How to flash a new calibration file update to the ECM (PCM)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Marcilla Smith, May 3, 2019.

  1. Marcilla Smith

    Marcilla Smith Active Member

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    According to T-SB-0088-08 dated June 6, 2008, I may need to flash a new calibration file update to the ECM (PCM). My Prius is reporting code P0125 after periods of extended idling.

    After searching priuschat, youtube, and google, I am still at a loss as to how to proceed. After reading through TSB No. SS002-07, I am still uncertain as to how to proceed.

    Any help, please?
     
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i thought only the dealer could do that. maybe tech stream?
     
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  3. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    Problems of attempting to do it yourself:
    * Is the file you got from the INTERNET legitimate? You would be very BRAVE to trust such a file, for something so critical.
    * Will the hacked copy of Techstream be able to perform the flash?
    * If the flashing gets messed up, you will likely have a vehicle in WORSE shape than before. "Do you feel lucky?" (DirtyHarry)
    * Is the $100-$300 guestimated labor cost worth all this risk?

    Be "pound wise, penny foolish."
    Pay the Toyota dealer diagnostic fee ($90-$150) to determine if your car needs this. If the Toyota dealers screws-up the flashing, they are on the hook for the subsequent repairs. The diagnostic fee would get applied to the total repair bill, should you choose to have the dealer perform the service. Call various Toyota dealers to see how much they charge. Search various Toyota dealer websites for service discount coupons; nearly all Toyota dealers accept other Toyota dealers discount parts/service coupons. Look into AAA, AmEx, and Costco, Toyota dealer discount service coupons.

    Since the Vehicle is OUT of Emissions Warranty, you could always ask Corporate Toyota for Good Will gesture: maybe Toyota will pay for this or cover a percentage of the final bill. Good Will gesture requires a diagnosis by a Toyota dealer. If the vehicle has seen a lot of paid service, at a Toyota dealership, by you or previous owners, you stand a better chance of Toyota extending Good will. However, they can still say NO.
     
    #3 exstudent, May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  4. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    My approach sounds like this: "Hello, Toyota dealer? I'm looking at this TSB for a P0125 code I'm getting, that suggests to update my 2005 ECM to calibration 34705400. When can you fit me in?"

    In theory, you can do it yourself. If you sign in at techinfo at the professional/diagnostic rate ($65 for a two-day period, rather than the standard $20), you'll be able to download the calibration file and get a license key that unlocks the flash functions in Techstream.

    However....

    Most of us regular mortals using Techstream are using it with cheap dongles (Mini VCI or VxDIAG or Tactrix Openport, etc.), and when we get random "lost communication with vehicle" errors in the middles of things, we shrug and say "well, if I wanted glitch-free operation I could have spent $500 on the dongle Toyota uses."

    But knowing that a glitch in the middle of a reflash leaves my car a brick, and my porch is brick so I've got plenty of those but just the one car, makes me quite content to leave that particular operation to the dealer.

    If you really do want to try it yourself, take careful heed of all the steps in that second TSB you linked. You will see that all of them are aimed at making sure nothing surprising can happen during the reflash to brick your car. Making sure the GR8 power supply is attached to the battery, the battery is charged, all accessories are off, etc. I think that isn't even the most recent of the TSBs describing the process. They keep issuing new ones with longer checklists for avoiding more surprises. (I think one of the threads here about the E0E / F0R recalls had a link to a more recent one.) Like, making sure the brake pump had just run before starting, so it's less likely to decide to run during the reflash. That TSB also specified a couple of fuses to just pull before starting. The last time I took my car for a reflash, I made sure I pulled the fuse for my add-on air compressor, since otherwise they wouldn't have known about it and it might have kicked on during the flash.

    If you go to the dealer, you can save them some time if the hatch area is empty, since they'll need to take out the deck boards to attach the GR8 cables to your battery.

    Also, to be completely kosher, the reflash should be finished up with an Authorized Modification Label added under the hood to indicate what new calibration was applied and when, and those only come in packs of 25, and I bet Toyota won't sell them to you.
     
  5. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    You can use a Drewtech MongoosePro cable or a Cardaq Plus 3 to link the pc to the vehicle. You also need a clean, stable power supply to maintain system voltage at 13.5v.

    If you are only flashing a single vehicle, having the dealer do it is the most cost effective method. Or you can rent the drewtech rap2:

    http://drewtech.com/pdf/sell%20sheets/2018_RAP2_Sell_Sheet_EMAIL.pdf
     
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  6. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Never heard this one discussed here.
    Why bother?
    In other words, why do you have to idle for so long? and why does it matter to have the code, just ignore it.
     
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  7. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    With a check engine light on, he cannot pass emissions inspection.
     
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  8. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    I am not sure the tarheels have inspections, but if so the owner could clear the code and take it in code-free, assuming it is possible to operate the car in a manner to avoid getting the code. However. I did this once and you have to be careful to run the car a while before you take it in, because they know if there has been enough run time for the codes to be reset after clearing.
     
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  9. Marcilla Smith

    Marcilla Smith Active Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! Responding to and/or clarifying a few things...
    1. NC does have state inspections
    2. After the code was reset, I ran it long enough without the light that I could pass inspection, yay!
    3. I'm a woman, lol
    4. I live in and work out of my Prius, therefore the idling
    5. If I ignore the issue, I'm concerned it may be running rich (or lean?)
    6. Y'all have successfully convinced me this is one of those things I don't need to accomplish in the name of "empowering myself"
    7. Rather than go to the dealer, I have found a shop that specializes in hybrids, confirmed with them that they can flash the ECM, sent them the TSB, and made an appointment for Wednesday
    8. I'll make the battery accessible, but I keep too much in the back to empty it!
     
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    all the best!(y)
     
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  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Hehe. Yes, it's a respectable measure of empowerment just to know that you're making your own choice to delegate something and you're doing it knowledgeably for reasons of practicality.
     
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  12. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Also consider the P0125 can be caused by cooling system, coolant temperature sensor, and/or thermostat issues
     
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  13. Marcilla Smith

    Marcilla Smith Active Member

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    Word to the wise: just because the TSB says flashing is .9 shop hours at the dealer, doesn't mean that's what they will charge at an independent shop
     
  14. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Even the labor time on the TSB is only valid for warranty repairs. The labor time charged for customer pay repairs is at the technician’s discretion.
     
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  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Did you find an indy shop to do it for you? What time did they charge?

    I could almost see it taking .9 if somebody comes in with the back all full of stuff and they have to dig it out to get to the battery.
     
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  16. Marcilla Smith

    Marcilla Smith Active Member

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    I took it to an indy shop. I just relocated to Raleigh, so I thought this was a good opportunity to find a place to be my "go to" (or "go past!"). Unfortunately, I'm leaning towards "go past," based on the customer service.

    They told me they charged a flat $160 ($171.xx with tax) for flashing. The problem is that they didn't tell me this until after the fact, and after I had sent them the TSB with the .9 hours indicated.

    I expressed my displeasure, but handed over my cc # to get my car back. I never signed a receipt or even a work order...

    They have 4+ stars on google, and they appear to have done the job properly, so maybe it's me. Nonetheless there were other issues I had with their customer service.

    Oh, and I think they kept my coolant temperature sensor :: eye roll ::
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I take it you checked the version shown in Techstream, and it's the recommended one now?
     
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  18. Marcilla Smith

    Marcilla Smith Active Member

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    Sorry, the laptop for my TS is on the fritz. I just meant they didn't brick the car and it shows measurable improvements

    --------------------------------------------------

    On a mostly unrelated note, but while I'm posting somewhere that people might be able to appreciate this, I passed a car earlier with the license plate "JAG4U2NV," so of course I thought, "nice try, but having owned a Jag, my emotional response is closer to 'pity.'"

    (...plus, it was an S-Type :: wrinkles nose :: )
     
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