DTC Error Codes Increase from 3 to 13 After Engine Replacement; Typical? Seems Unlikely

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by NoThrowningRocks, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    Recently had engine replaced on my 2006 Prius. I ran several Techstream Health reports (same result) immediately before towing it into shop and then again after getting the car back. To my surprise (Prius newbies easily surprised, lol), there were more DTC error codes after I got the car back than before.

    I don't know if it's common for this to happen during an engine replacement (maybe sensors get tripped accidentally in process) or not. Also, I don't know which, if any, of the new codes may be attributed to something the mechanic did or failed to do.

    I would think a competent mechanic (which he is reputed to be) checks and fixes/clears codes before returning cars to customers (or at least advises them of work that may need to be completed, which he didn't).

    Separately, he didn't tell me the remote connection to the car (nearby able to unlock; when seated able to start without inserting key) was now broken. I'll check the forum, but if not already answered does anyone know how to fix this?

    Here's the Techstream Heath check immediately before car towed to the shop:

    upload_2019-8-22_15-14-46.png

    And this is what showed right after driving home:

    upload_2019-8-22_15-20-6.png

    Any thoughts on the increase in error codes? I can look up what the codes mean, but don't know which of those now showing up are coincidental with the engine replacement (or False Positives) or something (if anything) for which the mechanic should be responsible.

    Finally, there's been a noticeable decrease in acceleration and drop in fuel efficiency (48 to 44 mpg) with no change in HV battery level charge. I've read the excellent piece posted elsewhere on reasons for MPG declines and although it's been warm in Atanta (+1 MPG), my daughter's likely used A/C more (-1 MPG).

    Is it standard practice to scratch the VIN from a new engine? I'd like to do a CarFax on the vehicle but it's missing,.

    Also, what's the best test for checkomg the health of an engine?

    Thanks!3 upload_2019-8-22_15-14-46.png upload_2019-8-22_15-20-6.png
     

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  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The codes that are just Hist and not Curr wouldn't concern me much, probably got triggered during the process.

    The B1421 is nothing but the "your dash is in the shade" code, which you'll always have unless the sun is shining on the dash.

    A lot of them are communication network errors, and might indicate that some connection somewhere wasn't reseated perfectly. Even though they're Curr, I might consider clearing just to see what comes back. If they come back, it might be time to search for connectors not clicked in all the way, but there are bunch to check and maybe the mechanic ought to do that. Unless the mechanic is someone you'd just prefer not to have putzing any further with the car.

    I'm pretty sure if I were doing that job for hire, it would be a point of pride with me to see a clean health check before returning the car. I guess that's not a universal feeling.
     
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  3. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Separately, he didn't tell me the remote connection to the car (nearby able to unlock; when seated able to start without inserting key) was now broken. I'll check the forum, but if not already answered does anyone know how to fix this?

    Check the SKS button under the steering wheel. Labelled "KEY". It can be activated by accident sometimes, or on purpose to help the 12v not lose charge as quickly during longer periods of non-use.
     
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  4. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    @ChapmanF Regrettably, taking pride in one's work seems to be "old school" these days and regrettably far from universal. Without Techstream I wouldn't have caught on to the errors. However, failing to even get the FOB set up properly - something a customer would definitely notice - was also left undone. Bottom line: Taking pride in his work just isn't a priority for him, unfortunately.

    So you don't see any looming high dollar repairs on the horizon based on the Techstream results?

    It might be fair to characterize the mechanics work as somewhat sloppy. Is there any way for me to test the engine is mechanically sound or confirm it really only had 70k miles on it? The VIN is scratched off the engine. Should I ask about the supplier and see if I can get a VIN from him if the mechanic''s unwilling to do so?

    Just noticed you're a Hoosier. I was born in Bloomington, while my dad was attending IU; my brother and I also went to IU (completed high school in San Francisco Bay Area, so was a little far from home but definitely worth it); Met my wife - we were both students at same time - while at IU; and my father-in-law was head of the Finance dept. and one of my professors!

    Thanks for your help!
     
  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Well, that's hard to say. I see a lot of communication errors. One way to cause communication errors could be to disturb a bunch of connectors and not get every last one of them re-seated well, which could certainly happen in the process of disconnecting more-or-less everything to get an engine replaced.

    However, that ain't the only possible cause of communication errors. It seems worth checking because of the circumstances. But it won't necessarily be easy to check; there are a lot of those connections, and some aren't in easy-to-reach places with everything put back together, and getting to them all could legitimately run up a bill if it's done on somebody's shop time.

    And the end result of checking is, you find out whether sloppy connections are the explanation of the comm errors. If not, the explanation still needs to be found. Driving a Prius around with that many ECUs not communicating with each other isn't a sensible option.

    You've looked at the VIN plate riveted on to the back of the engine, and it's deliberately scratched off?

    Oi, there's a cautionary tale.

    I've never completely understood these things, but officially I think that makes us bitter rivals.
     
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Maybe the engine is stolen merchandise?
     
  7. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    @Patrick Wong The mechanic told me it was a "widely-accepted industry practice" to scratch the VIN off a replacement engine. However, when I was looking from engines myself (e.g., buyusedengine.com) all had VINs. Some sellers were making a big deal about the 5th digit for Prius engines. I found this guide for interpreting Prius VIN codes (attached) in case anyone is interested.
     

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  8. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    @TMR-JWAP Hey, it worked! Thanks a lot for the help! It's amazing how much technology can spoil us. I starting to get annoyed I had to do more than just sit in the seat and push a button to start the car (or press a button on the handle to unlock it)!
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I wonder if that means it's a practice widely accepted in his industry, and his industry might be finding new homes for other people's engines.

    There is also an engine serial number (distinct from the VIN); was that scratched off too?

    I don't think Toyota publishes the correspondence of those numbers to VINs, but they might internally be able to look something up that would indicate the engine's provenance.
     
  10. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    His "widely-accepted practice" theory on VIN removal flies in the face of dozens of websites selling Prius engines online. It may also be in violation of:
    18 U.S. Code § 511. Altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers
    (a) A person who—
    (1) knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters an identification number for a motor vehicle or motor vehicle part; or
    (2) with intent to further the theft of a motor vehicle, knowingly removes, obliterates, tampers with, or alters a decal or device affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act,
    shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.


    There are some exceptions to this law and it's unclear to me if one of these applies to him or his supplier.

    I haven't checked for an engine number, however. I read somewhere on this site that someone with a TIS subscription can link engine numbers to VINs. I'll look into it.
     
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I've kind of been in the same position, years ago. There was a period when I was so preoccupied with other stuff I got way behind on oil changes on my Mazda, which was a shame because I really liked the car, and eventually it was clear I had murdered the engine, and I looked around for a replacement. Found a guy offered to put one in pretty cheap. Sounded like a good deal.

    He finished the job and sent me home with no oil in the tranny, which I noticed from the sound and corrected within about 50 miles. Tranny survived (stick, not auto), but was never quite the same again.

    Anyway, within about six months, car was stolen overnight from in front of my apartment, and it took the police about three days to find the sheet metal and most of the carpet in an alley several blocks away.

    I never proved it, but I will register zero surprise if you tell me the engine was right back at the same shop. I stopped in to give him a heads up in case he saw one come in. He was sorry to hear something like that had happened to me. There was a radio on the shelf behind his counter that looked like mine.

    An engine-installing business like that could be a tidy little operation. Do an engine replacement job for somebody, get their address on the job ticket. Next time you happen to need that engine again, you know right where to find it.
     
  12. IMkenNY

    IMkenNY Im just being nosy

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    The only reason to scratch the vin off an engine would be to hide an engine theft or hide the actual mileage/ age.
    Between the defaced vin and outrageous labor time you were charge for I would report this garage to the state agency responsible for licensing repair shops in your state.
     
  13. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    @ChapmanF It's comforting to read your uncannily similar - and regrettably unfortunate - experience with a car you really liked and enjoyed. I can empathize with you on a higher, more personal level (even if you happen to be a Boilermaker, lol) and sorry to hear about your Mazda..

    In hindsight, I was too forthcoming with the mechanic about my lack of automotive knowledge. I rarely do something like this in business transactions - undermines negotiating position among other issues - but with his 4.9 / 5.0 Google reviews rating (111 submitted) and estimate for work coming in about the lowest of the several hybrid repair shops I felt more comfortable doing so. I also prefer the person on the other side of the negotiating table underestimate me and my skills in other areas (in many cases this is well-justified on their part!), but not always.

    Sometimes the person with superior subject knowledge (the mechanic) gets overconfident, sloppy, and makes mistakes if he decides to exploit the other person's (my) ignorance. I'm not sure of his motivation for telling me about removal of the engine's VIN (guilt?). It's a waste of time, but part of me wonders if he wanted on some level to get caught.

    He lied about our agreement on number of labor hours and also (oddly) lied about never reading or following his social media reviews. He not only reads Google reviews, but responds to compliments and complaints from them! So did he lie about the VIN removal from the engine as well? I'll need to check. Obviously can't rely on anything this guy says.

    An uncle of mine owns a 5,000+ unit automotive salvage yard. I asked him about whether VIN engine removal was "standard industry practice" and not surprisingly he said it wasn't (but likely illegal). Aside from the engine being stolen, it's possible the engine was never replaced and he removed the VIN to destroy evidence he never changed the engine.

    @IMkenNY Definitely going to report this guy to the appropriate agency, but that could be the least of his problems if he's charged with being complicit in selling stolen engines. To avoid the hassle of dealing with banks, filing a lawsuit, collecting damages, etc. I offered to settle with him for $750 (he refused). May end up being a costly mistake for the mechanic!
     
  14. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    ATTN: Those fluent in DTC Error Codes

    I believe based on responses so far (special thanks to @ChapmanF!) the DTC errors largely point to network communication issues. The mechanic's response to the Techstream output is below. I'm understandably very cynical/suspicious of whatever this guy says, but it sounds like he's trying to blame it on a "new" unrelated problem for which he wouldn't be responsible. I'm setting aside the issue of why didn't he tell me about this issue when I picked up the Prius, with my new, more realistic view on the quality (lack thereof) of services he provides.

    In interest of full disclosure, there seems to be something going on with the brakes (maybe brakes too hard on rare occasion and/or makes sound).

    "Good morning John. we will need to see the prius to figure what if anything is going with all those brake codes. the engine code is probably just and unplugged sensor to water flow sensor."

    The "Check Engine" light went on again and now I'm a better-educated and more diligent Prius owner (thanks to this amazing PriusChat community) I ran Techstream again for error codes. Nothing new, but including below for convenience.

    Thanks to everyone, again, for your help! It's truly appreciated. Also, any members in the Atlanta area who need to run a Techstream Health Check, get error codes, or whatever else the software can do (bleed brakes?) don't hesitate to contact me. More than happy to let anyone use it.

    upload_2019-8-25_18-41-56.png

    upload_2019-8-25_18-41-56.png
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    U codes are communication errors. That's what U codes are.

    That many of them mean pretty much nothing in the car is talking to the brakes or the steering.

    It's going to be hard to even find out what else might be going on, until that is sorted.

    Could be something flat-out left unplugged. Or a sharp metal edge of something that bounced on a wire harness while hoisting engines, and munched it. That sort of thing.
     
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  16. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    @ChapmanF Hey, thanks for summarizing the Techstream codes and translating them into something easily understandable - much appreciated!

    Potential ways they could've been triggered (e.g., metal edge of something that bounced on a wire harness while hoisting the engine and munched it) particularly helpful.
     
  17. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    Latest from Mechanic Who Installs Engines With Removed VINs:

    [I inquired - for third time - about warranty details provided with the engine, such as what's included, exclusions, terms etc.]
    "As stated before, warranty on engine is 6 months. If you are having problems with the engine we must have your vehicle here on premises to correct them. We are more than happy to help you if you let us."

    [I asked why the VIN was removed from the engine and seemed somewhat suspicious]
    "The vin # of the vehicle your engine came from is JTDKB20U097738919, it had 83K miles on it as you were told" [I don't know why he lies - he said 70K miles, not 83K miles - when he knows I recorded our conversations] "when you accepted the estimate to replace your engine on July 22. It is the company I purchased the engine from policy to remove the VIN number from the engine not mine. I called friday and requested the vin and they left me a voicemail over the weekend."

    "As you mentioned, the warranty on your engine is 6 months because it is a used part, not new. All new parts are covered by 12 month 12,000 mile warranty. Diagnosis and repair of warranty items must be performed by OZZIS. We do not pay for repairs done by other shops, bring your Prius here with any problems and we will take care of it."
     
  18. NoThrowningRocks

    NoThrowningRocks Junior Member

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    Spoke with two attorneys who said if I go to the police and report I received a replacement engine with the VIN removed, they will likely seize the Prius (it's presumed to be stolen if the VIN is missing since there's no reason to remove it)

    Great. Either lose the car or drive around with a potentially stolen engine. My bank is allowing me to file a dispute and credited me the disputed amount.

    Started to run a CarFax on the above VIN and got this:
    upload_2019-8-27_16-49-15.png
    Found another site, VinAudit, that confirmed CarFax
    upload_2019-8-27_16-52-12.png

    This car/engine has no history! How convenient! It apparently was on the road for a decade, but never registered, got smog tests, or any maintenance performed. A ghost car... Great.
     
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