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Discussion Starter #1
Some background on me, I have been a lurker on this website for over a year. We bought our 2004 Prius in December of 2003 and now have about 35,000 miles on it and we have the extended warranty. My parents were Prius pioneers since they had one of, if not the first Prius in western PA. They have since upgraded to the second generation version. My in-laws have both a 2003 and 2005 model. We have really liked our 2004 Prius since it drives nicely, gets about 58mpg in the summer, 50mpg in the winter and it is normally a great car for my 28 mile one way commute here in the Boston metro area.

With that said, in the past 8 months, this vehicle has been at the Toyota dealership repair shop for 4 extended stays, with the current stay at 10 days and counting. The issue has been a continuing ‘check engine’ light that they have not been able to figure out. The dealership has been in continual contact with Prius specialists from Toyota USA, including visits by traveling Toyota Prius specialists, and have supposedly attempted all of the easy fixes. Recently they did a complete wiring harness replacement since they thought they had eliminated all other options. This major repair took 10 days and is now complete; however the check engine light issue remains. They have no new ideas and they still have the Prius as they think about other possible options.

Lemon laws for Massachusetts are normally for problems in the first 15,000 miles. Has anyone else had this extent of problems with their Prius? This car has been in the shop for more days than the combined total for all of my other 4 cars/trucks and I typically kept these vehicles at least four times longer than the current 35,000 Prius miles.

:x
John
 

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The check engine light should be related to a diagnostic code. Or, rather the light should only be illuminated when there is a code posted by onboard diagnostics. The dealership should use that code to determine what the problem is. Usually the codes lead them right to the problem and that is the end of it once proper service is done.

But this leads to providing the forum with more information. What codes have they harvested from the car during its various stays with them? There are numerous wiring harnesses in the vehicle, which one did they replace, why?

Without more information I'm going to assume that the dealer is shotgunning the diagnosis of your vehicle. Just replacing more and more parts going up the chain is not good procedure. I think a call to corporate is in order.
 

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Agreed, codes please.

Does no good to say my friend has been ill. Doctors have given him pills but he hasn't gotten better. What might he be suffering from?
What are the symptoms? What tests have been done? What are the results.
All a CEL does is say that the car is ill. Doesn't say why, though a CEL without a MIL suggests engine or emissions problems.
 

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If you will all read John's original posts, all your suggestions have been done already by visiting Prius reps and calls to Toyota West.
No one here on this site will be able to determine whats happening by the passing on of "codes" As for John's question "What do we think Toyota should do about the problem now that the States lemon laws have expired but he obviously has a "lemon" No extended warranties in the world will cover a problem like this as Toyota will just continue keeping the car in for ten day periods of experimenting. They have obviously come to a blank wall. (Personally, I believe Toytota should "eat this one")
I would get back on the horn with the Mass Attorney Generals office. They seem to have some sensible people up there.
Then a mention of the media might help resolve your personal problem.
I asked my service manager on my first visit back at 3,000 miles "what happens if you encounter a problem that just can't be fixed at the dealership?" He said "that the entire synergy system could be replaced simply by an entirely new system and the old would be sent back to Japan."

Sounds as though this is the way that John's car should be treated and I only hope he follows through with the continuing saga. Will determine if I want to keep my hybrid, or go back to a conventional car while the hybrids resale is still so good.

In the past year I've already had the unexplained "lawnmower sound" from under my hood twice that has to be related to the "ICE" as it disappears as soon as I pull over to raise the hood and the "ICE" automatically shuts down. No lights and no codes!!
 

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I suppose that could be done within the first 36K, but iffy up to the next 60K, as there are components to the 'synergy drive' that are not under the drivetrain warranty but still could cause a CEL or MIL. For example, there's TSB EG024-05 where the water valve position sensor generates M.I.L. "ON" DTC P1121. It is only covered under the comprehensive 3yr/36K warranty. Granted, this TSB discusses a MIL and not a CEL.

Not to mention that the fuel tank can generate a CEL, so if that's the cause, replacing the synergy drive entirely would not do you any good.

How many times has Toyota missed the mark in diagnosing problems or even dismissing them, when clearly there was one? More heads are better than one, so having the codes posted helps. Besides, we're all up for a challenge anyway.

Related but still OT, I found it strange that EG029-05 dealing with a false indication of generator/inverter performance problem requires the HV ECU to be replaced rather than reprogrammed.
 

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All your numbers and letters are just Japanese DanMan to most of the readers here, I would guess, and if you think you can diagnose the car with some numbers that Toyota Prius reps and Toyota USA are not able to, then good luck. John mentioned he has an extended warranty so he should still be covered fully by any reputable dealer. Maybe not one who charges 3,000 over list but that never happened in the northeast.
Meanwhile John, please let us know the outcome with your car. I'de love to know what dealer in Massachusetts you are dealing with.
 

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i agree, they should be on the phone with Toyota Tech support and have all their Prius techs and regional reps coming together to work on this.

i'm assuming you have a rental paid for by the dealer during these times?

let us know what happens, good luck
 

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What dealership? You're obviously dealing with a putz, not
a tech, if they can't actually DIAGNOSE the problem.
The onboard computers are generally pretty good at pointing to
the problem area, or a short list of things to CHECK [as opposed to blindly
replace]. I cannot believe someone would go to the
trouble to replace a *harness* [which requires that
*everything* around it be taken apart] rather than figure
out which wire within it has a problem and simply route a
replacement next to it.
.
Name names. The many Prius owners in the Boston area don't
need to be saddled with this sort of incompetence if they
can possibly help it. These clowns either take some personal
accountability for why then can't find your problem, or they simply
don't work on priuses [at a minimum].
.
_H*
 

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Discussion Starter #9
About the only good thing I can say about McGee Toyota :evil: of Hanover, MA is that they have given us a loaner car during these times.

No new news yet, I have contacted a lawyer who is going to be let loose on this topic if my visit to McGee goes as expected in a few hours.

More info soon.

John
 

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John H said:
About the only good thing I can say about McGee Toyota :evil: of Hanover, MA is that they have given us a loaner car during these times.

No new news yet, I have contacted a lawyer who is going to be let loose on this topic if my visit to McGee goes as expected in a few hours.

More info soon.

John
John, please obtain and write down any DTC codes they've pulled. We can, at least, narrow down the system that's causing the code to be generated and then based upon what you're being told we may be able to elaborate on the particular system.

Hyperion, although it would, indeed, seem unlikely that we mere hobbiests would be able to do what the Toyota specialists haven't it isn't outside the realm of possibility. We take a certain ownership of our forum "citizens" and can apply multiple resources that should help narrow the problem. If nothing else we can give John specific questions he should be asking his tech "Since DTC 0909 has to do with the MG1 inverter operated through ECU xyz, have you considered replacing that or specifically checked the programming of that ECU?" At the very least we can help him gain a clearer understanding of the issues involved and that can help guide his decisions.

Somehow it seems to me that knowledge and understanding of a problem is a much better solution that crying to the media or seeking a lawyer. If you read his posts he is not nearly as disappointed that the car is having problems as he is in the way he's being handled by the dealership.

An interesting quasi-related aside. As a physician we learn over and over that the doctors who get sued are not the ones who make the most or even the worst mistakes. It's the ones who make their patients feel that they don't care, or weren't listening or weren't relating to them.
 

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But John isn't as frustrated with his dealer as he is with Toyota who for this year using all their technical resources have not been able to repair his car. This is when it should be replaced by Toyota after they admit it is not fixable! My hope is that the loaner furnished has been a new Avalon!
There's got to be a reason Toyota has not cranked up to manufacture 300,000 Prius this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A major update.
To answer the code questions, the odd thing about this car is that it was not giving a code number. According to Toyota USA and Japan, this is the first occurrence of this happening with a Prius.

Things did not go as I expected this morning at McGee. We initially talked to the service department and they said that they had no new ideas and had new fuel injectors on order and those will be here on Tuesday.

We then went to the general manager and I gave him the background about how we have generally been happy with our Prius. Then I described the repair issues and how service department has had it for now 16 days and counting and three earlier extended repair attempts and I said that I wanted to see what other options are possible before going the lawyer route. A side note, the lawyer that I contacted on Friday seemed to smell blood in the water and wanted my okay to start her process that same day, but I told her, that I would contact her on Monday. The general manager asked what would make me happy and I said a new Prius at MSRP and at least Kelly Blue book value on my Prius, free extended warranty and etc. He said that he would be back after he checked the repair history and other issues. Well… we walked out of McGee about an hour later with what I asked for, other than I wont have the Prius for another HOUR! Yep, McGee had just received a silver Prius with the same options (basic) that we had and wanted and they were about to start the process of calling the people on their list.

A very good outcome and lawyers did not have to get involved and McGee is not on my s*** list.

John
:D
 

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There have been a very few reports of problems that should have produced DTCs but didn't. Perhaps the DTCs get wiped. Might be a power supply problem to an ECU. If it lost power, there's a good chance it could not log an error.

Hopefully the dealer won't be selling that car to someone unsuspecting.
 

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DanMan32 said:
There have been a very few reports of problems that should have produced DTCs but didn't. Perhaps the DTCs get wiped. Might be a power supply problem to an ECU. If it lost power, there's a good chance it could not log an error.

Hopefully the dealer won't be selling that car to someone unsuspecting.
SSC 40D was an ECU reprogram for some instances of DTCs not storing error codes.

Otherwise, a 12v battery disconnect would also wipe the check engine light stored codes. (But there would be other signs of this, such as your radio presets being reset and the clock being reset.)
 

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That all depends where the power is lost. If power is lost to the ECU (such as bad connector), radio presets would be unaffected.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Early on in the process, I made sure that my dealership had checked all of the possible recalls and other somewhat easy fixes, but I did not have the specific information that mrv, Dan and others have provided. With the response from the dealership, I tend to believe that the dealer checked for these. However, in retrospect, I should have asked for advice via this forum much earlier than I did. This forum is a great resource.

I will try to find out if they are able to find the problem on my former Prius and if so, I will post it here.

58.7 mpg (via the screen) for the first 230 miles on the new 2005 Prius, but not much to compare yet.

John
 
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