Honda Insight Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, everybody. This is my first time posting to the forum here. I am a proud Honda Insight owner who has had her 2000 Insight since 2001. I've driven it across the country from California to Virginia and back, driven it on dirt tracks in the Mojave Preserve some people wouldn't even take their SUVs on, up steep mountains... it has been an amazing car. The only problems I had with it for the first five years were minor--a few flat tires, and a piece of metal that came loose from the bottom of the car and that had to be replaced (for $300! sheesh).

That is, until recently. A couple months ago, my car started acting a little "funny." Over time, I've watched a few "funny" symptoms turn into a full-blown problem. I took the car to my Honda dealer with a very detailed description of the problem, but they couldn't locate what was causing it. So I was hoping that you Insight experts here might be able to help me out.

So here's the description: The main problem is that the car has stopped using the electric engine as much as it should. The battery gauge never drops down more than two or three bars, and even when I'm on a steep incline, the car will hardly pull more than a few bars on the "Assist" meter. Every once in a while, it will briefly pull a full charge, but when it does that, the battery and emergency brake indicators come on (they disappear when I stop and restart the car), and it will go back to only three or four bars of assist, if that. It just seems it doesn't want to use the electric engine, and only does so minimally and hesitantly. It's made the car much more sluggish and has lowered my MPG.

Another symptom that I didn't think was related until recently is that the car gets "jerky" sometimes, and will lurch like cars do when the transmission is screwed up. But the mechanic assured me that the transmission was fine (and that the electric engine was fine too), and said that if it was the transmission, the problem should become more pronounced when I accelerate, but the opposite actually occurs--it starts to do the "herky jerky" when I decelerate.

I brainstormed with the guy I talked to at the service department and we both think it seems to be something in the car's electrical system. One possibility was that it was the DC converter, as the problem seems to be with how the car is gauging and regulating the amount of power the engine needs. But the two possibilities we came up with--the DC converter and another more complicated electrical repair that was part of a service bulletin for Insights in many states (but not my state, VA)--were expensive, and not the type of thing one wants to do unless one is certain. I've wondered if the origin of the problem has been driving it in cold weather, which I have not done much until this year, since I was going to college in Southern California until May '06.

I love my car and I want it to run for a long time! I'm sad they're not making Insights any more, and hope I don't have to get another car for years from now. Any help you all have to offer will be greatly appreciated!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,332 Posts
It is definately an electrical problem. What is the status of the charge on the IMA battery? Is the charge level almost full all the time? If the Insight is not using assist, but the IMA is still charging, it should be. If the level is low then it would explain why the IMA can not assist as it would drain the battery flat in doing so.

Second question. Have you changed the 12 volt battery? Changing the 12 volt battery is cheap and probably needs to be done if you have 6 years on it. If the 12 volt battery is drawing too much current, as is the case when one or more of the cells is shorted, it will put a continuous drain on the IMA battery. This could prevent the IMA from charging completely, but you would not get a code of death as the IMA battery would actually still be good. If you check the voltage on the 12 volt battery before starting the car in the morning, you should see roughly 12.6 volts across the terminals using a digital voltmeter. After starting the engine the voltage should read significantly higher, around 14 volts. There are other ways to test this such as seeing how long it takes for the battery to go dead with the engine off and the lights on. You can also have an ampereage test performed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
466 Posts
original 12 volt battery? dont even bother testing it. just get a new one. it doesnt owe you a thing. worst case: you bought a new 12 volt battery BEFORE it left you stranded somewhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
To me it sounds like a ground problem;check the 2 ground straps,1st engine to body-at rear on engine to near the 12 volt battery tray,2nd driver side transmission mount to body.

These cable work harden and crack the copper strands.It occurs from engine movement at the terminal ends of the cables. Best to make new cables from larger diameter cable size,but finer strands. Use welding cable or a marine tinned copper battery cable.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,658 Posts
I am not sure your mechanic's/dealers have tried everything they can to resolve your problems. As others have said, the essential checks (and most common faults to be found on Insights) are:

Replace 12V battery
Replace / check ground cables
Replace / clean EGR valve

You could also consider:

Resetting the IMA by disconnecting / reconnecting the 12V
Replacing transmission oil (if not done before and your mileage is high)

Hope this helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,819 Posts
The jerkiness sounds like the EGR valve problem that some people have described here.

I also second the idea of getting a new 12-volt battery, if yours is more than a few years old. If it fails completely, it can leave you stranded (found out the hard way :-(). It didn't seem to cause the same symptoms you'e having, though: it just quit running.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
The jerkiness does sound like the EGR valve. I just pulled and cleaned my EGR, the jerks are gone and my mpg increased about 8 mpg.

[Mod edit: typo correction in bold, EGR = Exhaust Gas Recirculation]
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
Step #1 with all suspected IMA "performance" problems. Do an IMA reset.

Disconnect the 12v battery for about 1 minute. Then expect a forced charge for several minutes upon restarting.

IMO the the ground straps and replacing the 12v battery are a close second then third to evaluate.

HTH! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
I agree.

EGR is the bucking jumping. (Been there, done that)

Do an IMA reset. That should cure that problem. Maybe for one trip, or maybe for months. It could be the beginnings of IMA battery and/or module failure.
(Been there, done that)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
FYI. When the DC-DC convertor has a problem it will light up both the charging system light and the Brake system light.

I occasionally got this when my battery pack was in it's death throes. I think it was because the battery pack voltage was too low for the DC-DC convertor to handle. IMA boost will also be limited to only a few bars or none when the voltage is too low. I also had auto-start stalling, too.

A forced recal will temporally fix your problems, maybe only for a few days. You need to realize that when your battery pack is failing that the SOC gauge is pretty much junk. Your car has the classic symptoms of the deeply discharged battery pack, but the SOC gauge thinks it's fully (or almost fully) charged.

Rarely will Honda service will replace your pack and BCM without the IMA light coming on, so you can just wait and hopefully sooner rather than later the "free new battery pack and BCM" light will come on. (If you haven't put too many miles on it).
Any "non-passive" advice I could give you is against forum rules since it would result the in the IMA appearing sooner than it would "naturally", if ever.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,631 Posts
Every once in a while, it will briefly pull a full charge, but when it does that, the battery and emergency brake indicators come on (they disappear when I stop and restart the car)
but the opposite actually occurs--it starts to do the "herky jerky" when I decelerate.
From what I've read hear, I thought the typical EGR problem was during acceleration or normal cruising (not deceleration)...

According to the electrical troubleshooting manaul diagrams Page 80-4, it looks like the only item that can make the battery and brake indicator come on at the same time is the DC-DC converter (unless you have a bad diode inline - then the parking brake lever or brake fluid level could do it too). Since the converter is responsible for supplying and charging 12v items and you do have an old battery, replacing the battery seems like a good idea (as others have already mentioned) as well as checking loose ground cables.

I would try those two things first before looking at the EGR....

Added to my post after submitting: While I'm doing my post and looking through the manual, flunkysama was faster submitting again..... :lol:

Joe CVT - Just your average CVT owner
 
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Wow, thank you all for sharing your expertise and wisdom with me!

First, I have taken my car for regular maintenance according to the schedule recommended in the manual, and generally have gone by the "Severe Conditions" schedule. Anything that would result from regular maintenance not being done should not apply.

This definitely isn't a situation where the electric engine battery is low on charge and just needs to be charged. I tested out that possibility by "charging it up" as much as possible (even though it was already reading a full charge anyway) and it still acted exactly the same. The status on the charge on the IMA battery never goes below two or three bars from the top, so it looks like it's always almost fully charged.

I changed the 12 volt battery just about a year ago, when it died and I couldn't start my car. Nothing indicates that the twelve volt battery is the source of the problem. The times my car has stalled when trying to Auto-Stop, when I've restarted it, instead of that smooth purring sound Insights make when restarting using the IMA, it makes that "cranking up" sound other cars make using only the starter battery. This battery always sounds and acts like it is working just fine. When I first noticed this, I began to think my IMA was crapping out, but the guys at Honda said that the IMA itself didn't show any problems on the diagnostics they ran. Which doesn't mean it's not about to crap out, but so far, nothing concrete saying that's what it is.

From what you all say, it sounds to me like it's the EGR valve and / or the DC-DC converter. I definitely get the brake light + battery light combo on a regular basis, and it's always after the car pulls a full bar of charge from the IMA, which it usually won't do. And I definitely get the "herky-jerky" stuff. So maybe it's two problems? The EGR sounds like an easy fix, whereas the DC-DC would be expensive.

A couple of questions. First, I'm a-skeered to get under the hood and try to mess with my car at all, because not only could I make a mistake and not know how to fix it, I'm afraid this might impact the status of my warranty, etc. I'll probably just take it to Honda with the hopes of addressing both the major and minor problems. Or do you all think I should get over it and do the EGR check on my own?

Second, I'm a bit confused about the relationship between the DC-DC converter and the IMA in terms of what one being screwed up implies about the other. It seems at least one of you suggested that if I'm having problems with the DC-DC converter, it's an indication my IMA is about to crap out. This is particularly relevant in that I understand that the IMA is covered by warranty up to 100,000 miles and will be fixed and/or replaced for free. Whereas I don't know if the DC-DC converter is covered by the warranty, and was quoted a price of $2,000 for the part alone by my Honda service representative. That doesn't make sense to me, because the DC-DC converter needs to be functional for the IMA to be functional, so shouldn't it be covered by the warranty?

And what course of action should I follow? Should it not be covered, should I go ahead and pay for an expensive repair because it will fix the problem, or should I hold off and keep driving it as is, as this may just be a symptom that the IMA is about to go south, in which case paying big money to replace the DC-DC converter would be a needless waste?

I figure first thing I should do is go through a list of the more minor problems this could be a result of so as to rule them out. Yet it seems strongly to me that in addition to a likely EGR problem, there is something "big-time" screwed up, either the DC-DC or the IMA itself.

Thanks again for all your help.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
UnidentifiedDrivingObject said:
A couple of questions. First, I'm a-skeered to get under the hood...

Second, I'm a bit confused about the relationship between the DC-DC converter and the IMA in terms of what one being screwed up implies about the other. <snip>
If disconnecting the 12v battery is beyond your comfort level then yes by all means have someone sufficiently knowledgable do it for you. No warranty impact of any kind unless _you_ break something. And I can't imagine any scenairo that a 12v disconnect could do such.

As an EGR fix is even somewhat more complex (only slightly) the same advice as above will apply. (Search the forum for the detailed how-to thread if your interested)

Its a complex interrelationship between the 12v battery, DC-DC converter and IMA SoC. IIRC so far there have _no_ confirmed cases of a DC-DC converter _causing_ your type of symptom. But a bad 12v battery (low internal resistance, regardless of age) (or poor electrical connections at the ground straps) has been demonstraited to do just such. So the proper proceedure is to start from the lower cost and work toward the more difficult / expensive.

IMO in sequential order

1) IMA reset
2) ground strap connection cleaning (regardless of visible condition) /repair
3) 12v battery test / replacement (easiest test is to temporairly replace with a "known good" unit.

HTH! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,819 Posts
I don't think it was mentioned in this thread, but there's a easier way to do an IMA reset than disconnecting the 12V battery cable. Simply pull out one of the fuses (in a box by your left leg), and wait about 10 seconds before putting it back. I think it's the 3rd or 4th one on the bottom row, but someone with a shop manual handy might check that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
I believe there was a recall on the 2000 Insight in regards to the DC-DC converter... you may be able to get it replaced for free...I got a recall notice a few years back but didn't use it.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top