Pre-Trip Prep?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Handygeek, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. Handygeek

    Handygeek Member

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    Is there a checklist of what should I check - or have checked - for a long trip (Savannah area to Boston area)?
    I'll be pulling an open-frame aluminum trailer up and the same (loaded with a riding mower, push mower, snowblower, & some other other items) on the way back.
    Should I add an aftermarket transmission fluid cooler?
    Any other recommendations, please?
    2006 Prius with 220,000 miles.
    Thanks! David
     
  2. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Your transmission already has a cooler. It’s the same coolant that cools the inverter. I don’t think anybody has installed any extra cooling for transaxle in a Prius.

    Check the inverter coolant flow and its coolant level.
    Also check the coolant level in the radiator (wait for the engine to be completely cold).
    Check the 12V battery condition (you can find instructions how to do it without any tools).
    Other vice just basic checks that you would do to any car.
     
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  3. Handygeek

    Handygeek Member

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    Well, that's all too easy, thanks!
    I'll schedule a fresh oil change, the tires will still be very new, and maybe replace the 12v battery with an Optima YellowTop Model DS46B24R and repurpose the original one to my radio hobby for what's left of it's useful life.
     
  4. Eastside

    Eastside Member

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    Sell the snow blower while you are in Boston. Shouldn't be much need for it in Savannah.

    Consider turning on the heater if the Prius overheats a little.

    Enjoy the trip.
     
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  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    In addition valde3,

    • Check the engine air filter. Make sure it can breathe (less air, less power)
    • Check your cabin air filter. Make sure you can get enough air flow (reduced air flow, compressor and/or fans work harder, lower mpg)
    • Check tires for cracks and wear. Check air pressure (cold. Or driven less than 2 miles. Make sure one side wasn't sitting in the sun when you check it in the afternoon). Default air pressure is +2PSI in the front. If you're towing and have greater weight in the rear, consider having equal PSI all around. (The +2 in the front is because the car is front heavy. But if you're going to even out the weight balance by adding more to the back, then you can even out the pressures)
    • Ensure you have enough brake pad left (Because you'll be stopping more mass).
    • If you're due for an oil change or will pass the interval during the trip, then change it prior to the trip.
     
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  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    Do the service items a week or so before you leave, check afterwards carefully, things like tire pressure, oil level, etcetera. You want to have a few days buffer before you leave, just in case they've screwed something up.
     
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  7. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    The obvious ones are check and fill all fluids, inspect air filter and bottom of car, check and fill all tires, including spare and trailer tires. The 12V battery is good to check as mentioned. Check all of your lights and that your trailer lights work correctly before leaving.

    For hauling a trailer the engine will be working harder and running at a higher temp. For that reason, consider changing the oil up to a slightly thicker oil for one change if you are close to your oil change interval - 10W30, 0W40, or 5W40. As long as you have the 5W-30 oil that's generally used in the US (and not 0W-20 that's recommended in Europe, Canada), going up to the thicker oil I wouldn't consider "needed", but might do if I was close to the change interval. Also keep in mind after running the engine hard when towing, you should shorten the oil change interval to be safe (probably consider miles towing the trailer to be worth ~1.5x normal miles).

    A great mod is to get a Scanguage so you can monitor water temperatures and your rpm while you drive, as the Prius engine is fairly efficient up to 4,000rpm, then drops dramatically as it redlines to 5,000. It's impossible to really know your rpm without it. I drive up the steep hills of I-70 in Colorado holding the rpm between 3500 and 4000 to maximize fuel economy and my engine life (I still end up in the far right lane doing 50mph - the Prius is not powerful once the battery is discharged!). Scanguage is awesome for tracking fuel economy, reading codes, and doing lots of other things too.

    Bring a tire pump you can plug into your cigarette lighter. I would also bring a tire patch(plug) kit, needle-nose pliers, and a small bottle with soapy water to find and fix holes in the tires if they occur (pliers are to remove nails, etc.). Learn how to patch tires before you leave. The Prius with the spare on it needs be driven diligently to not loose control. The Prius with the spare tire on it and a trailer will handle very badly, so being able to handle most flats without needing the spare is ideal!

    Also great to have with you: set of socket wrenches, duct tape, and extra fuses. There are lots of circumstances where having these 3 things will prevent you from getting stranded on the side of the road.
     
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  8. Handygeek

    Handygeek Member

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    Good point on the latter ... because that never happens ... much.
    BTW: Does preventative replacement of the battery with a YellowTop make sense prior to a 2200 mile round-trip at 220,000 miles?
    As far as I recall the 12v battery is the original ... we are the second owners.
     
  9. Handygeek

    Handygeek Member

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    I know someone with family in an area that snows some who's looking for a snowblower.
    One possibility here is swapping the engine into a tiller with a blown engine - I really need a decent tiller.
    I imagine it might also be useful in a generator application ...
    OK re. the heater trick - we did that with a dark brown van from Wash, DC to Tampa, FL in August of 1999.
     
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  10. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    There is very little chance your 12v battery is the original. Generally the 12V battery needs replacement every 3-6 years roughly. You're at least on your second battery, perhaps your third or even fourth. It's a possible preventative maintenance item, but I wouldn't replace it without checking it. Most auto parts stores will do a free battery check.
     
  11. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    If this is the car that has been run low on oil (maybe more than once?), as mentioned on a concurrent thread, consider the possibility that the engine may not survive the trip. Also, a ten+ year old traction battery with that much use is nearing the end of its service life. I'm not saying don't make the trip, just be aware of its chances of a serious breakdown. Especially pulling a trailer.

    If dependents are going with you, consider their safety and comfort. Have a good "Plan B."

    I make trips like this in older cars all the time, but I do it alone with a good set of tools, and am psychologically and financially ready to scrap the old car if it doesn't make it.

    All other things aside, we don't know the car's maintenance history. We can't listen for engine and valve train noise that would raise red flags. Have spark plugs and the PCV valve been changed in the last 100K miles? What does the throttle body look like? Have transaxle fluid and both coolant systems been changed in the last 50K miles? What does the brake fluid look like? If it's not clear, that should be flushed.

    Be safe and have a good trip.
     
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  12. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Replace the trans fluid and the Inverter coolant and the engine coolant and the engine oil. Prius was not designed to tow anything although I have a tow hitch and tow lots of things but never more than 10 miles. Its really really hard on the car especially the brakes as there's no
    brake regen participation when you tow. Without regen Its all just the cars hydraulic brake system which is basically awful. if you don't understand what I mean get the car up to 65 mph's and then put the trans in neutral which shuts off regen and try to brake hard. Yep....good luck.
     
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  13. 'LectroFuel

    'LectroFuel Senior Member

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    Make sure to bring a quart or two of oil. Gen 2s burn a lot of it.
     
  14. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    12 volt car batteries average about 4 years, if your has done 10, it is time.

    I do not recommend towing, but new ATF WS sure makes sense if you insist on towing. Drain and fill at the dealer should be under $150, at an independent $100, and $40 in parts DIY.
     
  15. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    Never heard this before. Why would the regen not work when you attach a trailer? Do you mean the trailer itself doesn't regen? It's just academic--I doubt I'd ever pull a trailer (though I did put a receiver hitch on for a bike rack). But I'd want a trailer with electric brakes, regardless of the weight.

    Sorry for the thread drift. But it might be applicable.
     
  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    leave room on the trailer for some lobsta.;)
     
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  17. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    When you hit the brakes, if you are gentle enough you get regenerative braking, if you hit the brakes harder, you get a bit of regen and some friction braking. Harder application of the brakes will shift to full friction braking. (friction braking uses all 4 wheels, while regen is just the fronts)

    Now when you add weight, it may be impossible to brake lightly enough to use full Regenerative braking. And almost any 'real' braking will shift you to pure Friction braking. It does not require a trailer, you could bring home 20 bags of mulch from Home Depot. Braking will be very odd with that load.
     
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  18. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Let me correct my statement. With alot of weight behind you pushing you it feels like there is absolutely no regen participation.
    It feels like there is no regen at all which I know what that feels like as I clean my rotors with regen off once in a while.
    Like Jimbo says there is no casual braking when pulling a load with a Prius.

    So the poster towing long distance should be very aware there's alot of load on the shitty brakes and they will overheat real fast which means go real slow down a steep hill. Be very aware of burning smells. Leave the ac in fresh air circulate so you can smell the car. Its a wicked hot summer right now. A full brake rebuild 500 miles from home in some god forsaken town will cost the same as if you rented a brand new truck to do the tow job in luxury. And a hell of a lot safer.
     
  19. Handygeek

    Handygeek Member

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    Well, the long trip has been canceled, but the need for maintenance continues.
    I just replaced the 12v battery with an Optima - trouble-free project - other than
    it's about 110F in the shade here in South-Georgia!
    I've been looking at Toyota Tacoma 6cyl pickups but noticed that a 2013 & 2014
    Prius is cheaper & gets 2x the fuel mileage ... maybe I should get a second newer
    Prius for my wife and just use this one as my truck?
    I can always pick up an old farm truck for the nasty stuff ... hmmm ....
     
    #19 Handygeek, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  20. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Do like I did and get a Curt Hitch. Anytime I need to haul crap I rent a trailer from U Haul for $25 for the day.
    Thats if it doesn't fit in the back of my Prius which most of the time it does.

    Curt is a bolt on and with the powered light harness is plug & play. I can't recall exactly but maybe $200 all in?

    Prius pulls a 4X8 U Haul just fine. For short hops.
     
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