Brake Booster Accumulator Actuator issue?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Renee Thomas, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    It's my first post and the problem I'm having with my 2009 Prius could result in a very costly repair (like $4500). I bought my Prius new (May 2009) and now it has 96,000 miles. No previous issues until recently. Of course, my 10 year warranty has ended. This summer I noticed more of the buzzing noise - you know the one that we are supposed to ignore? The one that once was considered something not to worry about? Well now the buzzing is constant (and often accompanied by a thumping noise when I park). The buzzing continues for quite a long time when my car is off - like 20 or 30 minutes. When I start driving, the buzzing comes on very soon and it lasts for a few seconds, then it stops, and then comes back on and this pattern repeats over and over every 5 to 8 seconds while I am driving. I don't know where the "thumping" sound is coming from when I park the car but I'm guessing it's associated with my brakes. And the brakes "bark" like crazy if I push the brake pedal hard. I've learned not to push the brake pedal hard. Last night I researched these symptoms and found the very well discussed topic of the "brake booster/accumulator/actuator" that has a tendency to go bad. Something about a diaphragm and loss of pressure, ultimately leading to front brake failure and 3 warning lights appear when it fails. Oh, and that is a very costly fix for those vehicles not under the 10 year/150,000 mile warranty (whichever comes first). So, here I am. There is no code. The symptoms are real and there is nothing normal about them. I can't ignore this. Today I swung in the dealership where I bought it. The service manager (familiar with this problem) says, "Yes those symptoms sound like the brake booster going bad. That repair is $4500 here, and, no, Toyota isn't going to budge on this one since you are out of warranty. So, just wait until the car throws the code and we will deal with it accordingly." The value of my Prius is barely more than the cost to fix this issue if it really is the "brake booster/accumulator/actuator." I can't upload an audio of the sound (any suggestions?). But for those who have heard that buzzing from their own car or from other posts on the same subject, it's the same sound. My big hope is that someone will tell me that new constantly and repeating buzzing can be a symptom of something else and not to worry until I see a check engine light for the code that identifies a problem. Any thoughts?
     
  2. koco

    koco Member

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    You can get a used abs accumulator for $250 or so and have it bench tested before installation, or you can get one online new for like $1200. The installation labor is lengthy though. You probably shouldn't pay the $4500 at the dealer. There are hybrid repair shops around that might be able to do it for like $1000.
     
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  3. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    Thank you for your response, I really appreciate it!
     
  4. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    Hi RT and welcome!
    I don't have a Gen2 so keep that in mind. From your description above it sounds to me like what @ChapmanF has described in other threads here as "the brake booster pump cycling"
    I watched both a Gen3 and a Gen2 brake booster replacement youtube and the Gen 2 youtube I watched includes some sounds that the replacement pump makes after it's installed but before the computers have a chance to see the pump has been replaced. You may want to watch the entire video but I'll link to the part of the video where the sounds are demonstrated near the end of the video.


    Also, @jerrymildred has highly recommended a Prius mechanic in Tampa if you don't already know of one in your area.
     
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    There should definitely be some kind of award for somebody who does a whole actuator replacement without ever taking the cowl out. And says it only took 3½ to 4 hours that way!

    To the best of my knowledge, the computers needing a chance to see the pump has been replaced isn't a thing. That sound at the end? Just a pump running with no fluid in it. When Toyota sells them new, my understanding is they come with brake fluid in them already.
     
  6. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    @vvillovv - thank you so much for your response and posting the video. The noise in the video is exactly the noise my car makes over and over, every 5 to 8 seconds while I am driving, and it continues after I turn off the car. I don't know what to do next. I don't have a mechanic here in Orlando and I don't want to use the dealership due to their cost. My car hasn't thrown the code or had any problems braking. The brakes bark like crazy if I push down the pedal. The car stops fine and won't move forward while in "drive" mode when I hold the brakes down without pushing hard. I guess I can use google to find someone who works on hybrids. I can also ask @jerrymildred if he can give me the contact for Tampa, maybe they know someone in Orlando? Thank you again for your help!
     
  7. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    this is the only part that I've never seen posted here before. It may be part of the booster pump excessive cycling symptom too. and I'd be very surprised if that alone hasn't set at least one of two DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Code)s.
    If you take the car to a local AutoZone they might scan your car again, for free. Than you can post it here for more help from the Pro s

     
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  8. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Welcome, @Renee Thomas. The shop that @vvillovv mentioned is Home - Tampa Hybrids Inc.. It's probably well worth the drive even from Orlando. Todd does super work. You should at least give him a call and see if he'll look at it. He can diagnose it and, if needed, install new or used parts depending on what you want to spend. Either way, it will be far cheaper than a Toyota dealership and most likely, a better experience.
     
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  9. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    Thanks again for continuing to try and help me figure this out. I did bring it to AutoZone for a scan just recently. The only codes that show are the same ones I've had for over 6 years (P1121 and P1116 - related to the coolant control valve - to let coolant flow through the heater core - never caused a problem - even on a long road trip - the value sticks, the code comes and goes). The service manager at Toyota said to wait until it throws the code. In the meantime, I know something isn't right and I want to fix it but not at the dealership. I see the post for contacting the repair shop in Tampa. I will definitely reach out to them!
     
  10. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    Thank you so much @jerrymildred, I really appreciate your post. I will give Todd a call.
     
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  11. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    @jerrymildred and @vvillovv - thanks again for your help. I have an appointment with Todd's place to get this fixed.
     
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  12. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Please keep us in the loop. Love to hear how it turns out.
     
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  13. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    I will. Todd convinced me my Prius with only 96,000 miles still has a lot of life left in it. I just need to bite the bullet and fix this problem. The only other expensive item in my future will be the $2400 battery. Considering I've had little to no issues with my Prius since I bought it new in 2009, I guess I'll keep it and resist the urge to get a new car!
     
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  14. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    When we had a gen 2 traction battery fail in my wife's 2007, I got one from Todd made from a full set of modules taken from a totaled 2015 (2 years old at the time). It was at least $800 less than a new battery from Toyota. I installed it myself. Not hard to do. It was still running like new when we traded it in last year. We wanted the new safety features on the Gen 4 and the paint on that 2007 was getting to the point where I was embarrassed that my wife was driving it even though she loved it.
     
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  15. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    Ha, that sounds exactly like something I would do, too! I plan to keep my car a long time. Material things like "new cars" are not terribly important to me. Not sure I would do the install of a new battery myself unless it's as easy as installing a regular battery, but I'll research that task if needed! Todd said when just one cell of the umteen (I forget how many) cells goes bad, the whole battery is bad and there is no warning really. But the new battery life is about 12 to 15 years. Mine is 12 years old this year. Hopefully my old battery will last me a few more years to offset the upcoming cost for my new brake booster/accumulator/actuator assembly. Even so, after those two repairs, my car could last a long, long time. He mentioned a Prius he knows that has 500,000 miles!
     
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  16. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    @jerrymildred @vvillovv So, I had just made my appointment with Todd for next week (driving the 2 hrs from Orlando to Tampa), but GUESS WHAT HAPPENED TONIGHT? Yep! The brake booster failed!! Why couldn't it have waited one more week? I don't think I can drive it two hours from Orlando to Tampa for the repair, it was a harrowing 20 minutes just to get home. At times, I had only my rear brakes (slower to react). And the "brake" warning light pops on and gives a long solid beep every minute or so. Ugh. Either I tow it to Todd or find a local repair place. I refuse to go to the dealer! They want $4,500.
     

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  17. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    That would be prudent. Do you know any friends with a truck and car trailer? Or perhaps you can hire the trailer?
     
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  18. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    @dolj - I don't know anyone but I'm going to find a way to get it to Tampa, unless I can find a reputable hybrid repair place in Orlando!
     
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  19. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    I'm not going to be much help other being a second pair of eyes on the internet. I searched prius specialist Orlando, FL and found Dynasty Auto | Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance
    I'd give them a call and ask how much it would cost for them to do the Brake Booster replacement on your 09 !
    I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya!
     
  20. Renee Thomas

    Renee Thomas Junior Member

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    @vvillovv, thank you, Dynasty was the only one I found last night during my search for a repair shop that seems to specialize in hybrids. I am going to pick their brain a bit to see how much they actually know about this repair. If they fail the test, I'll start looking for a way to transport my Prius to Todd's place in Tampa. I'll keep y'all posted!
     
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