My EGR/OCC Anecdote

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Threej, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Threej

    Threej Member

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    Hey everyone!

    A little big ago, I did my EGR circuit cleaning and catch can install. The experience was... mildly tramatic for me being a non-car guy :-P. So I thought I'd tell my story as a bit of therapy and to help others looking to undergo this process.

    Background: I bought my 2010 in January. 121k miles, dealership purchase, full repair records. $7900. My goodness, I can't believe how quickly I fell in love with this car. All the room to fit my family, enough power to drive like a car is supposed to, and averaging 53 mpg (displayed).

    Anyway, as I got more sucked into Prius Chat, I started to realize I had rough startup on a cold engine. Not a knock, just rough. And after hours of reading threads, I knew what lay before me.

    So I called my buddy who *does* do cars, and asked his help. We were gonna do this in two stages for our sanity. Stage 1 was cleaning EGR pipe, intake manifold, throttle body, replace PCV, and install OCC.

    Thanks to Danlatu for the 3d printer files for the brackets, they worked great (once I found someone who could finally print them in nylon). [I had to learn a lot about 3-d printers and materials in a short amount of time for this :-P]

    Stage 1 all started pretty easy. We had one hiccup at the start-- my air filter box apparently had a giant hole in it, with the plastic shards just sitting there under the air filter. So I had to discover some plastic soldering skills, and make a superglue run, and get the filter box back together.

    From there, the egr pipe and manifold all cleaned out easily, the pcv valve was plug-n-play, and the OCC install was surprisingly simple (I opted to splice the pcv-intake hose, as the nutzaboutboltz method seemed a bit too complicated). We put everything back together and gave the engine a start.

    *KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK FIZZLE* Check hybrid system light.

    My heart sunk. I had busted my beloved Prius. WHAT DID I DO WRONG?

    We took everything everything apart. Blew it out with an air compressor to make sure everything had dried. Put it all together again.

    *Knock knock knock fizzle* Check hybrid system light.

    I could go on to emphasize the anxiety and worry and fear this brought me. But let's fast-forward towards the end. Something in the back of my mind triggered a memory where someone on here had said they had a similar issue with the OCC install, and ultimately, it was a bad PCV valve. So I threw out a prayer, took everything apart again, and put in the old PCV valve, and reconnected everything.

    *VROoooooooom*. Everything works again.

    So let me be the 2nd voice to warn you about bad brand new PCV valves #*&#ing up your Prius repair.

    Anyway, I had sufficiently scared off my car buddy from doing any further prius work with me. So I made a deal with my friendly neighborhood mechanic: He'd take off the egr valve and cooler in the afternoon, I'd take the parts home and clean them that night, and give them back in the morning, and he's put them back on, and do a Transmission drain/fill. (Total cost: 275 plus tax)

    Well... the valve cleaned easily enough. But I tried break cleaner, 2 doses of oven cleaner, and 6 soaks of oxyclean, but the cooler just wasn't coming clean. (At first, I thought it was clean, the two sides looked nice and metal. But then I saw on here I should be able to see through it. And... I couldn't even get water to pass through it. Completely clogged). So I took to work with a coat hanger, and after an hour of meticulous work, unplugged all the passagesways. After 6 more oxyclean soaks (for a total of 12), my cooler was cleaned just in time to get it back to the dealer.

    Conclusion:
    Total cost of this operation was about $400 parts and labor, a few favors, one sleepless night, and a panic attack. Since then:
    -I've noticed about a 5-10% increase in MPG.
    -Engine start has gone back to a nice purr on cold start. (Weather this morning was 58, we'll see how it is in the 30s).
    -As a surprise, the prius has really toned down its workload when in power mode. It used to be that once I fully filled up the red power bar, such as going up a steep hill, the prius sounded like the engine was spinning in the redzone. Since the operation, I can't easily "feel" where I am on the HCI anymore without looking, its all smoothed out evenly.
    -One surprise-- these changes weren't immediate. I had to do some mileage on the freeway first, maybe to flush out carbon that got dropped into the cylinders? I do not know. Took about 2 days before I noticed the changes.

    Anyway, that's my story. Thanks for letting me talk it out :)
     
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  2. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    Good write up. I had a similar thing happen thst everytime I out thing back together something was off and my check engine light would come back on. First, I hadn't reconnected a air hose to the throttle body, then I didn't tighten the egr cooler enough because I broke a screw off trying to get it off, then weeks later I installed the OCC and my board lit up again, so I t8ghtened down the hoses and replaced the spark plugs (back to stock), even though I just replaced them a few months prior....i had used the TT plugs on recommendation here because "It's how they were recommended as an upgrade by the dealer.
    Also, I used one tube I bought and the other one that came with the OCC and found that the one that came with wasn't rigid enough.
    Now, I have almost 4k miles after the whole cleaning and addition of the OCC and I'm back to mid 40s MPG....wgich I'm happy with because I'm almost to 233k miles! I'm pushing her to the 300k mile club one way or another!!!
     
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  3. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Thanks for sharing:).

    I just did the whole circuit front to back along with spark plugs, PCV valve, engine coolant change and inverter coolant change in 5 hours;).

    No drama for me this round or the owner (y).
     
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  4. 4est

    4est Active Member

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    You can test the pcv valve :
    You can blow only one way.

    If you can both ways or only one way, it's broken
     
  5. Tim_Auckland

    Tim_Auckland New Member

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    So was the bad new PCV valve a 3rd party or a Toyota OEM?
     
  6. Threej

    Threej Member

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    3rd party from Oreilly's. Lesson learned.
     
  7. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Use the oven cleaner at both ends and let it sit for a while. It WILL eat the carbon, melt it really. And I also use GUNK, engine cleaner,
    the flammable one.
    Check junk yards and ebay for used coolers. Then you can clean that one up and have it ready for the next time.
    I was able to find one for $55.
     
  8. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Active Member

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    I discovered that Berryman automatic choke cleaner is ideal for cleaning the EGR valve. It took 15 minutes.

    I bought the EGR valve and cooler off eBay as a future need.

    Contrary to those who said that it was easy, I took a month to get it clean. And, totally clean; I did get it.

    I tried Berryman Chem Dip (5 gallon barrel) oven cleaner, and Crud Kutter. Running water through it always resulted in a slightly brown tint to the effluent.

    Over the next several weeks, I rubber stoppered both ends with Krud Kutter inside. Each time, I let it stand for a week, opened it up and ran hot water from an electric pot through it. For 4-5 times, each time I continued to get brown water.

    Finally, the last time, the water was absolutely clean. I though I'd never get there.

    Now, I have a good as "brand new" EGR cooler.

    Worth the extra work; you decide. I know that I was compulsive and excessive in getting it fully clean, but most, I believe, would be happy with 90% close to fully clean.
     
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    I think the Oxi solution becomes ineffective if the cooler is near-completely clogged. Then you need to forge some trails through it with wire, break up the log jam. Interesting story. (y)

    When I did ours it only had 72K kms, maybe 1/4 the mileage of yours?
     
  10. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    The pressure washer route gets even the worst coolers cleaned in 15 minutes;).

    But I’ve only cleaned 7 of them:whistle:.

    Have another one to clean this weekend(y).
     
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  11. Tim_Auckland

    Tim_Auckland New Member

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    Do you not bother to soak it first even if it is totally blocked ?
     
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  12. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Nope;).

    1700 psi will get it off:).

    Just secure it and spray away(y).
     
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  13. Tim_Auckland

    Tim_Auckland New Member

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    Great next time i'll be doing that.
     
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  14. Threej

    Threej Member

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    I had seen your suggestion here for this, but I was terrified of my aim being off by 1 millimeter and slicing my hand in half. How have you done this 7 times without an ER visit?
     
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  15. 4est

    4est Active Member

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    OR you could just use a egr cleaner. A product specifically made for this
     
  16. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    I use a lawn chair with a metal slotted back to lock the cooler in place while I hold the pressure washer tip and control the situation;).

    The key is to support the cooler and prevent it from moving. A metal lawn chair that has been sitting around for 15 years fits that bill:).

    While 1700 psi will change your day, I work around hydroblasting that gets to 40k psi. Respect for the tool and what it can do and taking 2 to think through the hazards and consequences goes along way toward successful completion (y).
     
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  17. Tande

    Tande Active Member

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    A link.....please! ....
     
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  18. 4est

    4est Active Member

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    I live in Europe. Google for Wynns WY29881 Petrol Egr Cleaner
     
  19. 4est

    4est Active Member

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  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    This is interesting:



    If you have deeper pockets:



    They have a variety of sizes:



    But the first link (10 liter size), is sufficent for the EGR cooler, which is about 8" long.

    Note, this is one brand that lists the basket dimensions, the only one I found so far that does, which suggests they're a tad more on the ball than competitors?

    Apologies for the all the Amazon links: if you have an Ad Blocker you may have to turn it off to view. Also, it's Amazon.ca, likely the US Amazon is a lot cheaper, and more choices.