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Fan Switch Faulty

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by EnviroEng, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. EnviroEng

    EnviroEng New Member, Frequent Browser

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
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    Location:
    Northern CA
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    I
    My model is a 2001. A few years ago, the play of the fan dial on the control panel became quite large on each setting. Recently the interior fan speed jumped to high, and rotating the dial to any other position, even off, has no effect. I looked through the Toyota manuals, and I could not find a separate, analog switch unit. Today, inquiring over the phone only, a local dealer's parts department said the front panel control board would need to be replaced at a cost of $2,000 plus labor. I called some other dealers, and their service people said the same, and their prices were even higher. Do any of you Prius electronic gurus know if I should spend such a ridiculous amount on this small circuit board? Or maybe you have an idea for another solution - like having an auto electrician wire in an analog controller? I just replaced the traction battery, and am hanging on to this car until I buy a Tesla Model 3. Feel free to get as technical as needed - anything I don't understand I will research. Thank you for your help.

    Important note to anyone working under the dash: I have been through a lot of forum messages on several sites, and have found no one with this switch problem, which I find hard to believe. But in reading many messages of people working under the dashboard, I have found no one recommending to disconnect the ground cable at the 12V battery for at least a few minutes before doing such work, and wear an anti-static strap, so that the SRS system is less dangerous. It only takes a few volts, even a static discharge, to deploy an airbag. I was a volunteer fireman, and in training we were shown videos of firemen working on getting people out of wrecks. The firemen, in their rush, would place themselves in front of airbags that had not deployed, and their equipment would accidentally trip them. Another victim would then end up in the ambulance.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    You should not. Even for a straight, only-what-Toyota-sells-for-field-replacement repair, you should spend about $630 plus labor (even though the three rotary switches are nearly as vanilla as it gets, they are only sold wired to that board and not separately, as if you shouldn't be able to solder). The labor you can do yourself, not hard, though it is tedious. That board is one of the last things to come out in the sequence of disassembling that center panel; replacing the actual buttons or light lenses would be the only jobs that would take you even longer.

    Once you get the board out, you might find that you can get a close match for the fan switch somewhere (maybe out of a salvage car, though that would mean the same level of disassembly again!) ... it wouldn't even surprise me if you found that the switch you've got is easily repaired. I have never before heard of the problem you report, and can only suspect some rare assembly defect in your switch that left the stamped metal case loose or the detent springs or balls out of place, and it might very well be the sort of thing you could fix in seconds by bending the tabs down. Or it might not. Only way to know is to look.

    One note in case you are able to fix it, without replacing the whole board: that board also has all the little green light bulbs that illuminate those controls. If you've noticed any of those being out, you might want to pick up some new ones so you can pop them in at that time. You won't want to go through that again. On the other hand, if you buy the new board, I assume it comes with all new bulbs. (They are very small incandescents, with little green covers slipped over them, $3.67 each.)

    -Chap
     
  3. EnviroEng

    EnviroEng New Member, Frequent Browser

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
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    Location:
    Northern CA
    Vehicle:
    2001 Prius
    Model:
    I
    Thanks, Chap. I'm glad you stay up late. Now I can sleep restfully knowing that soon I will again be able to hear the radio over the fan without breaking the bank. Now to avoid breaking the dashboard panel...