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daveybee

Brake Fluid Level

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Just to save anyone from the same embarrassing situation I found myself in on Friday, I'm posting a little snippet that I'm sure you all know about, but I didn't...

A couple of weeks ago I had the two year service done on my Auris HSD, and being a bit anal about these things, I checked the fluid levels when I got home only to find that the brake fluid was on the midway mark rather than the top mark (where I expected it to be following a full fluid replacement). I thought that, as it was over minimum, it was safe enough and I'd wait until I went past the local dealer to get it topped up. Anyway to cut a long story short, I found myself at Mr. Ts last Friday morning, having a discussion with the technicians over where the brake fluid level should be - they maintained it was exactly at the level it should be and refused to top it up to the maximum mark ("because hybrids are different to normal cars") so I left, having had a bit of a set to with the service guy.

Anyway, by the time I got home I was fuming, and was going to post the question on this forum as to where the fluid level should be and write a snotty letter to my Dealership Principal complaining about his technicians. I then remembered a photo of the engine bay I took when the car was new, and guess what??? The brake fluid level was bang on the mid way mark - they were right! Anyway, following a very apologetic phone call to the service guy, and a number of knowing looks from the wife, I thought I'd share my embarrassment with you all.

Have a bit of a chuckle at my expense, but also be aware that the high brake fluid level on a hybrid is supposed to be lower than you would expect - was news to me, but I guess I'm living proof that you're never too old to learn new stuff!

Dave. :P

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Nice of you to let us know that Dave; thanks.

Good to hear you apologised as well; dealer staff are not used to that and I am sure it will go well for you in your future dealings with them.

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The same between the min and max also applies to engine Oil! Sadly, many dealers overfill above the max line on the Gen 2, I don't know if the overfill problem occurs for other Hybrid models.

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Nice of you to let us know that Dave; thanks.

Good to hear you apologised as well; dealer staff are not used to that and I am sure it will go well for you in your future dealings with them.

Yeah, well, had to really... :thumbsup:

Seriously though, I'm a big believer in being straight with people - if they deserve praise, they get it, if I'm unhappy with them, they know about it, but if I'm wrong, I'll always apologise... Served me very well in my 25 odd years of managing people.

Dave.

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The same between the min and max also applies to engine oil! Sadly, many dealers overfill above the max line on the Gen 2, I don't know if the overfill problem occurs for other Hybrid models.

Yes, my Oil was about 1cm over again(same as when I bought it 2nd hand) on my gen 2 service recently, even though I warned them not to do it! :-( That's 2 different dealers too...

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Long gone are the days of topping everything off to the max. Older cars used to burn more Oil and develop coolant and brake fluid leaks on a more regular basis. New cars have better tolerances and are better engineered and the fluid levels tend to stay where they are. The purpose of not overfilling brake fluid is to allow for expansion when the brake pads are pushed back for replacement, it saves having to open a bleed nipple, although I would open a bleed nipple anyway rather than push fluid backwards through an ABS pump.

I would be quite happy to see my brake fluid just above minimum when the brake pads are ready for replacement. Coolant should be above min when cold and below max when hot. to allow for heat expansion. Oil should be around midway between min and max when cold and certainly below max when hot.

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Oil overfilling is most likely because they don't check the level using the dipstick. Most garages have a metered delivery system, and as I understand it there is an error in the capacity specs for the Prius Gen 2 where the specs state 3.7L but in practice 3.5L is apparently the correct amount! Toyota will not correct the error, but if we take the wrong grade Oil in the Gen 3 as an example, it would be difficult for Toyota GB and EU to grasp something as difficult as a change in volume! The evidence would suggest that Toyota GB and EU are just PR organisations and the real technical expertise resides in Japan. Oops, sorry I didn't mean this to come out as a rant in this thread.

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I trained my dealer to put the correct amount in, After having to take out the excess for a second time, both cars are now filled correctly without asking.

To be fair to the dealer, as Timberwolf says, the Gen II has the wrong amount specified by Toyota. Toyota has yet to correct this, despite it being reported by my dealer back in early 2009.

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I'm thinking of replacing my brake fluid. The reason I want to do it is because I want to take out the bleed nipples clean up the threads and apply a tiny smear of copper grease to the threads. On previous cars this has served me well, and over 10 years later they still undo.

Is there anything odd about bleeding a Gen 2, or is it 'normal'?

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Bleeding the brakes is a specialist job.

A word of warning, the Prius brake system is always live even when the car is off!

Do a search for Prius "BR - Brake" pdf. Personally I'd stay away from the torrent search results but you'll also find various web sites that have the file.

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Bleeding the brakes is a specialist job.

A word of warning, the Prius brake system is always live even when the car is off!

Not if you disconnect the 12v, which is the safest way to work on the brakes.

Also if you don't re-pressurise the brakes with the pedal before reconnecting the 12v, fault codes will pop up relating to low brake pressure.

If you're not confident working on brakes then by all means take it to the dealer, but it's not a "specialist" job.

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Bleeding the brakes is a specialist job.

A word of warning, the Prius brake system is always live even when the car is off!

Not if you disconnect the 12v, which is the safest way to work on the brakes.

Also if you don't re-pressurise the brakes with the pedal before reconnecting the 12v, fault codes will pop up relating to low brake pressure.

If you're not confident working on brakes then by all means take it to the dealer, but it's not a "specialist" job.

Sigh. The brake system has an alternative backup 12V power source, hint it is in the black box next to the 12V Aux Battery. I was responding to the question on bleeding the brake fluid, as far as I know only Toyota know the CANbus codes to operate the brake system when bleeding the system - if you know otherwise please provide a link.

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Bleeding the brakes is a specialist job.

A word of warning, the Prius brake system is always live even when the car is off!

Not if you disconnect the 12v, which is the safest way to work on the brakes.

Also if you don't re-pressurise the brakes with the pedal before reconnecting the 12v, fault codes will pop up relating to low brake pressure.

If you're not confident working on brakes then by all means take it to the dealer, but it's not a "specialist" job.

Sigh. The brake system has an alternative backup 12V power source, hint it is in the black box next to the 12V Aux Battery. I was responding to the question on bleeding the brake fluid, as far as I know only Toyota know the CANbus codes to operate the brake system when bleeding the system - if you know otherwise please provide a link.

I was referring to the Gen 3, which does not have the black box, once the 12v is disconnected on the Gen 3 the car is dead.

Apologies, I was on a different train of though in my ramblings above, I was confusing Brake pad replacement with fluid replacement. Any hydraulic work on the Prius does normally need the Toyota Techstream tool to set the ECB to invalid mode.

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Forgiven:-)

Another example where the Gen 2 was over engineered compared with rhe Gen 3, or a case of Toyota cutting costs whilst the consumer pays more...

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