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A look at Toyota's fourth generation of hybrids

Sunday, January 1, 2017 - 09:00
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New tooling

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Megohmmeter – The need for a Megohmmeter continues with the Gen IV vehicles to properly test high resistance components such as the Motor-Generator windings and related insulated high-voltage cables. Toyota specified a Fluke 1507 or 1587, which retail for around $600. These meters are not the same as your typical DMM/DVOM, as they perform an internal voltage drop measurement by delivering a high voltage through the test leads to determine the overall resistance of high-resistance components.

(Image courtesy of Hioki) A Milliohmmeter is now an essential tool for Toyota hybrid diagnostics

Milliohmmeter — While many are still adjusting to the concept of Megohmmeter usage, certain DTCs relating to the Motor Generator units will now require testing with a Milliohmmeter. The Milliohmmeter specified by Toyota is the Hioki RM3548, which retails for about $1,200. 

TIS Subscription — My grandfather ran a busy service station in the '50s and fixed many customer concerns by opening the hood and performing a thorough visual inspection that included a bit of poking and prodding to locate problems such as bad water pumps, loose belts, and other fairly obvious mechanical faults. Today’s advanced diagnostics require an additional set of diagnostic skills. By day, yours truly is the Academic Chair of the Automotive Department at Suffolk County Community College and oversees such programs as the Toyota T-TEN program. One of the entrance requirements to the T-TEN program is that a student must be proficient in reading comprehension. Why you ask? The reason is simple. With the advancements in today’s HEVs and related technologies, diagnostic strategies will need to be built on sound information. The technician of today needs to build a diagnostic plan based on the reading, interpretation and metacognitive interpretation of raw information and data.

Data in the form of factory service info is a recommended starting point. A visit to www.techinfo.toyota.com will reveal the ability to access this information on a two-day, monthly or yearly subscription basis. This information includes more than just repair manual information and provides a wealth of background, diagnostic information and training that makes a subscription worthwhile. The next time you have a troublesome Toyota hybrid in your bay, consider what a two-day subscription will do in your quest for good information. It’s well worth incorporating the cost into your diagnostic fee structure.

Factory tooling
There are some fantastic aftermarket tools that are on the market, but nothing compares to factory capability. Toyota provides the least expensive platform on the market with a Techstream Lite interface costing less than $500 and a yearly subscription of about $1,100. Yes, you read that correctly — full factory functionality for about $1,500.

Not ready to take the leap into factory diagnostics? There are now scan tool companies such as Autologic and Farsight that offer a support service to have a factory-trained product specialist help you through your diagnostic issues.

As technology trends toward the driverless vehicle, Toyota continues to raise the bar. Prepare yourself for new technologies by reading, attending training events and applying what you know to establish good diagnostic habits.

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