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I filled up for the first time at 366 miles after I got to the flashing bar. I put in 8.84 gallons into the car and that averages out to be about 41 mpg although the CRT readout had 48.2. It was interesting that the tank thought that it really was empty only 8.8 gallons into the 11.9 gallon tank. I was talking to a Pioneer Prius friend and he said that the tank sensors now are all digital and it may take 3 or 4 fill ups to correctly calibrate the sensors. Can anyone comment on this? :?
 

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Your experience with the early flashing is consistant with what I'm seeing and what everyone else is reporting on the yahoo boards. I have not heard that the sensor will self calibrate. Seems that Toyota has been ultra-conservative with the guage. It's a shame, really, b/c there's a legitimate 200 miles more fuel in the tank with some to spare. Looks like I'm going to be filling up based on miles traveled more than using the guess guage.

My calc. mileage has been a bit closer than yours. I showed 43.? on my first tank and calc. to 44.3. My last tank showed 47.? and I calc. 48.3.
--evan
 

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300 Miles

My gauge had 1 bar left on it at only 300 miles. I filled it up and was only able to put 5.8 gallons into it before it was full. I will see what my dealer says this weekend when I take it in for some other work.
 

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Just filled my tank on my '04 Seaside Pearl for the first time with one bar flashing (had just gone off) and only managed to get 7.01 gallons in (and that was coaxing the last few drops in). The consumption gauge showed 50.4 mpg, but the calc at 7.01 gallons was 46.0. My suspicion is that the tank was not quite full (as full as I made it) from the dealer. The 7.0 fill is a bit disconcerting, however. Is it the guage or is it the tank? If it is the tank, then we won't be going 600 miles on a tank now, will we. However... this car is FANTASTIC.
 

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On some of the other boards, people have complained that the mpg shown on the display was higher than the actual. I was pleasantly surprised to find that mine actually reads low. My last fill up showed 43.8 on the display but calculated out to 45.2, and I am very careful to fill the same each time so I have coinfidence in the number. My wife and I took the Prius on a trip to Cleveland yesterday. Even on rough Ohio highways (PA roads are MUCH better, at least in the NW area) the ride was very comfortable. This is definitely the best riding car I have ever owned. We are planning to go the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January and are looking forward to the trip. It's going to be great to be able to talk to people about the Car of The Year from an owner's perspective! We are VERY satisfied with this Toyota product.
 

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I doubt that your gauge will always read low...it may always read low when you're doing the type of driving you did with the first tank (probably your usually daily commute), but then it may computer higher than actual in another type of driving. It's a bit hard to predict since it's a computer estimate, not an accuate calculation of actual gas volume used.
--evan
 

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I just filled up my '04 for the first time as well (flashing single bar for perhaps 10 miles before I did). Car took 8.529 gallons after 364 miles. Display MPG read 44.4, calculated MPG of 42.7.

Jay in Northern Virginia
'04 Seaside Blue AM since 11/18/03
 

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I'm a new prius owner with the 2004 model. I love the car but I have been experiencing similar problems to what others are stating (lower MPG than expected and small gas tank). My MPG is improving, and I think my 10 minute commute to work and > 70mph freeway driving habits will never allow me to get near the EPA rated milage.

More important to me is the gas tank issue. I hate going to the gas station, and going a long way on a tank of gas was a major selling point for me.

Has anyone tried pushing it to see if there really is a few extra gallons at the bottom of the tank (once the last bar has started flashing)?

Thanks in advance.

Ben
 

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Not me, yet. I keep saying to myself that I know I've got at least another 100 miles in there, but dang if doesn't tighten a sphincter to see that flashing bar and the "Add Fuel" on the display every time you start the engine....and the fire & brimstone warnings about ruining the entire hybrid system if you run her out of gas....yea, I buckle under.

Be patient, someone's going to have more huevos than me and find out just how far you can go. Then everyone will know. I suspect I'll be filling b/w 450 & 500 miles apart eventually, now I'm closer to 350 miles/tank but only squeezing in about 8 gallons.
--evan
 

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I sent an email to Toyota customer service about the fuel tank issue.

Here is their reply:


"Thank you for contacting Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
We apologize for your concern regarding the fuel tank capacity of your 2004 Prius.

Part of the tank's full capacity is used by a reserve of fuel, in order to keep water and debris out of the fuel lines.

If you feel your Prius fuel tank is not working properly, we recommend you contact the Customer Relations Manager at your local Toyota dealership to further evaluate your Prius.

Toyota dealership technicians are specialized in the diagnosis and repair of Toyota vehicles. They are provided with extensive training and have access to state-of-the-art equipment to help in the accurate diagnosis of your vehicle. Also, if necessary, we provide additional support to assist Toyota dealership technicians in resolving unusual vehicle concerns."


Seems like a BS response if ever I saw one. No car I've heard of requires 3 - 4 gallons of reserve to keep the fuel lines clean. I'm going to talk to my dealer, but I think we should get everyone on the newsgroups to complain to both their dealer and to Toyota directly. If enough people complain, it's likely they will do something about it.


Ben
 

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Same experience here with a super hyper proactive low fuel warning.

Anybody see oil company logos on the nav screen when the single bar starts flashing? (Without enabling POI icons...).

Yesterday's experience: Low fuel warning, filled her up:
326.2 miles, 7.38 gallons, 44.2 actual, 46.4 on screen.

Toyota erred on side of caution to prevent any fuelless starts. this may addressed by a simple ECU/EEPROM flash.
 

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This inability of not being able to utilize the 4-500 mile capacity of the tank concerns me too. Though not presently a Prius owner, when my delivery comes in March(?) here's what I plan to do unless Toyota or some bright poster here or on the Yahoo forums comes up with a betterr fix.

Since most of my driving is local in a town of 15,000 with little freeway driving I plan to carry a full 2 1/2 gallon gas can and when the fuel gauge starts to approach empty keep a close eye but push it to the limit. Should I run out I'll dump the 2 1/2 gallons in and head for the nearest gas station and top up. Doing this a couple of times coupled with resetting the trip meter at each fillup should give me a good baseline of when to get excited when the gauge starts to approach empty.

Comments :?:

Chuck
 

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I'll be excited to hear your results.

Me, I'm way too anxious that I'll damage the hybrid system by running the car until the tank is dry. It probably won't, mind you, but I'm still a bit too anxious to do it. There's just something about that flashing bar and the "Add Fuel" message that keeps popping up that makes it hard to drive very far after they start.

Still, I think we're going to need a few experiences where the tank does run dry with people keeping a close eye on the milage/consumption screens to see just how much usable fuel there is, on average, once the flashing starts.

I've varied by about a gallon and a half the amount of fuel I've been able to add once the bar starts flashing (low 7.4 gallons, high 8.8 gallons). In theory I should have at least 2-3 more gallons of usable fuel, but I haven't risked the push yet.
--evan
 

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Well Evan, don't be holding your breath until next March waiting on my results. You'll turn blue! :D

I do tend to agree with the apprehension aroused by a flashing Add Fuel light. Definitely a big sphincter contractor when flying a plane.

OTOH, other than the hassle of running out of gas in heavy traffic I don't understand your concern about damaging the hybrid system by running the tank dry. Seems to me that if the traction battery had a decent charge on it that enough power would be available to get to the side of the road where one could either hitch a ride for gas or use a reserve container as suggested in my earlier post.

I do recall reading over on the Yahoo forums that driving any distance when out of gas might damage the electric fuel pump if the ICE would not start because of fuel starvation. I would hope there would be a software shutdown of the fuel pump/ICE system if the tank was dry and the ICE would not start. May be not.

Well, all of this is pure specualtion on my part since I have a grand total of about 15 miles driving two dealer demos! What sort of caveats does the owners manual have about running the tank dry?

Sure glad to see you and other Prius 04 fore runners breaking trail for this Husky. Please have all the kinks worked out for me by next March. :wink: :wink:

Chuck aka waskibert

--------------------------------------------
What is is and can not not be
What is not is not and can not be
 

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'02 consumption update

For you data junkies out there, I have a spreadsheet on usage thus far on my '02 Classic...This is small city driving on work commute, mostly. Speed llimits 25-35, many stop lights. Sorry about the funky columns. This does not translate well from Excel...

Prius '02 MPG
date miles gallons virtual MPGactual MPG$ A/C
bought 464 11.54 49.2 40 $19.50
4/1/03 543 11.16 51.1 46.8 $18.30
5/7/03 576 11.4 53.4 50.5 $15.41
6/9/03 587 11.4 54.3 51.4 $15.25
7/15/03 450 11.02 43.4 40.8 $16.53 y
8/16/03 500 10.55 49.1 47.3 $15.18 y
9/13/03 528 11.22 52.4 47.05 $17.16 y
10/4/03 532 11.7 45.4 $12.00 y
11/1/03 527 9.7 54.1 54.3 $13.00
11/22/03 503 10 53.3 50.3 $13.50
12/5/03 477 8.48 52.5 56.2 $11.28
total $167.11 :D
 

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That is great mpg data, Leebek! Course, down there in Savannah it never goes below 65, right? At the moment here I'm looking at 25 with snow coming down. I've been keeping careful track of mileage on my '02 because I got a grant from the Commonwealth and have to report the data every quarter. Without rushing to the files, I'll say that overall for c. 23K miles I'm getting 46-47 mpg. I switched to synthetic oil and am running Bridgestone B420s (non-LRR).

Nice town, Savannah. Gas is cheap down there too. I just drove down to Augusta for T'giving---1420 miles r/t---and got 46.5 mpg for the trip.

Next time you get out to the cemetery, lay a flower on Johnny Mercer's grave for me.

P.S. What the heck is "subsitiute"?
Do I get a reward for paying attention?
 

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More tank info

I have now filled my '04 three times, once with one bar flashing (7 gal), once with 1 bar (not flashing) 7.1 gallons and once with 2 bars remaining (5.6 gal). I guess until we kind of have a better sense of what actually fits in the tank we won't be pushing our luck. My mileage has been improving, however. This fill calculated to 52.7 and the energy monitor showed 54.2. It was a mix of about 60/40 highway/city driving and I really try to maximize the fuel economy. I am finding that my '04 is a bit touchier on convincing it to go to stealth mode. I am actually getting better highway mileage than I thought I would and worse city mileage than I though (a LOT worse). Based on my experience in my '03, I was sure I would be over 60 mpg easily around town, since I can get 52-54 around town in my '03. Nonetheless... the '04 is a wonderful vehicle.
 

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Fuel tank recalibration

FWIW, I've noticed the "guess gauge" has been getting less accurate on my '02. It'll sit at "full" for quite a while then drop like a rock. This past tank it went from 4 bars to one in a single day of around-town driving.

Using the instructions in the service bulletin (I have an ALLDATA-DIY subscription) I was able to re-calibrate the inclination sensors (apparently there are both lateral and longitudinal sensors that are factored into the fuel level display).

So far I've noticed the fuel level indicated by the gauge has dropped more steadily...when I used to often get over 100 miles on "full" it has dropped basically one bar per day of driving (my total commute is typically in the 50+ mile range). Consumption display is hovering around the 40MPG level (not as good as usual, but we did recently switch to oxygenated fuel, so I'm not crying wolf yet). Stay tuned, I'll post when I know if it continues to work more reliably.

I don't think it'd be kosher for me to post the instructions here due to copyright issues but I can tell you the job can be done without getting your hands dirty :) and all you need is a level surface to park the car, your keys and your two hands.

I also don't know if the recalibration procedure has changed for the '04 model. I'd guess it's similar but perhaps not identical...

Still waiting for my ride in your new toy, Pete...

Steve
Portland, OR
'02 Brilliant Blue
34999 miles (really!)
 

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The last two times I've filled mine - I put very 8 gallons in both times when the fuel level indicator was blinking.
 

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OK I was out of town so I missed the first fill-up after recalibrating the inclination sensors in my 2002. Report from spouse is that the fuel gague seems much more linear in behavior since the procedure. Of course I'm still seeing pretty crappy mileage due to the weather and the oxygenated fuel switch-over, but at least I'm not seeing the same kind of erratic display that could get one caught off-guard needing to fill-up.

For those with access to the TSB database, the bulletin number is EL008-03. This is for 2001-2003 cars. Don't know if there is a similar bulletin for the 2004 yet. The process is very easy to perform, you need your car key, two hands and a level surface on which to park the car. I don't know if the tank needs to be full at the time, but I did do this right after filling up.

YMMV

Steve
Portland, OR
2002 Brilliant Blue
35500 miles
 
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