Common 2G Problems, and What to Do About Them...

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Patrick Wong, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Evan Fusco had requested a compilation of 2G known problems, so I'm starting this thread to capture commonly-seen issues.

    Problem: Car won't start
    Symptoms: There are several possible reasons for a no-start situation. The most likely would be lack of fuel or a dead 12V auxiliary battery. If your fuel gauge shows two bars or less, then suspect insufficient fuel. If you note that cabin lighting is dimmer than normal or if the headlights are dim, then suspect a marginal 12V battery.
    Frequency: N/A
    Diagnostic: Variable, depending upon the root cause
    Cure: Add fuel or replace the battery as appropriate. Note that if you add less than 3 gallons of fuel, the system may not recognize this addition. Then you'll have to disconnect the 12V auxiliary battery negative terminal for a few minutes, then reconnect. This will force the gas gauge to register correctly.
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: If the fuel level is sufficient and the 12V battery is OK, then more digging will be required. Open the hood and look for loose wiring harness connectors especially at the fuel injectors and the spark igniters.

    If it has been raining recently, then it is possible that water may have dripped from the cowl onto the engine valve cover, and then into the spark plug wells causing engine misfire or no-start.

    It is also possible that the throttle body interior and throttle plate require cleaning, if sufficient black gunk has accumulated. To inspect this, remove the air cleaner housing and rotate the spring-loaded throttle shaft while the car is IG-OFF. Use a flashlight to illuminate the interior of the throttle body, looking for this gunk on the throttle plate edges and the throttle body interior. If present, you can clean it off using throttle body cleaner (use the minimum necessary cleaner fluid, and don't get the mass air flow sensor wet. This is attached to the air cleaner housing and protrudes into the airflow leading down into the throttle body.)

    The mass air flow sensor may require cleaning. A couple of screws secure this part to the air cleaner housing. Carefully remove the sensor and use MAF cleaner to clean off the wires and the bulb that senses ambient air temp. Make sure the O-ring is in good condition before reinstalling the MAF sensor.

    Other reasons for no-start include oil viscosity which is greater than 5W-30 or excessive oil level. If the iridium spark plugs have not been replaced on schedule (every 120K miles) then this needs to be done. The engine air filter should not be excessively dirty.

    If you see no obvious problem, then it is time to have the car towed to your local Toyota dealer.

    Problem: Car won't shut off
    Symptoms: When the car is READY and the POWER button is depressed, the car will not shift into P and move from READY to IG-OFF.
    Frequency: Intermittent
    Diagnostic: No DTC will be posted
    Cure: For temporary relief, hold the POWER button down for several seconds until the car becomes IG-OFF. The permanent cure is to have the combination meter assembly replaced (this displays the speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, warning lights, etc.)
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: This issue has been appearing on newer model years, particularly 2007-2009. Usually this problem will be accompanied by the combination meter going blank on an intermittent basis. The reason for the problem appears to be that the combination meter has an intermittent connection within and loses vehicle speed information. The POWER control circuitry will not move from READY to IG-OFF if the car's speed is indeterminate.

    Problem: Car loses power. Master warning light (red triangle) appears. Brake and VSC lights may appear.
    Symptoms: See above
    Frequency: After car has been driven for a while, especially in hot weather
    Diagnostic: DTC P0A93, Inverter Cooling Performance
    Cure: Replace inverter coolant pump
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: This is a popular reason for Prius to stop dead, usually in hot summer weather. We've seen a sufficient number of inverter coolant pump failures so I would say that if you have more than 100K miles logged and you wish to keep your car in top condition, consider replacing this pump now as a preventive maintenance move.

    Problem: 12V auxiliary battery failure
    Symptoms: Unusual MFD warning messages. Weak cabin lights and headlights.
    Frequency: May be intermittent initially
    Diagnostic: Measure battery open-circuit voltage. 12.6VDC or greater indicates the battery is fully charged. 12.2VDC indicates 50% charge. However, note that battery voltage is not a perfect indicator of battery health as excessive internal resistance will result in the battery not being able to deliver sufficient current under load.
    Cure: Replace the battery. The correct Toyota battery can be purchased at your Toyota dealer's parts counter. Note that two sizes are available; the smaller size is for base models while the larger size is for models with the Smart Entry / Smart Start system.

    Some posters have been very happy with the Optima battery, but this requires installation of a new positive battery terminal connector and replacement of the negative battery cable.
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: If you have weird electrical problems and the battery is more than 3 years old, I suggest replacing it as a preventive measure and to rule that out as a cause of the problems.

    Even if your car currently doesn't demonstrate weird problems; if you would be unduly inconvenienced by a dead 12V auxiliary battery, then I suggest you replace the battery every three to four years if you live in very hot or very cold climates; and every four to five years if you live in an area with moderate climate.

    Problem: SmartKey-equipped Prius makes unusual beep sound upon shut down.
    Symptoms: Beep sound is new, not previously heard
    Frequency: N/A
    Diagnostic: N/A
    Cure: Replace fob battery
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: The battery costs around $5 or less at your friendly drugstore. If you like to do preventive maintenance, I suggest that you replace the fob battery every three years instead of waiting for the fob to stop working.

    Problem: Traction battery failure
    Symptoms: MFD traction battery or hybrid vehicle warning icon will appear. Engine will run more than normal.
    Frequency: Will be a solid failure, not likely to be intermittent
    Diagnostic: DTC P0A7F (which shows excessive internal battery resistance) and P0A80 (uneven battery module voltages) are likely DTC codes. P3011 through P3024 may also appear to show which battery block has failed.
    Cure: Replace traction battery; consider purchase and installation of a salvage battery if cost of new battery is prohibitive
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: Need to ensure that the battery ECU or the inverter are not causing the problem.

    Problem: MFD unresponsive
    Symptoms: Unusual warning messages appear, having to do with the air conditioning system for example. The screen does not update as quickly as it should. The touchscreen controls do not respond to your touch.
    Frequency: Initially intermittent, will eventually become a solid failure. Symptoms are usually worse in cold weather.
    Diagnostic: N/A
    Cure: Replace the MFD, ask the dealer to install a remanufactured unit to save considerable $$$.
    Other information/Alternate diagnosis possible: This issue primarily affects 2004-2005 model year vehicles. If you wish to effect a DIY repair, look up Hobbit's website on this subject: http://www.techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/mfd/
     
  2. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    Problem: Unlock button on fob stuck
    Symptoms: Car unlocks whenever fob is near or button unresponsive.
    Frequency: Depends on how heavily you use the unlock button.
    Cure: Replace fob and make sure to use the smart key feature more!
     
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  3. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Problem: Squealing Noises from the Coolant Heat Storage Pump
    Symptom(s): Pump makes a high pitched, stuttering noise a few seconds after startup as it pumps hot coolant from the storage thermos to the cylinder head. Most likely to occur when the outside temperatures are cool or cold. Sometimes occurs on shutdown as the pump stores coolant in the thermos bottle.
    Frequency: Intermittent, depending on outside temps.
    Solution: Replace the Coolant Heat Storage Pump. There is a TSB on this: http://priuschat.com/forums/toyota-...-you-have-squeaky-chs-water-pump-new-tsb.html Covered under powertrain warranty, 5 yr/60k miles

    Problem: Running out of fuel
    Symptom: ICE stops running. Usually preceded by flashing PIP on instrument panel and "Add Fuel" message on MFD.
    Frequency: Seems to happen to a lot of new owners and/or people that are convinced that because they got 500 miles on the last tank, they will get 500 miles on the current tank.
    Solution: Learn to treat the gas gauge reading with some healthy skepticism and fill with fuel before you ever see the flashing PIP.
     
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Problem: Car will not shift into D
    Symptom(s): After power up, the car will not allow shift into D when commanded.
    Frequency: Intermittent or consistent.
    Solution: Press firmly on the brake pedal when shifting into D. If the car will still not shift into D with the brake pedal firmly pressed, the problem is most likely the brake pedal switch mounted on the brake pedal arm. Some models will have two switches in this location. Check the connector on these switches. If the connector is good, check the switches and replace if necessary.
     
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  5. Genoz World

    Genoz World ZEN-style living

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    TRACTION battery failure.

    PATRICK - i'm noticing a bit that my ICE kicks in more than normal, but.......maybe i dont know what normal is. My prius is a 2008, 20,000 miles. Could my battery be going bad?
     
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Hi Gene,

    If you don't see any warning lights or warning messages on the MFD display, then no worries. Depending upon ambient temps, battery SOC, etc., the engine may run more or less than "normal".

    To Bob64, dogfriend, and qbee42: Great additions to the list, keep them coming!
     
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  7. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Problem: Funny indicator light, looks like (!)
    Symptom(s): Lit indicator light on dash looks like two parenthesis.
    Frequency: Consistent.
    Solution: This is the low tire pressure indicator. The parenthesis are the sides of a low tire. This indicator means that pressure has dropped in at least one of your tires. Check and correct your tire pressures. If the indicator light is still lit with normal tire pressures, reset by pressing and holding the TPS button under the steering wheel.

    A failed TPS sensor in the wheel could also cause this problem.
     
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  8. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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  9. gdbelden

    gdbelden Gator Hator

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    Problem: Makes people jump
    Symptoms: when approaching people in parking lots, people are startled to find a car on their tail
    Frequency: Intermittent
    Diagnostic: car is too quiet
    Cure: When approaching a pedestrian, blare horn within 2 or 3 feet of them to get their attention
     
  10. EZW1

    EZW1 Active Member

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    Since you brought it up....
    Problem: Makes owners/drivers beam huge smiles ear to ear
    Symptoms: Quiet, unencumbered operation; continuously passing gas stations; estranged gastly looks from passing motorists
    Frequency: Nearly continuous
    Diagnostic: It is what it is
    Cure: Sadly... none.
     
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  11. priusorcorolla

    priusorcorolla New Member

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    If there is a TSB (technical service bulletin) for the issue you've described, will the dealer do the work if it is beyond the powertrain warranty period / mileage? What about for other dealers?

    Thanks.

    --


     
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  12. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    A TSB is simply an advice note sent round to the dealers, a supplement to the repair manual, listing known problems and how to resolve them, or guidance in how to do something. It isn't a call to the dealers to do that thing on every car they see. Warranty will only cover the work if the part fails.

    You're perhaps thinking of a Special Service Campaign, which is a euphemism for a recall.
     
  13. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    As Mike explained, a TSB is additional info that is available to the dealers after the manuals were completed. Toyota always states the applicable warranty coverage as part of the TSB. The dealer doesn't have any obligation to do the work after the applicable warranty has expired.

    I don't know about all other manufacturers, but Ford also states the warranty coverage on TSBs and they even give the standard labor times and a list of parts required.
     
  14. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    They will be happy to do it, if you pay them :_> Nominally, Toyota will pay for the work only during (and maybe for a short period after) the warranty period.

    But! If you take the car to a dealer during the warranty period and complain about the problem, even if they cannot reproduce or verify the problem they will log it; if it manifests later outside of the warranty period Toyota will pay for it. This is especially handy for the notoriously intermittent coolant transfer pump squeal. You may get stuck paying the dealer's diagnostic fee, but that's much less than the entire repair.
     
  15. anitabolduc

    anitabolduc New Member

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    My dash lights go off when my headlights are turned on.
     
  16. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Find the dashboard lighting dimmer control to the left of the steering column, and adjust it so that the dashboard lighting meets your needs. If that control doesn't work, then a visit to your dealer is in order.
     
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  17. Poetg65

    Poetg65 Junior Member

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    Patrick,
    In the past two months I've had to replace the valve stems on three tires. Actually, my most recent issue is a neccessary replacement on the same valve stem/tire as one I replaced last month. I followed an earlier(older) thread on this website citing/describing this issue, and some members mentioned a recall. (?) I own a 2006.
    I also replaced the original tires about 2 summers ago. When I had to get these valves replaced, it was explained to me that the original tires were equipped with inflation sensors. I am guessing the new tires I had installed are not similarily equipped. I don't know if this makes a difference...

    I would just like to know if you have any ideas/suggestions why the valve stems literally keep splitting open?
     
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  18. Stepho84

    Stepho84 New Member

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    I believe I just encountered this on my 2007 two days ago. The car shut down while I was pulling out of the parking space at the dentist. While in traffic, the ! light and the VSC lights blared in my face. The accelerator shuddered and the car barely rode at 10mph. I eventually got into my driveway but not without someone pushing me down the street and up into the driveway.

    Toyota dealer said both the 12V was dead at the hybrd battery was drained 86%. I use the car everyday and rarely have it sit for long periods of time. They recharged the batteries for me, charged $252, then sent me on my way. 1 mile away from the dealer, the battery bars dropped from 5 to 2 (even though it was JUST charged) and the check engine light turned on. As I stared at my two bars while stuck at a redlight, I noticed my engine wasn't kicking on to recharge. So, I quickly made my way back to the dealer. They're going to look into the problem tomorrow morning. I just found this thread and think it may be the same problem my car has. Ironically, my car only has 45,000 miles not 100k.

    Anyone else get these symptoms with less mileage?
     
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  19. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    are you sure the car isn't out of gas
     
  20. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Also have the dealer specifically check the 12V battery.
     
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