Chasing Better MPG, 3rd phase

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by George W, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. George W

    George W Active Member

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    In the first 2 phases of my effort to revitalize my new-to-me 2008 Touring, I completed a tune-up based upon all the input from forum members. This tune-up resulted in an overall 8-10 mpg increase in fuel economy. My Thanks to members of PriusChat for all your great advice.

    When my chase encountered an expensive obstacle, mainly the HV battery, this is where my wallet told me to STOP. I thought I was done for a while.

    Monday evening, Dr. Prius app reported high battery temperatures. YES, on both sensors, the first I've seen since I purchased the car. The car's HV battery had been pulled & checked at the Hybrid Repair Center only a week ago, I associated this new development with the work performed. I took the car back to them yesterday.

    They didn't find anything, but after discussing some indications reported by Dr. Prius app, they were unsure about 2 of the cells in the pack. The conversation became a 'He said, She said' discussion. They didn't want to admit to any errors in handling the HV battery. I pressed the point that high temps were never reported in Dr. Prius until after they 'handled' it.

    Hybrid Repair Center graciously offered the next step toward discovery, the re-conditioning of the HV battery. They'll use the next two days, with the Prolong system, to complete a deep cycle process.

    Where does it go from here? I don't know. Will a re-conditioned battery contribute to better fuel economy? I don't know. Right now I'm hoping it will address the temperature issue. I'll be back in a week. Thanks everyone.
     
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  2. kens97uber171

    kens97uber171 Active Member

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    What temps was Dr Prius showing. I've noticed that it seems to show yellow or red pretty soon. I live in the south west. And car temps in the summer can be high. .. even with the car off.
    I'm now using an app called Hybrid Assistant. It has some cool features and data you can look at but the primary feature for me was it can override the factory setting for the hybrid battery fan. I set it to go to Max flow at 110F. That seems to help get the temps down quick.and keep things a bit cooler when it's very hot out.
    It's a free app and the developers are pretty quick to answer questions.
    The app was not displaying MPG accurately.. they had me submit a log file. Gave some suggestions..
    Eventually it started to show correct MPG.
    But it also has some aids with efficient driving. And maximize Regen..
    My 2008 has 250,000 miles on it.
    Dr Prius is reporting 55% capacity.. when the battery is cooler.. 22% if the battery is very hot.
    Good luck with your repair.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  3. DLC82SV

    DLC82SV Member

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    I love that they charge you something crazy like over 800 dollars for doing a bunch of nothing that should have went to a new pack from Toyota imo, so you go back and tell them that them handling your battery caused it to overheat! That's totally something I would do. I really hope you come back with some good news and not to say that they charged you another $800 to recondition a dead pack... Best Wishes!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  4. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Reconditioning the battery will level out all the modules, which will help performance.

    I see about 1-2 mpg improvement after reconditioning. This is also one of the “tells” for me that I should spend some time reconditioning as I travel the same route to work 5 days a week and leave at the same time everyday so the mpg should stay repeatable.

    Good luck and keep us posted (y).
     
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  5. DLC82SV

    DLC82SV Member

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    Are you asserting that these battery packs require reconditioning Ray? If so at what intervals do you recommend? I personally feel like once a pack is no longer performing properly, you would gain the best results by turning it in for a core to be recycled and replacing it with a brand new OEM replacement. If you gain several mpg from this reconditioning, wouldn't it stand to reason that if replace the entire pack at say, 150k miles, a cars mpg would be restored to that of a nearly new car? Aside from build up in the intake and exhaust sides and slight loss of compression as compared to when new and maybe narrowing fuel passages such as injectors. I am not playing devils advocate. I hate waste and I hate to spend $, I just can't see wasting my money either! Please feel free to enlighten me. I would be grateful. Prius Camper also seems to feel very strongly about keeping the same pack for the life of the vehicle if possible. My other thought is would you guys have gotten significantly more miles out of each one of the gallons of fuel you burned had your cars been running more efficiently and had replacement packs at like 150k instead of these seemingly bandaid solutions? Thoughts anyone?

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  6. George W

    George W Active Member

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    Dr. Prius was reporting 120-123.5 degrees F at the time I caught the 'red' numbers on the screen. Currently, it also reports State of Charge at anywhere from 50% - 62.5%. This event was at 9pm, after only driving 10 city miles. Previously, I had driven the entire summer without any warning from the app. I will check out Dr. Hybrid. Thanks for the reference.
     
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  7. George W

    George W Active Member

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    I didn't make this up. Since purchasing the car, I've literally had Dr. Prius running every time I drive because summers are so hot here. Not once in 5 months has the app shown me any information in red, until after Hybrid Repair Center removed the battery to assess it. They gave it a clean bill of health. The high temperatures only appeared after their work.
     
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  8. DLC82SV

    DLC82SV Member

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    I don't doubt that one bit George. I was complimenting you on being bold enough to call them out on it. It seemed to me there repair bill was a bit high for their services to begin with. Which is why I wouldn't doubt them causing the issue and would have called them out on it myself. I bet they didn't expect you to be monitoring battery health / performance before and after quite so closely. I am very impressed! I truly wish you the best with your baby being their hands! Please keep me posted. My quote for a brand new battery from Toyota for $1550 has made me thinking that you spending half of that for my battery to the be angry and overheat is not the route I want to go. Especially for the marginal improvements it makes stated by Ray & Prius Camper. I'm leaning more and more towards just swapping out the entire pack and giving them the core to recycle. I was considering doing both and documenting the results, but I'm not into putting bandaids on bleeding arteries and it seems to me that once it's weak, it's weak. I would only consider trying this if it were only going to cost me the fuel to travel to prius camper and make a new friend. I am not paying some hack to get me into some viscous cycle of having my modules rebalanced and replaced. That's alot of stress, money, and downtime that I don't have. I need my car functioning as efficiently as possible and the least possible chance of being stranded by a weary battery. I really wish I understood the values in these screenshots and the variances a little better? Anyone at all? Sometimes my battery goes forever and other times it depletes so quickly, but it always takes forever to replenish. It makes no sense to me because everyone says when a pack goes bad, they charge and discharge extremely rapidly. I feel as though my engine runs far too frequently and works way too hard to keep up with a very very thirsty traction battery that seems to never get enough charge unless I coast down the mountain until it's at 77% SOC. Then it will go forever without turning my engine on. Otherwise, my engine seems to run way roo often tanking my mpg if I'm not super cautious. I blame my battery, and my driver evaluation photo should confirm that I can hyper mile and drive exceptionally well. Any ideas? Capture%2B_2018-09-21-09-00-38.jpeg Capture%2B_2018-09-22-00-18-55.jpeg Capture%2B_2018-09-21-23-30-26.jpeg Capture%2B_2018-09-21-22-23-17.jpeg Capture%2B_2018-09-21-22-32-02.jpeg Capture%2B_2018-09-21-23-33-15.jpeg
     
  9. kens97uber171

    kens97uber171 Active Member

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    I've seen hotter that that. SOC can be from 22%-80% I think.
    Definitely try out Hybrid Assistant. Might help.
    Also could be a temp sensor error. There are three spaced across the bottom of the pack. Perhaps one was damaged or not attached correctly when they disassemble the pack.
    Good luck.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  10. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    This is basic battery NiMH science... But Toyota and all their Stealerships would have you think that science doesn't matter when they can take $3,000 out of your pocket by tricking you into throwing away a perfectly good battery. If you'd like to learn the non-Toyota version of NiMH battery care and conditioning read this: ttps://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_restore_nickel_based_batteries
     
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  11. DLC82SV

    DLC82SV Member

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    Very informative. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  12. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Its posts like these that make me think I shouldn't offer battery pack servicing as a side hustle... Of course I'd never charge that much money to "inspect" a pack. Makes me think I should just work for friends and family to help them save money compared to what other people charge and offer no warranty. Or maybe this is an anomaly...
     
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  13. C Rider

    C Rider New Member

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    I just got my HV battery replaced with new modules a month ago. My Prius is a 2006 and has 168k. My drive is about 80% highway and 20% city. I bought my car with a bad HV battery so I don't know how much the new battery improved MPG. So far I havent haven't seen under 50 MPG. I put 5 gallons of gas in when I get to two bars so I am not sure how far off the mpg monitor is.
     

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  14. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    If you look at the Hybrid Automotive website, they have reconditioning recommendations ;).

    A new pack is ~$2k so if gas is about $3 a gallon (for arguments sake), thats about 700 gallons of fuel. If a Prius gets 50 mpg and you then factor degradation at 5 mpg, that’s about 35000 miles just to make up that difference on fuel alone.

    Now if you take the Prolong equipment at $700 and maintain the battery as you see the mpg drop (or every 3 or 6 months) you’ll keep the battery fresh. If you find some other folks in your geographic area, economies of scale reduce and benefits remain:).

    I would argue that batteries need maintenance. While all batteries will fail, Prolong helps extend this. And throwing away a seasoned pack seems wasteful to me, especially since it is typically 1 module that causes the failure code. This can be replaced and the whole pack reconditioned. Saves waste;).
     
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  15. George W

    George W Active Member

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    That is awesome, and encouraging. I'm not expecting a large increase (due to the cheap tires I put on), but every little bit helps.

    One thing is for certain, my next Prius purchase will be a heck-of-a-lot more informed.
     
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  16. DLC82SV

    DLC82SV Member

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    Prior to this, did you get 70 mpg one day and 20 the next? That's how sporadic mine it being right now. It's like some days it will run on battery clear across town, and other days it won't back out into the street without ICE support... It definitely has me concerned. 20180720_160146~2.jpeg
     
  17. C Rider

    C Rider New Member

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    I bought mine with a bad HV battery. I drove it about 30 minutes with the bad HV battery. It did fine on most of the trip, but when I hit a big hill by my house it was struggling to make it up the hill. When I pulled into the driveway the battery cooling fan was running very fast. Since I had the HV battery replaced I have never heard the battery cooling fan run. My MPG does not fluctuate much. I only look at the MPG when I add gas. If I remember right the old pack had two blocks that were showing showing up as bad. My ICE turns on seconds after leaving the garage, but I think that is normal so the cat can get up to temperature. When I get into the city I work in if I am easy on the gas pedal I would guess it can go at least a mile on battery power alone. If it is 91 degrees your AC is probably taking a lot out of the battery. If I go through a drive through on a hot day the AC will cause the ICE to turn on in about 20 minutes.
     
    #17 C Rider, Sep 28, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
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  18. George W

    George W Active Member

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    I got my car back from the Hybrid Repair Center today, and I am stunned! Originally I went there for fluids replacement, wheel alignment, and a battery checkup. I signed a form authorizing them to tear into the car (for the purpose of HV battery), At the end of it they said the HV battery was okay. As to why the battery was taking so long to accept a charge, they surmised that corrosion may be affecting the warning harness, but because that replacement was going to exceed the value of the car, I declined that option. I paid my bill and left.

    A day later, the Dr. Prius app reports high battery temperatures, something I had never before seen. I went back to this shop, insisting this was a new development that they were responsible for. They pulled the battery again, and again said they couldn't find anything. For a moment I thought I was going to have to live with this new problem, but they then offered the option to recondition the HV battery, to eliminate it as a suspect. We shook hands on that decision, and I left the car with them on Wednesday.

    When I got the call from them this morning (Friday), the owner told me they had decided to take another option, They replaced the wiring harness without consulting me. They had my signature on the initial form (permission to inspect the HV battery for corrosion), but I never thought they'd use it to justify a major procedure.

    They salvaged a harness from a wrecked Prius, and put it in. I wasn't charged full price for it. The labor was another story. I saw that they had driven it 50+ miles, and they claimed they never saw high temperature. Believing that the car was finally fixed, I paid my bill and left.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Prius continued to report high temperatures. They are closed for the weekend, so no one over there is accessible until Monday. I did fire off a letter to their Service Manager, with snapshot of Dr. Prius' temp readings.

    A note about the harness change. The HV battery is more stable, it's not rising and falling the way that it was. I can say that is a definite improvement. But, the high temps were in evidence after only 20 miles of driving on a overcast day, 82 degrees outside. See the snapshot.

    I don't know what to do at this time. We shook hands on a particular procedure. They didn't notify me that they changed their minds. They only called me after they did it.

    Do I have any legal recourse?


    ,
     

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  19. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Dang... So bummed you have to deal with this BS....

    With each post, I want to think more and more this is a mistake in their re-assembly of cooling system ducts, but probably not and no reason to dwell on that distraction and let's focus on basic facts.

    Based on what you're saying, they don't know what they're doing and in the process of trying to figure it out, they put 50 miles on your odometer. If that is really true that is a 100% indication that they're messing w/you.

    Corrosion causing bad voltage sensor readings isn't a legit reason to replace an expensive harness, just a need for cleaning... And while this whole problem could possibly be fixed from battery re-conditioning, or at the very least identify the bad cell that's causing the overheating while doing the reconditioning, they didn't do any of that work, or even attempt to do that work and took your car on a 50 mile joy ride with no excuse for what they're doing with your car for 50 miles

    At this point I usually take ridiculous consumer ripoff situations like this and:

    1) Fill out online form with Better Business Bureau and they'll get a formal letter in a week or so that they'll have to pay one of their employees to respond to, or at least get stressed about knowing that's what they have to do...

    2) Go to your state attorney general's website and study the complaint forms because they have the authority to revoke these crooks business license / shut them down / file charges against them.

    3) Contact local and state police to get detailed information about specific laws in your state regarding unauthorized use of a privately own vehicle by valet / repair services.

    4) Research all you can about this business and find out who the owner is, find out their contact information, as well as any litigation or complaints previously file against them.

    5) Summarize all this work you've done to the person in the business that you suspect is most responsible for liability (head boss/owner) and ask for a full refund with the caveat that all this goes away with a refund, or your very thorough investigation will not only be raised to your attorney contacting them next (even if you don't have one) but that the Better Business Bureau already has your complaint and you will be contacting your state attorney general the next day to file all this information as a complaint for fraudulent activities against them.

    In my experience this usually gets a very prompt result because crooks prey on people who are lazy and dumb and when they're up against someone who is thorough and by all appearances smarter than them they're way more interested in the easiest solution / giving you a full refund and preserving their racket.

    Once you get your money back find a better hybrid mechanic...
     
  20. George W

    George W Active Member

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    Thank you for these suggestions. I will take them point-for-point. Do you know of any temperature specs where the 'danger' zone really is in a Gen 2? What reference does the smart app use to know what the critical temps are?
     
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