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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was told by the dealer today my car returned this code, 3009, 'high voltage electricty leak can cause serious harm to human body'.

Has anyone seen/experienced this before? I was basically told the car is unfit to drive and it will cost thousands of dollars to track down the problem and fix it. Kind of between a rock and a hard place.
 

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Sure hope this one is still under warranty! Methinks it's got to be a bad joke. We'll have to let MRV or DanMan explain this one. I wish I could find "codes" or even "computer" mentioned in the index of one of the three service manuals I have.
But I feel that someone is "playing with us here."
(I might have picked some more imaginitive numbers.)
 

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A bit of background history goes a LONG way to help with stuff like this. Was your car not operating properly? Why did the dealer check the code? What has he done, besides check the code, to find out what was wrong? Was the car in an accident with possible damage to the power lines of the car or to the battery?

Year, model, etc.

Help us help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Early Adapter said:
Was told by the dealer today my car returned this code, 3009, 'high voltage electricty leak can cause serious harm to human body'.

Has anyone seen/experienced this before? I was basically told the car is unfit to drive and it will cost thousands of dollars to track down the problem and fix it. Kind of between a rock and a hard place.
History: 2001, original owner, 207K+ miles -- warning light, engine dying syndrome has been going on since before the extended warranty ended. Have taken the car to 4 different dealers over the years, but none could assure me they knew what it was and none could assure me that their best guess for repairs would fix it. The accelerator sensor was suggested a couple of years ago, for $500+, but they told me it might not fix the issue and they did not mention this would be covered under warranty.

Finally got so bad I bit the bullet and took it in last week. Dealer replaced the ECM (main computer?) for $1400 - pointing out there had been a computer upgrade but I had not had it (also was never told this was covered under long gone warranty). The day after picking up the car it did the same thing - lost power and died. I took it back yesterday and they told me it returned 3 codes, two relating to the accelerator sensor, cost ~$500, and the third - code 3009. Basically told me it would cost me a fortune to troubleshoot and they couldn't guarantee it could be fixed, but they would start with the hybrid battery for $4700 and oh yeah, in the meantime the car is unsafe to drive. So I drove it home and am now analyzing my limited options for least amount of financial damage. I need a reliable car and I don't want to pour more $$ into this lemon. What I have learned is that Toyota makes unreliable cars they don't know how to fix.

I'm a strong believer in new technology and anxiously awaited this car because of its environmental impact (lack of) as well as noise reduction in city traffic (LOVE that feature), but I doubt I'll own another hybrid until that's all that is available.

Is that enough background for you?

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hyperion said:
Sure hope this one is still under warranty! Methinks it's got to be a bad joke. We'll have to let MRV or DanMan explain this one. I wish I could find "codes" or even "computer" mentioned in the index of one of the three service manuals I have.
But I feel that someone is "playing with us here."
(I might have picked some more imaginitive numbers.)
I am NOT playing with you. The Service Manager showed me the code listed in the Service Manual and I read the information myself, including the long chain of troubleshooting involved in figuring out what would cause this high voltage electrical leak 'that can cause serious harm to the human body' - it says that right in the manual.

I have posted in another group and 3 people have been able to find the code in their service manuals, but no one so far has ever encountered it.
 

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Early Adapter said:
[quote="Early Adapter":1rpdkg7t]Was told by the dealer today my car returned this code, 3009, 'high voltage electricty leak can cause serious harm to human body'.

Has anyone seen/experienced this before? I was basically told the car is unfit to drive and it will cost thousands of dollars to track down the problem and fix it. Kind of between a rock and a hard place.
History: 2001, original owner, 207K+ miles -- warning light, engine dying syndrome has been going on since before the extended warranty ended. Have taken the car to 4 different dealers over the years, but none could assure me they knew what it was and none could assure me that their best guess for repairs would fix it. The accelerator sensor was suggested a couple of years ago, for $500+, but they told me it might not fix the issue and they did not mention this would be covered under warranty.

Finally got so bad I bit the bullet and took it in last week. Dealer replaced the ECM (main computer?) for $1400 - pointing out there had been a computer upgrade but I had not had it (also was never told this was covered under long gone warranty). The day after picking up the car it did the same thing - lost power and died. I took it back yesterday and they told me it returned 3 codes, two relating to the accelerator sensor, cost ~$500, and the third - code 3009. Basically told me it would cost me a fortune to troubleshoot and they couldn't guarantee it could be fixed, but they would start with the hybrid battery for $4700 and oh yeah, in the meantime the car is unsafe to drive. So I drove it home and am now analyzing my limited options for least amount of financial damage. I need a reliable car and I don't want to pour more $$ into this lemon. What I have learned is that Toyota makes unreliable cars they don't know how to fix.

I'm a strong believer in new technology and anxiously awaited this car because of its environmental impact (lack of) as well as noise reduction in city traffic (LOVE that feature), but I doubt I'll own another hybrid until that's all that is available.

Is that enough background for you?

thanks[/quote:1rpdkg7t]
That is helpful...you posted most of that at Priuschat. But I hardly see where you arrive at the conclusion that "Toyota makes unreliable cars". 207k miles for an '01 isn't terrible even if you sell it for salvage. Toyota's history is that they make the most reliable cars in history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Efusco wrote: That is helpful...you posted most of that at Priuschat. But I hardly see where you arrive at the conclusion that "Toyota makes unreliable cars". 207k miles for an '01 isn't terrible even if you sell it for salvage. Toyota's history is that they make the most reliable cars in history.

Yes, I got a lot of miles out of it. But is it fair to call it a reliable car if what I had to do to get that mileage was use 'workarounds' to make the car run? Constantly having to pull off the freeway, turn off the car and restart it to get it to run doesn't strike me as something one should have to do for a reliable vehicle.

I am aware Toyota has a reputation for great reliability. And it's entirely possible I will consider a different Toyota as a replacement, but this is my only experience owning an Toyota and based on that - I'm now rifling through all the recalls for this car - I have to say it is not a reliable car. It is a great idea that isn't, in my experience, out of a beta stage. I have been making excuses for it for 4 years now. I'm over it. It's a lemon.
 

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just to note: Toyota the manufacturer is a different entity than Toyota the dealership. The dealerships are individually owned, and the service staff can vary a lot.

it's just too bad that you hadn't posted about your apparent Big Hand Syndrome, as it is a known issue and we the online community could've helped you resolve that much earlier, saving you much grief.

There was an interesting question posed by Peter on the toyota-prius yahoogroup on a similar thread, is whether it is possible that your dealer transposed numbers when noting the error code? P3090 is very common, and would result in the replacement of the ECM, and maybe a new fuel tank or circuit opening relay depending on diagnosis. See US TSB EG011-03.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... 011-03.pdf
June 12, 2003, Master, Hybrid & M.I.L. "ON" P3190/P3191 & P3101, 2001-2003 Prius. Replaces TSB EG012-02. (Fix: may replace circuit opening relay assembly, ECM (engine control module), and/or fuel tank assembly.)
 

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Well, an '01 Prius is, essentially, a 1st generation (don't nit pick me on that you guys). Marked improvements have been made in the current generation of Prius.

I'm sorry that it does sound like you had a bit of a lemon, I don't know if you got it used and there had been something wrong when you got it or what. But please don't generalize your experience to "Toyotas" in general, or even the Prius in general as they seem to be holding up very well.

I'm also sorry you chose to wait 4 years to make your first post about your problems with the car on one of the Prius forums. It's entirely possible we could have guided you in the right direction 100k miles ago to get to the bottom of the problems...I fear it's too late now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
efusco said:
Well, an '01 Prius is, essentially, a 1st generation (don't nit pick me on that you guys). Marked improvements have been made in the current generation of Prius.

I'm sorry that it does sound like you had a bit of a lemon, I don't know if you got it used and there had been something wrong when you got it or what. But please don't generalize your experience to "Toyotas" in general, or even the Prius in general as they seem to be holding up very well.

I'm also sorry you chose to wait 4 years to make your first post about your problems with the car on one of the Prius forums. It's entirely possible we could have guided you in the right direction 100k miles ago to get to the bottom of the problems...I fear it's too late now.
Actually, I've been posting in at least one forum since I got the car, (new, original owner) but I received several emails after one post that insinuated I was an idiot and didn't know what I was talking about, so I quit posting for a while.

I don't really expect you guys to know how to fix the issue, I have already decided I don't want to keep the car. (And no, I don't believe the dealer transposed the codes - the ECM was replaced last week.)

I just really wanted to find out if anyone out there had gone through this at all and apparently no one on the forums has. I have only seen one person who has more mileage on their Prius than I do, so maybe it's just to be expected with age, but really, I don't think one should have to 'accommodate' the quirks of a car the way I have had to with this one.

Sorry to offend those of you who are clearly Toyota loyalists. I think it's perfectly reasonable for someone to generalize about a brand based on their only experience with that brand. First impressions are long lasting and my point is, this has made a very bad first impression. I am not married to the Toyota brand, so I don't feel the need to defend them. (And believe me, I had been a Prius evangelist.)

On the other hand, I have also owned a Honda Accord (very early version) and second year Mazda Miata as well as a Mazda 626. I would go back to those brands in a heartbeat based on my experiences with those cars.

I do appreciate all the questions and analyses - and I will post whatever I may learn that would be of assistance. I think in my eagerness to get this car I just jumped the gun and got one of the earliest versions available here - which turned out to be a very bad idea.
 

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I want to apologise for my posts and only regret you wern't more forthcoming in your first post. Can't defend Toyota as except for articles in the Consumer Reports I have seen no sign of any greater reliability from them than any other manufacturer. I find their service bays full of Toyota's being worked on and their recent curtailment of production to get a better handle on quaility control speaks for itself.
I don't know if your car was a lemon at the start but I congratulate you on making the jump to the new technology when you did years before I got the nerve to do so. The Synergy system is interesting at the most and if all you want is high milage, until those six speed automatic transmissions appear it's about all that's out there except for the diesel which is a no, no, in my state. Aside from the milage I don't think much of the car. Because of it's construction, handling and lack of comfort, my next vehicle will definately not be made in the orient or by any of their factories anywhere else in the world.
(By the way, I miss my debates with Ricky Hirose. Does anyone know what happened to him?)
 

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hyperion said:
I find their service bays full of Toyota's being worked on. . .
Well what did you expect to find there, Ford's or Chevy's? I know they have worse reputations but that would be a really bad sign? :D Realistically, Toyota sells a ton of cars and cars do break from time to time. Looking at a service shop's workload is absolutely no way to tell how reliable a company's cars are? For that, you need data that divides the number of defects over a known number of cars, where that number is sufficiently large to statistically represent the whole. I'm not saying that CR is perfect, but it is a lot better than looking at a handful of dealerships without knowing how many cars those dealerships represent.
 

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When you say that the dealer told you that it would take "forever to troubleshoot" it sounds like they may not really know what they're doing. Are they expecting you to pay for their "learning experience" or on-the-job training? It would make sense for you to be expected to pay for thier time, but only if that time was effeciently used.

If they're just poking around and trying different things because they don't know how to properly approach the problem, you shouldn't be paying for it. I would suggest two things:

1. Call Toyota Corporate and talk to them. I've had good experiences with their customer support people when my dealer couldn't locate a part. One call to corporate and magically the part showed up! Explain to them the problems you've been experiencing and that you're not sure the dealer is well-prepared to diagnose and fix the problem. Trust me when I say that Toyota Corporate wants nothing more than to keep a 2001 Prius with 200K miles running and on the road (I know you may not agree with this statement, but fixing your car is much better for them than the negative publicity that could result from this situation). I know for a fact that they will intervene on your behalf.

2. Try a different dealer. I don't think you've mentioned whether you've tried this or not. Also, is there a certified Prius tech working on your car? You don't mention where you're located, so we don't know if there's other dealers in your area. You could also ask Toyota Corporate if they recommend a particular dealer in your area than knows how to work on the Prius.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
dgstan said:
When you say that the dealer told you that it would take "forever to troubleshoot" it sounds like they may not really know what they're doing. Are they expecting you to pay for their "learning experience" or on-the-job training? It would make sense for you to be expected to pay for thier time, but only if that time was effeciently used.

If they're just poking around and trying different things because they don't know how to properly approach the problem, you shouldn't be paying for it. I would suggest two things:

1. Call Toyota Corporate and talk to them. I've had good experiences with their customer support people when my dealer couldn't locate a part. One call to corporate and magically the part showed up! Explain to them the problems you've been experiencing and that you're not sure the dealer is well-prepared to diagnose and fix the problem. Trust me when I say that Toyota Corporate wants nothing more than to keep a 2001 Prius with 200K miles running and on the road (I know you may not agree with this statement, but fixing your car is much better for them than the negative publicity that could result from this situation). I know for a fact that they will intervene on your behalf.

2. Try a different dealer. I don't think you've mentioned whether you've tried this or not. Also, is there a certified Prius tech working on your car? You don't mention where you're located, so we don't know if there's other dealers in your area. You could also ask Toyota Corporate if they recommend a particular dealer in your area than knows how to work on the Prius.

Good Luck.
Hi there - Thanks for the suggestions. I did call corporate before I returned the car, so I have a record of what I've been through and a reference number. I had planned to give the dealer another shot before calling them back, which I did on Friday.

Let me clarify 'take forever to troubleshoot' as that was my paraphrase. What he did was show me the code in the Toyota Prius service manual and I read through the two pages of troubleshooting steps. His point was that the first thing they would do, as recommended, is start with the HV battery - estimated replacement cost $4700 - but that he could not guarantee that was the actual cause of the issue, and in reading through the service manual myself I can confirm that there were indeed two more pages of troubleshooting steps to root out the cause after the battery replacement. He also said several times he doubted I would get any financial relief from Toyota due to the high mileage on the car. He would not call them on my behalf without having anything specific to tell them and I am not willing to fork over $4700 for a 'possible' fix to a possibly phantom issue.

I do intend to call Corporate again on Monday. I would think it was in their best interest to get the car fixed, but you are the only person who has suggested it would be. My backup is to send a certified letter directly to the President of Toyota of North America - someone kindly emailed that info.

I have in total taken my car to 4 different dealers in the Puget Sound area and can honestly say I see no difference. And yes, it was a certified Prius tech working on the car.

Someone else with 20 years experience in the electrical industry emailed me and explained the nature of the issue as described by the code and indicated the car is not unsafe to drive with this issue, just unsafe for mechanics to work on. So I'm going to try the self-repair on the accelerator pedal recommended and if that works, get rid of the car ASAP. I do not have time for costly repairs. The service manager also indicated the repair could take several weeks. I cannot be without a car or paying for a rental car that long. So my options are fairly limited.
 

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The HV battery should be a testable thing. Every cell can be individually tested to see if it's working properly. Voltage and output can be checked. If that all checks out I don't see how replacing it could be of help. Also, if it turns out that the battery is bad, you can save a lot by getting a used/salvage battery...that should cost less than $500 + service to install. At least then you can sell a car that works, which should bring a lot more than one that doesn't.

If this is a problem that's been reported since before the warranty expired and was never resolved properly and Toyota was aware I believe they're obligated to continue to cover it under the warranty...I'm not a lawyer, but it seems that I've heard that's the case.

I can only imagine how frustrated you must be, but the bottom line is you either need to fix it and sell it once fixed or sell it for salvage/trade-in and accept a big financial hit.

I hope you have better luck with your next car, be it a Prius, a Toyota, or something else altogether. Your experience certainly is not the norm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update: My husband cleaned the accelerator pedal per instructions provided by Doug Schaefer. We took it out for a rigorous spin all afternoon and so far there have been no issues, no warning lights, no hesitation, no stalling.

The real test will be when I drive my 140 mile commute on Monday, but if this holds out long enough for me to trade the car in I'm happy.

I will keep you updated on further developments. I hestitate to get too excited, but it is nice to have been able to do something ourselves that appears to have helped, and certainly did not hurt.
 

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Codes have a letter in front of them, typically P, so I found this code strange. Fortunately Adobe Reader can find the codes by only the number.

However, I only have the repair manual for 2004, which would also work for 2005, and mostly work for 2006 (the drivetrain is the same, but much of the 'entertainment' electronics have changed).

For the new generation, P3009 indeed indicates a short in the high voltage, and there would be a sub number (INF code) that would narrow down the source. I doubt it is the battery itself that is triggering the code, and I think you would have worse problems than you describe if a short were the problem. The high voltage system is floating from ground, so either side touching ground either directly or through a high resistance could trigger this error. It is not likely though in normal use of the car that you would come across both sides of a circuit completing a dangerous path through you. Did you know that you often touch one end of your household wiring on a regular basis? But depending on the nature of the leak, the system may allow normal driving, or may go into limited driving mode. For the new Prius, even putting the wrong AC compressor oil can trigger this code.

You say the dealer didn't transpose the number, did he show you the display on the scanner showing the error coming from the car? If not, he may have transposed digits.

It's too bad you didn't press the issue while it was still under warranty if this indeed was the code.

By the way, you can go to many auto parts store chains, and even some repair centers and they can extract codes free of charge or for a very small fee. They may not be able to interpret the code, but they can give you the numbers and then we can research it for you.
 
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