Prius needs a tune up? Battery-Gas motors no longer in sync - Toyota Prius Forum : Prius Online Toyota Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Default Prius needs a tune up? Battery-Gas motors no longer in sync

My 2006 Prius (30,000 mi) no longer behaves as it has in the past. It is extremely difficult for me to maintain 48+ mpg as I have been up till now.

(This post will be hard to write because I do not know the correct technical terms to describe the performance of the Prius hybrid technology)

When the Prius comes to a halt, the gas motor no longer shuts off quickly. It continues to run, burning gas. No matter how charged the battery is.

When I am accellerating on a level or downhill grade, it is very difficult to get the Prius to stay in electric mode. It keeps switching to gas.

When I am cruising on a level or downhill grade at 50+ mph, it is very difficult to get the Prius to switch to electric mode only, even though the electric power would be sufficient to maintain speed.. It keeps switching back to gas.

All 3 of these problems are reflected in the instrument panel and lead to a consistently lower MPG than I was achieving under the same driving conditions and same driving locales as in the past.

The weather here in New Jersey has recently gotten colder, but what I am describing began before it got colder and does not seem to be related to outdoor temperature. It is also not related to the extent to which the Prius battery is charged. I fully expect the car to resist operating in battery-only mode when the battery charge is low. This resistance to battery only operation persists, however, even when the battery is "green" - fully charged.

Is there such a thing as a "tune up" that re-syncs the electric and gas motors - that allows you to utilize the electric motor to the fullest extent possible and thereby maximize your fuel mileage?

Frustrated.

Steve

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Prius '15
Central Jersey
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 01:19 AM
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How much lower MPG are you talking about?
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 11:43 AM
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There is no "tune-up" that can be done to the hybrid system. What you are describing is caused by tire pressure (too low) and colder ambient temps, along with short trips.
1. Check your tires. Many of us run around 40 PSI (I use 40 front and 38 rear, others run 42 front and 40 rear).
2. Learn to live with the slight loss of mileage when it gets colder. Just remember what your previous non-hybrid used to guzzle.
3. Install front grill blocking. Helps let the car warm up faster, and cool off slower. Remove lower grill blocking when ambient rises above 70F. Remove upper grill blocking when ambient rises above 80F.

Vehicle:
Pearl is a 2007 Driftwood Pearl Prius
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 12:30 PM
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David lives in Canada. Personally, I would stay away from radiator blocking in New Jersey. We've never had to use these methods in any car here since the "fifties."
48 MPG! I'de love to see that in my car.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 01:43 PM
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Second that. Check your tire pressures at least monthly. Forget about grill blocking unless you want to buy a temperature monitor to avoid engine damage (remember that the car did perfectly fine without a blocked grill for the first year).

April 2004 Silver
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Default Prius needs a tune up? Battery-Gas motors no longer in sync

Folks, Hi

Thanks for your replies. I'm so excited to at least be talking to other Prius owners who are listening to my problem.

Please understand that my point of view concerning how the Prius is operating is the info screen.

Info button top right side of steering wheel controls. Opens onto 2 windows
1. the "constant MPG" column window also with the current MPG for this tank
2. the window showing whether the car is being run off of the electric engine, the gas engine or both. Also shows the level of charge in the Prius main battery.

You can go back and forth between these two windows by clicking that Info button on the steering wheel.

I'm always looking at these windows as I drive.

I know how to release the accelerator on certain conditions over a flat or downhill grade so that the gas engine kicks out and the electric engine takes over at "99.9 GPM".

Lately, this has become more difficult. The gas motor refuses to kick out when it had been and allow the electric motor to kick in. (sometimes just kick out and no motor is on - we're just cruising on momentum). There are, in fact, a few symptoms of this problem, all working to increase the time that the gas engine is on and retard the transition to the electric engine or to otherwise turning off the gas engine.

Then I see that I'm getting worse mileage (starting at least 2 months ago during the summer before I brought it in for it's 30,000 mi service at which point they said everything looked good to them)

So it looks to me like the hybrid mechanism needs a "tune up" so that the gas engine can go back to acting as it had in the past and turning off under the same conditions, thereby enhancing my overall MPG per tank.

Is that any clearer?

Please speak to my experience of seeing (and feeling) the gas engine refusing to turn off as easily as it had in the past.

BTW, this happens well after the engine has warmed up.

PS I will check my tires and geet them up to full steam if they show any less pressure than suggested. I've looked at them periodically and see no indication of any serious reduction iin pressure. In any case I fail to see how tire pressure should be affecting the readiness of the gas engine to cut out when conditions are ripe.

Steve

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Prius needs a tune up? Battery-Gas motors no longer in s

Quote:
Originally Posted by nevets2
Folks, Hi

Thanks for your replies. I'm so excited to at least be talking to other Prius owners who are listening to my problem.

Please understand that my point of view concerning how the Prius is operating is the info screen.

Info button top right side of steering wheel controls. Opens onto 2 windows
1. the "constant MPG" column window also with the current MPG for this tank
2. the window showing whether the car is being run off of the electric engine, the gas engine or both. Also shows the level of charge in the Prius main battery.

You can go back and forth between these two windows by clicking that Info button on the steering wheel.

I'm always looking at these windows as I drive.

I know how to release the accelerator on certain conditions over a flat or downhill grade so that the gas engine kicks out and the electric engine takes over at "99.9 GPM".

Lately, this has become more difficult. The gas motor refuses to kick out when it had been and allow the electric motor to kick in. (sometimes just kick out and no motor is on - we're just cruising on momentum). There are, in fact, a few symptoms of this problem, all working to increase the time that the gas engine is on and retard the transition to the electric engine or to otherwise turning off the gas engine.

Then I see that I'm getting worse mileage (starting at least 2 months ago during the summer before I brought it in for it's 30,000 mi service at which point they said everything looked good to them)

So it looks to me like the hybrid mechanism needs a "tune up" so that the gas engine can go back to acting as it had in the past and turning off under the same conditions, thereby enhancing my overall MPG per tank.

Is that any clearer?

Please speak to my experience of seeing (and feeling) the gas engine refusing to turn off as easily as it had in the past.

BTW, this happens well after the engine has warmed up.

PS I will check my tires and geet them up to full steam if they show any less pressure than suggested. I've looked at them periodically and see no indication of any serious reduction iin pressure. In any case I fail to see how tire pressure should be affecting the readiness of the gas engine to cut out when conditions are ripe.

Steve
I really don't think there's a problem. What you're describing is the behavior of the hybrid system when it's in stage III. When it shuts off automatically it's typically in stage IV. To get from stage III to IV you need to come to a complete stop, after full warm up, and keep the brake depressed for about 6 seconds...the ICE should shut off at that time and then you'll observe the behavior you're used to for the rest of that drive.
In cold weather it can take a LOT longer to get the ICE fully warm. From a completely cold start in city driving it may be as long as 15-20 minutes or more.

For more on the 4/5 stages of hybrid operation see:
http://priuschat.com/index.php?showtopic=13519

Evan Fusco, MD
'04 BC/Seaside
Nixa, MO http://greenhybrid.com/compare/milea.../signature.png
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 01:45 AM
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Hey! it's winter!!! THE CAR NEEDZ..... MORE GAS TO STAY WARM!!!!!

geeeeezzz


2001 original Pearl....

Livin the dream..........
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 01:54 AM
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The car came with a fuel guage and a speedometer to look at. The MFD is a conversation piece and wasn't made for interpretation to operate the car. Toyota does that automatically with several computers.
If you purchase a "scan guage" as many owners have to observe engine RPM and coolant temp ect; you would be amazed about what is really happening under the hood. (automatically)
Everything is normal in this car unless you are observing any red "idiot lights."
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 11-26-2007, 03:09 PM
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Not that there is enough information to know this, but wouldn't a stuck engine thermostat cause symptoms like this? It would take much longer for the engine to warm up and be more difficult to stay warm. If that were true, the engine would definitely run longer to try to maintain operating temperature. This wouldn't cause any idiot lights to come on. Although you would notice it if it had a temp gauge that was reading lower than normal.
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