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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took my Prius in for the recall that applies a software fix for the rare problem where the gas engine stalls and all the warning lights go on. They were unable to burn the new programming into the ECU, and they told me that I would have to get a new ECU.

I have no problem with geting a new ECU except for the fact that it has now been on order for a week, and they told me I can't drive the car until the new ECU has been put in. They told me that the fact that the new programming couln't be burned in is indicative of serious problems with my current ECU, and that is why I can't drive it until the new one comes in.

I am extremely skeptical that anything was wrong with my ECU when I drove it in for the recall, other than the vulnerability to the rare condition that the recall would fix. Part of the reason for my skepticism is that I got the dealership to admit that Toyota had told them ahead of time to expect that a small percentage of the cars could not be reprogrammed and would need a new ECU. I would insist on taking my car back until the new ECU comes in, but I am worried that they are not telling me the whole story, and the reason they don't want me to drive it is that they think the process of unsuccessfully trying to reprogram the existing ECU messed up the existing ECU.

Should I insist on taking my car back until the new ECU comes in, or is there a real possiblity that unsuccessfully trying to reprogram the existing ECU messed up the existing ECU?
 

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Hm.

I first would want ALL if this in writing. Second, are they loaning you a new Prius comparable to the one you are paying for while they fumble about repairing a KNOWN defect. You COULD be without a car for over 6 months (my 1986 Acura HvAC was out for 4 months while Honda tried to make repair parts ...). Did the dealer give you a time frame for completion?

Something is amiss if the dealer cannot give you more data than what has been stated. You may want to contact your state's Auto repair bureau and note your concerns.

Good luck.

Walt (my Prius may NEVER see a Toyota service bay :wink:
 

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It is possible that the HV ECU or ICE ECM lost its programming due to an incomplete flash. One of the versions of the THHT firmware was known to cause this. I think it was version 13.1. If the flash upgrade gets interrupted for any reason, including loss of power to the THHT, the car (which is why the tender is required), or a transfer program flaw, then the ECU has an incomplete program and is useless. This is no different than updating the bios on a motherboard of a PC, except nowadays, there is a backup bios or at least a backup flash loader to reload the flash.

If the ECU or ECM lost its code, then the car cannot be driven any more than if these modules were removed from your car, and any more than if someone removed your microprocessor or bios chip from your motherboard would cause your PC to be a doorstop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is in response to DanMan32.

Thank you for your answer.

From what they are telling me, the car can be driven and everything will appear normal, but based on the fact that the new programming didn't take, something more than the recall vulnerability is lurking, and my car could break down at any time, and this is what I find hard to believe.

So if there is not a loss of ECU or ECM code such that the car can not be driven, seemingly normally, would you try to drive it now?

Also, what does THHT stand for?
 

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boy, is your dealer feeding you a line of crap.

the 'serious problem' with the ECU is that they fried it, no more and no less. gross negligence, there has been a series of warnings posted in their technical information system regarding proper flashing of prius ECUs. the car won't be driveable.

what toyota told them ahead of time was 'don't fry the ECU, we have too many on backorder already from the software glitch in the scan tool.'

see, the first week or so that the recall was available, the scan tool they use to reflash the ECU had a software defect of its own that would screw up the ECU, basically. that wasn't negligence on the tech's part, that was a screw up in the software engineering. they caught it and figured out the problem, and sent out all sorts of warnings to use a different version of software. not everyone paid attention to that warning, and as a result of that negligence, people are still getting fried ECUs.

there are still about 150 ECUs backordered in the US according to the last figure i heard. hopefully you'll be getting yours soon.

until then, drive the rental car and track your gas mileage. i'd bill them for extra gas costs in whatever car they gave you, unless they happened to give you another Prius to drive.
 

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recalled05 said:
From what they are telling me, the car can be driven and everything will appear normal, but based on the fact that the new programming didn't take, something more than the recall vulnerability is lurking, and my car could break down at any time, and this is what I find hard to believe.
So, you are driving the car right now? If the car is driveable they didn't flash the vehicle at all. A failed flash will cause the vehicle to not work at all. If they successfully completed the flash then nothing to worry about, you should have a sticker under the hood that indicates that you have had the 50p update and all is well.

I'd be very suspicious of this dealership because the only reason your car would need a new ECU is if the flash failed and the programming was incomplete. As such you are driving the vehicle, so you are operating on valid and functioning programming. There are then no hidden or lurking issues because none of have been introduced.

I'd find another dealer to work with, and I'd call Toyota corporate reagarding this issue and the fact that you don't believe you are being told a straight story.
 

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hyperion- they made about enough ecu's to match new production.

i think 500-1000 ecu's were fried in the first week or 2 of this update. that's a huge, unexpected demand.

i'm not defending their way of doing things, i'm just saying that's what happened.
 

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I still have to stand by with my first remarks. If the word ever got out that the Prius is a great car but you just can't get parts for it, I dont want to be the one who states that they just make enough parts for "new" production units. I would personally shut down production now and devote every ECU made to the parts dept. And Fed Express still offers overnight service from the Orient to my Toyota dealer in New Bedford Mass. I'de say, get those part suppliers in China "cranked up."
At the least, I would be stripping every new car on the docks for their ECU's and forwarding them to dealers with "parked" cars. Do that and their would be a new "priorty" for certain car immobilizing part supplies.
Maybe I expect too much but a little common sense could be used here.
 

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hyperion said:
At the least, I would be stripping every new car on the docks for their ECU's and forwarding them to dealers with "parked" cars. Do that and their would be a new "priorty" for certain car immobilizing part supplies.
Maybe I expect too much but a little common sense could be used here.
You're not serious, are you? That would make those cars no longer new. Trying to sell those cars as new would be fraud. Would you knowingly buy such canabalized then later fixed cars as new? If you found out later that this was done to your car, would you not complain?

There is another explanation to what the dealer is saying, though I do doubt their integrity.
It is possible the scan tool or ECU is refusing to even start the flash. It does do some checks first.
 

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Sorry to disagree with you again DanMan but if a new car placed on the dock was found with a broken window which was replaced on the dock with a new one before going to the dealer, it would still be a new car. In fact any car sold with "zero" milage at a dealer can be considered a new car. I expect it would take a "trained" wrench about a hour to swap out something like a computer module which could be replaced in the same time when the parts started started showing up. This is what I call "common sense" and I am perfectly serious. You might think different if it was your car languishing at a dealers while you were waiting for a replacement part to show up from Japan.
It should never have to occur but something seems to be wrong with the part replacement on these cars as several posts have indicated.
I don't mind being told I have to wait for a part when I am told it was just shipped from a Chicago warehouse, but the answer "I can't tell you when" is unacceptable.
"Canabalized?" You think if a car shows up at a dealers without the headlights working and they are replaced before being delivered to the customer negates the "new car" status. Think, a little. If the same car shows up without a computer module and the dealer replaces it before delivery, the car can no longer be sold as new?
"Fraud," I don't think you meant to say that.
I believe a dealers interpretation of a new car is one that has not as yet been titled. I've seen many posts here of owners picking up their new cars with as much as 12 miles indicated on the odometer.
 

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Replacing a bulb is a whole lot different than replacing an ECU. Replacing a window is also something I better not know about. Glass fragments could be anywhere, rendering the car not new, as well as possible door panel not being installed perfectly.
How many have been reluctant to have work done, in the fear that door/dash panels would never be perfect again? I believe even you, Hyperion, have commented about that.
 

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This discussion of new, not new reminds me of an “incident” that occurred at the Ford Assembly plant that I worked at during the summer when I was in College. I was on the Econoline Van production line testing brakes. Up the line from me the Vans went from a ground line to an overhead line so the drive train, brakes, wheels etc could be put on. At the transfer station, the Vans rolled of the ground line to a carriage that was then pushed by hand to the place where the overhead line dipped to the floor. The overhead cradle attached at each of the four corners to the frame. After being attached the line then went up to about 5-6 feet off the ground. One night the “gang” that made the transfer got the front of a Van attached but not the back. The overhead went up dragging the rear end of the Van. Someone hit the panic button and stopped the entire line through out the plant. No one was working. The local supervisor called everyone possible over and we tried with out success to lift the rear up and reattach it. 3 or 4 min later the senior supervisor arrived. He took one look. Stopped a forklift going by with a pallet of parts. He jumped in to the fork lift dropped the pallet in the walk way. Raised the fork about 3 feet off the ground and drove them through the side of the Van. Lifted it up and it was hooked up. He pulled back waved at the fork lift driver to get the fork lift out of there, yelled at all of us to get back to work and hit the button starting the line. I checked up on that Van. When it got to the end of the line with those four huge holes in it they sent it to the body shop fixed it and put it on a truck and sold it as new.
 

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Reminds me of the stories about buried beer cans in the Firebirds/ Camaros coming out of the Van Nuys (CA) plant before it was closed.

Geewiz, and to think the Japanese are supposedly building better cars... who would have thought with behavior like this? ;-)
 

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hdrygas said:
This discussion of new, not new reminds me of an “incident” that occurred at the Ford Assembly plant that I worked at during the summer when I was in College. I was on the Econoline Van production line testing brakes. Up the line from me the Vans went from a ground line to an overhead line so the drive train, brakes, wheels etc could be put on. At the transfer station, the Vans rolled of the ground line to a carriage that was then pushed by hand to the place where the overhead line dipped to the floor. The overhead cradle attached at each of the four corners to the frame. After being attached the line then went up to about 5-6 feet off the ground. One night the “gang” that made the transfer got the front of a Van attached but not the back. The overhead went up dragging the rear end of the Van. Someone hit the panic button and stopped the entire line through out the plant. No one was working. The local supervisor called everyone possible over and we tried with out success to lift the rear up and reattach it. 3 or 4 min later the senior supervisor arrived. He took one look. Stopped a forklift going by with a pallet of parts. He jumped in to the fork lift dropped the pallet in the walk way. Raised the fork about 3 feet off the ground and drove them through the side of the Van. Lifted it up and it was hooked up. He pulled back waved at the fork lift driver to get the fork lift out of there, yelled at all of us to get back to work and hit the button starting the line. I checked up on that Van. When it got to the end of the line with those four huge holes in it they sent it to the body shop fixed it and put it on a truck and sold it as new.
How long ago was it that you were working for Ford when this happened? I'm a little surprised that a vehicle with body work would make it onto a dealer lot. I could see Ford patching it up and keeping it for their own purposes, but that would be pretty bad to send a damaged vehicle out there for sale.

As for the Prius. It isn't in good form to take new cars that are coming into port and strip them to provide parts for cars that need service. It introduces variability in the manufacturing and delivery process which doesn't need to be introduced. I'm not so certain myself that I would trust port personnel to do the "stripping" of these vehicles and then the subsequent repair of these vehicles with parts as they became available.

The core issue here is not if Toyota has parts of the cars, but dealerships taking responsibility for doing computer flashes by the book. Aside from the software issue that Toyota identified on the THHT (that was out of the hands of the tech until they issued a communication) and the vehicles that had failed flashes based upon that, if a Tech follows the procedure down to the letter it should work.

This is a communications issue and a global business problem. You can generate as many communications, memos, emails, web pages and other hard solid forms of information and documentation and if they aren't read, they don't do any good anyway.
 

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1968-69. Can't remember which summer it was. Good money 10 hours a day one week off for change over. Quality was not job one back then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am the originator of this forum topic. Sorry I haven't gotten back for a couple days, but I thought that Dan Man's answer had then led me to more stuff on the internet that explained my problem. Namely that version 13.1a of the transfer software was frying ECUs. I finally got a straight answer from Toyota that my ECU was indeed fried and the car was definitely undrivable. I am waiting for a new ECU and do have a loaner.

At first I got the service manager to agree that 13.1a must have fried my ECU, but it turns out that that the service manager confronted the mechanic with the information I gave him about 13.0a (good) 13.1a (bad), and 13.2a (under development). The mechanic told the service manager that he had neither used 13.1a or gone back to 13.0a. He had used 13.2a on my car, and I was the very first one. According to the mechanic, he had contacted Toyota when the process failed on my car, and Toyota had told him that since 13.2a was being used, my ECU must have been bad when I drove the car in for the recall, and that it didn't get fried during the recall procedure.

Am I being fed a load of crap? Did they somehow fry my ECU? I know that my car and its computer were operating perfectly when I drove the car in.
 

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when software first comes out, you're not supposed to use it for flashing ecu's.

why the &*%( would the tech use the new version that hadn't been tested if he knew about all the problems the last update caused??
 

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DanMan32 said:
You're not serious, are you? That would make those cars no longer new. Trying to sell those cars as new would be fraud. Would you knowingly buy such canabalized then later fixed cars as new? If you found out later that this was done to your car, would you not complain?
.
I don't agree with Hyperion, but I think he's got a good point. At the very least Toyota should short production of new Priuses to get parts who need them. I think that's the decent thing to do, IMO.
 

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The reason I suggested swapping them from cars on the dock was because they are here in the U.S. and not waiting to be scrounged up in Japan with the dealers having to say they "will be ordered" but I have no idea when I will have them. You can bet if they had several hundred new cars on the docks waiting for ECU's they sure as heck would be using Fed Express. They might even grab a few they have sent to China!
In the automotive industry this really should not be a big deal, especially with a company that is striving to be the largest in the world. I know for the majority of cars in the U.S. the parts guy has always been able to get on his computer and tell you that he has the part, or where the part is, and exactly when it will arrive at the dealership and it won't be in some machine shop waiting to be made.
 
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