Prius suddenly sputtered and died while driving, sulphur smell in cabin

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Quasar, Jun 17, 2022.

  1. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Hope you can help me :( My dear 2008 Prius suddenly died while I was near the end of a 20km trip that lasted about 30 minutes. I was about 2 to 3km from home when it suddenly sputtered, then it just slowly lost power and got more erratic from there until I shut it down. Near the end, there was a fairly strong sulphur smell in the car.

    Here's what I've done so far:

    1. I inspected the 12v battery after seeing some similar threads and it looked good (nothing burning) so I left it inside and connected.

    2. Ignition (Start x2) still works fine, and all lights turn on ok - I replaced most interior bulbs with leds

    3. I connected my vci and extracted data using the free Android Car Scanner app. Errors are #2 cylinder misfires, engine failures, etc. Images attached however I know the app is missing codes that Toyota detect when I bring it in. Maybe I need a better app?

    4. Dashboard error lights attached

    In the light of the above, do you think it is just a case of replacing the 12V battery? The current one seems you work fine still. I charged the 12V battery earlier today just in case, charger said it was full after just 30 minutes which surprised me. Last time I serviced it, Toyota told me the 12V battery was very low so I had been charging it often lately, it is more than 5 years old.

    Also I spilled maybe 1 to 2 table spoons of oil while topping up engine oil today and some of it ran to the back of the engine where I couldn't wipe it. It may have caused the misfire by infiltrating through the spark plug top? It was near the one at the oil filling port though, which I think is the spark plug for cylinder #4, or was it 1 (picture attached)

    Is it worth it buying a new battery to try out or is the error likely something else?

    Thank you! This site has always been my lifeline when learning about my precious prius and I hope I can revive it.

    --- maintenance history - - - -
    1. We mainly drive short distances every day, and have previously had injector 1 blocked, likely due to fuel getting too old as we can go 6 to 8 weeks without refilling. We had them all removed and cleaned 5 to 7 years ago.

    2. Transaxle fluid and spark plugs were replaced at around 100000Km as recommended here

    3. This car has never broken down before

    4. Oil has always been replaced on time or early with 5w30
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    All these point to poor 12v health and operating condition.

    The misfire is probably a secondary issue.
     
    #2 fotomoto, Jun 17, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2022
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  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    What’s the voltage on it, first thing in the morning, car off?
     
  4. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Thanks Mendel and Fotomoto, I’ll check the voltage tomorrow morning when I get back to the car, it is parked on the street… I may just try buying a new one as reading multiple existing threads here seems to point that it is still worth trying to fix it.

    I’m not sure why but I can’t seem to edit my post - I forgot to mention one of the error codes P0A0F which leads to a video from Lucious garage about a broken water pump. The water pump and isn’t extension was replaced under recall back in January 2015.
     
  5. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Or, the engine turned off due to normal conditions, but failed to restart when it tried, and then the HV battery got totally drained while 'slowly losing power'.

    Unfortunately, this 'fail to start' sometimes happens. It happened to my son's 2005 (140k mile at the time), after pulling away from a stop light, but he immediately pulled into a parking lot when it coded and called me. Told me very similar symptoms, sputtered real bad for several seconds, then everything lit up. Ended up being the throttle body plate stuck shut, preventing the car engine from properly starting.

    I'm thinking those lights on the dash look mighty clear and bright, no flashing of the gear positions, and no one flashing dot on the fuel gauge, so the 12v battery is probably plenty strong. Car is no longer in READY, so 12v battery is supplying all the 12v power.
     
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  6. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Thank you - I have previously cleaned the MAF several times in the past as well, perhaps the last time was 2 years ago? I’ll give that a go as well.

    So you reckon the battery is still fine? I do have a good 5 or 6 stage charger and have been charging the battery every 2 months just to ensure it stopped behaving weirdly. I did charge it about 1 hour before the trip and was very surprised that the battery said it was full when we hadn’t had long trips for a month. I last went to Toyota because of it: the ABS light switched on while driving, but after checking all the codes, they thought it was likely due to a weak 12V battery.
     
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  7. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    The most important thing in the car is the hybrid battery.

    Based on the smell and the car icon it’s probably the hybrid battery.

    Hybrid battery most likely failed based on the car icon on the upper left corner of the mfd likely cause all you do is short trips which is death to both battery’s. That and heat.

    never mentioned total miles on the car.

    most important thing to watch on a14 year old G2 is the hybrid battery charging behavior to gauge its health and when it’s getting ready to die.
    That’s the big time bomb on these cars.

    Sounds like a hybrid battery module failed that’s the smell and smoked up very common.

    Here’s what you need to do, use the search forum and search hybrid battery.
    It’s the most posted issue on this forum. Read up on it how to pull it out how to service it.

    Then take out the hybrid battery the issue will probably be quite evident.

    Really doesn’t matter if that’s not the problem as it’s going to have to come out sooner or later one way or the other. As it’s failure is a really very very common problem. Not a question of if it’s just when. It’s 14 year old battery that lives a very hard life.

    So stop trying to start the car as every failed attempt continues to drain that hybrid battery till it’s at least removed and examined and possibly exonerated.

    once that battery goes dead the car is a brick. It requires the hybrid battery to start.
     
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  8. pasadena_commut

    pasadena_commut Active Member

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    There is sulfur in the 12V, but I don't think there is any in the traction battery cells. A screwed up catalytic converter can smell like that. There is sulfur in some rubber parts. However, burning rubber doesn't smell like sulfur to me.

    If I had to guess it would be a cat problem, possibly caused by some other fuel system issue.
     
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  9. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Battery read 12.2V at the terminals.

    I just bought a new one and will try to fit it soon. I replaced it a long time ago, so it is good to have this guide to follow :

     
    #9 Quasar, Jun 18, 2022
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2022
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  10. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    I managed to drive the car home after swapping the battery, but something is definitely not right.
    1. I drove the car about 200m and it was shuddering and not smooth even when not moving, with the engine on
    2. There’s a strong sulphur smell OUTSIDE the car which also goes inside, didn’t realise this last night
    3. There are no warnings on the dashboard yet
    4. Should I check the water pump (I had error code P0A0F and others - see attachments in original posts), or catalytic converter, or both? How do I diagnose them?
     
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  11. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Thank you, i was planning to buy a prolong charger to help maintain my hybrid battery.

    However, doesn't the current problem appear to be related to the ICE and exhaust as the errors are related to misfiring cylinders and other things, as well as the juddering when the ICE switches on?

     
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  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    can you buy from amazon? mini vci and tech stream are the best diagnostic tool. they will give you important sub codes.
    not always easy to set up though, you'd have to read thru threads here.
     
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  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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  14. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Could you please help direct me to posts with similar issues? I have been searching for catalytic converter failures on Gen 2s for the last half hour but no one seems to have errors or sputtering errors or misfiring codes like mine?

    What DTCs should I expect for that? Here's what I got :
    IMG_20220619_091441.jpg

    I did fill up with what may have been bottom of the tank fuel a few days before the incident - the fuel station had run out of fuel at all pumps except one. I drove for 4 days without issues on it though, perhaps about 20km total

     
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  15. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    Thank you! I'll check my MAF sensor again, haven't cleaned it in 2 years.

    I'm in Australia, obtained the dtc from a Vlink obd reader that was given to me... I'll start looking for techstream

     
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  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    might be some help in these threads, idk:

    296286239
     
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  18. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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  19. Quasar

    Quasar Junior Member

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    IMG_20220619_095615.jpg
    Despite all the bad error codes I’ve gotten, I haven’t seen one of these yet, but it may just be because my OBD reader is missing some vital codes.

    I looked into getting a Mini VCI reader with TechStream but they will all arrive in July, 2+weeks away. I’m worried about leaving my discharged HV battery alone for so long.

    Will this one work?
     
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  20. tracy ing

    tracy ing Member

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    unburnt fuel in the cat (one cylinder not firing pumping gas into exhaust)

    What does it mean when your car smells like Sulphur?

    Whenever gasoline gets to the catalytic converter, it will transform the amounts of hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide. This will cause the catalytic converter to not process the gases as it should, which will give the smell of rotten eggs. This will cause you to need a new catalytic converter.
    ------------------------
    Overheating – There are many problems that can cause a catalytic converter to overheat or fail. The most common cause is unburned fuel entering the catalytic converter. Also faulty spark plugs and leads will cause the engine to misfire and ruin the catalytic converter.

    ___________________
    I DIDN'T KNOW THIS AND THIS MAY SOLVE A LONG RUNNING MYSTERY FOR ME
    We live across from a graveyard, and we have a large electric gate that takes 45 seconds to open, I have to get out to open it.
    I notice a few years ago, occasionally, a slight smell like septic maybe and it seemed to come from rear of car where graveyard is, the slow air movement here is predominately from that direction year round, mountain valley.
    Now I think I may know what that smell really is.
    I thought it was zombies
     
    #20 tracy ing, Jun 19, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
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