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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-19-2008, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
 
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Default Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

I have a 2005 Toyota Prius that suddenly began displaying several error messages after the air conditioning system had been repaired and the Coolant Heat Storage Water Pump System (R & R Water Pump Assembly w/Motor & Bracket) had been replaced. The car operated with no problems prior to these repairs, and I hope that someone on this Forum can tell me what may be causing these issues.

While driving the Prius for about 15 minutes with the air conditioning running at maximum, the Multi-Information Display suddenly illuminated the Hybrid System Warning Light (red car with exclamation point in the middle). The Instrument Cluster immediately lit the Master Warning Light (red triangle with exclamation point in the middle) and the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (yellow engine check light). A few minutes later, the Brake System Warning Light (yellow bracketed circle with exclamation point in the center) began to glow which led the air conditioning system to suddenly not blow cold air. I did notice that the air conditioner did not consistently blow cool air prior to all these warning lights coming on (sometimes, this air would be ambient temperature or a bit warm). Obviously, I took the car back to the Toyota Dealership for further diagnosis. They cleared the errors, but the lights reappeared as mentioned above. After a few days of trial, the Dealership is still investigating.

Has anyone even come close to seeing these issues on their car? My Prius only has 26K, and has been well cared for. I'm hoping this could only be a loose connection caused by the above repairs. Anyway, thanks in advance for your feedback on this post.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-20-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

As no one has replied here, try asking at http://www.priuschat.com
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-20-2008, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

Maybe if they left air in the system it appears to be overheating and so the car shuts off the AC and hits the warning messages. I believe there is a "burping" procedure when the water pump system has been opened up.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-21-2008, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

Thanks for the information thus far. To further elaborate on what had been repaired on the Prius, the body shop removed the radiator to further align the metal sidings as well as replace the AC Compressor. The Inverter Coolant Pump also had a slow leak, which prompted them to replace that as well. The error messages began appearing a few minutes after I drove away from the body shop.

It seems that (based on my research thus far) air pockets within the Inverter Coolant System may be causing the Inverter to overheat and issue the error codes before shutting down. I visited the Dealership first thing Monday morning to discuss my investigations and look at the car. When we viewed the Inverter Coolant Reservoir, the fluid definitely was lower than the low limit line. The electric pump also failed to start when required. We left the reservoir cap off the reservoir in preparation for the tech to fill the bottle, but when I came back about an hour later the reservoir was empty and pink coolant could be seen underneath the car.

Needless to say, there is an obvious leak in the Inverter Coolant System. I wonder if they tightened every hose connection? Interesting turn of events, and I definitely will keep everyone informed.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2008, 04:24 AM
 
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

The other problem with the inverter coolant loop. After a fluid change, if the system has not been air bled properly, you will get into warning light overtemperature range in a very few minutes.

Check that the bleeding procedure was done.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2008, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

BE SURE to document the fact that it had low fluid and leaks! get it on Toyota's own paperwork. Any damage down the line in the related components could be Toyota's liability, but if you don't document it NOW, you won't have a leg to stand on. Just because it works today, that doesn't mean the overheating didn't sdhorten the life of some component.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

Was all of the work performed by certified Prius technicians (this almost always means a Toyota dealer)?
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2008, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

The initial repair of the Prius had been performed at a BBB-certified body shop that has experience with rebuilding Priuses. With that said, I don't know if their Technicians are Prius certified. The techs have the usual ASE and I-Car certifications, and I brought the car to them since they're well known around my area as being more Customer-friendly and accommodating than any dealership.

When I suddenly had error codes after the body shop repair, I initially brought the car back to them for further diagnosis. However, they had been very truthful in disclosing their limited electrical knowledge of the Prius (due to its intricacies) and suggested I bring my car to a dealership just in case. Since I'm near two Toyota dealerships, I brought the Prius to the closer one (only a mile closer than the other). The dealership's diagnosis indicated a leak within the Inverter Coolant System, but they found nothing. After resetting the codes, I drove home only to have the error codes reappear. As noted above, I pointed out to the dealership that it seems the Inverter Cooling System definitely has a small leak due to the inverter reservoir suddenly losing its fluid within an hour after removing the reservoir cap (the pavement also showed signs of leakage). Again, I'm surprised they could not find the leak or leaks to clear the error messages.

I'm actually going to have the car towed to the other Toyota dealership for them to try to diagnose and fix what the current dealership had trouble with. Although the car is drivable, I don't want to chance further possible ruin to some components (as KTPhil mentioned above). I'm now envisioning many dollar signs while going through this exercise. Also as suggested above, I will have the dealership document that the Inverter Cooling System appears to have a slow leak and the inverter fluid level is low. Hopefully, the second dealership will do a better and faster job in troubleshooting.

As a previous Prius owner (I used to own a 2002 Prius which I sold at 150K miles), I'm becoming more puzzled with what I'm suddenly experiencing with my "new" Prius. Anyway, I'll post more info when available. Thanks again for those who have contributed to this post.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

It's pretty likely that the body shop did one or more things wrong. Get it to the other dealer to get it diagnosed and fixed properly. Good luck!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2008, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: Intermittent Hybrid System Problems

Keep your dealer reciepts and present them to the body shop for reimbursement. If they can't do it right, thay must reimburse you for the cost to complete the job you already paid for.

The new Prius is different by way of the coolant thermos tank and pump, which adds complexity to the refill process. Apparently the body shop didn't know this, either, but it's their JOB to know it!

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