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2002 Prius 178K miles other long-term issues ...

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  • Steve H
    Since so many people gave good advice on my tire wobble issue I suppose I should ask for help with all the other things my car has been doing lately (and which
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 1, 2012
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      Since so many people gave good advice on my tire wobble issue I suppose I should ask for help with all the other things my car has been doing lately (and which I obviously should have asked about sooner ... sigh).

      1) The check engine light was on most of the summer. I finally had a friend get the codes out of the thing and it said "random cylinder misfire" and something about a leak in the evaporative emission system. I assume the 2nd thing is just my rusty gas cap. I suppose I should scrape that clean again. I haven't gotten the check engine light since we read out the codes.

      I'm on only my 2nd set of spark plugs. Should I try another set? A couple of weeks ago it quit about 10 seconds after I started the car and gave me the 'triangle of death' and the 'car!' alert, but since then it's been OK, though it runs a little roughly on initial startup most of the time.

      2) I hear a clatter from the engine when revving it up. Do I need some sort of adjustment like the valves needed on my old Tercel? (I never did get them adjusted (sigh) and it still got to the moon and part way back ...)

      3) The engine is using oil at a slowly increasing rate. I might be adding a quart or more between changes that I do four times a year. This sounds ominous to me.

      4) The mpg shown on the display is quite a bit lower than what I calculate from my tank fillups -- maybe as much as 20% lower. I guess this seems almost like a good thing, but I'm curious what would make that be out of whack.

      As always I appreciate the terrific knowledge the folks here have. I'm looking forward to your ideas.

      Thanks,

      Steve Highland
      Duluth MN
    • David Kelly
      ... Valves are supposed to be checked and adjusted if needed every 60,000 miles. -- David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@HiWAAY.net
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 1, 2012
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        On Dec 1, 2012, at 1:33 PM, Steve H <shighlan@...> wrote:

        > 2) I hear a clatter from the engine when revving it up. Do I need some sort of adjustment like the valves needed on my old Tercel? (I never did get them adjusted (sigh) and it still got to the moon and part way back ...)

        Valves are supposed to be checked and adjusted if needed every 60,000 miles.

        --
        David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...
        ============================================================
        Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
      • hlschmidt1941
        ... Toss it. Buy a new Toyota gas cap from your dealer s parts dep t. A leaky cap will light up the instrument panel and set code(s). Ask me how I know. ...
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 2, 2012
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          --- In toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com, "Steve H" <shighlan@...> wrote:

          >... my rusty gas cap. I suppose I should scrape that clean again.

          Toss it. Buy a new Toyota gas cap from your dealer's parts dep't. A leaky cap will light up the instrument panel and set code(s). Ask me how I know.

          > I'm on only my 2nd set of spark plugs. Should I try another set?

          Definitely yes. IIRC the service protocol is a new set every 60K miles.

          > 3) The engine is using oil at a slowly increasing rate. I might be adding a quart or more between changes that I do four times a year. This sounds ominous to me.

          I've never had to add oil ('02 @ 115K miles). I do my own changes, using 3.5 quarts and a new filter every 7,500 miles. Make sure not to overfill; 4 quarts is too much (despite what the service manual says!). I'd estimate the cost/benefit ratio between adding a quart of oil four times a year (cheap) vs. an engine overhaul (not cheap) on a 13-year-old car. I'm sure you've already checked for external leaks. If it's burning oil, that should show up in your exhaust.

          > 4) The mpg shown on the display is quite a bit lower than what I calculate from my tank fillups -- maybe as much as 20% lower. I guess this seems almost like a good thing, but I'm curious what would make that be out of whack.

          Many possible variables here. Double-check your math 8-) . Seasonal changes in gasoline blends, short trips in winter, angle of car on pad at filling station, different fill levels (blame automatic shut-off), temperature effects on capacity of gas tank w/bladder liner, etc. etc. I've stopped worrying and calculating, just gas and go.

          HTH.
          Henry
        • David Kelly
          ... Perhaps on NHW11 but on NHW20 its 120,000 when the specified iridium plugs are used. -- David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@HiWAAY.net
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 2, 2012
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            On Dec 2, 2012, at 10:39 AM, hlschmidt1941 <hlschmidt@...> wrote:

            >> I'm on only my 2nd set of spark plugs. Should I try another set?
            >
            > Definitely yes. IIRC the service protocol is a new set every 60K miles.

            Perhaps on NHW11 but on NHW20 its 120,000 when the specified iridium plugs are used.

            --
            David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...
            ============================================================
            Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • hlschmidt1941
            ... OP has an 02 (NHW11); says so in the subject heading.
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 3, 2012
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              --- In toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com, David Kelly <dkelly@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > On Dec 2, 2012, at 10:39 AM, hlschmidt1941 <hlschmidt@...> wrote:
              >
              > >> I'm on only my 2nd set of spark plugs. Should I try another set?
              > >
              > > Definitely yes. IIRC the service protocol is a new set every 60K miles.
              >
              > Perhaps on NHW11 but on NHW20 its 120,000 when the specified iridium plugs are used.
              >
              > --
              > David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...

              OP has an '02 (NHW11); says so in the subject heading.
            • David Kelly
              ... Your need to correct me is based on your lack of understanding the word perhaps . The OP has only changed plugs once in 178k miles. I point out the
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 7, 2012
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                On Dec 3, 2012, at 8:58 AM, hlschmidt1941 <hlschmidt@...> wrote:

                > --- In toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com, David Kelly <dkelly@...> wrote:
                >
                >> On Dec 2, 2012, at 10:39 AM, hlschmidt1941 <hlschmidt@...> wrote:
                >>
                >>>> I'm on only my 2nd set of spark plugs. Should I try another set?
                >>>
                >>> Definitely yes. IIRC the service protocol is a new set every 60K miles.
                >>
                >> Perhaps on NHW11 but on NHW20 its 120,000 when the specified iridium plugs are used.
                >
                > OP has an '02 (NHW11); says so in the subject heading.

                Your need to correct me is based on your lack of understanding the word "perhaps".

                The OP has only changed plugs once in 178k miles. I point out the NHW20's specified interval is 120,000. Those who were paying attention know I was saying his stretched service interval is not terribly unreasonable because the NHW20 is 120k miles. Study the function of the word "perhaps" in my reply.

                NHW11 service:
                http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/omms/MSTOY01_MS0002/pdf/01omsour/2001/schedule/2001priu.pdf

                NHW20 service:
                http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/omms/07ToyMS_MS0003/pdf/07omsour/2007/07toysmt/71w1smt.pdf

                --
                David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...
                ============================================================
                Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
              • hlschmidt1941
                ... Study the meaning of the word definitely in mine.
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 8, 2012
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                  --- In toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com, David Kelly <dkelly@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > On Dec 3, 2012, at 8:58 AM, hlschmidt1941 <hlschmidt@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > --- In toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com, David Kelly <dkelly@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > >> On Dec 2, 2012, at 10:39 AM, hlschmidt1941 <hlschmidt@> wrote:
                  > >>
                  > >>>> I'm on only my 2nd set of spark plugs. Should I try another set?
                  > >>>
                  > >>> Definitely yes. IIRC the service protocol is a new set every 60K miles.
                  > >>
                  > >> Perhaps on NHW11 but on NHW20 its 120,000 when the specified iridium plugs are used.
                  > >
                  > > OP has an '02 (NHW11); says so in the subject heading.
                  >
                  > Your need to correct me is based on your lack of understanding the word "perhaps".
                  >
                  > The OP has only changed plugs once in 178k miles. I point out the NHW20's specified interval is 120,000. Those who were paying attention know I was saying his stretched service interval is not terribly unreasonable because the NHW20 is 120k miles. Study the function of the word "perhaps" in my reply.

                  Study the meaning of the word "definitely" in mine.
                • Burt Trattner
                  Iridium spark plugs will not wear out. They might become fouled due to other issues. They should be left alone as long as there is no misfire. With still
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 8, 2012
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                    Iridium spark plugs will not wear out. They might become fouled due to
                    other issues. They should be left alone as long as there is no misfire.
                    With still plugs the gap would widen with use until the spark can no
                    longer jump. Then the high voltage starts to stress the ignition wires
                    or coil pack.
                    That does not happen with iridium or platinum.

                    The reason the protocol call for 60K change is to keep shops busy while
                    the lawyers celebrate by keeping the car makers free of claims if a plug
                    should fail and the owner was not instructed to change them periodically.

                    Burt 2011


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Steve H
                    I got a few suggestions off list so I did the easy thing first and cleaned out the throttle plate with Q-tips again. I think that did improve things somewhat.
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 9, 2012
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                      I got a few suggestions off list so I did the easy thing first and cleaned out the throttle plate with Q-tips again. I think that did improve things somewhat. It was dirty indeed, but not as bad as the first time it caused trouble a few years back.

                      I also asked about valve adjustments at both dealerships I go to up here and they say they've never done one on a Prius. They claim there's no need to do anything with hydraulic lifters. And they said the price would be at least $850 to investigate.

                      One thing I didn't mention in my original post is a sense that sometimes the engine revs higher for longer as if it is working harder than it used to, and I wonder if that could mean my hybrid battery is starting down the road to failure. I read that symptoms would be rapid charge/discharge cycles, so I've been watching the charging icon but I don't see anything obviously strange there. Is there anything else to look for in that department?

                      Thanks again,
                      Steve in snowy Duluth
                    • David Kelly
                      ... They are correct about hydraulic lifters but no Toyota I know of has hydraulic lifters. Page 33 says at 60,000 miles Engine valve clearance :
                      Message 10 of 15 , Dec 9, 2012
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                        On Dec 9, 2012, at 9:14 AM, Steve H <shighlan@...> wrote:

                        > I also asked about valve adjustments at both dealerships I go to up here and they say they've never done one on a Prius. They claim there's no need to do anything with hydraulic lifters. And they said the price would be at least $850 to investigate.

                        They are correct about hydraulic lifters but no Toyota I know of has hydraulic lifters.

                        Page 33 says at 60,000 miles "Engine valve clearance":

                        http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/omms/MSTOY03_MS0003/pdf/01omsour/2003/schedule/toyotasc.pdf

                        Timing belt is a 90,000 mile item.

                        10 years ago Toyota dealers routinely offered coupons for $300 valve check and adjust service on my Avalon. Only mention online I could find said $450 was quoted on a Prius. The Avalon was nasty as the intake manifold had to come off.

                        Checking involves moving the inverter out of the way and removing the top cover on the engine. Each cylinder has to be rotated to top dead center for its adjustment to be checked with a feeler gauge. Is possible to likely at 60k for no adjustment to be necessary but at 178k I have my doubts.

                        If adjustment is needed the camshaft(s) have to come out. Adjustment requires replacing the lifter buckets with the proper size (thickness). Other engines use shims over or under the buckets but the Prius replaces the entire bucket.

                        --
                        David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...
                        ============================================================
                        Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
                      • Stan
                        Timing Belt? Don t you mean chain? Probably 99% of Prii at the end of their lives have never had a valve adjustment or a timing chain replaced. Even the water
                        Message 11 of 15 , Dec 9, 2012
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                          Timing Belt? Don't you mean chain? Probably 99% of Prii at the end of their lives have never had a valve adjustment or a timing chain replaced. Even the water pumps never seem to wear out. Amazing reliability given the electronic complexity.

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Tad
                          Those dealers are trying to tell you something... either we don t want to do it or we re too ignorant about your car to work on it properly . :) Either way,
                          Message 12 of 15 , Dec 9, 2012
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                            Those dealers are trying to tell you something... either "we don't want to
                            do it" or "we're too ignorant about your car to work on it properly". :)

                            Either way, take their advice and find someone who is willing and able to
                            help you.


                            On Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at 7:14 AM, Steve H <shighlan@...> wrote:

                            > **
                            >
                            >
                            > I got a few suggestions off list so I did the easy thing first and cleaned
                            > out the throttle plate with Q-tips again. I think that did improve things
                            > somewhat. It was dirty indeed, but not as bad as the first time it caused
                            > trouble a few years back.
                            >
                            > I also asked about valve adjustments at both dealerships I go to up here
                            > and they say they've never done one on a Prius. They claim there's no need
                            > to do anything with hydraulic lifters. And they said the price would be at
                            > least $850 to investigate.
                            >
                            > One thing I didn't mention in my original post is a sense that sometimes
                            > the engine revs higher for longer as if it is working harder than it used
                            > to, and I wonder if that could mean my hybrid battery is starting down the
                            > road to failure. I read that symptoms would be rapid charge/discharge
                            > cycles, so I've been watching the charging icon but I don't see anything
                            > obviously strange there. Is there anything else to look for in that
                            > department?
                            >
                            > Thanks again,
                            > Steve in snowy Duluth
                            >
                            >
                            >


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • kevin
                            I ve done the valve adjustment twice on a motorcycle. Once on a BMW GS which was easy, since the cylinders stick out and the valves are easy to get to.  It
                            Message 13 of 15 , Dec 9, 2012
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                              I've done the valve adjustment twice on a motorcycle. Once on a BMW GS which was easy, since the cylinders stick out and the valves are easy to get to.  It had screw and locknut adjustment and the process didn't take too long.
                              Second time on a Suzuki V-Strom which was a pain. All the plastic had to come off, lift the tank, drain the radiator, just to get to the cylinder heads.  One of the valves needed a new shim, so you are correct, the camshaft has to come out. The process is not something I look forward to doing again.

                              Anyway, adjusting the valves on the Prius is probably more on the "Major Pain in the Ass" department and I wouldn't try to do it myself. The dealer has never mentioned anything about the valves, but I'll ask when the mileage gets to 120k.

                              Kevin


                              ________________________________
                              From: David Kelly <dkelly@...>
                              To: Toyota Prius <toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2012 9:28 AM
                              Subject: Re: [toyota-prius] 2002 Prius 178K miles other long-term issues ...


                               

                              On Dec 9, 2012, at 9:14 AM, Steve H <shighlan@...> wrote:

                              > I also asked about valve adjustments at both dealerships I go to up here and they say they've never done one on a Prius. They claim there's no need to do anything with hydraulic lifters. And they said the price would be at least $850 to investigate.

                              They are correct about hydraulic lifters but no Toyota I know of has hydraulic lifters.

                              Page 33 says at 60,000 miles "Engine valve clearance":

                              http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/omms/MSTOY03_MS0003/pdf/01omsour/2003/schedule/toyotasc.pdf

                              Timing belt is a 90,000 mile item.

                              10 years ago Toyota dealers routinely offered coupons for $300 valve check and adjust service on my Avalon. Only mention online I could find said $450 was quoted on a Prius. The Avalon was nasty as the intake manifold had to come off.

                              Checking involves moving the inverter out of the way and removing the top cover on the engine. Each cylinder has to be rotated to top dead center for its adjustment to be checked with a feeler gauge. Is possible to likely at 60k for no adjustment to be necessary but at 178k I have my doubts.

                              If adjustment is needed the camshaft(s) have to come out. Adjustment requires replacing the lifter buckets with the proper size (thickness). Other engines use shims over or under the buckets but the Prius replaces the entire bucket.

                              --
                              David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...
                              ============================================================
                              Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.




                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Michael Jozwiak
                              The skeptic in me wonders if the dealerships really does not want to do the valve adjustment and really prefers you to just buy another vehicle from them.
                              Message 14 of 15 , Dec 10, 2012
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                                The skeptic in me wonders if the dealerships really does not want to do the valve adjustment and really prefers you to just buy another vehicle from them.

                                Michael J.
                                Breezy Houston

                                Sent from my iPhone
                              • David Kelly
                                ... Its either incompetence or incompetence. Is widely claimed that adjustments are rarely needed but that doesn t justify skipping the service. Doesn t
                                Message 15 of 15 , Dec 14, 2012
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                                  On Dec 10, 2012, at 10:20 AM, Michael Jozwiak <michael_jozwiak@...> wrote:

                                  > The skeptic in me wonders if the dealerships really does not want to do the valve adjustment and really prefers you to just buy another vehicle from them.

                                  Its either incompetence or incompetence. Is widely claimed that adjustments are rarely needed but that doesn't justify skipping the service. Doesn't justify a dealer claiming Toyota uses hydraulic lifters. Maybe on the V8 but not on any Toyota I4 or V6 that I have seen or heard of.

                                  Other incompetent statements have been made elsewhere that if the engine sounds the same as new that valve adjustment is not necessary. And many assume valve gap gets bigger with wear. Bigger (and noisier) is not the costly problem as smaller to none.

                                  If the camshaft wears (very unlikely) or the lifter bucket wears (also unlikely) the valve gap will widen and valves will be louder. On valves which have screw adjustments I typically find the gap does widen with use no matter I can't find any wear. I guess the rocker arm is bending or the end of the adjustment screw is getting pounded. The exception to this rule is the intake valves on my 2003 KTM 450 EXC RFS. Gap on exhaust valves widen, intake closes. Its coming time for a top end job with harder intake valves and valve seats.

                                  Shimmed valve trains seem to be more robust. Here the primary wear is on the valve seat in the head and the ring of contact between valve and seat. This is where the valve seal is formed keeping compression and combustion inside the cylinder. When either surface wears (or the valve dishes) the valve stem rises and the gap gets smaller and tighter until eventually the valve can not fully close. Hot gasses escape, compression is less, combustion pressure is less. Engines get harder to start due to lowered compression. If allowed to continue the valve never rests in its seat to cool because it can't fully close. The result is a burned valve. Usually the valve seat has to be ground out of the head and a new seat pressed in.

                                  --
                                  David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly@...
                                  ============================================================
                                  Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
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