Problems... Triangles... feck

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by offib, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. offib

    offib Member

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    To give a brief summary before I start crying into my keyboard, I've gotten the triangle of death this afteroon. Despite that and a few oddities, the battery is acting normal and acts like a well behaved one. All fluids are fine. 12V battery settled at 12.3V with Ign off. The inverter pump is ok.

    Anyways. Gotten quite a shock this afternoon. Booted up the car and gotten the triangle of death, the screen had the little red car icon with an exclaimation mark, VSC and the orange handbrake lights were on which I think may be good indicators to whatever is going on here. WP_20170324_16_27_08_Pro.jpg WP_20170324_16_27_14_Pro.jpg

    After the engine warmed up and shut off (which was no longer than usual), I rebooted it and the engine went through the whole warming up stage again. :(. It went from 5 bars to 6 and shut off again when it did so. Drove off, engine idled again and off again through the multistorey carpark as usual, so brief steep climbs and descents between floors.

    The battery has always maintained itself 6 - 5 bars the majority of the time and it did so on the drive home. There was never any loss of bars overnight. I've parked it once for 4 days a few months ago and the bars didn't change. All winter I got tanks giving me 56 and 54 mpg Imperial with a combo of mostly short drives (~3 to 17 miles) and long trips (20 - 70 miles) on weekends. This week was exceptional as I've drove +500 miles over the weekend (52.6 mpg) that involved a lot of ferrying and dune sand (Which I'll get to at the very end).

    Drove a short while, 3-ish miles and it kept at 6 bars until the very end, mainly down hill, heavy traffic with 68 mpg, which I reset to see anything wrong with performance. During that drive homoe, VSC and the orange handbrake light were on and the car refused to go into EV mode via the button. Despite this, electric performance was really good, likely due to the warm-ish weather that finally got here (~14C). So interior was nice when I got in it, not too cold or hot and so would the battery.

    Right. So, rebooted it twice at home, the VSC and other light went off and the car would accept the EV button. After that I was stumped since I still had that ugly Triangle and the one on the display taunting me. Checked all fluids, looked for leaks, checked if the metal battery case was warm to the touch. Checked the 12V with ignition off, went from 12.6V and stabilised at 12.3V for several minutes. All fine. :confused: WP_20170324_16_57_42_Pro.jpg WP_20170324_16_58_35_Pro.jpg

    Given that the VSC was on, would this be brakes related or anything? I've been enduring an annoying whine from the front right brake and the disk does has stripes of uneven wear. Told my local mechanic recently and he said that it may be something related with the fire wall??? It wasn't the first time as the rear right pad was much louder and rang to the beat of jingle bells and sounded like bells - until a stone was knocked out and the calipers widened properly away from the disk.

    So the sand.

    The one thing I was worried about is the large trip I had over St.Patrick's day weekend. I drove ~ 100 miles just before packing up with 2 other people to Kerry ~200 miles. Kept constant climate control of 19 - 20 degrees C at or below medium fan speed, because I'm stingy. It would've been 6 bars 98% of the time. There was one moment after Tralee that I was going down a fast descent (100km/h), but I was focusing too much on the street signs and the gps that was too old to recognise the road... and locals that had no clue about driving. Looking at the energy moniter, it was all green and I admit I should've put it in B immediately. bad move... It as like that for a while until I noticed the engine turning into an air pump soon before the first turn off. I've experienced this before once almost 2 years ago. Car still behaved as it would, burnt off as much excess as possible. A series of rountabouts followed at 7 bars and I noticed it used very little regen. I heard the brakes scraping as soon as 40-35 km/h when normally it's 10. It as totally normal after that. Got 52 mpg on the way there.

    What made me slightly freak out was that just before the destination, the road cuts though sand dunes and a good 100m is patched with sand. After bad nights, it's coated. For 3 days I probably drove over and back that road 20 times given that I was the only guy at the party with a car to ferry everyone to the shops and back. I loved it, but in the back of my mind I was dead worried of catching rust, and convinced as I see surfaces turning brown behind the wheel wells.

    I cleaned it as much as I can with a car wash that claimed to do the underbody and a water hose as a rinse.

    There was some amount of sand and the roads were not dry that weekend, would that affect anything like brakes?

    So... just 7,000 miles and 8 months in and this happens. First thought that came into my head was to order that HA balancer or charger asap, but the battery isn't showing any signs of age. :unsure: I don't have the money and especially not the time to spontaneously buy an OBD or anything like that - or to get the dealer to do it for me. I'm really hoping someone might find my conditions familliar as I'm not seeing any similarities between my battery and a battery nearing failure.

    I'm giving it an hour or two before booting it again, in case it's just a computer fart or something. Should give it a good run (~30 miles) to find anything unordinary or is that pushing it?

    so feckit, and my friday was going so well.
     
    #1 offib, Mar 24, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you should wait a few hours, and check the 12v again. a meter would be better. how many miles on her?
     
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  3. offib

    offib Member

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    Will do, Bisco. I should add that its 12V was replaced last July.

    Just crossed 148,000 miles this week. I had to do errands round town, so 14-ish miles. The fuel economy is normal for what I did, 55.6mpg since I reset this evening. Battery bars were normal, mainly at 5 bars, got to 4 at the end, mainly due to more time spent crawling and stationary.

    I'm wondering if this is a catalytic or O2 sensor problem. Also thought of the engine itself, with the bonnet up it certainly has more of a tick or produces more treble/high pitch noises. When teasing the throttle, there's noticeable but slight clunks when the engine stops. When holding the throttle lightly, there's zn unfamiliar, hollow rattle. Is it pre-igniting, and how, all fuels in Ireland are 95 Octane? Am I just freaking out at this stage?

    I forced charged from 4 to 6 bars and gonna see if it decreases in the morning, doubt it since it's already freezing.
     
    #3 offib, Mar 24, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how is the oil level? you probably will have to have the trouble codes read.

    are you up to date on scheduled maintenance? have you done things like throttle body/maf, intake manifold, pcv, injectors and etc?
     
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  5. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Actually, it is not necessarily a bad move as you found out, the car will manage it itself. If it is a long (3-5 min or more) of a downhill slope, then you can use B to stretch out the time it takes to fill the HV battery (and remember full for the Prius is 80-81%) before it disengages regen and replaces with engine braking.

    You can rest easy, you have not done a bad thing and you have not caused any damage.

    It does sound as if your HV battery is filling and emptying quicker than normal, so I would find a way to get your DTCs read – otherwise everything is guessing and conjecture.

    And I second the question, is your oil at the F mark, if not make it so.
     
    #5 dolj, Mar 24, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
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  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I have to admire all of the effort and speculation and hundreds of words of writing you have so freely spent in trying to guess what's wrong with your car without reading the trouble codes, but really, that's the long, speculative, and quite possibly expensive way to go at it.

    Any chance you could obtain a code reader, or visit someone who has one? You'll want one capable of reading all the relevant codes from the several Prius computers; there are common recommendations in this forum. A dealer will certainly have one. The corner parts store may not.

    -Chap
     
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  7. Abdulaziz_Barham

    Abdulaziz_Barham Junior Member

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  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    There hasn't been any code mentioned yet ... the introductory post makes no mention so far of anyone even bringing a code reader to the car yet (or even jumpering TC-CG to get the brake codes blinked out).
     
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  9. offib

    offib Member

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    Thanks man, it's my tears at work!

    I was hoping to give my family's usual mechanic a look. He's awesome and reliable, but limited in ways, for example recharging the AC is a job he said he would recommend an official Toyota dealer for. Hoping he has a reader, if so, the only time I have free for a booking is Thursday. Over the few years having the car, we've done standard hybrid check-ups which always neared a bill of under 400 euro. I'd be wary how much they would charge me for just sticking the thing into the OBD.

    Admittedly we didn't see much of them after they charged us roughly 215 euro to replace a 12V instead of buying a new one for a 50 - and after they crashed the rear-side of the car while it was getting serviced. Despite that, the usual mechanic serviced it when it was time to do so, which was nothing more than just an oil change some 6000 miles ago.

    If anyone around Dublin has the right reader, that could really help.

    I wonder if PC can do hashtags so my desperation can travel further...
     
  10. offib

    offib Member

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    I can't say that it is. Kerry's a hilly place and that was perhaps over 5 mins of dragging the brakes (actually, I used cruise control) and the descent started with 6 bars as it would from high speed cruising. I only see one green bar when exiting a motorway.

    In town it's totally normal, no rapid dips, just stays mainly with 5-6 bars. When traffic is heavier that's 4-6. I've haven't gone down to 3 bars this week despite heavy traffic.

    I've checked the oil and it's probably over a 1/3 on the stick - guess I should top it up with the 5W-30. Not as clean as I remember the last oil being, but I've done a lot of mad trips.

    [EDIT], so moved the car this morning to a properly level bit of road and I'm covinced that I can't read a dipstick. After warming up the engine and letting it stop itself, put it in and out slowly ;) and every time like a pattern, first read was at the empty mark, second read was at the top bump on the stick and so on. Also doesn't help that the oil cap is ceased.

    I checked the engine bay with Ign-On, whoops, between 10-15 mins, battery went from 6 bars to 3. Radio was on. That might be the sign:cry:

    Anyways - I try driving it as gently as possible for money and longevity reasons, only when overtaking would I have to floor it and yeah... believe me, that weekend I had to stay in the fast lane at +130 km/h given how dodgy the sunday drivers were behaving. But on the way home there was also mainly a bunch of undulating hills gradually heading downwards. At that speed for that stretch, the consumption display consistently showed 55 mpg that was 52 before setting off, although I felt that was the hardest I've ever pushed the car. :oops:
     
    #10 offib, Mar 25, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "ceased," but if it means "missing," that's not a good thing. Probably not your main problem; you'll need a code reader to find out what's actually happening. But the oil cap needs to be in place for the engine to run as designed.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you mean it cannot be removed, putting oil in through the dipstick tube is a possibility. but you need an accurate way to read the level.
     
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  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah I think he means "seized", the oil filler cap. Try putting a large adjustable wrench on it, the teeth spread to loosely cup the flat bar across the top. Then press down and attempt to turn it, break it loose.
     
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  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Around me it has usually boiled down to whatever the shop's hourly rate is, and the smallest fraction of an hour they are willing to bill (if they bill a full hour for ten minutes to plug in and click Print, that's not as good as if they'll bill in half-hour increments).

    I don't know what a Mini VCI or VxDiag would cost where you are (or whether you have an old unused laptop to use the the MVCI), but you might want to investigate that just to have around, especially if getting somebody else to read codes for you is a hassle.

    While waiting for that to arrive, you might venture a jumper wire between the TC and CG pins and write down the two-digit codes blinked out on the dash lights. By the Gen 3 Prius, I think the ABS/VSC/TRAC computer is the only one that still can blink out codes that way; back in Gen 1, nearly all the computers could (the dash would become a psychedelic light show of little blinks). I don't know how many were left in the Gen 2. But it sounded as if some of the codes you're needing will be in the ABS computer, you're sure to get at least some of the information you need.

    -Chap
     
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  15. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Nice puzzle work, @Mendel Leisk! Makes sense when I see what you wrote, but I never would have deciphered it myself.

    And good tip on the wrench. That's what I'd try first, too.
     
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  16. offib

    offib Member

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    *sigh*

    uuuhhh

    So, it was a 'computer fart'. Yesterday drove 31 miles all over the city, had 3 passengers for at least half of it, got 63 mpg, just showing off for nothin but it would solidify my statement of how it wouldn't be the HV battery nearing death. After leaving the car to sit for 2 hours and rebooting it again, everything went to normal. A sensor going nuts maybe?

    The Prius is without a doubt some peculiar car. By that definition I wouldn't be surprised if the triangle of death came back.

    I would like to say thank you all for your suggestions and help!
     
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  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    yeah, you probably haven't heard the last of this, all the best!(y)
     
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  18. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If/when the lights come back, it will be a good idea to read the codes. (You may be able to read them even now with the lights off; some may be stored as historical, and/or some may be on their way to returning, and stored as pending.)

    Could it just be a computer "fart"? Not impossible, but in my experience whenever I take the time to get the codes, look them up in the manual, and think about what could have made the computer think that, a real explanation does appear.

    -Chap
     
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  19. offib

    offib Member

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    Update, hopefully final. Got some codes from the awesome mechanic I know. In his words, the pack was overheating, although the car was barely luck warm when I first saw the errors. He said that either the battery fan has failed or is struggling/clogged, or a sensor related to which that went array. He recommended to clean the fan when I gt the time to book for it. I would've done that anyway as soon as I spring for a battery balancer, so why not just the fan sooner than later?

    codes:

    P0A85
    P3000
     
  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah check the fan, it's not hard.
     
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