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Old 11-07-2016, 01:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Prius Issues- Alignment, Flooding, Rodents

I bought my 2012 plug-in Prius almost 2 years ago and it came with a reconstructed title due to a front passenger side collision.

A couple weeks ago a Jeep backed into the parked car and broke the front bumper and foam energy absorber.



The next day, after a hard rain, my wife found the rear passenger floor pan to be flooded with water.



It doesn't make sense that the minor collision would cause this problem, but it didn't exist before. I don't think I can get insurance to pay to fix it since there is no evidence that the collision caused the problem.

A few months ago I smelled something dead in the car and discovered a small mouse. The death smell went away, but a musty smell has lingered ever since.



I'm now beginning to suspect that a small amount of water began to infiltrate the car right about the same time as the mouse, and that the musty smell was caused from that instead of the dead carcass. Somehow getting backed into perpetuated whatever entery point the water had found.

Anyhow, it seems to me the water is leaking in from the front passenger side firewall area (near the previous collilsion area), and flowing into the back when it's parked uphill.

Rear footwell with seat and drain plugs removed


Front footwell


The padding was soaked, and I've mostly got them dry now by using a space heater. I'm wondering if the smell will go away if I throw some baking powerder in there and then vacuum it out later? Hopefully I don't have to replace the padding.

To address the mouse infiltration, my dad used spray adhesive and a plastic mesh over various vents. I'm hoping the critters don't chew through it, although I'll at least have evidence of their point of entry if they do. I've had at least 4 occasions where there was evidence of rodent infiltration.

Left rear quarter panel vent covered with plastic screen.


Finally, my last problem was discovered while taking a wheel off to look for the source of water infiltration. Both of my front tires are wearing the inside tread much faster than the outside. This is after about 35,000 miles. My suspicion was the alignment was toe-out.



What do you think about this before and after alignment? It shows that it was slightly out of spec toe-out, but would that account for this much uneven wear? The car tracked straight before the alignment, and now requires slightly more steering effort to drive straight on the freeway, which doesn't really make sense.



I've got 2 more weeks to fix the leak and put everything back together before my wife takes it for a month in Klammath Falls.

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Old 11-07-2016, 03:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not sure about the water issues. However, I have read many times that a zero toe alignment requires more effort to stay straight. A little bit of toe in or out helps center the steering.
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Old 11-07-2016, 08:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 11-07-2016, 09:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
I'm not sure about the water issues. However, I have read many times that a zero toe alignment requires more effort to stay straight. A little bit of toe in or out helps center the steering.
It's my understanding that RWD vehicles use toe-in because as non-powered wheels they tend to "drag back" towards zero toe when going forward and the various minute amounts of play in all the front end components gets taken up. FWD vehicles use a bit of toe-out because as powered wheels they would tend to toe-in under power.
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Old 11-07-2016, 09:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Two things: First, sounds like a bad luck car, ergo, trade it now and minimize your loss. Second, unimpressed by your alignment tech. OTOH, I have never found one that I ever thought was worth a **** either.
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MobilOne View Post
Two things: First, sounds like a bad luck car, ergo, trade it now and minimize your loss. Second, unimpressed by your alignment tech. OTOH, I have never found one that I ever thought was worth a **** either.
I'm very happy with the car, so I won't be getting rid of it, which brings me to needing to resolve these issues. Perhaps the rodent one is done...

I was hoping someone knowledgeable with wheel alignment would comment and affirm my feeling that it still kinda sucks. I bought the lifetime alignment since I plan to keep the car, so I can keep bringing it back in until they get it dialed right. I'm just not informed enough to know what I should consider acceptable.

I do feel that the car has slightly less rolling resistance, but I have no way to tell for sure since I didn't test before. One thing I could do is drive to my old job and back. This time of year I'm just shy of being able to make the round trip all on EV. If the alignment significantly reduces rolling resistance, I might be able to make the trip.
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Old 11-08-2016, 11:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Did you get new tires or are the worn ones still on the front?

For the water issue, sounds like parking facing downhill could help.
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had water in the footwells once; there was enough rain in a short time that the sewer drains backed up, I had left the car parked on the street, and the standing water seeped in under the doors of my car and all the cars near it. Are you absolutely certain something similar didn't happen? Has it visibly flooded since? Did you take out the carpet and padding and dry everything immediately, or could the water in there now be leftover from the first incident? Since we're pattern-seeking animals and can often make connections where they don't necessarily exist (like the people who used to come on here claiming an aeromod reduced engine RPM at a given speed in their non-CVT car), just want to make sure you're exhausting all options in terms of explaining this.



(I pulled out the whole interior when I discovered the water and dried it completely; no issues since and I'm careful not to park it in low spots with obvious drains).
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Old 11-08-2016, 03:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vskid3 View Post
Did you get new tires or are the worn ones still on the front?

For the water issue, sounds like parking facing downhill could help.
I rotated the front tires to the rear. Now the front end has perfect tires, and the rears have the ones with the inside tread wear. The way I drive vehicles should start to even out the wear (fast cornering).

I'm parking downhill now, and have left the drainplug out. I've got the carpeting propped up with dowels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vman455 View Post
Are you absolutely certain something similar didn't happen? Has it visibly flooded since? Did you take out the carpet and padding and dry everything immediately, or could the water in there now be leftover from the first incident?
I do not know if there was water previously since I didn't feel any wetness. My only indication that there might have been some water infiltration before the latest accident was the musty smell and the fact that my windows have a much bigger problem with fogging than any vehicle I've seen.

I wasn't able to pull up the carpeting until a week after it had standing water. It's not completely removed, just pulled up enough to run a space heater to dry it out.

There is a spot under the hood that I can spray water into and find it running down into the front footwell. That's my suspected point of entry, but there shouldn't be any way for water to get into that hole in the first place, and the major flooding didn't happen until this last accident.

I'll probaby be pulling the fender off in the next few days to further investigate. Oder removal is my last priority; first is to ensure I have located the source of the leak and then stop it.

BTW- My footwell carpeting looks very similar to that picture, with foam and batting attached to the bottom of the carpeting. There is a plastic layer though that allows the carpet to feel dry while it is wet underneath. I'm wondering if that's why I didn't realize there was some water infiltration before (assuming there was water before).

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