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A couple of months ago, my car developed a consistent hesitation upon light accelleration. Decelleration would smooth it out and hard accelleration would smooth it out. If I continued the light accelleration, the car would start to surge back and forth and miss out. It seemed to always happen during warmup, mostly in the mornings. I read a few posts about EGR cleaning and replacement to solve the bucking problem and was going to try to clean the EGR first. I had also read some posts about increasing MPG by adding acetone to the fuel.
I read all the pros & cons on the acetone additive, but decided to try it to see if it would make any noticeable difference in the economy. I didn't notice much of an MPG increase, but the bucking problem gradually went away. After 4 or 5 tanks the bucking problem had totally gone away and the engine ran like new. Never touched anything under the hood. Still can't figure out if the acetone dissolved some carbon buildup, cleaned the injectors or helped dissipate some moisture in the gas tank.
It's possible that in the lean burn mode, fuel quality is critical and moisture of any kind (like ethanol) could really affect a little 3 banger. That's my theory anyway. Oh yeah, I buy only Chevron gas now. No problems since. No more acetone either. Didn't help the economy much and it was a pain to get it into the tank. Always scared I would spill a drop on the paint.
Anyone else have similar experiences with engine additives to defeat bucking problems?
 

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My Insight has bucked upon warm-up since brand new. It bucks between 1 and 4 times and then drives fine for the rest of the trip. Can't see how carbon build-up could be the culprit in a brand new car that, well, doesn't have carbon build-up. However, if it gets worse, I might try this idea with the Acetone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you have a brand new car that bucks and the dealer can't find the problem, then it must be the fuel. Possibly some moisture in the tank. Most fuels now have ethanol in them which is water based. Try using an additive that will allow the moisture to dissolve into the fuel and be burned out over time. It doesn't have to be acetone, there are others on the market. I just used it because it is cheap, available and some guy on line hyped it up so that's what I used. I used 2 ounces per 10 gallons of gas. In 4-5 tanks my problem was gone and has not recurred. Coincidence maybe, but it worked for me. Be very careful not to get any on your paint. It will dissolve the finish. Like I said, these cars are extremely sensitive to fuel quality especially in lean-burn mode. That's my take. Let me know how it works out for you.
 

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I suppose that could be. I certainly can't remember buying gas that DIDN'T say "up to 10% ethanol". I'll give it a shot and see what happens. (Although I will probably wait until spring)
 

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My CVT had the bucking (or "herky jerky") problem for a long time, and fuel seemed to make it mostly not occur. (On regular between 3kRPM and 4kRPM, moderate load, freeway, it would buck (drop 500 rpm, climb back, drop back...)

Under the CVT recall (for jerky starting, not for at-speed bucking), the dealer tried CVT "burnishing", that made jerky starting go away, but made bucking occur much much more often. Finally (under the CVT recall) they replaced a "clutch kit" in the CVT, and all at-speed bucking (and jerkey starting) seems to have ceased.

Herm Fischer
 

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Herm said:
My CVT had the bucking (or "herky jerky") problem for a long time, and fuel seemed to make it mostly not occur. (On regular between 3kRPM and 4kRPM, moderate load, freeway, it would buck (drop 500 rpm, climb back, drop back...)

Under the CVT recall (for jerky starting, not for at-speed bucking), the dealer tried CVT "burnishing", that made jerky starting go away, but made bucking occur much much more often. Finally (under the CVT recall) they replaced a "clutch kit" in the CVT, and all at-speed bucking (and jerkey starting) seems to have ceased.

Herm Fischer
Interesting, Herm... I just dropped my '02 CVT off this morning because since the dealer performed the slip-clutch burnishing procedure to cure the "judder" issue at takeoff, I've been experiencing the exact same RPM fluctuations and bucking as the transmission seems to hunt for the right ratio. Like you described, that's mostly at highway speeds & RPMs; around town, there's a really rough transition between regen coasting and braking (or when getting back on the throttle). Overall, my MPG is down quite a bit since these new symptoms started -- it feels like the CVT is almost "sticking" in inefficient ratios a good deal of the time. When this behavior is happening, the FCD bar drops down to like 15 MPG even in steady cruising or extremely light throttle.

Just wondering if you had a similar experience with MPG and the symptoms... And if so, did the clutch kit resolve everything or just the jerking? After the burnishing, my dealer mentioned that the next step was rebuilding the clutch (the kit you got, I presume) or replacing the transmission entirely.

Anyway, I've had my Insight for almost a year and LOVE it!

Nick
 

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What got cured? Burnishing fixed jerkiness when starting to accelerate from full stop. Clutch kit fixed transmission hunting at highway speed +/- 500 rpm ("bucking", "herkey-jerky", other descriptions posted).

Mileage seems to have improved, but also I replaced tires to the OEM Bridgstones (had larger off-brand before), so not sure which caused mileage improvement. Now CVT seems to get low 50's at moderate highway speeds (60-ish), I was able to do 61.5 for 372 mi. Berkeley to L.A. (following trucks patiently), MPG drops to high 40's at 76-80mph (not following trucks).

Herm
 

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Tires make a big difference in mileage.
You can check out a test that Rick Reece and I did a few years ago.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2738
robert
 

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Re: Bucking problem cured (related to IMA?)

I thought I would chime in with my experience with the bucking and hesitation under light throttle. I've had this issue for years with my 2000 5-speed Insight. I can't remember when exactly it started, but suffice it to say it was a persistent issue. i even had the EGR valve replaced (not cleaned- completely replaced with a new Honda part) at one point, which made absolutely zero difference.

To be clear, since I have seen various descriptions of what may or may not be the same issue, what I get happening was/is a momentary hesitation or lack of power, usually at light throttle, often while moving steadily at slow-moderate speeds, say 25-35 MPH. I do not recall lean-burn ever being involved, as I've seen posts asking about lean burn or hard acceleration and bucking or surging. I just want to make sure we're talking about the same issue.

What did make a 100% difference is something that surprised me, and which I've never seen mentioned on the forum:

In January 2014, the (original) IMA battery finally gave up the ghost. In order to continue driving it without replacing the expensive pack, I performed the battery bypass (intructions commonly found online). Not having the money to replace the IMA battery, I drove the car this way for oever two years.

I was finally able to replace the IMA battery In June 2016, which I did with a pack from Bumblebee batteries, (which has worked flawlessly since).

I've been very happy to have the increased power back, as well as the near-instant startup and auto-stop feature. What ALSO returned though, and which I noticed within a couple of days, was the old familiar hesitation and bucking at light throttle

So I put this question out: Has anyone else had this experience? Could the hesitation and bucking be an artifact of something malfunctioning in the IMA system? Or could the IMA being active vs. inactive somehow affect another vehicle system- strain on the drivetrain or ICE to the point that the IMA affects whether the bucking and hesitation occurs?

Seems to me the IMA motor abruptly switching from assisting to not and back again could cause this behavior.

It would be relatively straightforward to test this out: Simply perform the battery bypass procedure, disabling the IMA, and see if the bucking goes away. Of course I'm not suggesting this as a cure or even workaround, merely as part of a diagnostic procedure.

What is directly causing the bucking and hesitation I do not know. But for anyone that's looking for a solution, I would point you to an interaction with the IMA system.

Michael
 

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So to paraphrase, it sounds like you're saying that you had a bucking/hesitation issue. Your pack went bad and you bypassed it - and the issue went away. It came back when you put a new pack in; ergo, maybe it's the IMA system? Is that right?

If so, I'd say it's entirely possible. When I experimented with Peter P.'s 'boost box', which intercepts and allows tweaking of the ECM's 'command power' signal, I got a lot of weird bucking, hesitation, and general IMA gobbledy-gook... So the IMA/electric motor is very capable of making the car 'buck' and 'hesitate'.

Ever had any moisture issues in your car? Maybe some of the ECM wiring, down in the passenger footwell, got damp? Just a wild guess though; if IMA-related, seems like it could be just about anything...
 

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i think he's referring to the random dead spot on light tip in, which i have felt before too but also much more random and infrequent than the bucking issue. to me it feels more like if you had a flat spot in your TPS/MAP sensor so the car wasn't adding fuel for acceleration. if i really mash the pedal then it snaps out of it and goes again.
 

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i think he's referring to the random dead spot on light tip in, which i have felt before too but also much more random and infrequent than the bucking issue....
He says 'light throttle' and 'steady speed' - which imply that it's not happening at "tip in":

....what I get happening was/is a momentary hesitation or lack of power, usually at light throttle, often while moving steadily at slow-moderate speeds, say 25-35 MPH. I do not recall lean-burn ever being involved, as I've seen posts asking about lean burn or hard acceleration and bucking or surging....
 

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Jerking at 35mph+ with light pedal

i think he's referring to the random dead spot on light tip in, which i have felt before too but also much more random and infrequent than the bucking issue. to me it feels more like if you had a flat spot in your TPS/MAP sensor so the car wasn't adding fuel for acceleration. if i really mash the pedal then it snaps out of it and goes again.
i think he's referring to the random dead spot on light tip in, which i have felt before too but also much more random and infrequent than the bucking issue. to me it feels more like if you had a flat spot in your TPS/MAP sensor so the car wasn't adding fuel for acceleration. if i really mash the pedal then it snaps out of it and goes again.
My insight has been doing this for a few months. (2k miles) It jerks back & forth.

--Occurs above 35mph when I let of the gas. (MPG indicator between 60-100
--More often when cold.
--Correlated to low battery voltage (most often) 11.5V. Graph on obd shows voltage drop into 11.xx when pedal is pushed...12.xx when let of gas or autostop. 12V evermax (Wal-Mart) 2 yr old
--car sat for 1 year.
--no check engine codes/ IMA light (however back batt is weaker than before it sat)
--no difference if IMA is turned off. IMA charging even with pedal pushed lightly randomly.
--MPG hit (average is 50-54mpg)
--ran over side divider (cut turn to quickly at intersection)~ blew drivers side front tire (had dry rot old)--> replaced all 4 with poteza. No alignment done. Don't know if Costco balanced wheels... don't know if problem is related
--use Shell gas (last 6 fill ups) no difference.
--cleaned EGR plate (not valve). No difference
--tried pushing pedal in & out for 10 minutes.
--~150k miles. last 45K miles ~60mpg. Use mobil-1 and changed transmission (45k mi ago) fluid 25k miles.
--oil appears on engine body near spark plugs and on top of the exhaust manifold
Charged both front and back batteries. Better if front battery is charged.--> 12v DC converter failing

TBD
-change spark plugs/oil & filter/ transmission fluid & filter/

Any help greatly appreciated. Will update once I complete the above.
 

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Check your 3 grounds.

A 2 year old battery that sat for a year is probably a very marginal battery. They don't like sitting.
 

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Try a new 99 4cyl Honda Accord EGR valve. They're around $40 and take 5 minutes to swap out. Where are you located?
 

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my insight has been doing this for a few months. (2k miles) it jerks back & forth.

--more often when cold.

Engine has to be thoroughly warmed up before comparing any changes.

--car sat for 1 year.

Definitely needed a grid charge before you started driving it again.

--MPG hit (average is 50-54mpg)

Is this your 1st Insight? You have to learn how to drive these cars to get great mpg. The Insight is very sensitive to road conditions too.

--ran over side divider (cut turn to quickly at intersection)~ blew drivers side front tire (had dry rot old)--> replaced all 4 with poteza. No alignment done. Don't know if Costco balanced wheels... don't know if problem is related

Exactly what size tires etc were put on car? Only the stock size and brand are low rolling resistance tires.

--no check engine codes/ ima light (however back batt is weaker than before it sat)

Cold weather could cause this. Do a grid charge for starters.

--mpg hit (average is 50-54mpg)

What speed and road conditions are you driving at?

--use shell gas (last 6 fill ups) no difference.

Not knowing the mileage on the car, try Techron injector cleaner at next fill up.

--cleaned egr plate (not valve). No difference

That wasn't a total loss. Now you know that isn't the problem.

--tried pushing pedal in & out for 10 minutes.

?????

--oil appears on engine body near spark plugs and on top of the exhaust manifold

Install new cam cover gasket. Or maybe just tighten cover bolts.

charged both front and back batteries. Better if front battery is charged.--> 12v dc converter failing
What voltage did the IMA battery charge top out at? What was the ambient temperature?

Please update your sig info with car year, mileage on car, transmission type. This will help to diagnose problems.
 

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Check your 3 grounds.

A 2 year old battery that sat for a year is probably a very marginal battery. They don't like sitting.
Try a new 99 4cyl Honda Accord EGR valve. They're around $40 and take 5 minutes to swap out. Where are you located?
Bay Area Cali
my insight has been doing this for a few months. (2k miles) it jerks back & forth.

--more often when cold.

Engine has to be thoroughly warmed up before comparing any changes.->occurred in the summer as well on short trips. Doesn't occur on longer trips (30+ minutes)

--car sat for 1 year.

Definitely needed a grid charge before you started driving it again.-> grid charged it a few times.

--MPG hit (average is 50-54mpg)

Is this your 1st Insight? You have to learn how to drive these cars to get great mpg. The Insight is very sensitive to road conditions too.-> its my first car. Had it for 4 years.

--ran over side divider (cut turn to quickly at intersection)~ blew drivers side front tire (had dry rot old)--> replaced all 4 with poteza. No alignment done. Don't know if Costco balanced wheels... don't know if problem is related

Exactly what size tires etc were put on car? Only the stock size and brand are low rolling resistance tires. stock 165 65 14. Old one @ 40 psi blew out when I ran over curb. It was already cracked in a few places.

--no check engine codes/ ima light (however back batt is weaker than before it sat)

Cold weather could cause this. Do a grid charge for starters.-> some many times. Set it to 171V nominal.

--mpg hit (average is 50-54mpg)

What speed and road conditions are you driving at?-> 65-75mph hwy.

--use shell gas (last 6 fill ups) no difference.

Not knowing the mileage on the car, try Techron injector cleaner at next fill up.->150k mi. Tried it as well no difference.

--cleaned egr plate (not valve). No difference

That wasn't a total loss. Now you know that isn't the problem.

--tried pushing pedal in & out for 10 minutes.

?????-> idea recommend on here. In & out might rid of a stuck throttle.

--oil appears on engine body near spark plugs and on top of the exhaust manifold

Install new cam cover gasket. Or maybe just tighten cover bolts. -> please link a tutorial or guide. Will do if all else fails.

charged both front and back batteries. Better if front battery is charged.--> 12v dc converter failing
What voltage did the IMA battery charge top out at? What was the ambient temperature?-> in garage temp is between 50-60 . Will get back to you with voltage. Nominal I have set is 171 V.

Please update your sig info with car year, mileage on car, transmission type. This will help to diagnose problems.
-150k mi CVT
 

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Check your 3 grounds.

A 2 year old battery that sat for a year is probably a very marginal battery. They don't like sitting.
2yr old battery was from pops car. He drives it everyday. I gave him mine...he can't tell the difference. I think it's the charging system.
 

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