Changing Bad inverter 2011

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Larrol, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    Hi everyone!
    I’ve always loved the Prius! and now I’m the proud owner of a 2011 with a bad inverter. It has 131,000 miles. It also has the POA94 code, diagnosed by a Toyota dealer. Estimate to repair is $4200.
    I would like to repair this myself. But I have a few questions that I just can’t seem to find answers to by searching.
    Will a used inverter (about $200) need to be programmed? (I saw where someone with a 2008 didn’t program a used one and it did fine) If so, what is the best process to get that accomplished? VCI cable and then software from techstream? And a subscription to access the programs needed? Is there a how to of the programming process somewhere?
    If I do get a used one, is there a way to get a better one (questions I may need to ask) that hopefully doesn’t have the same issue ready to happen in the near future?
    Would a refurbished one be better... cost right now is $650. They say it doesn’t need to be programmed.
    I’ve watched a good YouTube on the basic mechanics of this repair, but he then skips the programming part. Maybe because it doesn’t need to be done? But he did do it... the video was just getting too long to get it all in.
    Thank you, L
    I plan to do the inverter cooling pump at the same time
     
  2. scona

    scona Active Member

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  3. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    I got this car from my sister and they asked the dealer about the extended warranty. They said the warranty is for 8 years and 100,000 miles. Oh, and they didn’t do the recall before the day that they took it in with this problem. That must be required for the extended warranty, I’m thinking.

    Thank you for the link to search, I will get on that and see if anything is relevant to changing and programming a used inverter!
     
  4. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    From the lack of responses I’m assuming that this is not done diy very often. After all 99% are done under warranty. So does anyone have an opinion about used vs. refurbished?
     
  5. scona

    scona Active Member

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    I'm thinking that all the 3d generation inverters are deteriorating and to find a good used one might be difficult. I guess if you were guaranteed that one came off a low mileage vehicle that might be the best you could do. Refurbished so many times means wiped off
    with a rag and put up for sale that I doubt they are a lot better. I think it would be difficult to test a used inverter with any degree of
    confidence so perhaps a cheaper used one is the way to go.
     
  6. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    That’s diagnostic trouble code (DTC) P0A94, with a zero, by the way, and if I were in your situation, I’d want an explanation from Toyota (not just a dealer) for why this repair wouldn’t be covered at no cost under Safety Recall J0V or Warranty Enhancement ZE3.

    Do you know the three-digit detail code or codes for DTC P0A94 that were found on your car?
    Rather than replacing the entire inverter with converter assembly—which as you seem to understand, might well leave you with one that will develop further problems—I’d suggest doing the repairs in the same way that a Toyota dealer would, i.e., by replacing the parts specified in the Technical Instructions for Safety Recall J0V (PDF) or the Repair Manual (more info), based on the DTC, detail code, and troubleshooting process.
    I don’t know of any reprogramming that has to be done just because an inverter with converter assembly (Toyota’s term for the part) has been replaced.

    The assembly contains the motor generator control ECU, however, one of two ECUs for which Toyota has issued software updates as part of Safety Recall J0V and other campaigns. If you install a used or refurbished assembly, it may have older software, which Toyota has said should be updated to reduce the risk of further problems.
    If the car isn’t listed in Toyota’s system as having had Safety Recall J0V done, I’d do the repairs (assuming you can’t get Toyota to pay for them), and then take the car to a dealer and let them do the software update under the recall. This way, if something goes wrong, it’s the dealer’s responsibility to replace any damaged ECUs.

    If you have to do the updates yourself, see the Technical Instructions linked above. You’ll need the Toyota Techstream software and calibration files (available with a Professional Diagnostic subscription to techinfo.toyota.com); a reliable vehicle interface module (I suggest the Techstream Lite kit, not an inexpensive counterfeit that might work for diagnostics but fail during reprogramming), and a 12-volt power supply, to keep the car powered while reprogramming.
    If I had to buy a used one, I’d want it to have come from a car that was declared a total loss for some reason unlikely to have caused physical damage to the part, such as a low-speed rear-end collision.
    That depends on what “refurbished” means; as @scona kindly points out, this is a term without an industry-standard definition. The refurbishment that matters would be replacement of the IPM transistor kit, but since that kit alone sells for $1,100, I doubt it’s been done if the seller is asking only $650 for the part.
     
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  7. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    Oh, wow!
    Thank you both for the input and very helpful ideas. I will work on getting the detail code for the P0A94 DTC.(thank you for clarifying the proper number, very helpful)
    I will also do the work to see what can be possible as far as getting Toyota to work with me and hopefully even do the work.
    I will also read the above links you so kindly linked. (you’ve made it easier, much appreciated)
    The vehicle is not in my possession yet, probably in two weeks. But, that gives me time to do the research and make a phone call or two.
    Thanks again,
    L
     
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  8. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    I just wanted to add that I’ve gotten the two detail codes that showed up on the dealers report.

    550 and,
    564.

    In the process of reading the instruction pdf that Elektroingenieur linked to.
    Just a quick update.
    Tune in later for more...
     
  9. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    Hello friends, I’m back!
    After doing as much reading about this issue that I could, including the bulletins put out by nhtsa and Toyota’s different recall notices etc. I called Toyota and talked with a rep. about this issue, she gave me a case number and said my local Toyota dealer would give me a call.
    Sure enough the service manager called me the same day and wanted more info. and with a little help from me, (seems like customers often have to help the business figure out how to do their job), he then went and talked with the tech who had already worked on the car, and then called me back.
    It’s covered long story short! We will see, but, that is the word at the moment.
    My sister is a little peeved that the dealer didn’t know how to do their job! But, I think they were ready for a new car anyway... which is the silver lining for a cloudy situation.

    Now for a very big
    THANK YOU
    for the two individuals who responsed to my post! I might not have followed through without your encouragement.

    May your days and lives be blessed!
     
  10. Juan Carlos San miguel

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    hello, how did the story end?
     
  11. Larrol

    Larrol New Member

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    So the end of the story is...
    They changed out the IPM in about 2.5 hours, when the original quote was about 7.5 hours to change out the inverter/converter. Hmmm.
    Good news is that it was covered by the warranty that was extended to the 15 year mark.
    Dealer admitted that they dropped the ball. I say they were just a whisker shy of fraud... but that’s an opinion and would be hard to impossible to prove.
    Rogers Toyota in Hermiston Oregon.
    Hope that helps.
    Grand finale unless there any specific questions!?
     
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