Lost all Power going up mountain passes

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by wileec, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. wileec

    wileec Junior Member

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    I have searched and must have missed in my wording so here it goes... We live in CO over the weekend headed up to the mountains and on ANY hill over a few minutes long we lost allability to keep up with any trafic except for the 18 wheelers crawling along the shoulders. Even whe we started a hill with full battery on the MFD with in a minute or two it was gone and we were barely moving.
    We ave had the Prius for almost two years now and are very pleased.
    Is this going to be normal for us or is something wrong? If there is what do we need to tell the dealer to get it fixed correctly.

    The info I did see in the searches had more to do with MPG than performance. I know driving up 8-10 miles of 6-8% grade will totally jack my MPH but I would like to do so at a reasonable speed.
     
  2. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Most people who live in your area feel that the Prius does pretty well on those mountain roads. If you're traveling at speeds in excess of the speed limit you'll drain the battery faster and end up on an ICE only low power condition much sooner than if you're staying at the speed limit.

    Also, heavy loads in the car will require more power and drain the battery faster as well with the same result.

    So, if your 'reasonable speed' is the speed limit and you're still doing this I guess you'll just have to live with it. If you're trying to go 80 on I70 up the mountain then yea, you're probably going to manage to go fast for a while then end up going slower than the rest of traffic.
     
  3. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    Check your air filter. Dirty air filter will severely drop power. I had no problem at 110 km/hr (close to 70 MPH) on an 8% grade highway. Not at high altitude though. I was passing SUVs (and they were not happy ;) ).
     
  4. wileec

    wileec Junior Member

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    We have noticed that the ICE low power seems to come on almost right away. Sunday when coming back to Denver from Georgetown. After regening most of the way down we started Floyde Hill with all bars in the green and with in a mile or two were stuck in ICE low power.

    If I could be close to the speed limet on 70 I would be happy.

    BTW filter is less that 5k old but I will check.
     
  5. subarutoo

    subarutoo New Member

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    Never had a problem with my 06 on hills, Baker Grade to Vegas, 99 highway Grapevine, coastal mountain ranges. Not Colorado, but up to 4,000 + feet. I go over several long hills every day, no big deal. I set the cruise at 70, and it just zooms right up. Slowing for SUVs and 18 wheelers loses momentum, but it catches up. If this is a recent happening, get to to the dealer. If its been gradually over 2 years, maybe the battery is dying, not likely. How many miles on the car? Many Prius drivers drive too slow, and have no momentum when the hill comes up. Like I said, criuse at 70, and it should go right up.
     
  6. wileec

    wileec Junior Member

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    30K on the car My thought was also the battery but seems like many more would have reported problems like this if that were the case. I can not beleive that elevation would effect the Prius that much. My old Honda civic will run 70-80 up the same hills no prob.
     
  7. oldtown

    oldtown New Member

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    Cracked spark plug wire insulation can cause a loss of power under heavy load, IFF you have a variable voltage ignition system. I am not sure if the Prius does or not. There the voltage increases when you are "bogged down" to get better ignition. This can cause marginal spark plug wires to short out to the block. Rodents sometimes chew on the insulation as well and may cause intermittent high voltage leaks. High voltage leaks get worse at higher altitude, too, because of less dielectric constant in the air mainly due to less water vapor.

    I had a Saturn that wouldn't go up steep hills but ran all right on the level. I did all the filter stuff and found out about the spark plug wires by watching the engine running on a dark night while someone rev'd it. Just like lightning! A set of spark plug wires is a cheap fix.

    Also, solid state ignitions can have HV leaks, too. Not a cheap fix. They s :eek: :eek: hould cause a fault code, though.
     
  8. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(wileec @ Jul 31 2007, 03:56 PM) [snapback]488252[/snapback]</div>
    Is this a new problem? Another poster asked this same question, but you didn't answer it. It's extremely important from a diagnostic standpoint.

    Tom
     
  9. priussweetie

    priussweetie New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(qbee42 @ Jul 31 2007, 02:56 PM) [snapback]488285[/snapback]</div>
    Wileec's wife...This problem has only occurred twice, but we have only taken it into the mountains twice.
     
  10. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Did you keep the gas pedal in the same position as when you were on a mild grade, or did you floor it?

    Don't be afraid to mash the pedal to the floor whenever necessary; the engine will roar, but this is normal, and the computers will not allow it to over-rev.
     
  11. priussweetie

    priussweetie New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(richard schumacher @ Jul 31 2007, 03:12 PM) [snapback]488299[/snapback]</div>
    I had the pedal floored, trying to get as much oomph as possible. The prius' max MPH once the battery was diminished was 50 MPH in a 75 MPH zone.
     
  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(wileec @ Jul 31 2007, 02:03 PM) [snapback]488216[/snapback]</div>
    The following chart shows what my NHW11, 03 Prius does going up hills:
    [​IMG]

    The data suggests that 65-70 mph is perfectly stable and doesn't drawn much power from the battery. However, higher speeds risk drawing down the battery power and lead to 'the slows.'

    Bob Wilson
     
  13. wileec

    wileec Junior Member

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    Sorry missed that part of his post. We have not driven hiway speed in the mountains much before. Have driven slow (25-40mph) steep twisty roads and not noticed the same problem.
    Other good information it seems that on startup the battery reserve goes down very quickly. My wife started it up yesterday and sat there long enough to get error codes from MFD, she said it went from almost full bars -1 I think to 1 red in less than 5 min.
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(wileec @ Jul 31 2007, 04:44 PM) [snapback]488314[/snapback]</div>
    You mean "startup" the hill or "startup" in the morning?

    Bob Wilson
     
  15. naterprius

    naterprius Senior Member

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    This is exactly how my car behaves. Always has, even with the new battery. I live in Longmont. It actually gets better when you get closer to Eisenhower tunnel.

    Nate
     
  16. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Wileec,

    You might check tire pressure too. Try 42 psi in the front, and 40 in the rears. That should help with rolling resistance. These are cold set pressures. Set the presures at 6 or 7 in the morning, before the sun gets on the tires, or any driving. Are you using the stock wheels and tires, or something wider ?

    As an experiment, tell us how fast you can go up the hill without any arrows from the battery? This would be the steady state speed Bob Wilson mentioned. You can then compare that to other people, and before and after tire pressure changes. Bob Wilson is saying 65 to 70, but he is at sea level from all intents. What is the elevation at the start and stop of this hill?

    While you have the air-filter cover off, run a wire down the intake pipe (away from the engine) to see if there is any blockage.
     
  17. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    You never mentioned the outside temperature or whether you were using the AC. You have to remember that the traction battery requires a "room temperature" environment for most efficient operation. The battery does not run efficiently above 100 degrees, a pleasant cabin temp is also pleasant for the battery.
     
  18. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Again,

    One other thing. What was your AC set to ? The AC uses allot of electricity. Might want to run it at 80 to 83 F setting before and during the uphill runs.


    Hi Seasalsa,

    Looks like we doubled there.

    I found that an AC setting initially at 80 , and later at 83 F on the drive home on hot days keeps the battery good. But its relatively flat here. If I drive home on my commute with the windows down, and AC off when the outdoor temp is above 82 here, by the end of the commute the car is not going to let me do any hypermilling tricks. It runs the engine allot and and there is very limited battery power available. Kinda sounds like what Wileec is experiencing. I also avoid hot-soaking the car, by keeping the windows cracked during the afternoon, and even after I get home here, till dusk. I have one of the California winshield shades too. Do not want any warped dashboard, or overheated MFD's. They really should have put some ventiltion in the MFD cover.

    Waleec, maybe you should try running the AC at 75 F for 5 miles before the uphill run to get the battery cool, then 80 to 83 up the hill to keep it cool ? Lower density air has less capability to cool. So, once something is hot, it will stay hot whole lot longer.
     
  19. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(donee @ Jul 31 2007, 05:42 PM) [snapback]488397[/snapback]</div>
    Donee,
    Not to mention the added drag from having all the windows open. It comes close to a break even for using the AC.
     
  20. Per

    Per New Member

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    Have you considered the effect the thin Colorado air has on engine power? Any non-turbocharged engine will lose power at altitude due to the thinner air. If I remember right, you lose about 2.5-3% per 1000 feet of elevation over sea level. At 5000 feet, you are already about 10 HP down, and going up to 10,000 feet, you'll lose another 10HP, only leaving you with 50-55HP.

    Also, a question for the Prius experts: once you are down to a couple of bars and run the AC, does some of the engine power go to charge the battery? If so, that would be another power drain.
     
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