I just got a Prius! (And now I have to work on it!)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Isaac Zachary, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    Short story:
    I got my first Prius... with the red triangle on and deer damage to the front and needs a catalytic converter and possibly burns oil.

    Long story:
    I just got my first Prius. A 2006 with 205,000 miles. I got this car practically for free, but it seems to have been pretty well taken care of, with at least one, if not two or three big problems.

    So the previous owner hit a deer with it. The front hood and bumper are messed up as well as the left headlight assmbly. The left fender is also bent and pushed back. The windshield is also cracked. This is going to be some work, but my wife and I for some reason fell in love with this wrecked car, and well, just had to get it.

    There are also a few other problems that I need to be check out. So the 12V battery was dead. The car hadn't been driven for 6 months and it was dead as a door knob. The owner also says the car uses oil, but I couldn't see any leakage beneath. The engine actually looks quite clean both top and bottom, especially for one with over 200k miles! And I couldn't find any hints of oil burning either. He says it mainly happens on the freeway over 65mph. After jumping the car with an auxiliary battery and test driving it the check engine light came on, which apparently is a bad catalytic converter problem. And then the big red triangle of doom turned on during the test drive too. The traction battery fan also turned on full blast. So the guy who was selling it saw the triangle and told me I could have it at any price I wanted.

    On the way home the car did suddenly die half way home. I pulled over and jumped it and continued. The red triangle was gone and never came back on. Back home I put the 12V batter on a charger and it didn't want to charge at first. But now it seems like it's actually taking a charge. I do plan on replacing it, probably with an OEM battery if possible. I got insurance on it, and remarkably it actually made my insurance go down $16/month for some reason. I'll have to get plates and registration through the mail though due to COVID-19.

    So what's next... I want to fix the front of course. It's a pretty tan color and my wife really likes the color. It will be nice having a second car again since a few months ago I hit a deer in the Avalon hybrid and had to fix the front of that myself without a second car to help out. I want to see if I can get that Red Triangle to turn on again too so I can fix that. The owner said it had come on last year and it was the inverter pump, which he changed, so that could have something to do with it. But with the battery fan comming on and it not being used in several months has me wondering if it could be a dead cell. And the catalytic converter needs to be replaced too of course. OH, and the ABS light turns on and the cruise control doesn't work. I will also do a full fluid change and compression test. Paint the whole car eventually And if the engine needs rebuilding, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

    Oh boy! Lots to do! Any tips, help and comments are appreciated!
     
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  2. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Member

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    Put some gas in it with fuel treatment and let the engine charge the hybrid battery up if it can and if the check engine light is on get the codes before you reset them.

    Also how much did you pay?
     
  3. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    If the Hybrid battery has issues just buy a kit of new cells from @2k1Toaster here. The link is in my signature. Much cheaper than a new battery and more reliable than replacing a module. The price is hard to beat for basically a new battery.
     
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  4. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    Sounds good. It's almost empty, so that should help.

    If you must know, I offered $300 for it. I could have gotten it for less, but it was a price I felt was fair for both of us and that I could live with.
    Awesome! I think he's not far from here. The battery is one part that makes me a bit nervious to work on. I wonder how much those special rubber gloves cost?
     
  5. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Member

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    You dont need those gloves but if you can not do it, I would look into green bean batteries. They come to you and install it and it has a lifetime warranty that they will reinstall if you need it and the warranty is transferable if you sell the car. Buying a normal battery over a custom one will be better in the long run if you need it repaired again.
    Toasters battery modules are custom and you can only buy them from him versus a regular battery you will be able to get those modules anywhere.
     
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  6. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Before we go all crazy talking about purchasing a new battery, we need to recognize the car has been sitting for 6+ months. That is more than enough time for a 'weaker than the others' module to self discharge and initially cause an RTOD due to the HV battery being out of balance. This can OFTEN be solved merely by running the car and allowing the battery to charge or performing a 'forced charge'. It could easily be a module that has a self discharge rate that would be insignificant when driven every day, but shows its "butt" when sitting unused for months. Don't jump into a multi thousand dollar repair when it may not be needed. There are MANY cars out there that are functioning normally every day with modules just like this scenario, and will continue to function just fine for a few more years before that 'weak' module becomes a real problem.
     
  7. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    I'm not totally against the idea. I've installed my own 240V 30A clothes dryer and 240V 40A EVSE. I feel I know how a high voltage battery is put together and what the dangers are and how to avoid them. But I also want to be sure I'm not overconfident and that I'm taking all the necessary precautions before tearing apart my battery. In the long run, it would be good to know how to repair these since I have two Toyota hybrids that I don't plan on selling or trading in for as long as I can keep them running.

    I was thinking the same thing. And even if it is just one bad module, maybe I could just replace that instead of the whole battery?

    I'm trickly charging the 12V tonight and would like to see if it will start on it's own tomorrow. If I get an OEM 12V that may take a while. Or I could get whatever Napa or O'Reilly's have to offer I guess. But I'm in no hurry.
     
  8. AzusaPrius

    AzusaPrius Member

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    Well if you are up for it then I will always say save yourself some money and do it yourself.

    You can find the modules as cheap as $25 on ebay.

    Learn how to remove and breakdown the battery pack and use Dr. Prius app to help find the bad modules.
     
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  9. ttou68

    ttou68 Active Member

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    12V battery is a good place to start, a weak 12V can cause all kinds crazy codes... Load test it after it's fully charged, and may take couple of cycle to get it to optimal condition wherever that it is according to it's age...

    Good luck!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  10. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    Thanks! I didn't know about the Dr. Prius app. I'll give it a look at. And yes, although I at times fantisize with tinkering with battery technology and making this Prius into something like a solar powered plug-in hybrid, I really would prefer to just get it up and running and make it a practical car to drive. If the battery needs replaced I would be tempted to try 2k1 Toaster's kit battery. On the other hand, would a Toyota dealer sell me an HV traction battery outright? According to parts.toyota.com, they list a price of $1773.60 for an OEM G951047031 battery (plus $1,350.00 core charge) at the dealer I usually deal with. Of course then there's the question of if it would still have a waranty if I installed it myself? And would I need to "sync" it with some special software?

    Of course maybe I should stop talking about swaping out the HV traction battery or modules until I'm sure it needs it.

    Thanks! I'll see how it goes with this 12V battery for now. As for a replacement, I was thinking the biggest OEM battery that fits in there. But according to parts.toyota.com, the bigger 2880021171 battery is no longer available. I live where it gets very cold, so a bigger battery makes sense to me. It's $204 for the smaller 2880021181 battery. Maybe it would be better to go with Optima??
     
  11. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    And you end up playing whack a mole with an unreliable car.
    @Isaac Zachary ignore this guy and listen to @TMR-JWAP who is one of our trusted battery hobbyists.
     
  12. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Once again we have this statement made without qualifying what they mean by a "weak" battery. I guess if it is repeated often enough it will become truth.

    In the case of a Gen 2 Prius, the voltage would have to be in the realm of 8.x V or less to see the talked about "crazy codes".

    The repair manual in a lot of places asks the technician to verify the voltage is 10.5 V or better.

    So let's not get all "Chicken Little" about this.
     
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  13. chronon

    chronon Member

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    if you get TORQUE installed on your android, get a blue-tooth (or wifi) dongle for your OBDII, then you can monitor instant voltages on the pairs ... 'blocks'...
    this gives you a great insight into how the modules are doing , alot of times things get hot and blocks get out of range (1.2V) difference and that will through ye old red 3-angle ...
    Another app, 'dr. prius' ? will do tests on your battery with various loads and tell you what kind of capacity your traction battery (recovery time / charge holding, etc. ...
     
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  14. ttou68

    ttou68 Active Member

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    Okay, a good condition 12V battery is considered when holding voltage at 12V or above when is under load.

    Anything below 12V under load is considered a weak battery, and I've seen Prius to throw a code @ 11V (my mother's Prius)..

    @10.5V, I would considered or borderline dead for Prius, and possibly bring it back by trying reconditioning using charger and discharger..

    @8.5V is definitely dead for any vehicle..
    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  15. ydpplqbd

    ydpplqbd Active Member

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    Definitely get an OBD2 dongle and the Torque Professional app. I am using the following dongle on my 2006 Gen2: vgate iCar Pro Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) OBD2 Fault Code Reader OBDII Code Scanner purchased for $29.20 from Amazon. You may also want to take a look at this thread where I compare different dongles: OBD2 Dongle Reviews | PriusChat

    Best of luck. Let us know how you make out.

    Also see:
     
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  16. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    My point was about throwing "crazy codes" not whether the battery was good or not. These are two different things.

    To reiterate, the battery will still start the car when it is bad and it has to be really bad before the computers get upset.

    The anecdote about your mother's Prius, I'm not sure what that proves. The code was not legitimate?
     
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  17. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    I'lll go confirm the voltage today after trickle charging all night when I can, but I'm pretty sure it was way south of 12V yesterday. The only way to not only get the car to start but to get any light to turn on at all was jumping the car in the front with a portable car starter or jumper cables. And like I said, the car just up and died half way home and I had to coast over to the side of the road and jump it again to get it home.

    UPDATE:

    So I took the trickle charger off. It said it was still charging when I did. Surprisingly the rear hatch opened, so I tested the voltage right off the battery... 12.15V. After that I started the car and it started right up, no problem. I'm letting it sit and do it's thing right now. The HV traction battery is "low" according to the middle screen.

    UPDATE:

    After half an hour or so of idling, I went out to look at it and it was still idling. And alas! The red triangle was on again, the HV battery fan going full blast and the dash saying the battery was at the bottom line of charge.
     
    #17 Isaac Zachary, Jul 17, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  18. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    At 12.15 V the battery is still basically flat. You need to put the charger back on the battery and leave it until it is fully charged. Then do some testing to see whether it is worth persevering with it. From what you have said to date, you will probably need to put a new battery in and be done with it.
     
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  19. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    Yes, I did leave it on the charger. My charger is a 1.5A trickle charger. More like a battery maintainer actually. I'll see where it's at here in a bit, but yes, I'm planning on replacing it.

    Any suggestions on 12 batteries? I see the bigger OEM battery that I'd like on Toyota Parts Surplus.

    UPDATE:

    I just checked the voltage. 14.10V on the charger and 12.95V off the charger at 45°F (7°C) ambient temperature.
     
    #19 Isaac Zachary, Jul 18, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  20. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    Update:

    The car still keeps starting just fine with the "resurrected" 12V battery. So, I'm going to focus my attention to other stuff until I get that all done or the 12V starts acting up again.

    I've driven the car three times so far since I bought it. I'm thinking I need to start starting it up and charge the battery every day, perhaps taking the car to work. I don't know if this is a good idea, but I've also been reseting the OBDII codes by disconnecting the 12V battery and reconnecting before each trip. I have a BT code reader on order, so I'll use that when I get it.

    Every time I drive it takes longer for the red triangle to turn on. Today I drove a few miles to the bank and turned off the car. When I turned it back on the red triangle showed up immediately, but this time the battery fan did not turn on nor did the engine start and run continuously like it has the other two times. The previous owener said he was having problems with the light turning on due to it detecting an inverter pump problem, but that he has taken it to a dealer and they couldn't find anything wrong with it, so I'm wondering if that might be the reason why it turned on. Anyhow the fan finally turned on and the car went into continuous engine running mode just as I pulled into my driveway after about 10 miles of driving. That's the longest it has taken to do that.
     
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