Oil Change Door - Permanent Solution

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Den49, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    After 25,905 miles and four oil changes, the hinge crease for the oil change access door on the engine undercover was about 40% separated and ready to fall off, so I decided it was time to fix it.

    I installed two aluminum slip joint hinges with stainless steel pins. The hinges are part no. SJA055144-150 available for $2.36 each plus shipping from Northeast Hinge Distributors, 800-882-0120, website: http://www.nehinge.com/product/specialty-hinges.html . The hinges are configured either right-handed (RH) or left-handed (LH). If you use either two RH or two LH hinges, you can have the pins point in the same direction which will allow the cover to be removed, which may be of interest to DIYer’s who use car ramps to change oil and have difficulty swinging the door open due to insufficient ground clearance. This is not an issue for me since I have a car lift in my garage, so I opted for a RH and a LH hinge for opposing pins that make the door more secure so it will not fall off if one or more of the plastic undercover push pins fail. I drilled 1/8†holes and fastened the hinges with 1/8†aluminum (medium length) rivets and rivet washers to prevent the rivets from pulling through the plastic undercover. The aluminum hinges operate smoothly, are feather light but strong, and should last permanently. The hinges will not corrode and the hinge pins should stay clean because they are covered by the hinge barrel. I did not lubricate the pins so as not to attract dirt. If the pins do get dirty, a squirt of brake cleaner and compressed air should clean them.

    Anyone with basic tools and DIY capabilities can do this. Just remove the under engine cover (see post “Engine Under Panel removal†by Mendel Leisk) and install the hinges. It’s an easy job and you will be very pleased with the result. Also, you can empower yourself not to worry about whether and how Toyota will fix this problem and can move on to other more enjoyable aspects of life. Attached are a few pictures.

    See Post#30 of this thread for a contiuous hinge installed on the upgraded TSB undercover.
     

    Attached Files:

    #1 Den49, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  2. Paul58

    Paul58 Mileage Miser

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    Cool, great idea! Thank you for the great write-up, I may have to do this after my 2 year complementary maintenance is over and I start doing my own oil changes again. Right now I figure Toyota is the only one under the car, so if it starts to crack or separate, it's on their dime to fix it!
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Yeah, rub it in. ;)
     
  4. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Good job Den49, that will work great for the hinges.

    Does anyone have a good solution for the other end of the door, the push pins. I have bought new ones a time or two but they are not secure and I end up using tie wraps anyway. I would really like to have something that screws in or snaps securely in place but I haven't come up with a workable solution yet.
     
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  5. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    This is what I was envisioning in the other thread! I just haven't had my door break off after the 2 changes I've done so far. I only bend mine to a 90 degree angle and the driveway holds it open for me then. I don't have a rivot gun at home, so I always figured on using screws/nuts to hold the hinges on.

    Very nice, btw!
     
  6. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    If the door breaks off the road will destroy it. This is something that has to be done before it breaks off. If you see it is cracked or splitting you should have this done.
     
  7. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    I also am not satisfied with the small OEM Toyota push pins. They do not refasten securely after they have been removed and replaced a few times. NAPA has push pins that seem to fasten better than the OEM Toyota push pins and they cost less at $4.49 (plus tax) per six or seven pack. The smaller NAPA push pin is part number 665-3278; the larger NAPA push pin is part number 665-2388 (see attached picture).

    The small OEM Toyota push pin that connects the oil change door with a tab to the undercover is one that does not refasten as good as I would like. I cured this by using the larger (665-2388) NAPA push pin in this location (see attached picture of pin with red dot). The larger NAPA push pin seems a bit too tight the first time you push it in, but after it is in and out a couple times, the plastic holes in the door and undercover stretch enough to make it a perfect fit. The larger NAPA push pin is also an exact size replacement for the larger OEM Toyota push pin.

    I think the above will work until someone comes up with a better alternative to the push pins.
     

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  8. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I hope Toyota does closely monitor this site. Because the DIY solutions are great. But these are area's Toyota needs to improve quality. Really? You shouldn't have to be dismantling parts of your vehicles and improving what Toyota should get right.

    Some of the "flaws" that have been revealed are suprising to me. How does a Oil Change door not get tested? Nobody looks at the hinge and imagines what might happen after just a few use's?

    I know, flame me....but in some specific area's Toyota really dropped the ball.
     
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  9. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    Thanks for the part numbers, much better price than Toyota parts department.
     
  10. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    No flames. I agree totally with you that Toyota took the cheap way out when designing the oil change door. Toyota didn't need a test to know that the hinge crease was not durable and would fail very soon in the service life of the vehicle. But what does an owner do about it? I suggest a two prong approach. One, complain to Toyota; and, two, mitigate the damage to the car by fixing the problem yourself. Mitigating damage will not violate your rights should Toyota step up and replace the undercover/door under a warranty or service adjustment. It is OK and smart to fix your door before it falls off and rolls into a ditch.

    I started this new thread for DIYers because I didn't want the DIY solution to create conflict with those in the other threads who only want to complain to Toyota and think that the DIY approach will undermine their efforts, which it won't.
     
  11. vnhk

    vnhk New Member

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    Andyprius # 1, snead_c and Den49 like this.
  12. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    vnhk-The quick release hinge looks good. Do you plan to install it? If you do, please post a report. Thanks.
     
  13. vnhk

    vnhk New Member

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    After a bit more searching, looking at the panel, and consideration, I have decided on how I'm gonna do this mod. This should be more secure than the hinge I posted before.

    I already ordered 3 hinges below and will install them at locations indicated in the picture (Sorry, I "stole" the picture from some post of another member, hope you don't mind).

    Will post pic after installed, but might be some time though.

    These come with holes (but not shown in picture)

    Sugatsune Hinges ; Butt Hinges HG-OT ; HG OT Quick Release Hinge Satin

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
     
  14. carpedal

    carpedal Member

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    Here is an interesting solution. It is a pinless one piece molded flexible hinge material that works in extreme conditions, and is UV resistant. The material supposed to not fatigue or deteriorate. Available in 100 foot rolls. Cut to length. Perhaps the Prius Chat store could stock pre-cut strips?
    ceshepherd dot com
    hinge_plastic
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Friction tape, aka hockey tape, is what I applied, full length, both sides of the hinge. And the maintenance door is basically new still, hasn't been bent back yet (it's the one in the pic above). That was back a month or more now, and the tape looks to be on there good, not peeling/loosening. If/when the hinge starts cracking, I doubt I'll even notice, with the tape over it.

    Just reading about the 3rd gen model I (as opposed to II thru V) at CleanMPG: only available in limitted numbers, fleet sales: it has no underpanels. That solves the problem ;)
     
  16. vnhk

    vnhk New Member

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    The reason I want to use the quick release hinge is to take the panel off completely to make it easier to do oil changes.

    I change oil at home, and the panel is kind of in the way when lowered down.
     
  17. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    They do look interesting. Below is a direct link to the website:

    Plastic Hinges - Pinless Butt & Continuous
     
  18. vnhk

    vnhk New Member

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    OK, I received HG OT Quick Release Hinge, and have some time this Sunday, so do this mod.

    Now I can take this oil access panel off completely really fast and easy, out of the way. It should help me a lot since I change the oil myself, and often it's on the way to drain the oil and filter.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Smarter Car

    Smarter Car New Member

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    Where are the buried cars on your picture?
     
  20. Den49

    Den49 Member

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    Looks good, and I like the option of being able to remove the door.
     
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