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Discussion Starter #1
I've only driven my CVT Insight for a couple of weeks now. Most of the time I am able to brake slowly and smoothly.

But I started noticing that if I had to press hard at the last , I'd feel some strange jerking in the pedal. The harder and more suddenly I do this, the worse it feels. I don't really want to slam on the brakes to test it as I'm only at 1,000 miles.

Is this the antilock brakes engaging? I've had them in other cars, but when engaged the jerking was steadier and smoother. It almost feels like grinding on the Insight.

Or is this something to do with regenerative braking?

Is it a problem?

Thanks for any help!
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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Hard brakeing

All pads on disc brakes have to "bed" in. By pressing the pedal lightly, it will take some miles to accomplish that., especially at slow speeds. Steady hard pressure overheats the brakes, so mix the two together and evrything will be OK. It's sorta like breaking in the Insight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Willie...

Thanks for the response. I think I may have read that before on one of the Insight news groups, but I've never experienced this with any other car. Is there some reason the Insight would be particularly susceptible to this?

How do you know if you have engaged the anti-lock brakes?
 

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Re: Willie...

Insighter said:
How do you know if you have engaged the anti-lock brakes?
ABS works by rapidly cycling the pressure in the brake line. It sounds like a mechanical rattle or buzz. Or maybe the sound of your computer hard drive making a lot of reads/writes. Runs at 60Hz or thereabouts.

You will hear it easily if you coast over a bump while the car is idle-stopped (but still moving) and your foot just barely touching the brake (which engages idle-stop and makes the car think you're trying to brake). Something about the mechanics of the wheel going over the bump makes the car detect a "skid" and the ABS kicks in.
 

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Insighter, are you talking about whenever you push the brakes in slightly and your slowing down at a constant speed suddenly the car will act as if you'd pushed on the brake a little harder? inconsistant brake pressure or whatever? I've noticed this with my new car as well. I don't recally it doing this when I first bought it but now it's braking is kind of strange, can't brake steady as every now and then it'll pulse as if I'm playing around with the pedal but I'm not.

Anyway, due to other concerns I have w/ the car like a increase in the mechanical/electrical whine and it acting like it wants to stall, I'm going to bring it in and have a full check up done on it. Tuning, electrical, brakes, etc. I'll let you know if they found out anything wrong w/ the brakes. Could be a crack like you said.

I always figured it could be whatever device they used to take the kinetic energy from the brakes and pump it into the batteries. I used to have one of those lights on my bike that took energy from the wheels. Whenever you engaged this generator-like device on the wheel there was noticeable drag as the wheel now had to spin this other little wheel that created electricity for the light. Anyway, if Honda uses a more complex but basically the same concept, wouldn't everytime the car tries to take energy from the braking, wouldn't it create a little bit of extra drag. I figured it was that, but will ahve the dealer confirm. I may also test drive their other insight just to see if it does it, they have a nice little dark blue one that's sadly has a few problems, it's missing it's antenna from the top and the back windshield wiper can spin 360 degrees. I wish I could find a good home for it, it was the insight I test drove before I got mine.
 

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Glitch, I think your car found out the name you were using and is trying to live up to it.

Bear in mind that the mechanics don't simply go by the lights...they have diagnostic computers they can hook up and run tests. That's how they found out that the light on my dashboard that said my anti-lock brakes weren't working was really just a short in the dashboard, and the brakes were fine.

Both of you, btw, are describing what my brakes felt like before they went out on my Ford Aerostar...which, of course doesn't mean the Insight will work the same way. (Also note: By "went out", I don't mean they failed...I still had brakes, the pads had just cracked and fell off due to a caliper being messed up. I was in no danger of hitting anyone.)
 

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My experience of the brakes is much different than much of what is described up to this point. Basically, any time I brake hard or on poor surfaces, there's a loud rattle and a VERY noticable vibration in the brake pedal. This is the antiskid brake kicking in. It's quite distictive.

The cool part is that in icy conditions, I really can steer the car while braking. It doesn't brake in a shorter distance than regular brakes, but it does give me total control over steering in conditions where I would normally have no control over steering.

Also, in an all-out panic stop, here's the contrast between my 1992 Civic hatchback and my 2000 Insight:

Civic: The wheels lock. The car holds straight, regardless of where I steer it. This is called "understeering". I much prefer it to "oversteering", but once the brakes lock, the car floats on liquid rubber. It makes a god-awful noise and a huge cloud of blue smoke builds up behind the car. When it stops, the car is engulfed in blue smoke. The stink of brake pads and burned rubber is quite unpleasant, and my adrenalin level is pumped because I've just been riding in a car for a goodly chunk of 10 seconds with very little control over where the car went.

I can compensate for this by pumping the brakes. Once the car starts to skid, I release the brakes, regain steering and the car hops upwards. I then slam the brakes and it squats and repeats the skidding, smoking, god-awful noise, etc. This gives me little bursts of steering and stops me in less distance than just locking up the brakes.

Insight: The car stops really fast and never squeals the brakes or makes any smoke or other evidence that I'm braking hard except that the G-forces push the breath out of me against the seat belt. The brake pedal tickles my foot like some sort of vibrator from Sharper Image, but I never lose any steering control throughout the entire stopping process.

It sort of takes the thrill out of a panic stop. This, I like. Thrill in a panic stop is not a good thing. I much prefer having my foot tickled and having the car simply stop real fast.

It kicks in when braking on mud or leaves or ice or sand or gravel, etc. during normal braking, or on any surface when pushing on the brake pedal really hard with both feet, while pulling back hard on the steering wheel.

Anti-skid brakes are my friends.
 

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Insighter said:
I've only driven my CVT Insight for a couple of weeks now. Most of the time I am able to brake slowly and smoothly.

But I started noticing that if I had to press hard at the last , I'd feel some strange jerking in the pedal.
Part of this might be the sorta odd behaviour of the combined electric/mechanical braking at slow speeds with the engine cutoff. I don't fully understand this, but find it a bit odd and surprising. My Prius does the same thing, but not quite as obnoxiously, so I assume that it's a characteristic of this sort of system, at least at today's state of the art.

Here's what I think is happening. First, at moderate braking and speeds above about 10mph all of the braking energy is being taken up by the electrical system. The mechanical braking system (mostly front discs) comes on if you brake harder. But it also comes on as the car slows below about 10mph because, I think, that there are no longer enough revs for the electrical braking system to absorb the momentum. When the mechanical brakes come on, it's noticable. It's like you are pushing the brakes harder, only you aren't, and it can be disconcerting. I find myself thinking, what happened, who did that?

If you aren't aware of the pattern, you might lighten up on the pedal at this point. Only that would be a bad thing, because the next thing that happens is that the engine cuts out as the speed when the speed drops just a bit more, to about 5mph. I think that when the engine cuts, the CVT transmission shifts to neutral. So now there is zero engine braking. But the mechanical brakes don't get tighter to compensate. So you need to push the pedal harder to continue to slow down at the same rate.

When I first got the Insight, I nearly hit the car in front of me a couple of times when coming up to a line of stopped cars. I'd be stopping just fine and safely, then all of sudden, right at the end, the car wasn't decelerating. I've since learned to be very careful in the final approach to a stop. And not to lighten up on the brake when the mechanical system engages.

Even if I'm not coming up to a line of cars, I hate coasting into a crosswalk or nosing out into a traffic lane because my final stop wasn't firm enough. It's all too easy to have this happen in an Insight, a CVT one anyway.

Not sure that this is clear. :?: Or that I'm right about this. :?: But this is how it seems to me.
 

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I hated braking in the snow. Talk about jerking in the pedal! I thought there was something seriously wrong.
 

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I usually avoid all the low-speed braking problems described above by releasing the clutch when the green charging light goes out. It's an easy reflex to build, just like you would press the clutch in a normal manual transmission car to stop the engine from stalling.

As I understand it, if you turn a generator too slowly, it can't generate electricity. The regenerative braking only works while you are generating electricity, so it is only natural that this should kick out at lower speeds.

My guess is that the brake behavior is that the mechanical brakes work just like normal mechanical brakes and the regenerative braking kicks in before then mechanical brakes normally would. It's like an added level of braking at the top of the brake pedal movement.

Meanwhile, the anti-skid braking system REALLY makes the brake pedal vibrate, and it can kick in at unexpected times while braking on even minor bad traction conditions (loose gravel scattered on pavement, or a few leaves on the road) or while braking while turning (when one wheel is turning faster than the other, so the car thinks it is skidding). As unpleasant as some people find this feeling, it doesn't bother me at all, since it means that I can stop and steer at the same time without ever skidding.
 

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Will M said:
I usually avoid all the low-speed braking problems described above by releasing the clutch when the green charging light goes out.
I do this as well on my 5spd, but rone doesn't have that option with a CVT.

I don't feel brake pedal vibration when ABS is engaged, but I certainly hear the cycling/rattling of the system.
 
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