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Fix or not to fix? That is the question. (Engine, Cat, and HV Bat)

311 Views 14 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  new echo owner
So I got some bad news.

2006 Prius with 215,000 miles.
  • Started burning oil.
  • Check engine light says catalyst has failed (I forget the exact DTC, but the catalytic converter is apparantly dead, and I live in a California compliant state).
  • Also, I've already started to play whack-a-mole and have replaced 3 battery modules so far.

So I scoped the cylinders and found this (pics are from all 4 cylinders, pits in three of them and scratches in all 4). I can't decide whether to replace the block and whether that should be a used engine or a new short block. I also know I'll need to replace the HV battery soon too, so is it worth it? I like the car, but at what point do I decide to stop fixing it? Sure, I could pour $6,000 into the car in just parts. But on the other hand, there don't seem to be any $6,000 cars out there in much better shape than something like this. Any suggestions?

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ya, that's what I'm thinking. It's sad to have to see the car go. I guess it's time to drag back out the immortal 1985 VW diesel or just keep driving the Prius until I no longer can. But no sense in wasting money on an old car, although I don't have a lot of money and wouldn't be able to afford a new car either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
However, I found three Gen 2 Priuses (Prii) with similar mileages within a 500 mile radius of me on Autotempest. They range from $4,000 to almost $6,000.

Yes, it's a lot of work to change out an engine, but if I can get an engine for less than $2,000 and worry about the battery in another year (save up for it) then maybe my Prius isn't such a bad deal to fix and repair??
 

· just a nobody
Echo
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Besides take the pictures above what other test have your done to determine the condition of the engine? Compression test? Leak down test? Oil comsumption test?
Those test would give you some idea on how much it would take to repair your engine vs replacing the engine! Since the gas engine on the Priuse used more for recharging the Hybrid batteries and supplemental power, it might not need to be 100% to keep the vehicle operational!
Just saying!
 

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Have the battery refurbed, keep the oil full and replace the cat. Drive a couple more years and look for a replacement.
How much oil consumption? If not more that a quart in 1000 miles then the cat will last, below 500 per quart and it will eventually get contaminated. I had a customer move to Cali and his Z was using quart in 500. He drove it across the country against my advice and it passed Cali emissions for a 1976.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Besides take the pictures above what other test have your done to determine the condition of the engine? Compression test? Leak down test? Oil comsumption test?
Those test would give you some idea on how much it would take to repair your engine vs replacing the engine! Since the gas engine on the Priuse used more for recharging the Hybrid batteries and supplemental power, it might not need to be 100% to keep the vehicle operational!
Just saying!
Well, as far as I can find Toyota does not recommend boring or honing the cylinder walls. The cylinder walls are obviously damaged, and with no way to repair them there is no way to repair the engine.

Having said that, there are forged aftermarket pistons for these engines. However, they are $800 and up for a set and as said before, Toyota does not recommend boring the cylinders because the sleeve is very thin.
Have the battery refurbed, keep the oil full and replace the cat. Drive a couple more years and look for a replacement.
How much oil consumption? If not more that a quart in 1000 miles then the cat will last, below 500 per quart and it will eventually get contaminated. I had a customer move to Cali and his Z was using quart in 500. He drove it across the country against my advice and it passed Cali emissions for a 1976.
Thanks for the advice! I'll keep it in mind.

By "replacement" are you referring to the engine or the whole car? For an example, a used low mileage engine for say, $900 or so?
The two worst spots I see on the cylinder walls look like it sat without the engine moving for a fairly long time, top ring with valve slightly open to allow moisture in cylinder.
Yes, it has sat on several ocassions. The previous owner had said it had sat for a year. Then I bought it and it has sat for two more years.
 

· just a nobody
Echo
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Well, as far as I can find Toyota does not recommend boring or honing the cylinder walls. The cylinder walls are obviously damaged, and with no way to repair them there is no way to repair the engine.

Having said that, there are forged aftermarket pistons for these engines. However, they are $800 and up for a set and as said before, Toyota does not recommend boring the cylinders because the sleeve is very thin.
Which is why I asked what test have you done on the engine!
Doing those tests will provide you with the information; for example, if both compression and leak down tests give you good results, then don't even need to consider boring the engine.
Having said that, the vertical score marks can be worrysome; however, that can be determine with the leak down test!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll try to. I just don't have a subscription to Techstream to do it correctly. I guess I could just remove the fuel pump fuse and the throttle body and try turning off and on the engine with my compression gauge hooked up, cylinder by cylinder. I'll have to rent a leak down tester though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Compression test on a hybrid is a bit more complicate than a regular engine, but in a case like yours, it would help you decide which would be a better option to go with.
And the results are:

#1 105psi
#2 110psi
#3 105psi
#4 100psi

All are within 10psi from each other. #4 scared me. At first it read only 60psi. But I tightened it up and it read 100 on a second attempt.

Mind you, this is at nearly 8,000 ft, so the probabbly influences the results, I would imagine.

It wasn't that hard after all to get the thottle body off and instead of taking out any fuses I just disconnected the injectors. I left all the sensors and the plugs in the coil packs with them resting on metal. I still got a check engine light from doing the compression test, but I need to get another Android device to install the Torque app back on it to read the DTC(s).

I cranked each test for 5 seconds. I hope that was enough for an acurate test.
 

· just a nobody
Echo
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Those numbers aren't too bad, considering the mileage of the vehicle, and how even they are between cylinders.
Didn't realise you are way up there! Have to ask, how is the weather up there? 🤣
Have to admit, not exactly familiar with doing compression test at high altitude! So don't know where the numbers should be on a good engine!
From what I can find online, compression test with those numbers are actually pretty good at high altitude!

Comparing to a regular gas engine, it is more work! 😁 Pull plugs, pull the fuse, jump the starter!

Usually, at least for one cylinder, crank the engine over until you get the highest reading, so you can have a reference number!
Your engine with those numbers, and not being the primary power source for the vehicle, I would say as long as it is capable of recharging the hybrid battery, the only thing you probably need to do is monitor the oil level. And maybe do another compression test again, 6 months or a year down the road, depending on how many miles you put on the vehicle!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have to ask, how is the weather up there?
Cold and snowy as usual. I got my studded snow tires on the Avalon finally for the wifey. Roads are pretty slick and it's supposed to snow again tonight.

When I was doing the compression test on the Prius I saw a little spider crawl out of the engine compartment and climb up on the snow on the windshield. I've never seen a spider wake up like that. I guess I need to do more to the Prius and get it going. I still have a front wheel bearing I need to change before I drive it much. I don't want to wear out the disc brake. But when I do I'll figure out how much oil it's really using.
 

· just a nobody
Echo
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Many parts of the country are getting colder than normal weather as well, not just high up there anymore. And according to the forecast, more cold and snowy days are just ahead.

Toyota consider 1200miles/Qt is normal oil consumption, you can't go off that to determine if your engine is using more than Toyota's accepted normal!
 
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