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I've owned my 450h  L on an 11 plate for about 9 months . It has a full service history from Lexus.  It has just gone over the 100,000 mark, and the insurance that the dealer supplied has run out too. I love the car, but nearly a month ago I got caught in a flash flood, and had to drive about 100 yds through standing water.  I could see the kerbs on both sides of the road, so judged that it wasn't more than 4 to 6 inches deep, and took it really steadily and at low speed but immediately I got the dreaded "HYBRID SYSTEM FAILIURE" light. on the dash.

  I took the car into my local garage (Who had recommended the purchase, and said that they were fully equipped to service it , could check the condition of the batteries etc, and could take on the servicing).   After 2 weeks of poking about they admitted defeat , and now have sent my car to the Lexus main dealer in Cheltenham.  Lexus have come back to say that the entire front electric motor and transmission needs renewing.  They don't take them apart, and apparently there are no spare parts available either - its just a bolt on bolt on deal.  The cost of course is astronomical ; £6,000 +  nearly half the value of the car, but unless I cough up I am left with a scrapper!   I can't believe that the hybrid system chose to fail after 100,000 miles randomly so the water must have been the cause.  I live in deepest countryside , down a track which often has a few puddles.... and water filled potholes are a way of life in Gloucestershire.  Has anyone else had problems with water, or am I just really unlucky? I will probably be buying a 2CV to drive in the wet after this experience!!! 

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Barry if you are getting the car repaired  enquire with Lexus Cheltenham if they will give you the owners club 15% discount on the whole bill. 

If they will give you the discount then quickly sign up for gold membership here. 

Regards Les 

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32 minutes ago, barry mason said:

Has anyone else had problems with water, or am I just really unlucky?

Really sorry to hear about your experience. I think the answer to your question is yes. others have had problems. There was this extended discussion last year.  when someone else drove through water and the car stopped.

I don't think the final outcome was ever put on the forum. But I started another thread to ask about people's experiences.

In fact, only last week I was driving in Somerset and Waze sent me down a single track country road. I was a bit doubtful but carried on down a gentle slope towards the valley. And then, as you might guess, I came across a 30-40 foot stretch of completely flooded road. I thought I'd try edging into it, keeping the driver's door open so I could see the depth of the water. But it kept getting deeper and I couldn't tell if I might suddenly hit a dip and end up much deeper. So, with these forum discussions in mind, I decided to go into reverse and gently got out of the water. I then had to reverse about 300 yards as there were no turning points and the road was only wide enough for one car. I did discover that the car is quite easy to reverse over long distances at a reasonable speed. Fortunately, nothing seemed to have happened to the car and it has kept going so far. So I hope there's no damage.

I hope you can find a reasonable solution to your problem.

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14 hours ago, barry mason said:

I've owned my 450h  L on an 11 plate for about 9 months . It has a full service history from Lexus.  It has just gone over the 100,000 mark, and the insurance that the dealer supplied has run out too. I love the car, but nearly a month ago I got caught in a flash flood, and had to drive about 100 yds through standing water.  I could see the kerbs on both sides of the road, so judged that it wasn't more than 4 to 6 inches deep, and took it really steadily and at low speed but immediately I got the dreaded "HYBRID SYSTEM FAILIURE" light. on the dash.

  I took the car into my local garage (Who had recommended the purchase, and said that they were fully equipped to service it , could check the condition of the batteries etc, and could take on the servicing).   After 2 weeks of poking about they admitted defeat , and now have sent my car to the Lexus main dealer in Cheltenham.  Lexus have come back to say that the entire front electric motor and transmission needs renewing.  They don't take them apart, and apparently there are no spare parts available either - its just a bolt on bolt on deal.  The cost of course is astronomical ; £6,000 +  nearly half the value of the car, but unless I cough up I am left with a scrapper!   I can't believe that the hybrid system chose to fail after 100,000 miles randomly so the water must have been the cause.  I live in deepest countryside , down a track which often has a few puddles.... and water filled potholes are a way of life in Gloucestershire.  Has anyone else had problems with water, or am I just really unlucky? I will probably be buying a 2CV to drive in the wet after this experience!!! 

Barry,

Please check with your insurance company as the damage may be covered by your policy.

You must emphasise that you were mindful of the situation and the flash flooding left you with no alternative as abandoning the vehicle as not an option and your life was in danger.

If that fails, then contact Richard at Hybrid Battery Solutions and ask him for a quotation.

Good luck.

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17 hours ago, barry mason said:

I will probably be buying a 2CV to drive in the wet after this experience!!! 

That might not be such a bad idea, does seem like all this new tech is not as robust when it comes to extremes of weather.  (Does  this mean an Electric Landrover will have batteries in the roofline???)

There is always a really bad flooded area between Nailsworth and Horlsey on way up to tip after any decent rain, the other week edged the LS through, suspect an EV would have gone phutt based on this post.

Best of luck with getting sorted.

 

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That is painful, so sorry to hear. 

Cannot offer any advice but hope it can be sorted for less money. 

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21 hours ago, barry mason said:

Lexus have come back to say that the entire front electric motor and transmission needs renewing.

If it was my car I'd like to understand how this has happened. The transmission itself - the planetary gearset - must be running in its own lubricant in a sealed crankcase. So if the lubricant can't get out, how did the water get in?

Does anyone know where the motors are located? I thought they were integrated into the transmission and therefore also sealed inside the crankcase. Are they really open to the elements? Surely just a bit of rain would be enough to damage them.

I'm also not sure which car this is - is it a GS450h with an L110 gearbox? Or is it an RX450h with a P313 transaxle? It probably makes no difference to the questions above but I guessed at first from the reference to the "front motor" that it's the RX but this is the GS forum, so maybe not. The transmission model is named on the VIN label on the car.

If the front motors (I assume there are two) are damaged by water, surely this could happen whether you went through a flood or not.

Can someone who's more expert explain how this could have happened?

 

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yes how often do we have pouring rain on the motorway water is splashing up all the time i too wondered how this could happen they will be telling us not to go out in the rain next

I wondered if it had got into the boot and shorted batterys

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Barry do you know what code is being issued by the ECU? My guess is that it is P0AA6. This code is for HV Battery isolation. This means one or both sides of the high voltage Battery is leaking current to ground "the car body" This can be caused by even a very small amount of water getting into any of the high voltage connections.
You say you have a 450H L but we need to now is this a GS450H or an RX450h? as they have two very different transmissions.

John.

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Sorry to hear of your woes.

I would expose the batteries and see if there is any moisture. Dry everything out and reset the codes.

In my Lexus Diesel I went through a flood once that was probably a bit too deep. The bow wave started to splash onto the bonnet and took the number plate off! I didn't go back that way! Other driver oncoming said water was up to the rad grill. Advised him not too! 

This was the turn off to Tamworth from the A38 past the National Memorial island where you go under the bridge. Floods well!

I generally open the drivers door to see water levels. Up to Sills quite happy with a diesel or my petrol Volvo 940.

I nearly killed my 1989 240 GLT auto years ago in Ireland. Went through a deep flood very slowly on a kerb and unfortunately suddenly the road dipped down massively to farmers field and the water started going over the bonnet! Got through, but started to splutter and switched off immediately! Opened bonnet and everything dripping as on the old Volvos has a water pump driven continuous fan, so sprayed everything.

Started it up and steam coming out the exhaust and spluttering. cleared after 3 miles and then ran perfect. Sold 3 years later with 234,000miles on and no ill effects. I came very close to killing it!

James.

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19 hours ago, Thackeray said:

The transmission itself - the planetary gearset - must be running in its own lubricant in a sealed crankcase. So if the lubricant can't get out, how did the water get in?

As with almost any fluid the lubricant will expand as it gets hot so there's usually a small vent hole or pipe to allow for this. I know there is one on the RX300 so I'm assuming this car will be the same and water got in by this route.

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55 minutes ago, Herbie said:

As with almost any fluid the lubricant will expand as it gets hot so there's usually a small vent hole or pipe to allow for this.

Good point. Thanks for pointing this out - it makes sense.

But I'm still wondering how the water got in. If it's correct that the water was only 4-6 inches deep any vent hole or pipe must have been well above this. The transmission must be at least 18 inches high and at least nine inches above the ground. So the vent hole must be at least a couple of feet above ground.

As Britprius says, it would be good to know what fault codes are being reported.

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This is something that has been come across before with the Prius transmission. After draining the oil, leaving the drain and fill oil plugs out and removing the HV cable termination covers a hair dryer is used for several hours blowing into the terminal area has cleared the fault. This same code (P0AA6) is given when when the wrong oil is used in the AC compressor or if water finds it's way into the compressor terminals.
On the GS450H it can be caused by water in either of the two terminal input covers on the transmission. On the RX450H it can be caused by water entering covers on the front transmission unit or the differential at the rear.

Anywhere that water can get to on the HV supply system will give rise to this problem.
A pity the OP has not got back to us to enlighten us as to what vehicle he has.

John.

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On 12/5/2019 at 12:09 PM, Herbie said:

As with almost any fluid the lubricant will expand as it gets hot so there's usually a small vent hole or pipe to allow for this. I know there is one on the RX300 so I'm assuming this car will be the same and water got in by this route.

This is true of the hybrid systems that Toyota/Lexus use, but with a slight modification. The vent has a one way valve built into it allowing pressure out but seals causing a slight vacuum inside the transmission as it cools. This means shaft oil seals are under negative pressure when the transmission is cold reducing the effect of oil loss past them. As the transmission warms up the pressure equalises, and again stops oil being forced outwards past the seals. 
If the valve is stuck open sudden cooling of the transmission by submerging it in cold water could cause the water to be drawn into the valve, but the water would have to be quite deep as the valve is on the top of the transmission.

John.

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If the flood water was to blame shouldn't hybrids come with a warning not to drive through fords?

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