Dead Prius Battery? THERE IS AN AFFORDABLE REPAIR SHOPPE IN FLORIDA TO FIX IT FOR LESS!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by captmarshall22, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. captmarshall22

    captmarshall22 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    29
    3
    0
    Location:
    florida
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    As many of you know, i endured much drama with my 2007 prius hv battery going dead on me at 101,000 miles....

    Luckily, i found a repair shoppe capable of rebuilding and replacing the hv battery at a FRACTION of the cost that a new one from toyota would have cost....

    www.MellorsAutomotive.com i dealt with the owner, Josh Mellor in Melbourne Florida.

    They had the battery replaced within 24hrs of it arriving at their shoppe....kudos to mellors automotive and the honest, supportive, reliable staff. They also gave me a 1 yr warranty on the new battery they installed.

    If you need a prius battery rebuilt, try to avoid doing it yourself..its dangerous. Call Mellors or Re-involt. (mellors was the only guy i could find within 800 miles of South Florida) SUPER customer service, great pricing..

    Mellors Automotive: 321 956 1997
     
  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,492
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    I hope you keep this thread updated with how the rebuilt battery does over time. At the moment you are one of very few.
     
  3. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    2,212
    166
    0
    Location:
    Sacramento, California.
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I just looked at the site, it doesn't give you any idea of cost. What did you pay? The idea of specialization of hybrids is a good idea, perfect for a chain repair shop. Start at the coast and work in-country.
     
  4. mellors

    mellors New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    4
    13
    0
    Location:
    melbourne, florida
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Thanks for the kind words CaptMarshall

    I don't usually spend time on forums trying to promote my shop, but I can see where the questions are going and I'll try to answer some of them.

    We are a full service shop that focuses in hybrid repair. Currently, we just sent captmarshall's prius back down south, working on a highlander with a cooked inverter (bad stuff, shame on toyota), diving into a honda with an IMA issue first thing tomorrow. As far as I can tell, we are one of the only shops in Florida that is willing and able to work on hybrid vehicles.

    Back to the question... Battery failure, how much does it cost? well, like all things, it depends... what failed, what do I have available, did you bring donuts, are you nice to your car--all of these are factors. We spent a ton of time trying to figure out a cost effective way for people to recover from a HV battery failure.

    Our process: test battery, disassemble, discharge/charge cycle each subpack, determing performance and capacity, replace any under performing subpacks with matched subpacks, assemble, hook up to the in house made mellor industries mega charge-o-matic to balance charge the entire pack, record a ton of data along the way, be convinced of the probability of trouble free motoring, call it 90% done, and wait for the need to be towed to our shop. Final charging and performance testing done at the time of installation. Back it with a one year parts and labor warranty.

    Our theory/cost of hybrid battery repair--Your options if you have an issue with the big battery. New is new and you pay for it, salvage is a crap shoot at best (unless somebody goes through the battery thoroughly), Rebuilt, a subjective term, should cost a hell of a lot less than new and carry a hell of a lot better odds than crap shoots. The reality is if it is not new it is used, but you can have great results if the effort is made to ensure a well performing battery pack, go electrons!

    Approach to cost? How do we make this reasonable? I have seen techs rebuild transmissions due to a speed sensor fault. So should we run out to toyota and buy a whole battery pack if one cell in one subpack, a measly 1.2V, fails? your call. For those of us that were not born in to ferraris there has to be a better way.

    Our solution: have some packs 90% ready, hanging out in our shop. Evaluate you car(what will it take to fix your battery), charge you for labor plus parts (usually a subpack or three), install and test rebuilt battery, collect $700-$1000 from you--depending on the condition of your battery, start rebuilding your battery for the next car shut down for battery issues. If your battery is shot, we can start with a salvage pack and build it from there--this is where the $1000 range kicks in. We have not had a battery repair exceed $1000 yet. We try to keep it feasible yet justify our existence.

    Downside? Sure, there always is... It is still a used battery, if there is an issue you have to get the car back to us. It didn't cost you $3000, wait, thats good. You may not live in Florida (although world domination and hybrid proliferation are short term goals of mine).

    Can we ship a battery to be installed elsewhere, No. Re-Involt is your best bet for this. These guys are doing a great job rebuilding packs at a fair price.

    We like to fix the car, as a car, comes in broke--leaves fixed. Liability, warranty, diagnosis, all issues that I prefer to handle with the end consumer.

    I'm sure there will be questions, I'll try to keep up with this forum, time permitting.

    Josh
    Mellors Automotive
    1410 W. New Haven Ave.
    West Melbourne, Fl. 32904
    321-956-1997
    mellorsautomotiveDOTcom (wouldn't let me post links, too new)
     
    9 people like this.
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,515
    2,055
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    :welcome:
    I wonder how common HyHi inverter failures are. As I posted at http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii.../82987-vfd-inverter-lifespan.html#post1158408, one of my former coworkers had his HyHi inverter fail on him in <2 years. Fortunately, it was under warranty but unfortunately, he was stranded while on a trip.

    I don't know if it just failed or failed due to overheating (e.g. due to an air bubble in the inverter coolant loop or an inverter coolant pump failure).
     
  6. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    3,326
    1,453
    38
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Thanks Josh, your approach to battery repair is the way it should be. I hope everyone out there with battery angst reads your post.
     
  7. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    12,684
    3,456
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
  8. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,492
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    Hi Josh,
    I admit I am only asking out of curiosity here ...

    Are you saying that you always do a battery swap, with one in the shop becoming mine, and mine becoming the shop replacement ?

    Second, how do you keep the batteries (and individual modules) in the shop form auto-discharging ?
     
  9. mellors

    mellors New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    4
    13
    0
    Location:
    melbourne, florida
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    A swap is usually the fastest way. The battery repair process is a time consuming one. We stay away from the high mileage packs as a source. If your car has a ton of miles we will start with a low mileage salvage pack instead (I'll use those high mileage subpacks for some other projects and experiments) and go through it with our process to give you a fighting chance. It is a case by case situation, how quick do you need it, condition of your pack, what's available in the salvage world. One of the cars we fixed a short time ago had some miles on it and although the pack tested decent we were able to purchase a used pack with 23,000 miles on it for $400 and send it through our routine, back it with the warranty, charge ~$960, smile and tell the customer to remember us when something else breaks. Another key point; you keep all of the other stuff that is associated with your battery pack, module, contactors, precharge, amp sensor, etc. No need to cause problems by swapping working components for ? You are getting the core battery pack, unless something is questionable during the diagnosis. Not many failures outside of subpacks, sense wires, and corrosion.

    To the auto-discharging question. I mentioned before, we collect a lot of data on these battery packs and one of the things I am interested in is the voltage per subpack after sitting for a period of time, not months but days. So as it sits for a min of three days, we measure voltage and look for any subpacks that are not settling nicely with the others (after they have been balance charged). More direct to the question--We have a charger we built to balance charge an assembled pack, high voltage, low current. I have not had a battery pack sit for more than a couple of weeks, the charger makes short work of topping off the pack before installation. Also, these are the packs that we feel are performing as intended, so sitting for a short time shouldn't be a problem. Battery rebuilding is only a small portion of what we do, so stockpiling a bunch of prius battery packs is not the plan. If demand increases we can build a bunch of low current 350ma HV chargers to maintain the packs periodically until they are needed.

    I anticipate some criticism of what we are doing, our pricing, the strength of our coffee(strong), and other internet related conversations. We have avoided an internet campaign with regards to battery repair up to this point, but I feel we have an honest approach to fixing battery woes without breaking the bank. My business plan is based on hybrid proliferation (previously stated, master plan phase 1, take over world--Phase 2, hybrid proliferation) and if these cars are to lay the ground work for less oil consumption then we need people to not fear the battery. So much misinformation and fear mongering with regards to the battery. If there is anything to be afraid of it is that damn inverter in the 06 HIHY, again, Toyota needs to warranty these things, ALL OF THEM.... Sorry, Yelling for a customers sake, ~$40,000 vehicle with a failed $7,082 part.

    I don't mind sharing information for the techno-minded, but these batteries can lead to a very bad day if mishandled, so I will proceed cautiously...

    Josh
     
    3 people like this.
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    16,784
    4,585
    0
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2015 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I'm interested in hearing more about this: Odometer reading? No salvage parts available?
     
  11. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    3,071
    1,074
    1
    Location:
    Trumbull, CT
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Pat,

    Go over to the GreenHybrid discussion on Highlander Hybrids and see the screaming about the '06 Inverter Failure problem.

    JeffD
     
    2 people like this.
  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,492
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    On that note, WTH are you doing in Florida?! The southwest is much more important! (j/k)

    Good luck to you, Seilert, and our budding independent hybrid repair movement.

    Cheers!
     
  13. mellors

    mellors New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    4
    13
    0
    Location:
    melbourne, florida
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    Two

    This 06 HiHy was towed to my shop months ago with a failure in the inverter. Toyota has a TSB that leads you to replace the inverter assembly, list price =$7082 plus labor, covered to 100,000. My customer has 147,000. We went digging for a cause, totally disassembled the inverter assembly, found a bunch of blown up IC's on the PCB to the main inverter board. Attached to the bottom side of the PCB is the assembly of IGBT's (Big voltage choppers that make the three phase AC). My current theory is that the IGBT's were under engineered, not robust enough, suffered from heat/load failure, cooked the little bits that control them on their way out. Toyota redesigned the inverter, no changes to MG1, MG2, or MGR(AWD). There is a VIN break point for the production change. We have found several candidates in the salvage supply chain, but when checked by VIN they have all fell into the early design bracket, the ones that blow up. We actually have one on the way from Arizona that met all of the requirements. It came out of an 07 Lex R400H. Toyota is not helping these people out and to further their distress the dealers are gouging them. My own toyota dealer told me that they would sell me an inverter for $7800, so much for my %15 wholesale discount. I also know that the cost of the inverter is around $5000. There are stories all over the internet about these inverter failures. There have been rumors of a class action, but I haven't seen anything firm.

    I have some pictures of the damage but I need to figure out which computer box I stored them in.

    Josh
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    4,374
    304
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Chevy Volt
    mellors its seems your doing a good job
    in time like these ( crisis ) we need people like you
    i hope in the long run its also going to workout.
     
  15. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    16,784
    4,585
    0
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2015 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Thanks! BTW, the HiHy hybrid system warranty is for 8 years / 100K miles, regardless of what state the car was purchased in. HiHy is not certified as AT-PZEV.
    Thanks very much for providing the color commentary. I would love to see the photos.

    How heavy is the inverter? I note that the Toyota repair manual advised that the replacement requires two people.

    BTW, the 4WD-i inverter price is $6,222 at Champion Toyota - Houston, part number G92A0-48080. That part number supercedes the G92A0-48020 part number shown in TSB EG017-06.
    http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=searchCatalogOEM&siteid=213747

    When reading the stories on GreenHybrid and Edmunds.com, I found at least one poster who said that the car stalled, then he was able to restart it for a short period of time. At least in that case, it would seem like the problem really was the inverter coolant pump, not the inverter itself.

    In the case of your customer, it is clear that the inverter itself had failed if you could see visible damage to the inverter.

    My HiHy has 50K miles, is 4WD-i, was purchased in June 2005 (second HiHy delivered by my local dealer in south Orange County) and the VIN ends in 004373 so it is subject to that problem. That is why I am very interested in finding out how hard it is to source a salvage inverter, and the going price for that.
     
  16. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    3,326
    1,453
    38
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    This seems like a good candidate for repair/remanufacture. pEEf!!!
     
  17. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,492
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    Not if the IGBTs are toast
     
  18. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    544
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    SageBrush is correct, I have investigated this. These inverters use a custom IPM (Integrated Power Module) that contains bare IGBT dies mounted to a substrate and covered with silicone. There is no way to replace them as Toyota will not sell this part separately. Now it is possible to swap the IPM out of another inverter with a different problem, but seems like all the HiHy inverters only fail with a shorted IGBT, so locating one would be tough.

    However, I have been successful in repairing "bad" Gen II inverters, as their most common fault is a problem in the DC/DC.

    As Mellor said; "Shame on Toyota" for putting out a substandard IPM design on these, and not helping people out if they fail just out of warranty.

    If I were a HiHy owner of an early VIN model, for some peace of mind I would want to run a test before my warranty runs out. I would disconnect my inverter coolant pump and try to stress the IPM's a bit. If that doesn't cause them to fail, then maybe you have a good batch and they will probably be ok after your warranty runs out. $6200 is crazy!
     
  19. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    3,326
    1,453
    38
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Ok. I had heard that it is possible to repair Prii inverters. Shame on Toyota indeed.
     
  20. mellors

    mellors New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    4
    13
    0
    Location:
    melbourne, florida
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I Agree with pEEF and Sagebrush. I called everyone I could think of; industrial inverter repair people, panasonic, matsushita (they are tied to panasonic and there name is on some of the hardware), all dead ends. I didn't have high hopes but I figured it was worth a try. Proprietary design, encased IGBT's, hard to get around. And yes, It seems they are failing in the same way. I have been in two other HIHY inverters, same deal.

    The cost of a good used one runs in the $3000-$3500 range. The problem is finding one.

    Also, some testing done to MG1 and MG2 mostly ruled out the possibility of a fault outside of the inverter.

    Josh
     
Loading...