front end drag, reduced acceleration and glide

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by jeremnyc, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    I've had an issue with my 08' for a few weeks after returning from a 1 week vacation with the car sitting on the street in NYC. The symptoms are a noise associated with poor performance of the vehicle. It accelerates slower and requires more RPM. When you take your foot off the accelerator it feels as though there is a brake on or some additional drag somewhere in the front end. It's really evident that it doesn't actually glide, but it decelerates rapidly.

    I am not putting the car in B. This happens when the car is in N too. Even going down hills, I'm slowing slightly. The motor sounds fine and there is no reason this is an engine issue as the sound is present even with the ICE is off.

    I can't "hear" where it's coming from very accurately. I would think it's something like a worn wheel bearing or a partially seized axle. But, the boots are intact and I have jacked it up and run the car at slow speeds and don't sense a noise. I also don't feel any play when grabbing the tire at 10 and 2 and giving it a hard pull. The brakes are not old and there is no heat on the rotors, so I don't suspect a hanging caliper etc...

    After driving it home today +/- miles I turned the wheels all the way to the stop one direction and felt for any unusual heat from the wheel bearings or axle boots etc... I did feel that the axle was warm on the passenger side on the transmission side. This corresponds with the sound coming from the center of the car theory. Perhaps I'll look here immediately after my longer trip tomorrow AM.

    I'm in NYC and there are really poor choices for mechanics here (many threads in search of a hybrid mechanic in this metro area are unanswered). I took the car to a mechanic who charged me an hours labor and told me the sound and symptoms were in my head. I've worked on cars as long as I can remember and something is definitely wrong here.

    The car had new tires a month or so before this and the alignment was done when the tires were replaced. I have about 165k on the car. I'm going to drive back to where I have my tools and jack this weekend for further diagnostics. I'm going to plug in my code app and see what the RPM etc.. look like and I'm going to check the battery again, though it has a yellow top from about 1 year ago and the performance and sound don't lead me to think it's related to battery issues.

    Anyone have any ideas other than the wheel bearings and axles? I suppose something could be messed up with the transmission. I'll pull off the top plug an check it out. The transmission fluid was changed at about 145K and I didn't have a ton of debris in the pan or on the magnet.

    I don't really sense a difference in the sound as I turn. If you take your hands off the wheel while breaking hard it doesn't really pull.

    Additionally, if anyone has a good independent mechanic in NYC/NJ/CT I'd appreciate a name.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Maybe the hybrid battery is failing resulting in very poor performance.
     
  3. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    What type of tire did you buy? New tires can drag along with improper tire pressure.

    SM-N900P ?
     
  4. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    brakes are free, jacked it up last weekend
    new tires are low roll resistant and they are filled in the 40's
    I suppose the hybrid battery could be going, but this is happening with the car in neutral, so I am suspecting something more mechanical

    Thanks for the replies! J
     
  5. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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    Last weekend when you had it on jacks, did you spin the wheels to feel for resistance?
     
  6. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    Yes, they were all free. I've been driving in the highway and the sound is like a high whine.
     
  7. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    Post #483 ATF fluid changes ARE Required. | Page 25 | PriusChat

    Maybe your transaxle is going bad too and making a different sound than what I experienced. No codes, no error lights either. I don't recall any drag either, just the sound. Maybe codes and error lights would appear if we had the transaxle long enough, and maybe MPG would have worsened.
     
  8. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    I was curious to see if the transmission fluid was burnt and if there would be any metal on the magnet in the drain plug, so I did another transmission fluid change today. The result was positive. The fluid looks good and there weren't any metal bits on the magnet.

    I'm still curious if it could be the CV joint on the passenger side transmission side. The axle feels warm after driving only in that area.
     
  9. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    Maybe an infrared temperature gun to get an objective measurement of all the cv joints after whatever length of drive?

    I'm only used to the tell tale sound of cv joints going bad: the can of ball bearings sound, as a car drives through a lft/rt turn.
     
  10. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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    That was the point of my question: I think you'd feel/hear a bad CV joint when you spun the wheels with the car on jacks last weekend.
     
  11. 69shovlhed

    69shovlhed Surly tree hugger

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    I doubt its a cv joint. sounds like something is wrong with the trans axle, or possibly the shifter. sounds like its going into the B position, even though you've put it in D.
     
  12. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    Sorry if I missed it, but did you report any effect on your fuel efficiency?
     
  13. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    Decreased fuel efficiency, definitely. Approximately 6 - 10 mpg off.

    I considered the B shift issue, but when I put it in B it performs as expected. It's not stuck in B or at least fully in B or I wouldn't feel a transition.

    The drag is present in N, that's what's making this harder to diagnose.
     
  14. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    It's hard to imagine that much drag without a lot of accompanying noise and/or heat. Definitely pick up the infrared thermometer mentioned already. And if there's a transaxle problem, it should be putting out heat via the inverter coolant loop. I'd check that temp, too.
     
  15. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    I'll look into the heat issue further. The sound is similar to that of a jet engine at takeoff power. It's a mechanical hum/whine.
     
  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    is the hybrid battery icon acting normally?
     
  17. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    Yes, icon is normal.
     
  18. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    Alignment was checked again today. The drivers front camber was all the way to the stop. The rear driver toe was also off. This didn't fully remove the sound, but the mpg's are seemingly up again. I'm rotating the tires soon and hope to see if the wear on the tires (only 4000 mi since new) could be partly responsible for the sound.
     
  19. jeremnyc

    jeremnyc Junior Member

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    Passenger side wheel bearing replaced and issue is 100% resolved. It was hard to tell which side to replace and a stethoscope helped in the diagnosis.
     
    tvpierce and bisco like this.
  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats!(y)
     
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