Yet Another Rough-Running Prius - Check Engine Light Lit

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Michael Cerkowski, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    2013 PIP Base. This is my housemate's car. She drives it gently, and I drive it when needed - also gently. It first seemed a bit rough in the 42-47MPH range earlier this year. We assumed that it was old gas, ran it down to one fuel bar, and refilled it with fresh mid-grade or premium - I forget which. It made no difference. She just had the car in for the 30K service last month, and had them clean the fuel injectors as well, at my suggestion. Again, no difference. With the arrival of the current frigid weather, it also began, according to her, to "Ice Lock" - that banging sound on cold startup as ice chunks in the motor break apart. I advised her to always let the engine warm up fully on a trip before shutting it off. She uses EV mode only for local errands, but also uses Hybrid mode once or twice a week for longer trips. Today she started it to run an important errand, and got a rough, noisy startup (I don't know if it was ice lock or just ran roughly) AND the check engine light came on and stayed on. It remains on, and the car is definitely running rough for about 20 seconds on ICE startup. She says that last week she may or may not have found some non-viscous liquid with an oily sheen, under it. (She had to move the car for snow plowing and doesn't know if the liquid came from this car or from somewhere else.) This car has never run at all rough before this year, and had only ice locked a couple of times since new. It gets serviced one a year (we don't drive a lot of miles since retiring) and is always parked outdoors. Ideas? It got new Toyo Celsius tires last year.
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    30K's kinda early for EGR clogging? (n)

    Just for giggles check the EGR pipe, see @NutzAboutBolts video, there's a thread linking all his Prius video (or a lot of them), pinned at top of 3rd gen maintenance forum. If it has significant coking up, maybe time to explore further. But still I doubt it would happen that early.

    You could also try cleaning the throttle body and cleaning it with carb cleaner (on a cloth, not direct spray). If you unbolt and lift it right off (leave coolant lines attached, you can be more thorough, but maybe leave that for later. Torque value for those fasterners is 7 ft/lb, very low. Again, @NutzAboutBolts has a video.

    While looking at the throttle body, look through, with the blade pushed open, and you'll likely be looking at a sort-of oily swamp below there. Consider an Oil Catch Can to clear that that. Yup, video at same place.
     
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  3. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    Thanks for the detailed reply. I also saw, somewhere, that a loose air box to MAF fitting could let enough air in to mess up the air/fuel ratio. Thoughts? I'll take a look at both as best I can, but I don't do much work on cars at all, these days - too many health issues.
     
  4. ETC(SS)

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

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    You're going to have to check fluids and find out what's illuminating the Check Engine Light.

    The easiest way to do that is to buy an inexpensive (and by this I mean less than $20) code reader and look up what the codes actually mean.
    You're looking for an OBDII (or OBD2) reader and you can get one at WalMart of have Amazon deliver you one.

    It's a very easy process, but if you don't want to be bothered most parts houses like AutoZone will be happy to hook up their hand-held device and tell you what the codes are.

    LASTLY, you can always take it the dealer, but there's a non-zero percent chance that THEY caused the problem the last time they worked on your car.

    Two stern shots:

    1. Premium Unleaded, isn't.
    With your driving patterns and climate I would consider a fuel additive, and keeping your tank topped off.

    2. "injector cleaning", doesn't.
    And...if they bothered to do anything at all they may have damaged the Mass Air Flow sensor, or at the very least charged you over $100 for nothing much more than putting a bottle of snake oil in your fuel tank.

    Think about it.
    You have a 7-year-old car with 30,000 miles - most of which were accumulated with the engine not burning any petrol.

    How 'dirty' do you expect the injectors to BE?


    Good Luck!
    Get back with us on the codes, and consider using an independent mechanic the next time you get your car serviced.
     
  5. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    I already have a BAFX OBDII reader that I use with my Leaf. What app is best for the PIP, and where is the OBDII port on it?
     
  6. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    Looks like that app is Torque Pro, and I've installed it on my phone.
     
  7. QuantumFireball

    QuantumFireball Active Member

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    This is not a thing, there's no ice inside - if there was then trying to start it would ruin the engine :)

    I find mine is a bit rattly on a very cold start, but there's nothing resembling "banging".

    As others said, you need to find what faults are being logged, and probably check the EGR valve as this is a common cause of poor running, misfires, etc.
     
  8. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    "This is not a thing, there's no ice inside - if there was then trying to start it would ruin the engine :)"


    I was exaggerating a bit, but it is indeed a "thing." It sounds like what I described, believe me. Here is a thread on it.

    Cold start with vicious knocking. | PriusChat

    IIRC, Toyota eventually issued some sort of service bulletin on it.


    I've actually been here for many years, having joined somewhere around 2010. For some reason the site forgot I existed and I had to create a new account.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    is it really a 2013 with only 30k on the clock?
    if so, i'm wondering what possible deleterious effects of sitting around unused so much might be taking place.
     
  10. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    It doesn't sit "unused." It gets used about twice a week in EV mode, and taken for longer trips (20-30 miles) with the ICE running once or twice a week - just about every week. It has always run great up until this year. It gets serviced every year.
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    my first thought with such a little used gen3 engine goes back to @Mendel Leisk post #2

    we don't see much of that around here, so its hard to know. but i would definitely investigate things like the throttle, plugs, egr and etc. maybe running so little has a negative effect on some parts/systems.

    30k with a lot of ev and a little hv is very very low engine run time over 6 1/2 years.

    i just had a light bulb, maybe you have a fuel/delivery or emissions problem. how often do you use it up and replenish?
     
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  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    another bulb, is the gas cap tight?
     
  13. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    Are you saying that you HAVE NOT shut off car while the engine is running? ( or your wife?)

    Because that is a common problem in that thread and many other threads.
     
  14. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    We try to use the fuel in the tank up every month or two. The first thing we did, as I wrote, was to make sure it got a full tank of fresh gas, with Techron in it, and it made zero difference.

    I will be checking the gas cap when I read the codes tonight. I think that's unlikely, though, as the rough running came many months before the Check Engine light.

    One theme I'm seeing here is the use pattern being the culprit. As long as the ICE gets fully warmed up with every drive in which it runs, I don't see the problem. We rarely shut it off with the engine still running - we live at the bottom of a hill and it usually shuts off well before it gets home. She retired several years ago, so counting from then it went at least two years with this driving pattern and no problem. When I use the car every month or so, I don't baby the engine. I'm now leaning toward the dealership never having really cleaned the throttle body and EGR pipe...

    Oh, BTW: where is the OBDII port located on the Prius? I want to read the codes tonight.
     
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  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    Under the steering wheel, and below the edge of plastic panelling. You pretty much need to get down on hands and knees and use a light to find it.
     
  16. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    Thanks. I got the codes - three for misfiring cylinders - and cleared them. They didn't return immediately but one was "pending." IIRC, they are P0300, P0301, P0302. The car idles roughly, but smooths right out with throttle. The plan is to have the dealership clean (with more than car spray) the throttle body and the EGR plumbing, plus new plugs.
     
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  17. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    I would research the codes more before making up your mind what to ask to have done to the car.

    Also, if you have 3 things you think might be the problem and you have all three fixed at the same time you'll not be able to zero in on what is actually causing the codes and neither will the mechanic unless the mechanic already knows what the problem is.

    Have you ever changed your own oil? Is it all the way to the second mark? clear, slightly brown, easy to see the level on the dip stick?

    just my 3 cents worth over the innerwebs
     
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  18. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    Hey, if getting three things serviced fixes it, I'll consider that a win! The throttle body and EGR should have been done at least once in six years, but the mileage is so low that no one ever thought of it. The snag I see, though, is the spark plugs. My god!!! That should win a bad design and/or 'best way to keep people from working on their cars' award. I've seen $1200 quoted for plugs and coils, so I hope the blasted coils are ok...

    Speaking of working on my own cars: yes, I did, for many years, starting when I was about 15. I'm 61 now, and once I could afford to have others work on my cars, I went that route. I'm trying to think of the last real, hands-dirty automotive job I did myself... probably a tuneup on my then car, a '95 Civic EX, about 7 years ago, before I started driving Leafs. Yes, the PIP's oil is clean - so clean it's hard to read the stick. The car was serviced in the Fall, and as usual the oil was changed then.

    Finally: do the codes for misfires have another, hidden meaning? The Torque app didn't mention any...
     
  19. QuantumFireball

    QuantumFireball Active Member

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    Just for plugs and coils!? I'd suggest going somewhere else, no need to be taking a 5 year old car to a main dealer...
     
  20. Michael Cerkowski

    Michael Cerkowski New Member

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    The quote was in a comment section on a decent YouTube channel. The video was on how to change the plugs - by removing every trace of the windshield wiper system, first...
     
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