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Wow, that was a strange experience. I have a 2001 MT whose battery died the other night - no explanation, nothing left on as far as I could tell (lights, doors, etc.). It was a colder than usual evening, but not very cold (44 here in Santa Monica, CA) and I had been on a relatively long drive (220mi round trip) where I was using the CD player (which could be the culprit) the day before...but that aside, when I got in the car it wouldn't turn over or anything, so I thought, 'Hmm, dead battery. Why not push start this thing?'

So, I rolled it down the alley where I live and popped the clutch and the car purred to life, but the dash never lit up and it still showed the typical lights as if it was off (brake, battery, oil, etc.). I drove it about 1/2 mile, but when I shifted into 2nd gear it would just totally stall and make a terrible clunking noise (assist trying to work?). I got to another hill where I could coast down if I needed to start it again, killed it and called the road side assistance.

I thought I killed the electric motor or something - because it never started, the terrible clunking sound, etc - and I was planning to be towed to the dealer for repair (the worst). But the tow truck came, the guy jumped me, the car came to life, he followed me to the dealer who told me all they would do was run a battery check, and because everything seemed fine I just drove on and everything has been fine since.

Ever have this happen? Any explanations? It seems crazy that you could start the combustion engine without the electric engine (that one could run w/o the other), but I guess in the future I'll stick to jumping it and not pop the clutch.
 

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Sounds like a dead 12V battery. I've had this happen to me after leaving the lights on for the day.

If the little battery's voltage is in just the right range, push-starting gains you nothing. While there may be enough voltage left to produce a few weak sparks to keep the engine running poorly for a little while, it's not enough to run the IMA computers and close the main breaker.

Since the Insight has no conventional alternator, the 12V battery doesn't charge, unless IMA is active and the DC-DC converter is running. But without charging the 12V, the IMA doesn't run. Classic catch 22.

A jump start is the only way to get out of this situation.
 

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The 00-01 would push start, but like you described dash and the rest of the car is dark as can be. On my 02 I tried push starting it once, nothing but a rapid slow down. So this is probably one of the included woops's in the early control modules. Curious, do you know if your car has had the engine control module recall done? I'm guessing not (anyone want to try push starting their updated 00-01 with the 12 volt disconnected?). You possibly don't have a speed limiter either.

If the 12 volt was dead, but checks out ok now then it's probably not a big deal. One thing I would look at though would be the ground cables in the engine compartment as they are a known failure point. There is the main one that goes to the firewall near the battery and from the transmission to the frame. Also check the battery terminals for corrosion and tightness.

If you still by some chance have the original small white case, black top Furukawa battery in an 01 it's long past it's day.
 

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This has happened to me a few times over the past week: sluggish turn-over, start...but the battery light and brake light remain on. Turning on the headlights (dim) and switching to hi-beam kills the radio.

I cleaned the firewall ground, but it wasn't terrible.

Letting it run for a few minutes, then turning it off for a couple minutes...it starts up without a problem and runs fine for a few days.

The battery is stamped "07", so is now five years old. I'll be replacing it ASAP, now that this thread has given me the diagnosis.

(I'll also clean the other ground straps, to be thorough).

:D
 

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If the electrical system is down to the point where the ignition controls aren't active, you aren't getting anywhere if you try to pop the clutch. The DC-DC isn't going to generate power unless it has power to start with and it takes the ignition to trigger it.

Oddly enough if you were to jump the contactor w/12v and remove the inhibit connection to the DC-DC you could 'jump' the car with the DC-DC converter using the IMA pack. You could technically kill the IMA battery that way if it was close to a negative recal though. It's easier and much safer to just jump start the car.

Be sure to check your ground connections! A nice way to have no dash display and otherwise be electrically dead is to have a bad ground in a critical place. Then you jump start and roll down the road getting sustained power from the DC-DC and you hit the bumps just right to have a few of the hairs of Honda's defectively designed(mostly unsheated copper that wears at the point of the partial sheathing) ground wires to touch together and you are okay for a few days and then dead again later on when those wires aren't touching eachother.
 

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I carry 15 foot "jumper cables" in my car in case I leave something on and drain the 12V battery down. (It the type that plugs into the accessory socket, both ends. )
All the system needs is a signal of at least 10.5-12 volts to actuate the DC and IMA.
I've used it twice and it works like a charm.
You don't have to jump the battery with heavy gauge wires.
I think they cost around 5 bucks and weight probably 6 oz.
HTH
Willie
 

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I have a solar panel that charges the battery on a normal car by plugging it into the cigarette lighter. It came from VW when you bought a New Beetle. Do you think this would work in the same fashion as your socket to socket plug Willie?
 

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I carry 15 foot "jumper cables" in my car in case I leave something on and drain the 12V battery down. (It the type that plugs into the accessory socket, both ends. )
All the system needs is a signal of at least 10.5-12 volts to actuate the DC and IMA.
I've used it twice and it works like a charm.
You don't have to jump the battery with heavy gauge wires.
I think they cost around 5 bucks and weight probably 6 oz.
HTH
Willie
I have a solar panel that charges the battery on a normal car by plugging it into the cigarette lighter. It came from VW when you bought a New Beetle. Do you think this would work in the same fashion as your socket to socket plug Willie?
Willie: Did you buy your jumper with two male ends (if so, suggestions on where) or did you modify it?

and 66: I'd like to hear more about your device. Both sound terrific (and simple).

..Bob
 

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My wife was driving and called me "what does it mean if the dash lights are out, and the air conditioner just quite, and I can't roll up the windows? The car is not running very good either."

Problem: nearly dead battery, it "started" but not enough volts to trip the relays and computer, so the car was barely running on a nearly dead 10v battery.

She pulled over at a truck-stop, and I told her to get a jump start. Worked great (with a 12V jump!), started up fine, all dash lights and A/C working. She drove it four hours home, and a new battery was waiting for her. Crisis avoided. Whew! That was close.
 

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Bob:
I can't remember where I bought the "Double ended male" connector. I have had them for about 6 years. It might have been at a truck stop...they have the neatest gadgets.

Insightful66:
That's only 170ma...Don't know.

HTH
Willie
 

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1-check ground straps
2-almost any 12-13volt battery into the cig lighter with enough juice to get the computers up will let you gravity start the engine&then enerything goes as long as you have IMA battery. Old nimh or nicad sticks(Sharper Image made a nicad rechargeable pack with the cig lighter plug, and you can leave it pluged in and recharge as you drive)) will do it -just needs to be near 12volts to trun on computers. I like the Optima for a 12 volt battery- my car would eat costco batteries within a year, but not the optima. ed
 

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Ed!!

Great seeing you this weekend bud. We made it home fine. Good news, RV awnings are not as expensive as I thought ;-)
 

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Jeff:
Got caught in the High Winds?

Willie
 

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I've push (actually roll down hill) started my 00 several times so it does work on that year.
 

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Only if the 12V battery has app. 10.5 volts.

Willie
 
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