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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2001 M/T, ~190k

Daily driver, 80 miles/day since purchased in 2014. Weakening IMA, but up to now has been doing impressively well with periodic grid charges. I think Honda replaced it in 2004.

A few weeks back my battery light would come on and then go off after a few minutes. Brake light has been on for a long time, neither seem to affect driveability. About a week later, the car would not start...no IMA start, no 12V start, nothing. I replaced the two transmission ground straps. No change. Decided to check the battery voltage, it was low at 11.5-12.0v. Then the car sat for a couple weeks while I researched what to do next. In the meantime I also ordered and installed a new main battery ground cable just for insurance, and at that time I noticed the IMA SOC had depleted and now the check engine and IMA light was on. Codes P1444, P1447 and P1586. I cleared the codes and only P1586 was set again. I was able to push-start the car. Of course there was no assist but also no regen with SOC at zero bars. Now thinking about it, the zero SOC could be because I had replaced the battery ground, but I would expect a few bars of forced regen.

I am suspecting (and hoping) that this issue is due to the weak IMA battery for some reason not charging the 12v battery. It's possible the 12v battery is bad too, but it's less than a year old so I haven't had that tested yet. I have the HA grid charger, so I hooked that up a couple days ago. The voltage showed about 140 when I connected the charger. I have also ordered the HA automatic discharger, but they're running 2-3 weeks behind on orders, so that's no immediate solution.

The grid charger ran for about 42 hours, voltage showed 176 when I just disconnected it. 12v battery is still low at 11.7v. Still no start, assuming due to the low 12v battery. I've considered disconnecting the 12v battery and charging it separately which might get the engine started but I'm not sure if that would diagnose anything.

I also noticed the EPS light is on with the key in the ON position.

Looking for some feedback and thoughts as to where to look at next.

I appreciate you all, you've been quite helpful even before my purchase way back in 2014.
 

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Your 12 volt battery is in bad shape. Try charging it. The entire IMA system needs that 12V reference to begin with. I have had relatively new batteries die an early death in various vehicles. The Insight tends to be harder on a 12V battery, the system leaves it chronically undercharged.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Will give that a try, tervic. I just put it on the charger. Is there anything about the symptoms that directly implicate the 12V battery and/or eliminate other culprits? Just trying to learn for future reference.
 

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I'm not exactly on old hand around here, but what I've read here makes clear that the IMA system and 12V are closely intertwined. You've already replaced one always suspect area, the battery to car ground. You should also check the other engine bay ground cables. For some reason (inherent vibration from 3 cylinder engine?), the grounds seem to be a recurring maintenance item.

The 12 volt battery voltage is low, and has been low for appears to be several months. This leads to sulfation of the plates and reduced battery capacity. Normal resting voltage is 12.6 and I believe 12.0 is considered nearly empty.

The 12V system is the reference for for the IMA system to work from. If it doesn't have a good base voltage to work with, the system doesn't work well or at all.
 

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Whoops, I just read your your first post again. You've already replaced the ground cables from transmission to body, so you should be good there. That leads me back to the 12V battery. Do the charge, then try starting car. If no go, have the 12V battery load tested. I have seen batteries show reasonable resting voltage, but as soon as a load is applied the voltage dropped dramatically.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Alright, that's the plan. In the meantime, I've skimmed some reading and decided to pick up one of those Walmart U1 lawn and garden batteries, hoping I could swap it out and reach an outcome sooner. Alas, I couldn't get the flag to post adapters, NAPA had to order them (I rarely feel like hacking something together anymore). So I'll have those in the morning and by the time I return home from work, the battery will have had over 24hrs on the charger (1.25A Battery Tender I happened to have for my motorcycle), and I'll have adapters in hand to swap out the battery should it prove to be toast. Still open to comments and suggestions!
 

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Once you have your 12V battery sorted out I suggest do the dc-dc higher charge wire snip mod in the back to keep it topped up.
 

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In general it sounds like a classic case of 'weakening/failing/empty' IMA pack leading to 12V charging problems leading to failing 12V battery. Move forward with the 12V battery charge/replacement and then take it from there. You already grid charged the pack so things should work once 12V is squared away, at least in the short term...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Update from this morning...12v battery charged, IMA grid charged, no change whatsoever. I have the new battery ready to go in, so I guess that's what I'll be doing this afternoon.

Peter, I did some snooping on that mod and maybe need to spend a few more minutes searching. I found your post about using the Arduino device to modify the PWM signal that controls the DC-DC output voltage though, where I think you mentioned it but didn't go into much detail, obviously. I'm pretty hesitant to execute permanent hacks, I can't quite put my finger on why. I suppose you could just repair the wire but whenever I do find the thread...what do you think about doing that mod in a way that can easily be reversed if desired like a switch or fuse holder?

Edit: Is this the thread?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Understood.

Does the combination of both IMA and 12v batteries being charged and a continued no-start condition tell us anything?
 

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When you say no start what happens exactly?

Make sure you hold the key in the start position for several seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What happens is, I turn the key forward to the start position for 5+ seconds, I hear a muffled hum, but the engine does not start. Obviously the 12v starter does not engage either.
 

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Bad 12v battery, bad earths, bad 12v starter, IMA problems.

What code/s do you have now?
 

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Update from this morning...12v battery charged, IMA grid charged, no change whatsoever. I have the new battery ready to go in, so I guess that's what I'll be doing this afternoon.
Did you get your battery in yet?

Peter, I did some snooping on that mod and maybe need to spend a few more minutes searching. I found your post about using the Arduino device to modify the PWM signal that controls the DC-DC output voltage though, where I think you mentioned it but didn't go into much detail, obviously. I'm pretty hesitant to execute permanent hacks, I can't quite put my finger on why. I suppose you could just repair the wire but whenever I do find the thread...what do you think about doing that mod in a way that can easily be reversed if desired like a switch or fuse holder? Edit: Is this the thread?
The 'mod to modify PWM signal' is different than the 'snip WHT/GRN wire mod': The PWM mod allows you to adjust DCDC output voltage, the other mod simply ensures that the DCDC doesn't drop into low power mode, maintaining at least 13.85V output as measured at battery. The latter is what Peter's talking about. You shouldn't need to do the former.

Here's a link to the thread about former, though, which among other things I think includes brief remarks about how to pull the terminals out of the connectors without cutting the wire, so it's cleanly and easily reversible:

Basically, the mod you want to do is disconnect the WHT/GRN wire at the DCDC connector in IMA compartment, and you can do that simply by pulling the terminal out of the connector rather than cutting the wire. The first post in the linked thread, first image, shows where that connector is, it's the one at the front of the DCDC, connector farthest up and left in the image.

edit: Here's a better image of the 'disable DCDC low power mode' mod. This is what mudder posted somewhere a long time ago. You'd remove the WHT/GRN wire only, and you don't have to cut it, just pull the terminal out of the connector. You gently pry back the retaining ring that encircles the top of the connector and then gently press or pry (can't remember which) a tiny tang in the side of the connector, that presses against the metal terminal. The 'tang' might be accessed from the top rather than the side, can't remember that detail either.

 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Cool, thanks for that detailed clarification, eq1. That surely will be helpful. Being able to reverse the mod is great. I like that, thanks for digging that up for me!

I haven't been able to change the battery yet because I don't have all my tools here.

Replacing the battery ground must have cleared the codes, and it has not set any new codes since grid charging, charging up the 12v battery and many attempts to start the car.

I had my wife turn the key while I listened under the hood, hoping to identify whether that was the 12v or IMA trying to do something. Nothing besides a relay click under the hood. The hum is only heard inside the cabin.
 

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Definitely have the 12 volt battery load tested and see if it's bad. Mine went bad after sitting for a while due to not driving it for a month or so and not having a charge. Thankfully mine was under warranty and changed with a free replacement. After you make sure that you have a good 12 volt battery in the car, you could try flipping the breaker in the back and turning off the IMA battery, then trying to start the car. If the car starts then the problem is related to your IMA battery, and if the car doesn't start then it's related to your starting system independent of the IMA battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
That's a good idea. So, with the IMA breaker off...no change. Obivously no IMA start, no 12v start.
 

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Okay so what that tells us is that your primary starting issue should not be related to the IMA battery. It doesn't mean that there aren't IMA problems, but they should not be the primary reason for the car not starting. To me this sounds most likely to be a 12V battery or ground issue. Are you using a new 12-volt battery, or was your old one load tested and shown to still be good? When you replaced the ground straps, did you check the contact area to make sure that they would have a good bare metal to metal connection?
 

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Don't forget you have to hold the ign switch in the start position for several seconds.
When starting on the 12V battery only.
 
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