Master Cylinder Failure

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Johnsmith009, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    My trusty Prius has failed. On a drive home the brakes mostly stopped working, traction control off, abs off, the whole ordeal. No fault codes. Today, on the way to the dealership mechanic, it started beeping repeatedly and would not stop. I suspected and have been told it was the master cylinder.

    They quoted $3,300 CAD for parts and labor, just for master cylinder. Mechanic seemed skeptical it would stop there.

    Cons for repair instead of replace:
    • Dealership mechanic said "there is a low likelihood nothing else will be broken; there is a lot of rust"
    • It's also due for a maintenance this month
    • In the two years I've owned it I have spent $3,500 on repairs and maintenance
    • Unknown prior history other than a third party mechanic's word it was serviced at regular intervals
    • Unknown transmission fluid change @ 100k, so I was advised to skip the fluid change @ 200k, unknown how much longer the transmission will go for
    • Maybe its cold and I'm not using it often, but on start it sometimes feels like it struggles to "shift gears", it'll randomly go a lot faster after a few kilometers despite keeping the pedal consistent. This to me seems like transmission slipping.
    • This will take me far away from paying off the 10% loan on it I was so close to completing.
    • Something else could fail out of my control just like this, despite doing all the PriusChat recommended maintenance (e.g. cleaning that EGR religiously)
    • If something else goes wrong soon after this there's no way I can get another car
    Cons for getting a new car
    • Time, effort, research, cost
    • Insurance will go up as I have a deal through a family friend at the moment
    • I just bought new winter tires for this car
    • Unless it's $5000, I will have two financings
    • Loan rate will not be good; due to a clerical error my credit score dropped 200 points to 580 in a year
    • I like my prius

    I have until Friday to decide if I want to repair, trade in, or tow.

    It's a 2010 Prius with 220,000KM on it, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


    Any help, suggestions, resource, opinions, questions or stories are greatly appreciated. I have no clue what to do.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    15,184
    10,571
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Can you find a local independent mechanic who would be willing to do the repair for you?

    There are two parts that the dealership might be thinking they'll have to replace:

    [​IMG]

    The one on top is also known as the master cylinder (and also known as the actuator, and "skid ECU" means the same part too; it's complicated). US pricing for that is $710 full undiscounted price from a dealer in a magnificent Toyota box. Many dealers will discount it below that. Used parts will of course be even less.

    The part on the bottom is $692, again US full undiscounted price. So even if both are in fact needed, you're at about $1400 for the parts, if you buy them brand spanking new from Toyota with no discount. Dealership labor is costly.

    Ideally, you would find a local mechanic who could use Toyota Techstream or similar software to get the trouble codes from the car, which are probably present, even if you found "no fault codes" with whatever you were using to look. The codes can be helpful in deciding whether you need both of those parts, or just one, or the other, or really just to fix some other issue like a bad electrical connection.

    If the parts are replaced, the mechanic will also need Techstream or equivalent to complete the repair.

    In everything above, naturally, I am assuming that Canadian pricing is somewhere in the same universe as US.
     
  3. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    This is a lot of great information, thank you!!
    I've made some calls and I'll be looking around, but I would assume its safe to say that dealership repair is last option for now? i.e., if I can't find anything by Friday when they kick me out, I should just tow it home?
     
  4. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    15,184
    10,571
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I guess by Friday you should be able to find out what the Canadian pricing on those parts is, and maybe get some leads on mechanics.

    It is true that if the rust is severe, nothing goes right in a brake repair. Some of the steel tubing attached to the actuator (if indeed it has to be replaced) may be hard to disconnect intact, which could require either ordering replacements, or bending them from stock tubing. Not super expensive, but tedious and of course adds to the labor if it ends up being a headache.
     
    Johnsmith009 likes this.
  5. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    4,197
    2,237
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    It is unlikely the cvt is slipping as it does not have conventional transmission clutch plates. With 137,000 miles US, it is not quite a high miles Prius, but rust and other future problems might be a concern. I would try to understand what is causing the sluggish behavior. Brakes dragging? Does the engine use oil? Has the coolant level gone down? What have you repaired already?
     
  6. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    • Brakes don't seem to be dragging mostly due to the fact that they don't work at the moment
    • Engine has not begun chewing oil, it stays filled at the same mark between services
    • All repairs were due to brakes, replaced the driverside rear rotor a while back
    • Looking at my records, at my last visit 6 months ago they neglected to mention my "FRONT ROTORS RUSTY - PADS HAVE 6MM". Could this have cause the cylinder failure?
      [​IMG]
     
  7. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    4,197
    2,237
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    I seriously doubt the master cylinder went out because of the rotors or pads. It is clear the brake pump assembly had a manufacturing defect that also takes out the master cylinder. Toyota was replacing them for ten years in the US.

    You spent $3500 in repairs just on the brakes? To me the issue is more about the future cost of ownership. These gen3 cars have a host of high mileage issues including the hv battery, brake booster systems, inverters, oil consumption and head gaskets.

    My decision would account for the above possibilities. It would also factor in the car's value as is (probably less than $1000 US), the value with a repaired brake system (around here perhaps $5000), how much I could get it fixed for (maybe turnkey $1200 used or $2400 new installed in my area) and what it would cost me to get rid of it as is and then buy something else (probably the highest out of pocket cost assuming I still owed money on the 2010).

    If I could not afford trading it as is, I would likely fix it with used parts and sell it private party. Hopefully it would pay off the loan and net a couple thousand. Then I would find a conventional Corolla, Civic, Camry, or Accord private party.
     
    #7 rjparker, Feb 4, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
  8. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    I'd say about $2000 on the brakes, 1,500 for maintenance and misc repairs (i.e. heat shield fell off)
    Why do you say corolla/civic/camry/accord? I would've thought recommendations would be another Prius, I'm curious to know your reasoning
     
  9. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2017
    5,302
    3,739
    1
    Location:
    Wilkes Land
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    o_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_O
     
  10. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    4,197
    2,237
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    I am not saying forget about fixing your master cylinder but if the cost and condition does not make sense, and you are on a tight budget, consider getting a more reliable used car. I know Consumers Reports always show Prii as high reliability winners as judged by their 250,000 readers who respond, but those owners usually buy new or nearly new and sell before they are high mileage. Your dealer mechanic knows what many of us know, the gen3 Prii are expensive to maintain at high miles.

    A used Prius will always be more complicated and therefore incur higher repair costs. Brakes on a Camry would be $450, partially because anyone can easily change them. For someone on a budget who needs a good used car, buy non-hybrid. As you are seeing now, that hybrid specific "master cylinder" will cost several thousand as will a hybrid battery. A master cylinder will probably never fail on a Camry, as there is no brake by wire. Plus there is no hv battery.

    If you were a high mile delivery driver where mpg is paramount and you could buy new, yes buy a Prius and sell it at 150k. If you are a Prius hobbiest and love the idea of figuring it out and fixing it yourself, go for it. But the conventional used Corolla, Civic, Camry or Accord will have the lowest cost of ownership for the budget buyer.
     
    #10 rjparker, Feb 4, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
    Montgomery and GrGramps like this.
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    15,184
    10,571
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    It's sometimes tough to make sense of Toyota pricing....

    2010 Prius "master cylinder", "booster", "ABS actuator", "ECU" (all in one assembly): $710.51

    2010 Prius "booster pump": $692.62

    ----

    2010 Camry (non-hybrid) "master cylinder": $277.66

    2010 Camry (non-hybrid) "booster": $869.10

    2010 Camry (non-hybrid) "ABS actuator": $2110.81

    I'm guessing that ABS actuator includes the ECU, as I'm not finding a separate brake/skid ECU for the non-hybrid Camry. There's no "booster pump" because the "booster" relies on engine vacuum. The "actuator" is a fair chunk of change.
     
  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    4,197
    2,237
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    He was talking parts and labor on his failed system. His quote was $3300 CAD or $2700 US. I was giving him comparable costs on a used Camry that he could afford, likely a very reliable and reasonably priced 02-06. Big difference. Not everyone can or even wants to do diy.
     
  13. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    That makes sense, I suppose. I just really love the Prius.... but a different car probably makes sense.
     
  14. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    Slight change: The dealership didn't say anything about broken brake lines. This mechanic I towed it to said while yes, the cause could be master cylinder, its probably (and will need to be) repairing the brake lines first, as they are rusted and apparently leaking in the back.
    He says its unlikely the tow caused it based on the location.

    He's offering me to come see the affected area on Saturday, which is a lot more than the dealership offered.

    When I had it, the whirring I heard on opening the door was a lot lower in pitch, and lasted a lot longer. Sounded like it was trying to do something and couldn't.
    Error codes:
    c1252
    c1256

    What do you guys think?
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    15,184
    10,571
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    If that '02 to '06 Camry's $1,711.03 brake actuator should need replacement, what would a dealership parts + labor quote come out to? The labor to change one of those out doesn't differ much because the car is or isn't a hybrid. You have to get all the brake lines cracked loose (ideally without busting rusty ones), swap the part, reconnect everything, fill, and bleed.

    My advice there wouldn't be much changed either, pay for the part and find an indy mechanic to install it for a lower hourly rate (or DIY if that's an option).

    But an '02 Camry? Sure, I've had a personal habit of keeping cars to age 19, or even beyond, but usually we've had several happy years together by that point. I'd be pretty reluctant to recommend anyone start a brand-new relationship with a nineteen-year-old car if the priorities are reliability and budget. By that age, there's not a part on that car that owes you squat, 'cept for the ones that have already failed and been replaced.

    In my experience, the other annoyance factor that tends to increase rapidly by that age is the number of parts showing as NLA in the catalog. It may start with various obscure minor things. But it starts to find its way into everything you try to do, like you're simply replacing the glocken rotor, but the little flugen clamp happens to break while you're disassembling, and you think "no problem, I'll just replace that" and you look it up and you can't buy one. More and more simple repairs end up including a middle act where you're scavenging pick-n-pull yards, shopping the restoration and reproduction markets, or improvising/fabricating something yourself. BTDT.

    That pump has to pump brake fluid up into a high-pressure accumulator, and it starts when you open the door, before you make the car READY, so it depends on the voltage in your 12 volt battery to do it. If the battery is well charged it will whirr smartly and be done quickly. If the battery has been sitting in the driveway undriven for two weeks, the pump will do a very convincing impression of a dying windup toy.

    That by itself doesn't indicate anything wrong with the brakes, as long as it whirrs smartly and quickly when the battery's charged up.

    C1252 means the car has had the pump on for five minutes straight trying to reach target pressure. That's compared to usually just a couple seconds if the battery is well charged, out to maybe 10 or 15 seconds in wind-up toy mode. Five minutes, therefore, is a really long time to be trying to run the pump.

    C1256 means the pressure is too low, obviously a code you would not be surprised to see accompanying a C1252.

    If that's happening, and not just a one-off because the battery was super dead, then somebody needs to find out if it's a problem with the electrical circuit bringing power to the pump. If that's not it, then one figures out whether the pump is just shot, and replaces that, or some valve is stuck open in the actuator, and replaces that.
     
    #15 ChapmanF, Feb 5, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  16. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    4,197
    2,237
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    The dealer was right. The brake system can't build pressure fast enough. The fact you heard it running means it had power. I have been there and had to address the same issue. It's a factory defect that was covered for ten years. My earlier advice stands.
     
  17. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    The dealer was right...?
    The dealer didn't notice a hole in the brake lines... I got this information from the 3rd party mechanic.
    I'm going to see it today. Is it at all likely the fix is simply fixing the brake lines, is what I wanted to ask.

    I will likely be taking your advice. The idea of a basically-made, easily repairable car with no special treatment required is sounding more enticing by the day.
     
  18. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    15,184
    10,571
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    If you do, let us know what you find as the basically-made, easily repairable car with no special treatment required. As the Camry example showed, the complexity differences often claimed between the Prius and model X can turn out to be smaller than they appear.
     
  19. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    My apologies, I skimmed the first half as I thought you were solely addressing rjparker.

    Personally speaking I'd probably take public transit before getting anything from 2002. That's 20 years ago. Insurance will probably not be kind to me as a young single white male driver, and its obviously more complicated than this but one could argue you're statistically 2x as likely to have something fail that would cost similarly to my current repair.

    Ideally I'd like this Prius to last me until I can get to a repaired credit score (hopefully as simple as a few months, its a clerical error) and paid loan, where I can take a reasonably priced auto loan (as opposed to the 10% I currently have on this too-old-for-banks prius) for a >6 year old car. Whether that car will be a prius, an EV/hybrid at all, or the most basic honda civic, that's something I would have to look into.

    Alternatively, I could just ride this into the ground until the next major repair (hybrid battery I'd imagine) and scrap or trade in for pennies.

    Would you say either is a valid plan?
     
  20. Johnsmith009

    Johnsmith009 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    124
    34
    0
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    The 3rd party mechanic I went to has shown me that the brake lines are indeed leaking. It also happens to be rear driver side, the area that has so far cost me $2000 (seized brake pads, rotors leaking brake fluid).

    The mechanic is fairly confident that the problem is not the actuator, but these leaking brake lines. The majority seems to be rusted as well.
    He has offered to completely redo the brake lines, and gave me the choice between OEM (high labor, would have to disassemble a lot to get it in) or custom-made. I chose custom-made. The lines, brake flush, ECU recalibration (or ABS?), and an undercoating for "preventing rust and looking better if you decide to sell", will run me $1200.

    I personally think that's a steal. Does anyone have any thoughts? How likely is this the true cause and the actuator is fine?
     
    Montgomery likes this.
Loading...