Prius mountain hill driving capability

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by rschlegel, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. rschlegel

    rschlegel Junior Member

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    I recently drove my 2004 Prius up some steep hills in the Smoky mountains. The next morning while driving to work, my dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree, with multiple idiot lights suddenly on simultaneously (none of them informative).

    I turned around and drove to the nearest Toyota service center. They informed me that the timing belt was cracked, the HV computer was bad, and the PCV valve as dirty and needed replacing ($990 service bill). I think the hills were too much for the car. I will never take the car into the mountains again.

    Anyone else experience this?
     
  2. Danny Hamilton

    Danny Hamilton Active Member

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    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

    Correlation does not imply causation.
     
  3. nwprius

    nwprius Member

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    Your Prius does not have a 'timing belt' it has a metal chain. I have been running up and down the Rocky Mtns and the Cascade Mtns, not those little hills you have, for the past 8 years with my Prius and no troubles at all. And I have also done your hills too with 9 trips across the US of A to visit my relatives in WV and NC. Something else has happened to your Prius and I would find another dealer.
     
  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Correct. Very bad dealer for them to claim there's a timing belt problem.

    What codes did they claim your car was exhibiting?

    Never had a problem like that w/me climbing the hills between CA and WA 2x and Nor Cal and So Cal a bunch of times (Grapevine) nor between Nor Cal and Vegas.

    Did you ever get your inverter pump replaced under http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...mp-dealer-letter-technical-instructions.html?
    Climbing steep hills w/a bad inverter pump could yield a check engine light.
     
  5. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    There is no problem with the mountains, the place you should never take your car again is that dealer.
     
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  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Yeah.. the first alarm that set off was "timing belt". I was thinking, what belt? It's a chain on the Gen 2.

    I've driven through the Rockies with luggage and 4 tyres onboard with no issues (granted, it's the 3rd gen). There shouldn't be any issues. Have you changed your 12V battery? I'm wondering if that's the culprit (Since it would light up the dashboard too if voltage is too low).
     
  7. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    I have been through the Smokies in my Prius multiple times with no trouble.
    Deals Gap, North Carolina - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Gen 2 has no timing belt, but does have a serpentine belt that runs the water pump. I am unaware how it could set off any warning lights as it is not 'electric'. In a similar fashion, the PCV valve is a pollution control part that has no electric components. So it should not throw a code.

    While the HV computer could, in theory, go bad at any time, I would not suspect hills to be involved with that, I suspect the mechanics boat payment was due.

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpentine_belt"]Serpentine belt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCV_valve"]Crankcase ventilation system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controller_Area_Network"]Controller area network - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    (this week I was enjoying the changing leaves in the Ozarks)
     
  8. djasonw

    djasonw Active Member

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    I can't even believe someone would think that hills contributed to their Prius having mechanical issues. I just jogged around the block and then I started farting like crazy. I wonder if I should stop jogging.
     
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  9. PRPrius

    PRPrius Active Member

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    Is your Prius still equipped with the original "Auxiliary Battery"? If it is, I would have the battery checked and/or replaced. It is very well documented that as the "Auxiliary Battery" starts to go bad, it causes a number of electrical gremlins. Judging by the multiple codes presented to you by the dealer, I would not be surprise if changing the "Auxiliary Battery" fixes your problem.

    If you do change the battery; I strongly recommend the new (Prius Specific) Optima battery.
     
  10. PRPrius

    PRPrius Active Member

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    As far as the mountain drive is concerned, don't worry about it. I have driven my car on multiple occasions through the rocky mountain on I-70. I cannot tell you the amount of times I had the Prius overloaded (5 passengers and their luggage) and doing 70MPH through the Rocky Mountains. I also drove the Prius fully loaded to the top of Pikes Peak, talk about mountain driving!!

    The Prius is one sturdy piece of machinery!! I had taken that car off road (mudding), driving it on the beach, through winter storms (with all season tires), top speed driving through death valley and more! I reached 100,000 miles this very week after two and half years. The best thing about it is, I filled it up today and drove 51 miles round trip and got 59.1 MPG. Not bad for a 100,000 miles car!
     
  11. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Plenty of trips throughout the Sierra Nevada and Cascade range up to 12,000 ft. with zero issues.

    Do the repairs yourself and most definitely get your 12v battery checked out! It's likely on its last leg and causes all sorts of weird problems when it is dying.
     
  12. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Please visit Taylor Automotive in Sanford the next time you have an issue. Presumably, they mean serpentine belt, not timing belt. That is not a surprise at all on a car that old. PCV is also not a huge surprise either, something that should be done every 100K anyway. But the repair bill should have been of order $150 for those two. On the HV computer, it is hard to know why they would want to replace it without knowing the trouble codes, but replacement is very unusual.
     
  13. sipnfuel

    sipnfuel New Member

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    Is the $990 just for replacing the PCV valve? If it is dirty, wouldn't some cleaning do the trick?

    I too am sort of curious which belt is cracked. As far as I know in the Gen II, it is only the water pump that is run off a belt.

    Is the "HV Computer" cooled by the separate inverter cooling system?
     
  14. poondog

    poondog New Member

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    I'm a medical courier, I drive my Prius ~300 miles per day through the Sierras, up and down and round and round mountain roads. The mountains didn't hurt your car, that dealer is just trying to rip you off.
     
  15. fjpod

    fjpod Member

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    Hey, I don't like getting ripped off any more than the next guy, but isn't it just possible that the OP is mistaken when he said "timing belt"? And isn't it just possible that the computer went out and the dealer did a proper repair? How is everyone so certain they have the problem diagnosed when they didn't even see the car? And, I've never known a dealer to do anything for $150,...how can anyone tell the OP that his repair should have only cost this much?
     
  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I think the "problem" is the OP drove his Prius in the mountains, and then coincidentally had problems manifest. Then made the leap that it meant The Prius is incapable or shouldn't be driven in the mountains.

    Since I believe The Prius is perfectly capable of driving up and down inclines, I think it much more likely the OP has a 7 year old vehicle that probably needed some maintenance.

    But then after making the invalid leap that mountain driving was the "cause" of the problems, the OP unfortunately end up at a questionable dealer.

    It very well may be a misunderstanding, but if the dealer did indeed say timing belt, then I would ask them to clarify.

    I think the OP received good advice, I don't know how many posts over the years I've read about sudden codes being manifested as a symptom of a failing 12vlt battery.

    But I think you basically have 3 issues...

    Hill Climbing-Not a Problem. Not the reason the vehicle failed.
    Codes being Thrown-Is indicative that the vehicle needs maintanence, repair.
    Dealership Repair Center-Should check 12 volt battery, need to clarify if they indeed did say timing belt, may be overcharging or simply wrong about what is throwing the codes.

    The big thing is I'd have the battery checked. I'd hate to have the HV computer replaced only to find out it was the battery failing and not the HV computer at all.
     
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  17. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    If you've never paid less than $150 for anything at a dealership, then you are the one that is getting ripped off constantly. Find a different dealer, or, gasp!, try out an independent shop with a good reputation.

    As for that $150: PCV valve $8.92, serpentine belt, $18.32. Total parts: $27.24. 1 hour of labor, $80-$120, depending on location. Total w/tax: $120 - $160.

    People get ripped off all the time and I'm not the only one here that gives out the bad news about it.
     
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