Had something weird happen today.

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by Jeffery Merrill, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    I was on a delivery when my fuel pip started blinking. Mileage was mid 400s so I knew it needed filled. I made the delivery and headed to gas up. Started the pump and zoned out, the pumps at that station are pretty slow. Sooner than expected the pump auto-stopped. I looked at the gallons pumped: 7.1 gallons. Now, I've read that I should NEVER top off a bladder tank. I turned the car on and let the fuel gauge level up and it showed 10 pips. Now, in my 9 months of ownership, filling up soon after the pip blinks I always, ALWAYS!, get 9.4 to 9.9 gallons in. Not this time. I didn't try to top off and went back to work. Forty miles later I still have 10 pips up there.

    Should I be worried? My plans were just to see what happens over the course of the week.
     
  2. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    2,716
    1,389
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Is it cold where you are? The bladder might not have stretched out due to cold weather. On a side note I always top my tank up.
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  3. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    It's turning cold, not really cold yet though. I bought the car(09) end of January and it never happened during those couple of cold frozen months.
     
  4. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    7,210
    8,888
    0
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
    Our gen 2s have varied by similar amounts on occasion, but that much is getting pretty extreme. I wouldn't worry about it. I'm curious what the next few tanks will be like, though.
     
    Jeffery Merrill likes this.
  5. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    So far so good on this tank. Filled at 2 pips and it took just shy of 8 gallons. Pips went down way fast on that tank so I think it may have just hiccuped.
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    86,343
    38,238
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    maybe it was the pump
     
  7. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    It has been several weeks and I am starting to see what's going on. At least I think I figured it out. Not positive. Lately I have been filling when near half a tank and other times only filling part way from flashing single pip. I have, over the last week or so, have been filling to full every single time, but have delayed filling as soon as the flashing single pip pops up, Sometimes I go 20 to 40 miles while flashing before I fill up. It seems to be doing something as my average fill up is increasing by several tenth gallons each time. I now average over 8.8 gallons per fill up.

    The question I have is if I do run completely out of fuel will my Gloria get me to a station on electric? Should I pack a 2.5 gallon can in my trunk just in case? I am rarely more than a couple of miles away from a station in my area and I NEVER start a long run if I feel there is a chance of running out.
     
  8. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,060
    6,337
    1
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Never run on electric once you are out of gas. Neither you nor the dealer have a way to recharge the HV Battery if it can't start the car.

    BEFORE the last pip starts to blink, get gas. (Gen 2 won't try to restart until you have added 3 gallons since the last time you tried to restart, don't try every gallon)
     
    srellim234, Skibob and Raytheeagle like this.
  9. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    1,076
    1,216
    0
    Location:
    Laughlin, Nevada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    I have to ask.... Why do you wait for it to start blinking to fill up? Eventually you have to fill it up anyway so why even risk running out of fuel?

    Just fill up when convenient after the gauge gets down to two bars. No stress that way. You can still track all the miles and gallons to see if anything is drastically wrong. The design with the fuel bladder already means the amount going in the tank will vary no matter how many bars remain on the gauge. Depending on weather, how long it's been running on two bars, etc., a "two bar" fillup has been anywhere from 6.8 to 9.3 gallons for me. It all evens out within a tank or two. Fill up sooner rather than later and don't sweat it.
     
  10. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    2,716
    1,389
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Not to mention the fuel pump is cooled by the fuel in the tank. When you run the tank that low the pump is above the gas level and can’t cool the pump as well. Does it hurt the pump? I don’t know but it can’t help. Pump goes you need a whole new tank, and that’s not cheap.
     
    srellim234 likes this.
  11. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    To be painfully honest, I get so involved in my jobs I quite forget to think about gas, that beeping flashing pip reminds me to gas up. Plus, I have a 250 mile drive in a month, I want to make it is less than 1 fill up. If I only get 190 miles before that pip starts flashing it's annoying. Yeah, I'm going through the same amount of fuel but filling up twice as often because my gauge doesn't read accurate.
     
  12. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,060
    6,337
    1
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Just be aware that refusal to get gas at two pips, means you will be walking with a gas can (repeatedly if it is less than 3 gallons) to hope you can restart your car, sooner or later.
     
    srellim234 likes this.
  13. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    Well then, I had hoped this car would save me time and money, but it seems I should forget all that and spend time daily filling my tank. I'll just top it off every night before heading home.
     
  14. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,060
    6,337
    1
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    It saves no money to get gas on fumes, compared to getting gas with a decent reserve. The Prius does not get any better gas mileage with one pip than ten.

    As far as time, how inconvenient will it be to march back and forth to your car repeatedly? Call a friend to have them drive you back and forth to get at least 3 gallons in it before you try to restart it? What are the odds that it will happen on a day you have time for that?

    (Gen3 and Gen4 Prius drivers fuss about how unreasonably large the reserve is on a Prius. Toyota reacted to Gen 2 drivers hating that they ran dry)

    When I owned a Gen2, I gave the following advice:
    Get gas at 3 pips with your mother in law in the car. Nothing could be worse than stranding her.
    Get gas with 2 pips with your spouse in the car, you will be reminded of it your whole life.
    Get gas with 1 pip, if you have some one to help carry gas.
    If it start blinking, get gas NOW.

    If it DOES run out, stop NOW. Neither you nor the dealer has a jump starter for the HV battery, it takes them about 3 weeks to order that.

    The Gen2 Prius computer does not see less than 3 gallons as more fuel. You can add one gallon at a time until it pours out on the ground, if you try to start each time.

    Repeated failures to start (5?) will set a code and it will need to be towed. Don't try to start until you have the gas.

    The car may be sluggish for about a mile after you gas up. It is normal. you just drained the HV Battery before you realized you were out of gas (it won't do over 35 MPH)

    As you may notice, this is been there, done that (twice) advice.
     
    #14 JimboPalmer, Nov 24, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
    Raytheeagle, Skibob and srellim234 like this.
  15. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    1,070
    1,075
    3
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    I've owned my '07 for about 16 months now, so have been through all seasons. Cold makes the bladder take less gas for me. I have recently discovered inserting the nozzle upside down helps put a bit more gas in. Even at its worst I still have about 350 mile range.
     
    srellim234 likes this.
  16. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    1,076
    1,216
    0
    Location:
    Laughlin, Nevada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Unfortunately, with a Gen II Prius you're stuck with an inaccurate gas gauge. You'll have to go to Gen III or IV for that. When you mention 250 mile drive in a month, I'm confused. How many miles per day or per month are you really putting on the car? Is it 250 daily or one long trip per month? Is the 250 one-way or round trip? I would still like to to try and help you solve your dilemma.

    You might need re calibration of your gas gauge too. The gauge should not be flashing at 190 miles. I have averaged 43 mpg over the 2 1/2 years I've had the car. My average fillup has been at 315 miles and I have never seen the gauge get down to flashing. I do know a re calibration is not difficult and done from the driver's seat. No tools required. Maybe someone here can post the instructions for you.
     
    Raytheeagle likes this.
  17. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,060
    6,337
    1
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    To be fair, it probably gets colder in IN than CA. The bladder capacity is very dependant on the temperature during the fillup. In cold weather the tank seems smaller.
     
  18. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    8,781
    5,405
    0
    Location:
    Undisclosed Location
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Just to pile on...for no apparent logical reason...
    Yes, I would recommend a tweak in your fill up protocol. Waiting until the last pip starts flashing is IMO pushing it a bit too far.
    But it's not a Dante's Inferno warning...you've evidently never run out of gas...yet. For all the reason's already stated, NOT pushing the Prius to the pip blinking level, is probably a good idea.

    As far as your mysterious tank capacity fluctuation, I wouldn't worry about that either. Gen 2 gas bladders are notorious for having their own fill personalities, that change with temperature, age, and with shut off quirks and fill speed of individual pumps.
     
    srellim234 and jerrymildred like this.
  19. Jeffery Merrill

    Jeffery Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    131
    100
    0
    Location:
    South Bend, Indiana
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    V
    First, I would like to apologize for my ridiculously snarky response yesterday. My only excuse is my aggravated fatigue. Dealing with a toothache for the last few days and getting minimal sleep, if any, each night.

    That said, let's move on.

    Yes, I get down to flashing pip but I typically head straight to a station to fill up, but more often than not I fill when it goes from 2 pips to 1 pip. I have not run out of gas, in any car, in over 10 years, and I mean to keep that record. I had heard, can't remember where, that the gauge could be re-calibrated, and thought I had figured it out. This was why I had asked if pushing the envelope regarding the flashing pip was the way to go. Since there was such vehement opposition to this method I stopped and am still filling up mid eight gallons from 1 pip. This represents a 1/2 gallon loss of accuracy from when I bought the car. Back then when I filled at 1 pip I got between 9 and 9.2 gallons depending on how long it took for me to notice the single pip. Typical fill up when pip just starts flashing is 9.4 to 9.6 gallons. I do remember one time it took 10.2 gallons but the single pip wasn't flashing yet. If I remember this was back in July.

    Anywho,
    Daily I drive between 75 miles and 250 miles, depending on how many jobs I get from my medical transport job and if I work Papa Johns that night. The 250 mile drive I mentioned is my holiday vacation to family in Ohio, 250ish miles each way.

    From late spring to late September I was averaging between 48 and 51 MPG. Now, with colder weather I am getting slightly less at about 44 to 46.

    If someone knows the recalibration process I would appreciate learning it.

    I worry about my car, especially after the accident. Even small things drive me to distraction. The latest thing cropped up today. My right headlight is deciding when and where it wants to work. I replaced both bulbs but the ballast I purchased for it has a lead too short to reach and I haven't gotten around to finding one with the correct lead until now. The left headlight ballast was replaced with the bulbs.
     
  20. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,060
    6,337
    1
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    While I have at times gone over 30 miles with it blinking, not after it ran out of gas after 7 miles of blinking.

    From an emissions point of view, the bladder was great; but owners hated it.

    Others have reported shorter distances, but face it: you never want to be within 7 miles of dead on the side of the road.
     
Loading...