Loosing coolant, P0301 on hard acceleration and now rough running at low speeds.

Discussion in 'Prius v Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by iamdigitalman, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. iamdigitalman

    iamdigitalman Junior Member

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    Hi everybody.

    Im trying to figure out what my next move is here. I’ve got a 2012 Prius v five with 187k on it. A while back noticed when I would accelerate, sometimes getting up to freeway speed I would get my check engine light flashing. My scanguage said it was P0301, so I cleared it; and the car ran fine.

    so I figured it was time to change the spark plugs, since I hadn’t done them since I got the car with 112k on it in May 2019. Did that and all was well, but it started up again in June. So I did some research and came across the infamous intake manifold. I didn’t want to put a used one in mine like my friend did, and a new one is over $200 just for the part. So I read a thread someone got a bottle of this Dan’s leak stop, with carbon fiber. So I got a bottle, and did the treatment. Based on the instructions I only used half a bottle. That seemed to fix it, and all was well.

    but in August it started again. So I took it to the dealer, and explained the situation. They did a coolant flush, which seemed to help; and the car was fine for a week. It started again, and so I figured since I still had some to do the Dan’s treatment again.

    this fixed it until about yesterday. I was accelerating hard onto the freeway and the check engine light began flashing. After a bit it stayed on instead of going off like it did before. Cleared the code and it was fine again until today.

    now I’m getting the stumbling at low speed, no check engine light, but there’s a pending P0301 on the scanguage.

    what adds to the mystery is the whole time I’ve been loosing coolant slowly. I check it about once a week and top it off with Pentafrost A4. This is my second bottle of it since I got the car. I haven’t noticed any white smoke out the tailpipe, which I know means that’s a head gasket.

    Since I got the flush I have noticed too that instead of holding temperature for a while, it fluctuates quite frequently. And it never used to get over 195, but now I’ve seen it as high as 207, but it was low on coolant then; and since it’s been max 198, and that’s rare.

    One other symptom: since the weather is cooling off here in the Midwest, I’ve been running the heat a bit. But I’ve noticed when it’s on there’s a faint smell of coolant. Not sure if it’s because of the leak or when I filled it last I kinda put a bit too much in it.

    I also always let it run its warmup cycle without moving before I start driving.

    so what am I looking at? Intake manifold, head gasket, or something else?
     
  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I would vote head gasket. They can be pretty slow and the leak stop worked for a while. Was the Leak Stop K&W or Bars? Have not heard of Dan's Leak Stop.
     
  3. iamdigitalman

    iamdigitalman Junior Member

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    oops it was Bars. It was almost $50 for the bottle but it did buy me some time.

    how much would it cost to have the head gasket done and how much downtime am I looking at? I use my car for my living, about 5000 miles a month (which is why it went from 112k to 187k in 16 months). So I need to be back up and running quickly. Not sure if it’s a DIY job, the spark plugs were hard enough having to take the wipers off.
     
  4. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Some people on here think anything is a diy job but a head gasket is probably the most difficult procedure on this car. So much so that a dealer may recommend putting in a used engine instead.

    An experienced mechanic who has worked on Toyota 1.8L engines at this level might do it for $2k. The dealer could be up to $5k. The difference includes labor rates and things like rebuilt cylinder heads on the high end. It could take a week or some experts like GasketMasters (Youtube) could do it in a day with prep time up front.

    First thing is to get a positive confirmation using a leak down test or other method. But you are getting misfires and losing coolant, with leak stop temporarily fixing it, a fairly definitive set of symptoms.
     
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  5. iamdigitalman

    iamdigitalman Junior Member

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    Wow that’s expensive. If I didn’t still owe money on this car I’d get rid of it. Maybe I can trade it still for a newer one? I did finance it at a dealer.

    there is an independent hybrid specialist in my area, might just take it there and see what they say. Rather not have a dealership try and take me to the cleaners on this one.

    thanks for the insight.
     
  6. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I am sure you could trade it at a dealer but it may not be worth much broken. The independent guy for a hands on opinion is the way to go.
     
  7. iamdigitalman

    iamdigitalman Junior Member

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    Well, took it to this shop this morning, and they called just now saying I have one of three options:

    -send the head off for machining, $5300
    -replace the engine with a used one with similar miles $5900
    -replace the engine with one around 150k miles $6100.

    Obviously I don't have that kind of money. I still owe about $6000 on the car, and I use it for work.

    When I asked about replacing the head gasket, they said they wouldn't know without getting the head off and there might be more damage with it having overheated in the past.

    So I'm kinda at a loss here as far as what to do at this point. They do have a credit card I can apply for to help pay for the repair, but I don't want them pulling my credit just to find out how much they would lend me (It's through Bosch).

    This is my first time financing a car, and was the only one I could get at the time with the credit I had. Now my credit is better, so I'm thinking I could also try and get a new 2020 Prius, and trade in the v, being honest about the problems, and hopefully my payments on the new car won't be atrocious.

    I could go back to a second gen prius, I had a 2007 and that thing had 335k on it, but they have their own set of problems with the newest ones being 11 years old now.

    Any thoughts?
     
  8. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Where did you buy the car? Was it a car lot or dealer? I would check with them, they might have a mechanic that is reasonable and does decent work.

    In any case, you need to shop around for a better price. Around here a dealer would be less than those prices and if it was an engine swap, the engine would be under 100k miles or they would not do it. No way do you want to put another high mileage engine in there.

    I can not imagine the trade in option would work without a lot of cash. They would have to roll the $6k existing balance into a new loan and you would have to pay extra for gap insurance on top of higher than desirable interest. Does not hurt to try but you will likely spend hours in there to find out.

    I would call other reputable shops. When it comes down to it, the head job is not special just because its a hybrid. You need a guarantee of at least 90 days from anybody that does the work.
     
  9. iamdigitalman

    iamdigitalman Junior Member

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    I got the car from a Toyota dealer in May of last year.

    The place I went to is a hybrid specialist, but also a regular repair shop. They have good reviews too from what I have seen.

    I can try calling other shops. My friend who has a 2013 v gets his work done at a shade tree mechanic, obviously I'm not willing to risk going to him. He did a alternator on my old Saturn, but this is a bit more complex.

    I called the dealer I got the car from, and explained to him the issues I'm having, and he said he would contact me back once he's done some research. So I'm hoping for some good news there. Went thru their online form for a new Prius AWD-e, and its about twice the monthly payment I have now, including trading in the v with money still owed on it, no money down either. Might be a good option here in the midwest.

    going the new car route too I would save $5 a month on my insurance too lol.

    If anyone is reading this is from Michigan, if they can recommend me a good shop to go to for this. Might just see what the service department at the dealer I got it from would charge me. I just need it fixed for cheap and/or to have a problem free vehicle for more than a year.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you decide to move on, i would avoid hybrids
     
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