Independent Prius Mechanic in Orange County

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Kundanp333, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Kundanp333

    Kundanp333 Junior Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a 2008 Prius with about 115k miles. I wanted to start doing the preventive maintenance items as recommended by the owners manual; coolant flush, transaxle fluid change, spark plugs, etc. More importantly, I am looking to get the engine and inverter coolant flushed. The dealership not only charges a lot to complete the job, but i have heard that they do not do it properly. Can someone please recommend a reputable independent shop that can work on our hybrid and perform the task at hand? Or are there any DIYer forum members that want to help a brother out and make some money on the side? Please let me know what is the best way to go.

    Thank you
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome! are you near avi's advanced automotive (hybrid fix) in inglewood?
     
  3. Kundanp333

    Kundanp333 Junior Member

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    No, I considered that. That is too far unfortunately.
     
  4. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    When I lived in south Orange County, I found that Rancho Santa Margarita Toyota and Tustin Toyota had competent service dept staffs.
     
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  5. Kundanp333

    Kundanp333 Junior Member

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    Good to know. I will get a quote from Tustin Toyota tomorrow. Toyota of Orange quoted me $199 (as their "special") for EACH. How much should I expect to pay? I already have the coolant purchased.
     
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    It will probably be expensive.

    I have posted on how to replace the engine coolant in posts #22 and #42 here:
    Changing engine coolant | Page 2 | PriusChat

    The yellow Lisle funnel is really helpful when doing the engine coolant system as this makes it much easier to get air out of the system. You still need to run the CHRS pump to move coolant into that part of the engine coolant system.
     
  7. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    I second Rancho Santa Margarita Toyota!
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you can't go wrong with anything margarita.
     
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    I don't doubt it, but I often wonder why the Prius is so difficult to do an engine coolant change. I've changed coolant on various Hondas over the decades, and it's pretty straightforward:

    1. Drain radiator.
    2. Drain engine block.
    3. Remove, drain and clean out the overflow bottle
    4. Pour pre-mixed coolant in through radiator neck with bleed screw open.
    5. When coolant starts coming out of bleed screw, close it and continue pouring coolant 'till it's up to the neck.
    6. Start the car with radiator cap off, run 'till coolant fan comes on twice. Watch the radiator neck, baste out if it starts to overflow, and top-up if it drops.
    7. Once the fan's cycled on twice, shut down, cap the radiator, reinstall the overflow bottle, and fill it to top mark.
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    We are talking about the 2G Prius here, which has an engine coolant heat recovery system which is unique to that model and which helped that series qualify for CA AT-PZEV certification and the associated longer hybrid system warranties.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Do you know, is the 3rd gen easier? I've heard mention of removing an exhaust coolant heating hose drains a fair bit of coolant.
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Well, I own a 2015 so I haven't needed to worry about this yet. In fact I'm looking forward to your post on that subject so I can learn from your experience...

    However after reviewing the 3G repair manual about this, it doesn't seem very difficult. Open the radiator drain cock, open the engine block drain cock, let the fluid drain out. Tighten both. Open the air release valve. Fill the engine coolant at the reservoir tank until coolant comes out of the valve, then close the valve.

    Add coolant until it reaches the "B" mark on the reservoir tank. Run the engine in inspection mode, work on getting air out of the system by setting cabin heater temp to MAX and the fan on, squeezing hoses, etc. Make sure the engine runs sufficiently so that the thermostat opens up. Make sure the cabin heater produces heat and you don't hear air bubbling around in the heater core.

    After you are done and the engine has cooled down, make sure the fluid in the reservoir is at the FULL mark.

    The spec is 7.7 US quarts for the 3G engine coolant system capacity.
     
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  13. Kundanp333

    Kundanp333 Junior Member

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    Wow a lot of useful information here but it is all pointing me to go to RSM Toyota since I am not one to experiment. The only problem is I have already bought the coolant. I wonder if they can allow me to bring in my own coolant and thus reduce the price. I will have to give them a call to confirm. The service department isn't open on Sundays, at least not at Tustin Toyota.

    On another note, while doing the transaxle fluid change (something I can surely do myself), is there any way to get all of the fluid out and just pouring in the 4 quarts instead of measuring how much comes out and putting in exactly that much?
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    For transaxle fluid, just raise and level the car, and drain: 90% or more comes out. Filling to correct level is foolproof: just fill 'till it starts coming back out.

    Have 4 qts or liters on hand and you'll be ok, it'll take around 3.5 (liters, in my experience).
     
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  15. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    If the coolant is Toyota's brand, I don't see why they would not use it. The cost of transaxle fluid change is less then $100.00.
     
  16. Kundanp333

    Kundanp333 Junior Member

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    Raising and leveling the car is not easy at my workplace (driveway). I wish that was the case. I am planning to put it on ramps while doing this. Does 90% of the old fluid come out with the front of the car elevated?
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you don't need a hybrid mechanic for any of these services. why not take it to a triple a or someone trusted.
     
  18. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The way to make the car level after raising the front on ramps, is to use a hydraulic floor jack at the center rear jacking point which is a inverted tower sticking down.

    If you cannot make the car level, the transaxle will be slightly overfilled but that is not the end of the world.
     
  19. Kundanp333

    Kundanp333 Junior Member

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    True. I think the coolant procedure requires more attention from someone that works on the Prius regularly for several reasons (complete or 90% drain and fill without air in the system), where as the trans-axle fluid drain and fill is something anyone can do with a lift and a fluid pump. I don't mind getting my hands dirty for the simple tasks.
     
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  20. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Instead of using a pump, it is much easier to use a funnel with a ~3 ft. long tail snaking down to the transaxle fill hole.
     
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