Is My Gen 1 Dead Forever?

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by SmallLibrarian, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. SmallLibrarian

    SmallLibrarian New Member

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    This is my first time posting. I think that my car might be at the very end of its life but I thought I would try to confirm things before I start planning the funeral. (I will try to keep this short.)

    I have had this car since 2013. I bought it off of Craigslist during my junior year of college. The guy that I purchased it from told me that he had recently purchased and put in a new hybrid battery.
    I don't have the paperwork at the moment, but I know that I have put a lot of miles on this car since purchasing it. The car is at 220,000+ miles now. But everything seemed to be running as normal a couple of months ago when the third alert light (the one that is just a car with an exclamation point over it) turned on. It kept turning on and then going back off again, for longer and longer stretches of time.

    I didn't have time to take it in for a bit, but when I finally did I thought it would be something that could be fixed by a lot of general maintenance and upkeep. No such luck. I was given the news that my best bet is finding a new car. The guy at the repair shop told me that the inverter cooling system has been malfunctioning, likely for some time, and that it has damaged the hybrid battery.
    A diagnostic test came back with these codes (it's a lot of codes):
    V2101
    P0103
    P0003
    P0203
    P0303
    P0400
    U2102
    P03E1
    P0101
    P1455
    P3191
    P3000
    P3101
    P3130
    P3009

    So, as you can see, it is bad news bears. But my question is, how is it that my car has been functioning with little to no change this whole time while somehow also completely self destructing? I'm still driving it at the moment and there is no change in gas mileage, no change in how it sounds, no change to how the battery looks on the screen (I don't actually know if this changes). Maybe it's been dying for so long that I've gotten used to how it runs?

    Thank you for any help or advice that you can give me! (Sorry if I missed any important info.)
     
  2. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    You can look up the dealer repair history at Toyota.com/Owners. You'll need to register and input your car's VIN. The site will tell you everything that's been done to your car a Toyota Dealers and confirm if there was a new battery installed in 2013. Probably at your miles, you need a new inverter coolant pump.

    Alot of the codes are for fuel delivery problems--such as throttle body, mass air flow sensor, throttle position sensor, HV battery, HV battery control, and so on. Unless you can work on your own car, and have lots of time, your best bet would be to take it to the nearest Toyota dealer or an actual independent Hybrid shop that does Toyota hybrids. Have them run the scan again on Techstream (proprietary scanning system.) And figure out what needs to be done. Quite often, trouble codes cascade. One code sets, that causes other codes to set, etc.

    If you can't do your own work, I'm guessing that it's probably not economical to fix it. And now that you're a highly paid, professional Librarian, it may be time to get a newer Prius.
     
  3. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The guy at the repair shop gave you a weird explanation; the inverter cooling pump can go bad, and that can lead to problems, but not with the battery, which is at the other end of the car. And there's no code in your list that's unequivocally a battery code. (The P3009 could be in the battery, among other possibilities, in fact, in the battery is where you want it, because that's where a P3009 is easiest to fix.)

    There are some engine nits to deal with, as you'd expect at that mileage. It's worth tracking down the P3009 to find out if it's in the battery, cables, inverter, or tranny. There are posts on how to do that. The two U codes (there aren't V codes, those should both be U) are interesting, maybe there's a flaky wiring connector somewhere.

    None of this necessarily looks like a death sentence. But somebody's going to have to sit down with the manual and look up those codes and how to trace them down to a cause (there are pages in the manual for each one showing how to do that). Judging by the kind of response you got from the repair shop guy, probably that won't be him. If you're open to DIY, the best bet would be if that's you.

    -Chap
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    as a librarian, sitting down with the manual should be the fun part.
     
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  5. Chodronish

    Chodronish Member

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    @bisco - do you think it's worth a trip to the "stealership" to see what they say before dumping the car?
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    I don’t know the o/p’s financial situation, but judging from brian and chaps posts above, if o/p cannot diy, it is probably time to move on.
    Tight finances can make it a more difficult decision.
     
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  7. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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  8. Chodronish

    Chodronish Member

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    Just wanted to update this thread because I know the OP, who did get a newer Gen III Prius, but gave the Gen 1 to a sister, who is still driving it with no problems despite all these serious codes. The car has made three trips out of state (several hours but in adjoining state)! (I know, maybe not the safest idea, but no problems nonetheless.) There has also apparently been no decrease in fuel economy! So much for the triangle of death?
     
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  9. Chodronish

    Chodronish Member

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    Another update on this Gen 1: "You know, that crazy thing is still running fine. My brother still has it and he and my dad did a bunch of routine tune up work on it (just changing some spark plugs and such) a few months ago and it is still running fine. The AC still goes in and out my brother said, but also he just drove the thing from Indiana to Maryland a couple of weeks ago and he did get a flat tire on the way home but that was because he ran over something. It's the craziest thing, I don't understand how it is still alive." It has been well over a year now.
     
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  10. ronlewis

    ronlewis Member

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    If you send me your email, I have a soft copy of the manual. It's not for the faint of heart though. Some of those codes are not much - the 1455 is your leaky gas cap, for example. The 3009 can be major, or not so bad, as Chap says. There's an easy 3-step procedure for determining whether the issue is in the battery, or the inverter (IIRC) or the transaxle, but it requires a code reader that can reset (erase) the codes (I guess you could disconnect the battery to do that as well). You clear the codes first, then progressively power up the car to see at which stage the Check Engine Light comes on. It's something like 1 turn on the key, wait a couple of minutes. If the light comes on, it's the battery. If the light doesn't come on, you start the car. If that triggers the light, it's the inverter. If not, you put the car in gear, and if that triggers, its the transaxle. You can find that procedure somewhere here or with Google - there's a YouTube IIRC.

    If it's the battery (probably most likely), it's often only the internal wiring harness. A $150 part and a few hours of work and no special tools required - you just gotta know how not to die by touching a live wire. I've done several without a problem.
     
  11. Chodronish

    Chodronish Member

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    Thank you @ronlewis. She has a copy of the manual. I will pass on your response to her to give to her dad and brother. I just find it interesting to note that it would be easy to assume the car has to be junked or traction battery replaced but it's still going two years later with none of those codes addressed. It was a crisis to get all that without money to replace the big battery.
     
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