Gen II Prius Past 150K -- Big PicturMaintenance Schedule Question

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by BeatleBob, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Hi All,

    I am new to PriusChat, and am really impressed by the dedication and knowledge of the members of this group, which is great because I come seeking advice! Our 2004 Prius just passed 150K on the odometer. We are the original owners. We like our Prius a lot, and raised a family in it and took it all over the place, etc. On the emotional level, keeping the car and going forward in the way I describe below has a lot of appeal. That said, our daughter, of course, wants us to get something new. A new car is not in the budget right now, unless absolutely necessary. Even at 11 years old the Prius still has list of modern stuff – nav system, etc., to keep us engaged. It is like the Beatles music -- amazingly modern for how long its been around.

    Recently, the red triangle and check engine lights went on, which resulted in having a fuel injector and spark plugs replaced. At the same time, the dealer told us that the computer had history in it indicating a hybrid battery low voltage problem in the past, although it was pointed out to us that the battery voltage at present is okay. The dealer said the battery could be on its way out, however. This got us thinking about what we ought to do – keep the Prius or spend money we don’t really have right now to buy a new or late model car. I spent this snowy very cold day pouring through the Prius owner’s manual and maintenance schedule, and thinking this through. I would really appreciate people’s feedback on the ideas I came up with, which are: (a) drive the Prius until the hybrid battery poops out, and then get a reconditioned one from Dorman Products as a replacement. I will need to find someone qualified to do the install; (b) there are other potential expensive repairs that could come along behing the bettery replacement – what can I do to head those off and reduce the risk of that happening? Should I replace the traction battery? What about servicing the transaxle? Should drive belts be replaced? Are there other big ticket items to address at this time? (c) How can I find a qualified technician, not the dealer, in my area to do these repairs, so the cost doesn’t go up through the roof? Up to now a local mechanic has been doing oil changs, and simple maintenance work, but for anything beyond basics he sends me to the dealer; (d) for other maintenance going forward starting at 155K I put together a spreadsheet, based on the Prius manual. I would like to upload it but cannot because of my Priuschat newmember status. If you care for a look, I can email it to you privately. My questions are does the sheet cover what is needed? Are there gaps? Are there services that are not needed that should be taken off? (e) some other things I would like to address asap: one of the key FOBs does not work remotely (it is not the battery -- I replaced that at the dealer) and I want to get a new one – are there cheaper aftermarket alternatives out there?; the door hinges on the front driver and passenger side do not stay swung open, which is a pain getting out of the car without hands free – the estimate on that was several hundred, if I remember correctly, any insight on that?; one of the stereo speakers is blown and need a replacement; there are exterior paint blems to take care of, and I want to get the car cleaned up and detailed for a new lease on life for the next 100K or so.
    So that would be the plan. Does it make sense, in general, and at the detailed level?
    Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
    BeatleBob
     
    #1 BeatleBob, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  2. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    Don't worry about the traction battery until it does start to fail. Even then the car will be driveable for a long time after that. If the transaxle fluid hasn't been replaced, then do it now. I have 187K on mine and I've replaced the transaxle fluid 3 times. It takes exactly 4 qts of WS. Buy it buy the case of 12 and it should run about $6 qt. If you just walk into a local dealer and pay what they ask, they'll charge you $9 / qt.

    It takes about 10 minutes to change the fluid and a drain is a complete drain, so don't let anyone talk you into saying you need to pay more for a "flush". A dealer will charge a minimum of 1 hour labor. This is a easy DIY. The only tricky thing is the fill hole is on the front side of the engine. If you get one of those squirt tops that screws into the top of a qt bottle, it's easy. I use a marine pump myself to pump the fluid in.
     
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  3. Yakoma

    Yakoma Active Member

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    Depending on how long you want to keep the car, you may want to consider a hybrid grid charger for $400. I don't have personal experience with it, but you can read about them here. It would be something I would consider for my 2008 if it was housed at my house - it's at college with my daughter right now.

    I'll come back to opine about your other questions...
     
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  4. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Hey thank you Sorka and Yakoma for your replies.
    Sorka -- if I DIY the transaxle oil replacement, is the owner's manual pretty clear on the drain plug location and the fill hole? If so, it sounds like something I can handle as soon as the frigid temps lift a little bit. Also, Yakoma, thanks for the tip about the hybrid grid charger, it sounds like this would prolong the life of the battery, and maybe put off the purchase of a new hybrid battery for the near future. I will read up on that on the chat board.
    Bob
     
    #4 BeatleBob, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    have you done all the required maintenance to date?
     
  6. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Generally we have kept up only to about 110K miles. That said, I read on the discussions here abut things I have no idea about in terms of our car's maintenance history, e.g., replace the PCV valve, lube chassis, engine flush, transmission flush, and replace the transaxle fluid. It's got me wondering, and I probably need to get the detailed service records from the two places tht have worked on the car -- the local dealer and my local service shop. It is past due for a 150K service, I know that.
    Bob
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    do you have the recommended services manual that came with your car?
     
  8. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Yes. I have gone through it with a fine tooth comb past coule days, and bolied it down to a homegrown spread sheet for what's due every 5K, 15K, 30K, and 60K.
     
  9. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I think you've put the answer to your question in your own post.

    If you can't afford the investment into a new vehicle at this time? The best answer is of course to keep your current ride.

    I think you are wise to look ahead and contemplate the "possibility" that the HV battery could fail, and think about what that might mean, but the truth is as I think you already know, even if that "worst case scenario" develops, a new HV battery is still significantly cheaper than a new or newer used car.

    You seem very aware of the issues your vehicle does have. And it seems your really looking for some guidance as how to "refurbish" for the next 5-8 years of use.

    I think the biggest "possible" expense that might hit you would obviously be the HV battery if/when it fails. BUT you really don't know how much more time it may or may not have. If you are prepared to absorb that expense? Then I think your set.

    Everything else is just getting it done when you can, and when you can afford it.
    Hopefully other posters will have more specific advice as to what specific maintenance issues you might want to address.

    If in your shoes? I might decide how much I'm willing to invest into refurbishing The Prius, and do so, but simultaneously perhaps start saving a little each month for a down payment on a new vehicle or newer used vehicle. I think with investment into upkeep and repair you can easily get 4-5 more years of use, but eventually on a 11 model year old vehicle and counting, eventually you'll have to put aside emotional attachment, and decide whether you want to drive what will be then nearing a 20 year old vehicle.
     
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    maybe pick up a good camry until finances improve?
     
  11. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Bisco, Electric Me (aka Speed Racer -- love it!!!)
    Here's what I propose and where I need detailed feedback, as you feel comfortable providing:
    Based on my odometer at 152K, what I came up with going through the service manual, I am thinking of the items listed below -- all Tiers -- as a way to catch up on mantenance. I would be taking the Prius in to my local service shop for service -- I guy with a great rep and who tells me he has been following the Toyota schedule as I bring it to him to date. Note -- I have seen some services mentioned on Prius Chat discussions that I did not come across in the service manual. For example -- transaxle fluid replace, PCV valve replace, engne flush, fuel filter replace. Please talk to me about those services. Also talk to me about anything else that might be important. I would upload my excel spreadsheet, but I am such a noob here, the chat rules say I cannot upload documents to a post until I get a minimum number of posts under my belt. Thanks again, folks.
    Beatle

    Tier 1 -- the routine stuff per every 5K service visit:
    Replace engine oil and oil filter
    Inspect and adjust all fluid levels
    Rotate tires

    Tier 2 -- per every 15K service
    Replace transmission fluid
    Inspect, and if neeed, clean and adjust rear brakes
    Inspect ball joints & dust covers
    Inspect drive shaft boots
    Inspect engine inverter and coolant
    Inspect exhaust pipe and mountings
    Inspect radiator, condenser and intercooler
    Inspect steering gear box
    Inspect steering linkage & boots
    Inspect brake lines and hoses
    Inspect exhaust system
    Inspect engine valve clearance
    Inspect drive belts

    Tier 3 per every 30 K mile service
    Replace cabin air filter
    Replace engine air filter
    Clean Throttle Body
    Inspect fuel lines and connections, fuel tank band and fuel vapor vent system hoses
    Inspect fuel tank cap gasket
    Inspect transmission fluid
     
    #11 BeatleBob, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    tranny fluid, recommended by several here who have had theirs tested, shows signs of metals breakdown, even though toyota says lifetime. but the warranty is what they care about clearing.
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    don't know what an engine flush is, probably wouldn't bother with it. pcv is probably worth it. is the fuel filter accessible, or in the tank?
     
  14. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I don't mean to whimp out..but I also know my strengths and weaknesses.

    And I just think others might have better specific advice as to those specific maintenance suggestions.

    Luckily, in recent years I've been able to afford new or newer vehicles, which means the maintenance I've had to follow has simply been what is recommended as it is recommended. I haven't had an older vehicle in which I have had to play catch up with maintenance or try to figure out what I should have done.



    If you have a mechanic/technician you trust, familiar with hybrids, even though the "inspection" list seems daunting, having everything looked at by someone who can give you an honest heads up as to condition is probably a good idea.

    The key would be to find a place that is honorable and reputable.

    I don't particularly like that it kind of seemed like your dealer was trying to scare you into reacting about your HV battery.
    I mean?- On a 11 year old Prius, with the original HV battery, saying the battery "may" be on the way out is a safe statement. It may be. It also may NOT be. If the voltage is fine today, you haven't noticed any reduction in performance, and haven't gotten any codes that you have actually seen?

    I'm naturally a bit untrusting of dealerships, just sounds like maybe they were shaking the tree to see how you would react. Would you authorize an immediate replacement? Or would you head for sales and look for a new vehicle?

    I think the Hybrid Battery is kind of a binary situation. Either it's still functioning to an acceptable level, or it is not. Telling you it "may" be on the way out? Something I wouldn't of brought up, unless I had proof it WAS on it's way out.
     
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  15. Yakoma

    Yakoma Active Member

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    [OPINE ON]
    The tranny service is not a flush, just a drain/fill. It's very simple provided you have all the tools and supplies with you when you start. I don't think the Owners' Manual has the details there, but there are great posts/videos here on the board that explain it in detail. Loosen the FILL plug before loosening the DRAIN plug just in case your FILL plug is seized. Use only Toyota World ATF. The consensus here is every 60-100K even though Toyota says never. There will be others who do it like Toyota and others who do it every 30K or less.

    I thought the fuel filter was in the tank also. Recommend that you change the PCV if you're unsure. Also clean the HV battery fan if you haven't done it...not complex and there are plenty of instructions/videos out there. If your water pump hasn't been replaced, it's probably going to go soon. Might as well plan to do that soon. And when you do that, you should go ahead and do the serpentine belt. Also relatively simple DIY from what I've read. No timing belt - timing chain instead so no worries there.

    I wish I could give you advice on the key issue you mentioned, but I'm still learning there. I think there are plenty of posts about that, too. Be careful that you are looking at the right Gen model instructions because not all models function alike.

    Those doors could be fixed as well via DIY for less than several hundred. Look for parts on eBay or rockauto. Regarding the speaker...that's not real difficult either, but it might involve dismantling some interior parts and simply putting in the replacement. I THINK the OEM door speakers are riveted (not screwed) in, so you would have do drill out the rivets and replace with screws. Replacements could go from $20-infinity depending on your budget and desire for audio nirvana.

    Regarding detailing, there is a WEALTH of information on the Toyota Tacoma Forums - Tacoma World board on the detailing thread. There are product recommendations as well as step-by-step instructions for all of that. It'll keep you up all night reading. Suffice it to say, clay bar is your friend.
    [OPINE OFF]

    BeatleBob...it's a long and winding road...but we can work it out and you'll get by with a little help from your friends.
     
    #15 Yakoma, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
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  16. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Thank you all. At the risk of sounding dumb -- are transaxle and transmission synonymous, or are these separate components and separate services?
    Awesome help here guys, keep it coming.
     
  17. writes123

    writes123 Junior Member

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    Check your Prius Manual for complete details.

    From what I recall:

    ATF - Change out transmission fluid. Search for Patrick Wong's post on ATF fluid changes (also for coolant changes, belt changes, really almost anything, he's covered it)if unsure or priusdiy.com. the site has pictures and great instructions for the procedure also.
    Coolant fluid change: both engine and inverter.
    inverter water pump change - possible recall issue
    engine water pump change - possible recall issue also
    clean MAF sensor and throttle body plate
    Replace PCV valve
    Replace Thermostat and gasket
    replace upper and lower coolant hoses
    Change spark plugs - usually at 120k but can be done earlier
    Replace serpentine belt
    Replace brake fluid (every 3 yrs)
    Clean HV hybrid fan
    Check your small 12v battery for proper charge (usually 4 yr life)
    Inflate spare tire to 60 psi
    Replace wiper blades
    Polish headlights

    Regarding your HV battery life, there are certain independent hybrid specialists that claim to be able to extend your HV battery life. I have not had any personal experience regarding this service but would consider what guarantees or services they can offer you if you live in an area where hybrids are popular such as Southern California or other parts of the country.

    Also, you may have some luck with your local Toyota Service department in a "goodwill" OEM HV battery replacement particularly if the car was originally registered in a CARB state such as CA where the HV warranty expires at 10 yrs/150k miles. There are multiple stories where the cost was reduced by the local Toyota or by National Toyota as a goodwill and faithful customer sorptive issues. Also, per Consumer Reports, consider looking at local junkyards at lower mileage newer Gen II prius for a HV battery. CR states they run for $300-500 but I cannot personally verify those figures. Then you have to add on installation fees from a independent hybrid mechanic.

    Fortunately I bought a Prius that had a brand new HV battery replaced at 100k and i bought it with 101k miles.
     
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  18. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    Don't count on a goodwill gesture. Even if you are in a CARB State w/ the 10yr/150,000mile HV battery warranty.
    OP (Original Poster) has a 2004, currently at 152K Miles; he is out by two years and 2,000 miles. All the good will cases I've read about, the owners were only over on one aspect (time or mileage), and by a little, not both time and mileage.
     
  19. BeatleBob

    BeatleBob Junior Member

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    Never hurts to try, and see what happens.
    Back o my dumb question -- about the transaxle and transmission. Are they one in the same component?
     
  20. Yakoma

    Yakoma Active Member

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    Yes...not dumb.
     
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