Is anyone else trying to live with a flakey Combo Meter?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by davecook89t, Nov 6, 2021.

  1. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    So we are into a new model year and still have not replaced our 2007 Touring, which now has 296k + miles. (I say "+" because we have driven probably a few hundred miles with a non-functioning combo meter.) By now I thought we would have invested in a new car (probably a hybrid or full electric), but with the current horror stories about new cars being sold off dealer lots without their full set of features because of a lack of computer chips, it looks like we will be keeping our Gen 2 a little longer. It has no real issues, other than burning a little bit of oil, a P0420 that pops up every now and then (the car is registered in Florida, which does not require emissions inspections), and the aforementioned combo meter that works most of the time.

    I know, I know, for considerable aggravation and a few hundred dollars, I could pull the combo meter out of the dash and ship it off to @Texas Hybrid Batteries for repairs, but in normal times that would be too much to spend on a car with so many miles. So we've been using with the car in its current condition mostly to run local errands. Now I'm about to depart to Florida in the Gen 4, leaving the Gen 2 with my wife in New York. (She'll be flying down after the holidays). The last time I was away, she had a few instances where she had trouble getting the car to power down because of the combo meter problem, but was eventually able to get it in that state after several tries. I've since installed a 12V battery cutoff switch under the hatch that I was led to believe could be used to power down the car if it could not be powered down any other way. We have been reluctant to try it, given that we would lose radio stations, navigation settings, etc. Instead we've always managed to get it to power down, sometimes with considerable delay in our scheduled activities.

    Can anyone give me some assurance that the cutoff switch will work if needed? It will be a bit of a pain to get to, given that it seems the hatch refuses to unlock whenever the car will not shut down. To console my anxious wife, I've postulated that as long as she's only taking the car out to make one stop, she should be alright, since it's never given us trouble when the dash is fully lighted. (She would need to make sure the dash lit up before leaving home, as many tries as it would take, otherwise call an Uber.) Of course, if she needs to make 2 or more stops on her errand runs, that's where she could run into problems. Is my logic sound?

    I know you're going to tell me I should be leaving the Gen 4 with her and taking the Gen 2 to Florida, but she hasn't been helping me with the payments on the Gen 4, that's my excuse.;)
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If it's "a few hundred dollars" to have somebody else solder in the $0.xx capacitor, that feels like a strong incentive to find a buddy with a soldering iron and just get 'er done.
     
  3. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, a "buddy" I would trust to do the job is in Indiana.;)
     
  4. donbright

    donbright Active Member

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    EDIT ----

    I rearead your post and its not shutting down. which is opposite of what typically happens with combo meter (wont start). So are you sure its combo meter?

    The only time mine has refused to shutoff is when my battery cables were loose (as in i could twist the red back and forth easily by hand), so i had to tighten them and the problem disappeared.

    -----
    IF it is the combo meter:

    The problem is not that you can keep it "kind of working", it's that one day, without warning, it is not going to work at all, and your car won't start, nor will you be able to rig something to make it start. The combo meter is an integral part of the boot process and when it finally dies then the boot process will not happen, and all the tricks like reconnecting battery will not help.

    The THB price is technically not several hundred, it is $150 ($225 up front - 75 core return) + an hour or two of dashboard work which is actually not that hard on a Prius thanks to extensive use of clips.

    However I must admit the actual cost will likely include a new left-side AC vent (the big gray thing that goes all the way from top of dash to bottom) since those tend to literally crumble apart in a non-repairable manner when removed. And those are getting harder to come by every year.
     
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  5. koco

    koco Member

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    This aftermarket replacement trim is made from a less brittle plastic and fits well. It is not expensive. I don't know if the other 3 are available like this.
     
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  6. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    I can generally rip this out in a few minutes I've left my vents off till it's turly fixed the vent louvers are stuck in holes with goop . Which will roll up and disconnect at will. Guy in Texas said ring him up wen dash will no longer light up .so far takin remote out of slot turning off srs at button under S wheel . Re inserting pushing start and repeating till speedo and ready lite . If I'm in a hurry it's nothing for me to drive off with blank dash. Wen it returns in two three stops gas is correct as is mileage. Only undoing 12 volt resets all I do not do this. I 0nly play w fob and srs button and start button nothing else. Was off half day yesterday .

    SM-A715F ?
     
  7. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    I've been living with this 18 months. It always returns so far driving with dash off MFD stuck no mpg etc does nothing to car it charges shows bars drives fine even driving hale out of it . Nothing. Wen dash returns to me means bright lights in interior. And cruise works.purdy uneventful. Test of vehicle more important than speedo ready. Needs a not ready light to tell me that it's not going to go. He he

    SM-A715F ?
     
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  8. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    This is totally opposite of every combo-meter failure of 'turning off while driving sometimes' I've dealt with, including 2 of my own. The last one I repaired, our friends had been driving with a failed dark CM for about 4 months. The cars have never failed to start, but if the combo meter is 'out' when you try to turn the car off, you have to keep the power button pressed for several seconds and the car will shut off.
     
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  9. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    Yep thats go sho hold button down sometimes goes str8 to acc position radio on phone charging . I push quick it goes to off. It's like it misses a step. I swear the dash is so finicky it seems like it's getting two feeds to make it power up One of those feeds it doesn't see it start up and blank I push the start button remove the key fob turn the SRS off push the start button see it's not going to work turn the SRF button back on insert the key fob push the button again pull and repeat a few times in the dash is back on with the correct mileage to gas gauge correct and everything been doing this for a year now or better

    SM-A715F ?
     
  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Mine failed with the classic car wont shut off had to pull the 12 volt battery plug a few times to shut it off at the end.

    Bought a rebuilt one from Matt @Texashybrids for $100 then sold my core back to Matt for $50. Still going strong years later.

    Fairlyeasy to get to it using the you tube video, And busted most snap on plastic dash parts no matter how careful I was. Dried up plastic very brittle.
     
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  11. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    I've had mine out for times since pictures to the guy down in Texas and he tells me if it keeps coming back on it's not bad there's something further down the line causing that it's not in the display with the speedometer at least that's what I've been told I have no problem sending my display down getting it fixed and all the stuff he just said it probably wouldn't do because my display comes on

    SM-A715F ?
     
  12. lexidium

    lexidium Member

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  13. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    The first time it happened when I was away, I told her she was not holding the power button down long enough. (After multiple cycles of Power On, Power Off, it finally did turn off). The next time it happened, I was with her in the car, and we counted to 30 while holding the power button down. The car did not turn off.

    I am convinced there is no "Easter Egg" that will work every time. Even the guy in the video says his trick works 'most' of the time. If the dash does not light up when we first try to power on the car, I put my foot on the brake when powering down. Most of the time that causes the dash to light up on the second attempt. After about 5 tries, if we are both in the car, we usually just give up and drive to where we are going without the dash being lit. Then after getting back home, I will keep trying until we eventually get the car to power down.

    I view this as a temporary inconvenience, and I am going to seriously look at what is available on dealers lots when I arrive in Florida and probably on the way down there. She wants to get a new car anyway. If the availability of a new hybrid is no better there than here in NY, I'll probably just suck it up and start prying the dash apart when I come back, with the expectation that I'll have to glue some panels back together after they break.
     
  14. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    I go through two or three routines that are very similar I don't have to open doors and I never heard of turning the headlights on but to each their own mine is more of cycling the SRS button below the steering wheel taking the fob out of the slot and I'm generally pressing the brake when I push the power button when I'm driving the car and the dash is on and everything is good is the green light always supposed to be on on the power button never paid it that much attention mine is blank it's not red or green when the display is on and the car's driving the button is nothing

    SM-A715F ?
     
  15. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    My combo meter or display or speedometer never goes off while the cars in use I have to come back out from a complete stop nothing running nothing in the accessory position completely off I jump in the car push the brake hit the button and I can immediately tell that I'm not going to get a display by the check engine light coming on and none of the other embers then I wait the 10th of a second I confirm that and then I start my routine within seconds I'm driving off usually with a display it never goes out while I'm driving I can drive 500 miles if I start with the display I will park with a display at the end of the 500 miles I've never seen it go off

    SM-A715F ?
     
  16. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    Right, that is our experience, as well, which is why we are still willing to drive it. If it ever got to the point that the car would not start or would randomly shut down as we were driving, we would certainly get rid of it.
     
  17. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    Well I've not bought a worki g u it from Texas on his recommendation . He says wait till. No reset is possible. Call him. I said ok my car stays with vents out and a pillar covers off till that day. In house in closet. I have pulled it out twice not a very specd operation.

    SM-A715F ?
     
  18. koco

    koco Member

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    When I had this problem I would turn on the power without pushing the brake pedal then hold the brake and flash the high beams until the door open light appeared. It was just quicker than the other method.

    Since it is a weakening capacitor that causes the problem it probably needs a small power surge to wake it up.
     
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  19. donbright

    donbright Active Member

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    Well i must apologize it seems i misunderstand combo meter issues.... mine the main symptom was "would not turn on" and i got stranded in the middle of nowhere one time (and the parking lot several times) so perhaps that made an impression on me along with many of the other threads which described similar issues. I got THB replacement and the problem went away.

    About the ac vent - in the ones in the junkyards around here, it cannot be glued back. It crumbles around the glue. I pulled a good one out of a junk yard car, left it on the ground, turned around to get something, turned back, and it had broken in two under it's own weight. Very weird things going on with the vent plastic for certain production runs. YMMV. Also please note the part number for early Gen II is different for later year Gen II, the left hand tab on the AC vent of a 2005 will not clip into the dash cover of a 2007.
     
  20. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    Not too encouraging, but I guess I knew it wouldn't be easy, that's why I'm so reluctant to have at it, when the car still behaves itself most of the time. Thanks for your input.
     
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