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Prius Plug In gas engine cuts off after 5 seconds

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by William Lower, May 19, 2023.

  1. William Lower

    William Lower Junior Member

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    Our 2013 Plug In had the "Check hybrid system stop the vehicle in a safe place" come on, as well as the "triangle of death" warning and other lights. Wife pulled it over. Had to have car towed to my driveway. I plugged it in and charged up the battery. Did a reset of the hybrid system using the paper clip method where the scanguage plugs in. Scanguage showed a 3190P - loss of power code at first, but now shows nothing. The ABS light and brake lights now stay on. I can start the car in electric mode and get it in gear, and move it up and down the driveway a little bit. I'm afraid to take it out of the driveway - don't want to pay for another tow. When I put the car in Eco mode or Power mode, the engine comes on but then dies after about 5 seconds. Anybody have any ideas on what the problem could be? I'm planning on having it towed to a hybrid meachanic specialist soon if I can't fix it myself.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The engine doesn't work. The 5 seconds before it "dies" are the 5 seconds the car is trying to start it, then giving up. The P3190 is consistent with that.

    The big 3 first things on the list to check when a gasoline engine doesn't work: fuel/air mixture, spark, compression.
     
  3. William Lower

    William Lower Junior Member

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    Hi. No, the engine actually runs well for 3 seconds, then sputters, and then dies by about 6-7 seconds.
     
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  4. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Senior Member

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    Sorry Bill, that's actually the electric motors in the transmission spinning the motor.

    I've bought and sold several Lexus RX4xxh that had a broken timing belt, that did that. Chapman is correct, The engine isn't actually firing.

    I even got lucky with one of them, no bent valves....:D

    Check your spark plugs and coolant levels. If you didn't lose power when the dash board lit up; you'll need to hook-up a scan tool to see what other codes are popping up.
     
    #4 BiomedO1, May 19, 2023
    Last edited: May 19, 2023
  5. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Can someone with a Tesla chime in please, I got some free time to waste on here with extra curricular reading to do
     
  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Yup, at first it is just being twirled by the electric motor with no fuel or ignition, then the sputtering starts when the car begins the fuel injection and spark and hopes it will pick up and run, and when it has only succeeded in sputtering by 6 or 7 seconds, the attempt is given up.
     
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Repeated engine “starts” like this will eventually run the hybrid battery dangerously low.
     
  8. William Lower

    William Lower Junior Member

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    Its a plug in prius. I'm keeping it charged up. When it first broke down the battery icon on the dash showed the battery all the way down. I think the car stopped driving when the battery was drained. I could probably drive it out of the driveway but its a first generation plug in - it will only go about 10 miles at best.
     
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    More important to find out what's wrong and rectify it, then to make the car move.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how many miles on her?

    could you be out of gas?
     
  11. William Lower

    William Lower Junior Member

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    The fuel gauge has 3-4 bars on it. Its never been that inaccurate that we know of. When you switch off electric mode it sounds like the engine briefly runs, but the guys above don't think the engine runs - that its the electric motor turning the engine. It sure sounds like the engine runs to me, but now I'm doubting it. The engine oil was changed a few hours prior, but I checked and its not over-filled. I've checked a few fuses. May check some more. I'm thinking of eschewing the dealerships and towing it to a hybrid specialist.
     
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  12. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    It sounds like it is running mostly because when a Prius transaxle starts its engine, it does so at around 1100RPM, much more than the 350 or so than a traditional car starter can spin its engine.

    Hit it with some starting fluid or an unlit propane torch in the intake, see if it'll run on that fuel source instead of the gasoline that may or may not be going in.
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how many miles on her?

    i'd fill the tank to be sure. aafter that, it's plugs, coils, fuel pump, wiring, ecu, it gets complicated
     
  14. William Lower

    William Lower Junior Member

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    The car has 160,000 miles on it. Wife and I are pretty sure the engine is firing up. You can smell exhaust fumes. Scan guage showed initial rpm at 1400. ABS, brake, and slip indicator lights are staying on for some reason. I'm suspecting maybe a fuel pump. I don't think gas is being properly pumped to the engine.
     
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  15. Eddie25

    Eddie25 Active Member

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    First thing to do is put gas in it. Don't trust the meter.
     
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    That “firing up” is very, very likely the electric motors turning it, courtesy of the hybrid battery. Keep at it long enough and you’ll add a depleted hybrid battery to the issues.
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It's a plug-in. So, they can plug it in.
     
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  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    firing up might be misleading. trying to start, if you're getting any spark/fuel/compression, you might smell combustion, even though it shuts itself down because it is incomplete and the computers don't like that.
    were the plugs changed at 120k?
     
  19. William Lower

    William Lower Junior Member

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    Good question. Yes, the spark plugs were changed at 120K miles.
     
  20. nicoj36

    nicoj36 Active Member

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    Might just be a clogged fuel system, engine air-filter, and MAF sensor.

    Try giving it a bottle of Chevrolet fuel cleaner with a full tank of premium gas. And clean the MAF sensor. Good luck.