Underbody Panel Replacement Help

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by geeter, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. geeter

    geeter Member

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    So I was driving yesterday and I hear a grinding noise near the front axle. I pull over and a plastic panel is hanging off near the front of the car. I go to the family mechanic to have him put it back on, and since one of the clips are missing, he tells me to go to the dealer to get a clip and have them fasten the panel.

    This morning I go to the dealership. The service advisor gets me right on a lift and comes back about 20 minutes later with a slip of paper that says $248.01 on it. He tells me that the piece is the door from the under body plastic protection that protects the oil reservoir. There are no sides of it that seem to have been ripped off a larger piece, just holes to be screwed in. He tells me the whole entire piece needs to be replaced, end of story. He did not offer warranty coverage (I have 20K on the car) and was not interested in speaking to me further on the topic. The parts desk pulled up a diagram of the car and showed me the panel as part of one big piece underneath that needs to be replaced.

    I am going to seek out another dealership on this, but I wanted to pose this to you all as well. First, do I even need to replace this small piece of thin plastic? Second, if I do, can I buy just this small piece and not the entire under body panel. I am figuring at least another $75-100 for labor to put it on the lift and screw it in. I noticed some threads about the poor design of the oil door, and perhaps this is what this is? I do not have access to a floor jack or garage, so all of my service (free toyota care) has been done at this specific dealership. Here is a pic of the piece.

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_...AAAAAACEc/fU09cqbbMXw/2011-02-05 13.26.51.jpg
     
  2. geeter

    geeter Member

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    FYI, I was told this is the part#........

    51410-12102

    Can I just zip tie the damn thing back on?
     
  3. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    If it came off for no reason, it should be replaced under warranty.
     
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  4. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Well I am assuming it came off due to debris from the 20 inches of snow we had this past week.
     
  5. peterjmc

    peterjmc Ping pong in Ding Dang...

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  6. PapaGallo

    PapaGallo Junior Member

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    I had a piece that was to the rear of the front, driver side tire, about 18x12 inches,
    the two front clips were damaged when i went over a curb.
    My mechanic replaced the whole piece for 84 dollars including tax,
    248 seems high for a similar piece.
     
  7. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Well he said I need to change the entire underbody plastic cover. He claimed it is one piece and needs to be swapped out.

    Will I have any issues without it on? I am assuming it is just to prevent debris from causing damage, although an 1/8" piece of plastic held on with plastic clips underneath a moving vehicle isn't exactly quality.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Has this dealership been doing the oil changes? If so, they would be the only people opening this door, and ensuring it's securely closed.

    FWIW, there seems to be an issue with this door's hinge failing, as mentioned above.
     
  9. PapaGallo

    PapaGallo Junior Member

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    here is a photo of the undercarriage of a 2010 V,mine is a IV, i am assuming the undercarriage is the same for models II-V. The x marks the piece I replaced.
    pics are from Paradox
     
  10. PapaGallo

    PapaGallo Junior Member

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    here is the pic
     

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  11. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Yes they have been the only ones. Since I have never been underneath the Prius, I don't know what to look for. I want to be informed before I go back to them and complain a bit more.
     
  12. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    I guess that changes things. Maybe DIY if you can.
     
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    This is the maintenance flap location (red cloud). Hinge is at the right edge in this pic. It's on the passenger side of the car (I always get mixed up, looking at the car from underside):

    [​IMG]
     
  14. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Oh thanks. Yep, thats it. I plan on going back to the dealer this week to settle this one. That flap had to have been loose or not bolted down for this to have happened.
     
  15. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    It is the oil change door alright and others have posted in this thread that it has broken off. http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii...bleshooting/89496-oil-change-access-door.html

    If you have the whole panel replaced as suggested by your dealer it will probably just break off again. It's nothing but cheap plastic and doesn't even have hinges or good fasteners. Some solutions are offered in the above referenced thread.

    I also agree if the dealer has been doing the oil changes they are the ones who broke it and to try to make you pay for it is shady at best.
     
  16. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    I sure hear Geeter's frustration. If dealer is not stepping up to the warranty plate, then contact Toyota regional service manager and ask for assistance. You never know. Also, if it can be proved that this is from snow storm damage, your insurance company may pick up the expense less your deductible which is probably more than the repair. It's very frustrating.
     
  17. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Thanks for all of your help in this matter. I feel much more informed today. I am going to return to the dealer and work on getting them to cover it. If that fails, I will move to some higher channels.

    I don't understand how it would have popped off if it was secured properly. And since they have done all of the work on the car thus far, they are the only ones who have touched it. If it is that cheaply designed, then perhaps a TSB is needed on this one for sure. I plan on keeping the Prius for a long time and I drive a lot of miles yearly. I hope this isn't indicative of other corners cut. I will just assume that is for lighter weight and higher MPG.

    One final question.....will not replacing it do any damage to the car, at least that any of you know of?
     
  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    Driving the car without that flap is not an issue, I think. You could take the whole panel off, and maybe just drop-kick it off the driveway, LOL.

    The Repair manual section on engine oil change has instruction to remove the entire panel (11 plus 6 fasteners), and the panel ahead of it (10 fasteners, for models without spoiler). It makes no mention of the small swing-down door with 3 fasteners.

    With our previous second gen Civic hybrid there was also a plastic panel under the engine, with a gigantic swing-down door (requiring a high lift). The material was maybe twice as thick, and softer. Swung it down many, many times without issue.

    My 2 cents: Toyota should drop the price on this panel ($248 US is way too much for this piece of plastic :mad:), revise the material specification to something softer/thicker, so that the creased zone which acts as a hinge can take some flexing without failing, and offer one gratis panel replacement to anyone who's had the original door break.
     
  19. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Geeter,
    Make sure you print out some of the thread to show your dealer... it might help in negotiations. This is obviously a design issue even if it was the snow that caused.
    And just remember "We are pulling for ya. We're all in this together!"
     
  20. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    I agree with Mendel, driving without it won't hurt a thing and I don't think your mileage will change one iota.
     
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