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Repeated 2009 Battery/Starter Failure

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by PopTanner, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm having troubles again with my battery/starter after having the same problem exactly two months ago.

    I drove to work this morning and parked, no issues. When I tried to lock the doors they didn't respond, and the power locks wouldn't work either. The headlights and interior lights work, but the car won't power lock or start. When I push the ignition the inner LED goes green, but no other engine lights come on. When I push it again the LED turns orange and the check engine light comes on. Nothing else happens.

    This is exactly the same problem I had on September 21st. I was told then that it was a bad starter battery but now I'm wondering how I could have possibly fried the replacement in two months. Is there some big thing I'm doing when I get out of the car that could toast a battery?

    Any help is much appreciated. I never thought I'd have to deal with this again. Very frustrating.

    2009 not starting or unlocking, but lights/beeps work | PriusChat
     
  2. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    So in both cases you've never checked for trouble codes? If not, that should be your next step.
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Something's eating your batteries. Assume it's not an exterior light left on, something accidental like that?

    2nd gen has a button under the dash to disable the mechanism that's otherwise constantly scanning for fob. I'm not that knowledgeable about 2nd gen but I would hazard if you're not leaving the car sitting for protracted periods, say a week, there's no need to do this disable. But yeah, there's that.

    Something you can do is check for phantom draws: the car (and any car) will constantly use a minute amount of electrical power. But it should be in the range of 10~50 milliamperes. To check the common method is to disconnect the negative cable , and reconnect with a multimeter (set to largest amperage scale initially) in series. Have all the doors/hatch closed, the car at rest for 20 minutes, and then lower the amperage scale and see what current draw is. If it's unusually high, it's time to start trouble shooting, checking fuses to see what's causing the drain.

    This can either be DIY or a mechanic can do for you.
     
  4. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Do you mean pulling codes like from a check engine light? I haven't done that: last time I had to have it towed and the shop didn't supply the codes, if they did check them before replacing battery. Is there a way I can do this myself without having to tow it to a mechanic again?

    What's weird is that both times it's happened after a 20-minute drive. I don't understand (with my limited car knowledge) how it could be a dead battery if I've been driving that length beforehand.

    A jump didn't work last time, do you think it could work this go around?

    Thanks so much for your help.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    sorry for your troubles!
    it probably will jump, but theres no way to know for sure until you try. maybe you should invest in a jump pack and battery maintainer.

    can you give us details on the new battery? what brand? what voltage before installation?

    what is your driving like, mostly short trips?

    are you sure you didn't leave a light on, or maybe the hatch isn't closing properly?

    another thing to check is the battery connections, especially the negative to body ground.
     
    #5 bisco, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  6. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    This is fascinating.
    Since lights etc. you have 12 Volts
    When you press the key fob the your lights flash and you get the beep but doors don't
    I wonder if you push the lock button on the door if that would work?
    I know I would put my code reader on there and look, but end up using a 10mm socket on an extension to disconnect the ground shortly after that for a few minutes, then reconnect and start fresh.
    Replacing the battery made it go away so disconnecting it could too??


    iPhone ?
     
  7. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Liberty Toyota sold me a battery that crapped out within two months so just because a "new" battery was installed doesn't mean it is "good". In my I when I approached the the lights would not come up. I opened the door with manual key. On the third attempt the car booted up and I drove straight to the dealer for a battery replacement under warranty.

    If you don't have any idiot lights I doubt your'll have any stored codes. Buy a digital multimeter and a battery charger (both inexpensive).

    Please check the battery's voltage and post the results. Search for the procedure to check the battery voltage through the MFD. The reported figures are good enough if you don't have a DMM. I'm with the others for verifying all the connections are good and tight around the battery. No rust or corrosion on any of the connections? Is that "cap" on the positive battery terminal properly secured?
     
  8. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Update: I stopped by the car over lunch to double-check a few things. This time, I managed to get some lights and sounds going, and it even displayed the gears (P, D, R, N, B, etc) for a few seconds - everything was booting up like it usually does - before shutting off. I was hearing abnormal sounds under the hood from the electric motor, so I decided not to push it by trying again too soon.

    I'd replaced the key fob battery right before, because it was old anyway, and I was willing to spend $2 to cross that off the list of possibilities.

    I also tried to check connections and battery brand but I didn't really know what I was looking at. Everything I saw seemed fine to me.

    Thanks Paul,

    That's exactly right! The fob can make it beep and flash lights, but the locks won't do anything. Locks also don't work if I push the button on the door handles/hatch, OR if I click the power locks switch on inside. There is no way for me to make power locks work: I had to manually lock all the doors before walking away from it this morning.

    Thanks Jim,

    I can't get the MFD to come up: it doesn't appear whichever way I push the ignition. As far as connections, I'm not sure what to look for but everything that I see looks okay. The positive battery terminal cap was loose, and I reconnected it, but that didn't seem to change anything.

    I'm going to buy a multimeter and a portable charger tonight and try reading/jumping it in the morning. Will follow up with the voltage after that.

    I called the shop that replaced it before, and they said that the old battery might have damaged the alternator, which then could have damaged the new battery. Does that even sound like a possibility?
     
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Here's a couple of youtube videos on diagnosing battery drain. As mentioned above there are other possibilities, like you got a "stale" battery for one, but anyway, on the trail of phantom drain:

    Eric the Car guy, my old standby:



    And this one, more in depth, with some more non-intrusive methods:

     
  10. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Update: Over lunch today I brought a multimeter and a jump pack. The car has been sitting in a parking garage overnight. In this order:

    1. I checked voltage, it was at 12.39. I put all the covers back and tried to start the car, no dice. Same response as yesterday: it beeped, it showed the gears, the motor started turning, then everything died in about 1 second.

    2. I opened it up again and got ready to jump it. Double-checked the voltage before jumping and it was at 12.28.

    3. Hooked up the portable starter to the 12v, got a confirmation from the portable piece that the connection was solid. Waited about a minute, tried starting it and nothing, all the same stuff as last time.

    4. I gave it about 5 minutes to charge and tried again, exact same thing happened.

    5. Disconnected the charger and decided to check voltage one last time, it was at 12.26.

    At this point, I think I have to phone it in. Everything has been consistent with last time, from the symptoms and weird things that did/didn't work to a jumpstart not working. Unless someone knows what might be happening, I think I'm already in way over my head and have to take it to a shop.

    Probably a different place this time -- maybe they'll know what's actually wrong, or if it really was the battery, they won't give me a worthless replacement.

    Thanks to everyone for your help and advice! I'm learning a lot, if nothing else.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    A jump pack is not a charger. It's basically a portable, substitute battery. Leaving a jump pack connected for 5 minutes is not going to recharge your battery.

    The voltage readings you're getting indicate a marginally low battery. A smart charger (CTEK 3300 or similar) hooked up and allowed to run through it's cycle will take about 6 hours (plus/minus) to restore it. If it won't run to completion, then you have to replace.

    It can be flogging a dead horse, but the voltage readings you're getting don't sound too bad.

    ^ This bit has me wondering. It could be borderline battery, likely is. But it might be something else. Typically that would trigger a trouble light though. Yeah, I would try recharge of the battery first.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    shouldn't the jump pack start the car if everything else is okay?

    another thing to try is fully charge the jump pack, and connect it under the hood. disconnect the battery ground, and see what happens. maybe thee's a short.
     
  13. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Sorry, I thought the terminology was interchangeable. I'm using a Schumacher "Jump Starter and DC Power Source", (link) which claims to be able to jump a car battery in a 5-minute range.

    Should I be trying a different recharging/jumping method?
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    see post #12.
     
  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Jumpstarters are a stopgap, basically to get you going in an emergency. Actually, thinking more about it: if the car won't start with the jumpstarter connected, it's likely not the battery. The battery does sound borderline, but the jumpstarter (unless there's something wrong with it, they do need to be charged up) should get the car started.

    Yeah, what bisco said, lol.

    Still, go for the low hanging fruit first: get a smart charger (CTEK 3300 or similar), hook it up, let it run to completion (6 hours roughly), see how it goes.
     
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  16. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Do you mean about disconnecting the ground? I don't know how to do that, but Google says I need a few special tools for it...

    Jumpstarter was fully charged before I hooked it up to the Prius.
     
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  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    just remove the negative cable from the battery. 10mm wrench i think? you could probably do it with an adjustable, or even pliers.
     
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  18. PopTanner

    PopTanner New Member

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    Sorry, complete idiot here: the 12v battery itself is in the trunk, right? I was reading meter and jumping from the fuse box in the hood.

    I guess I'll have to crawl into the back since the hatch won't open.
     
  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Even with the jump pack connected the hatch won't open. Something strange.

    I think the object of bisco's neg cable disconnect proposal is to isolate the car's battery, rely on jump pack only?
     
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  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    exactly. i could be way off, it is odd that the hatch won't open.
     
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