Transaxle replacement worth it?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Tim Leisman, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    I have a Gen 2 (2005) Prius with 126k miles. Dealer tells me the rear main bearing has failed, and quoted me 5.5k for the repairs.

    Sorry if I could have found the answer to the question in another thread - please link me if so. Is the repair worth it vs. making a payment on a new or used car? The guy avoided giving me a quote for the car's value itself; said "as it is, it's probably worth more to you than it is on the lot".

    The way I figure, if the car will run another 120k with no problems, 5.5k is worth it. If it's likely to need thousands more in repairs, it may not be. Any advice?
     
  2. aaroncv3

    aaroncv3 Member

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    I don't know anything about transaxle repairs, but I still smell a rat.

    Even if the transaxle is a total loss, the car probably has plenty of value, as parts or for repair by an aptly equipped mechanic. I suspect that is why you aren't getting a straight answer.

    Any other major problems with it?
     
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The "rear main bearing" is within the engine, not the transaxle. If you decide to repair the car, you should have a used engine from a salvage yard installed. That will cost ~$500 for the engine plus $1,500 - $2,000 in labor.

    Usually a bearing failure is due to insufficient lubrication - which translates to engine oil changes not being performed on schedule and/or allowing the engine oil level to get too low.

    Who knows if your car will require another significant repair over the next 120K miles. I have logged 221K miles on my 2004 without requiring any major repairs, while some other owners have had failed traction batteries, AC compressors, transaxles, inverters, engines, etc. at much lower odometer readings.

    It's hard to say whether you should make this repair or not. If you buy another car you are signing up for monthly payments for an extended period of time. Depending upon the warranty coverage on that car, you may also face an occasional repair.

    The trade-in value of a 2005 Prius with 126K miles in good condition is probably $2,500 or less. So the dealer staff you spoke with was reasonable in saying it is probably worth more to you vs. the trade-in they would give you. Nothing prevents you from researching the used car values at kbb.com or edmunds.com, by the way.
     
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  4. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    Get multiple, detailed bids from dealers, chain and independent shops. I just got a bunch of stuff done at 100,000 miles that a dealer quoted $3500 for $1000 at CarX.
     
  5. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    No other major problems. It's frustrating because this is supposed to be the "more reliable" dealership of the three Toyota dealers in town.
     
  6. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    Interesting. Both the dealers and the first garage that I took it to were convinced it was transmission failure (transaxle I've been told is a more accurate word to use). Perhaps the service adviser told me the wrong name for the component; he seemed to just be relaying what the technicians told him. Either way, why would he mislead me about needing the transaxle replaced if the problem is the engine?

    He also seemed adamant to assure me that he'd only ever seen this problem in 4 or 5 cars out of all the Prius's he's worked with, and that it is a rare thing that happens during "normal wear and tear". I'd take responsibility if it was partly my fault - in fact, that would be somewhat more comforting than just saying this was a random incident. I have several times stretched the oil slightly (6k on a 5k conventional, only when I'm doing more long distance driving), and I specifically asked the adviser if there was anything I did that exacerbated the problem - he, again adamantly, said no.

    That's similar advice to what another Prius owner gave me. I guess I'm down to weighing my desire not to have monthly car payments vs. the risk of further costly repairs. It's a game of statistics and risk and those calculations aren't my strong suit. Wish it were more cut and dry!

    Going in again to ask some more questions, like specific error codes that they're seeing and need to find out what the payment plans for the repair are. Anything else I should be asking them?
     
  7. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    1. Get a second opinion. The diagnosis sounds a little fishy.
    2. This is a $2000 job (IF the T/A really does need to be replaced!). $500 for a gently used Transaxle and $1500 for the install.

    3. There are many many rules of thumb for deciding whether to fix your mount or send it off to the glue factory, and the rule of thumb for rules of thumb, is that they're only.......yep, a rule of thumb.
    YOU have to decide for yourself based on a lot of variables, but I generally recommend a repair in your case up to the replacement cost of the vehicle minus the scrap value...IF the car's history is known and you've kept everything else well maintained.
    The life-cycle for a Prius is probably something like 250,000 miles in 10 years, so one could make a case either way for your car.

    Me?
    I''d do it, but only for a couple thou.
     
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  8. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    A shop in town that specializes in replacing and rebuilding transmissions thinks they can save me quite a bit from the dealership price, but the chance of the battery failing or another expensive repair is still on my mind.

    Checked back in at the dealership for more specifics (yesterday I was at work and could only listen to a message from him):
    The error codes are
    P0A0F
    P3193
    C2315 (he says this is the transmission control one)
    C1200
    B1271

    The guy at the garage I went to originally thinks that the service adviser from Toyota may have meant a "rear output bearing" failed, not a "rear main bearing", and agrees that it was the transmission not the engine. He also told me I probably should switch to a synthetic oil and a more aggressive change schedule if I do decide to repair the car.

    Any thoughts or advice appreciated.. Thanks!
     
  9. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    That means to me, you're still on the original hybrid battery. If so depending on whether you choose to repair or replace it, a $1,000-3,500 bill is in your 2005's short term future.
     
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  10. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    You're correct - still the original battery. I've heard that 120k-150k is when it gives up the ghost, so yes I expect that may be true. So the question that I'm going back and forth on is whether to roll the dice and see if it will run for another 120k after a new transmission and new battery - any thoughts?
     
  11. strawbrad

    strawbrad http://minnesotahybridbatteries.com

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    Google every one of those codes. None of them point to needing a transmission. Did you recently run out of gas?

    Just because they are cheap and easy.

    Clean you MAF Sensor.
    Replace the spark plugs.
    Disconnect and reconnect the 12 volt battery to reset the codes.

    Brad
     
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    You can save for a bit, then pay cash. I know, old school.

    If it is a language thing, and it actually is the transaxle that needs replacement, I wonder if periodic fluid changes would have saved it.
     
  13. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Get the current problem fixed, then assess the traction battery, which should be a $1500-$2000 fix.....WHEN it fails.
    It WILL eventually fail, you know.....but maybe not for a few more years.

    Other things will start going south too.
    HVAC (A/C)
    Brakes.
    Emissions (NC probably does not have a VET though....)

    So you should thoroughly evaluate your 10-year-old car's ability to meet your transportation needs.
    Maybe what you need is a newer used car, and that car might not necessarily need to be a Prius.

    OTOH, not having to pay $300-400 a month for a used car.....or more for a new car, will allow you to build up a fund to handle emergency repairs. If you're disciplined enough to put $400 a month in an automotive emergency fund, and you limp along after this repair for even a few months then you're protected somewhat against 'unaffordable repairs.'

    Good Luck.
     
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  14. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Yeah, those codes are all over the map. What is the state of health of the small 12v battery? Has the car been sitting before this issue came up?
     
  15. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    Sheepishly admitting that yes, I did run out of gas on the side of the road about 3 weeks ago. Very foolish decision to stretch it after an exit. The gas gauge has been inconsistent - the warning light had JUST come on so I figured I had at least 20 miles left; no dice. AAA bailed me out, but I knew that might come back to haunt me...

    I had the spark plugs replaced before last winter (around December and a couple thousand miles ago) so unsure why that would be an issue.

    Having a lot of trouble even finding a good source on these codes on the internet. When you google codes, what are the most reliable sites that pop up?
     
  16. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    @fotomoto: not sure the state of the 12V, but no the car hadn't been sitting for any prolonged period before this. I drive it every day, with very little exception. Mostly city driving.

    Calling dealer back to see what showed up on their diagnostic report. The answer about the codes was that "one error can cause several other error codes to pop up" and that I can choose to take their word for it or not.
     
  17. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    Finding some of those codes at greenhybrid forums (I can't post a link since I just registered yesterday), including the "ran out of gas" code (P3193) and "engine won't start" (P0A0F). Couldn't find the other 3, which were the ones they said were specific to the transmission or "gateway codes".
     
  18. Starship_Enterprius

    Starship_Enterprius Active Member

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    Keeping an old car only makes sense if you can repair it very very cheaply.

    And even if you managed to do that, you'll find out in the end you would have saved only so little (usually around $80/mo. only for me) you'd wonder if it was worth the hassle being towed from the side of the road.

    Specially at $5.5k I definitely wouldn't do it.

    I'd stretch that money instead by buying or leasing a slightly used 3~4 year old car because that's worth about 1.5+ years of lease payment right there.

    Plus another 6 months lease for whatever you'd be spending for the consumables that will be needed to replace in your old car if you kept in another 2 years (tires, brakes, exhausts, spark plugs, maybe blower fan, etc etc).

    Then add another month or so for whatever trade in value (or junk value) you get for the old car.....

    And your looking at almost 2.5 years of payment.

    Vs.

    Spend $5.5k for repairs, but you'd still be holding your breath and crossing your fingers your car survives 2.5 years to break even vs. the lease. And even if it survives that long, your still back to square 1 with an old car that will soon need other major repairs (battery, transaxle, etc).


    Just my 0.2 cents....
     
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  19. strawbrad

    strawbrad http://minnesotahybridbatteries.com

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  20. Tim Leisman

    Tim Leisman New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help and advice. It's a shame that there are so few places that will work on hybrids. Looks like I'm going to be driving a new car and figuring out what to do with the 2005! Any takers?
     
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