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Discussion Starter #1
I'm on my way to pick up an '01 with ~200k miles with an unknown maintenance history. I bought it at a private auction, sight unseen except for pictures, and got a fantastic deal. I'm completely expecting the battery pack to be trashed, but I am hopeful that it might be ok.

The car is completely dead from what I've been told. 12V battery is not turning on anything inside the vehicle. I'm going to be towing the car back home so I'm not trying to troubleshoot anything there.

I plan on switching in a known good 12V battery when I get it back, but what precautions do I need to take before starting it? Is there anything I can do to prevent any further damage to the battery pack or possibly reverse any that has been done? The car has been sitting for at least 2 months, possibly 5-6. Should I wire in a grid charger and charge the battery pack before driving? Just start it and pray?

Thanks for any advice
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Before auction fees, we're looking at quite a bit less than 2K :)
And to say the maintenance records are unknown is a bit wrong. I do know it's only been registered to one person with quite a bit of the maintenance done at the dealership. Honda America was very helpful with what records they had
 

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Put a good 12V battery in it, check all the ground straps and like you say start and just let it run for a while.
You are not going to any damage to the IMA battery at that level.

HTH
Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Willie. It's reassuring to know I'm not going to damage the IMA battery by just starting it and seeing what happens.
 

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Be careful. When you start it, it will try to re calibrate and charge the IMA battery. Pumping 6-50 amps or more into a depleted IMA battery is very hard on it and while it will look like it helps the battery in the short run, does significant longer term damage.

I would recommend a full grid charge cycling with on off periods before trying to start the car. This reduces/eliminates any additional damage form happening to the IMA battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That makes sense Jeff. I don't mind waiting a bit to get everything going if I have to. I ordered parts to build one of the dumb grid chargers and they should be here on Friday.

I'll go ahead and charge it with the grid charger before I try anything. Although, I know I'm going to be too excited to just let it sit. Can I just turn the main IMA battery switch off and see how everything else is running before I charge it?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Jeff. I appreciate the link to the bypass instructions.

I should have the car back home by Friday and I'll start to see how everything is.
 

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For short term running, I think you can just switch the ima battery off. It won't charge the 12 volt battery, and will die when the 12 volt battery gets too low, but if you have a 12 volt battery charger you can charge it that way....
 

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I second the grid charge first idea. If one knows for a fact that a given Insight has been sitting for quite a while (weeks, months, more), then a good, long grid charge - say 25 hours at 300mA - is probably the best way to go. Personally, I'd probably grid charge like this then leave the car in autostop, with maybe only the parking lights turned on, until the 12 volt battery warning light and brake warning light come on (put a 12 volt charger on the 12 volt battery). This should discharge the HV battery pretty well - the most you can without external means. Then do the grid charge again...
 

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Definitely want to grid charge first, not fast charge

Be careful. When you start it, it will try to re calibrate and charge the IMA battery. Pumping 6-50 amps or more into a depleted IMA battery is very hard on it and while it will look like it helps the battery in the short run, does significant longer term damage.

I would recommend a full grid charge cycling with on off periods before trying to start the car. This reduces/eliminates any additional damage form happening to the IMA battery.
Plus one to Jeff's recommendation. A slow grid charge will bring back a dormant battery. I have one that was dormant six years, and revived it using Mike Dabrowski's GC01 (he also advised me over the phone how it would go). It worked for a year after that series of grid charge/discharge cycles before demanding more attention from me.

On the other hand, I bought a 2001 CVT last March that had been sitting two years. Before he put it up for sale, the guy I bought it from that got it running again rev-charged it so it would have a full battery. It lasted my daughter for three months and then totally collapsed. I think it was Eli who labeled that phenomenon "Junkyard Pack Syndrome". Those sticks were done, and I couldn't recover them.

Another note: I am working on another dormant pack right now, not sure how long it sat. I tried the 350mA charge using my dumb charger (built to Mike Dabrowski's schematic) on it, and actually made it worse. It wouldn't go over 130V total, even after 8 hours charge time. After I "pulled the plug", ten of the sticks were actually reversed, showing approximately -0.5 volts on each stick. They recovered after a few days, and I am now cycling them on my Superbrain 989. I think the moral of the story is that the 1000mA charge rate on the GC01 is better than 350mA charge rate for a dormant battery.

Just keep an eye on it when you grid charge it. It will come up to over 100V in a matter of minutes, and then taper off for a while, hopefully up to 165-168V.

My 0.02 worth,
Tim Glover
 

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Bottom line is he doesn't know what condition the battery is in. By starting and letting it idle he might get an indication of the status of the battery. If it is taking a heavy charge, you can always turn off the key. I wasn't indicating to take it for a mach 1 run.

HTH
Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It is true that I don't know anything regarding the condition of the pack. Unfortunately, I don't even have the keys yet, so I can't even be tempted to start the car. When the car was picked up at the auction, the person at the front desk had left early. No one could find the title or the keys that the runner had dropped off... They should overnight them to me tomorrow, so I should be testing by Tuesday if my work schedule permits. The hatch will open without the keys once I install a good 12V battery, correct?

I already have the parts for a simple grid charger and will be assembling it today. I figure since I'm going to have at least two whole days without the ability to start the car, I might as well go ahead and do the grid charge since it seems to be the "safer" route. I've got parts to build a basic discharger as well. Would it be prudent to go ahead and use a discharger instead of putting the car in auto stop once I get the keys? I realize the discharger needs to be monitored closely to prevent the battery from getting too low.

The car should be arriving today. It took a little bit longer to get the car here than I thought, but the person towing it is only making me pay for his fuel, so I guess I can't complain! I'll let you guys know how it looks when it gets here. He told me that it's in excellent shape inside and out. I'm so excited :D

Thanks for all your help everyone. I really appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, it finally arrived. The car looks great. I'm really pleased with it except for one small issue... There's a hole in the oil pan. I can't tell if the previous owner hit something with it or if the engine threw a rod. Either way, it needs a little bit of work that I wasn't expecting.

I'm going to try and drop the oil pan tomorrow evening to get a better look at the situation. I just can't believe it might have thrown a rod. I've never had a Honda that needed major mechanical work at 200k. My 86 Accord made it to 650k before my father flipped it on the highway and my CRX is going strong at 275k. Both on the original drivetrain! I guess things do happen.

I'm not really too upset since I didn't spend a lot. After the cost of towing it back and fees it only cost me about 1800. This will be a fun little project for the next few weeks. Anyone out there have a decent engine they want to sell?
 

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Guy in Atlanta is advertising an engine for sale

A guy I know near Atlanta, Steven Lang, has an engine for sale. It is at the bottom of his Craigslist ad for his CVT. I do believe the engine is from a CVT, but have read that it does work ok in an MT car.

★ 2001 HONDA INSIGHT ★ AUTOMATIC ★ 55 MPG ★

By the way, his CVT that is for sale has a start clutch issue, with the common "judder". I tried flushing it three times with Honda CVT fluid, along with a quick burnish, and it did help some, but not enough.

My 0.02 worth,
Tim Glover
 

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....I figure since I'm going to have at least two whole days without the ability to start the car, I might as well go ahead and do the grid charge since it seems to be the "safer" route. I've got parts to build a basic discharger as well. Would it be prudent to go ahead and use a discharger instead of putting the car in auto stop once I get the keys?....
If I had a discharger I'd use the discharger. I'd do a full grid charge first (at least 7300mA-hours worth), let it sit for maybe 1/2 hour to an hour, then use the discharger, let it sit for a bit, then another full grid charge... Personally, I think I'd discharge to no higher than 100 volts; I'd probably go lower though, like maybe 84V, or maybe 60V. I'd probably watch the pack voltage at times and see if I was getting some rapid declines early-on, which would suggest cells dropping out - being discharged faster than others. If it were too early I might not go so low... Others might have different suggestions - and I've personally never done this; it's just what I'd do based on what portions of this kind of stuff I have done, and some of what Mike D. has posted on discharging...
 

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Well, it finally arrived. The car looks great. I'm really pleased with it except for one small issue... There's a hole in the oil pan. I can't tell if the previous owner hit something with it or if the engine threw a rod. Either way, it needs a little bit of work that I wasn't expecting.

I'm going to try and drop the oil pan tomorrow evening to get a better look at the situation. I just can't believe it might have thrown a rod. I've never had a Honda that needed major mechanical work at 200k. My 86 Accord made it to 650k before my father flipped it on the highway and my CRX is going strong at 275k. Both on the original drivetrain! I guess things do happen.

I'm not really too upset since I didn't spend a lot. After the cost of towing it back and fees it only cost me about 1800. This will be a fun little project for the next few weeks. Anyone out there have a decent engine they want to sell?
Have you tried to turn the crank with a wrench? That will tell you it the engine is seized. If it is good, You can do a compression test by cranking the engine with a loose 12v battery. Pull all the spark plugs first, then connect the 12v battery negative to the engine block and positive to the big 12mm bolt on starter. Then connect a second smaller wire direct to the starter switch and it will crank. Turning the engine at that low of a speed with only five compression strokes on each cylinder won't damage anything and will tell you a whole lot before you have to spend any $$.
 

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The oil pan is made of magnesium and very brittle. Chances are they hit something and holed the pan. The question is, how long did they run it after the oil ran out of the engine?

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Catastrophic engine damage

Well, I had hoped for the best, but was sadly disappointed. Pulled the oil pan off tonight and the damage was immediately visible. Thrown connecting rod punched through the main bearing cap and also nicked the cylinder wall on its way out. Got some very ugly pictures for you guys

Damaged oil pan with some metal fragments still inside:


Main bearing cap and remnants of connecting rod:


Damaged cylinder wall:


Thanks everyone for your help.

Tim, I may get in touch with Steven at some point tomorrow. I really appreciate your link. I had seen the post already when I was waiting on the car to get here, but was unable to find it once I tried to look again. The CVT engine is pretty much the same as the MT engine?

Eq1, thank you for the advice on the battery. I'm going to go ahead and condition the battery while I'm working on getting everything ready for the new engine.

Jeff and Sam, I really wish it had been that easy. You guys had me hoping it was going to be ok. Kinda kept me motivated to get to it. If I had been completely certain, I might have kept putting off removing the oil pan.

I am still really excited to get this vehicle on the road. I'm hoping I can get it repaired quickly. I don't want it to turn into an extended project like I've let happen to a couple of my bikes.
 
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