Gen 2 vs. Gen 3- Water Pump Disaster, more expensive repairs?

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by BJOhio, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    New to Prius, was about to buy a 2013 Prius 3 from a local dealer, with 65k miles, for $13k (the mechanic that inspected it and test-drove it kept looking at it with amazement, saying it was like a new car, and I thought I'd better put my money down before he bought it out from under me), but someone told me that the Gen 2s are a better way to go because A. The water pump on Gen 3s will destroy the engine in minutes when it goes out, and B. The water pump, and every other part, will be much more expensive to replace than on a Gen 2. This is coming from the proprietor of Auto Be Yours (couldn't post the web link because I'm new), so he may be biased in that he deals almost entirely in Gen 2 and was rather scornful of the Gen 3. He also said that Gen 2 has a much more spacious "cockpit". He offers rebuilt 2009s for MUCH cheaper, and will put a brand new battery in for $950.

    Since then, I've read posts on this site, which seem to say that there are some faults in the Gen 3 (at least the 2010) that make the battery less long-lasting, and that maybe they are not as well-built as Gen 2, suggesting that Toyota made the Gen 1 and 2 to be very impressive, and then skimped on the Gen 3.

    What's the update on this topic? I would love to go buy this 2013 right now, but I don't want to be spending more on something that will then cost tons to repair/maintain, and maybe even wreck the engine with a water pump failure.
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Auto be yours sells rebuilt batteries for $950, not brand new.

    Both gen2 and gen3 will be very reliable. Both have their little demons too. I don't think there's one better than the other. Total personal preference. Drive both and decide on what you like best, forget what others like.....It's what you like

    SM-N900P ?
     
  3. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    I believe rebuilt battery is $750, installed in a car he sells you. $950 is a brand new, 2017 battery, installed in a car he sells you. That's what he told me, and that's what the website says.

    So, you don't have any comment regarding the water pump danger and/or the much more expensive repair parts for Gen 3?
     
  4. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    If you're worried about the water pump failure, replace it every 100k miles. Do the same for the inverter pump



    SM-N900P ?
     
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  5. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Neither car is immune to a water pump failure and the results for the engine are equally disastrous for both. I think it's pretty rare, though, for a pump to suddenly stop working without warning unless it's a broken belt (gen 2) or an electric motor failure (gen 3). And I'd think you'd get an alarm for the latter. I don't know if there's a coupling between the motor & pump on the gen 3, but that could fail if there is one. Most often, they'll start leaking a little and that's the warning sign. It's pretty easy to spot since the coolant is a bright pink. As for replacement cost, I would expect the gen 3 to cost more if you have to buy it without the motor. That's something I've never looked into. Since there's no belt-induced side load on the gen 3 pump, I think the bearings & seals should last longer, everything else being equal.

    But I'm just theorizing here. :D

    As @JC91006 said, drive both and decide which you like better. There are some things I miss from my 2005 and some things I REALLY like about my PiP. I wouldn't get too worried about the differences in water pumps. Either one, if it quits, will warp your head in no time flat. That's true with any water cooled engine I know of.

    As for the $950 brand new battery installed, he'd have to practically steal them from Toyota to do that without losing a lot of money. Has to be reconditioned and that seems like a fair price.

    Bottom line: I'd say, if you like the car and the mechanic thinks it's in good shape, go for it. And welcome to Prius Chat. These folks have helped me a lot! (y)
     
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  6. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts. Very helpful. I just checked the site again, and it's $995 for the new battery, not $950. I think he's subsidizing the cost of the new battery by making it an extra carrot for a sale on higher mileage vehicles, and by recovering the sale of the battery that he takes out of the vehicle and reconditions.
     
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  7. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    A brand new battery from Toyota cost more than $2000. I can't see how anybody can offer it at $995 and make money.
     
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  8. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    Well, unless he is trying to falsify, that's what he's doing. You subtract the value of the reconditioned battery from $2000, then add the cost of reconditioning (probably nominal for him, since he does it in his shop, with his full-time Prius-dedicated employees), and subtract some value for the margin he is making on high mileage rebuilts that he is getting for a song, because insurance companies don't want to deal with them (also done in his own shop, with his Prius-dedicated employees), and subtract some value for the opportunities (rebuild projects) that are opened up for him by having recondition-able batteries on-hand, and you might just be in the $995 neighborhood.

    But figuring that out is not my job. My job is to be a smart buyer.

    So far, it sounds like no one who has read this thread has heard of an engine being killed due to a sudden water pump failure in the Gen 3? And it sounds like the talk about Gen 2 batteries outlasting Gen 3 has died down?
     
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  9. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    There have been talk about failed head gaskets in the Gen3, possibly linked to a water pump failure.

    As far as your question on Gen2 batteries outlasting Gen3, time will tell. There's no magic crystal ball. Gen3 started in late 2009.
     
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  10. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Hmmm. Interesting theory. I was thinking along the same lines as JC. But this seems plausible. We'd have to do some math for which I'm too lazy right now. But as one kid in "The Sandlot" kept saying, "It could happen!" ;)

    On the battery longevity, even if the gen 2 did last longer (and I don't think that's the case from what I've seen here), it's also older. So, to oversimplify things and ignore mileage and other factors, if a 2009 battery lasted 10 years (most last considerably longer), then a 2010, if it lasted just 9 years) would die at the same time. But gen 3 hasn't been out that long, so we really don't know how long is typical. I won't be surprised to see them lasting at least as long as gen 2 on average.
     
  11. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    There were posts in which people were complaining about their 2010's batteries wearing down faster than their 2009's. Those were mostly taxis, though, and people theorized that consumer use might not ever see the difference. Also, the Gen 3 I'm looking at is a 2013, so who knows? I was just trying to get a feel for whether there is some truth to the notion that Toyota built Gen 1 and Gen 2 to really impress and build brand, but then skimped on Gen 3. Trying to avoid being a sucker, I guess.

    Oh, and another factor was lighter-weight components, like the trans-axle, which might mean chinsy-er?
     
    #11 BJOhio, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
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  12. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    There was probably a little tweaking in Toyota's part to make the Gen3 perform better and give it better MPG. Get the battery to work a little harder than the Gen2 batteries, therefore possibly weakening them sooner than earlier generations.

    There are some truths to the battery modules being better in the early parts of Gen2 production. By the time 2008 modules came out, they started to get inferior, as 2008 model batteries had failures that associated with DTC P0AA6.....due to modules leaking. There weren't many instances of P0AA6 leaking errors from 2004-2006 models. So possibly the production of the module bodies changed during this time. This information is mostly from my testing experience and talking to other battery rebuilders....I don't believe this is well documented.

    Companies tend to cut corners if they can make more money, maybe that's the case in making modules not as robust/reliable as in 2004.
     
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  13. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    So it seems like that is an inconclusive comparison. The last remaining comparison is that I am trying to get a comparison of driver headroom between Gen 2 (2008/09) and Gen 3 (2012/13). I am 5'11', but I tend to sit forward, upright, and with a pillow under me to keep my hips above my knees (good for the back).

    I've seen references to the Gen 3 as having a peak that is farther back, which makes me wonder if there is some lost driver headroom. The dealer in my town only has Gen 3, so I haven't had a chance to drive a Gen 2.
     
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  14. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    You mention a pillow under you. Many trims have adjustable seat height for the driver.
     
  15. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    I just did a quick look

    All 2015 Prius have height adjustable drivers seat. Headroom is 38.6 inches.
    2008 Prius have only 4 way seats. Headroom is 39.1 inches
    So, the difference is about half an inch, maybe. I do not know how the seat height adjustment affects the measurements.
     
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  16. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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    Can you tell me where you looked that up? I am looking at 2013, not 2015. I don't know if that makes a difference or not.
     
  17. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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  18. BJOhio

    BJOhio New Member

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  19. Bob Comer

    Bob Comer Active Member

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    I have a Gen3 2010 with 120K miles on it now, and it's never had any water pump problems, so I really can't verify if that's a general weakness. (I've had no other big problems either)
     
  20. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    The theory behind the electric water pump is that it will only turn and circulate coolant once the engine reaches a certain temperature. For this reason, the pump isn't continuously spinning, thus, it should last longer than conventional water pumps. As for cockpit room, yes, the Gen II is compatible to the 2004-2006 Scion XB. Wife had a Gen II and entire family fit in it without an issue. Family is on the tall side.
     
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