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Monday, July 26, 2010

High Voltage Battery Test - Prius Hybrid et al.

High voltage battery testing is now available on all series-parallel hybrids: Toyota Prius, Camry, and Highlander; Ford Escape, Fusion, and their Mercury kin.  By loading the battery to the margins of its normal operating conditions we can determine the current pack balance and strength. 

The test is run using the car’s own operating paradigm; we do NOT use the Midtronics HYB (Hybrid Battery System Analyzer) for lack of proven performance in the field.

Cost: $50
Time: 30 minutes

“Trending” (the ability to predict failures) is the holy grail of EV testing and has become a hotbed for bullshit.  Our test will tell you the current condition of the pack to anticipate near-term repairs and/or decide whether to sink a bunch of money on something else on the car.  Beware of false promises or prognoses.

First pic: Failing HV battery; note climbing Delta SOC (green) as SOC (blue) plummets.


Second pic:  Good battery (one of our rebuilds, tested before delivery); note Delta SOC (green) does not change as SOC (blue) goes down.  Max/Min block voltage levels do not diverge.


Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Repair »

Carolyn presents on EV panel, Wednesday July 28th

Sustainable San Rafael presents:

Achieving Zero Emission Transportation:
Climate Cool Options for Your Next Car (or Bike)

The Marin Youth Center
Map to 1115 Third Street, San Rafael
7pm, Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


Why Electric Vehicles Make Sense and What You Can Buy this Year
Dale Miller (SF Electric Vehicle Association)

Mainstreaming EVs: The Nissan ‘Leaf’
Ron Coury (Northbay Nissan)

Converting Your Current Hybrid to Plug-In
Carolyn Coquillette (Luscious Garage)

Re-thinking Your Transportation Needs with an Electric Bike
Spokey Godfrey (The Bicycle Works, San Anselmo)

Learn why Electric Vehicles—from bikes to roadsters—are key to transitioning off carbon and achieving Marin’s and San Rafael’s Climate Change Action Plan objectives. Plugging your EV into rooftop solar panels or Marin Clean Energy’s deep green electricity gets you most of the way towards the 10/10 Goals that scientists say we must meet to reverse climate change—reducing our carbon footprints by 10% for each of the next 10 years. (Not to mention that EVs are fun and affordable, and you’ll never pump another gallon of gas from BP or other oil companies.)

Donations appreciated, but no one turned away for lack of funds.
Program at 7:00 pm. Gather at 6:30 for cookies and popcorn.

1115 Third Street, San Rafael

Sustainable San Rafael, San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association, Interfaith Power & Light, The Marin Youth Center, Sustainable Marin

Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Staff »

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Luscious Tire Service

NOTE: This blog has been superceded: Click here for the latest one

The biggest perk of our new location: more room!  For cars, staff, equipment, and parts (including tires).  View of our “tire department”:


We’ve been keeping tires in stock for several years.  Now we’ve collected mount and balance equipment (gorgeous Hoffman machines that were inexpensive, purchased second hand), a modest tire rack, and the accoutrements (valve stems, weights, etc) so we can perform tire replacement in house.  This is hybrid land: very specific, nothing fancy.  We charge $25 total for mount/balance and fees. 

LG’s inventory, and our recommendations for individual hybrid models:

2004-2009 Toyota Prius: Goodyear Assurance FuelMax
Size: P185/65R15 88H
Price: $114.00
With tax and install/fees: $149.83/tire

We maintain a big pile of these tires as they move quickly; very popular, a really nice match for the car.

Read the original tire blog about why we love the FuelMax…

We also keep a small selection of used tires in this size, ones with 50% tread life or so, for certain circumstances.

2001-2003 Toyota Prius: Dunlop SP10
Size: P175/65R14 84S
Price: 105.00
With tax and install/fees: $139.97/tire

Because of its relative weight (HV battery and motors in a small package) max pressure rating is critical on this model, to 50psi. Otherwise the tires will not last. Higher pressure also increases fuel economy.  The Dunlops are a less expensive alternative to the Bridgestone Potenzas (which we no longer carry).  Ownership cost is the name of the game with Gen 1s.

2003-2005 Honda Civic Hybrid: Dunlop SP20 FE
Size: P175/65R14
Price: $81.00
With tax and install/fees: $113.69

Again, owners of older model hybrids (the Gen 1 Civic in this case) are looking for value and these tires hit the mark.  Dunlop provides competitive prices without compromising the quality to maintain good fuel economy.

2000-2006 Honda Insight: Bridgestone Potenza RE 92
Size: P165/65R14 78S
Price: $112.00
With tax and install/fees: $147.64

The Gen 1 Insight, like the Gen 1 Prius, needs a very specific tire that can be inflated high to last.  The Potenzas come in the right size, are the stock equipment, and maintain MPGs: the primary reason people drive these classics.

Toyota Highlander, Camry: Goodyear Assurance Fuelmax

We do not keep these in stock, but can get them a day or two in advance. Email us for current pricing or to make an appointment

LG orders from the Tire Rack and Goodyear wholesale.  Our prices are competitive with most full service shops (or lower), but not with Big O or Costco.  We are not tire dealers who buy by the truckload.  Likewise we do not offer lifetime tire repair or other gimmicks to sell you brake jobs or more tires.  Nothing’s free!  But the person willing to compare prices or order their own tires will often come out a little better.  Go for it!  We will still install any tire for $25 out the door.

Likewise we can buy for other make/models, just give us a heads up to order in advance.  Use the contact page for appointments…

One hybrid word of warning: avoid cheap tires, they will kill your fuel economy.  Hybrids need “low rolling resistance”.  For more:

Tire Rolling Resistance, Part 1 via TireRack.com
Tire Rolling Resistance, Part 2 via TireRack.com
Tire Rolling Resistance, Part 3 via TireRack.com



Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Repair »

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Prius P1121: Coolant Flow Control Valve Position Sensor Stuck

The second generation Prius, model years 2004-2009, uses a 3-way valve to control coolant flow between the engine, the hot coolant storage tank (thermos), and the heater core.  Thus it’s involved in heating the passenger cabin (when requested), as well as reducing cold start emissions (with the coolant storage system). image Anything that has to do with emissions illuminates the “check engine” light; if something goes wrong with this valve, the “check engine” light comes on.

The valve is prone to sticking, and Toyota has issued a technicial service bulletin (TSB) on this problem: EG001-08 M.I.L. “ON” DTC P1121

The fix is replacing the valve.  It’s mounted along the driver’s side frame of the engine compartment, near the radiator, and can be removed by elevating the inverter and pulling the valve out from the top.  With good use of hose clamps, the job can be performed without loosing more than a spash of coolant.

Warranty time for valve replacement, as listed in the TSB, is 2.1 hours.  Luscious Garage charges 1.75 hours.

Labor, 1.75 hours: $210
Valve Assy, Water, P/N 16670-21010: $78.59
Qt Super Long Lift Coolant: $5

Total with tax: $301.53


Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Repair »

Friday, July 09, 2010

Disregard Google Maps: LG only on 9th St

Ah, the joys of the internet!  It was a miracle to get Google to recognize a new address at all, let alone over the weekend of our move.  I screeched with delight, running around the chaos of packed oil filters with my hands outstreched giving the victory sign!  But Clementina was always a street of tenacity, and our old listing has risen from the flotsam of discarded information. 

In the meantime, as l clean up the various source pages pointing to the old address (which have caused the GoogleBot to think we have two locations) please disregard the Clementina listing.  It is a lovely building, but no longer luscious. 


View Larger Map

Carolyn's avatarPosted by Carolyn Permalink Categories: Facility »

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