Shopping For Our First Gen 3, tips appreciated

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by ThebigK, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. ThebigK

    ThebigK New Member

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    Hi everyone, I am looking to buy a used Prius. I've been reading about some oil consumption issues, my plan was to install an OCC, and also maintain a lower change interval. Also anything I will buy, I'll pull the manifold and EGR, change plugs,and tranny fluid.


    Our budget is about $10,000,

    My only thought is getting a higher mile (80k -110k) 2015, because maybe it has better piston rings? I haven't found any reports of it burning oil. But I also haven't found anything indicating that the rings have changed, perhaps I can cross reference part numbers and call the dealerships and see if there is an actual difference.

    Otherwise I was looking at 2012 - 2013's with a little bit lower miles. I have a friend with auction access, so I might be able to grab a "fresh trade," but part of me is leaning towards looking at Craigslist and finding an original owner that is simply upgrading to a new 2019

    Any collective wisdom or advice is appreciated. We don't care much how it looks, and don't really need the bells and whistles.
     
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  2. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    Personally, I would go the auction route for a lower price. California has a longer CARB warranty for the hybrid battery, but only if it has been registered as a California car (or from another CARB state). A salvage title will likely invalidate the warranty. Good luck.
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Yeah, If input various years, then search for "piston" or "piston rings", at McGeorge Toyota (on online retailer, there are lots), you'll see the pistons were revised in 2014, and then the piston rings as well, in 2015. The updated pistons/rings are those indicated in a pair of TSB's (attached) for repair of oil consumption issue.

    Here's a graphic summary of what I've found, going through the above exercise:

    upload_2019-2-1_13-48-44.png

    Bottom line: 2015 is the one year having both the revised pistons and rings.

    Commendable to clean the EGR and intake manifold, and Oil Catch Can install, you're covering all the bases.

    When you're looking at prospects, a car that looks well maintained, clean, nothing neglected, is a good sign. Pop the hood: is it grubby, leaves jambed in the corners? Spilled oil around the filler cap? Or conversely, freshly steam-cleaned? Both can be tip-offs.

    Check the dipstick, have a look at the air filter. Check the washer fluid level. Coolant levels. Brake fluid color. Keep in mind brake fluid level drops as pads wear, so take level with a grain of salt. No need to top it up.

    Take a look under the rear bumper, the rear suspension: is it amazingly rusty? Or? Might indicate a car imported from the rust-belt States.

    Check the interior upholstery. Pull out the glove box and check the cabin filter. Push apart the rear seat upholstery, and see what's behind, with a flashlight.

    Pop the hatch, lift off the floor and tray, check the spare, take it right out and check it's pressure (should be 60 psi). If it's way low, could be sign of neglect. Is the jack complete and present? If there's locking lug nuts is the socket present? Verify it's the right one, fits the locking nuts.

    Check the tires, make sure all match, check their pressures and tread depth (should all be similar depth). Check the rim condition. A bit of minor curb rash is inevitable: has it been left, or touched up. If the tires are slathered with some kind of shine, I'd take that as a negative, someone trying to wow you with appearance.

    Look under the front bumper: anything chewed up and dangling? Is the engine underpanel intact/complete? See any missing fasteners/bolts? Use a light, your phone or whatever.

    Have someone turn on the parking lights, signal lights, reverse lights, brake lights, license plate lights, headlights low and high, and so on. Try the wipers, and the wiper washers. Turn the AC on: is it chilling? Try the various modes.

    Walk around, checking carefully the paint and body: any ripples, any paint look oddly different, excessive scratching around driver's door handle, anything odd? Take your time. To be fair, stuff happens. You're not looking for a "virgin" car, you just want to verify the car's been professionally maintained, no rattle can quick repairs.

    Are there two fobs, and do they both work?
     

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    #3 Mendel Leisk, Feb 1, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  4. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    OK...
    I know very little, next to nothing about the used vehicle auction reality.
    BUT....
    Some of the scariest stories of vehicle problems I have ever read in any forum including this one, have come from people who purchased vehicles at an auto auction.
    I'm sure they vary, but it seems there is little regulation in terms of what they can say, do, or sell.

    I await the inevitable flood of posters telling me they purchase vehicles from auction all the time and are surrounded by blue birds and free cotton candy.
     
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  5. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Auctions are a little scary to me, too. As I understand it, these are cars that got traded in and the dealer, who didn't want to mess with cleaning and inspecting for resale. Maybe they didn't have time or space and simply sold them at a low price to get them out of the way. Or maybe the car had problems that were too expensive to fix and still make a profit. So you get what you get, which is sometimes something that the previous owner really wanted to get rid of. But then again, you might get a gem.

    The 2015 with higher miles sounds to me like a good idea. More hybrid warranty and better engine and other stuff.
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    how many miles a year, and how many years do you plan to keep her?
     
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    I guess the one saving grace, is that the previous owner, and/or the dealership, didn't have the inclination or knowledge to troubleshoot, and it might be relatively minor issues. Maybe.......
     
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  8. ThebigK

    ThebigK New Member

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    Our goal is to hold on to it for a minimum of 5 years. After then, probably I will take it over and we'll upgrade the wife again with possible kids. In a perfect world I drive it until the really major components start breaking. (10 years plus)

    We're in an interesting situation that we're moving overseas for work. So our choice is bring a car or buy one there. Since work pays for the shipping, we thought finding an ultra reliable car with great MPGs (gas prices are about $6-$8/gal) that we would be able to use there, but also bring back and continue to own. That's how we came up with wanting a Prius, besides I hate how much we both spend on gas now. My car gets about 16mpg...hers does 22.
    We were either left with getting a Prius or learning about European cars, buying in a foreign country, getting to know the local mechanics, etc. Another big turnoff is there is apparently a ton of "odometer rolling" going on where we're going (Italy) so it's just something I don't feel like dealing with.

    My goal is to find a great car here, do all the preventative maintenance I can, even things that are not due yet. Bring filters, oil filters, and maybe oil too along, I can do that all myself. In a perfect scenario, I never set foot in a shop, except for maybe tires. The nice thing is work helps with registration.

    The only real worry is something major happens, and I know there is SOME Priuses there, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. The worst case I can get parts sent and hopefully find someone to help me or do it myself.

    As far as the auction goes, we can go the day before and check them out. What I am told is usually the trade in's from major dealerships is the goal. Toyota or Tesla. I believe often times they just don't bother with reselling since it's more than a few years old and the dealers often sell only lower miles under 3 years old vehicles. The hope is you're buying a vehicle that someone traded in, not because it's bad, but because they buy new cars and trade them in after 4 years.

    This is an incredibly detailed response I really appreciate it! Especially the info about the Pistons...this sort of settles it, I will be definitely sticking with 2015 for the new piston design. I also have a ton of extra info on what to look for.
     
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  9. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yup! Those are the potential gems. (y)
     
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  10. ThebigK

    ThebigK New Member

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    Hi everyone! Wanted to thank you for the tips, just picked up a 2015 Prius Two. Grey on Grey. 50,000 miles $11,500 plus tax.

    I am replacing all 4 tires with Michelin Energy Savers, changed oil, filters, going to do the transmission flush now, because I don't feel like figuring out how to get it done in Italy.

    Going to tackle the oil catch can, clean the EGR and intake manifold on Monday. Then I'm waiting for the title and shipping it out.
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats, all the best!(y)
     
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  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    I would spread out the Monday stuff, all of that could keep you busy for a work week. Take breaks.
     
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  13. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Cool!! Congratulations.

    Just to make sure you know, there is no "transmission flush" possible on a Prius in the traditional sense. It's not anything like what other cars call a transmission. No shifting of gears, no clutches, no torque converters. To change the fluid, it's just drain and fill. It's easier than changing the engine oil.
     
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    You could manage a "flush", if warranted, say if the wrong fluid had been used, and you wanted to clear it out:

    1. do a drain-and-fill, drive it around the block.
    2. do a drain-and-fill, drive it around the block.
    3. do a drain-and-fill.

    This was the flush instruction I noticed in one Honda Shop Manual, for a conventional automatic, one where only 50~60% of the fluid would come out. So maybe a bit overkill with the Prius transaxle, which drains about 90%. Maybe eliminating the final drain and fill would be ok.

    Still, best to avoid the term "flush" unless you mean it; "drain-and-fill" is more succinct.
     
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  15. ThebigK

    ThebigK New Member

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    Thanks for the clarification guys, I thought it was a flush but you're correct it's just a drain and refill..which is much easier to do :)

    I have a friend helping me with the work, he's a mechanic. I will be alongside helping with everything so I know my way around it.
     
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  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Here's the repair manual info. They don't really spell out, guess they just assume the car's on a hoist, but I think it should be level when you add fluid. The level is right when it starts coming back out of the fill hole.

    The two bolts are socket-head-cap-screw style, with 10mm hex holes. Honda in comparison uses 3/8" square holes, fwiw. Torque is 29 ft/lbs, and they take a bit of oomph to break loose: you want to have proper male hex ratchet wrench "sockets" (Stanley makes sets). A long handled wrench is good for breaking them loose, and use a torque wrench for the install. Remove the fill bolt first, just in case you have problems.

    For filling a simple funnel and about 3 foot of hose from above works. It's best to use that combo only for Toyota ATF WS fluid, if you're really picky about contamination.
     
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  17. ThebigK

    ThebigK New Member

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    Thanks Mendel, got the drain and fill done today. It took awhile because the dealer sold me CVT fluid,($80) (after giving VIN) then tried to convince me it's updated fluid, I eventually got the manager and he refunded me and gave me WS fluid. Completed oil catch can yesterday along with brake flush, egr and manifold cleaning. Shout out to NutzandBoltz used your video and it was a breeze.

    The egr was much cleaner than expected, the manifold was pretty dirty with oil.

    The last projects are tinting the windows, wife isn't sure so I might leave it be.

    Bigger issue is after rain the rear drivers side window is slightly damp. Once sun comes out you can see condensation on the inside.
    I checked gaskets, as well as positioning of window and rear door,everything looks great.

    Considering cleaning the drains and seeing if that helps
     
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  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Geez you're a beast; any one of those takes me at least a day. You're a mechanic?
     
  19. ThebigK

    ThebigK New Member

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    I'm a computer guy that specializes in car electronics, ECU, reprogramming, etc. Don't be impressed, my buddy owed me one and I was his helper. He ripped through it and did everything in about 3 hours. I mostly watched and gave directions from the video, also so I'd know how to undo it for inspections.

    I told him he should offer it to people and could be a nice service for Prius owners. Ordered him a catch can for his car
     
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