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6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #61
Some time later I found that simply taking heavy hammer and hitting rotor hat right between the studs, while spinning it by hand, breaks it loose in matter of 3-4 strokes.

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #62 (Edited)


Cool video on how hybrid system works:

What are the definitions of some of the acronyms that appear at this site?
  • ICE is Internal Combustion Engine
  • DINO (or dino) oil is non-synthetic oil, the stuff that came from dinosaurs (get it?
  • FE is Fuel Economy
  • ECO is the ECO Switch (hidden to the left of the driver's left knee) that sets the Air Conditioning system to economy mode.
  • SOC is State of Charge
  • MFD is Multi Function Display (it's found inside your speedometer or on your NAV system)
  • NAV is Navigation System
  • HSD is Hybrid Synergy Drive (Toyota's name for the hybrid system)
  • TCH is Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • ECU is the Engine Control Unit. This is the computer "brain" for the entire Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system (HSD) and controls all of the energy utilization and recovery.
  • MG1 is the smaller motor generator mechanically connected to the Power Split Device (PSD) sun gear. It is utilized by the Engine Control Unit to provide what is the equivalent of a "gear ratio" for the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system (HSD).
  • MG2 is the larger motor generator mechanically connected to the driven axle (axles in the Hylander AWD) and the Power Split Device (PSD) ring gear. It is utilized by the Engine Control Unit for electrically driving the vehicle, assisted electric power for the ICE when required and for recovery of excess energy when coasting and braking, sometime called regenerative energy or simply regen.
  • PSD is the power split device -- it replaces the transmission in the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system (HSD). Look here to see how it works.
How do I improve my mileage?

  • Factors not related to the way the driver operates the vehicle.
    Your mileage will increase...
    • ...after your first oil change.
    • ...when the weather is warm. In cold weather the ICE needs to run to warm up.
    • ...if you drive on flat roads
    • ...when the air conditioner or heater is set to off
    • ...if you increase tire pressure. The trade off is a noisier and possible more uncomfortable drive. Always stay within the posted recommended pressure range set by the manufacturer. See this survey to see how other drivers set their pressure.
    • ...if you use top tier gas
    • ...if you switch to Low Rolling Resistance tires
  • Factors related to the way the driver operates the vehicle.
    • After the engine warms up, come to a complete stop for a few seconds and see if the engine turns off after 4-5 seconds (not after one second). When it does this you are now in EV mode. The car will drive 'in the blue', on battery power, up to 40 MPH. Please see how-come-i-cant-go-into-ev-mode-sometimes (the third post) for an explanation.
    • Combine trips and make your lengthiest trip the first leg of your trip. This will give the car a chance to warm up.
    • Don't store heavy items in the trunk or travel with passengers. Three extra adults in the car could add between 400 and 600 pounds.
    • Don't warm up the car before driving. Power it on and when you see READY, put it in gear and go. This is not practical if you live in a cold climate.
    • Try and drive at a constant speed. Frequent stops and starts hurt mileage.
    • Pulse and Glide Accelerate to a nice speed, say 65 MPH and then let the car glide down to 55 MPH (traffic permitting) and then start the process up again
    • Anticipate traffic light changes and glide up to the light, rather than using the gas and braking
    • Use cruise control when on flat roads.
    • Avoid jack rabbit starts
    • Avoid bumper to bumper traffic, if possible
    • Monitor the battery's charge level and avoid letting the it run low when in traffic (the ICE will turn on at slow speeds to help regenerate the battery). Try and leave a gap between you and the car in front of you and then pulse and glide to try and regenerate the battery.
    • There are many other driving techniques that people use to increase their mileage. There are quite a few posts and threads that discuss this topic. Some of the techniques you will see could potentially put the driver, passengers and others at risk. Please use common sense and observe local traffic laws as well as proper driving etiquette when considering whether some of these tactics are appropriate for you. The EMT in the ambulance will not ask you what your mileage was before the accident. Always drive safely!
    Battery questions
    • Can the battery be jumped?
      • Yes, the small 12 volt battery (located in the trunk) can.
      • The hybrid battery can only be jumped by the dealer.
      • Before attempting to jump the battery, please read the manual to make sure you know what you are doing.
      • You should NOT try and jump start another car.
    • Are you sure I can't jump another car? I asked the dealer about this prior to buying the car, and they said it would be okay.
      • A.The 12-volt battery in the TCH is an AGM (Absorptive Glass Mat) type. These batteries are designed to survive repeated deep discharge/recharge cycles without failure, but cannot take rapid charge or discharge without potential damage (temperature dependent). The TCH's ECU circuitry limits the charge/discharge rates. Jump starting another vehicle using the TCH's 12-V battery is likely to reduce its service life appreciably due to the very high cranking current that is drawn from it in such an operation. (It's also a rather expensive battery to replace! It incorporates both a temperature sensor and a gas venting valve and gas discharge attachment.)
    • Does the 12V power outlet plugs inside the car stay on when the car is powered off?
      • No, these are disabled when the car's power is off.
    • Can I change the settings for the headlight auto off timer?
      • No, you can't, but the dealer can. For a list of the options that the dealer can modify, please see the PDF attached to this link.
    • Do the rear personal reading lights (only available in cars with the moon roof) turn off after a period of time?
      • Even though the interior lights go off after a few seconds, the rear personal reading lights do not turn off when you power off the car. Please make sure these lights are turned off as they can drain your battery.
    • What is the maximum speed I can achieve on battery only?
      • When the engine is warmed up you should be able to get up to 40 MPH. This will vary due to a number of conditions. Eventually, the battery charge will drop and the ICE will turn on to help regenerate power.
    • What happens if I run out of gas?
      • When your gas gauge reaches E and your MFD indicate 0 miles left on the tank, you have approximately 3 gallons of gas left in the tank. You should try and refill your tank as soon as possible. There are no awards given for the most mileage driven per tank, similarly, it's not fun standing on the side of the road hoping someone will give you a ride to the nearest gas station.

        However, in the unlikely situation that you forgot to refill your tank, you failed to notice the dashboard warning light and the car ran out of fuel, your car will be able to drive approximately one or two miles (depending on driving habits, conditions, and battery state) before the main hybrid (traction) battery runs out of power. If you are unable to make it to a gas station before the hybrid battery dies, your car will be stranded and you will need to contact the Toyota dealership to have the battery charged.

        Word to the wise...when the warning light tells you you need fuel, get it.
      Braking questions

      Why do my brakes shudder during the first few stops?
      • Due to the nature of a hybrid vehicle, there are points in time when you may be applying the brakes without actually using the brake pads. This is called regenerative braking; which uses the HSD to slow the vehicle. Since the brake pads are not used as often as in a non-hybrid vehicle, moisture can build up on the pads and rotors. If moisture is present, the pads may "slip" causing your brakes to shudder while applying them. This will happen until the moisture is burned off. If this happens frequently, during more than the first few stops, you should consider contacting your service center.
      Are there any tax incentives available for the purchase of a TCH?

      • The US Federal tax credit was based upon the number of units sold by the manufacturer and due to Toyota's popularity, the credit ended (numerous web citations available). Individual states may have tax credit or other incentives available (such as allowing you to drive in HOV lanes with only one occupant or parking garage discounts).
      • Canada offers currently a $1500 tax rebate on the TCH (2007 and 2008 model years). Please see this page
      • The province of Ontario offers an additional $2000 rebate. Please see this page
      • There might be credits for the other provinces, we are not sure.
      Calculated mileage
    • How accurate are the dashboard calculations?
      • Typically the MPG displayed is 1-1.5 MPG high. The fuel usage is an approximation, so it would be difficult to calculate an accurate MPG.
      • The speedometer is approximately 3 miles per hour high at 60 miles per hour (see this post for details)
    • What mileage are other drivers getting?
      • This page lists the various users mileage. Please don't expect to be able to achieve the mileage that some users are posting. You may not be able to, nor want to, drive under the conditions that they did to achieve these results.
    • How do I interpret the graph on the ECO Drive Display (one of the screens inside the speedometer) and the blue rings that, at times, appear around the speedometer?
      • The ECO Drive chart shows the car's approximate average mpg since you last started the car (it resets every time you turn the car off). It is a stair step display and is updated every 10 seconds.
        The rings may appear on the outside of the speedometer as your mpg improves. The gauges change luminosity and more rings are added at the same time as the ECO Drive stair step increases. The following are the levels of the stair steps and corresponding blue speedometer rings:
        • Level 0 -- Below 25 mpg -- Ring brightness off, no lines
        • Level 1 -- Between 26 & 30 mpg -- Ring brightness is subtle with one thin blue line
        • Level 2 -- Between 31 & 35 mpg -- Ring brightness is medium intensity with thicker blue lines
        • Level 3 -- 36 mpg & above -- Ring brightness is full intensity with the thickest blue lines
        When you turn off the the car, the ECO Drive display (MFD) retains the ECO display for 3 seconds. It will display "EXCELLENT" if your average was 36 MPG or more. Remember, these are approximations of your mileage.
        The ECO display on the dash is not related to the ECO switch next to the tank refill switch referred to in this post.
      My car acts differently when it first starts up and when it is warmed up, are there different stages?

      • The warm up times vary with the temperature as well as use of the car's climate control system. The ECO mode helps, but if the temperature is below 40F, you may see the ICE stay running for a long time if you have the heat on.

        The TCH has 4 stages of operation.
        1. Stage 1 is initial warmup. The ICE will not shut off and battery assist is greater than normal. In warmer weather, this lasts a minute or less. In colder weather it can last a few minutes.
        2. Stage 2 is engine warmup. It lasts 2 or 3 miles in cool weather, longer in cold weather. The ICE shuts off if you stop, but will not shut off when coasting.
        3. Stage 3 is partial hybrid mode. The ICE is warm, and the engine shuts off if you coast between 35 and 41mph. If you stop with the ICE running, it will stop after a short time, but stays running once started until you coast (between 35 and 41mph) or stop again.
        4. Stage 4 is full hybrid mode. Enter it by braking to a complete stop (or slowing to a speed below 5 miles per hour) for approximately 7 -10 seconds (until the ICE shuts off), it is possible to enter Stage 4. It is hard to know if this ICE shutdown is due to stage 3 or entering stage 4. The only way to know is to accelerate to ~20mph and coast.
          If the ICE...
          • ...continues to run after you stop the car, it is still in stage 3.
          • ...stops within a few seconds the car is in stage 4.
          In stop and go traffic, stage 4 lets the ICE stop any time you coast, instead of having to be over 35mph when coasting. If the ICE is running, turn off the heat and the ICE turns off, you'll know that you are in stage 4.
          If you want to try and force stage 4, the ICE must be running when you stop or the TCH will not enter stage 4, it will remain in stage 3. You can hold your foot on the brake and "blip" the throttle to "start" the ICE, and then enter Stage 4 after it shuts down (~ 7 seconds.)
        Remember, cold weather conditions and turning on the heater may prevent the ICE from stopping (but it will keep you warm, use your own discretion and common sense).
      • Typically how long do the stages last?
        • Assuming moderate (50 to 60F) temperatures when driving on suburban roads (between 25 to 40 miles per hour)...
          • Stage 1 lasts approximately 30 seconds
          • Stage 2 approximately 3 minutes
          • Stage 3 approximately 3 minutes
          Of course, warmer temps reduce the Stage 2 and 3 times and colder temps can greatly increase them.
        Where can I learn more about the car and hybrid driving techniques?
      • Learn more by visiting Toyota's iGuide
      • WikiCars page for Toyota Camry Hybrid
      • Wikipedia entry for Hybrid Synergy Drive
      • 2007 Online Owner's Manual (PDF)
      • 2008 Online Camry Quick Reference Guide (PDF)
      • Please see the Toyota Prius FAQ and the Ford Escape Hybrid FAQ for other tips and techniques.

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #63 (Edited)
Front struts replacement


How to replace your front struts
OK guys (and gals), we have had several discussions about the front struts on our Camry's so I thought I would show you how to remove and replace them if you would like to give it a try. Please note, it you are mechanically challenged, do not attempt this. If you do normal maintenance on your cars, can replace the plugs and maybe have done a water pump or something similar, this is easily within your skill range. BE SAFE IF YOU DO THIS. I AM NOT YOUR DADDY OR YOUR MOMMY AND YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN FOR SAFE WORKING PRACTICES. DON'T COME CRYING TO ME IF YOU SCREW UP
I was bored this morning and decided to go out and have some fun in the garage and write this up. Bear with me on the bad photos, I play with tools, not cameras and didn't notice that I had it on the wrong setting until I was putting it back together. I might have been a little bored this morning but not bored enough to tear it down again to get better photos....
As for tools, at a minimum you need a set of jack stands, a floor jack, a set of sockets that range from 12mm to 22mm, a ratchet, a couple of extensions and a torque wrench that has a range of 50 to 155 Ft-Lbs. If you have access to air tools, they will help but they are not required by no means.
Start by jacking up the car, putting a jack stand at the jacking point on the frame and remove the front wheel. The wheel lug nuts take a 21mm socket to remove.

This is what we have at this point.

You now need to place a block of wood on your floor jack and support the bottom ball joint to keep the suspension in place during the later steps.

First thing to remove is the stabilizer link nut. It is the silver colored nut on the right side of the strut just below the spring. It takes a 17mm socket to remove. If the link joint spins, use a 6mm hex key in the end of the bolt and then use a 17mm wrench to remove this nut.

Use the jack to raise/lower the front suspension to allow the link bolt to be push out of the bracket to the rear and thing swing it to the side out of the way.

At this point, to make removing the strut easier once it is out of the car, loosen the center strut bolt on top. DO NOT REMOVE IT, JUST LOOSEN IT ONE OR TWO TURNS. It will take a 19mm socket for this. You can't see it in this photo but I marked the top of the outside stud with yellow paint to help in re-assembly of the strut. I would suggest you do the same.

You now need to remove the brake line/sensor wire retaining bolt and then pop the plastic clip for the sensor wire off of the strut. It takes a 12mm to do this

Sorry for the blurry picture but these are the two bottom strut bolts. they are in there tight so be prepared to put some muscle behind your wrench or breaker bar. If you never thought about having an air compressor and impact wrench before, these might change your mind. They will require a 22mm socket and if required, a 22mm wrench on the bolt head to hold it in place. Remove the nuts from the bolts but LEAVE THE BOLTS IN PLACE FOR NOW.

With the nuts removed, this is what you should be looking at.

Back on top again and you will need to remove the 3 retaining nuts that hold the strut in the strut tower. Use a 14mm socket to remove these three nuts.

Here we are with the nuts removed.

Lower the floor jack, remove the bottom two strut bolts and remove the strut from the car.

If you have access to one, use a strut compressor to remove/replace the strut. If you don't, most shops will remove and replace them for $10.00 each. Add that to the $180 or so for two struts and you are at $200.00 to replace them.

Here is the new hole in your suspension where the strut used to reside....
Well, you now have your shiny new struts in the springs and are ready to put your car back together. Follow along and we will get you back on the road in a hurry.

Start by hanging the strut into the rough position it belongs in.

Put the two lower strut bolts into the bracket. Make sure the bolts are put in from the front of the car to the rear of the car. Put the nuts on FINGER TIGHT ONLY at this stage.

Start jacking the front suspension up with the floor jack and guide the strut top studs into the holes in the strut tower. I usually hold the strut with a hand in the fender well and use my foot to raise and lower the jack handle. When started correctly, they should look like this when they are ready to jack into position.

Use the floor jack to raise the strut to the top, and put the nuts on the three studs. Using a torque wrench with a 14mm socket, torque these bolts to 65 Ft-Lbs. Get them fairly tight and then go in a circular pattern for the final torque.

You will now need to get a 22mm socket and torque the lower strut bolts to 155 Ft-Lbs. Note the 22mm wrench on the bolt side to prevent it from turning. Hopefully you either have a nice long torque wrench for leverage or you are very stout. Torque these bolts to 155 Ft-Lbs.

Replace the brake line/sensor wire retainer with a 12mm socket. This bolt should torque to 14 Ft-Lbs but I just snug them up good and tight. Make sure you put the plastic clip on the bottom of the strut that retains the sensor wire near the wheel.

Torque the center top bolt in the strut to 52 Ft-Lbs with a 19mm socket. The shop that replaced them for you might not have done that. It's your life, check it to make sure it is done correctly

Use your floor jack to raise/lower the suspension to align the stabilizer link bar stud with the hole in the bracket and then put the link stud in the hole from the back side of the bracket.

Torque the stabilizer link bar using a 17mm socket to 55 Ft-Lbs.

Put the wheel back on the car, snug up the lug nuts, jack it up enough to remove the jack stands, lower to the ground and torque the wheel studs to 76 Ft-Lbs with a 21mm socket.
You have now replaced the front struts on your Camry and saved several hundred dollars doing so. As noted at the start of this thread however, if you don't feel comfortable doing something like this, stay away. The springs are under immense pressure and are VERY DANGEROUS if you do not respect them. I would avoid the "hook and bar" spring compressors and pay a shop to replace the strut in the spring before I would use them.
Happy wrenching,

It is my personal opinion that, for not so much more of expense but HUGE time saving, it is more feasible to buy Monroe Quick Strut or Strut Plus from KYb..
KYB is OEM struts supplier for Toyota. needed to be noted that after 2 years on Monoe Quick Strut, driver side one DID develop a clunk going over bumps. I was warned that buyers complain about hardware issues with Monroe product and I must give some credit to this. No clunks from rear where I have KYB struts.


6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #65
I started this new thread for you.
What you need to do is to remove the plastic housing for the lights. Then, you can access the li8ght bulbs themselves. I strongly recommend a plastic trim removal tool or, at least, plastic putty knife with dulled edge.
It's all clips.
Be careful as headliner is rather soft material and easy to damage. Maybe place something like a flat sheet of plastic between trim removal tool and headliner.

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #67 (Edited)
B-mode explained

B-mode made clearer:nerd:

There is a lot of mystery about the "B" shift selector position in the Prius. The official name for it -- Engine Braking -- should provide a first hint as to what it is really for. Page 137 in the '04 owners' manual spells it out fairly clearly, in fact. But somehow a whole body of mythology about "more regeneration" and extra battery-charge magically appearing from nowhere has sprung up since, and really needs to be permanently debunked.

In the smallest possible nutshell, "B" mode is designed to WASTE some energy that the car cannot recover and store. But to fully understand "B" mode one must also take numerous other running conditions into account -- speed, temperature, battery state of charge [SOC], brake pedal pressure, etc.
A preliminary to this was originally posted at Priuschat on Sep 20 2005, but was subsequently lost in the Great Database Fire.
In recreating the information, several other posts and bits of mail were pulled together and rewritten.
This is long and detailed and hopefully not *too* technical, but tries to cover everything known and verified about "B" mode. It is also worth reading Graham Davies' explanation, at
A few basics must be understood up front:
The job of "B" mode is to help stop the car, not to save or recover energy. In fact, it largely throws energy away.
The difference betwen "D" and "B" only appears during decelerative coasting [no pedals pressed at all] or actual braking.
When accelerating or just maintaining speed, "D" and "B" produce the same behavior.
All shift positions, with the exception of "P", are simply electrical states within the control computers. In "P", a locking pawl engages gear teeth to lock the front wheels against turning, but that's the ONLY mechanical change.
Regenerative braking really has nothing to do with the physical wheel brakes on the car -- the regenerative and friction systems certainly cooperate closely, but they are separate systems. "B" mode has nothing to do with the physical hydraulic brakes at all, other than that the two systems can combine forces to help slow the car. Nonetheless, hydraulic braking, regeneration, and "B" mode are really all parts of the *overall* braking functionality.
A good overview of the braking systems in both the '04+ and earlier "classic" Prius is in the technician-training material on hybrids available from Toyota's Techinfo site, in section "T072 Chapter 6 Brake system" and in the file ileaf/techtrg/techtpdf/techtrg/techtrg/cours/section6.pdf ... which is mirrored temporarily at for reference. It does not really explain "B" mode well either, and in fact this document may be one of the sources of confusion -- where it says selecting "B" ... will maximize regenerative efficiency and is useful for controlling speeds downhill. In "B" mode about 30% of the energy is recovered. This is very misleading, because what it does *not* say is that in normal "D" mode with proper braking technique, considerably *more* than 30% of stopping energy is recovered! I think they meant "30% of the possible energy recovery" that would otherwise happen in "D" mode, but something got lost in translation.
Going back to the original definition of "B" mode -- it takes energy to turn a car engine that is otherwise not running. Friction in bearings and pistons and cams can be significant, as anyone who tries to turn an engine by hand is aware. But more significant is that it takes energy to pump air through the engine -- without fuel and spark, an engine is really nothing more than a big air compressor. The amount of energy needed to keep all that turning and pumping is what causes the "engine drag" felt in conventional cars when the accelerator is released. And if the transmission is geared down, the drag effect is more pronounced because the engine must then spin [i.e. be pulled around against air and mechanical resistance] that much faster.
In the Prius, however, under most normal conditions when the accelerator is released the engine shuts down entirely and leaves the car in electric-only mode. This would provide no engine-drag, so the Prius fakes a drag feeling electrically by having the main electric motor-generator [MG2] generate some current and thus present an energy load against the turning wheels. Above 41 mph, the engine does still spin, but it is not fed any fuel or spark and the valve-timing is changed so that the air-pumping loss through the engine is minimized. Electrical energy is still drawn from the wheels by MG2 regardless of the car's speed -- and the most useful place to send that energy is to store it in the battery. This is a regenerative stopping force, but in "D" with no brake pedal applied it is a fairly weak force -- not one you could really consider as "braking". It is not enough to prevent the car going faster and faster down an appreciable hill, for example.
Regeneration current into the battery in this state is between 10 and 20 amps [out of a possible 100] depending somewhat on speed -- at 200 battery volts that's still 2000 or 3000 watts or more, which is quite a bit of energy from just gently resisting the car coasting along! Gently applying the brake pedal increases that regeneration current, up to a maximum of 100 amps -- 20 kilowatts -- and in the '04 and up Prius, does not use the physical friction brakes at all until they are needed. That's like the motion of your car powering four electric dryers at once, and it's *all* going into the battery pack! But even 20 kilowatts cannot always provide enough stopping power, especially at higher speeds, so anything over and above that must be supplied by the friction brakes. The rest of that energy then gets wasted as heat in the rotors and pads. But what if you're driving down a long, steep mountainside? Maybe that 20 kilowatts of battery-charging energy is enough to hold your speed back -- for a while. But eventually the battery gets full -- actually, to the 80% charged limit enforced by the computers -- and to protect the system, charging current is eventually reduced to zero, and the only thing now holding the car back from disaster is the hydraulic brake system -- which is now rapidly getting hotter and hotter and reaching its own limits on how well it can continue stopping the car. Brake fade, when the parts cannot absorb or dissipate any more energy, is a very real problem on mountain roads. Enter "B" mode. As in, "trucks use lower gear". By forcing the wheels to spin the engine and pump air, a good deal of that energy can be turned to heating the air going through the engine instead of heating the brake parts. Since fresh air is always coming into the engine, having it leave as much warmer air provides a convenient place to dump excess energy.
In a conventional car the wheels push the engine around through the transmission, but the Prius needs to help that process out a little bit by actually having its combination of electric motors spin the engine. In this case, the valve-timing in the Prius engine is advanced to increase the amount of air taken in and the suction against the throttle flap -- which uses much more energy than the coasting-in-"D" scenario above. Either way, stopping power now comes from a combination of things and the burden on the friction brakes is greatly reduced, allowing the hill to be descended safely.
"B" mode also increases regeneration current to 30 - 40 amps with no feet on the pedals, so the part about "more regeneration" is somewhat true. That is one of several mechanisms used to increase the "drag" feeling. That level also varies with the car's speed. However, the car's movement is often supplying much more energy than that, so what isn't captured in the battery is wasted by flailing the engine around. This is *not* more efficient usage -- it is almost always better to gently brake in "D" for maximum energy recapture, if you have room ahead to do it. This is one of the common misconceptions about "B" mode -- it does not create more energy from nowhere, despite how much it may feel like traditional "gearing down" and using the brakes less.
In fact, for those times when the rolling *car* has too much energy for the battery, "B" helps get rid of it. In addition, using the brake pedal while in "B" mode behaves exactly the same as in "D" -- if there's any capacity left in the battery, the system tries to regenerate up to the same limit of 100 amps, above which the friction brakes are brought in to help -- the only difference in "B" that the engine is also spinning away against air pressure. Again, the hydraulic brake system does not care if you're in "D" or "B" -- it just supplies what the rest of the systems cannot. The only time the physical brakes are used *by preference* is during a panic stop, when the pedal is suddenly slammed down. The system senses this fast rate of change and immediately brings in the hydraulic brakes for faster and safer stopping with all four wheels. "B" mode makes no difference there, either.
And of course all regeneration quits at less than 6 or 7 mph, when the motors aren't turning fast enough to provide useful power -- the physical brakes handle the last part of stopping. Many people can feel a sort of braking "sag" at the transition, although Toyota has managed to make that fairly smooth and seamless.
If one thing must be understood here, it is the distinction between the BRAKES and the total BRAKING SYSTEM. The hydraulic friction brakes in each wheel cannot supply energy -- they can only waste it, throwing it away as heat to the air around them. Parts of the braking SYSTEM -- that one could consider as including the driveline and electric motors, the hybrid and braking computers, the battery -- can work together to recover energy and direct it around to where it needs to go. But when someone naively says "the brakes charge the battery", that's really rather wrong.
Now with all of that said, there are a few funny quirks and factoids to know about "B" mode, none of which really help increase fuel efficiency but are interesting to know about regardless.
In general, the amount of extra resistance given by "B" mode is sort of staged upward depending on the car's speed and how charged the battery is. Some of these conditions can be utilized in entertaining ways. Under 20 mph, if the engine is not already running and your foot comes off the accelerator, B mode simply regenerates reasonably heavily [30A or so] into the battery. This drops off around 12 mph to a lower current, and is then similar to being in D until regen capability kicks out entirely around 7 mph. So between 19 and maybe 10 miles per hour, you can use "B" to slow down in an energy-productive way, and essentially drive around in electric-only mode with one pedal -- but be careful to not do something the person behind you doesn't expect without showing brake lights!
As soon as you crest 20 mph, however, the engine begins spinning -- to enable the system to dissipate more energy at the higher speed. If the engine is running and you come to a standstill while in "B" mode, the engine *stays* running -- just idling. The reason for this is not really known, but it is a way to continue warming the engine when it's cold out and you're stopped in traffic.
Driving around in "B" during warmup also tends to charge the battery a little faster, since electric-only mode is avoided, but again at the expense of burning more fuel to do it. Engine start/stop transitions are avoided. Sometimes this state feels more surefooted and responsive in snow and other tricky conditions.
People who have autocrossed the Prius have recommended staying in "B" for better and quicker control -- having the driveline "fall on its face" the instant your foot comes off the accelerator pedal may be desireable behavior at times. This may feel familiar to some EV drivers, where regeneration control all comes from releasing the go-pedal in controllers without integrated braking features.
Fuel usage in "B" is somewhat mitigated by the fact that when decelerating above some nominal speed, somewhere around 17 mph, no fuel is sent to the engine and it just spins "dry". It's still wasting energy and slowing the car, but there's no reason to throw away gas along with that. This is sometimes called "fuel-starve" mode, and is also used in some conventional cars during high-speed coasting conditions.
It is difficult to tell when that 100 amp battery-charge limit is exceeded without extra instrumentation. When the battery pack is cold, that limit is actually lower -- down around 50 amps, until cabin heat begins to circulate through the battery pack ventilation ducts and the pack self- heats a little from being used. The system is quite good at protecting the battery against things like overcurrents, and sometimes that gets in the way. Slowing over bumps often confuses the regen mechanism, which can sometimes be felt by the seat of the pants as that same little braking "sag" right after the bump. The system has given up on regen at that point, and is now only collecting the "coasting" baseline 10 amps of battery current, and using the physical brakes almost entirely to stop you. Recovery from this situation appears to be time-based, so your best bet at that point is to slap it down into "B" for the duration of that stop since while you may spin off some energy in the engine, regen current *will* be a bit heavier than in your now pathological D-but-confused braking state and you might recover a tiny bit more energy.
But don't get into the habit of using "B" to slow down unless you really need it -- that's sometimes hard to get used to if you come from ingrained years of "gearing down" in conventional cars.
Many strange things happen when the battery pack gets up to "eight green bars" full level. The hybrid system begins doing several things to pull a little energy back out of the pack -- the engine will tend to spin in "D" mode even at low-speed, low-demand conditions, in fact just about in the same way as "B" mode does when the charge state is more normal. If "B" mode is selected in the full state during coasting, then the engine *really* screams and even more energy is pumped away. So while all the energy of a long descent cannot be captured, speed can be controlled in some interesting ways by creative shifting between "D" and "B" even after the pack is topped out.
When the car is stopped, the engine may randomly start and stop several times -- the theory is that the system is ridding itself of excess battery charge to get it back within safe limits. You only really get 600 watt-hours full range to play with, which isn't a whole lot. Still, the car really goes out of its way to make sure there's plenty of stopping-power reserve on tap if the driver needs it. And there's no question that larger battery packs would give a much wider range of energy-recovery -- possibly enough to hold an entire mountain descent's worth. Some of the extra-battery experimenters have successfully done that, in fact. It is said that the early Japanese "hypermilers" used B mode to gain fuel efficiency. There is no advantage to be achieved by this with the current generation of Prius, but in the earliest Japanese models and the "Classic" imported to the US for 2000-2003 the regenerative braking system is a bit more crude and brings in the physical brakes much earlier in the game even when they're not necessarily needed. With higher-power-capable motors and the reworked "by wire" brake system in the '04 and since, this is no longer relevant since little or no pressure is sent to the wheel brakes until the system has extracted as much regeneration as possible. However, those early and somewhat vague stories could be another source of myth and misinformation. Help clear up some of the confusion about B mode. Tell other owners [and dealers!] who don't necessarily read this stuff why "B" is NOT saving
them any gas.

This is about the best article available to explain B-mode. I also find it rather contradictory, as it states that B-mode is not efficient way to charge the battery - then gives multiple examples of how it actually does charge it faster. I read this article several times and come to feel that author either has some prejudice against this mode or/and never actually drove a hybrid and used B mode for extended time. hence, author simply does not have real life feel of it and take more scholastic, biased stance.


6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #70 (Edited)
To jump or not to jump another vehicle?

Devhighlander shared this with all:

You FAQ says that a Toyota Hybrid can't safely jumpstart another car. That's not necessarily true. I did it multiple times with my 2005 Prius, and the 12V battery in that car lasted 9 years. They key is to use the jumpstart terminals in the engine compartment, and not at the battery, and the Toyota Hybrid should be in "Ready" mode. At that point, the power being provided to the other car is coming off of the Inverter, not off of the battery. The 12V system is protected by a large fuse (150A in the 2005 Prius' case), so there's likely little to no damage that would be done to the hybrid system if the dead car pulled too much amperage. I was able to jumpstart a Porsche and a really old Volvo without problems.

And this is fine. We have mindful owner familiar with proper jumping procedures and careful in his actions.
That said, my opinion, knowing how much repairs cost: DO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #71
Traction battery charge - dealer or not

Davehighlander opinion:

If you run out of gas in your Totoyta Hybrid, and drive on the traction battery until it runs out of juice, you don't necessarily need to take it to a dealer to get it recharged. What you need to do is not let the hybrid system try to crank the engine constantly while waiting to get gas delivered to you.

When I ran out of gas in my 2005 Prius (multiple times, I'm a slow learner some times), I drove as far as I could just on the traction battery trying to get to a gas station. As the battery ran down, I was going slower and slower until all I could do was pull over and wait for triple-A to some to my rescue with gas. A couple gallons of gas and the car fired right up. Again, not letting the car constantly try to crank the engine with no fuel was key to preserving the traction battery. That traction battery lasted until 202K miles when a seized engine finally stressed it enough to fail. That was a "fun" repair.

So far I've managed not to run out of gas in the 2016 Highlander Hybrid or the 2012 Plug-in Prius and intend to keep it that way.

I'll quote another TCH owner: There is no prize for running out of gas. Experiment at your own risk, it is always SAFE to NOT run out of it.

New Toyota fan
94 Posts
BTW, be careful when replacing the plastic lens. If you do it the wrong way, you will break the little tabs that hold it in place... I learned the hard way.

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #74

Credit goes to Traildust, Admin

Because of previous discussion and requests for information about extended warranties, this sticky has been created so that pricing and other information is easily accessible. Note: The information that's linked below is located on a remote server, so if you encounter any difficulties downloading the documents the server could be down so please allow adequate time before trying again. Sometimes those things happen....

The following document is a list of dealer rates on extended warranties, as well as a breakdown on what models are in each price bracket. These are actual dealer cost, and if you can negotiate to within $75-$100 above these prices you've gotten a good deal.

Dealer rates on Excel spreadsheet

Dealer rates on PDF spreadsheet

Looking for a dealer to sell you an extended warranty? Click here to see a short list of the warranty dealers most popular with other Toyota Nation members.

If you would like to discuss extended warranty information further, you can post your questions to this 2nd Generation Highlander thread. Also, if you have any comments, questions, or additional information regarding warranties that you think should be amended to this sticky then please send me ( traildust) a PM. Thanks!

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #75
What mode is best for mpg?

The following statements currently hold true regarding the modes:

  1. the same amount of power is available in all 3 modes, e.g. kick-down will provide the same performance in all 3 modes (there is a video showing exactly this here, where also a chart shows the gas pedal throttle response in all 3 modes); at constant speed the modes do not make any difference in the performance of the car (expect the A/C-heater changes in ECO mode, that might improve FE since less energy is required to keep the cabin at a set temperature)
  2. the fuel consumption might not be affected by using the 3 modes - fuel efficiency is greatly dependent on how one accelerates, traffic, type of roads, temperature, etc.; there are users on that claim very good fuel efficiency in PWR mode, others that cannot get a good fuel efficiency at all in PWR mode
  3. there are no measurements or objective tests/results showing that keeping always the same mode has any effect on the lifetime of the car as whole or on the battery/hybrid drivetrain
  4. there are no measurements or objective tests/results showing that the 3 modes have any effect on the way the cruise control responds to changes in road inclines
  5. there are no measurements or objective tests/results showing that changing the modes will change: the steering wheel response; the maximum voltage allowed on MG2 in ECO mode (e.g. 500V instead of 650V; there is such a claim for the Lexus CT200h, that shares the same drivetrain as the Prius Gen 3, between ECO/normal mode and Sport (PWR) mode); the ICE management (e.g. changes in the valve opening times, etc.) or the way the ECU provides current to MG2 (i.e. more in PWR/less in ECO) for the same acceleration/power request (same HSI bar length)
The modes are, except for the A/C-heater performance, in essence "psychological" ways to help the driver get the best FE, by affecting the way he/she accelerates the car to a certain speed.
Looking at the modes from this perspective, one could therefore say that:

  • ECO mode is better suited for stop&go city traffic, where frequent stops and accelerations could lower FE if the driver accelerates aggressively (due to personal style, or traffic flow) several times in a row in short trips
  • Normal mode is best suited for suburban driving with less traffic and stop&go situations, as well as for highway; good to excellent FE might be achieved in city traffic if a light foot is used, traffic flow allows for slower accelerations and temperatures do not force the ICE to be on longer than necessary to keep the battery charged;
  • PWR mode is perfect to get with less "psychological" effort (i.e. no need to "stomp" on the gas pedal) more responsiveness from the drive train on winding-mountain roads (e.g. more fun drive), merging on an highway quickly without feeling that you need to kick down to get to speed, to get quicker overall response by keeping the ICE on more often

6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #76
How to check 12V battery status

This is Prius video but if you have navigation system, you can use exactly same method to access YOUR TCH diagnostic screen. As in - press Info button and flip light switch back for several times
Have fun. Be very careful trying to adjust setting via that screen.


6,481 Posts
Discussion Starter #77
How to access diagnostic mode on TCH with navigation

do i have a treat for you!!

1. sit in your car, key inside, press start button once.
2. nav system comes up
3. press and hold info button, while flipping lights switch back and for; you need to get to at least markers lights come up; takes about 4-5 flips - and then magic happens!

this menu comes up;

from it, you can read codes, adjust mike quality, run all kinds of diagnostics, including 12V battery test (mine checked out)


2007 TCH owner
341 Posts
PSD flush and fill and Inverter Coolant flush and fill using no scan tool.

I just flush and fill my PSD fluid after 65k miles and the PSD fluid is dark compared to the new one. Should have been done at 30k-40k miles.

Also done the Inverter Coolant using vacuum refill kit, it doesn't require a scan tool since it will suck the air out of the inverter during the refill (vacuum) Most dealers use this since it's quick and only requires an air compressor. I bought this in amazon for $58.

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