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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings all-I've been checking this site on and off for awhile because I've always loved the first-gen Insight and the time is finally right to take the plunge, and I'm hoping for some help from what I can see is an incredible community of people here who are so generous with their time and knowledge.

Out of the blue I found one at a real used car dealer, the kind that every instinct tells me to stay away from, but still looked at it as it was a 5spd which is what I want, and these cars don't come up that often these days. 175,000 miles. Looked OK, but batteries were dead, obviously not a good sign. It was raining hard that day and they told me they'd charge it (meaning I'm sure only the 12v) and I could come back another day, which is now tomorrow. Other info, Carfax reveals that the car has basically been sitting on dealer's lots since March 1st, only 100 miles driven in all that time, was at one dealer and then sold at auction and has ended up at the place I'm looking. I know that the batteries really suffer from the car being parked, wondering how much degradation to expect in 5 months.

Just wondering how I can get an idea of what shape the IMA is in something like a 20 minute test drive. Should the SoC meter get up to 16 or 17 bars fairly quickly as I drive? Will the level of the assist gauge while accelerating be informative? If the IMA is on the way out, will that gauge start showing low assist level and the SoC gauge lose bars?

Another concern is that Carfax just shows registration renewals--no service records at all! Wondering how that could be....

Thanks.....
 

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Don't even worry with the IMA battery. It's toast.

I too, have a 2000 that sat for a long while.
(My (cell) internet connection is fantastically crappy tonight, else I'd link you more directly.)

There's a couple places that can get you a refurb'ed IMA battery for ~1500. Or the MaxIMA guys are bringing in new, higher capacity for a smidge over $2k.

Mike D at 99mpg makes a "grid charger" that appears to be the best bet for our sorts of batteries - I've got one on order, hopefully here shortly - I don't know if all of this batch is spoken for.

I'm driving with the IMA disconnected right now, just on gas alone, and seeing about 55 mpg.

I'd say get it if it's a screaming deal, and you can wait a bit for a charger and/or a new battery, but don't even worry trying to evaluate the IMA battery... It's 12 years old, been sitting and discharging - it's long since gone. I'm hoping the the grid charger and a weekly charge will be what I'll need - but I'm in this for about $2k, all told, so far.
 

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I like looking at the lifetime mpg of the car. For a 5 speed, 55 mpg and above, I'm good with. 50-55, suspect. Below 50, I consider it dogged on. That's just me...

Check the tranny syncros by downshiftinng to 3rd and 2nd gear and see if they grind. If there is any bucking at low rpm, you're looking at a dirty egr plate, and maybe a new egr valve being needed. Won't know till you open it up.

I just got a reconditioned IMA put in for $600, all in. Getting 65mpg combined now and loving it.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Checked out the car again, not good....

Sorry for the delay in updating, very busy with the rest of my life. I got back to look at the car about a week ago, and it was very disappointing. Had contacted them the day before, they said it would be ready to drive, but when I arrived it was still surrounded by other cars, and my contact there was away though he said he would be there. Another sales person said I couldn't drive the car as their dealer plate wasn't there!

The 12v battery did start the car briefly, then it died. Another employee came out and attached a portable battery powered jumper unit and it started again and ran. The good news, the A/C worked great and radio etc all seemed to work (and the car had the Bridgestone RE 92's). The bad news, there was no reading at all on the SoC gauge, the battery light and IMA light stayed on and then after a few minutes the whole dashboard started blinking, first almost every thing that could blink, and then finally everything, every display was blinking furiously. Turned it off and waited a minute, it then restarted with the display as before (IMA and battery lit), but after a couple of minutes furious blinking again of whole panel. Anybody know what that means? I'm wondering if that's an indication of complete disaster or perhaps because the jumper was still attached. But basically I decided it was too frustrating to continue with these guys and will keep my eye out for another one unless they want to give the car away for something like $500.
 

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My diagnosis from across the pond.

1) Bad 12v battery. Replace with new.
2) Flat IMA battery. May respond to grid charger or regular driving.
3) Prob bad ground wires etc. Check replace.
 

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Hi Peter, your diagnosis is obviously right, but doesn't help him to make the decision: SJW hasn't bought it yet.
My suggestion (if feasible)..
- disconnect the minus terminal on the 12V battery, wait 10 secs and reconnect.
- look at ground straps. If dodgy, connect with a crocodile strap or jumper cable
- connect the aux. jumper unit
- start, do not switch on A/C or anything. Run up at 3500 rpm and see if a few SOC bars start to appear.
(try and do all this without the dealer looking over your shoulder)
- If the SOC starts to charge up, switch off, offer 400$ less and buy it. Then buy a new 12V Battery.
- If everything flashes again, forget the whole thing. That could be a bottomless pit.

SJW... good luck !!!
 

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My display blinked when I had a 12v battery go bad and I jumped it with one of those jump packs, as soon as I removed the jump starter pack, the car couldn't keep up the 12v demand as one or two of the cells was shorted. In your case it sounds like the ground straps might be shot and the vibration of the engine is shaking the last strand that's barely making contact. It could be something worse but if my car was doing it, I'd get a few wires to jump the 12v negative to ground, the engine, and the transmission and use a volt meter on the battery to see if its holding up above 13v while the car is running. If it is still doing all that there is probably a serious problem. If the 12v charging indicator light is on, the BCM is telling the DC-DC converter to stay off and you'll get some very weird stuff from the dash display if the voltage gets too low.

The IMA light is on though, if you get around the dashboard issue, plan to spend the money in the future to replace the IMA battery.
 
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