Traction Battery Repair vs Replace

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by wnrsm, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. wnrsm

    wnrsm Junior Member

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    I have what I thought would be a few common questions. After a few hours of searching I haven't found a clear answer. Probably a case of TMI. I tried!

    I got a P0A80 code. 117k miles on a 2005. I cleared the code so that I can sneak it by my state's annual inspection this month. The code hasn't come back in the few days that have elapsed. I'm experiencing greatly reduced battery capacity, with the charge indicator swinging quickly between full and empty states.


    My questions:

    Given the age/miles of this vehicle, should I be looking to replace a number of bad cells or should I be looking to replace the entire pack? I'm concerned that the entire pack is worn out and replacing individual cells will not result in a lasting repair.

    What is the best way to go about fixing this? My searches turn up many options and contradictions.
    - Get an entire battery out of a wrecked 2008/2009, checking for fewer than 70k miles, costs around $700. Avoid wreckers that are rebuilding packs - get one from a real wreck.
    - Replace modules as identified by Torque's "low voltage" outliers among the 14 modules. (best place to buy?)
    - Buy a set of 28 new modules (which may approach the cost of an entire new battery, so... new battery?)
    - Get a refurb from a vendor recommended here (isn't this just someone cherry picking modules out of cores, balancing, and reselling?)

    I'm leaning towards the first option for simplicity. I can have the Prius out of commission for weeks if necessary to balance a pack with a few DC6 chargers.

    I'm very mechanically inclined (replaced ABS pump a few months ago) so I can definitely DIY. I just ordered a "good" OBD2 bluetooth adapter to get the module voltage readings from Torque. My current adapter must be junk since neither it or the Dr. Prius app can use it to read the battery values. If somebody has a link to using techstream to get this info, I can use that instead.

    Thanks!

    edited to add - I'm still digesting this amazing thread Gen II Prius Individual Battery Module Replacement | PriusChat
     
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  2. maddog2020

    maddog2020 Junior Member

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    I’d go with replacing a module or two. Apps like Dr Prius or Torque will show you which block is bad, but it’s quite likely that only one module in the block (each block is 2 modules) will be bad. It’s really not a difficult job. Takes an hour working carefully to replace a module once you have the battery out. Takes much longer than that to rebalance, but you’d probably want to do that anyway even with a “new” battery.

    You can get the modules on eBay, about $40 shipped for a good one. Look for tested to 7.9v or similar. I bought one here: http://www.ebay.com/feed?redirect=mobile

    Ian


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  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Replacing individual cells almost always leads to replacing more individual cells as other fail. I call it the whack a mole game. If you enjoy tinkering and don't mind occasionally being broken down along the roadside, it can be entertaining. If you have to get to work, either get a new Toyota battery or check with @2k1Toaster about his kit.

    That's my 2 cents worth.
     
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  4. maddog2020

    maddog2020 Junior Member

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    I know 3 people who have replaced single modules (so admittedly not a large sample size). So far these batteries have 2 years (45k miles), 1 year (8k miles), 1 month (1k miles) on them with no issues.

    Ian


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  5. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    On the other hand, I've had the joy of driving to Georgia a couple times recently to replace batteries that had the Craigslist "$399 on site" repair service performed where they swap a couple modules and give a 3-6 month warranty. Both owners were sick of calling for warranty work or having them die at 7 months. It can go both ways. As always, it depends more craftsmanship and the ability to detect bad, weak and soon to fail modules. I also believe someone can perform a reliable repair using the module replacement game. The only issue is that there are still 27 other original 14 year old modules that can bite you. Even the replacement can bite you. It's not "if". It's "when". What if the wife is driving the car? What if it's your daughter or son broken down on the side of the road?

    I've found that the vast majority of people just want to have a reliable car, every day. Mr. Murphy is always in the background to break you down at the most inconvenient time possible.
     
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  6. wnrsm

    wnrsm Junior Member

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    Thanks! I can use the apps to identify which block is bad. This is a second car so I can suffer some extended down time. If I go down this route, which charger should I use to balance the cells? I can dig up PC power supplies and 12V batteries I have on hand.
     
  7. wnrsm

    wnrsm Junior Member

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    I agree that reliability is important. Since we're beating on a 14yo car, let's assume the operators have lowered their reliability expectations.

    I can suffer some reliability issues. I have a short commute. I can take this old beast out of commission for several days while I balance all the cells and see which ones need to be replaced. I drive my old 1997 BMW and our old 2005 Prius because they rarely misbehave when I drive them and I can handle it when problems arise. My wife can't drive them because something stupid always happens when she does. That's why I replaced the 2003 SUV she drives with a 2015 SUV. I can play the lottery on the Prius since she doesn't drive it.

    The Prius ABS pump went out a several months ago. I balked at the replacement cost. I replaced it with a junkyard pull for $109 shipped plus six hours of my time. No ABS chirping. ABS worked fine in the snow. It is now a personal challenge to fix this battery for <$300. :)
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    replace the bad modules
     
  9. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    Your Prius is already 14 years old. How long and how you plan to keep using it determines your answer.
     
  10. Phildo

    Phildo Active Member

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    First step: Get a Mini-VCI or a VCX cable and Techstream. Forget about using generic diagnostic computers when it comes to Toyota hybrids.

    With Techstream you'll be able to ascertain whether it's a simple balancing issue, or whether there is a failed module.

    eg:
    The P3017 code indicates a failed module in block 7:

    [​IMG]

    You can see the low voltage in block 7. Block 5 also had a failed module.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. mercat68

    mercat68 Active Member

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    Just this week, I set up a copy of Techstream on a laptop and got it up and running successfully. I'm still learning how to use it, but need to use it Friday to check the battery on my '07. I know how to perform the Health Check (practiced on my wife's 2014 V), but how do you get to those subsequent screens showing individual cell health? Thanks.
     
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  12. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Just scan the various menu options, but the hybrid menu is what you want(y).
     
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  13. terramir

    terramir Member

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    I have replaced my entire pack of modules over the last three years but then again I am working on a car with 220+k miles and first registered 10/03 so it's now what 16 years old. sourcing good modules can be difficult but I recently got 6 modules for 200 bucks that test in the 6.5k range out of an early 07 according to the production code. the gas milage suffers as the battery degrades, if you wanna keep it on the road for 10 more years replace the entire battery if you want it to run three more years play whack-a-mole. I need to get a new car eventually but I want it to be good inbetween so I rebalance etc. and watch the gas mileage and buy another 4-6 modules every few months to keep improving.
    terramir
     
  14. wnrsm

    wnrsm Junior Member

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    From where did you source your modules?
     
  15. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Plenty of places sell them.
    Including me and other members.

    Always glad to chat in the phone with folks that buy modules from me if they have questions.
    608-729-4082

    Makes for a much better experience, plus it likely saves you a ton of time that youo wouldt otherwise waste sifting through all the chaff in the internet.
     
  16. Phildo

    Phildo Active Member

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    What I would do (and what I've done recently with several Priuses):
    - Remove the hybrid battery and test/analyse each module - discharge/charge each module three times with a suitable charger. If you haven't got a suitable charger then buy a Charsoon Antimatter from AliExpress.com or an iCharger DUO 406 or 4010.
    - Enter all the numbers into a spreadsheet - one line for each module, with the six numbers for each discharge and recharge.
    - I also put the module manufacture dates into my spreadsheets - the manufacture date is encoded in the first four digits of the module serial number.
    - Once I've got the mAh numbers for all the modules I can see which ones need replacing. I replace those modules with ones that are within 12 months of the manufacture date of the existing modules, and of suitable capacity. Getting matching replacement modules is the tricky part, but a key part of the process.
    - Once I've got my set of 28 modules I load test each one by running a 60/55 headlight globe for two minutes and recording the voltage before turning the light on and just before turning it off. I'm generally getting around 0.40 volt drop. These numbers also go in the spreadsheet.
    - I then reassemble the hybrid battery and apply my Hybrid Automotive Prolong stuff to it. I'll start by charging for a few hours, and then discharge/charge three times. This is excessive, but ensures that all modules are as refreshed as possible and as balanced as possible.
     
  17. mindogas

    mindogas Junior Member

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    I'm just surprised about the prices on used car parts in US. If Gen2 HV battery pack costs about $700 what prices are for Gen3 or Gen4 here? Here in Europe (Eastern Europe if it differ) i would pay 150-400Eur for Gen2 pack, 300-500Eur for Gen3, and 600-1000Eur for Gen4. I payed 550Eur for similar as Gen4 pack form Toyota CHR and used all modules for Gen2 Assy. So the question is why prices are so different?
     
  18. rjparker

    rjparker Tu Humilde Sirviente

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    Buy a set of 28 new modules, the only reliable and value added solution. Buying a used pack out of a later gen2 is the worst option. It could be more worn out than yours.
     
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