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#1 (permalink) Old 06-22-2010, 02:37 PM
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Default 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

I have a 2001 Prius that just died, here is the story:

I was driving when the "triangle of death" came on and I could not get it to go away like I usually do (by cutting it off and back on 3 times). I then proceeded to drive it to work and observed that the main battery would charge and then when the electric drive motor kicked in the battery would quickly discharge. I also noted that the engine would engage and would be powering the vehicle in an almost pulsing manner and would propel the car even when I was not pressing the accelerator, but when I pressed the break it would disengage the transmission and the engine would be racing until I pulled off the road and cut it off. I am assuming that it is the main hybrid battery but I have not yet taken it to get the codes pulled so I thought I would post this and see what the Prius community thinks.

2001 Silver Prius

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#2 (permalink) Old 06-22-2010, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

Your symptoms could be the 12v battery or the hybrid module coolant pump, or many other possibilities. We really need the codes to narrow the actual defect down.
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#3 (permalink) Old 06-22-2010, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

I know that Autozone can pull the OBD codes will they be able to pull the codes on the Prius?

2001 Silver Prius

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#4 (permalink) Old 06-23-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

Yes -- Also, if you end up at the Toyota dealer, usually the diagnosis charge can be applied as a credit to the repair bill (if you have them do the repairs). However, you should confirm this before making any commitments.

Unless it is the 12v battery, it is very likely you will end up at the dealer for parts and/or repairs; as there are very few parts, except for oil and air filters, shocks, etc., that are available on the early models, except from Toyota.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress...
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#5 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

Ok here is what I ahve found thus far I took it to the local Toyota shop (Non-dealership) and they pulled the codes for free and here is the list

P0420 - Catalitic Converter

p3191 - Engine Does Not Start

p3006 - Battery SOC Uneven

p3011 - Battery Block #1 Malfunction

p3015 - Battery Block #5 Malfunction

p0302 - HV ECU Communication Malfunction

The mechanic said that he thinks the hybrid battery may be bad. It does not look good

2001 Silver Prius

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#6 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

Just my opinion, but this is the order I would start troubleshooting:

1. p3191 - Engine Does Not Start - It sounds like this has been a recurring problem for some time.
Does this occur when the ICE is cold, or after it warms up?
What icons appear on the screen when this happens?
How many times has this happened, and when did this first occur?
See possible problems below this list.

2a. p3006 - Battery SOC Uneven
2b. p3011 - Battery Block #1 Malfunction
2c. p3015 - Battery Block #5 Malfunction
All of these codes may be from driving your Prius with the ICE not running. The traction battery may not be bad. I'd work on #1 first.

3. p0302 - HV ECU Communication Malfunction - Same comment as #2.

4. P0420 - Catalitic Converter - This is probably caused by raw fuel in the exhaust from the ICE not running. I'd wait until after the other error codes are fixed and see if this goes away on its own.

===========

Possible problems:

1. 12v battery may be defective. - When was the 12v battery last replaced. I'd remove it and have it tested at Checker, AutoZone, Pep Boys, etc. If the voltage is low (shorted or open cell), the hybrid module can act funny and throw codes.

2. The ICE not starting could be caused by something as simple as overfilling the engine oil. Check the dip stick; if it's over the fill line, drain some oil out. This used to be a common problem when the Prius was first introduced. Excess oil gets sucked into the engine and prevents the ICE from starting immediately. Unlike normal autos, if the ICE doesn't start within about a half second (don't know exact timing), the hybrid system throws an error code and stops trying to start the engine.
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#7 (permalink) Old 06-26-2010, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: 2001 Prius Major Breakdown.

Continued...

3. The ICE not starting could also be caused by soot in the intake manifold. I recall there being reports of soot build-up on the butterfly valve or some part or sensor in the intake manifold that causes the engine not to start immediately. Search elsewhere on this site for this problem and repair instructions.

4. If the ICE starts, but the electric motor doesn’t run when the ICE is hot, it may be caused by the hybrid system coolant pump. There are two coolant systems in the Prius; one for the ICE and another for the hybrid system electronics. If this hybrid system electric pump fails, the hybrid module overheats and shuts down. However, you would probably see other codes, in addition to the ones you report.


I would be really hesitant to replace the traction battery without more troubleshooting, as there have been very few failures reported, except when associated with collision damage. Also, the repairs associated with the traction battery and hybrid module are usually replacement of the entire assembly, which is costly.

I would get a second opinion from another Toyota dealer before proceeding further. Or, at least have the dealer call in the factory people to troubleshoot it more thoroughly. Unfortunately, some dealers have much more experience working on hybrid vehicles than others.

If the traction battery or hybrid module must be replaced, check with the dealer and Toyota Zone Manager to see if they will provide free or discounted parts and/or labor as an act of good faith. This is more effective if you have had your vehicle serviced regularly at the dealer. They have helped early Prius owners in many cases to reward the early adopters.

As a last resort, you may be able to get replacement parts from a junk yard or used parts supplier. Although, if the cost is too high, you may wish to trade up to a newer model. The dealer may give a generous allowance on the new vehicle, because of the current market; and it doesn’t cost them much to do the repairs themselves. It’s only costly for us…
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