URGENT: Stranded with ! PS Battery Engine All on 2001 Prius

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Kristy, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    I'm stranded in snowy UT (from CA) we took our Prius out here and don't know what to do. 2 (150 miles) hours into our road trip on the screen the PS, Main Battery Symbol, and red car ! displays came up, and on the dashboard the red ! triangle and check engine lights went on. Within a minute it slowed down and wouldn't go. After 5 minutes off we turned the car on again and while all the warning lights were able to drive it to the Dealership 5 miles away, and it was off for about 15 minutes before they ran diagnostics. When they turned it on, all the warning lights were off and he couldn't detect any problems. We drove it another 500 miles (8 hours) before the warning lights went on again, and the car did the same slow/stop as before. We waited 10 minutes, the lights didn't shut off, but we were 15 miles from my parents' so we drove it home.

    It doesn't sound like the hybrid battery is dead, when we stopped at lights the engine would switch to hybrid battery like normal (silent). We changed the oil 2 days before this happened, and replaced the serpentine belt 2 weeks before (to prepare for the trip). We're practically snowed in so I don't want to drive it from dealership to different shops without getting killed, I'm just wondering if anyone had experienced this before and what they did. I'd read in a couple forums this had happened right after people changed the oil, someone else said it was the electric pump. If it's just a computer problem I'd rather drive it the 650 miles home to SoCal because there are hybrid mechanic specialists everywhere and if it is the hybrid battery we could get it cheaper at home than in Utah, where hardly anyone owns a prius and there are no hybrid mechanics.
     

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  2. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    p.s. it has 110K miles on it
     
  3. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    Put the car on level ground. Check engine oil level. If the people who changed the oil filled it too high the car may code, especially going up and down hills (mountain passes).

    If the oil level is above the fill line, drain some out. You may then need the throttle body and intake manifold cleaned out, especially if the car generated P3191 and P3101 codes.
     
  4. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    Thank you! For the last few months the blue thermometer coolant light would turn on when I first started the prius, and then turn off after 2-3 minutes. I took it into the mechanic who said that's normal and suggested I replace the serpentine belt. But he wasn't a prius specialist is it normal for that blue light to be on? This might not have anything to do with it, it's just something I remembered now.
     
  5. IMkenNY

    IMkenNY Im just being nosy

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    Reading the code is the key.
    It will likely point to the inverter cooling pump which you would be wise to have repaired before your long trip home.
     
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  6. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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  7. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    You said you were at your parents right? if your dad is handy, have him do this. it will save you some money and can be done at the house.

    To check coolant inverter flow, turn the car to on but dont start it. at the top left of the silver hybrid inverter(says "Toyota Hybrid System") is a little cream colored tank make sure that is at the full/max mark when sitting. When on, the fluid in there should be moving around. if its still(no change between turning the key from off to on), then you better get the pump replaced and have if you have a dealer do it, get that car towed there, dont drive it or you will fry the inverter, then your wallet is toast.
     
  8. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    Very helpful, thank you! Since I drove it 500 miles after the first time my display lit up like a christmas tree, I'm worried I already fried the inverter, but I'm going out there now.
     
  9. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    you may not have, its cold so you may be ok. but I most certainly would not be driving it back if that coolant pump is bad
     
  10. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    I popped the hood and when I turned it on the red fluid didn't move at all as I looked at it with the cap off. It looked like it was in between low and full. I put a skrewdriver on the inverter pump and it DID vibrate, but not very strongly. How much should the red fluid be sloshing? And is it possible for the fluid not to move while the pump is vibrating?

    I also checked the oil level and it was right on the full dot (not significantly above it, but certainly not below).
     
  11. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    The oil should not be at the full dot. it should be a little bit over half(half is between the 2 dots).
    Now when sitting with the car off, the fluid in the tank should be flat across. when the key is turned to on(the last position before it would start) the fluid towards the rear of the tank should be lower than the fluid towards the front. if it is still fat across. then my guess is that pump is gone or on its way out.
     
  12. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    OK, just came back from checking again. I honestly can't tell (it's dark) about the red fluid levels, it's possible it moved and the levels are higher in the rear but I can't say conclusively. Is it a dramatic difference between off and on? I DO know that the inverter pump is vibrating though. Also, all the display lights except the check engine light turned OFF and stayed off this time I turned the key. This is the 4th time I've turned it on, and I've read on other posts that 4th time's a charm. But yesterday all the lights turned off for 500 miles, this time the check engine is still on. But the display screen is normal, no triangle of death.

    It sounds like if the oil was that high the overfilled oil certainly needs to be cleaned/fixed, right?

    Lastly, do you know what things would look/sound like if either the hybrid or 12V batteries were dead or dying?

    Thank you for your help everyone, I didn't sleep at all last night and now I'm starting to feel hopeful I'll make it back alive.
     
  13. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    Ill see if I can get a picture of mine when off then on.

    yes, you should most definitely see a difference.

    About what is your average miles per gallon. 40+?
    how often does your hybrid battery monitor move(mine barely moves) mine almost always stays on 3/4 battery. 12v battery, to check that, get a voltmeter and probe the battery, after an hour. it should be around 12.5-12.7 volts.

    Take a look at that video, he tells you where that oil level should be. mine was on full and mine constantly misfired, now it does not since I drained some out and cleaned the intake.
     
  14. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    Wow, thanks--don't worry about the pic though I think I found one.

    On this trip it was 37 mpgs for 500 miles. I was going to a higher altitude (LA to SLC), but I think I remember getting better. I usually get 40-41 highway, 38-39 in town.

    By hybrid battery monitor, is that something you can see on the display screen? I'll get a voltometer for the 12V.

    By misfire, do you mean the same things I'm reporting (triangle of death, PS, Battery light, engine light) happened on yours before you drained and cleaned it?
     
  15. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    Ok here is when the car is sitting and off. level is flat and between full and low. car off.jpg
    Here is the car turned to on look at the right side of the picture (front of the tank). look at how much higher it is compared to the rest of the tank. that is how it should look.
    car turned to on.jpg
     
  16. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    sorry, but im in pa and its dark here.
     
  17. Kristy

    Kristy Junior Member

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    It's great, thanks! Dark here too.
     
  18. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    Is that what your car is doing regarding the fluid in the tank?
     
  19. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    Mine misfired but never pulled any codes. my lights never came on and I like it that way.

    Yes that can be had on your display screen, instead of displaying the fuel trip meter and the bars. you can switch it over to where it shows the four wheels, engine, battery, motor. you will want to keep an eye on the battery. AS i said, mine never or rarely moves off of 3/4 which is normal on this car from what I have read.
     
  20. scotman27

    scotman27 Active Member

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    the battery monitors on this car read as follows, full(if the battery is at a full charge), 3/4(normal), half, 1/4 i dont know if it will go to empty and I dont want to know. if that meter is constantly moving as you drive(You pull out it drops to half then 1/4 kind of quickly then recharges back to 3/4 kind of quick, than I would get that hybrid battery looked at. How many miles are on your car? Your battery may just need the corrosion cleaned. I cleaned mine but I knew what I was doing after I did alot of research. Thanks to the guys here at Priuschat
     
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