BUILD #imwithher. Frank’s ‘07 Prius adventures.


Outlaw

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Bought a Prius. It’s exactly what I thought it would be. Like driving a washing machine. No thrills. All the economy.

Basics;

2007 Toyota Prius Base. 166,000 miles. Ex Lake County forest preserve vehicle. Came on brand new Goodyear tires, full tank of fuel and like 100 miles since the last service for $3,500. Everything works. No rust. Put 218 miles on it since yesterday AM. Averaging 51.2mpg. Most of that was with a passenger and trunk full of Costco purchases.

The purpose of this thing is to be a daily driver, and for me that’s a big ask. It has a hitch on it with 1” receiver for a bike rack, I’ll add wiring to tow my 5x8 trailer. The rear suspension is sitting about 1” lower than stock. From what I’ve seen it’s a pretty common thing. A company in California used to convert these 2nd gens to plug-in hybrids, and used a local spring align type company to make the HD rear springs for the added battery packs they used. That company still makes the springs for customers if they ask so I’ll be giving them a call tomorrow. It’ll end up going from like 1” of sag to about 3/4” above stock ride height and is a stiffer spring. Perfect for packing full of stuff or trailer tongue weight. Figure I’ll order new struts as well since I’ll have them apart anyways.

Rear suspension upgrades, trailer wiring, window tint and regular maintenance is about all this will see. I imagine the thread will just be filled with pictures of me doing things in a Prius people don’t do in a 1500 pickup.

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Outlaw

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Pretty much lol. I wanted another TDI. Current market said LOL NOPE. GF also wants to be able to drive it, so it couldn’t be manual and fun-ish anyways, plus going into winter I really didn’t want to freeze my ass off all the time waiting 35 min to get lukewarm air out of the vents.

So Prius it is.
 
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I should also add I bought a 2008 with 113k to flip. Looks the same, but far more minty and obviously 50k less miles.

I ordered a Bluetooth OBD thing and downloaded the Dr. Prius/ Dr. Hybrid app. Going to do battery tests on both cars. if this one is significantly worse than the other I’ll sell this one and keep the other, but I’d rather sell the nicer car if they’re equivalent mechanically.
 

Jon01

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Pretty much lol. I wanted another TDI. Current market said LOL NOPE. GF also wants to be able to drive it, so it couldn’t be manual and fun-ish anyways, plus going into winter I really didn’t want to freeze my ass off all the time waiting 35 min to get lukewarm air out of the vents.

So Prius it is.
TDI market is fucking stupid right now. If fuel prices keep rising I think it'll continue to be stupid.

Solid mileage from the Prius. That's better than I thought they did.
 
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TDI market is fucking stupid right now. If fuel prices keep rising I think it'll continue to be stupid.

Solid mileage from the Prius. That's better than I thought they did.
Its going to keep rising. Fuel prices aren’t going down anytime soon, only up IMO. I’ve been looking pretty hard for a TDI or Prius for 2-3 months now knowing it would be a necessary investment with how much I drive on my own dime. I was willing to pay retail, I just didn’t want one that had multiple owners or was used up like most are in our area.

ComEd and Nicor used to send 20-30 of them to auction every three months along with 40-60 2008ish Ford Focuses. Now that they have smart meters and don’t use them anymore they’re all gone. Had to wait for a municipality to kick one.

All of that driving has been 2 lane country roads with cruise set at 60-65, or in McHenry shopping. No short trips, no highway.

I might run up to Fond Du Lac tomorrow for some plow parts, that’ll give me a good idea of highway mileage which I know will be lower.
 
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Outlaw

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So here’s some fun info on the rear suspension setup I want to do.

Back in the day before Toyota did their own plug-in hybrid Prius, a company out in California called Lucious Hybrid Garage started building their own 2nd gen Prius plug-in hybrids... what does that require? Extra batteries... What do those add? Extra weight...

Lucious went to a local spring shop called Valley Spring Works in Dixon, CA and had them design a HD rear spring that would handle the added weight without changing ride height or ride. They’re a stiffer spring that sit roughly at the same height. Valley Spring Works is willing to make and mail those special springs out to me. From what I know, they will raise the rear about 3/4” over stock when the car is empty, but will compress far less with the weight of tools, trailer tongue weight, passengers, etc in the back.

If the weight becomes an issue and the car is unstable, the stock rear sway bar from an 04-08 Corolla is a direct bolt-in, almost functionally identical for the TRD option sold for the 2nd gen Prius, and can probably be had for $20 at the local junkyard.

So that’s the route I think I’ll be going. I may just order new quick struts first and see how it is, but if the rear sag is unbearable then that’s always there as a solution.
 

Bob Hope

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I’m randomly in to this. Some days I with I had a manual v8 something or other daily and then other days I contemplate a volt or something even more mundane to drive to work and get 50mpg. Plus using cars not quite as intended is great.

Also I’ve for sure seen 2” receivers on Prius’s at work.
 
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Outlaw

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I’m randomly in to this. Some days I with I had a manual v8 something or other daily and then other days I contemplate a volt or something even more mundane to drive to work and get 50mpg. Plus using cars not quite as intended is great.

Also I’ve for sure seen 2” receivers on Prius’s at work.
Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve daily driven something fun, but I don’t even long for it anymore. I don’t like to say I’m good at much, but using things for not their intended purposes is amusing to me. I did it in spades with my TDI’s, but those were a bit more obscure vehicles to begin with. Let’s do manly shit with the most stereotyped vehicle in existence. To me that sounds fun.

Like, in all reality, if you’re a practical guy a Prius makes more sense than most other vehicles, just like a Honda Ridgeline or the upcoming Ford Maverick.., you much not LIKE that fact, but facts don’t care about your feelings.

-They are cheap to buy.
-They get 45-50mpg on regular fuel.
-They’re a hatchback and have tons of space, rear seats fold totally flat.
-They’re notoriously reliable.
-How many econoboxes these days don’t have a stupid timing belt?
-Many of the common engine wear items simply do not exist on them. Hell the 3rd gen Prius doesn’t even have a serpentine belt or accessories.
-Brakes every 100-150k miles
-Name brand tires are fucking $60 a piece with no discounts...

Shall I continue lol?
 

Bob Hope

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There’s a few first gens for sale at the local auction as well as 2 2nd gens. Already seem to expensive though.
 

Yaj Yak

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Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve daily driven something fun, but I don’t even long for it anymore. I don’t like to say I’m good at much, but using things for not their intended purposes is amusing to me. I did it in spades with my TDI’s, but those were a bit more obscure vehicles to begin with. Let’s do manly shit with the most stereotyped vehicle in existence. To me that sounds fun.

Like, in all reality, if you’re a practical guy a Prius makes more sense than most other vehicles, just like a Honda Ridgeline or the upcoming Ford Maverick.., you much not LIKE that fact, but facts don’t care about your feelings.

-They are cheap to buy.
-They get 45-50mpg on regular fuel.
-They’re a hatchback and have tons of space, rear seats fold totally flat.
-They’re notoriously reliable.
-How many econoboxes these days don’t have a stupid timing belt?
-Many of the common engine wear items simply do not exist on them. Hell the 3rd gen Prius doesn’t even have a serpentine belt or accessories.
-Brakes every 100-150k miles
-Name brand tires are fucking $60 a piece with no discounts...

Shall I continue lol?

my buddy's onto his fourth? maybe 5th?

most recent he bought brand new. he is a salesman for medical supply shit for madison north to lake superior so he drives batshit crazy amounts per year like 75k on a work vehicle isn't unheard of.... and he drives these things into the ground and they just take it :rofl:

snow tires makes them into tanks too.
 
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Outlaw

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Looks like the ‘08 I bought is sold for full asking price. Puts me in this car for just under $2,000.

I’ll have my first fill up results tomorrow. Currently 51.1 on the lie-o-meter. Really hoping for 50+ in real life.

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Outlaw

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You don’t charge these. The engine as well as regenerative braking charges the battery. The system is smart and utilized the best case scenario for usage. Depending on speed, battery level, etc it does different things.

For instance, if you’re just driving down a flat road but the gasoline engine has to be on but isn’t utilizing all of its power, it’ll simultaneously charge the battery while powering the car forward. Inversely, the electric motor might power the wheels in conjunction with the gasoline engine if it needs a little extra oomph but not raise RPM.

They’re a CVT trans, and the engine is an Atkinson cycle engine, similar to a generator or marine engine, where they are designed to run very efficiently at certain RPM’s. It’s an interesting car to drive if you’re a nerd, listening to it doing its thing and trying to figure out why it’s doing what it’s doing.
 

sktchy3.8

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I really always looked at these as a tree hugger thing, but now I'm genuinely curious. It seems to be alot better design than a fancy sports car you have to plug in every couple hundred miles. And I'm almost dead sure I've seen teslas don't have regen braking or anything? I've always wondered why they wouldn't use some kinda generator on the non drive wheels.

I mean I know perpetual motion is never gonna happen, but am I wrong or is Toyota years ahead of tesla and just packaged in a no frills economy car?
 
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Outlaw

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You also quickly develop some weird driving habits with them if you’re paying attention and trying to get the best mileage. When you let off the throttle the electric motor puts a small amount of drag on the car to generate power using the wheels. It’s very minimal in normal driving mode, however there is a battery mode where it’s more pronounced.

With that, if you hold the throttle just a c-hair, the car will coast freely, with the engine neither applying any momentum nor drag. Between the aerodynamics of the car paired with the narrow tires, it’ll coast for some time. The electric motor doesn’t apply a ton of power, but at lower speeds if you’re careful you can get it to drive on electric only pretty easily. I’ve successfully driven 2.5 miles from the main road to my driveway on battery only a few times already.
 
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Outlaw

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I really always looked at these as a tree hugger thing, but now I'm genuinely curious. It seems to be alot better design than a fancy sports car you have to plug in every couple hundred miles. And I'm almost dead sure I've seen teslas don't have regen braking or anything? I've always wondered why they wouldn't use some kinda generator on the non drive wheels.

I mean I know perpetual motion is never gonna happen, but am I wrong or is Toyota years ahead of tesla and just packaged in a no frills economy car?
Teslas do have regenerative breaking, but no generation is happening when underway, only with your foot completely off the accelerator or when applying the brakes.

It wouldn’t be beneficial. It goes back to the fundamental laws of energy. As it can not be created or destroyed, only converted, you’d end up with a net negative trying to generate power while moving the vehicle forward under power, as some of that energy would be converted into heat via friction of the tires and in the generator.
 

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