Buying a gen 1 Prius - what do i look out for?

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by anon61, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. anon61

    anon61 Junior Member

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    I am thinking of buying a used Prius gen 1. What should I look out for?
    What should I do once I've bought it?
     
  2. thephoenix

    thephoenix New Member

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    Wow that is a big big question! I would say that firt of all look for things you would in any other used car....milage body condition and so forth. Im not to keen on the very technical aspects of the Prius but if you can narrow things down a bit i might be able to offer some advice. Once you get it continue to ask lots of questions here and then drive it! You'll learn a lot just by doing that. I will check back and see if I can think of any specifics in the mean time.
     
  3. anon61

    anon61 Junior Member

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    I was think of prius specific things, e.g can I check the condition of
    the main battery.

    I realize it is hard to answer open-ended questions, but I don't know yet what to ask.
     
  4. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    The two major fault areas are the HV battery and the transaxle. The HV battery can be fixed by most people if they have taken a circuits/electronics class. The transaxle is non-repairable. Look for service records showing regular changes of the transaxle fluid. The battery, you could ask the owner to remove the cover and expose the cells, as visual inspection may show corrosion and electrolyte leakage that would eventually cause a problem, however, removing the cover is not simple.
     
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  5. anon61

    anon61 Junior Member

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    Well, now I bought it, so now the second question is more relevant. What do I do know?
    I am leaning towards of bringing it toyota for the full service. It's about 700 euros.
     
  6. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    It is really the transaxle fluid change that requires a regular change. 700 euros sounds like too much, it must include a lot of fluff like fuel injector cleaning.
     
  7. M&M

    M&M Junior Member

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    Depending on the mileage (or kilometers) the vehicle has been driven, there are several things to look for or do. I saw to it that the car was covered by warranty as long as possible, hence, an extended warranty. Getting it serviced would be good if you don't know the history, otherwise odometer-based service should be sought at the approriate intervals. I would spend the money to have a diagnostic of the HV battery done. as this will show you cell/module voltages and you can see how they all balance, or not, which could mean a cell or two needing replacement. Cost was about an hours' labor for the printout (US$100).

    Visually looking at the connection posts for the modules will tell if there are any indications of leaks, but as others have mentioned, getting to look at it is a bit laborsome.

    I was hit up at 143,000 miles for a new battery on my 2003 due to leakage. I would have paid good money to have someone tear into the thing at 100,000 and see if there were leaks, had I known. That way the warranty would have replaced it, instead of my pocket book.
    -M&M
     
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  8. anon61

    anon61 Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    The car has 210kkm/130kmiles on it, last stamp in service book is at 170kkm/kmiles The only warranty that left is 12-year rust.

    The 700 euros are for 180kkm service. In the Swedish services schedule, the major service intervall is 30kkm (about 20kmiles), and between them there minor service at 15kkm/10kmiles.

    The minor service is checks and engine oil change. The major is engine and transaxle oil change, brake fluid change, air filter change. At 60k there is coolant changes, at 90k spark plug change and valve adjustments.

    At 180k all that is done, and if 700 euros include fluids and materials, it doesn't strike me
    as very expensive, only somewhat expensive.

    I will inquire about a battery check.

    Does any of the OBD stuff discussed on this site work with the Gen 1?
     
  9. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    You can safely decline the valve adjustment. A little noise (too loose) is better than noiseless (too tight -- valves burning). I've never heard of anyone burning a valve in either Gen I or Gen II, and some of these have gone over 500 kkm.

    If you are saying that brake fluid is changed every 30000 km, that is utterly ridiculous for this type of car and can be skipped. If you were to tell me, my 10 year old Prius still has the original brake fluid at 180 kkm, then I would say that it is probably time to change it out.
     
  10. anon61

    anon61 Junior Member

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    That is what the manual says. But it could be a misprint, or the schedule
    might have been changed. I'll ask for the current schedule.
     
  11. thephoenix

    thephoenix New Member

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    Im not sure if you have access to this but when I bought my 2001 Prius I was able to take the vin # to a toyota dealership and they gave me a print out per my request of all the service records that happened at a toyota dealership on that vehicle I found that helpful since I was not able to check some ofthe things myself
     
  12. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    Seilerts,
    You say the transaxle fluid should be changed regularly but the maintenance sked I have doesn't list it as a requirement (ever). I looked at the diagram for the transaxle and it appears to be a very simple planetary system (controlled by electronics). My experience w/ planetary systems is that they are extremely reliable (similiar in reliability to a rear end gearing in a rear wheel drive vehicle). I have 107,000 on my '01. Should I change the fluid? Also, could you expound on typical transaxle problems you see?
     
  13. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    I suggest changing the Gen1 tranny fluid every 30,000 miles....it's a lot cheaper than a new tranny and many are starting to fail, good used replacements are getting harder and harder to find.

    Insist whoever services the tranny drops the pan, cleans out the oil pickup filter and the gunk in the pan. The dealer NEVER does this...in fact, the tranny pan gasket is special order at most dealerships.

    http://www.3prongpower.com/tech/Gen1TrannyService/
     
  14. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    It's the electrical windings in the Prius transaxle that suffer from old oil. The lubricity of the old oil may still be ok, but the electrical conductivity is a problem. Toyota should add a recommended transaxle oil change interval. The Toyota recommendation of never changing it will certainly get you past the warranty period.
     
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