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. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Makes me wonder why Toyota can't design the system to either "crash gracefully"(i.e. without generating bogus codes) with a failing 12V or signal a warning about it.
     
  2. DianneWhitmire

    DianneWhitmire High PRIUStess

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    2005 / 2007 problems and my experience

    It's pretty amazing to me that some dealerships still behave cluelessly. At some point, how many 12v's are replaced to make the rest of the car "right" and stop coding? Will they learn this?

    I just went thru this with my mom's 2005. Aka my old 2005. She services at a dealership in San Jose who for now shall remain nameless. She called me last week to tell me that she was on her way north to visit friends when the triangle of death popped up. The car was brought back home (she is in Los Gatos) and the prognosis? Code = bad transaxle or some sort of mega major thing. $4,000-$5000 repair!

    I had sent her to her local dealership immediately after my own 2007 tranny failed (and was replaced at around 115k) and at that time, her 05 had 90K on it. I told her to get the tranny fluid replaced. I don't care what they tell you about inspecting it. REPLACE! Once it's no longer under warranty, and they won't cover anything they do that's going to need a factory warranty to undo, they need to do what YOU want.
    Screw the TSB and their advice - take mine.

    Last week, when I spoke to her service advisor, I asked him when they had changed the fluid, what mileage, date etc?
    Know what? They hadn't. They checked, and inspected, found it OK and moved on.
    Last year, I told her to MAKE SURE THEY CHANGE IT OUT NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
    Apparently, they did not do that for her back then.
    All I can say is not many people would have wanted to be in HIS end of the phone after that.

    End of the conversation, I told him to the 12v replaced, because it hadn't been replaced yet. That was my instinct to change out the 12v because as we know, the cars can throw strange codes out of the blue when the 12v is going.

    Next step was clearing the codes, and after I found out it was $40 at my dealership down here to change the tranny fluid and they wanted $200+ up there, and SVale wanted even more (!!) I called an old friend's independent shop in San Ramon (talked to Jeff at San Ramon Valley Import Center) and he can swap out the fluid for $125. It's not as cheap as my $40 but it's also 400 miles away, so it will have to do.

    By the way, I paid $128 for my own 12v battery replacement. Of course, I work here but it's not much more for retail clients.

    Warning: If you have never had the tranny fluid drained and changed, DO it. It's 100% precautionary. Just do it. It's 4 qts of $8 fluid. And, about 30 minutes labor tops.

    If your car is coding strangely and you've never had the 12v switched out, DO IT. If your car is 5 years old or has more than 80k on it, do it anyway.

    Dianne
     
  3. jstraw20

    jstraw20 Member

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    +1 on the idea of replacing the 12 volt battery if it's nearing the 5 year mark.

    I just had mine replaced this week after having a couple of bad shutdowns. The service tech tried to upsell me on "diagnostics' even after I had told him that i had already run the load test (around 11.5 volts under load) and checked for any codes (there weren't any).

    Day three on the new battery and the car is running like a top.
     
  4. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Dianne, I wish everyone that worked at a Toyota dealership were as hybrid-enlightened as you are!
     
  5. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    Totally agree! Great job. :D
     
  6. Nords

    Nords Member

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    Let me edit this quote to add my lesson for the day:

    More discussion: We replaced our original 12V battery with an Optima last August (barely 11 months ago). Never had a problem. Six days ago I drove the car for 20 minutes each way. Four days ago I drove the car for 20 minutes each way. Three days ago I drove the car for 10 minutes each way. It then sat in the garage for three days, which somehow was long enough to drain both the 12V battery and the main battery. I'm pretty good about shutting off the various lights, radio, & A/C when I pull into the garage, and when the Power button shuts off the car I believe the only remaining light is the blinking theft-alarm warning light.

    Yet when I tried to start it today I got nothin'. No dashboard, no MFD, just an orange light on the Power button (that went dark) and a green light on the Park button.

    We had to make an appointment, so we gave up and used the other car.

    An hour later (after we got back) I jumpered the Prius, and in retrospect the powered half of the cheap positive cable was trying to feed the jumper battery's power through the terminal's non-conductive plastic. The first time I pressed the Power button I briefly got all the dashboard lights, including the flashing gear display. A few seconds later everything went dark. I was pretty sure I'd committed a major jumper error until I spent a few minutes on this board.

    After uttering a few expletives I reconnected the jumper cables and tried again. The dashboard immediately came to life and I drove the car for 15 minutes. Tomorrow (after rush hour) I'll take a longer trip to make sure everything's OK.

    I still have no idea what I left on to drain the Optima and the main battery. I'm hoping that it was operator error and not an electrical malfunction.

    Here's another question for you battle-scarred Prius veterans. If the back hatch won't open when the 12V battery is dead, then where do you guys store your jumper cables? Under the front passenger seat?
     
  7. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    I keep a charged 12v jumper battery (with a light and air compressor) on the floor behind the driver's seat (when 2 passengers or less).

    In 7+ years with the original 12v battery I have never needed to use it for my Prius. I have jumped more than a dozen cars for strangers over those years.

    JeffD
     
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    It appears that you do not drive your car very much. I suggest that you obtain a 12V battery charger and use that periodically, like once per month, overnight. Safe charging current is 4A.

    There may not have been any operator error. Since the car is not used daily, it doesn't surprise me that the 12V battery eventually got to the point where it will not start the Prius. Hence, the need to supplement its state of charge with monthly use of the 12V battery charger.
     
  9. blender

    blender New Member

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    my 2005 Prius w/ 189,000 miles is leaking oil at timer belt cover, stated by dealer. no drops on driveway, what to do
     
  10. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    The dealer said timer belt cover?... That's odd since the prius doesn't have a timing belt. It has a timing chain, so it still has a cover, I suppose, but still. Can you see the leak at all? I have changed a broken timing belt on an old corolla (non interfering engine..yay) and the cover didn't hold any oil so it couldn't leak... I don't know about the chain types in enough detail... maybe they meant the front seal was leaking.
     
  11. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The engine oil pump is located within the timing chain cover. Perhaps the crankshaft front oil seal is leaking. Or one of the O-rings that seal the connections between the oil pump and the block might be bad. Or the leak may be coming from a fault in the RTV gasket between the cover and the engine block.

    You could do nothing since the oil leak is quite minor, based upon your statement that no oil drops are evident. I suggest that you keep an eye on the dipstick oil level, though.

    My guess is that the replacement of the oil pump/timing chain cover by the dealer will approach four digits, so it doesn't seem worthwhile to perform that repair until the leak gets worse.
     
  12. Nords

    Nords Member

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    Guess I'll start doing the same. First jump for me since we've bought the car (2008).

    It started fine today and we gave it about 15 miles of errands. Couldn't even tell we'd had a problem yesterday.

    Looking back on the last week, the only thing we did (that we don't usually do) is leave the back hatch open for a few hours after the second set of 20-minute drives. The next day we drove the car for those two 10-minute trips, and then parked it for three days to find it dead. When the back hatch is open the dashboard shows the "door ajar" light but we have all the other interior lights turned off-- no dome or side lights or anything. I don't know if the hatch latch burns electricity somehow when it stays open. I still don't know what would drain the battery during that three-day hiatus.

    I'm retired, so no commuting. I drive the car 3-4 times a week, probably 4000 miles/year. Half the trips are under 10 miles round trip, the rest are probably under 50 miles round trip. I would think that even a 10-minute trip would charge the 12V battery sufficiently for it to power up the car anytime over the next week. A 15-minute drive yesterday was enough to get it from "totally dead" to "next day started the car with no problems".

    Once I could get the back hatch open, the Optima battery looked fine-- not even any dust, let alone connection issues or corrosion products. I guess I'm happy that there hasn't been a rash of Optima cell failures or other problems.

    I don't mind operator errors-- I've made more than my share of those mistakes over the years and I can change my behavior. But I do hate the mystery of "What the heck happened to cause that?!?"
     
  13. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    As Pat said, short trips will slowly discharge your 12v battery as the Prius charging system is very slow (a constant voltage system). Lead acid batteries need to be stored at full charge to avoid "sulfation" (the build up of sulfate crystals on the lead plates) which reduces battery capacity and in a while causes premature battery failure.

    A Battery Minder:
    BatteryMINDer® Plus AGM/OPTIMA Maintenance Charger / Desulfator-Conditioner 12 Volt – 1.0 Amp | All | Battery Chargers by BatteryMINDers.com
    Not only will keep your 12v battery at full charge, but it can desulfate your battery if it is not too far gone.

    JeffD
     
  14. mwrathgeber

    mwrathgeber New Member

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    I recently bought a used 2007 Prius. I have found that when I lock the car and later come back to it the alarm goes off instead of the smart key unlocking the doors. Am I doing something wrong?
     
  15. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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  16. rposton

    rposton Member

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    I noticed that you posted in Feb and you live in Canada. It is my understanding that the 2G Prius 1st priority is NOT fuel savings, but rather Extra-Low-Emissions. Know that in order for the ICE to put out extra low emissions, it must run within a certain temperature range. Therefore it will run more often in cold weather. Other related side affects of the cold is that your MPG drops, and your main battery seems to consitently hold a higher charge.
     
  17. rposton

    rposton Member

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    In short, up your tire pressure to max number as stated on the side of your tire.

    Tire guages are not all equal, and if my tires are set at the manuf. spec, my light is off. But get some tire mechanic with a bad tire guage, or let cold weather come, and my light goes on. Therefore I set mine at tire manufacture's max setting, then when the light comes on I know that I may indeed have picked up a nail or something.
     
  18. rposton

    rposton Member

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    Though batteries start getting sick whenever, they usually wait till cold weather comes to show it. You can take your Prius in to the dealer for a battery check in the fall so that you aren't stranded somewhere. I think they will charge you around $45 and give you a little receipt like printout, assuming that your battery is ok.
     
  19. rposton

    rposton Member

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    Re: 2005 / 2007 problems and my experience

    I like Dianne and others who have commented. I share the same sentiments.

    When I took delivery of my '06 in '06, I read the owner's manual and found that the dealer, then, had a few people that which had read it too. Some time later, people available changed. The dealer then went to suggesting services and service intervals that seemed more appropriate to an Avalon than a Prius. It looked to me like a gimmick to cause me to spend more money with them. From then on, generally don't ask, but rather insist upon what I want done, and what I want them to NOT do.

    I have learned to trust what I read on Prius Chat much more than what my dealer says. I simply don't trust them anymore.
     
  20. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    MSRP of the correct 12V battery is $138.70. I do not see the point of paying $45 for a check especially since the battery check as performed by the Toyota dealer service dept tends to be over-optimistic regarding battery condition. It would be better to apply that money towards buying a new battery, if you are in doubt as to the battery's condition.
     
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