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Old 03-26-2012, 11:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dropping mileage

Hello Insighters.

My first Insight was a 2000 model purchased in early 2001. Manual tranny. I lived in NC and did a weekly commute from Asheville to Charlotte (~3 hrs). For the first 6 months I managed to keep the lifetime average above 70mpg. Then we (me & my sweetie) moved to Oregon. In 2008 my brother-in-law was selling his 2006 Insight and we decided to 'upgrade' so we sold our 2000 (it was named 'Speedbump') which had ~120K miles by then, and was ~67 mpg lifetime, and bought the '06. Same as our original with manual tran. OEM tires etc. with ~30K miles, like new.

I noticed that his lifetime mileage was in lower 50s but he mostly drove it around town and has a bit of a lead foot, so I figured this was not bad. For the first couple of years we got in upper 60s for mpg during summer and lower 60's in winter (7 to 8 months of cool, wet weather here). We would get over 70mpg on trips to Seattle, The ethanol really caused a noticeable drop, I don't remember when that started. In OR anyway, it is illegal to put non-ethanol gas in your car. You can get it, but it is at least a dollar more per gallon so I just buy it for my chainsaw, lawnmower etc.

For the past year the mileage has dropped and now we can't seem to get over 55 on a tankful. We have OEM tires which I've always run at 40 psi. I've taken it to the dealer for all servicing at 5000 mi. intervals for oil change and whatever the recommended service is at that interval. The dealer guys say everything checks out ok and can't give me any reason why the mileage has dropped. I've tried the cardboard in front of the radiator and can't tell any difference on that. The one thing I've noticed that has me wondering is that the regen decellerating and braking works intermittently at best. My home is up a mountain road and typically when I get home the battery pack is down to 1/4 or less. It regenerates as I go down the mountain but only maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the time. I'm constantly tapping on the brake pedal to try and get the green generate bars to show up. Sometimes I downshift to first which will cause it to start regen,and then shift back to second and try to keep up the regen with light brake pressure. Shouldn't it automatically regen when the battery is below about half?

I'm wondering if a mal-functioning or poorly calibrated regen system might be my main problem. Have others had the regen problem? And any ideas about why the mileage drop? My sweetie and I both are pretty good at keeping optimal mileage but this has been a bit frustrating. The car now has 61K miles on it.

My wife is trying to keep me from going over to the dark side and buying a Prius

Thanks for any ideas.

PS I'm not familiar with a lot of the acronyms used here, such as MIMA, ECU, ECM, so please be kind to me.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well you are in Oregon, with a lot of rain, etc. so you are driving with a lot of load on the 12V battery, Lights on, wipers on, defroster on, etc. You are using alot of the IMA power to get up the mountains. That creates a lot of hidden charging from the IMA system trying to keep both batterys up to snuff.
The IMA system is really picky. The way everything charges indicates it has a "mind of it's own."
In simple terms, your IMA battery is geting weak. Install a "CARD" switch and learn how to use it properly or wait until ELI moves into your area soon for assistance
HTH
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Use: 438,000 mi. @ 58.2 LMPG.



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Last edited by Willie Williford; 03-26-2012 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Willie, thanks for the reply. I'm not familiar with the 'card' switch. Can you enlighten me?
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"CARD"= Calpod Assist/Regen Disabler. (switch)
It allows to you get a better control of when the Assist and Regen take place, allowing some of the Hidden or Silent Charging to be omitted.
Search the forum and I know it will be difficult, but worth the effort for those topics.

I'm surprised no one else has chimed in yet. You can expect many responses.
HTH
Willie
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MaxIMA Battery (Serial #2), on 8/25/12 @ 301,000 miles
Another MaxIMA Battery, on 6/25/17 @ 399,252 miles
Use: 438,000 mi. @ 58.2 LMPG.



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Old 03-27-2012, 04:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Your regen behavior doesn't sound normal. Try tapping the gas before tapping the brake pedal, especially after shifting.

Do you notice odd battery behavior.. suddenly going to empty, or full? It's possible that your battery is starting to show it's age.

How many miles on the car?

I was never able to detect a difference between 100% gasoline and 10% ethanol in two cars and quite a few tanks. The energy difference is only 3.3%, which should translate into even less of a MPG difference. It's not that.

But yeah, I'd be happy to take a look at her when I get up there in May. I'm betting on either battery problems or EGR problems.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you are going down a grade while braking and hit a bump that causes one tire to slip, regen will be stopped. You have to tap the gas pedal to re-establish regen.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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ELI

The car has ~61K miles on it. Seems like awful young to be seeing a weakening IMA battery. I have noticed times when the battery display seemed to go to empty or full suddenly. I always thought that the nimh batteries were programmed to empty once in a while to get a full charge back and avoid any battery 'memory' problems, but this would not explain sudden jumps to full.

Would the Honda mechanics be able to detect a weakening battery? I think 61K is still well within the battery warranty, but I need to take care of this soon.

If, as randerson0248 says, a bump might kick off the regen, that would explain that part of my problem because we are a mile up a gravel road and it has plenty of bumps.

Thanks for the help
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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EricT
It's proven that it's not the miles on the IMA battery that causes the deterioation, but the age of the battery and how the car is driven which causes the problem.
Lots of reading needed here at ICN to even grasp a portion of the knowledge needed to understand the working of the IMA system..
HTH
Willie
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The first "TURBOCHARGED" Hybrid, Insight G1-(01/2003)@65K miles. RIP 334K
MaxIMA Battery (Serial #2), on 8/25/12 @ 301,000 miles
Another MaxIMA Battery, on 6/25/17 @ 399,252 miles
Use: 438,000 mi. @ 58.2 LMPG.



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Old 03-27-2012, 06:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricT View Post
The car has ~61K miles on it. Seems like awful young to be seeing a weakening IMA battery.
By 2008, before my 2000 Insight had been driven 22,000 miles, its IMA battery had been replaced twice under warranty. As Willie stated, driving too infrequently can cause rapid deterioration of the battery pack due to the 120 individual battery cells self-discharging at different rates while the car is parked. The IMA system cannot correct this imbalance, so it gradually worsens until the battery pack itself doesn't function well enough for the IMA system to consider it acceptable. Using a custom IMA battery charger/balancer can correct this imbalance and increase the life of a battery pack if it hasn't been driven too much in a highly imbalanced state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricT View Post
I have noticed times when the battery display seemed to go to empty or full suddenly.
That behavior is a recalibration of charge level gauge. This occurs when the battery pack voltage indicates that one or more subpacks or the entire battery pack has reached a low or high voltage limit when the charge level gauge doesn't indicate that the battery pack charge level is empty or full. This can be due to cell imbalance or defective cells. It's normal for a recalibration to happen occasionally due to normal self-discharge that can't be measured by the IMA system, but when it occurs frequently, battery pack problems are occurring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricT View Post
I always thought that the nimh batteries were programmed to empty once in a while to get a full charge back and avoid any battery 'memory' problems, but this would not explain sudden jumps to full.
The IMA system doesn't purposely periodically discharge the battery pack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricT View Post
Would the Honda mechanics be able to detect a weakening battery?
No. Their only diagnosis depends on a diagnostic trouble code being set. If your IMA warning light isn't illuminated, your battery pack is still operating in the acceptable range although it sounds to me like it's weakening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricT View Post
I think 61K is still well within the battery warranty, but I need to take care of this soon.
It is for distance but not for time. Your IMA battery pack is warrantied for 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Unless your 2000 Insight was originally sold less than 10 years ago (highly unlikely), your IMA warranty has expired.

You need to balance charge your IMA battery pack soon to try to prevent it from failing (no guarantee, but there's little else you can do other than start saving for a new battery pack).
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I read somewhere that the 150k/10yr only applies to 2000-2004 Insights, and the 05-06 insights only have the standard 80k/8yr warranty... I'm not 100% sure, so you should check to confirm first.

but either way, you are still covered with the 2006 insight, just not as long.
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