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Discussion Starter #1
We are the original owners of a 2003 Insight, bought new May, 2004

The dreaded IMA light came on today, so I took the car in to the dealer to see what the problem was.

The diagnosis is the battery pack is bad and the BCM needs to be replaced...again.

A little background...

This would be the 4th battery pack replacement since owning the car. It currently has 124680 mi on it. I'm not sure if the BCM has ever been replaced with the other battery failures.

When I had the 3rd replacement done, the dealer extended to the warranty another 12,000 mi or 12 months. I am well under the mileage (only about 4000 mi on 3rd replacement), but I am 3 days past the 12 month deadline.

So the dealer tells me it will be around $5500 to replace the defective battery pack and a new BCM. (the Service Mgr said they don't know what is causing the batteries to go bad so often, but it "could be" the BCM, so they would have to take it out to see)

The car is only worth around $6000.

First of all, has anyone else had a similar experience?

If you did, what was the outcome?

My opinion is this is the 4th battery pack failure. There has got to be an underlying problem causing them to go bad this many times. It's a part design failure, not a wear related or maintenance issue. Thus should be covered under warranty. Heck, there's barely 4000 miles on this current pack, and it went bad. That's just totally unreasonable in my book!

BTW, we have always had our service done at a Honda Dealer. Because we travel a lot, it had been done at different dealers, but always at a dealer... even all the scheduled oil changes.

Can anyone offer some advice/help for this situation?

I don't make $5500 in 6 months working. :(
 

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I think you just need a grid charger and can go for another 5 years with occasional charging. If you drove only 4k this past 12 months it probably caused your pack to get heavily imbalanced . The NIMH batteries have high self discharge rate and no exercise is the worst that can happen to them. a dumb grid charger and 14 hrs of charging at 350ma will fix that and you will need to repeat it once or twice a month . your pack will feel like new for a couple of years and may be more....
 

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Put a Grid Charger on the battery pack asap. The IMA battery should be grid charged anytime the car sits unused for more than 3-4 days without being driven.
 

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My opinion is that you're being taken to the cleaners by an unscrupulous dealer who is more than doubling the pack cost while seeking you a crap refurbished battery with 1/3 the warranty.

Call Eli at 855-912-7646 and he'll make you feel better about your car's longevity AND your pocketbook.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jivko57 thanks for the reply.

Please forgive my "blondeness" but I have no idea what a grid charger is or how to use it.

Instructions?
 

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jeff652... what if the BCM is bad?
The BCM is not known to fail. Honda pushes the newer BCM which has software that 'secretly' charges the IMA battery all the time (not shown on dash). This supposedly reduces the likelihood of a future IMA battery failure. All it really does is reduce MPGs from the constant load on the engine. Dealers want this as well due to the high margins. The grid charger negates the need for the car to charge the battery, as that is exactly what the charger does.

Worst case if the BCM was bad, I have access to several used units for $60-$70 that I can supply you with.
 

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Call Eli at 855-912-7646 and he'll make you feel better about your car's longevity AND your pocketbook.
I agree. If the battery has failed, a MaxIMA from Eli at Bumblebee is a great product. I have one in my personal Insight and love it.
 

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We are the original owners of a 2003 Insight, bought new May, 2004
Your IMA warranty was extended to 10 years/157,500 miles by Service Bulletins 06-027 and 06-057, so your IMA system including the battery pack and controllers is under warranty until May, 2014. It doesn't matter that your battery pack has been replaced multiple times already. Your IMA warranty will cover the cost of IMA repairs until it expires. The 12 mo./12,000 mi. warranty on your current battery pack is superseded by the extended IMA warranty and does not apply.

If you have paid anything to have your battery packs replaced in the past, file a claim with Honda to have your money refunded. Don't pay a cent to have your current battery pack and BCM replaced!

Many Honda dealers are unaware of the IMA warranty extension or are being unscrupulous. Refer your dealer to the Service Bulletins referenced above.

The likely reason why you've experienced so many failures is that Honda's warranty replacement battery packs have not been new since Honda apparently ran out of new battery cells, probably around 2008. Since then, warranty battery packs are rebuilt using used cells taken from other bad battery packs. Not all cells in a failed pack are bad, so the rebuilders try to use only the best cells, but they are not as good as new cells. Warranty replacement battery packs haven't been lasting nearly as long as new battery packs.

If I were you, I'd buy and install a grid charger as soon as your battery pack is replaced. Then use it before you drive if you haven't driven for a week or so. Or use it when you notice a recal (sudden unexpected drop of the battery pack's charge level). Doing this should extend the life of the rebuilt battery pack that your Honda dealer will install. When it fails, buy a new, higher capacity battery pack from one of the vendors active in this forum. It will likely cost less than the rebuilt battery pack that Honda sells, will last much longer, and will perform much better.
 

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good job helping ... seriously.. if we don't make the world a better place and help folks in need.. who will? Its better for the environment, relationships, and its just the right thing to do.

While I am new on the site, it appears that you guys are honorable and willing help another out.

Thanks for that!

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #12
jeff652...

Are the MaxIMA and replacement BCM, user replaceable parts?

Any leads on where to buy a grid charger?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you aisbell!

I had the info on the service bulletins but your explanation is much clearer. :)
 

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Go to a different dealer and get it all replaced under warranty.

And, yes, get a grid charger. I have one from Hybrid Automotive (Jeff652) and works great. Good installation instructions too.
 

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Honda pushes the newer BCM which has software that 'secretly' charges the IMA battery all the time (not shown on dash).
This has been true since the very first insight. If you drive at a constant highway speed, the battery will slowly fill up. This is nothing new. Early adopters called it a trickle charge. (What it really does is smooth the 3-cylinder vibration via timed pulses.)

BTW I didn't realize I have to drive my insight every 4 days. I've had one sitting for 2 months (since it started snowing). This car doesn't seem very 'collectible' if it cannot be stored away for a winter season.
:-(
 

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Discussion Starter #18
BTW I didn't realize I have to drive my insight every 4 days. I've had one sitting for 2 months (since it started snowing). This car doesn't seem very 'collectible' if it cannot be stored away for a winter season.
:-(
I hadn't a clue about this one either.
 

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Which part of Irvine has snow?:)
 

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BTW I didn't realize I have to drive my insight every 4 days. I've had one sitting for 2 months (since it started snowing). This car doesn't seem very 'collectible' if it cannot be stored away for a winter season.
:-(
It doesn't have to be driven at least once every 4 days. But the longer it sits without being driven, the more likely that different self-discharge rates among the 120 battery cells will result in different charge levels among the cells (i.e., cell imbalance). If this isn't corrected with a grid charger, eventually the imbalance will become serious enough to set a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) which illuminates the IMA trouble light. Honda can't fix this imbalance other than replacing the battery pack. A grid charger can fix this problem, but not all bad battery packs are due to cell imbalance.

I have stored my Insight every winter for 6 months since 2008 shortly after Honda replaced my battery pack under warranty for the second time at ~22,000 miles driven. Starting in 2009, I have grid charged my battery pack whenever I haven't driven in over a week. Unlike my first two battery packs, this battery pack remains very strong after 6 years. Using MIMA, I can command assist down to 0 bars without a negative recal occurring. On a couple of occasions, mild assist continued for several minutes even with 0 bars charge level.

So as long as one grid charges prior to driving, an Insight can be stored for long periods without damaging the battery pack. So it could be a fine collectible.
 
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