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John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/28/22 11:29 a.m.

In this instillment of The Prius Diaries...

I sold P4, the 4th Prius I ever bought.  Purchase is detailed on page 6 of this thread.  Salvage vehicle w/188k at purchase and on the road fully mended for under $1000 (which is a sentence from another time and another era.)  

I had kept this car as a back-up car in the fleet.  It was a great runner

In Aug 2021 (or 10 months ago) the ABS actuator failed at 210k.  This causes the car to have rear brakes only.  I had not driven it since and generally I was treating it as my parts car.  I had taken the great tires from it and installed them on P1 for when I sold it in Jan 2022.  I left this P4 sitting on some crappy tires from P6, the $500 Prius that had flat spotted tires.    I had also taken the good 12v battery.  I had taken a good tail light and left a tail light with bad leds.  I had taken to good factory radio an left a radio with a bad dial for changing stations (but seek still works.)  The windshield has a minor crack, low and out of the way.   The AC stays cold for about 6 weeks if you hit it with a can of R134.  Four cans at $5 each ($20) was cheaper last summer than actually fixing it.  

In positive attributes...  The cat was genuine original.  The front struts were very new.  The RF wheel bearing was very new.  The car had a good (but original w/ 210k) hybrid battery.  

A friend of the family nagged me to sell them the car.  I reluctantly decided the following values:
$500 factory cat (maybe low)
$500 hybrid battery (maybe high)
$200 struts (new at $100 each)
$100 wheel bearing part
$1300 total
$500 additional for the rest of the car
$1800 is what I told the family friend I would sell it to him for.   That $1,800 was what it was worth to me to keep the car.  

Six weeks have past and this 20-ish kid of a friend has still not come through.  This is the car he needs to go with his F150 but it seems to not be the car he can afford.  


So, as a little experiment, I decided while I wait for the $1800, I'll post the car on FB for what I see as "crazy money"  I came out at $3400.  This generated some buzz but all the inquiries were offers for $1000, $2000 and even $2500.  I declined them all since I had $1800 in the back wings, maybe.   I did then have a written offer of $3,000 which I accepted.  The guy never replied again.  As banks closed Saturday, I moved my price to $3,000.  My intention was to get the guy with the $3k offer running.  No one came Sunday but there were some question.  Net result, I had two people who wanted to see the car Monday after work.  The 6:45 guy bought the car.  The guy intended to arrive at 7:45 was pissed when I text him at 7:15 to say it sold.  $3,000.  


Used ABS actuators run $300-$500 and they are a common failure point.  Its a big job.  Sample repair video.  Another video.  I could have easily had $500-$1500 into the brake job.  lets say I spend $1000 to make the car road ready, it might still only sell for $4,500 or net $3,500 which is how I got to my $3,400 asking price.  But then to be up to my standards  it still needs
$75 replace worn rear drums/shoes
$400 tires
$200 battery (12v)
$40 rear latch trim 

So, the car could need nearly $800 more.  That leaves my buyer at $3000 with the potential of spending $1k- $2k more to make the car great = $5k or what a 2004 (18 year old) Cleveland market car with 210k (and still an old hybrid battery) tends to retail for.  But, that is "if you can find one."  So, "roll your own" seems to be the way it has to be done in this market.  It's a crazy new world. 

If the buyer is a very savvy shopper, and doing all the work himself, he could have a driver for $4k net.  


Bought nearly 3 years ago with high miles and some minor problems for $648 and $882.50 with problems fixed.
Sold 3 years later with 22k more miles and far greater problems for $3,000


bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
6/28/22 1:59 p.m.

I am shocked how angry people get then they arrange to see an item listed for sale and it sells before they get there. As if an appointment to view was a binding contract. I had to block a Facebook buyer because he continued to send me abusive messages.

californiamilleghia UltraDork
6/28/22 2:15 p.m.

Glad to see you got a parking spot ready for the next one :)

Question , with a 100% good battery how far would a Prius 2 drive on battery only ,

on the UK 5th gear show they seemed to say only a couple miles.

Thanks for the info

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/28/22 3:38 p.m.

In my experience, the Prius is not an either/or situation but rather both engines seem to need to be functional to move. So, yes just a couple of miles (or less) on battery seems right.  And, there does not seem to be a way to drive it as a gas vehicle only. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/28/22 3:42 p.m.

I understand #2 being pissed. He's really pissed at the situation and the new market, etc.  But, the only face to that is mine so I get delivered the anger.  If I were in his situation, I'd be pissed too. 

Most interesting to me is how far people will travel on just a few text messages. It would have seemed that a real phone call would be justified if he wanted some assurances.  

I never made him any promises. More so, he had lowballed me earlier and seemed like he never I tended to pay full price even after traveling here. 

I took the high road and gave no response to his written rant. 

kb58 SuperDork
6/28/22 4:49 p.m.

Leno had a guest on who'd put an LS engine in his. Just sayin'...

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
6/28/22 6:10 p.m.
kb58 said:

Leno had a guest on who'd put an LS engine in his. Just sayin'...

Isn't that what Patrick intends to do with the free Prius he got from John awhile back?

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
6/28/22 6:12 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

$3000 for a Prius that still needs work?

Two things, you did very well, and the market is indeed crazy right now.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/28/22 6:25 p.m.
Indy - Guy said:
kb58 said:

Leno had a guest on who'd put an LS engine in his. Just sayin'...

Isn't that what Patrick intends to do with the free Prius he got from John awhile back?

This is the Prius that I thought about parting down and giving the remaining hulk to Pat for mid-engine.  But...the world keeps changing.  

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
6/28/22 7:23 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/4/22 9:11 a.m.

P2, my 2nd Prius purchased, is my current daily driver.  It's about 200 miles away from rolling 200k so yesterday I gave it an oil change.  I change the oil on these Prius in 10k intervals with full synthetic and genuine Toyota filters.  Specifically, I have the cars timed so I change the oil when they roll the odo to a new 10k like 180k, 190k, 200k ,etc.  It keeps it simple!  

Note to self:  Not using any oil between changes!  Slight down but still in the correct range on the dip stick.  And at only 3.75 quarts full, there's not much room for error.  

dxman92 Dork
7/4/22 9:19 a.m.

You should come up with a catchy business name such as Uncle John's Prius Emporium.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/4/22 9:42 a.m.
dxman92 said:

You should come up with a catchy business name such as Uncle John's Prius Emporium.

Funny you should mention that.  Not those exact words but I have had a thought of similar where...    I have thought of making business cards with some name like "Prius Johnny - Fix, Buy, Sell"  The intention here to leave this cards on windshields of Gen2s.  I'd be happy to help some people with some simple issues but I'd also like to have access to broken Prius that I might be able to buy cheap!   

What should I put on the business cars?  I envision the card having a silhouette of a Gen2 and the words either over the image or under the image.  I have no graphics skills.  

I could add a dedicated gmail address and then on the back of the vertical rear glass I could add a similar message with easy to remeber email address.  

I'm glad this was bumped today, as I came across a 2005 recently with 51K miles on it and claimed "transmission issues".

Listing Says:


 This is a municipal auction, and while I am not sure what they are trying to say, i am reasonably sure the contact I get in touch with will have even less of an idea what it means.   So I guess my question is, unless something really bad was done to the trans, why would there be a failure, and what else could be going on here?   I would be looking to get this vehicle running for a family member, or possibly to flip, if said family member balks on driving a "junky old car".

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/4/22 2:17 p.m.

Really, 51k. That's a $10k  car in the new market! 

These are not known for trans failure. Transmission exposed wire?? 

Is there rodent damage to wiring?  

Are there any pictures?  Fell free to send me the listing privately if you want. I won't be acting upon it for myself but I'll help you with it. 

Does the listing provide the VIN? 



I trust you, John.

I'll send you the link in a couple minutes.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/4/22 5:29 p.m.

Replied.  Hot damn!  


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/22/22 9:19 a.m.

Posting this here for two reasons, to keep record of the general design and share with others who might want similar...  

This came up on FB about an hour away from me for $150.  I really don't need it (at least not at $150) but the pictures are good for inspiration/guide.  

The ad said:
I traveled out of my 2008 Gen 2 Prius last summer with this custom build! I took the seats out with the help of my reluctant, but extremely helpful dad and built this custom frame! It hinges open so there is lots of room for storage under the frame where the seats would be (tried to show in pictures) and it’s held down with metal pins. I fit a small foam mattress in here for traveling and it also came in handy for weekend trips, and for hauling furniture and things I wouldn’t have been able to fit otherwise. Stained a mid-tone wood color. I had the best time camping out of my Prius, and I’m hoping someone else can do the same with this! This is my brother’s Facebook, but feel free to email me at [hidden information] if you have any questions or if you’re interested!

The pictures are: 


Another guys approach, more hardcore.  Much more detailed with video.  No wooden base for him

californiamilleghia UltraDork
7/22/22 11:14 a.m.

I thought Toyota missed out not making a small delivery van Prius , 

part of the reason may have been the 25% chicken tax on commercial vehicles.

Thanks for posting

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/22/22 11:50 a.m.

In reply to Indy - Guy :

I told john to sell it and make money, and while I haven't kept up here I'm glad to see the $3000 sale price!

pheller UltimaDork
7/22/22 12:15 p.m.

So far we've put about 22k on my 2010 Prius beater that I picked up for $700.  We just rolled over 230,000 miles.

It's CELs are about as consistant as the gas mileage. The CEL comes and goes, usually for EGR (which I cleaned when I first got it). I've gotten as low as 30mpg, and as high as 50mpg average tanks. 

Front struts need replaced - they are making a terrible groaning sound all the time. Windshield can't seem to stay in one piece - it's the 2nd one of I've got that developed cracks. 

It still eats oil like nobodies business. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/22/22 12:33 p.m.
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) said:

I am shocked how angry people get then they arrange to see an item listed for sale and it sells before they get there. As if an appointment to view was a binding contract. I had to block a Facebook buyer because he continued to send me abusive messages.

It's insane, but I've figured out a decent way to fight it:

I try to act as much like an uninterested order taker as possible when I'm selling stuff on Facebook. When somebody asks to look at something, I tell them when I'm available and settle on a time and place. That first person is my baseline.

And because they haven't haggled yet, I have no reason to think they're not going to show up and hand me full asking price. And it doesn't even matter if I truly believe that, because all I need is for the other potential buyers to believe that I believe that. 

Every following offer/ask for an appointment gets a reply like the following:

"Thanks for the $1800 offer and I'm totally willing to take that if this doesn't sell for more first. I've got five other people coming, with offers of $3000, $3000, $3000, $2500, and $2200 starting this Friday afternoon, so if I don't sell the car to one of those people I'd be happy to sell it to you and I'll put you on my list. How does 2pm Tuesday sound?"

I've had great luck with this method, as they can't really argue (you have said you'd accept it, after all), and the one or two people who really want to buy it will show up ASAP with money. 

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/22/22 1:38 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

I normally have people drive from over an hour away to buy stuff that I have on FB and CL. If someone is coming from that far away, I mark the item as "Pending" and make sure that they:

  • Are prepared to pay the full asking price in cash.
  • Know the condition in as much detail as possible.
  • Call or text me when they are 5 to 15 minutes away from the (not my home) meeting place.

Anyone else who seemed like a serious buyer that has not had a chance to see it get's a message, "The sale is pending and I'll inform you if it doesn't sell." I've never had trouble doing it that way.

...and I'm still pissed off at the guy who had me drive two hours (four hour round trip) to buy a Honda that was being loaded on a trailer and driven away when I arrived. That was five years ago. He could have at least let me know someone else was arriving before me or called me en route.


californiamilleghia UltraDork
7/22/22 1:58 p.m.

I get tired of waiting for people , so.....

I make an appointment to meet at the corner shopping center , right next to the freeway , 
I tell them to call me when they arrive and I will be there in 5  minutes.

 I am ready to leave my house with the item so I can be there in 5-8 minutes depending if I hit 2 red lights on the way there, 

this lets me stay at home , work at the house or watch Oprah if I want  and not sit at the shopping center waiting for them , 

If they do not call at the agreed time , I give them 15 minutes or so because of traffic and then consider I have done my part. 

I know it's hard to get across SoCal with traffic ,  but  a lot of people have no respect for your time  so at least this way I can have some control.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/26/22 2:39 p.m.

There's really been nothing to write in The Prius Diaries since the oil change of 12 weeks ago.  I've added 6k miles since that change which included one large 1,500 miles or more trip to Northern Michigan.  

Maybe 6 weeks ago, a front tire was going low.  Upon removal and investigation it was a screw.  I used the simple push/pull tire plug kit.  Being that the screw was at the outer rib/tread, I knew this method wasn't ideal but it was easiest, quickest, DIY-est.  Once done, I moved that tire to the rear so as to avoid a high speed tire failure and hoped for the best.  

Fast forward to today.  I come out of a store and low and behold, that same tire is down on air.  I fear the worst of the repair holding.  I high-tailed it home for further investigation.   Sure enough, metal in the tire.  Once pulled, it was not a discernable piece like a screw, just more like a sliver of metal???  

But, where is it located?  One rib over and one ribs-length away.  Too close to each other?  Not good for tire integrity??? 
Old patch and new metal outlined in chalk:


Again, mounted to the back and hoping for the best!  

These tires are Falken 201s with more than 50k miles on them and a 65k treadwear rating.  I do not know the exact miles because these tires have been on more than one Prius and winter tires used also.  But, I am very happy with how the tires wear for what are generally an inexpensive tire (or used to be when tires were inexpensive!) 

These tires were manufactured 39th week of 2019.  

I just checked.  I bought these lil 185-65-15'ers for $63 each in Feb 2020 and now they are $82 each from the same retailer.  

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