POA92 = new generator says Toyota dealer

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Tim McG, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Tim McG

    Tim McG New Member

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    Greetings to all - this is my first post to this forum and I'm hopeful some of you can point me in the right direction. The 2006 Prius is my daughter's car which she bought used almost 3 years ago. It currently has 197,000 miles. No real service problems to speak of since the purchase. It's also a Canadian model, not sure its there are any USA differences.

    I do not drive the car very often so I'm not attuned to the normal sounds this car makes. Anyway a few days ago she calls to tell me that the red triangle light and a few other MIL lights lit up while she was driving the car. She pulled over to call me and since she was only 2 miles away I told her to drive it to our home. I looked at it the next day and the only lights still lit were the red triangle master warning light, the check engine light and Hybrid system warning light-on the display screen. The other MIL's (Brake system warning light, VSC, ) disappeared.

    The next day I decided to drive it about 3 miles to a local Advanced Auto store about to check the codes, Believe it or not, their code reader was broken but luckily another store customer heard my sigh of disbelief at the broken code reader and offered to scan the car with his personal tool. The only code that came up was P0466. This was a code I had recorded a few moths earlier when the check engine light first came on, so nothing new to me.

    I proceeded to drive the car back home all the while hearing what sounded like a winding whining up and down noise from the engine? or generator? The car was far from quiet. About 1 mile from home the same MIL lights popped up while driving - Brake system warning, VSC, Hybrid system warning. Then I experienced what felt like the cruise control taking over - that is the car was lightly accelerating on its on without pressure on the gas pedal. I lightly applied pressure to the brakes and the car started to slow down as I turned a corner. As I tried to accelerate out of the corner the car had very little power. It felt almost like limp mode. I costed down a small hill with some power and drove the last half mile home at 25mph with my hazard lights on. I happened to glance over at the display panel while all this was happening and I saw the battery level was about 50% and Blue. The engine and electric motor showed no signs of energy in or out.

    I parked the car in the driveway, left it running and pooped the hood. Again I heard allot of whining (higher pitch) noise, not so much engine noise (I have a short video if anyone is interested in hearing/seeing). I did some quick reading on this forum and discovered that this car had a HV water pump recall that had never been done, So today I drove the car to my local Toyota dealer about 8 miles away to have this addressed and scanned for codes. Again, the only MIL today was the red triangle, check engine light and the Hybrid system warning light -on the display screen. The ride to the dealer was uneventful, no additional lights. The battery appeared to be charging fine. It got close to the top bar and the color changed from blue to green.

    The dealer called me a few hours ago to tell me that I need a new generator-estimate was in the $5,000 ball park. I asked about the codes and was told they found two: P0A92 and P0446. Since i'm paying the dealer $125 for the diagnosis/trouble shooting what specifically should I ask for in return? Is there a "report' that is usually printed when the car is hooked up to their diagnostic machine? Can I request this? Is there more information to be had in this report that could help me, should I likely take the car someplace else for service.

    I'm skeptical to believe that I need a new generator and I'm certainly not going to put $5,000 into this car. $1,500 maybe but not $5,000. Is it possible that the inverter pump has failed and possible damaged the generator? Are the terms inverter and generator interchangeable? Are they considered to be the same part/device?

    Any insight to my problem would be greatly appreciated. The dealer is doing the water pump recall tomorrow and I'll take the car home after that and decide what to do based on feedback here. Thanks again - Tim.
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Inverter is the correct term for the box on top of the transmission that says "Hybrid Synergy Drive." This system rarely fails on its own and is responsible for managing all the various high voltage currents. So if it points to a problem with inverter you need to check everything that works with the inverter.

    The main issue with the inverter is a cheap cooling pump that is the weak link that commonly fails which is one number higher or a POA93 error code. If you had that code and drove a long time with it the inverter would overheat and you'd destroy it and get a POA94 code...

    But putting all that aside for the moment, your POA92 is the motor generator, but best to consider that whole system as one part or transaxle, aka: transmission. The Toyota Stealerships do warranty work and their main source of profit is jacking up the price of brand new replacement parts. For example, a used inverter from a wrecked Gen2 Prius I got for $75 from a wrecker 2 weeks ago... The stealership quoted me $4085 for that part, which is so unbelievably offensive for a car that's barely even worth that much!

    Anyways, your fix could be done for under $1500 if you can find a good price on a used transaxle/transmission and a mechanic who doesn't work at a dealership but is experienced enough to do the job. Or you can DIY for much lower cost.

    But in the bigger picture, you also might consider finding a low mileage engine-transaxle-inverter combinedin the $1200 range and swap everything out once? There's also the remote chance you have a weak 12v battery or some kind of other inexpensive to fix anamoly, but that'd be super rare.

    As for PO466, that's a different issue and you can read more here: P0446 and Techstream "TBP" Fail | PriusChat and here: Recurring P0446 code | PriusChat
     
  3. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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  4. Tim McG

    Tim McG New Member

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    Thanks PriusCamper and SFO for your replies. I'm starting to see the big picture with this car. I was hopeful once I got the car back from the dealer with the new HV water pump, all would be well. Not the case. I drove it home (about 8 miles) from the dealer with the MIL's blazing. Very little power and the same whining sound, which I guess is the generator/transaxle.

    I've attached the dealers diagnostic sheets for review. Looks like they pulled a POA92-606 code (MG1 power balance malfunction).

    Is it safe to assume that I will need to replace the generator/transaxle if I ever want to drive this car again? I've started looking on Ebay and Craigslist for used generators/transaxles, looks like plenty of supply out there. Anything I should look out for? Anyone know a good independent shop in North or Central NJ? Thanks - Tim
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Posted the wrong workup above, here is the workup for P0A92 with INF 606 : https://share.qclt.com/%E4%B8%B0%E7%94%B0%E6%99%AE%E7%91%9E%E6%96%AF%E5%8E%9F%E5%8E%82%E8%8B%B1%E6%96%87%E6%89%8B%E5%86%8Cpdf%E6%A0%BC%E5%BC%8F/Repair%20Manual/04pruisr/05/21bpm/0a92606.pdf

    Though it would take about an hour, you might try going through the above workup and see if its a "battery current sensor" issue.
     
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  6. Tim McG

    Tim McG New Member

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    I'm curious how frequently the generator/transaxle's fail on this model Prius. Any thoughts? Can maintenance or lack of maintenance cause something like this to fail? Just a reminder, this car has 197,000 miles on the clock.

    I haven't had a chance to visit an independent mechanic yet, so I'm still not sure if fixing this thing is worth it.
    Thanks to all.
     
  7. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    You don’t see it all that often here. Every now and again but it’s not a frequent theme. As the second owner you really don’t know how the car was driven by the first driver.
     
  8. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Gen1 transaxles had some problems, but they were all addressed and Gen2 transaxle failures are very, very rare.
     
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  9. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    You most likely need a new hybrid battery hence the limp mode.

    If not now very soon so your staring at some very high repair bills if the car actually needs an inverter because it will soon need a hybrid battery too anyway. And I must tell if the inverter has failed you will not be driving anywhere much less driving and you hear a whine. Inverter failure is pretty rare on here we have seen a few and like you asked probably from a dead inverter coolant pump that was never addressed and it cooked the inverter.

    Be careful about spending any big bucks on this car.
     
  10. chelvis

    chelvis Member

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    Welcome to Priuschat Tim, might I ask which dealership in NJ you went to? I am in NW NJ and there are some places to avoid.

    Regards,

    Tom
     
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  11. Tim McG

    Tim McG New Member

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    Tom,
    I took the car to Crystal Toyota in Green Brook, NJ. It was my first time there so I have nothing to compare them to. They seemed ambivalent to my decision on not repairing the generator and transaxle. Are you familiar with any good independent shops in the North Jersey area? Thanks.

    Tim
     
  12. Tim McG

    Tim McG New Member

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    Is your comment about the need for a new hybrid battery based on the current 197 K mileage or is it based on symptoms I've previously described? I'm not certain if my drive home from the dealer was truly "limp mode". All I know is that there was poor acceleration and it took 30 seconds or so to get the car up to 30mph on a flat road. All the while the display panel showed the battery approx 50% charged - see attached picture.
    Prius display panel.JPG
     
    #12 Tim McG, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2019
  13. cthindi

    cthindi Member

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    Functioning Transaxles, Inverters and Engines for Gen 2 are available at a very low price from salvage yards. When it comes to battery it is a different story. The price is low only because there is very little demand since these typically last for ever on Gen 2.

    I am at 360K Miles on Gen 2. Engine, inverter and battery still original, though the battery ( No codes) is on it's last leg now.

    I had to replace Transaxle when the housing cracked in an accident when I hit a rock on the highway. I found one at 700 back in 2012 from salvage yard. Now I have additional 195K miles on the tranaxle from salvage. This transaxle initially had 75K miles if I have to trust mileage provided by salvage yard.
     
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  14. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    I am referring to the hybrid battery in general based on your cars age and mileage. I see the car icon in the upper left corner of the mfd we call it the turtle usually means the hybrid battery is bad. Bad could be many things rotten buss bars, cracked modules leaking electrolyte or just soft modules.

    My point was no matter what else your car is unhappy about your looking at that down the road too one way or the other so keep that in mind.
     
  15. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    At close to 200k miles, it's time to retire the car. It has has very little maintenance done on it so the deferred maintenance will creep up in you in the form of very expensive repairs. The transaxle will cost you at least $1500, then you'll have to worry about the HV battery and brake actuator afterwards, as those are super expensive repairs.

    Once you invest the $1500+ for the transaxle, you'll be locked in for any future problems, hard to let go.

    Best to save the money now and get another car. You can sell the car for $1000 as is, someone will buy it in about a day
     
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  16. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I disagree... For more then a half century cars would only be good for 100K miles, but once Toyota pickups hit the market 1/4 million to 1/2 million miles was the norm and Toyota replicated similar success in the Gen2 Prius design. Even most american cars in recent decades have no problem reaching few hundred thousand miles on basic maintenance.

    Of course, in a society of hyper consumption, affluent hyper-consumers are looking for any and every excuse they can to throw out what they have for the drug-like effects of getting something new. It's an incredibly wasteful behavior and way more responsible to stay humble and get as many miles out of your Prius as possible!

    Remember, Life isn't a contest where you win a brand new planet if you throw the old one away as quickly as possible.
     
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  17. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I am speaking from experience. Yes replacing parts will help your gen2 stay on the road much longer. But I can give you an example of my 2005 parts replaced.

    2005 Prius with 220k miles now. Since 150k miles I've replaced the following with DIY labor

    1. shocks/struts $400
    2. combination meter $150
    3. HV battery $1500
    4. transaxle $800 (paid to have this done by friend mechanic)
    5. brake actuator (bought donor car to remove part)
    6. inverter pump $100
    7. water pump/belt/pulley $100
    8. 3 way coolant valve $75
    9. front speakers $60
    10. front brakes $80
    11. spark plugs and other maintenance filters


    Parts - over $3000. So if you paid someone to do all the labor maybe another $9,000?

    Yes this car will keep on going as long as I keep replacing parts. But this car gets uglier and uglier by the day and it's hard to let go because I've invested so much in it

    I think for 70,000 miles, it's a lot to replace.
     
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  18. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Yea, some cars are more problematic, I've more miles on mine and have only had to deal with 2 of the 10 things on your lists.

    All of those costs are also relative to the savvy of the person taking care of the car... For example if my hybrid battery fails I could rebuild it in an evening for free with parts on hand, or in less than an hour I could swap packs with one of my spare packs and worry about the rebuild later...

    And those who are less fortunate and are victims of being overcharged by desperate near broke mechanics that don't ever get repeat customers because they overcharge are more likely to thank you for your list as proof of the need to trade in their car at the stealership for ridiculous upside down financing, before it's too late. just so everything is under warranty again and they don't have yet another mechanic trying to screw them.
     
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  19. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    At 220k miles, I don't think my list of items to be excessive. The transaxle may be the only thing out of norm, everything else is to be expected.

    I rebuild batteries myself but for this specific vehicle I use as a work delivery vehicle. I chose not to use a rebuild battery because I can't have an unreliable delivery vehicle. Sure you can get away cheap and ignore most of the items on my list, you don't really have to replace anything until it's completely broken and you're on the side of the road.
     
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  20. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    When my Gen 1 had its shape abruptly altered at 233,xxx, it had needed none of the major items on your list.

    I had indeed replaced the front brakes, but only because I had been lax about inspecting them and allowed a problem to develop that brought them to a premature end.
     
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