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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my '01 Prius started losing power, then the triangle and engine check lights came on. It's happened before but after turning the car off and on a couple of times, the problem has gone away. But this time the car remained undrivable with barely any power, and it seemed like the transaxle was slipping (this is the car's 2nd transaxle, it dropped its first one about 50K miles), the gas engine would start but wouldn't accelerate the car up any kind of grade. So it had to be towed to the dealer.

The car's got about 110,000 miles, and it's been 8000 since the last servicing, and the dealer told me "the computer's showing 'no-start' codes which means major internal engine damage because the oil's not been changed. We won't know what the problem is until we go into the engine....." Can you spell $$$$$$?

This sounds crazy to me, that at 100K miles, if you don't change the oil for a couple of thousand extra miles you blow the engine. Can't be.

Any thoughts, anyone??
Thanks in advance!!!
 

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wow, that's almost halfway into the next service. I don't think it'll be that bad in a Prius since the oil isn't used as often as a regular car as the engine stays off frequently.

Keep us up-to-date with your situation!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Engine -that- delicate?

What I (so far) refuse to believe, is that any car company would ship an engine with that little tolerance for variation in maintenance regime: I think those specs are just to give an out to car makers - written by lawyers and not mechanics/engineers. May be I'm wrong. But we have a Mazda MPV and Corolla, both with 200K miles on them, with less maintenance than the Prius.

If the Prius really did blow its cookies -WITH NO WARNING- because there was 3000 more miles of dirt in the engine oil (and the level was between the 2 dots ... where I have run every engine I've ever had) - then that's it for the brand and the company as far as I'm concerned.

I shall keep ya informed, but I'm real cranky about this :( We'll know more tomorrow.
 

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I call bullshit. They are just trying rip you off. That oil change nonsense is obvious. I'd call regional and complain. A "no start" code equals lack of oil changes??? Nothing but BS...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you!

KTPhil said:
I call bullshit. They are just trying rip you off. That oil change nonsense is obvious. I'd call regional and complain. A "no start" code equals lack of oil changes??? Nothing but BS...
I called corporate -- hopefully the cavalry will arrive tomorrow. THANK YOU for agreeing with my sensibilities! :)
 

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Sounds like BS to me. They need to pull the code from ODB and then follow what Toyota's tech line says for solving the problem related to the code. This has nothing to do with oil change interval.

Anyway, to prove that oil change interval is the problem, they would have to prove that you had sludge, an oil filter which was so clogged that the bypass value was in use and the oil was not being filtered and that oil passages in the engine were also clogged and thus parts of the engine were not getting oil. I don't think they can prove it. And if you want to know more, get an oil analysis of what is in your sump right now. If it goes the way I think it will, the analysis will indicate normal wear and tear on the oil will also not indicate any wear on the engine. That will be the kicker if this gets messy.

Toyota's stated oil change interval is 5k, but an extra 3k is not a significant issue for a vehile which uses its oil to lubricate less often than a conventional vehicle and in an engine that runs a cleanly and efficiently as the Prius.
 

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Isn't the Classic's change interval 7500 miles?
A thousand miles extra isn't bad, but 3K extra is pushing it. I find my oil dark and smelly before the 5K interval.

But it sounds like the typical problems the classics have had. I believe there's a TSB or two on this. Have those TSBs been applied already?
 

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01 died?

Geewhiz, I severely doubt that your gasoline engine has suffered any major damage. No start codes (like P3191, P3190, P3101, P0300 through P0304) are triggered under a range of circumstances.

Your servicers should be looking for DTCs and looking at technical service bulletins EG011-03 and EG006-02. You can (and should) read both of those yourself from the files section of the Yahoo toyota-prius-sat1 group.

Engine no-starts can be caused by the accelerator butterfly getting stuck closed by soot. Not hard to clean. Engine oil overfills (or possibly, too-fast fills) can result in oil in the intake manifold. The spark plugs might need replacing at 110k. Clogged fuel injectors and valve adjustments are mentioned in EG006-02.

The no-power symptom reminds me of accelerator pedal problem, but that typically does not result in warning lights.

Here's hoping that the car is in the hands of preople who know how to diagnose. If we are not certain of that, could you consider a change of venue? Good luck and please let us know what they find.

PS: Feel like opening another thread on your transmission replacement at 50K? Those seem to be rare and I'd like to know the details.

DAS
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Poor Response from Toyota Corp.

This is the third day after I made contact, I haven't heard from Toyota, and two days in a row now I've been told that a Prius Specialist will be in touch with me. While the cust. serv. operators are polite they are ineffective, and the last one wasn't able to provide any way to escalate.

From what she told me it was implied that they had made some contact with the dealer, then she tried to make it sound like they attempted to reach me but then she corrected herself and stumbled and said well it looked like they hadn't been in contact with me.

So after going around several times about how I could escalate --- "You call this number and speak to one of the representatives..." --- it seemed I had reached a dead-end with Toyota Corporate.

Next recourse will be ... ? unknown.

What is known is that my initial VERY positive impression of their responsiveness is now plummeting rapidly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And That's All She Wrote ....

Toyota Corp. says that at 100K+ miles there's nothing they can do. Whether it's a manufacturing-caused condition or any lack of maintenance, they're just not willing to get involved.
 

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So Toyota stops advising dealers about what causes codes when the car turns 100K?

This has nothing to do with warrantee, it'sa matter of a faulty (and I think deceptive) diagnosis.

Can you try another dealer who isn't out to sell unneeded ICE rebuilds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Seized Engine?

The dealer says the engine is seized. Of course that doesn't explain why it starts. Or it did when it left my place. I've requested a fax of the computer output.

Not happy. Not happy at all.

:(
 

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seizure

Geewhiz, we simply *have* to get your car into the hands of some competent servicers. Where are you?

I shall not clutter this thread with my engine oil change histories. But I have run conventional oil for 10k and synthetic for 13k and there is no evidence of any problems. I have previously posted used oil analyses in support of this.

In short, just as you originally supposed, this is not an oil change problem. You may need an undated engine control module, fuel system cleaning, or maybe a valve adjustment. No doubt there are other possibilities, but seized engine is not among them. Please let us hook you up with a Toyota servicer who knows which side of the paper to wipe with.

DAS, 2001 Prius, 83k miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Trouble Codes P3006 and P3191

If anyone is interested in the FAX from the dealer I could make it available - post a note how I can reach you.

The dealer's just saying "It wasn't properly maintained and we won't know what's wrong until we go into the engine." $$$$$$

So my take is that these are very generic trouble codes, am I correct? Can anyone give me some insight into the possible meaning?

Now I'm shopping for a) salvage engine [just in case], and b) a shop.
 

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Is it possible that the real problem was lack of oil? If the oil level was low, then the longer it was run that way, the worse it would be. The engine oil level could continue to drop and the engine could eventually seize. Perhaps there was a small leak (not uncommon on an engine with 100,000 miles). If that were the case, they would have a legitimate point that improper maintenance (not checking the oil level for 8,000 miles) was responsible for the engine damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
redwein said:
Is it possible that the real problem was lack of oil? If the oil level was low, then the longer it was run that way, the worse it would be. The engine oil level could continue to drop and the engine could eventually seize. Perhaps there was a small leak (not uncommon on an engine with 100,000 miles). If that were the case, they would have a legitimate point that improper maintenance (not checking the oil level for 8,000 miles) was responsible for the engine damage.
In that case they would indeed be right, but that's not the case: I *checked* the oil, just didn't replace it. The level was fine - and the engine started and ran, but it would bog down, then stall out, after some slippage, making me think of the transaxle. I've got a sense of what engine seizure is like, and this ain't it.

If anyone has an idea who, how, where I could get a second opinion in the Santa Clara Valley, I'd suuuuure appreciate it!
 

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Here is a link to an article about an oil related problem called "sludging" that some Toyota engines a few years ago seemed to be more prone to than average. If this is what they are saying happened (I have no idea if that is the case), then you might have some leverage with them.

http://www.toyoland.com/sludge.html

If this isn't the case, exactly what are they saying, just complete engine failure and seizing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
UPDATE on Triangle of Doom

In response to the valuable feedback on this board (thank you all!!) I have taken the car in for a second opinion. No the engine is not seized at all, and the report from the current shop is much more encouraging.

I'll update the board when I have some more info, but I am encouraged so far, and mystified by the first dealer's response --- unless they just didn't want me as a customer any more?
 
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