Inverter pump failed twice in 2 months

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Harshal Karande, Jul 18, 2022.

  1. Harshal Karande

    Harshal Karande New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2022
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    La Mirada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Hello, I am new here and a Prius newbie. Not a lot of experience with cars either.
    Sorry for a little long post. I have seen so many people helping each other here. Even I have found out many answers from this forum. And A BIG Thank you for that.
    BACKGROUND:
    I bought my first car ever (First in my family actually. My father, uncles, grandpa. None had a car.) Prius 2008 last year in October 2021 and ever since it is giving me problems. Recently, Cat Converter was stolen and had it replaced at AutoNation Buena Park (had insurance). The next day I got check engine light with Red triangle. No cooling from AC. Went back to the dealership and they said its P0A93. Inverter water pump and quoted me $1153. I did not have money so went to local mechanic he charged me $450.
    2 months later, I got VSC, brake and check engine light with Red Triangle. Went to him again, it's the same thing. P0A93. Had the pump replaced under warranty, nothing paid.
    CURRENT SCENARIO:
    Now 2 days later, I get the same codes again. Mechanic says, I already replaced the part twice, but it's still giving me a problem. Now get a part from the dealership and we will adjust something about the cost.
    I bought the part from the dealership and it cost me $165 with tax. Now I just checked the bill from the local mechanic and he had charged me $289 for the inverter pump + $140 labor (likely for 2 hours) + $30 coolant.
    But on the internet, I haven't seen any Inverter pump that is more than $200. In fact the cheaper ones are $35. I don't understand what's going on.
    I am sure I was fooled. I know I should have checked this earlier. But can you guys please suggest something now?
    Of course, for the future, I am not going to blindly trust a car mechanic until I know him/her well and not going back to this guy for future repairs.
    But besides that,
    1. What might be causing the inverter pump to fail repeatedly?
    2. How can I tackle the cost scenario?

    Please help.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    18,057
    12,121
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    P0A93 does not necessarily mean the inverter pump has failed. It means the inverter is not being cooled effectively. Inverter pump failure can be a common reason, but far from the only one. In these two cases, did a mechanic really confirm the pump was bad, or just see the P0A93 code and replace the pump by reflex?

    The last failed Gen 2 inverter pump I replaced had its bottom potting material visibly cracked, displaced downward, and dripping with stinky capacitor juice.

    Other threads here haved traced the cause of a P0A93 sometimes to the electrical wiring to the pump, obstruction or bent fins of the inverter radiator, cooling fan problems, or (most recently) a rubber hose with a bolt inside it.

    So, it is sometimes necessary for someone to simply work through the possibilities methodically.
     
    #2 ChapmanF, Jul 18, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2022
  3. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    15,770
    8,058
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Mechanics don’t usually sell you parts at their cost, they mark it up. They don’t put out money for inventory and sell it for the same price.

    also you were quoted $450 which is a very reasonable price for an original part replacement. Hopefully that’s what he gave you and not give you a $35 dollar part and charge you $285. If the part keeps failing under the warranty period, it has to be replaced for free, even if he has to do it 5 times. You shouldn’t have to feel bad and contribute to the repair cost again. It gives incentives to mechanics to use quality parts so they don’t have to repeatedly fix under warranty when cheap parts fail
     
    ttou68 and Harshal Karande like this.
  4. Harshal Karande

    Harshal Karande New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2022
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    La Mirada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Thank you fo much for laying out the possibilities. I will take these to the mechanic and ask him to check those as well. I am not sure if he really checked any of these and mostly likely he didn't. Although, when I checked on YouTube, I saw several videos showing that there should be a slight turbulence in in the coolant while the car is running. I checked this when the car was in the Ready mode (foot on the brake paddle+start button) and there was no turbulence.
    One article said that the car needs to be in IG ON mode. I am not sure if that makes a difference, but if it does I can surely try that.
    Do let me know.
     
  5. Harshal Karande

    Harshal Karande New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2022
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    La Mirada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Thanks. I will have a talk with mechanic about this as well.
     
  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    8,367
    3,433
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Seems like maybe some of these folks are selling you the most expensive pump, but installing the cheapest ones?

    When I do this repair I'm honest with the person who needs the repair and let them decide if a $30 pump and risking early replacement is better than spending more than $100 dollars on a pump that might last longer.
     
    Harshal Karande likes this.
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    8,367
    3,433
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    As someone who repeatedly buys $30 inverter coolant pumps and just had yesterday messed up because I had to replace one for a friend that I had already replaced a couple months ago, I'm starting to figure out which $30 pumps are good and which ones are bad. Currently testing this one, which seems to be better quality than other cheap ones: https://www.ebay.com/itm/143775982614

    My theory on what's going on with these is that the motor and it's circuitry is built too cheap to handle the heat. So once the inverter coolant gets up to max temp, there's not enough thermal protection to keep the pump's electrical bits cool. I'm tempted to cut open this dead pump to see if there's anything specific I can find. But I'm also tempted to throw it in the garbage can and try not to think too much about yesterday. :)
     
    Harshal Karande likes this.
  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    18,057
    12,121
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    We should still avoid losing sight of the fact that pump problems are not the only causes of P0A93 codes, and that wiring problems, airflow problems, and clogging problems (including rarities like a hose with a bolt inside it) can also trigger the code.

    So it's important, when replacing a pump, to be sure the pump is the problem.
     
  9. Harshal Karande

    Harshal Karande New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2022
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    La Mirada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    If there is no turbulence in pink coolant, then is it a sure indication that the pump has broke?
     
  10. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2020
    2,224
    355
    0
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    Yes I get out car ready and visually check and touch that pump and make sure it feels like the impellers turning and things are happening and then when I go for a good drive and I come back the hood goes up and those hoses should be warm not hot or hot enough to alarm my hand . I have moved to the 14 volt pump that goes in between the actuator and the master cylinder on the brakes there's a little pump in there has nothing to do with the brakes it's just a 14-volt pump I took one of those off another car and put that where my inverter pump goes it's plug is similar I used the plug that went with the pump that I'm using in made an adapter so I wouldn't destroy my plug for the original inverter pump if I want to go back but I don't think that will be happening the 14 volt regular pump works very well and is very quiet.
     
  11. beef jiggles

    beef jiggles Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2022
    94
    25
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    First time at a shop? They aren't selling you parts at cost, no shops do. This is not how you keep doors open.

    1000% of the time it is cheaper to buy yourself and install yourself. This should not be a surprise to anyone with a brain.

    Check for air in your inverter coolant system. It's hard to get it all out and it will overheat if there is air in there.
     
    mr_guy_mann likes this.
  12. Harshal Karande

    Harshal Karande New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2022
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    La Mirada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    I said to him like many mentioned that he should replace it howmanyever yimes it fails. But he says that the part is under warranty but not the labor. I am still doing it for you. Is that valid? Can he charge me the labor each time it fails?
     
  13. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    15,770
    8,058
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    II
    no, if this is a proper shop, warranty cover parts and labor. Unless it's written that warranty only applies to parts only.
     
  14. Phildo

    Phildo Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2016
    136
    105
    0
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    i-Tech
    I replaced an inverter pump on a Prius today.

    Took me 23 minutes from start to finish. A rather good effort for me - when it comes to working on cars I'm generally the slowest person in the southern hemisphere.

    For a workshop to charge one hour labour would be semi-acceptable. To charge for one minute more than that is a crime.

    Tip: If the pump is so badly burned out that it keeps blowing the AM2 fuse (resulting in the car not turning on) then disconnect the power cable from the pump. The car will start and drive normally (ie keep it to a few minutes... before the inverter starts to overheat).
     
    #14 Phildo, Jul 19, 2022
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2022
  15. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    8,367
    3,433
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Yeah... The swirling / turbulence is obvious in the coolant reservoir when pump is working. And if it's not visible I usually hope against hope and hook a hose from the bleed valve to the reservoir and open it up to see if coolant moves through it. I also try the unlpug and plug in the pump technique that's I've read on here to see if it starts working while cursing that the trick is BS but my last hope before I have a coolant mess to deal with in swapping out pump.
     
  16. beef jiggles

    beef jiggles Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2022
    94
    25
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Two

    Takes about 1.5+ hours on a gen1, most of that time is spent bleeding the system. Is the gen2 that much better? Are you sure you got all the air out?
     
  17. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
    8,367
    3,433
    0
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Haven't done a gen1 but bleeding air out of a Gen2 is almost effortless if you stick one end of a hose on the bleed valve and other end in the resevoir. No more air bubbles in less than 30 seconds.
     
  18. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    18,057
    12,121
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    No; it only means the coolant isn't flowing.

    Often, that will mean the pump is the problem. But in a recent thread, it turned out the flow was blocked by a rubber hose that somehow had a bolt in it. Coolant passages can also clog with products of corrosion, if the coolant hasn't been replaced often enough.
     
  19. beef jiggles

    beef jiggles Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2022
    94
    25
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    If that is true that is a hell of a design improvement! My new to me gen2 fluid was just changed, but I have to replace the ABS pump.. thinking about doing the coolant pump at the same time since I have to drain it anyway.
     
  20. Harshal Karande

    Harshal Karande New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2022
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    La Mirada
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Thank you all guys for the help. I got the inverter pump replaced with Toyota genuine inverter pump (G9020-47031). The mechanic promised to give back the credit he gets back from the part dealer which he said is $200. And he did mention that the part was an aftermarket part. I don't trust him and am never going back.
    ALTHOUGH coming back home, 15-20 mins drive, the AC stopped blowing cool air. It was working when I left the shop. Once I reached home, I checked if the pump is working and it is. I could see slight turbulence in the pink coolant and could feel the hose coming out of the inverter pump vibrating.
    Also, it seems that the car was ready by 11AM and It was street parked in the sun from 11AM to 4PM. It's been 91 degrees high today. Could this affect?
    Are these two issues connected?
     
    bisco likes this.
Loading...