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Old 02-07-2018, 06:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Insight 2 new owner - noob CVT question, sorry

Hello, forum.

I'm new here, my name's Kate, I live in the UK and have recently become proud owner of a 2010 Honda Insight second gen. In lovely shiny blue. Very nice.

Well, actually, I'm going to be honest and up-front with you, because that's always the best way to get started, I reckon. Truth is, I'm a kind of grudging new owner of a Honda Insight, having had to replace a Honda CR-Z quite abruptly when a wall just leapt out into the road and hit it in snowy weather. Which is definitely what happened.

And... (I am so going to get thrown off this forum) ... I admit that what I'd really planned on buying as a replacement was a T... I'm so sorry... a Toyota Auris Hybrid I'd found with decent mileage - I'd kind of set my heart on the whole electric-only thing the Hybrid Synergy Drive allows, solely because sometimes I have to set off for work early and I wanted to drive out of my road quietly and absolutely not for any showing-off opportunities.

But that fell through because the HSD battery wasn't up to scratch and I couldn't find out if it was still under warranty or not, so I decided not to chance it and anyway to cut a long story short (too late!) because in the end none of this really matters and doesn't make any difference to any of you or my question today, I found this Insight what I have now, and I'm beginning to get used to it as the sort of bigger older sibling of the Poor Dead CR-Z.

Actually I'm getting the hang of the IMA system a bit better in this than I think I did in the CR-Z - I seem to be able to nudge the Insight into its sort-of-EV mode a lot more reliably. The only thing that's really bothering me is the CVT transmission - and specifically the mad revving thereof.

I've heard people say that CVTs can be noisy. This one's actually great as long as it's under about 2-2.5k RPM, but if I need to climb any significant gradient, unless I want to do it very very slowly indeed, the revs rocket. And in fact whenever I need to accelerate, say to join the motorway, etc, again it sounds like... well, to be honest it sounds like a very old HR-V auto I once had with a failing clutch (or whatever autos have that starts slipping when they get worn out). I know a CVT is very different mechanically from a standard automatic, though I'm no engine expert by any stretch (everything I know I learned from Car Mechanic Simulator yes there really is one).

Basically, all this drivel is just leading up to me asking if it's normal for a CVT to run its revs up to 4-5k or higher, and even if it's not on the verge of total expensive collapse, do I need to be more delicate with it? I'm not particularly heavy-footed, but I like to be able to change speed reasonably smartly, and while this car certainly can do so, it doesn't sound as though it's enjoying it very much.

Thanks for any advice, and more for your patience in reading all this.
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Brevity is the soul of wit, as we used to have on our outgoing answering machine message. (Remember those?)

Anyway, you did leave out important information, like the model year and current miles, or km in your case. Iím going to suggest you get the CVT fluid changed ASAP. Depending on the model year, it could have software updates that were never applied. Those are only going to be available at a Honda Dealer. They can only check to see if they were done by connecting your Insight to the computer the mechanics use. The person checking your car in, standing at a computer and entering your VIN cannot.

The CVT takes some getting used to. Every time I drive ours it feels like a rubber band stretching. I have to look at the speedometer to see that, yes in fact I am moving along faster than it seems.

We are not an easily offended crowd. What bothers me personally is when folks present problems, I ask follow up questions I know to be pertinent, and they are ignored. We all know what a miserable hair shirt of a car these things are. Honda wanted to make the cheapest hybrid and it showed.

Now look, I have typed paragraphs myself!
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egads View Post
Iím going to suggest you get the CVT fluid changed ASAP. Depending on the model year, it could have software updates that were never applied. Those are only going to be available at a Honda Dealer. They can only check to see if they were done by connecting your Insight to the computer the mechanics use. The person checking your car in, standing at a computer and entering your VIN cannot.
Brevity - okay. Thanks for suggestions.

CVT fluid; software updates; will do.

Moderator: you may lock the thread now if required, thank you.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Kate, welcome.

First of all, CVT gearboxes are unlike anything else.
Do not worry about the revs climbing up to 4K - well, mine get up to 6K if needed. That's where the engine can produce max power. It needs revs to provide power as it only has a small displacement (1.3 liter). But the CVT allows it to stay at optimal revs while accelerating, unlike any other gearbox design.

You will find that it does not really accelerate that hard if you stay below 4000 RPM. But do boot it when you have the opportunity, allow it to move to 6000 RPM - and see the speed build. It is not a dragster, but it should be adequate. It is not about to break; it can handle that with ease, see it as a howl of encouragement. I boot mine a couple of times a week as I have to join a very busy road at a T junction. It has come close to redline at least a thousand times now and shows no sign of remorse at all.
If anything, it frees it up (apart from that junction, I try to keep it below 2000 RPM most of the time - I better 60 mpg US (70+ UK) in summer! but it tends to get a bit lazy.)

The other thing is that when it does not need much power, it will max out its gear ratio so you will get very low revs. If you're doing say 60 mph on the highway it will usually stay below 2000 RPM, way less than most other small engined cars. So if you boot it the revs will more than double; so it sounds kinda extreme - but a 'normal' car would generally have more revs most of the time.

Don't worry about the hybrid battery, those hardly ever fail (nor for that matter do Auris batteries); but keep an eye on the 12V battery - or better, a volt meter. The 12V batteries are weak on these and if they are about to fail that will throw a couple of weird errors on the MID - each system failing because of low voltage... But 12V batteries are cheap. Replace when in doubt before you look for other causes.
And be safe on the CVT fluid change. While some have postponed the fluid change for way longer than recommended and not have had a failure, it does improve the drive if you keep it fresh.

Enjoy your car. Blues are nice
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you, RedDevil. I appreciate the reassurance.
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Old 02-08-2018, 12:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So what year is it? How many km on it now?
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Old 02-08-2018, 02:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you, I think I have enough for now. I'll check your suggestions re the fluid and the firmware, and keep in mind RedDevil's advice.

I appreciate your time.
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Old 02-08-2018, 03:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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In regards to the 12 Volt battery:
The car will behave badly, throwing a LOT of errors like IMA, brakes, steering, chassis, network if the 12 V fails. If you monitor the 12 V you will not see it with the ignition on - EVEN WITH THE ENGINE OFF - since the 12 V will be constantly charged by the high voltage battery for the IMA. Trouble starts when the charging circuit detects a full 12 V battery and stops charging and due to the dead 12 V the voltage drops below minimum and then, when charging kicks in, the voltage rises FAR above the 14.4 Volts max.
You will not recognize a dead 12 V systems by monitoring the usual things like slow or failing cranking on cold starts as the engine almost all the time starts with the IMA high voltage starter. You need either a continuous monitoring of the 12 V system using Torque or other means and/or a load test of the 12 V battery disconnected from the car, like a 12 V halogen bulb. If voltage drops during this load test - or voltage fluctuates in the continuous test, your 12 V is done.

No need to pay extra for high quality batteries, by the way. The charging circuit is so stupid, it will kill the 12 V battery dead. No need to look for more crank amps as it will not get used for cranking. In my understanding, batteries for golf carts would work best here.

The CVT is nothing to get overly concerned with. Throttling isn't either. Just free your mind from all the things you have learned while driving conventional gearboxes. The CVT puts the engine at the best power point for the performance commanded by the accelerator. So if you have to accelerate the revs will go up and stay up until you have reached the speed commanded by the accelerator. Depending on the topography - like hills - the revs will also change going uphill.

It's a Honda, by the way and it has VTEC, so it loves to rev. No fear for high revs unless you a) haven't paid attention to oil quality and change intervals and b) look for max efficiency.

For maximum efficiency, try to "micro-feather" the accelerator, backing it up a bit and then pushing a bit for sustained speed.

For maximum efficiency, keep the tyre pressure higher than you would for normal cars. I run mine on 3 bar.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you have a volt meter, like the cheap Chinese ones you can put in the cigarette lighter engine, you can see the true battery voltage before you start the car. Once it runs, and even when it stalls during AutoStop, it gets powered by the traction pack and the voltage will alternate between 12.6 Volt and 13.9 or threreabouts.
The DC-DC converter won't run all the time, that's why it alternates between those 2 values.

Before you start the engine it may sink below 12 Volt, especially if you run the lights or radio for some time. That is normal.
If it sinks below 11 Volt that is a sign that one of the 6 cells in the battery is bad. There is no cure for that other than a fresh battery.

And indeed, I'm running the tires at 3 bar (40 PSI) too, even 3.2 bar when on my 175 mm 'wide' winter tires. Makes it less sensitive to side wind and gives more control and grip when cornering hard at the expense of some higher frequency road noise and harshness.
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldwind View Post
Thank you, I think I have enough for now. I'll check your suggestions re the fluid and the firmware, and keep in mind RedDevil's advice.

I appreciate your time.
If you donít answer my questions I canít even tell you if the software updates are pertinent.
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