Toyota Prius Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ran a '04 or '05 Prius out of gas? I've been told if I do, I've have to have the car towed to a Prius dealer for correction.

The only reason I bring up the subject is that I would like to "test" the famous Prius gas gauge to it's limit, but I don't want to buy one of those $10 a mile tows or whatever the tow sharks charge. If this were a normal car, I would just coast to the shoulder, open the trunk and pour in a gallon or two and then proceed to the nearest gas station for a fill-up.

If anyone has ran out of gas, were they able to get going again without a tow to the dealer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
Many people have, I've not heard of a single one of them having any difficulty at all getting restarted.

Just remember to stop, immediately, when you run out of gas...don't decide to 'test' how far your battery will take you or you may not be able to restart and may find yourself in a world of trouble trying to get your battery recharged.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
how embarassing

I ran out of gas the other day.

I don't care for the fuel gauge's accuracy, as it shows "empty" when 7 gallons is gone, and blinks the last bar when there's still 2-3 gallons left. So I generally use the "consumption" display to figure out how much gas I've used, and I hadn't gotten in trouble, although I once suffered a little coughing when I approached 1 gallon left as I went up a hill.

Anyway, I was on a hilly freeway, with at least two gallons left (had gone 435 miles @ 45mpg), when the "exclamation point" lit up, and the engine died. I went ahead and ran the battery to empty, hoping I might get to the top of the next hill.

When I added 2 gallons of fuel (after a remarkably painless hitchhike!), it wouldn't kick in. My wife had been sitting in the car, reading the manual, pointing out that it said to call for service. I had left the car "on" so she would have the radio to keep her company.

Anyway, I decided to cycle the power before giving up (since it usually works with Windows), but found the POWER button refused to turn the car off. I proceeded to hit PARK, shift into drive, PARK, OFF, etc. until it suddenly decided to obey. When I turned it back on, off we went. The exclamation point and check engine
icons turned off after about a minute. When I got to the gas station, it only took 8 gallons, so I think my initial estimate of 2 gallons left was correct. I guess the hill got me.

I'm pretty sure the starter is 12V powered, so emptying the high voltage battery shouldn't affect starting the gasoline engine. OF course we all know the manual is a little sketchy about how the thing really works! :eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,285 Posts
You can't know how full the tank is when the pump shuts off. You don't know you had 2-3 gallons left; in fact, since you ran out of gas, that is unlikely. It would seem most people never actually fill their tank due to the bladder problems. Never count on having 12 gallons after a fillup! Just refill when you are down to one pip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,161 Posts
The 'starter' is MG1, MG standing for Motor-Generator, which is part of the high voltage system. The 12V only starts up the electronics, water pumps, brake system, and Electronic Power Steering.

HV powers the AC compressor, MG1, MG2 and the DC/DC converter to emulate an alternator. MG2 is connected directly to the wheels through fixed gears. MG1 is connected to the engine through the power split device. See Grahm's site http://home.earthlink.net/~graham1/MyTo ... Frames.htm
to understand the PSD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
dont you people understand that when you run a car completely out of gas, you draw into the fuel system as well as the engine any dirt , sludge or any kind of garbage in the bottom of the gas tank into the fuel system, including the fuel pump and well as injectors then the engine itself.
the old idea of never letting your tank get under half empty still applies , guys
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,214 Posts
quietman said:
dont you people understand that when you run a car completely out of gas, you draw into the fuel system as well as the engine any dirt , sludge or any kind of garbage in the bottom of the gas tank into the fuel system, including the fuel pump and well as injectors then the engine itself.
the old idea of never letting your tank get under half empty still applies , guys
I thought my car had a fuel filter to prevent foreign matter from getting into the engine.

I let it go to about 450 to 500 miles, or 1-2 pips before filling up. By refueling before 50%, I'd be filling up twice as many times as I do now.

By fueling less often, I do myself, you, and everybody else these favors:

1) Less chance I will be involved in a traffic accident at the gas station

2) Lower chance of me being injured or killed by a fire or explosion due to some idiot using their cell phone, smoking, or filling up with their engine running at gas station

3) By opening my filler cap less often, I release fewer gas fumes and other emissions into the air (you're welcome :) )

4) I spend less time in line

5) I spend less time using the pump (starting and stopping the pump takes time)

6) I make you wait for me fewer times each month

...there's more, but I'm getting tired now... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
quietman said:
dont you people understand that when you run a car completely out of gas, you draw into the fuel system as well as the engine any dirt , sludge or any kind of garbage in the bottom of the gas tank into the fuel system, including the fuel pump and well as injectors then the engine itself.
the old idea of never letting your tank get under half empty still applies , guys
Quietman,
1)Do you know where the fuel pump is in the car?
2)Did you know that fuel is always sucked from the bottom of the tank?
3)Did you know that this idea of sucking dirt, sludge, etc. is at least 2 decades outdated (probably more)--not that it doesn't still get past down.
4)Filling at 1/2 tank is simply ridiculous. There is no advantage, the 'junk' at the bottom, if any, has already been through the fuel system.
5)The fuel filter has a job...wanna guess what it is? That's right, it filters the gas before it gets to any critical engine components.

Now, that said, there are some very good (and real) reasons not to run the tank dry.
1)The fuel helps to cool the fuel pump in the tank. If run "dry" the potential for overheating, and thus damaging, the fuel pump exists. Still, there is allegedly a 'reserve' that the fuel pump can't suck out that exists to help keep the pump cooled. I'm not so sure, myself, that that would be very effective. The tiny amount of fuel would seem to heat up pretty quickly.

2)In Prius, the potential damage to the hybrid components...namely deeply discharging the battery is a foremost concern. I repeatedly hear of people running out of gas and then pushing how far they can get the car to go trying to reach the gas station. That is bad. If you run out of gas, stop the car as soon as can safely be accomplished and put on your shoes and start walking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,873 Posts
I think what makes more sense Evan, and what seems to have been overlooked by Prius owners was the fact that with every car you have ever owned you start thinking about a fill-up when you notice you have a half tank of gas. From that point on and at the first "convenient time" a good habit is to get gas. With the Prius, this occurs between 3 and 4 hundred miles on the odometer. Sure, you have a filter but it isn't that easy to change and you certainly don't need to test it. This crazy idea of bottom blips, and flashing lights has never become policy in previous cars and just cause your driving a hybrid is no excuse to radically change years of sensible driving habits. There should never be a reason to change fuel injectors at less than a 100 thousand miles and only bad habits cause this.
And quietman, just don't pick on bif for this. It seems to be a predominate point of view. In my whole life I have never felt it was a "chore" to buy gas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
gasless said:
The only reason I bring up the subject is that I would like to "test" the famous Prius gas gauge to it's limit[...]
What do you hope to learn from this? Because of the fuel tank bladder, the non-linearity of the gas gauge will vary depending on temperature. Do you plan to repeat the test at several different temperatures?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,560 Posts
I've been debating doing the 'empty tank' test myself. First, it'd be nice to know how much is left in *my* prius when the light comes on. Temperature and bladder variances may effect the 'full' point, but shouldn't change 'empty' all that much.

It's about safety. I've got a problem with pulling a car with a full tank of cold gas into my hot, Florida garrage and parking it next to my natural-gas water heater. I prefer to fill up just after leaving the house, rather than just before I get home. By the time the fuel warms up to outside temp, I will have dropped the tank level enough to compensate for it.

It's about convenience. I already fill up twice a week, why should I make it three if it's not ncessary?

It's about price. If I can get to where fuel is cheaper, why should I pay as much as $0.22 / gallon more if it's not necessary?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,873 Posts
No, it's about common sense. Cold gas expanding in the heat? Common!, 12 gallons might give you an additional half a shot glass, but if you let the nozzel shut off by itelf and then don't "milk" the tank you'll have about a half gallon for any expansion. Eight gallons at 3 cents per gallon saved by waiting till you get to a station ten miles away will save you 24 cents. You'r trying to make an argument when there isn't one there. I still can't find what's so very difficult buying gas. Gives you that perfect opportunity to gloat over the poor guy with the Toyota SUV at the next pump!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,560 Posts
You're good at quoting things from the manual... I guess you didn't read the warning where it talks about the bladder, and says that fuel *can* be dischaged from the tank after a fill up. Running out of gas might damage my car. A gas fire in my garrage will destroy my house, and possibly my family. I choose not to roll those dice.

I didn't say .03 per gallon, I said 0.22 so those 10 miles save me $2.00 twice a week. That's $4.00 in my pocket instead of someone else's.

If It makes you feel better, I played the same game with my Saturn, except I did it three times a week, not two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,873 Posts
You got me on that one. I can't find anything under "fuel" about the bladder causing anything other than the possibility of not getting a full tank in a cold winter day. There is a warning about removing the cap on a very hot day but that relates to the sealed fuel system and not any type of bladder. In fact, that's the reason for the bladder, to eliminate the chance of fumes escaping when removing cap.
20 cents a gallon difference between local stations would have me stopping every time I passed the discounted station. However that price difference would have me looking into what I was purchasing, unless that second station was in Georgia where the taxes are less!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
928 Posts
You fools! Running out of gas often causes the engine to stall, and as we've seen from the hundreds of articles about it, people are EXTREMELY likely to die whenever an engine stalls.

I suggest you all follow the advice of a recent post and seriously consider not driving your Prius again until Toyota repairs your Prius and makes it physically impossible for it to run out of gasoline.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
EV to the rescue.

I know this thread has sort of gotten away from the point, but for what it's worth, I had a rented Prius ('04) and (unintentionally) ran out of gas when the "next gas 45 miles" sign should have read "...if you get there before midnight..." ... so the Prius gasped and rolled to a stop. I looked at that triangle (for the first time in my life) and thought ... "we're ... f ... fairly well stuck here, now ..."

After a few minutes of discussion with my wife and four year-old on the topic of how embarrassingly stupid it was not to take that exit way back there and drive back half a mile to the gas station that I was meant to stop at, but missed the right exit. And how stupid it is in general to ever run out of gas in a car that was doing 400 miles to the tank ... :) ... anyway, I hit the go button just for lack of anything else to do. The engine started. We drove another mile before it konked out again. Trying my luck, I hit it again and it started again, but this time ran barely long enough to pull well off the side of the road and get cell phone reception to call the road side service people ...

Anyway, my point, I'd really like to have the EV button work so that I could drive on the electrics as far as possible, even if I have to limp along at 20mph or whatever. What's the thinking on this -- good idea for a "worst case" or no?

ps. There's no real harm done in running out of gas in any car since 1996 (closed fuel system cars) except many designs of fuel pump rely upon the fuel to cool and lubricate the pump motor. If you run out of gas, be sure to shut down the engine (in any vehicle) so the fuel pump doesn't self-destruct. As for dirt, the pump sucks from a scavenger bowl at the bottom of a plastic tank so the only rust is what gets pumped into the car from the underground tanks and the tanker trucks, all of which run a double-wall tank and the inside of some of those is plastic too. The pump has to ingest debris and water like crazy, the filter traps everything down to a micron size that the injectors happily squirt.

pps. It's true that fuel expands and contracts with temperature changes and there's some law about the time of day averages and compensating factors etc. If the Prius had a 44 gallon tank like the Excursion (and the same voracious appetite to drain that tank...) it might make a difference over the course of a year to meticulously and consistently fill up at the coldest moment of the coldest day of any given window of opportunity to fill up the tank. I believe the fuel density is at its coldest at the station in the underground tanks some time around day break each morning, but I really don't remember the details, just that there is a law about expansion and it pertains to the time of day, a compensation factor and, to some extent, it's there to protect the station operator from the tanker operator as much as anything, since pumping out of the tanker is a bigger deal, I'd imagine ...
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top