of electronic engineers I'd design a set of diagnostic bus bars with lots of micro-processors and sensors that could gather a dozen different data points from each module in real time as the car is driving around. I suspect some of the best data would come during times of maximum operating temperature on hot Summer days like today.

    And while that may be the long-term dream, the baby steps that get me there is what I'll focus on for now. As prices go down the options for observation of individual modules goes up, such as this wifi connected monitor in the ~$30 range: Battery Monitor Meter Wireless DC120V 100A VOLT AMP AH SOC Remaining Capacity | eBay

    The key is finding the one data measurement that is more accurate than all the others at predicting failure and the more I study each module, the more there are moments of, "Hey, that was slightly different than the other modules, I wonder why?" Of course having data tracked so those moments are missed is a big challenge when on a budget...
     
  17. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I have a 06 coming in this week. Just under 140k, usual symptoms (codes and rapid cycling of SOC). Apparently the list price of the battery at Toyota has dropped; it is now down to $1950. At this price, it rarely makes sense to go with the aftermarket options.


    iPhone ? Pro
     
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