New (to me) Prius Purchase, Have Some Questions About Repairs/Issues

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by boooost, Mar 13, 2021.

  1. boooost

    boooost New Member

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    Hello, my parents recently surprised me and bought me a 2008 Prius Touring for $500. The car has 322k miles and a few problems. I'm grateful for the gift, but I'd like to know if it's really worth it after fixing these issues, or if it would be better to sell it and purchase one that is in better condition as it looks like the previous owner didn't take care of it. The previous owner they bought it from says they replaced the battery at 270k and it should last about 100k miles but I'm not sure if I believe that, they also said the catalytic converter is bad but they didn't change it as it would cost too much, but I don't see any error codes for the Cat. I used my friend's code reader to it and some of the codes say pending while others say history next to it, I'll mark them accordingly. I haven't had time to take it to get the battery checked yet, but here is as much information that I was able to gather.


    Here are codes it put out/ issues it had:
    Dash Lights - Triangle of Death, (!), VSC, Check engine, Tire Pressure, Maintenance Required
    • P0031
    • P2237
    • P0031 (Again) - History
    • P2237 (Again) - History
    • P0031 (Again) - Pending
    • P2237 (Again) - Pending
    • P0a93 [0,b1,a,93]
    • P3000
    • B2799
    • P0A80 - History
    • P3020 - History
    • C1259
    • C1310
    • C2121
    • C2122
    • C2123
    • C2124
    • C2179
    • B1421
    • B1271
    After clearing the codes and driving around with my dad for a bit, the same codes/dash lights came back. No noticeable issues when I was driving it. After driving it around the block for around 30 minutes, I checked the average mpg and it said 29. However, once I parked it up in my driveway I noticed a strong smell from the exhaust as it was, it was kind of a sweet smell, but it also smelled like burnt gas. Then, as I let it run I also started to smell what smelled like burnt oil but it was very faint. As I let it idle, white smoke was coming from the exhaust, initially, it was a large cloud but then it dissipated and only a small but still noticeable amount of smoke was coming from the exhaust. From what I researched this could be a bad head gasket?

    I turned the engine off and checked under the hood, the coolant wasn't low and the oil looked fine, but it was also dark outside and I wasn't exactly sure what I should be looking for. Forgive me if I sound a little uneducated, I'm only 18 and don't know that much about cars.

    About the battery- I've read that a dirty fan may cause the P0A80 code so I plan to try and get to it and clean the fan this weekend.

    So far I see about maybe $5k in repairs give or take. Is fixing everything worth all the hassle or would it be more worthwhile to purchase a vehicle in better condition with the same amount of money that would be going to repairs?

    I've attached pictures of the Dash lights/ Codes
    image0.jpg image000.jpg image00.jpg image1.jpg image2.jpg image3.jpg image11.jpg image22.jpg image33.jpg
    Thank you
     
  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    The battery could last 100k miles IF it was a new Toyota battery. Which is unlikely. It does sound like a head gasket. If the car did not have big issues it would have sold for many thousands more even with 322k miles. $5k in repairs might not be enough on a car that has driven that much with those symptoms.

    A good independent hybrid mechanic might give you a better estimate, but you probably need a replacement engine and likely, a hv battery. Rebuilt batteries are not worth it, don't go there or you will be fixing the battery every few months.

    I would sell it and get a non hybrid Corolla or Camry under 150k miles in your price range.
     
    #2 rjparker, Mar 13, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    wow, do they have a big life insurance policy on you that you are unaware of?:cautious:
     
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  4. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Active Member

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    Unless you are studying to be a mechanic and this is going to be your project car the purchase makes no sense at all.

    This is like buying your child a 14 year old German Shepherd with hip dysplasia, stomach cancer, cataracts, and incontinence. Sure it is a dog, it might even be a very sweet dog, but it is going to be a money pit and is not long for the world.
     
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  5. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    :ROFLMAO:
     
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  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    My parents supplied me with a similarly-situated car many years ago and I learned an inestimable amount getting it running and usable, and it became my daily driver until I was 24 (my friends had various names for it).

    But my parents began that process when I was about 14, so I had about a year's head start getting the car in shape before even signing up for driver ed, or a couple years before getting my permit and driving it anywhere off the property. And I was interested in learning.

    Starting at 18 seems more iffy, as you might need something you can depend on more from the get-go. Mine was quite dependable by the last years I had it, but not so much in the first ones. :)

    Putting $5000 into a car in 2021 dollars would have been like me putting around $1200 into that old one, which is probably not far off what I in fact did put in, spread out over a few years. The guy at the local Dodge parts counter eventually started getting used to my visits and giving me trade pricing, which helped out.

    Kind of comes down to whether the stuff you'd learn doing this is stuff you want to learn, and how it fits into your current needs.
     
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  7. boooost

    boooost New Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone! :)

    I also looked up some info on the Dr. Prius App and my neighbor has one of the compatible readers so I'll be able to get more info on the battery tomorrow.

    There wasn't any white smoke this morning but I didn't have it running nearly as long, so I still think it is the Head Gasket

    So yeah it probably would be better to sell it because it's seeming more and more like a project car, and come late summer I'll be having a 20-mile commute 3 days a week so I'm gonna need something reliable.
     
    #7 boooost, Mar 13, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Use it to get around for a bit, then as a trade-in for a conventional car, say Corolla, Matrix, Civic, or Fit, in decent shape, something around $3k
     
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  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    In another way of putting it, if you're planning to write that number in the "transportation cost" column of your personal ledger, it might be kind of steep. If you'll be writing it in the "tuition" column, it ain't bad.
     
  10. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I agree. Perhaps your parents thought they were getting a deal because its a Prius, or, worse, they got taken by one of those Prius seller scammers.
     
  11. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    See if it’s got the original catalytic converters that’s worth $1300 on eBay due to the cat theft going on it’s become a very desirable and rare cat.
    Sold mine the bidding was crazy.

    Then I would sell the car.
     
  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Bad idea to advocate breaking federal law.
     
  13. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Sell your cat asap if your keeping the car. Cheapo replacement cat works fine my $125 amazon cat is working great months later.
     
  14. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Welcome to PriusChat!!

    Which metroplex is closest to you?

    Check for any dealer maintenance by entering the VIN here : Track Your Service Records with Your Toyota Owners Account

    Personally see this as a easy learning experience, but only if you have some tools and a DIY attitude, or know someone who does.

    If you want to get creative with finding an extra $1300 that can be used to fix this vehicle, see if that failing catalytic is still OEM or not.

    Without tools and a DIY attitude, and some extra money or an OEM cat, then just pass it on to someone else. Bet it sells for 500+.

    Special tools for testing/repairing would include a multi-meter (6+ usd) which can be useful for testing parts and batteries, and a 'mini-vci' cable (20+ usd) for retrieving OBD2 codes (DTCs), subcodes (INFs), and freeze frame data. If the combination meter is bad/failing you can DIY with a soldering iron (5+ usd) or buy a reconditioned unit for 150usd from Matt at Prius Speedometer Replacement.

    Guessing $500 in parts/tools and some labor should fix this car enough to make it a daily get around until some other failure pops up. The current four main areas of concern would be engine, Inverter coolant pump, the HV battery, and free money to fix this beast.

    • Look under the vehicle to determine if the catalytic converter is OEM factory or aftermarket. It will be difficult to get at the first catalytic buried closest to the engine, so check the second "converter" for stamped part # EA6. Post pics if help is needed.
    The toyota logo and EA6 should be visible from the bottom of the "converter", as pictured below.

    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]

    You many notice the downstream oxygen sensor between the two converters, check the one with the heat shield for "EA6".

    [​IMG]


    • Check the four spark plugs for wetness, if dry then the engine may be fine. Post the results in this thread for the next step...

    FYI : your posts are being moderated until you've posted 5 times.
     
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