DIY visual inspection for dummies

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by 2009Prius, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    I think it will be helpful to collect information/tips/photos on how to do the various inspections mentioned in the Scheduled Maintenance Guide, especially for the uninitiated such as myself. :)

    Here is a list of the inspection items:

    Inspect engine air filter
    Tighten nuts and bolts on chassis and body (what torques?)
    __ Automatic transmission fluid
    __ Ball joints and dust covers
    __ Brake lines and hoses
    __ Brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...iy-visual-inspection-dummies.html#post1112688
    __ Drive belts
    __ Drive shaft boots
    __ Engine valve clearance
    __ Engine/Inverter coolant
    __ Exhaust pipes and mountings
    __ Front differential oil
    __ Fuel lines and connections, fuel tank band and fuel tank vapor vent system hoses
    __ Fuel tank cap gasket
    __ Radiator, condenser and/or intercooler
    __ Steering gear box
    __ Steering linkage and boots

    The subject came up in a recent thread and below are some quotes. Please reply with your comments/tips/instructions/photos/drawings ... etc. Thanks!

     
  2. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Front brake

    Just did 10K maintenance and took a bunch of pictures since I don't really know where to look and what is normal and what is not. Please take a look and point out where to look and what to watch out for. Thanks!

    Starting with front brakes:
    If one of the pictures below shows the surface of the caliper that may get wet with leaks then please point out. Thanks!

    1. Outside
    [​IMG]

    2. Inside: no rust yet
    [​IMG]

    3. Pad: looks like touching the disk, normal or not?
    [​IMG]

    4. Pad with ruler: really hard to take a good shot. Looks like more than 10 mm for sure.
    [​IMG]

    Right hand side:
    5.
    [​IMG]

    6.
    [​IMG]

    7.
    [​IMG]

    8.
    [​IMG]

    More pictures to come later!
     
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  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Your pictures look fine, which is what I would expect at 10K miles. When measuring the brake pad thickness, ignore the steel backing plate.

    Look for the flexible black rubber hose that leads to the caliper. Inspect the hose to make sure there is no cracking or damage. Look where the hose attaches to the caliper and make sure that connection is dry.

    Look at the inside of the caliper and the disk inside surface (your last photo starts to show this), and make sure both are dry. If there is a leak, it would likely come from a damaged rubber hose, or from a bad caliper seal which allows brake fluid to ooze out from the piston and deposit on the inside surface of the disk.

    Note the fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir. The fluid level will very slowly decline over time as your brake pads and brake shoes wear. If you note an abrupt change, then it is time to look around for a leak. Otherwise, don't worry.
     
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  4. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Front brake hose/cable and shock absorbers

    Front brake hose/cable and shock absorbers
    Where am I supposed to check for leaks of the shocks?

    Left hand side:
    11.
    [​IMG]

    12.
    [​IMG]

    13.
    [​IMG]

    14.
    [​IMG]

    Right hand side:
    15. Is the connection at the right hand side of the picture below where we watch out for leaks of brake fluid?
    [​IMG]

    16.
    [​IMG]

    17.
    [​IMG]

    18.
    [​IMG]

    19.
    [​IMG]

    20.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Regarding front strut oil leaks: refer to photos 11, 14, 17, 18 and 19. The strut will leak oil at the point where the polished hardened steel rod enters the strut body. You need to lift up the pleated rubber cover to see the steel rod.

    Note the shiny silver crimped piece visible in photos 14 and 18. That silver color will turn golden when strut oil starts to leak out.

    As the strut leak progresses, the oil will leak down the strut body. The oil is very thin, so it will eventually dry in hot weather.

    For example, the right front strut on my 2004 failed last summer and the body was totally covered in strut oil so that it was nice and shiny. I noticed this when changing the engine oil and oil filter.

    I didn't have a chance to change the struts until a couple of months later due to business travel. By then, the strut body was dry (due to the 100+ degree ambient temps here) and it was not obvious that an oil leak had ever existed.

    Regarding flexible brake line leaks, they could occur in the rubber body or at the connections, so look at the entire line. Photo 20 shows the top of the flexible brake line and photo 15 shows the bottom.

    Photo 19 shows the wire cable that runs down to a sensor mounted to the hub carrier. The sensor provides wheel rotation information to the skid control ECU so that the ECU knows when a wheel is slipping or skidding.
     
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  6. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Rear brake

    Rear brakes:


    I did have to use 8 mm (not 6 mm) bolts to push the drums off on both sides. Is it really necessary to put the drum back exactly the same orientation (matching the 8 mm holes with the marks made by the 8 mm bolts)? I forgot about this when doing the left hand side and only remembered when I did the right hand side.

    It looked so complicated that I hadn't the slightest clue what to look for. So I just took a lot of pictures and hope that at least some of them would capture the critical areas.

    Left hand side:
    21.
    [​IMG]

    22.
    [​IMG]

    23.
    [​IMG]

    24. They talk about "glazed" linings but I don't know what it would look like. Does it mean that the (supposed to be rough) surface is filled with brake dusts and become very smooth and shiny (not enough friction)? How do these linings look?
    [​IMG]

    25.
    [​IMG]

    26. The drum is quite rusty already, especially the center hole. Is this normal?
    [​IMG]

    Right hand side
    27. Even more rusty!
    [​IMG]

    28. I noticed these black dusts accumulating on the trailing edge of the lining and wiped with my finger. You can see the area where I wiped the dusts off. The dusts seem soaked with oil. Normal?
    [​IMG]

    29.
    [​IMG]

    30. No dust accumulation here! :confused:
    [​IMG]

    31.
    [​IMG]

    32.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Thanks for pointing out that the required bolts are 8 mm.

    It is not necessary to reinstall the drums so that the holes match the prior orientation.

    Your brakes look great. Any potential leak would be from the wheel cylinder which has a silver metal center and black rubber ends.

    Glazed brake shoe linings would be shiny. Your linings look normal.

    Regarding photos 28 and 29, a bit of high temp grease is applied during installation of the brake shoes, where the shoe contacts the backing plate. Some of the grease bled off onto the shoe and attracted brake lining dust which you wiped off.

    Just make sure not to wipe the grease onto the lining itself, as that could cause glazing. A better approach instead of wiping off the dust would be to use a can of brake parts cleaner and spray off the parts that need cleaning. This cleaner does not leave a greasy residue (like throttle body cleaner would).

    The brake drum rust is minor and normal. It looks like your rear brakes are basically unused, with so little dust accumulated within.

    Photos 25 and 29 show the little star wheel that you can rotate (via the access hole in the backing plate) to adjust the parking brake setting.
     
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  8. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Rear brake hose/cable and shock absorbers

    Rear brake hose/cable and shock absorbers

    Left hand side:

    41.
    [​IMG]

    42.
    [​IMG]

    43.
    [​IMG]

    44.
    [​IMG]

    Right hand side:

    45.
    [​IMG]

    46.
    [​IMG]

    47.
    [​IMG]

    48.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Beautiful, no problems evident in the photos.

    As your car ages you will start to see oil leaking down the side of the shocks. Once the oil stain reaches below the bottom of the coil spring, the shock should be replaced based upon Toyota's definition. However (as previously stated) note that in very hot weather the oil might dry up and the stain on the shock body may not be obvious.
     
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  10. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Engine air filter

    Engine air filter

    51. air box cover
    [​IMG]

    52. filter - clean side
    [​IMG]

    53. throttle body and MAF sensor seem clean
    [​IMG]

    54. filter - dirty side. How dirty would it get before needing replacement?
    [​IMG]

    55. filter - dirty side
    [​IMG]

    56. air box with hole at bottom
    - I assume this small hole is for water to drain?
    [​IMG]

    57. air box with hole at bottom
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    You know, these nice detailed pic are going to be great for other threads to reference when trying to give advice. (something like " pic #41 in the thread (link) shows what you should see. Check for...blah blah blah") So, thankyou!
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Engine air filter

    54. Hold the filter up to sunlight. When you can't see light coming through, it's time to change the filter. Compare to a new filter if you are unsure.

    56. Yes, your assumption is correct.
     
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  13. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Rubber boots and Rusty metals

    Rubber boots and Rusty metals

    To my untrained eyes the rubber boots all looked OK, at least no gaping holes or cracks.

    There are paint peelings and rusts here and there. Not sure how bad they are but they do look ugly and I can't imagine what they will look like at 100K miles. I wonder if I could use Rust-Oleum spray paint on the rusty parts but fear that the paint may damage rubber parts or trap moisture if applied to wrong places.

    I don't know where the steering gear box and linkages are. If some of the pictures below capture them please point out. :)

    Right hand side
    61. tie rod end, looking from below
    [​IMG]

    62. the other end of the tie rod - what's this called?
    [​IMG]

    63. same
    [​IMG]

    64. drive shaft
    [​IMG]



    65. drive shaft and ball joint below and tie rod end behind. what's the shiny vertical rod on the left?
    [​IMG]

    66. ball joint - looks like the rubber is under a lot of stress here:
    [​IMG]

    67. same ball joint
    [​IMG]

    68. what is this rusty disk?
    [​IMG]

    69. The black paint on the I-frame has peeled off here and there and rusts forming. :(
    [​IMG]

    Right hand side:

    70. ball joint also greatly deformed here:
    [​IMG]

    71.
    [​IMG]


    72.
    [​IMG]

    73.
    [​IMG]

    74. The rubber looked fine but the drive shaft itself was so rusty! :(
    [​IMG]

    75.
    [​IMG]

    76.
    [​IMG]

    77. Can this rusty drive shaft last 100K miles? :confused:
    [​IMG]

    78.
    [​IMG]

    79.
    [​IMG]

    80. rusty disk again :(
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Photos 62 and 76 shows a tiny bit of the steering gear housing hiding behind the front sway bar. Just follow the tierod to the center of the car and you'll find the steering gear.

    Regarding the rust on the chassis components, I would not worry about it. The longevity of the driveshafts is limited by the CV joints.

    Do you reside in a location where salt is used on winter roads?
     
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  15. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Yes there is plenty of salt used here when it snows. I usually spray the bottom of the car with a garden hose in the springtime, trying to wash away some of the salt.

    I suppose the steering gears are sealed inside the housing so we only need to check the housing for damage, not the actual gears?

    I am still curious to know what the shiny vertical rod is (visible in 65. and 77).

    Thanks very much for all the helpful comments. :)
     
  16. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Yes, if you can steer the car and the rubber boots are intact, no worries.

    The rod connects the front sway bar to the front strut housing (see photos 11, 13, 17 and 20 from your post #4, to see the top of that rod.)
     
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  17. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - Exhaust

    Exhaust

    There are also rusts here and there after only one year since new. I suppose the pipes get hot so it is not even possible to paint them, right?

    Looking from left hand side:

    81.
    [​IMG]

    82.
    [​IMG]

    83.
    [​IMG]

    Looking from right hand side:

    84. When I was doing the 5K service I noticed the outer sleeve of this cable connecting between the pipe and the bottom of the car wasn't long enough and wires were dangling out. I used some electrical tape to wrap it up. Now at 10 K miles it still looks OK. :)
    [​IMG]

    85.
    [​IMG]

    86.
    [​IMG]

    87.
    [​IMG]

    88. Look at the rusts! :(
    [​IMG]

    89.
    [​IMG]

    90.
    [​IMG]

    91.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Yes, you do not want to paint the exhaust system. It's impressive to note the amount of rust after one year and 10K miles...

    Photo 82 shows the center rear jack point. It is the inverted tower pointing downwards and you can lift it with a hydraulic floor jack (suggest you place a block of wood between the jack saddle and the jack point.)

    Photo 84 shows the oxygen sensor which is downstream from the catalytic converter. It helps the engine ECU determine whether the catalytic converter is working properly. You had taped the wires leading to that sensor.

    The translucent white plastic cover for the orange high voltage traction battery cables is located at the right middle of photo 84.

    The left edge of photo 86 shows the black steel bracket which is supposed to reduce body flex. As that bracket is pretty thin, some owners have installed an aftermarket aluminum bracket which is supposed to add more rigidity to the body structure.

    Everything looks good. The rust is to be expected given your winter road conditions.
     
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  19. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: DIY visual inspection for dummies - New filter & Fluid levels

    These are trivial even for a dummy like me but I thought I might as well include them for completeness. :)

    101.
    [​IMG]

    102. brake fluid
    [​IMG]

    103. I found it easier to be certain of the inverter coolant level with a strong light shining through the translucent container:
    [​IMG]

    104. same here for the engine coolant:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    I stickied the thread...for the pretty pictures if for no other reason!
     
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