Red triangle + Yellow exclamation point + VSC; what is happening!?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by M67v, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    So, I bought an 07 Prius, fully loaded, about a month ago. The car is awesome (in theory), but this one has issues. I already had to fix the instrument cluster, the 12v battery, and change the oil, and there’s still some stuff that needs to be done with it.
    Anyway, I was just driving this morning, minding my own business, when all of a sudden, I get a literal Christmas tree of warning lights. I got a VSC light, a yellow, circled, exclamation point (brake light?), and last but certainly not least, the red traingle of death. I continued driving, though pretty alarmed, and I parked it at a grocery store. The car drove perfectly normally aside from all of the warning lights.
    When I went to get start the car up, even with my foot on the brake, it would not go into ready mode. This time, every single light on the dashboard lit up, except for the speed (0 mph), and it did not want to shift into any gear other than neutral or park. At this point, I am very alarmed. I turned the car off, unplugged the battery for a minute, plugged it back in, and the car started up and drove as if nothing happened.
    I don’t want this issue to repeat itself however. As for the problem, I want to avoid the dealer since I don’t have much money (I’m only a high school student with a part time job). I just want to know if this kind of issue is something I’m capable of paying for, and if this car is worth keeping.
    I couldn’t find any other person with the exact same issue as me. I don’t think it has to do with my hybrid battery since it charges and discharged at a healthy rate, and I know a Prius with a dead hybrid battery will still drive, so that can’t be it. I already know the catalytic converter needs to be checked, but I don’t know if that’s related to this problem. If anyone has any ideas or can help, please help me. Thank you.
     

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  2. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Oh, one more thing. When the fiesta of lights came on, the touchscreen display simply said, “Problem”, on the top banner of the screen, then it went away, then a red car with an exclamation point took its place.
     
  3. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I'm not an expert on this and there are peeps in here that are, but it sounds like the traction battery is shot. When this battery goes, it can be charged up so the car can be moved for awhile, but will go down soon due to it being old. When the traction battery goes, it does seem to cause the full array of lights on the dash to come up. Again, I'm not the expert, but from what I have read in here, this seems to be your issue. Was the original traction battery replaced by the prior owner? Was it a new replacement or refurbished? If so, is it under warranty?
     
  4. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    The seller of this car only buys and sells other cars, so he wasn’t sure. Although, before I got the car, I did a full 0-60 run, and the energy monitor showed that the battery only went down 3 bars, which indicates a healthy battery, so I don’t think that’s the case.
    Plus, my dad owned a 2008 for 7 years, and even when his battery went bad, it was still able to shift into gear, and drive just fine.
     
  5. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I get it. Issue is, when the battery goes, they are unpredictable. Since the seller doesn't know about the battery, I still lean towards that being the issue. I could be wrong, but in the search bar above, I would type in search words regarding your situation and see what comes up. Sorry for your demise!
     
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  6. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Thanks, but I’ll consider it since I still don’t know the issue
     
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    1. Get Mini VCI so that you don't have to guess about what diagnostic trouble codes were logged by your Prius.
    2. In the meantime, make the Prius READY and look at the inverter coolant reservoir. Do you see fluid turbulence which shows the inverter coolant pump is running? If you do not, then change the inverter coolant pump which is located behind the driver's side headlight assembly.
    3. You are right, the catalytic converter issue is unrelated to your current no-start problem.
    4. You are wrong, with regards to a "dead" traction battery and the Prius being able to run. It depends upon exactly what is wrong with the traction battery.
     
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  8. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Okay, I’ll have a look at it.
     
  9. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    I opened the cap for the inverter coolant, and when the car was running, the liquid moved gently back and forth. Is this normal, or should it be moving at a faster rate?
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Well, make the car IG-ON (from IG-OFF, press the POWER button two times, without depressing the brake pedal). Most of the dashboard warning lights will be on, and the engine will not be running, hence there will be no vibration caused by the engine operation. Look at the inverter coolant reservoir again. Does it still show the gentle movement?
     
  11. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    You may have big, expensive, problems on your hands. Or maybe not.

    Start with a diagnostic scan.

    You can do this yourself but you'll need some basic tools. If you already have and Android phone tablet, the rest if the tools will cost you $30 at most.

    - Elm 327 Bluetooth OBDII adaptor
    - Torque Pro app ($60) biy the paid version. Not free one.

    Then you can read and clear codes as well as see live data.

    Once you have diagnostic equipment, when the problem happens, do not unhook the 12v. Use your tools to read the error code and view the live data.


    And feel free to contact me if you want some assistance. My business phone is in my signature.
     
    #11 ericbecky, Mar 24, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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  12. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    I made sure that it was on completely. Even when the engine ran, it still showed gentle movement.
     
  13. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Somehow, I don't think it was a literal Christmas Tree.
    And now he is asking if you would put it in IG-ON so the ICE does not run to rule out that what you're seeing is only engine vibrations.
     
  14. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Okay. I put it in IG-ON, and the liquid didn’t move at all. So, I’m thinking that it’s a water pump failure.
     
  15. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    And to reiterate, when you said you put in in IG-ON, from IG-OFF, you pressed the POWER button two times, without depressing the brake pedal? If that is the case, then yes, it looks like your inverter coolant pump has failed.

    If you only pressed the power button once with your foot off the brake, you would be in ACC mode and the inverter coolant pump does not run in ACC mode.
     
  16. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Yes sir.
    Also, do you know any place in PA that can fix the water pump for cheap?
     
  17. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    No sir, I do not. But it is not a hard do-it-yourself job and that would be the cheapest. If you were paying someone, you should be able to have any indie garage do it, it is not really any more difficult than the ICE water pump. If you can find an independent that specialises in hybrids, that would probably be better as they should have experience doing the job.
     
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  18. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I'm glad you figured out the root cause. If you or a relative / friend can do the job, here is my thread that explains how to change the pump.
    How to Replace the Inverter Coolant Pump | PriusChat
     
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  19. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Oof, that tutorial sounds hectic! But I’ll see what I can do. Thanks a bunch guys.
     
  20. M67v

    M67v Junior Member

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    Unrelated (or is it?), but my Prius started randomly shaking violently when the engine turns on, and the check engine light is blinking at me. I suspect the catalytic converter got really bad.
     
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