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I wanted to pass this along to those who have a 10-yr-old (+) Insight. Mine is 13 years old. For over a year, I have battled with check-engine lights, brake light, battery light, and IMA light - coming on whenever and wherever they want to. Also, my IMA battery would just DROP its electrical storage for NO reason, like water running out of a bucket.

I have changed out all fuses, relays, engine battery, taken to dealership to turn off check-engine light. Regardless, they come back on! Through this irritating dilemma, my car continued to run just fine - but if lights came on, I noticeably lost power and fuel efficiency.

I have read posts, I tried not using the ECON or A/C systems, nothing stopped these lights. But quite a while back, I read on here someone's post that made me think I should try changing out the negative battery cable (the ground to the firewall). I did not do it -- everyone I consulted said it cannot be that - if car ran, it was OK. Everyone said I needed a replacement IMA battery. It seems if hybrids have electrical problems, everyone points to the IMA battery !!! I was not convinced, yet . . . it would charge up just fine.

Last week I was to take a long trip, and I really did not want poor fuel and power performance, and accessory-lights hassles, so I asked a friend if he could install a power shut-off on my engine battery - this because when the engine battery is disconnected, everything on the car resets. I wanted an easy way to do this, while on the road, without needing tools.

This little [cheap] bypass can be picked up at WalMart, and it attaches to the negative post on the engine battery. A good ground must be present for it to work. Then, you just turn a knob 3 times, and the battery is disconnected.

What did I find out, after this was installed? I traveled 500 miles over 3 days, and got 65 mpg average, no weird lights ever appeared on the dash display, I used the A/C one day when it was hot out, the check-engine light never reappeared, and the car had loads of power.

If you have battled the same FRUSTRATING electrical issues I have had for SO LONG, try replacing the negative (black) cable on your engine battery. I now wish I had tried that 'fix' way back, when I first suspected it!

And, enjoy your Insight - ANY car is frustrating, when they have electrical issues, which can be so hard to track down. :))
 

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Bad battery grounds cause a host of weird issues with the Insight. You don't need special tools to clear the IMA, check engine, etc lights though. You just pull the fuse that provides power to the ECM, BCM, etc while the car is off, a bonus is that its in the fuse cluster that is inside the car. ...but good to know you seem to have sorted the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your reply.

I DID pull those fuses you mention, over and over and over again. I got SO tired of pulling them - then I would try a new fuse. Sometimes, though, the dash lights came back on within minutes of resuming driving. That was my frustration.
 

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Thank you for your reply.

I DID pull those fuses you mention, over and over and over again. I got SO tired of pulling them - then I would try a new fuse. Sometimes, though, the dash lights came back on within minutes of resuming driving. That was my frustration.
That certainly sounds like a bad "ground" issue. There are several "grounds" on the Insight; the one at the battery isn't the only one. There are two in the area just below the air-filter box on the driver's side of the car. There is also another one that I can't remember it's exact location at the moment. I think it's down lower, near the transmission?
 

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To: diamondlarry - thank you for that tip. I did not know this. It is important to know about the grounding (in all places) on an electric-system car. I will be keeping a note of this, in case I have problems again.

So far, my baby car (I call her) is running great again now. Even when she was having these problems, I still LOVED my 2000 Honda Insight! -- a joy to own.
 

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There are 3 ground cables... the one on the battery, and the two on the right side of the engine compartment connecting to the transmission and the transmission mount bracket.

To the OP: Check the remaining 2 cables, don't wait for more trouble. They're not hard to spot. They are very frequently degraded or broken. For some reason Honda decided to go with bare copper and it gets corroded and then frayed and broken from the vibration. There's several threads about it. You can just walk into any auto parts store and get new cables (I used the ones intended for "lawn and garden", 19" long 6 gauge cables). The 19" ones are a little too long, but you just put a loop in them and that helps to relieve the strain from the engine vibration.

Some people make their own cables or use a thicker gauge. IMHO that's just overkill. 2 short pieces of 6 gauge will carry the current from the 12volt starter without difficulty, and that's the biggest task they will ever be asked to do.
 

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There are 3 ground cables... the one on the battery, and the two on the right side of the engine compartment connecting to the transmission and the transmission mount bracket.

To the OP: Check the remaining 2 cables, don't wait for more trouble. They're not hard to spot. They are very frequently degraded or broken. For some reason Honda decided to go with bare copper and it gets corroded and then frayed and broken from the vibration. There's several threads about it. You can just walk into any auto parts store and get new cables (I used the ones intended for "lawn and garden", 19" long 6 gauge cables). The 19" ones are a little too long, but you just put a loop in them and that helps to relieve the strain from the engine vibration.

Some people make their own cables or use a thicker gauge. IMHO that's just overkill. 2 short pieces of 6 gauge will carry the current from the 12volt starter without difficulty, and that's the biggest task they will ever be asked to do.
For some reason, I was thinking that there were 3 others besides the one for the 12V. Anyway, I had the one that was nearest to the air-box break and got a replacement at Autozone for less than $10; I think $5 or $6 maybe even less? The one down lower seemed OK then but this thread reminds me that I need to check all of them out again before the weather gets cold again. Despite temperatures near/slightly below 0F, I never had the 12V starter kick in as it seems my "dumb" grid charger (350mA) has the side benefit of keeping the pack warm. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all the great responses to this post, I have located all the grounding points on the car. Now that they are checked out, and replaced, I hope to run a long time without these small, but irritating, electrical problems.
 
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