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Discussion Starter #1
Tuesday I'll know if I've got IMA battery problems too.

At 93,693 miles, the check light and IMA light activated. Battery charge is still at it's maximum point, but autostop is not working. The assist/charge bars are not displaying either.

The acceleration seems better than during a recal - something I have not experienced for at least a couple of months. I'm trying to remember the last time I had a recal.

The operation seems almost normal with fuel economy about the same as usual. I want to believe the IMA is OK, but it's probably got a problem. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Update - Just dropped it in the shop and hope to have a tech's diagnosis this afternoon. Bracing for worst case of battery replacement, and hoping for at least partial coverage, even though I'm just shy of 94,000 miles.

What I've read on battery replacement is it could take two months to get it in from Japan. My Insight drives normally, except some loss of acceleration. The power drop-off is not as bad as during a recal. It's been months since a recal occured.

If my driving habits factor in, the first three years of somewhat aggressive driving did not help. I'd get 55-60mpg doing mostly freeway driving. The past two years I've been hypermiling and getting closer to 70mpg. The silver lining is I don't miss the Assist as much since I hypermile more.

In a worst case situation, hope I can continue to drive my Insight, and get at least partial coverage from Honda.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The news came in:

IMA battery out
MCM unit out
BCM unit out

parts and labor: $6,400

Called a couple of places and hope I have options other than pay the entire bill or go without.
 

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Honda Will Help

Honda reduced my blood pressure: I only have to pay $450 and the rental car - they will pay the rest. :)

They expect to have the car repaired within a week - sounds very fast based on prior stories.

The reported Codes were 1644 and 1600

Without the IMA, my 25-mile work commute on the freeway was still 80mpg.

They are telling me it's unwise to drive without a functioning IMA, but I'm not necessarily convinced it will break down. I understand their cautious approach however...
 

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Woo hoo! Glad to hear they're covering it. Now if they are able to produce the parts all within a few weeks I might be slightly agitated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It may take a day or so to find out how fast the parts come in - the original estimates may be overly optisimic. I understand why Honda would not want to take a chance, but it performed find without the IMA, still got 80mpg on the freeway - just accelerated nearly as slowly as when it recals.

What I'd like to find out is how to help the IMA battery life. My guess is to hypermile as to use the Assist less, keep the Insight in the garage to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures, avoid extended hill climbing, or severe stop-and-go driving.

Another idea: the power spikes from a forced autostop might be a factor. Thought that might be worth speculating....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm currently driving a Rio compact from the rental - getting about 30mpg. The BCM unit is in, but waiting on the MCM unit and the battery pack.

I've heard that the software since the 2000 Insight does not allow the battery to get as low. The two things I'll do differently is avoid remaining in the Assist mode more than 30 seconds and never let the 12-volt battery go dead. When the 12-volt battery goes dead, the hybrid battery also goes dead trying to pull the slack....
 

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IMA Battery death

For me, the IMA issue maybe started as early as 82,000 (lots of clicking from one of the modules), but the light came on at ~86,000, several weeks ago now. Similar to what happened for Delta Flyer, the dealership talked to Honda regional, and they agreed to cover everything under warranty, minus labor. The BCM and MCM modules came in quickly, but no battery pack after six weeks. The IMA battery pack completely discharged after three weeks, 42 miles round trip each day for 15 days, in very mild weather. Two bars of charge now showing on the dash, and the engine is cranking and running only by the 12V battery.

Since the dealership really has been given no info. on when the battery might be in, they finally referred me to Honda Corporate. After two calls in four days, and two promises for a call back with 48hours, I am left with the impression it will be several more weeks before a battery pack is available. One person at Honda also implied the repair may not be covered under warranty extension since I am not the original purchaser of the car (despite the fact I have owned it for years, and it was still under full warranty when I bought it), because I "went past the dealership level". This doesn't make sense, and really makes me begin to wonder.

A note to Honda, we all know you scan this site from time to time: I am carefully documenting the details and conversations regarding this problem. This includes the discovery of five other owners of 2000 to 2002 Insights that have had recent IMA battery failures within the range of 84,000 to 86,000 miles, or ~5% over the original warranty mileage limit. And to think your battery partner, Panasonic, published service life estimates of at least 150,000 miles before failure for this pack.

Your hybrid car reputation may be on the line, don't blow it. Before the IMA issue, this was a wonderfully reliable car. A little hard to find parts in my area, especially since my local dealership never really sold any Insights. The reliability made up for it. A typical 2000 Insight trade-in value is currently ~$5,500 to $6500, and the "retail" costs for the IMA parts plus labor are about the same. No consumer is going to take this kind of hit. For now, covering IMA failures a little past the 80K as a warranty repair is a wise move.
 

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Delta Flyer said:
I've heard that the software since the 2000 Insight does not allow the battery to get as low. The two things I'll do differently is avoid remaining in the Assist mode more than 30 seconds and never let the 12-volt battery go dead. When the 12-volt battery goes dead, the hybrid battery also goes dead trying to pull the slack....
The 2000- (01 :?: ) update also reprogrammed this early design oversight. ;) ALL updated Insights and later models will not pull down the IMA (144v) battery if the 12v goes dead (unless the key is on ?).

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got into work today after taking yesterday off and was pleasantly greeted on the voice mail that my Insight was ready to pick up! :)

Heard horror stories of waiting 1-2 months for a battery pack, so a 9-day turnaround is not bad.

I was driving a KIA Rio with an automatic for a rental. Did not get a chance to fill it up, but I went 131 miles on the last fillup and used as much as four gallons - nearly 33mpg. That's the EPA combined estimate.

It will be awhile to determine if there is any change in performance, but the three-mile trip back work seemed no different.

I paid $449 for the repair - Honda covered the remaining $6,000. I paid $343 for the rental.

My resolutions is to never let the 12-volt battery go dead (last time the hybrid battery pack went dead trying to save it). Also, don't plan to use the Assist for longer than 30 seconds - i.e. moderate use.
 
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