Having some issues, car won't start anymore

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by blankity, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. blankity

    blankity Junior Member

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    I've scoured this forum for information but I either end up at a dead end or the issue is different than mine in the end. For starters: The car is a 2008 Prius with 164k miles. To get to my problem: On Friday as I was parking the car (slowing down getting ready to turn) the Master Warning light and VSC light came on. I parked it and turned it off, however whenever I tried to turn it back on, the Master Warning light, (!), ABS, and VSC light all came on (and check engine, obviously) but the car would not actually start. I came across a post here that referenced a similar issue, in which they disconnected the 12V battery and reconnected it. Since I was at work, my wife and a friend of hers removed the battery and went to get it tested it. After some hours have passed finally, the battery tested positive (I told her it might) and they put it back in. The car started back up, and of course it cleared the dash. The next day, just the check engine light came on. We had them checked and they read: P1121, P0420, P1116. I couldn't really find anything substantive on it but the car ran perfectly fine, if not unusually fine. After disconnecting the battery and putting it back in, we noticed the MPG improve a little and it was using the battery more often instead of the gasoline engine.

    Deep down I knew this wasn't our fix though. As I read in that previous post, the user's issue returned within a few days. And so did ours. Yesterday, the car repeated itself. As I was braking to park, the Master Warning light and VSC light came on. Instead of turning it off though, I drove it (very carefully) to the nearest auto store to have them check the codes on it. Two new codes popped up: C1259 and C1310. I couldn't really pin point an exact cause for those codes. So we tried to unplug the battery again and plug it back in. That didn't do the trick though. This time, the Hybrid warning light (the red car with an exclamation mark through it) shows up on the display panel, along with the BRAKE light and other warning lights. At first glance there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the Hybrid battery. As we were driving it, it was charging just fine and it didn't lose a charge sitting overnight. The bars are actually the same as we left it since yesterday.

    So for a little more clarification:
    - Checked 12V battery through the display check. Turning it on (not pressing brake peddle) showed 12.3-0V. Pressing Brake Peddle and Power button, it drops to 11.8-7V (but the car doesn't go into Ready mode, so it doesn't actually start). However, before we turned off the car yesterday, we checked the 12V battery and it showed 13.6V while it was running.
    - We think, at first, the issue was related to heat. Living in Florida, currently it's been a hot few days here. Yesterday was hot as well, and my non-technical suspicion was that the fan in the back seat was full of dog hair or something and wasn't running well. But now, since it's not starting period, I just don't know.
    - The friend from Friday that took out the 12V battery is the same one that helped us unplug it yesterday. However, they accidentally arked the 12V battery. Could either that, or something not being put back right have caused the issue as well?
    - All of the spark plugs and relays are fine and tested good.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm broke and can't afford any of these expensive repairs I keep reading about that might not even be the issue. Maybe I wasn't meant to own a Prius, but the 8 months I've had the car have been great and I love the car. Also, after the 12V battery arking (or whatever) I've pretty much been afraid of touching the thing so some safety reassurance would be good too.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    i think it's going to be a tough fix if you don't have any money and cannot diy. the first thing you'll need to do is have a dealer read the codes for a proper diagnosis, auto parts code readers aren't prius specific.
    i doubt arcing the battery caused any damage, as long as they didn't cross pollinate the connections.
    as for the 12v, 12.3 is getting iffy. it might need a charge or replacement. hard to say if that's the problem though.
     
  3. blankity

    blankity Junior Member

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    Thank you for the quick reply!
    Due to the fact that towing it to a dealer and such isn't very cost effective for me, would it be possible for me to use one of those Mini VCI devices I hear about to get the same results? I understand I'm probably going to have to have a dealer run a diagnostics test on it ($100 or so in my area) but if I can avoid having to tow it there and back, that would at least save me some money.
    The 12V Battery in there now is a black box with Toyota slapped on it, so it's probably safe to say this is the original battery.
     
  4. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    No matter what you find the 12 volt bat should be replaced anyway so it doesn't surprise you when you're late to work!
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you can navigate the mini vci threads, and have a compatible laptop, it will certainly do the same thing as the dealers.
     
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  6. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    These two codes are the HV battery ECU (which will have set its own more specific codes) to other ECUs (such as the ABS/VSC e.g.) and are general codes that say I (HV battery ECU) have detected problems with the HV battery and I need you guys (the other ECUs) to go easy on the HV battery. The fact you do not see the codes set by the HV battery ECU means the code reader you used is not up for the job.

    Yes, a mini VCI would allow you to see all codes and would be a cheaper alternative to have to rely on a dealer to read your codes.

    In order to diagnose your problem properly, the first order of the day is to ensure you can read all the codes being set by all ECUs by whatever means possible. Once you have those, the way forward is more clear.

    BTW, the 12 V may or may not need replacing, but certainly needs charging. Replace if it won't hold its charge. It is a secondary and separate issue and not the root cause of you current problems. However, be warned, a flakey 12 V battery can mask or exacerbate problems by introducing ghost codes. If battery is more than 5 years old, it may be best to just replace it so you don't get misled or distracted by a flakey 12 V battery,
     
    #6 dolj, Jul 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  7. blankity

    blankity Junior Member

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    After getting all of that set up, here is what I found:

    P0AA6-526 (no other detail codes), P0420, P1121, P1116
    C1259, C1310, C1378

    Narrows it down a bit, but also broaden it as well.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    did you ever test or replace the 12v?
     
  9. blankity

    blankity Junior Member

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    Some added information: I checked P0AA6 again and got another detail code 612. That lead me into more research about a possible battery leak somewhere.
    - Unaware, on long trips we had a cooler in the car but it was leaking water. When we took the 12V battery out the first time to go get it checked, there was a inch of water (just barely enough to skid the bottom of the 12V battery) in the pocket. We drained the water, of course.
    - Our prius likes to drink a lot of oil (I was told this was pretty common) so we kept some oil in our trunk for safe measures. However, the oil we got the cap wouldn't tighten properly, so if it was laying on its side, it would leak. It wasn't enough to spill every where, but it did leave a coat all over the bed.

    With that information, is it possible that the water/oil could have corroded a wire somewhere? The only flip side to this is that both of those haven't happened for 4-5 months (we replaced the oil and we haven't gone on any trips) so neither of those things were present at the time the first incident occurred (except for the water in the pocket of the battery).

    On a separate note, I did manage to get the car running again (cleared P0AA6) and drove around town with techstream running so I could monitor the car and possibly see what goes wrong where when the master warning light comes on. This is something particular that I noticed.
    - While slowing down, FR/FL Regeneration Request would kick in. At the start, FL would hit 112 Nm, then both would go up to high numbers that varied when I began pressing on the break (do not worry, I wasn't actually driving). When the Master Light came on (P0AA6 and C1378 came back), FR/FL Regeneration Request practically stopped. When braking, FL Regen would go to the usual 112 Nm, but that would be it.

    Here are a series of screenshots I took of techstream of the various data screens (of the sections that were giving me errors: hybrid control and ABS/VSC/TRAC). The last one is of the hybrid battery itself I think.


    We had the 12V tested at a mechanic and the battery read 12.4V. I wasn't really sure where to go from there and they had never worked on a hybrid before so they weren't sure either.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if everything had been off for a few hours, 12.4 is likely okay. if you just shut the car down, there's a surface charge, and the voltage is probably lower.
     
  11. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Good, this inf code is helpful.

    I am not qualified to give advice on it, but here (2005 Red warning light - code P0AA6 - 526 & 612 also P0300, 301, 303) is a post that I think is helpful and TampaPrius is a knowledgable Prius guy in Tampa FL.
    Unless you are 100% sure your cooler leaked water and got into the battery compartment, a more likely explanation is the known leaking issues on the Gen II where the seam at the join of the roof to the rear panel (on either or both sides) fails and causes water to ingress and pool in the battery compartment (more common) and/or the spare wheel cavity (less common). both of these have drain bungs in the bottom, so if you have pooled water, remove the drain bungs until you can locate the leak and repair. Another place to check is a connector on the LR near the trunk light. You need to remove the trim panel on the LR to find an inspect it. Unplug the connector and inspect the pins. Clean up any corrosion or moisture.

    This post (Water leak...into spare tire area etc | Post #49) has some good images of what you're looking for to locate the sources of leaks. If not mention in that thread the hinges and around the rear light fittings can also be a source, particularly if the car has ever been rear ended.
     
  12. blankity

    blankity Junior Member

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    I am 100% sure of what the problem is now. Had a mechanic friend come over and help me take a look at the Hybrid Battery. First thing we see


    We knew going in there must have been corrosion somewhere, or a leak. But this just made everything worse.
    Guess I better start a fundraiser or something because there's no way I'm going to be able to afford a replacement. I could always buy just the cells that went bad but I have no way of installing them, or knowing how to drain all of the cells then recharge them (balance them). Not only that but I have no way of testing which cells went bad in the first place. The corrosion on the bottom shows at least 8 or 12.

    That is probably exactly my problem. Read that post earlier when we found the acid corrosion around the base of the battery. I'm sure if I cleaned everything I could get the car running a day or two, but it's figuring out which cells went bad, replacing them, and balancing them all to ensure longevity that I can not do. But I also don't have the $1000 or so it will take to have the whole thing replaced, nor the $700 to have the individual cells that have gone bad replaced so I guess I'm going to have to learn how to replace the cells and hope for the best.
     
    #12 blankity, Jul 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
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