Just joined the club

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by stachesack, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. stachesack

    stachesack New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I'd been driving a 1993 Honda Accord (266k) for years but I finally got a decent job and started looking for used cars to buy. The Prius has always caught my eye (well, maybe not my "eye" but my brain), and I still don't have enough for a Tesla, so I started looking. There were a few ($3500-$4500) I almost bit on, but then I found her. 2004 package #9, two owners. Odometer had reached its max: 299,999. The owner told me that he would guess it had b/w 320-340k (Looking for a "new" car, I wasn't planning on buying one with more miles than my Accord :). He's owned it nine years since 83k. He was asking $850. I bought it. I didn't even check the VIN number or run the OBD2 scanner. I thought if I hesitated, it would be gone. My Dad still tells a story of an MG3 for sale for $30. He called the guy at 10:30 and told him he was getting off at 12:30 but he definitely wanted the car sight unseen. The guy said okay, and when my Dad arrived just after work, the car was already sold. Anyways, I figured it would have problems. It does. But I love it. Now I'm planning on keeping my eyes peeled for a 2008 with half the miles for a good price. Then I'll upgrade and have a spare.

    THE BAD: Before I bought it I took it for a test drive and noticed the low MPG (32MPG avg). The owner and I both agreed that the HV battery is probably going. He was really upfront with me and showed or told me all the problems. The major one was that the CEL was on and he told me his mechanics said the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. It was rather loud so I expect there is a hole in the exhaust as well. It does use oil, and he told me to check it every three fill-ups or so. The front bumber has a big chunk on the passenger side taken out when he hit a raccoon. The front grill is missing as well. There is a problem with the tailgate so he has two wires from the release switch sticking out the back and then he hotwires it to open. Sometimes shifting into D, the stick gets stuck and doesn't return automatically.

    THE GOOD: Anyway, like I said, it seemed to good of a deal to pass up. I thought the money saved could go towards a new HV battery. I was a little more worried as I drove away after purchasing because the average MPG was down to 30. But as I was driving home, I decided to reset the "trip" and take it for a ride. When I got home after 15 miles of mostly country driving but some city, the average mpg was 47+. Awesome. Later, I hooked it up to an OBD2 scanner and checked out Torque Pro. The HV battery seems in great shape. No blocks were off by more than .1, ranging from 13-20 during a long drive. The Aux Battery started at 14 and went down to 12.4.

    FAULT CODES:
    Faults_12_10_18.png

    THE QUESTIONS/MY INTENTIONS:

    1. The fault codes are a little scary, what do y'all think?

    2. First step: replacing spark plugs (owner told me they were original and his mechanic said they didn't need to be replaced.) I'll also take out and clean the throttle body. If that doesn't help: possible ignition coil problems? I'll switch 3 &4 to 1& 2 and see if fault persists.

    3. CATALYTIC CONVERTER: Should I buy a MagnaFlow ($50+labor) and have someone weld it on, or (and what I'm leaning towards) buy a whole exhaust system (~$300 not in CA) and install it myself? I know some people have had these fault codes fixed just by replacing the O2 sensor, but with the leaks, I think it would be best to replace the whole system. Thoughts?

    4. BUMPER and GRILLE: Although I can get close to 50 mpg while driving roads with few stops and 45-55 speed limits, I'm only getting like 37 on the highway (at speeds 65-70). Could this be partially caused by the broken bumper affecting wind resistance? Could the lack of a grille affect MPG? It has been really cold up here (Northern Ohio: 14-32 F) and I was wondering if all that cold air zooming into the engine could be affecting it. But then why is it fine going 50 MPH?

    5. EVAP SYSTEM: I just started looking up these error codes. I thought they were related to the Catalytic Converter, WRONG, it's the fuel system. Well, that could definitely affect my MPG. I'm not good with fuel systems (and they scare me). What should I do after I check the gas cap?

    6. TAILGATE: Anyone had this problem? It's not top of the list but I'd like to have it fixed eventually

    6. TORQUE PRO & OBD2: I'm really loving using this. What else can I do with the App to troubleshoot problems, and what are good things to keep an eye on? Is there any problem with keeping the adapter hooked up to the car? What additional widgets should I put on my displays?

    7. THE COLD: What is your average MPG loss during the winter?

    8. THE TRIP: I'm planning on taking the Prius to Louisiana for the holidays, leaving on the 20th. I'll have a decent amount of time to work on it between now and then. What do you guys think? What are the most pressing concerns to get checked out? What should I keep an eye/ear on while on the road? We also have my fiance's car which we could take if need be. I plan on driving the Prius a lot in the next ten days (when I'm not working on it) to feel comfortable.

    9. Despite all said problems, I'm still convinced that I got a great deal, and I'm so happy to join this club! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've read through a lot of these forums but I've got a lot more to learn!!

    Thanks for reading!!

    Drive_Grand Rapids.png Drive_HV.png
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Well, your HV battery is hanging in there fairly well... Seems like doing a thorough cleaning of the intake and exhaust systems and their sensors is a good next step. Once that work is done you'll have a better sense of which of those error codes are taken care of and which ones are going to need more attention. In the meantime use some pray&pour products in your gas.

    Also might want to use Hybrid Assistant App with its complimentary Hybrid Reporter app to create loads of data on how the car handles all the various parts of driving around town. This could help you further diagnose...
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats and welcome, all the best!(y)
     
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  4. stachesack

    stachesack New Member

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    Thanks y'all, I'm happy to have found this community. Today, out of curiosity, I erased the error codes to see if they'd come back. After 25 miles of driving only the Catalytic converter (P0420) and the Idle Control System (P0505)have reemerged. I'm sure the others are just taking their time. Thanks for the suggestions, PriusCamper, I've got Hybrid Assistant downloaded but haven't checked it out yet as I've been so enamored with Torque. I'll look at it tomorrow. Cheers!
     
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  5. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
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    Welcome to PriusChat!!

    Was there any maintenance history offered with the sale? (hard to properly advise without some basis)

    Did you finally have a chance to run the VIN at https://www.toyota.com/owners ??

    You can also find all of the manuals (owners, maintenance, etc) for this vehicle at the above link.

    No particular order below, and not sure its a good idea to drive the vehicle until you've done these basics:

    Those plugs, well past their prime (at 180k mine were fried, through still going strong). Be sure to use the proper Densos (or NGKs).
    Clean the HV battery fan, which should look interesting at that mileage :eek: (Check cabin filter also)
    Drain and fill the transmission with Toyota WS or better, unless you know its been done in the last 50k or so.

    Besides the above, and or before a long trip:

    Lube brake pins, and have a general look see after removing all of the wheels
    Engine water pump, including new SLLC
    Inverter electric pump, including new SLLC
    The water pump belt

    One owner here reported still using the original water pump after 400k or better, which arguably may not be ok for around town use only :cool:

    My OBD2 adapter has saved me on the road before, and is always connected. It would a good idea to buy a mini-vci cable or better.

    Until you have this prius fully sorted out it might be best to take the other vehicle for your winter solstice road trip, no point is having a breakdown or worse if it can be avoided. Then again, this could be a great way to really know one another before you finally tie the knot o_O
     
    #5 SFO, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  6. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    Sounds like you have a good handle on the car. I didn’t see anyone say it yet but when you are cleaning the intake manafold clean the MAS as well. With all the work you are doing you might want to disconnect the battery to reset the engine settings to the base condition. Also what is an mg3?
     
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  7. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    I had that same evap code come up on my Tacoma when I was moving some trimmings from the front of the house to the back 40. It was I was turning the truck on and off too much. I cleared it and it never came back.
     
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  8. stachesack

    stachesack New Member

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    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
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    N/A
    Hi All,
    Thanks for all the replies, I greatly appreciate it. I got Hybrid Assistant and Reporter up and running and I'm really enjoying it. I ran the hybrid battery test, but I'm not sure I ran it right. Because it is so cold, the ICE has been on almost constantly. I think I need to warm up the car a lot longer or wait until it's warmer (maybe I'll run it again in Louisiana if we take it). I've been reading up on the 4-5 stages of engine operation lately and this will help me on my next long drive. I've uploaded some photos from Hybrid Assistant. I just drove around a few blocks and then tried to test the battery. Even if I did it wrong, the battery looks pretty healthy (specifically looking at the "delta thresholds"), but I'm unsure what a good battery looks like. Do you all get similar battery reports?

    I did run the VIN and the only things on it was the work done for factory recalls.

    He had his work done at a Japanese-specialized mechanics shop. Do you know if I can ask them for a report of work done? Would I have to ask the previous owner? I'm meeting the previous owner one of these days to return his license plates, and he's bringing me some records he has found. He did tell me the major things that he has had done, but I don't remember all of them so I'll write them down this time. I know he had the inverter water pump replaced. Anything else I should I ask him?

    I'll check out and clean the HV fan before the trip. It hasn't even had to turn on yet because of the cold.

    Going to check both air filters today.

    I bought NGK plugs but they aren't the specific ones called for by Toyota. Should I return them and buy the right ones?

    I bought some expensive ($25) fuel and exhaust cleaner and I'm going to put that in today and "pray." :)

    Skibob: Sorry, not an MG3, an MGB. That was mid-late 70s.

    Thanks so much for all your help, I'll keep updating. I usually hate car work, but this is fun!

    Block Stats.PNG Block Values.PNG CCL and DCL.PNG Global Stats_HV.PNG Power.PNG Voltage Delta.PNG
     
  9. stachesack

    stachesack New Member

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    Oh, and the Fault codes that have returned are still only the catalytic converter (P0420) and the Idle Control System (P0505).
     
  10. stachesack

    stachesack New Member

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    2004 Prius
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    Update:

    I think I have done some good. I filled up the tires at Costco (they were down to 30-33 psi, I went 40-38) and I put in a new air filter (the last one was crazy dirty). My mpgs jumped to 36-38, but I still hadn't found the main problem. I did finally reach EV mode, which I'd never experienced before (it hadn't been switching in the first few days I had it). I felt like Han Solo when he finally punches the Falcon into hyperspace. It happened Thursday night and Friday during the day. But then I took the lady out for a drive on Saturday to show off EV mode and it didn't switch at all, even after it was warmed up. My mechanical quest became obsessed with replicating this. I started beginning thinking it was the throttle body, that it was so dirty that it wasn't able to close. That maybe the CataClean I put in had helped dislodge it a little but it wasn't a long term solution. But I was also reading these forums a lot and I started thinking maybe it was the 12V battery. It seemed to be losing a little bit too much battery over night and those days when EV mode had worked I had used the car a lot before it was working. I almost ordered a battery today but I decided to first give the throttle body a good clean. I didn't take it off (but it is a future plan for a deeper clean because it was pretty filthy). I got in with a screwdriver wrapped in shop towels and sprayed with throttle body cleaner. I also sprayed a toothbrush and used that. I watched a youtube video on it a few days ago. I also cleaned the MAF sensor with compressed air. The little lightbulb-looking thing was completely black. The air filter wasn't too dirty but I replaced it anyway. I put everything back and went for a drive. The idle was crazy high, like 3000 RPMs, then I remembered that I had to reset the computer. I came home to do that but the car did go into EV mode. Got home, took off the negative battery cable for a few minutes. Jumped in and took off. The idle was fine. The car was great. It was an 11 mile drive but I hit EV mode 12 times. MPGs for the trip=53. YES. I also reset the DTCs (still only the two mentioned above) before the trip and they have yet to return. I figure the Catalytic converter one will probably return but I'm hoping the Idle Air Control is fixed.

    I have decided to take the Prius to Louisiana, I actually trust it more already than either of our other cars. I am going to buy a power bank for the trip and I'm hoping to change the transmission fluid as well. I still haven't changed the spark plugs and I think I'll return them and order the right ones for a future installation. I'm going to try and take it for one nice long drive before we go.

    I also cleaned the seat with a spray bottle of vinegar, club soda and dish soap and they are looking really great.

    Thanks for all your help, I'll update you after the trip.
     
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  11. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    You dodged a bullet cleaning the MAF with compressed air. Break that wire and you need a new one. I might get some grief for this but I just use carb cleaner in a can to clean mine, in all my cars. That MAF cleaner is a rip-off. Just don’t get super close to the wires. A couple of cleanings from an inch or so will do the job.
     
  12. Hamptgx

    Hamptgx Member

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    Hi I'm also new to this forum, picked up an 07 gen2 w/66000 miles for $1100.00 (employer company car in great shape had been sitting for a year and a half) needed new aux battery. Luvinit, never had ride with that kind of mpg. No problems yet but only had a month.
     
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  13. stachesack

    stachesack New Member

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    Made it to Louisiana and back!! Averaged 44.5 mpg for the whole (2000+mile) trip (almost all highway miles). No problems with the car, still loving it!! One thing I noticed about the gas mileage is that it was a lot better while traveling through the hills of Kentucky. Crazy, I would have thought it would be the opposite.
     
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