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kevin h

Engine Noise And Vibration - Prius Gen3

63 posts in this topic

Anybody else had the loud engine noise and vibration durring this cold spell.

It happened to me in Jan and again in Nov (Both cold periods after the car had been stood for 48 hours)

I just wish I'd had me camcorder with me for the last one.

My problem has been passed to Toyota UK but I won't hold my breath.

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Yes, I had it happen to mine last winter. It happened when left for a few days in very cold weather and as luck would have it, I had my 10k mile service due so informed the dealers when it was in and they said it could have been a dodgy coil pack. It hasn't happened since then, despite being left for long periods in cold weather so perhaps they were right?

However, many owners on the US forum have had similar experiences and some theory goes along the line of the car not being started correct by one of the big motor/generators due to the cold. Or others believe it repeatedly happens when the car is started in cold weather, not allowed to fully warm up before being shut off again (say driving 100 yards with the engine running) and subsequently left for a few days in cold weather. How this affects it is unknown to me but some intelligent types suggest it could be a software type issue with the warm up cycles.

Does the above sound like your experiences? Did you drive it a very short distance (as opposed to a journey over 1 mile) shortly before parking for a few days in the cold?

Be interesting if you could let us all know your findings and perhaps members such as PartsKing and other Toyota connected members could comment before you speak to your dealers.

Hope the above helps.

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Yes, I had it happen to mine last winter. It happened when left for a few days in very cold weather and as luck would have it, I had my 10k mile service due so informed the dealers when it was in and they said it could have been a dodgy coil pack. It hasn't happened since then, despite being left for long periods in cold weather so perhaps they were right?

However, many owners on the US forum have had similar experiences and some theory goes along the line of the car not being started correct by one of the big motor/generators due to the cold. Or others believe it repeatedly happens when the car is started in cold weather, not allowed to fully warm up before being shut off again (say driving 100 yards with the engine running) and subsequently left for a few days in cold weather. How this affects it is unknown to me but some intelligent types suggest it could be a software type issue with the warm up cycles.

Does the above sound like your experiences? Did you drive it a very short distance (as opposed to a journey over 1 mile) shortly before parking for a few days in the cold?

Be interesting if you could let us all know your findings and perhaps members such as PartsKing and other Toyota connected members could comment before you speak to your dealers.

Hope the above helps.

Hi GC,

"We" spoke about this over the phone last year and I ended up writing to Toyota directly but never receiving a response.

My tank was drained, the weather warmed up and it didn't happen again until just recently.

No journeys of less that 12 miles had been made before parking the car in the garage so thats not the problem.

Anyway, I've now got my local dealer looking into it with Toyota UK and have refered them to another sufferer in Wales and his local dealer.

I'm not going to let this drop and am writing to Toyota directly, but I can't fault my dealer for trying to resolve the problem.

I'll let people know how things pan out.

Kev

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Going to get a bit paranoid here, but I wonder if it has been corrected by a software update. The reason I say this is that when I start my car up from cold in a morning the motor/generator seems to spin for longer before the engine fires up. You can hear it spinning (a hum) for about a second and a half before the engine springs to life. I'm sure it never spun as long as this last winter and wonder if that caused the problems?

Definitely clutching at straws here but could your dealer check that all the software is upto date on your car? As I've been in for 3 services this year, plus the recall, I'm sure my software is totally upto date.

Would still be curious to see what PartsKing and other Toyota connected types think.

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I'll mention it and see what they say

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No problems with my engine. Got the car out of the garage today for the first time in a fortnight and engine started just as quietly as normal about a minute after i started reversing the car out. Normal ma-in-law visit, Pitsea to Farnborough and although the engine was on and off as usual, no vibration or noises from it at all... :thumbsup:

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I think Kevin has been unlucky as it has only happened to me once in 37,000 miles.

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This happened to me last weekend (I'm assuming the same problem can occur in the Auris HSD too?) I hadn’t used my car for a few days (it was under about 2 foot of snow) and I started it up. At first no problem, then a very loud banging and heavy vibration (bit like an engine misfire but seemed worse). I shut the power down straight away and popped the bonnet. I couldn’t see anything, but the thing I noticed was that the noise/vibration only appeared to start as the AC fan ramped up speed to defrost the windows. I tried starting again without the AC on this time and let the engine warm up for a few minutes before manually turning AC on and spinning the fan up one notch at a time. No problem this time and since then I have done several hundred miles without problem. I put it down to ice or similar on the fan blades.

GC – I also notice a motor hum for a second or two before the engine starts. I put this down the motor spinning the engine up to operating speed before actually firing. Having said that if it was a software update I would have expected the Auris HSD to have the latest firmware from the factory.

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GC – I also notice a motor hum for a second or two before the engine starts. I put this down the motor spinning the engine up to operating speed before actually firing. Having said that if it was a software update I would have expected the Auris HSD to have the latest firmware from the factory.

Hmmm this is worrying. My only comment would be that I've been off ill for a few weeks and my car has been stood for a while under 6 inches of snow and ice and it fired up ok when I went to check it was ok, hence thinking it was a software issue.

Did your read my earlier post about some in the US forums thinking it was something to do with the car being being stopped half way through a previous warm up cycle that could cause the issue? Would this be applicable to you?

I am still concerned our friends from Toyota dealers are remaining silent on this subject. Do they know what the fault is? Or is it a design issue, esp considering it is happening in the new Auris HSD!

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Hmmm, just been out to take my car round the block to give it a run and guess what! :censor:

I had the clatter, knocking, judder when the engine started up. Going to give the dealer a ring to see if there are any codes in the short term memory.

I would add that the car has been stood about 3 weeks and I've been out every 3 or 4 days to start it up and let it run until the engine switched itself off when warmed up. Well, the last time I started my car up before today I had to stop the engine half way through the warmup cycle as I was interupted by my gf. I wonder if this was what caused it?

Comments appreciated.

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Hmmm, just been out to take my car round the block to give it a run and guess what! :censor:

I had the clatter, knocking, judder when the engine started up. Going to give the dealer a ring to see if there are any codes in the short term memory.

I would add that the car has been stood about 3 weeks and I've been out every 3 or 4 days to start it up and let it run until the engine switched itself off when warmed up. Well, the last time I started my car up before today I had to stop the engine half way through the warmup cycle as I was interupted by my gf. I wonder if this was what caused it?

Comments appreciated.

Overnight acommodation here in Fife has been between -4 to -11 degrees this past two weeks. I managed to drive to work for the first time last Friday. Up until then the car had been stationary. I have experienced no excessive engine juddering or clattering.

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I have checked the system we have and nothing leaps out at me, there are some checks relating to noisy start ups and to check the fuel pressure, MAF, various temp sensors etc, but these should store codes in the ECU which can be read with your dealers on board tester

Kingo :thumbsup:

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My Auris was covered in snow and had not been started in over a week and a half :angry: . I started it up last Wednesday morning (at -11c) after a night where it was -14C. No vibration at all. I didn't have the heater or aircon on at all, and the engine cut off after its usual warm-up cycle. When I turned on the heater the engine kicked in louder than normal but no vibration. The aircon was not turned on at any point. Could the vibration be aircon compressor related? I assume that it has one like all other cars.

Cheers

Dave

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My Auris was covered in snow and had not been started in over a week and a half :angry: . I started it up last Wednesday morning (at -11c) after a night where it was -14C. No vibration at all. I didn't have the heater or aircon on at all, and the engine cut off after its usual warm-up cycle. When I turned on the heater the engine kicked in louder than normal but no vibration. The aircon was not turned on at any point. Could the vibration be aircon compressor related? I assume that it has one like all other cars.

Cheers

Dave

No its nothing like that. It's a very rare problem that has plagued a significant number of Prii. It is hard to track down because of its rarity and sounds like your engine is banging and knocking as if running on only 1 or 2 cylinders. Some think its a faulty coil pack, others fuel starvation when stood and other theories are that its a control software issue to do with the variable valve timing on the engine (or something like that).

See my post before \/ \/ \/

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Been to the main dealers about the (rare) knocking on cold start issue. Got their top dude to do the diagnostics and I explained exactly what happened - how the car had been stood for 3 weeks and started every 3 - 4 days and allowed to fully warm up each time etc etc.

He checked all the codes and there was nothing at all out of the ordinary (and even that was nothing special). When the knocking occured yesterday the engine started up as normal and ran ok but there was almost a slight hesitation, almost misfire like judder on 1 cylinder but it was ever so slight and eventually corrected itself after a few seconds. I reversed the car off the drive and stopped as I listened for this slight misfire which had now come back again and got worse and worse sounding like a definite misfire. It then seemed to spread as if missing on 2 cyclinders and then bang, bang, bang - it was running as if on only 1 cyclinder and physically rocking and shaking the car, so I turned the car off! Left it 5 seconds and turned it back on, the car rebooted and fired up as normal, running smooth as usual. No knocking, no banging and no clattering.

As you can see by the description it is not a slight vibration or a small rattle. The chief mechanic guy said if it was missing at all this would be reported by the onboard computer. If it was over fuelling this would be logged too as would under fuelling, yet the car was certainly not running as it should.

I think I'll go with the theory that it's a software issue to do with the valve timings being out of kilter due to the car being stopped half way through its warm up cycle the day before. This matches what other users have reported in the US and I did indeed only half warm the car up the last time I ran it about 2 or 3 days earlier as I was in a rush. Trouble is Toyota just don't seem to accept there is an issue and as it is so rare it's almost impossible to replicate and the onboard diagnostic system just doesn't seem to pick up on it. Maybe the car doesn't think there's a problem worth reporting as it thinks it's doing what it should be, when it obviously isn't (hence a possible software problem).

I am waiting for a hundred responses from owners saying they haven't had the problem so therefore it doesn't exist, but there are a significant number of reports of this issue and it would be helpful if only owners who have suffered this problem could report their experiences. That way we might be able to narrow down the circumstances surrounding the issue with the hope that something more detailed can be provided to Toyota.

Experience or theories from Toyota dealers/mechanics would be helpful too.

Cheers guys n gals

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Hi Grumpy - sorry to hear you're having trouble.

If you have a video camera with a microphone, I suggest putting it inside the car focused on the display each time you start the car, until you either record the effect you are describing or get fed up of trying.

Intermittent faults are a pig aren't they?

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Erm I'd give up trying. I've done 37,000 miles and started my car up numerous times every day and this issue has happened only 3 times.

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Did your read my earlier post about some in the US forums thinking it was something to do with the car being being stopped half way through a previous warm up cycle that could cause the issue? Would this be applicable to you?

It could be applicable to me. IIRC I'd left the car stood for a few days in the snow. I cleared my driveway and car then reversed out and back in to ensure I could get my car out, then turned off. I then left the car for another day or so un-used. Then I had the problem. I'm sure I only used EV mode to move the car so I wouldn't have thought the engine would have been part way through a warm-up cycle. Having said that I may have let the engine start to ensure it was still working after the snow. Problem is, I can't remember now :ermm:

I know when it did happen it felt like the whole car was shaking! Not happened to me since though.

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Have seen the following video whilst posting my experience on the US Prius forums too. Some of you might be interested in the following link (including Toyota dealers and employees);

http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii-2010-prius-main-forum/86722-1-8l-starting-rattle-knock-events-13.html

This video exactly reflects how my car was yesterday - just not quite so violent as mine was.

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There is a system within the dealer network called "Product Reports" These are detailed reports on the circumstances of a particular problem that could include codes, recordings of sounds or video of a certain problem. I would advise anybody who has experienced this same problem to contact their dealer to discuss submitting a report

Kingo :thumbsup:

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They already think I'm a time waster and were good this morning but you could still tell they weren't convinced. I suppose from their point of guy some bloke says his car is not right, they check it and not a sausage wrong with it - infact it was absolutely spot on and nothing out of parameters.

I dread to ring up and tell them I want a report doing. Am half way through a Vosa recall defect report form and tempted to go the Watchdog route instead. If the dealer really thought it a problem surely they'd have suggested the Toyota Product Report themselves?

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They should submit one anyway, but as you say, there is nothing (from their point of view) wrong with the car, so nothing defective that Toyota could replace/modify etc. But it is only by having this reporting in place that Toyota get to know about intermittant problems

I would be putting pen to paper to Toyota, what will Watchdog or VOSA do? They will ask for Toyota's opinion, better going there direct me thinks!

Kingo :thumbsup:

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OK, I hear what you're saying and at least it gives Toyota the option to sort the issue out. Thing is, are they likely to issue a recall for dodgy intake VVT-i controllers or would this be too expensive for them? So who at Toyota do I or should i write to to get things moving quickly?

Also, what is an intake vvt-i controller and what does it do? I know it shakes your engine about if it sticks or fails.

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The VVTI controller is the gadgetry that makes the variable valve timing work. It would take a significant amount of cars to have a problem with it to instigate a recall, however, regardless of cost, if it was required, then they would do it, without question!

Who says they are faulty anyway?

Your contact by email is customer.relations@tgb.toyota.co.uk They will contact the dealer to ask their opinion so it will take a while to go round the system, you could always include the youtube link to show the problem, this is a perfect example of the type of info needed for a good product report. If you car does it again, try and video or sound record it

Kingo :thumbsup:

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Decided to speak with my dealers again rather than go through the rigmarole of going to Toyota and round and round etc. Explained my concerns about the vvti controller and that the video link copied my problem. He said he'd come across this issue on one of the older Prius's and that it is usually caused by low oil level or pressure (mine is full) possibily by being stood for a few days. He also said that the car should throw a code and a warning light for this fault and mine had neither of these. There was also the suggestion that replacing the controller at this stage might cause more problems than it cured. They have logged the problem on my records incase of future possible warranty work.

This has only happened 3 times in 37k miles and only when the car has been stood for a few days (which is unusual for me), so I might just leave it for now and if it does it again then as least I know what it is and go from there. Also, anyone else out there concerned by this problem should now have a reasonable idea of one possible cause.

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