Maintaining the health of a very old HV battery

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by bizpm, May 9, 2022.

  1. bizpm

    bizpm Junior Member

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    I have a 2004 with 160,000 mi. The battery is not in especially good shape, as might be expected. Dr Prius says there is 48% capacity left. We notice when we drive it that the battery bounces between one bar and seven bars, and the engine runs more than one might like, trying to charge it up. Instability is markedly worse if the car is not driven for more than 72 hours, even if the last trip was 30 plus miles.

    We have two options, given that we also have a 2012 Prius that needs to be driven and just don't leave home that much post pandemic.

    Option one, which we have been doing, is to take the car out once, perhaps twice, a week. These trips are usually 7 or 10 mi each way, max.

    Option two is to take the car out every single day, for two trips, each one mile (the dogs still expect a daily walk, and this gets me to the trail!).

    I would really like to keep this battery going for as long as possible.

    Thanks,
    Biz
     
  2. 2010moneypit?

    2010moneypit? Member

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    More you drive it the better it is. Unfortunately the 2012 should also be driven. Does not sound like the battery on the 2004 is in very good health.
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    option #3: prolong battery restorer

    option #4: sell one while the car market is nutz
     
  4. bizpm

    bizpm Junior Member

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    We could sell it, but it's kind of an ideal second car, given our driving patterns.

    We bought it 3 years ago, for our daughter, who is now on an island off the coast of Alaska doing AmeriCorps. We have put about $3,500 into it since we bought it. If we have to replace the battery, we may well, because it is an ideal second car. But given how infrequently we need a second car, the price per mile is going up steeply!

    The 2012 Will go to her when she finishes her year, and we will buy a Prius prime. Keeping the 2004 in reserve.

    Just trying to make sure we are keeping it as healthy as possible.
     
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  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I say you're already doing the most you can without getting into heroics.

    The first mile or two a cold Prius drives is the hardest. If those are the only miles going on the car, that's not quite an easy life.

    Enjoy it while it lasts, not much else you can do!
     
  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    If you haven't had any warning lights, the only problem you have is lack of capacity due to a lack of battery maintenance and just by deep cycling the battery you can restore capacity back up to 96%. Maxx Volts and Hybrid Automotive sell relatively expensive products that will do this, or you can build your own for $100: Build Hybrid Battery Maintenance Gear For Under $100 | PriusChat

    As for how to use one of these system, the operation manuals on Hybrid Automotive website works well. Also to better understand the science behind Nickel-based battery and why they need regular reconditioning, go here: BU-807: How to Restore Nickel-based Batteries - Battery University
     
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  7. Another

    Another Senior Member

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    So you bought it for your daughter, put $3500 into it, then a year or so later she moves away, you don’t drive it and are now planning to sell it and give your daughter the first car as soon as your daughter returns and then give her your other car and buy a new one for yourself, but don’t want to sell it until then because it’s a great second car that neither your daughter nor yourselves need despite it being the best time to sell it now. Oh and the battery will need replacement soon.
     
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  8. alftoy

    alftoy Active Member

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    Oh the disser who doesn't like being dissed, dissing again. You sure are opinionated but how does it lend anything to the OP's discussion. Also we don't need the rote get Dr Prius for free. So how does it feel to get dissed.
     
  9. Another

    Another Senior Member

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    By you?
    Insignificant
     
  10. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Batteries operate from a chemical reaction.

    Over time, the chemicals "wear out" and basically disappear......or change into other forms which are not useful.

    There is some debate that you can slow that process down a bit but once it is allowed to run it's natural course,
    there is no way to UNdo it.

    It sounds like you are very near to a final failure and when that happens, replacement is the only practical option......or sell the whole car.
    It will be easier to sell if you do it while the battery is still working at least a little bit.

    Thinking that there is anything you can do now to prolong it's life is just a pipe dream.
    Sorry.
     
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  11. alftoy

    alftoy Active Member

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    Ah the word I was looking for, regarding your Prius technical knowledge, insignificant. But not according to you. :rolleyes:
     
  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    It really is not the ideal second car unless it is reliable. A new set of cells may solve that issue. I agree the reconditioning strategies at a macro level are not good ones. A better half way measure is to tear it apart, clean up corrosion and replace weak cells. Then get into your maintenance driving routine. Not just for the battery but for the health of many of the systems.
     
  13. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    Run 2004 out of gas
    Change fluids
    Park car
    Remove HV and LV batteries
    Jack up and set on blocks

    Remove plates and insurance changing to necessary storage status

    When ready the replace plates, insurance and hv
    Enjoy good as new car when you need it.
     
  14. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    What part of Nickel based battery science do you refuse to believe? Chemicals don't "wear out" like a machine, they change in composition to less conducting due to crystallization and can be restored by deep cycling: BU-807: How to Restore Nickel-based Batteries - Battery University
     
  15. bizpm

    bizpm Junior Member

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    When we bought the car, 3 years ago, we did not exactly anticipate that the world would change. It was meant to be hers while she was in graduate school for 6 or 7 years. That didn't work out bc covid. Right now we have the car because there are no roads on the island she is living. When she leaves the island, because she will be a broke kid and because we can, we will give her the more reliable 2012.

    It does make a good second car. Because our lives have also shifted so much since the pandemic. It's rare that both of us leave home. But it's nice to have the option.

    I will look into the restore options. If we have to pull the battery apart and replace cells, that's a Bridge we will cross when we get there. Because I am a social scientist, I was simply seeking accumulated wisdom about the best way to maintain a very old battery. Thanks for your input.
     
  16. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    That battery meter bouncing from full to empty is a real warning the hybrid battery is getting ready to go I'm afraid.

    2004 is a very very old Gen 2. It will make a poor car for your daughter when she returns as it will nickle and dime her to death.

    Sell it.
     
  17. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    That ENTIRE article talks about NiCd batteries with only one or two passing mentions of NiMh types.
    Exactly which models of Prius used NiCd batteries ??
    Hint: None.
     
  18. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    The only way to "maintain" a very old battery is: Replace it......or don't worry about it until it becomes completely inoperative.
    Any other offered options are just a waste of time.
     
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  19. Moving Right Along

    Moving Right Along Active Member

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    I have to agree with the others who say the high voltage battery is in trouble. So your choices are: get a battery maintenance system and use it on a regular basis (could extend the life of your battery a bit, but by how much is anyone’s guess), purchase a new battery from Toyota or NewPriusBatteries, sell the car and make it someone else’s problem, or keep driving it normally and wait for the battery to fail. Either driving scenario you present will not keep the battery working long term, so there isn’t much of a difference between them.

    I would recommend either getting a new battery or selling the car, since those are the only long term solutions.
     
  20. nancytheprius

    nancytheprius Member

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    I am in this position too with an original hv battery in my gen 2. I used to constantly worry about it's health, but I stopped worrying and follow this approach. If you're going to keep the car: drive as often as possible, stash 2k away, and do not worry about it for more than a second. Keep priuschat in the loop too!
     
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