Dashboard: Now You See It, Now You Don't

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by NoThrowningRocks, Feb 17, 2021.

  1. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    I’ve experienced issues with my 2006 Prius dashboard periodically turning off (so no speedometer, no fuel gauge, etc.) over the last two years. Previously I managed to get dashboard working again using the “turn headlights on/off three times while holding the Info button” routine and it returned to normal, often for several weeks or even months.

    Roughly four months ago I replaced the 12V battery, which eliminated the intermittent problem with the dashboard display. Several other somewhat bizarre issues (e.g., if I close driver’s side window it would automatically go halfway down) disappeared as well. However, somehow the battery is now dead.

    It now appears I’m back to dashboard intermittently turning off. Only exception is it typically turns on after jumpstarting the battery. It is not unusual for it to come on as shown in the attached picture (with boxes flashing around each gear (P,N,R,D,B) along with the fuel gauge (flashing full/empty, repeatedly).

    1) What needs to be done for the dashboard to stay lit consistently? My sense is there's more to it than simply battery level. The number of YouTube videos out there on how to ‘fix’ this indicates it's a widespread issue.

    2) What triggers the flashing boxes and fuel gauge lights as shown in picture below? Seems like these things happen when something not right with 12v battery, but other potential issues that could cause it?

    3) It appears the dashboard 'works' so maybe it doesn't need to be replaced?

    4) I put in the "yellow top" 12v battery and I believe it had a three-year warranty. I still have issues 'turning off' the car (pressing power doesn't consistently work), so I do the "hold Power button for 3 seconds until green light comes on, the double press button to turn off." Aside from the obvious (e.g., leaving headlights on overnight), is there anything that comes to mind contributing to the battery dying so soon or was I simply unlucky with the battery?

    Any help, thoughts very much appreciated!

    [Including recent Techstream DTC summary as supplemental info]

    Dashboard Behaving Badly.jpg Techstream Summary.jpg
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    are you driving as much as normal? perhaps the 12v needs a charge.

    could this be the dreaded combo meter defect?
     
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  3. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    Thanks for your reply. There's been no change in my driving routine. Last time I ran into similar problems replacing the battery corrected virtually all issues. Purchased the Optima Yellow top from Amazon with 36-month warranty. Honestly not sure if what I'm dealing with is even covered by the warranty.

    By the way, if I purchased the battery online from the AutoZone website, I couldn't return it to a local store - it must be shipped. I don't do business with companies with policies like this, so definitely not replacing it with another Optima.

    Believe the alternator charges battery for standard vehicles (and Prius doesn't have one) by driving around for a while after a jumpstart.

    Is it possible, in a cost effective way, to recharge this battery (and it is worthwhile or sustainable solution)?

    If not, what battery do you recommend.

    Did some looking around and the combo meter issue. Praying that it's not the case...
     
  4. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Yes, you have a combo meter issue. It's not going to do any good to keep playing around with everything else. If you're handy, it's a 1-2 hour job if you buy a rebuilt combo meter ahead of time. If you're not handy, then you're going to need to pay someone to do it.

    It's only going to get worse, and it's typically worse when colder outside.

    The flashing squares, flashing one dot on the fuel gauge and the window positioning are typical symptoms of a 12v system issue. Has the car been sitting unused for a while? Whether is a bad connection somewhere or a weak or bad battery, it's a sign that the car is seeing a loss of 12v at the fuse box. Likely a bad connection somewhere in the trunk or a weak/bad battery. If you jump started the car, but didn't let the battery charge up by leaving the car READY for several hours, well, you still have a weak battery. Buy a 4 amp charger and give the battery a full charge.

    Anytime the car loses 12v power, and then it's restored, you'll lose window positioning, fuel level indication, and radio presets. The first time you put your foot on the brake and press the power button, the dash will be full of warning lights. Press it again and they should clear and the car should go ready. Unless your dash doesn't work.

    Dash's also sometimes go dark if there's an intermittent problem with the dimming dial/switch on the dash left of the steering wheel. Seen that a couple times. If you're having problems turning car off, it's not a dimmer switch issue, though.
     
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  5. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    P1121 is a common problem to do with the coolant flow control valve position sensor which you can research here. It is not urgent at this point, it can go to the bottom of the list.
    P3193 - you ran out of fuel at some point.
    B1421 - If you ran the codes at night or inside, just means the car is not in bright sunlight. It is not really a trouble code, more a binary switch indicator. If it was in the middle of the day in bright sunlight well then you might be looking into that. At moment it would be at the bottom of the list.

    The ABS/ASC/TRAC and Transmission Control could all be related to poor 12V power supply. Get your 12V situation fixed then clear the codes and run again if trouble lights illuminate on the dash. Post the codes back here to this thread.

    These are both symptoms of an interrupted 12V power supply. Check your battery terminals and your negative connection to the car body. They should all be clean and tight. If the terminal clamps are not pushed all the way down, loosen the clamps and pry them wider apart, then put them back on (all the way down to the bottom of the terminal post) and tighten with a closed-end box wrench being very careful to not pry the clamps upwards as you tighten.

    The first problem you mentioned is because the auto up/down was not reset after the 12V power interruption. Simply wind the window down halfway then raise it to the fully closed position. When the window reaches the fully closed position continue to hold the power switch in the "up" position for a further 5 seconds. The window auto up/down should now work as advertised.
    While it is true that the Prius does not have a physical device called an alternator, it nevertheless has electronics that provides that functionality. Therefore, "driving the Prius around" does charge the 12V battery, however, an adequate time to fully charge a fully discharged battery is in the realm of 16 hours. Obviously, if your battery is not fully discharged, it will take less time. In any case, be prepared for it to take quite a while to charge up to full using that method. Consider purchasing a fully automatic multistage battery charger with an AGM setting and keeping the charger on the battery if the car is not driven on a regular basis. Once fully charged, driving for 30 - 40 mins 2 - 3 times a week should keep it in good health. If you have SKS, disable it (press the "Key" button in) when the car is just sitting.
    It certainly could be if the battery was still in good condition. You have nothing to lose by trying.
    It almost certainly is – the DTC B1271 is a confirmation, but it needn't be expensive to fix. If you are handy enough to remove some dash panels you can either remove and send your existing meter to Matt @Texas Hybrid Batteries for repair, or you could order ahead and get a Rebuilt Combination Meter with odometer set to the correct miles. You can then return the misbehaving one for a core refund. If you're not handy, you will need to find a competent person (a friend or family member) to do it for you. All up, it should be about $150 to fix, more if you have to pay someone to do the job.

    Either option is timely and cost-effective when compared to the dealer repair.
     
    #5 dolj, Feb 17, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
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  6. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    @dolj @TMR-JWAP @bisco Gentlemen, thank you very much for your explanations of what's going on with the car, incredibly helpful! Your time and thoughtful responses are greatly appreciated. I write this with deep sincerity since its painfully obvious I'm an the village idiot around here, yet you guys continue to be very patient with me and my questions with sometimes painfully obvious answers.

    If any of you need independent advice on investment, finance, retirement plan, valuation (buy/sell a shop) or related matter DM me and I'll happily help whatever way I can. Never hurts to have a Wharton MBA with 20 yrs experience in your back pocket, could come in handy. I dislike unscrupulous brokers/financial advisers more than dishonest mechanics as these brokers can inflict far greater financial harm than a mechanic.

    UPDATE/ADDITIONAL INFO:
    1. The Prius never goes a week without being driven. From a layman's perspective, it seems like there must be a small light or something else always on thereby slowly draining the battery (and I must not be driving far enough to keep it healthy). Should I assume this is related to a 12V wiring issue (and not driving 30-40 mins 2-3 times a week, maybe once a month) or is there something else worth checking out?

    2. Not surprisingly, while driving at night my left headlight randomly goes out. However, by simply turning my lights off/on it starts working again. If it's a bad wire/power issue why would on/off cause it to stay on? Other related problem is at times both headlights start rapidly flickering (I assume this is a wiring issue). Does this information help narrow down where the wiring issue is located? Seems like just starting with the wire powering headlights and working backwards would do it.

    3. Several nights ago Prius stopped running while driving on the freeway. Not that long ago I ran Techstream Health Check and recalled the P1121 Throttle / Pedal Position Circuit Stuck DTC. For whatever reason, I wrongly assumed the inability to accelerate was a P1121-related issue. Forgot all about Occam's Razor (the simplest explanation is usually the right one). I ran out of gas. Anyway, called AAA, left hazard lights on and five hours later when car returned battery was dead (guess five hours of hazard lights on was enough to kill this 3-month old battery).

    4. Following evening AAA came out for jumpstart and gas. He jumped it from under the hood instead of going to the trunk, which was the only way I knew how to do it (a hassle). The dash lights came on but couldn't get car in gear. Tried the usual combinations of turning the car on/off but the engine wouldn't run and couldn't get in gear because of the "P" lock mechanism issue.The issue seems to just randomly go away and I could go a month or more without P lock coming back. Believe I've read elsewhere on the site it's a battery-related issue as well. Correct?

    5. This evening that's exactly what happened - P lock message gone - and there were no indications of any problem with the vehicle (wasn't driving at night, so no problems with headlights). Not even a check engine light was on. Only drove a couple miles. Afterwards, I checked the battery using the MFD and it indicated 10.3V.(I I think it should be north of 12.5V, right?) I recall reading these measurements are borderline useless without knowing conditions in which it was measured (e.g., engine on/off, just driven or sitting in garage for days, etc.). Under what conditions should I test the battery and what's the acceptable range?
    I'm placing an order for the rebuilt combination meter. As for the battery charger, I'm going to need one not requiring access to electrical outlet. Fire destroyed our home several years ago and we're still living in an apartment (long story). I'm considering the NOCO GENIUS5, 5-Amp (though I recall 4-Amp was recommended). Here's where I found it: The 10 Best AGM Battery Chargers to Buy 2021 - Auto Quarterly. Since money is tight at the moment, any recommendations on another one? I'm thinking of heading towards eBay and trying to learn about the GENIUS4 (assuming it exists) or an earlier version that will do the job. I'm assuming my Micro-Start XP-1 Jump Starter and Instant Power XP400 (found for $50 on eBay) cannot be helpful resolving my battery issue...

    Thank you again and my apologies for the length of the post. Tried to highlight parts to make it easier to skim through.
     
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  7. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Real quick, because I'm pressed for time...
    #2 is the typical failure mode for HID headlights. If you have foglights, you have HID bulbs in your car. IIRC, the 2004 and 2005 had D2R and the 2006 and later had the D4R models. There are some very good threads on here about the HID bulbs. Expensive does not always mean good and cheap does no always mean bad. The D4Rs we put in my sons car 2.5 years ago are still going strong and were only $34ish for a pair.
     
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  8. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    If you do have HIDs, this is where we bought ours. They've been great. Just remember D4R is for 2006 and later.

     
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  9. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    You need to get the 12V issue sorted first and foremost.

    Aside from your HID headlight issue and the P1121 everything else is still shouting 12V power issue. Fix that and most of these problems will go away.

    Your 3-month-old battery might be U/S if it has sat for any length of time in a discharged (or partly discharged) state. You need to get the battery tested to confirm, although the 10.3V reading pretty much confirms it.

    I'm fairly sure you can get a 3.5 or 4 Amp NOCO Genius.

    DTC P1121 is not Throttle / Pedal Position Circuit Stuck. It is Coolant Flow Control Valve Position Sensor Circuit Stuck. As I said it is not urgent as it does not affect the drivability of the car.
     
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  10. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    It's interesting you point out the battery sitting around for a while before installing it, because that's exactly what happened. Waited probably six months before install because I believed it was likely to slowing drain and die like the last one so didn't make sense to ruin another one without resolving that problem first.

    Always possible I somehow killed it and just didn't recall (e.g. leaving headlights on overnight, etc). Buying a trickle charger to see if this battery can be revived and if not will order new one.

    Separately, thanks for "I'm fairly sure you can get a 3.5 or 4 Amp NOCO Genius"

    Thanks for the tip and the D4R information (have 2006). Also, when buying the combo meter at Texas Hybrid on the order form it says "Solves these common problems... Rear Hatch will not open even though doors are unlocked." This is an issue I've dealt with for a long time. Never would have guessed the component tracking your mileage and speedometer would impact opening your trunk!
     
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  11. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Junior Member

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    the noco have a pretty serious switch issue like you cannot turn it on . mine was just replaced a year out of warranty.. ive been driving a year with All ambers on dash when its on. car drives fine brakes perfect but all brake lite fails are on brake red and vsc etc all on . wen dash is off only check engine light glows its cat low threshold only.. Abs is 1364 or 65 low pressures code. ive noticed wen i come to car and press start and dash do not light. i go thru start process 11 times and dash is on and i may drive a month . if we at store and i tell my girl to drive she sits in car and no dash and no matter how many times she cycles switch no dash . I get in driver seat cycle 11 times dash on for maybe a month . girl gets in usually no dash..cycling the switch keeps my milage etc im waiting on brake pedal to go Hard permanently. then to change abs accum/pump hopefully clear Ambers...
     
  12. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I don't think I'm seeing how that charger would solve the no-electrical-outlet problem.

    [​IMG]

    A dozen or so years ago, I bought a little five watt (so, under half an amp) solar charge maintainer to stick on a truck that was sitting in my driveway waiting to be sold. Worked great, kept the battery topped the whole time.
     
  13. Vicki McLean

    Vicki McLean New Member

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    The likely reason like my 2009 Prius dashboard not lighting up on start up is the electrical connections from the dashboard to the main computer has gotten oxidized not making a good connection. The way I fixed this was to first disconnect the 12 volt battery the negative and the positive terminals. Then I removed the air vent to the left by the driver's side. Now a screw is exposed that I removed and also removed the screw at the bottom of the panels underneath the steering column that then allowed me to removed the cover for the dashboard that exposed the two electrical connections from the dashboard to the main computer. Numerous wires seen in these two connections. Then I sprayed both ends of the two electrical connections with electrical cleaner. I allowed them to completely dry for 6 hours and then reconnected them and put the car back together and reconnected the 12 volt battery. All lights on my dashboard now light up everytime I start the car.
     
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