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Discussion Starter #1
Auto Stop started behaving strangely, Malfunction Indicator lamp coming on & low mpg

We moved to hilly part of Devon in the UK and we live at the top of a long and steep hill (22% average incline). I mention this as my 2000 Insight went from an average 85 mpg to about 50 mpg, in the last 6 months. This seems to happen because I'm constantly using the batteries (charge) to go up the 2.5 mile steep hill in first gear often?
Two weeks ago the Auto Stop started behaving strangely and after often 20-30 seconds the battery light came on and I had to turn over the ignition to re-start the car. I have also changed the original battery, so this is not the problem. This is now a permanent problem. Last week the Malfunction Indicator lamp came on and I'm getting less than 40 mpg. I took it to my local garage (non-Honda) they checked for split vacuum pipes and checked throttle body but found nothing. They now tell me that I must take it to my local Honda dealership for EOBD diagnostic checks.
I have a loathing of dealership from past experience (quick to charge and slow to diagnose problems correctly). Can someone give me an idea of the nature of the problem and if my lower mpg in the last months has any correlation to the problems I'm presently having? I'd like to go to Honda as informed as possible to prevent being ripped off and worse, misdiagnosed.
Help please.............
Carlos
 

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Could be a few things but my bet is bad or out of balance IMA battery. Is the IMA light lit?

It may recover with a grid charger £200 fitted at my place in Yorkshire or you may need a new IMA battery £2000 fitted again at my place in Yorkshire. If they diagnose a bad battery the car will be worth bugger all on the secondhand market as whoever buys it will need to fix the same problem you are struggling with. Honda also charge about £2000 for a new battery but there's isnt as good as mine and neither is there warranty ;)

Make sure you let us know how you get on. If you do get it diagnosed by them make sure you get them to tell your the error codes. Then post them here for further advice.
 

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How old is your IMA battery? My guess is that it might be getting weak or out of balance with that long steep hill.....others here are more knowledgible than I am relating to the batteries.
 

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Could be a few things but my bet is bad or out of balance IMA battery. Is the IMA light lit?

It may recover with a grid charger £200 fitted at my place in Yorkshire or you may need a new IMA battery £2000 fitted again at my place in Yorkshire. If they diagnose a bad battery the car will be worth bugger all on the secondhand market as whoever buys it will need to fix the same problem you are struggling with. Honda also charge about £2000 for a new battery but there's isnt as good as mine and neither is there warranty ;)

Make sure you let us know how you get on. If you do get it diagnosed by them make sure you get them to tell your the error codes. Then post them here for further advice.
From reading previous threads batteries should last over 100,000-150,000 miles before changing. My car has only 68,000 miles and was giving up to 95 mpg on the motorway at about 65 mph till quite recently. The car has operated mechanically almost without a fault for over 2 years. Yes, the IMA light is on permanently.

Can you tell me what is materially better about your batteries and warranty than Honda?
Thanks Carlos
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The battery is original from 2001 but only 68,000 miles and was giving 95+ mpg before I got to the hills. The car has a full service history with an average 75+ mpg for its life.
 

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My warranty is two year RTB. You will have to ask Honda about their warranty.

I use 8ah cells the same as the US suppliers which give better current and duration.

There is masses of info on here and a thread about batteries i have supplied in the UK.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/20319-uk-betterbattery-upgrade-thread.html

You need to do lots of reading. The lack of use of the battery can also be detrimental. The low mileage is no indication of a good or bad battery. You change of driving and the hill has finished your old one off sadly. It might recover to a degree with a grid charger as i have mentioned.
 

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Just my 0.02 worth, but you have done really well to go thirteen years on the original battery. If you have a MT, the Calpod switch could help prevent the battery drain on the long hill after you get your battery fixed / replaced.

Tim
 

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My warranty is two year RTB. You will have to ask Honda about their warranty.

I use 8ah cells the same as the US suppliers which give better current and duration.

There is masses of info on here and a thread about batteries i have supplied in the UK.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/20319-uk-betterbattery-upgrade-thread.html

You need to do lots of reading. The lack of use of the battery can also be detrimental. The low mileage is no indication of a good or bad battery. You change of driving and the hill has finished your old one off sadly. It might recover to a degree with a grid charger as i have mentioned.
The car is going to the local Honda garage next Wed afternoon. I'll keep you informed on the error codes, but lets assume I'm lucky and it just needs a grid charge, do you trust a local Honda garage to be able to do this correctly? Its 321 miles to Thirsk, which is worth it for a battery change but not a charge.

Sounds like where we live (top of a steep hill) is going to always be difficult for the batteries, even the new ones, so selling the car is probably the only option? This is a real bummer, as I adore this car. Would it be better to move house perhaps?
 

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erratic autostop etc

Is the erratic behaviour describable as "failure to restart the engine from autostop" Then with 99.9% confidence your IMA pack is dead/dying.


When this is happening the car will not start, the battery charge and oil lamps will light up and you have to perform an ignition key start.

If you go to the Honda dealer, do not expect them to know much about the car, you could find them asking for a chunk of your money to run tests, money better spent on the new pack
 

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Essentially, I want them to give me the error codes. I've been to another Honda dealership in Cambs, where we used to live and their knowledge was very sketchy. Their focus is new cars, not 12 year old limited number prototypes. Often it's the first time they have seen one!
 

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You may be misunderstanding the charger I sell. It's a permanent device fitted to the car so you can charge it when reqd yourself just by plugging into the mains if the problem reoccurs.

I don't sell chargers or batteries etc for others to install. The work has to be done at my address so you have a warranty. A Honda dealer certainly won't charge the IMA battery correctly or install a grid charger for you anyway.

As has been mentioned a clutch switch may help prevent the problem reoccuring once it has been corrected, that prevents the battery from being used on your hill.

Selling the car with the bad ima battery has now wiped quite a chunk off it's value so you may as well repair it. New batteries won't be fazed by your hill for at least a good few years.
 

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battery pack knowledge

When new the Honda battery pack has a capacity of 6.5 Amp hrs, over time the capacity diminishes , at 11 years of age your pack is no longer anything like 100% of capacity, possibly 15 to 20%.

Forum users know all this from test results using smart chargers.

The grid charger will be of great benefit with a new pack, topping up the IMA battery every night so you would hit that hill each morning with plenty of electrical assist, the mains power cost is small, equivalent to running a modest 80 Watt light bulb for a few hours.

The OBD2 device is worth considering too, the dash gauges for battery state are so unrepresentative of the IMA system in use
 

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The grid charger will be of great benefit with a new pack, topping up the IMA battery every night so you would hit that hill each morning with plenty of electrical assist, the mains power cost is small, equivalent to running a modest 80 Watt light bulb for a few hours.
Living at the top of a hill, he doesn't use assist while descending the hill, so starting off each morning with a full battery pack would prevent regen thus forcing increased use of his friction brakes. I would balance-charge only occasionally because of this.

The benefits of balance-charging are significant for the life of his battery pack, so I would definitely recommend buying one. I began using one of Peter's grid chargers in 2009, about a year after my 3rd battery pack had been installed, all under warranty, all before my car had been driven only 22,000 miles. Now almost 5 years and 25,000 miles after my current battery pack was installed, it remains far stronger than either of my previous battery packs. Balance-charging is the difference.
 

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This all sounds brilliant and Peter is what he says he is. I'm so dubious of what a lot of people state they can do until others confirm this. He seems to have quite a following of loyal supporters and endorsers.
I think the problem has been that I go 3 times a week up hill from a cold start at 7 am in the morning for a swim (for about 1.5 miles) rather than downhill in gear. Perhaps a change of behaviour might be in order but I love the fact that your batteries are working so well some years in?
 

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Do you think that it would be wise to drive my car up to you (or should i use a trailer) after I've been to get the error codes from my local Honda dealer this Wed? What notice do you need to install new batteries etc.. and how do I contact you in a more direct way to organise the above?
Thanks Carlos
 

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e-mail me at my signature address.

Lead time on batteries is at least 4 weeks. I'm away on hols for next 2.5 weeks anyway.
I have one battery in stock but someone else got in before you and it's spoken for now.

If the ignition light is off then you can drive it up, but make sure you have AA or something and can get relayed to mine if it breaks down enroute. You can reset the codes if they appear enroute as well by pulling the fuse under the dash for 30 seconds.
 

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Thanks for the info.
We have another car so it's not the end of the world, but I will contact you when you get back. (Do you have a date?) We are in Spain at the beginning of April so the end of March sounds OK (4 weeks time) which is around Easter. If you have a direct contact it would be simpler to communicate.
 
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