Warning Light to Take Immediately into the Dealer

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by msquared48, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    Had a problem with the car today, a 2007 Prius with 90K miles on it. Gave the key to a friend to go sit in it to relax alone during an event, and somehow they managed to run down the engine starting battery. Still trying to find out what happended there. Anyway, when we all got back to the car, it was beeping very lightly and the electronic keys would not work to open the doors. Had to use the normal key to open the door.

    Tried to start the car, and the engine would not turn over. I guess there is a small battery under the hood used to start the engine separate from the main battery in the rear? Anyway, I figure this person somehow ran down the smaller battery. God knows how, unless they turned on the accessories without pushing on the start button, thinking energy is unlimited in this car. :mad:

    Well we pulled the top to the panel at the upper right side of the hood and put jumper cables to the proper positive terminal and the ground to a bolt on the frame. I turned off whatever I found that was on and after a while, 5 minutes or so of charging, the engine finally started and we were able to drive the 60 miles or so home, all the time with the exclamation point in the triangle symbol on. That concerned me, but, other than that, it was running fine.

    I parked it in the driveway and turned off the engine. I returned about an hour later and started the car, the engine came on and ran for about 5 to 10 seconds, then the pink car symbol with the exclamation point came on (take the car to a toyota dealer immediately), blocking out the upper portion of the central instrumentation panel. It remained on while I tried two other times to see if the engine would run any longer. It didn't.

    My question is, will the engine continue to charge the battery with this symbol on, or does the warning light shut down the engine, leaving the car with a range of only 3 miles or so on the battery, not far enough to reach the Toyota dealership on Monday without a tow? The dealership is about 10 to 15 miles away. :confused:

    I am concerned that the jump may not have been gradual enough and damaged the smaller battery, or worse. :(
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    1. My guess is that your friend made the car IG-ON, where all of the instrument panel warning lights are on. That will quickly drain the 12V battery, probably within an hour or so if the battery is marginal to begin with.

    2. The 12V battery is located under the hatch floor, in the right-rear corner.

    3. Try driving the car around the block. If the engine runs when you depress the accelerator pedal and you don't notice driveability issues, then you can probably make the 15 mile journey.

    4. Check the inverter coolant reservoir for fluid turbulence when the Prius is READY. If you see this then the inverter coolant pump is working. If you don't see any turbulence then this is probably why the warning lights are on.

    5. If you have access to a 12V battery charger then I suggest that you charge the 12V battery overnight, at a charging rate of 4A or less.
     
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  3. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    I think your 12V battery is wrecked. The engine does not charge the 12V battery -- the high voltage system does.

    What you just described, though, is an electric motor in the hybrid transaxle failing to start the engine. Even though it sounds like the motor is running for 5-10 seconds, if the computers do not detect ignition, then the HV ECU will terminate the attempt to start the engine and set a trouble code.

    Still, it is almost guaranteed that your 12V battery is bad. There is all kinds of weird stuff that can happen in that case. Start with replacing the battery, which will clear the trouble codes in the process, and see what happens.
     
  4. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    Thanks for the quick response Patrick. A few questions...

    1. I am unfamiliar with the terminology IG-ON. Is that mode activated by pushing the startbutton WITHOUT depressing the brake pedal?

    2. I understand the possible problem with the inverter coolant pump. I see nothing in the owner's manual on this. Where is it and what does it look like?

    3. I take it that there is only one 12 volt battery then (the one in the rear) and not two? I also take it that the battery is located under the rear trunk on the right side? I will try to get my hands on a trickle charger.

    4. Is it possible that putting a full charge on the battery will clear the pink warning light, or is the charge just to get the 15 miles or so to the dealership so they can determine the problem?

    I am going to test the engine, driving it around the block, to see if it turns on when the gas pedal is depressed to accelerate. I will let you know what happens.

    Needless to say, I am really upset right now, but I really appreciate your help. Thanks in advance.
     
  5. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    OK. Now that was wierd. I started it up, and the engine and instrument panel were functioning normally with no warning light, pink car or triangle. It ran normally.

    Do these things reboot the computer if there is a power surge?
     
  6. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I'd keep an eye on your 12v from now on. In fact, if it is the original 12v battery I would be inclined to have it replaced. The 12v in a Prius isn't as strong as in a normal car - it doesn't need to be as it hasn't got to power a starter motor, but just power up the computer which then uses then uses the big High Voltage battery to start the Prius.

    It appears they have a life of about 4-5 years and can start to cause all sorts of weird things to happen when they fail. Yours was probably on its last legs before your neighbour ran it down, finishing it off. Not an expensive replacement.

    (oh be very careful about jump starting a Prius - see other threads on this!)
     
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  7. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    How much are these smaller batteries, and can you get them any other place than the Toyota dealership, like OReilly's? Are they difficult to replace yourself, or could that void any remaining warranty?
     
  8. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    They're about £150 in the UK including our 20% tax so should be much cheaper in the US. It's a smaller size than usual and I believe an alternative can be purchased but needs to an adaptor for the terminals. Depends how much you want to save and how much the dealer wants to charge. I personally would stick with Toyota unless the non Toyota part is significantly cheaper.

    When a 12v starts to fail it'll only get worse - and quickly. Charging it will help get the car going for a day or two but you'll then have to charge it again. This applies to any car, not just a Prius.
     
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  9. Vic Doucette

    Vic Doucette Junior Member

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    Many Priuschat.com folks, including me, have installed the Optima D51 battery to replace the original Toyota 12-volt. It will not void your warranty to use an aftermarket part. There is a bit of modification that you will need to do to the car, but it is pretty simple and anyone who is competent with hand tools can do it. I am not one of those, however, so I took it to my trusted mechanic and he was able to do it with little difficulty.

    This company referenced below sells the battery with an installation kit for the Prius. I think it cost me about $180, including shipping. Service was quick and efficient. I would use this company again with no hesitation. Good luck.

    Toyota Prius 12 Volt Auxiliary Battery with install kit for 2004 - 10
     
  10. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I'll quickly add - the problem might not be just the 12v failing. BUT they do cause issues when they start to fail and immediately having issues after the old 12v was run flat probably indicates the 12v.

    If nothing else, you'd probably need one soon and it's a cheap fix IF it is the 12v. If it's something else, then you'd have still needed a new 12v sooner than later anyhow.

    Let us all know how you get on. Always good to get feedback on whether the problem is resolved or not.
     
  11. Vic Doucette

    Vic Doucette Junior Member

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  12. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    Took a look at it this AM, briefly, but noticed a constant low level whine in the vicinity of the rectangular relay box to the left of the air cleaner.

    Seemed like there was heat coming up from the left side of the engine block after only a short time of running.

    It did start OK this AM with no indicator light warnings, and the battery was at the same level as the night before.

    I have not been able to observe the turbulence in the inverter coolant reservoir yet, but will have a chance when my friend gets here.

    The whining make me suspicious of the water pump... We'll see.
     
  13. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    Checked the reservoir and there was no turbulence, so, since the water pump has already been changed out once under warranty, I think that is the problem, especially considering the whining, a constant energy drain on the system.

    I am also going to put a multimeter on the 12 volt battery and check it too though. I will have it checked too later today and get back to you.
     
  14. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    OK. Battery is registering 12 volts. It's the water pump.

    Question: Should it be towed to the dealer the 15 miles since the WP is not functioning? I would guess so.
     
  15. direstraits71

    direstraits71 Member

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    I assume you mean the inverter coolant pump. Its the pump that circulates the coolant to cool the inverter and causes the turbulence you see in the pink fluid in the reservoir. If it was wintertime you might be able to drive to the dealer, but having it towed is certainly safer. The car is designed to protect the inverter by shutting it down before it overheats, but some threads here on Priuschat have described inverter damage by driving with the pump not working. As its (the inverter) a very expensive part I'd have it towed and repaired, unless you want to replace it yourself.

    Water pump is a very ambiguous term when referring to Prius, since unlike a conventional vehicle, there are four of them on the Generation 2 car. The inverter cooling pump, the main water pump on the engine, the canister pump that pumps engine coolant into the canister after shutoff, and a pump that circulated coolant through the heater core when the car is running but the engine is stopped.
     
  16. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    That's with the car OFF, right? If the car was running the reading says little or nothing about the health of the battery.

    If there is any uncertainty about it, then yes, have it towed.

    There is no known aftermarket drop-in replacement for the 12V battery. All substitutes require adapters for any or all of the terminals, mounting bracket, and vent tube. If the battery is dead the easy solution is to have a dealer replace it. $200 would be very reasonable.

    Next time be certain that if anyone wants to use accessories for more than a minute the car should be fully ON ("Ready") and in Park, with the parking brake set .
     
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    1. IG-ON is reached by starting from IG-OFF, and pressing the POWER button 2x without depressing the brake pedal. ACC-ON is reached by starting from IG-OFF and pressing the POWER button once, without depressing the brake pedal. The latter mode is what should be used if an occupant wishes to listen to the radio while the car is not being driven.

    2. The inverter coolant pump is located behind the driver's side headlight assembly. It has a couple of coolant hoses attached to it.

    3. Yes, there is only one 12V battery in the Prius.

    4. Since you don't currently have any warning lights on, then the problem is not serious. It would be a good idea to charge the 12V battery overnight so that you can see whether the battery can be restored to good health. Otherwise, replace it before the car refuses to start.

    The inverter coolant pump is supposed to run at all times when the Prius is either IG-ON or READY. I hope that you are looking at the inverter coolant reservoir which is mounted on the side of the inverter, near the engine.

    It depends upon how hot the ambient temps are. I believe that the high temps in your area are currently in the mid-60s F. Hence I think it would be OK to drive the car 15 miles especially if you leave the air conditioning off, which reduces the electrical load (and hence the heat buildup) on the inverter. If you want to be sure, you could buy a bag of ice and place it on top of the inverter to help keep it cool.
     
  18. msquared48

    msquared48 New Member

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    One last question here... And thanks again for all the previous responses.

    Is is possible to lock the car from the outside with the electronic key, and have any of the accessories still on and drawing power from the 12 volt system?
     
  19. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    last question? that should have been your 1st lesson.

    1st.. if you ever want to leave anything on, leave the whole car on in Ready (brake + power button.) idle radio listening with mild climate control only burns a gallon every 8 to 12 hours. (i won't say "radio only" because a random friend can put the car in ready.. but may not know the full functions of the climate control.)

    2rd.. if you wish to leave the car on and unattended for whatever reason (i did this a lot during deliveries) roll down the drivers window, get out, close the door, reach in, lock it, auto roll up the window. keep your key on you as you HAVE to use the mechanical key to get back in.

    also... change your 12v battery. it may only last another year or two, and once it starts to die, it makes the car very unresponsive to opening and such. it's cheaper than getting frustrated and having it towed to the dealer to get a new 12v anyway.
     
  20. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I like this and am going to try it today. What a fabulous way of keeping the a/c on with the car locked up when popping to the shops.

    (if it doesn't work the recovery bill is in the post! ;))
     
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