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Old 07-23-2015, 02:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Premier's Limo: 2004 Toyota Prius "winter beater" ecomodding thread





(Or "The Governor's Limo" for those of you south of the 49th.)

The C.R.A.P. Prius hunt is over!

Those of you following my adventure already know that after many months of hunting high & low, I finally found a Cheap or Reasonably Affordable Prospective Prius. It'll serve as a winter beater to keep the Firefly/Metro away from the annual salty, slushy mess for a year or maybe 2.

This thread will document my experience with the car, including lots of ecomods to come.

This car's story:

It's a 2004 that started life in the chauffeured section of the Ontario provincial government motor pool. Driving cabinet ministers & VIP's around I suppose. I choose to believe this was the Premier's dedicated car.

Sold at auction in 2009, it was bought by a dealership in the province of Quebec who then sold it to the 2nd long-term owner in Gatineau who used it as a commuter to her job on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

She bought a 2012 Prius a couple of weeks ago and put this one up for sale. I asked why she didn't trade in the the '04 for it, and she said, "because the dealer only offered me a thousand bucks!"

Details
  • base model
  • 270k kilometers / 168k miles
  • complete maintenance history (a stack of receipts 2 inches thick) -- both owners were by-the-book meticulous
  • 1 year old summer tires (Firestone FR710, which they say is in their "best" category for fuel economy) which were set at ~28-29 PSI!
  • 2-3 year old winter tires on rims
  • front bumper cover replaced last year (slid into a ditch last winter & shattered it)
  • aside from that, all original paintwork
Issues:
  • plenty of scrapes, scratches, dings and stone chips -- definitely not a show car
  • the interior is fair, but will clean up nicely, except for the wear on the driver's door "soft touch paint"
  • exhaust leaks (2 small holes) in the rear pipe, which I sealed with bondo for now (I've done this before & it works great, BTW). The holes are in spots that are readily fixable (weldable) if I take the section off the car, which doesn't look hard to do.
  • rust has taken hold in the rocker panels -- they're bubbling noticeably by the rear. There will be some cutting & patching in the car's future. It should have been oil sprayed every year.
  • The driver's caliper area is making a strange, short creak...creak...creak or tick...tick...tick sound directly related to how much pressure is on the pedal (at firm levels), even when stopped . My mechanic thinks it might be seized sliders.
  • one torn front strut boot
  • 2 AWOL wheel trim rings
Aside from those things, it runs & drives fine, and everything works. Also: she said she never had to add any oil between changes.

She was asking a reasonable price and I made an ASAP appointment to see the car within an hour of the ad going online.

It's at the shop right now for the mechanical safety check. I'll know by the end of the day if I missed anything. Fingers crossed that there are no whammies!

Here's the rusty spot (one on each side, since repaired with welded-in new metal):




Planned mods:
  • grille blocks- smooth wheel discs- rear fender skirts
  • front air dam
  • smooth(er) and more extensive undertray
  • passenger mirror delete / convex interior mirror
  • convex mirror on trailing edge of driver's side mirror
  • rear wiper delete
  • OEM mud flap delete
  • boat tail
  • coolant heater
  • DRL switch
  • see what it's like without EPS at elevated tire pressure
Completed mods:
  • tire pressure
  • EV mode switch
  • ScanGauge, with added Prius-specific X-Gauges
  • "zero toe" alignment

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Old 07-23-2015, 04:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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She got many more bucks more than she would have, got rid of it quickly, and gave you a good deal. That's a fair deal for all, nobody gettin over on anyone. Gas prices going up!
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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wow! sweet. hope both of you are happy.
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks, guys.

I still don't know if it passed inspection yet -- the garage must be on summer hours, because they were closed up (the Limo locked inside) when I went over just before 5:00.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
If only you could get your hands on a Prius boat tail!
If only!

As luck would have it, I still have the CivicTail. I'm wondering how much adjustment it will need to glom on the back of the Prius. It just needs a hitch receiver.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Weather Spotter's neighbor already made one, but I imagine that a Civic tail on a Prius would still make a measurable improvement.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by California98Civic View Post
She got 2400 bucks more than she would have, got rid of it quickly, and gave you a good deal. That's a fair deal for all, nobody gettin over on anyone. Gas prices going up!
Everybody walks away happy. You can't ask for better than that.
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Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 07-24-2015, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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90 day: 70.72 mpg (US)

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Last 3: 95.68 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 47.99 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,104
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Everybody did OK except the dealer where she didn't trade in! They probably lost out on a tidy sum flipping it at the auction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
Weather Spotter's neighbor already made one [Prius tail]
Yeah, too bad he went AWOL after posting the for sale ad for it. Not that I'd buy it, but I wanted to write up more info about it at the time, and he didn't reply to PM's or email.
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Latest mods test: 15 mods = 15% MPG improvement: A-B test, 2007 Honda Civic 1.8L, 5-speed
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown: Nissan Micra 1.6L



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
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www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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Old 07-24-2015, 05:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Congratulations on your purchase Darin! I can't wait to see what shenanigans you get into with this one!
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Old 07-24-2015, 06:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I hope to see a lot of ABA testing on this! My parents have a 2008 Prius and I hope to learn from your testing! Can I request a splitter vs. airdam test? I might do it myself, but I'll be glad if you beat me to it!
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Thanks, guys....
As luck would have it, I still have the CivicTail. I'm wondering how much adjustment it will need to glom on the back of the Prius. It just needs a hitch receiver.
If adding boat tail, the rear spoiler has probably to be removed (and it has the center stop light). If not there would be a double curve. Probably very bad for aero ? Do you have an other solution ?


What a very low price

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