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2005 Insight, Automatic, RED, lots and lots of miles.
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

My much beloved little red 2005 Insight got a new IMA battery in August 2018. I'm not a mechanic and don't even have a place to work except out in the street, so yeah, I had to have it done at the dealership. Ugh. $$$. But my local guy wouldn't mess with it. She now has 250K+ miles on her, lifetime MPG is still hanging on at 47.5 (she's an automatic, and I live in Texas and AC is not negotiable - it's 92 outside as I type this!) and really, she's hardly given me any problems. Paint is looking thin on top, some loose odds and ends. BUT I LOVE HER.

But yesterday.....

Yesterday I was driving in town and the Check Engine light AND IMA light came on; I pulled over, killed the engine, restarted, and the check engine light stayed on. (IMA did not.) O'Reilly couldn't pull the code, but AutoZone did - P1564. Commutator C high voltage. Local guy again said he wouldn't do it. I checked for chewed wires, I reset the check engine light, I glossed through the 400 page repair guide on how to replace the sensor, and now I have to call the local dealership. Battery gauge was full yesterday, but completely empty today.

I got laid off with the COVID-19, and fear this is going to be as expensive as the battery. I know my driving habits changed substantially in March, she's used to getting lots of drive time and it's down to 2-3 trips around town per week. Still - did that cause this? Is it just bad luck?

Most importantly.... since I'm no mechanic, shade tree or otherwise... does this signal the end? How do you decide???? I always said I'd drive her until I absolutely could not anymore - but it's not always easy to recognize when that day arrives.

Is it here?
 

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I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet; maybe you'll get lucky and it's just a computer.

All you can do at this point is reset and continue to monitor things. If it comes back, go from there.
 

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Hello all,
[snip] Expand the message to read my comments.

But yesterday.....

Yesterday I was driving in town and the Check Engine light AND IMA light came on; I pulled over, killed the engine, restarted, and the check engine light stayed on. (IMA did not.)

--> Generally IIRC, the Check Engine light is reminding you to change the oil.

O'Reilly couldn't pull the code, but AutoZone did - P1564. Commutator C high voltage. Local guy again said he wouldn't do it. I checked for chewed wires, I reset the check engine light,

--> Have you checked the heavy ground wires for corrosion etc? That will sometimes cause the dash display to do crazy things.

I glossed through the 400 page repair guide on how to replace the sensor, and now I have to call the local dealership. Battery gauge was full yesterday, but completely empty today.

--> Could be that the battery badly out of balance. Especially so if you haven't been grid charging it.

I got laid off with the COVID-19, and fear this is going to be as expensive as the battery. I know my driving habits changed substantially in March, she's used to getting lots of drive time and it's down to 2-3 trips around town per week. Still - did that cause this? Is it just bad luck?

--> If you drive 10 miles or so each time that ought to be enough to keep the battery charged if all else is OK.

Most importantly.... since I'm no mechanic, shade tree or otherwise... does this signal the end?

Is it here?
Probably not. The car is letting you know it needs some TLC.
 

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If it were me, I’d reset the codes, buy a AAA membership, drive a while, and just see what happens before you let anyone talk you into spending a bunch of money.

Since you’re just driving around town, there’s not a huge risk if it breaks down on you. As other have said, it’s possible, even likely, that it’s a fluke or something simple like a broken ground cable somewhere. If something really is broken, it’s unlikely that it’s a safety issue. And it’s unlikely that you’ll damage anything further with just light around town driving... and if you do, you’re thinking about throwing in the towel as is - so it seems like you’ve got no reason not to.

As I understand it wouldn’t be abnormal for the battery gauge to drop to 0 if there’s other electrical issues going on. It’s more likely related to the other issue you experienced than an actual issue with the battery.
 

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With IMA light on, it is probably a weak or imbalanced IMA battery. A few cycles with a grid charger/discharger might help for a while. We have a smart member down in Austin who might be able/willing to cycle the battery a few times if you can drop it off. It does take several days. He loves CVTs so might have time to help. e-mail jrmgarcia-at-yahoo dot com. Tell him I sent you.

If that improves the IMA performance, then you will want to acquire a cheap grid charger off eBay.

There is a very simple, no tools, test you can run to read out subcodes, which would be helpful to advisors. Use this link for instructions:


A bent paper clip works fine to short the two pins. There is no high voltage on this plug, so you won't get shocked. I think that on the 2005 the plug is on driver side, just under dash and next to the console.

Let the lights cycle through several cycles to get them all correct and written down. There will be one set of blinks on the IMA light and another on the check engine light. It's easy, pretty quick, and enormously helpful to advisors.

The P1564 code is frequently caused by wiring and plug issues. Many of the plugs are hidden away in the areas in the back of the car, so somewhat complicated to diagnose.
There are three large cables in the engine compartment which are easy to check. Two are under the air cleaner and the negative for the 12V battery. Grasp each and give them a good hard pull. If they are broken or corroded, they will probably come apart in your hand. Unbolt them and take them to an autoparts store for replacements.

Member Willie Willifort has a picture of the grounds, but I can't find it. Maybe he will check in.
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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Per JIme's request;
 

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If you're on a budget, I recommend the following steps (in the following order):
1: Check your ground straps. I've seen plenty of P1564 codes that were falsely set when the ground straps went bad.
2: Check the plugs (i.e. unplug and replug the four MCM connectors). This requires an 8 mm wrench, a 10 mm socket, and a T-_ driver, and can easily be done as a shade tree mechanic.
3: Bypass the IMA system completely. Search "How to remove IMA battery completely" This costs less than $20.
 

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2005 Insight, Automatic, RED, lots and lots of miles.
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Discussion Starter #9
Check Engine came back on. 😭😭😭 Local mechanic won’t fool with it, I dragged her to a recommended guy in the next town and am waiting on his diagnosis. On the way there she handled.... ok.... seemed to be working a little harder than normal, or maybe I’m just paranoid? But the battery level was all over the place, which I read somewhere can go along with this error code.

And now we wait.... (and poke around online for potential replacements, so I have a yardstick for the “as long as what you’re spending every month averages less than a payment on something else” guideline....)
 

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You need to find a member who close by come check out car,install a harness and grid charge it .2018 is only 2 year old battery .
 

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2005 Insight, Automatic, RED, lots and lots of miles.
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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I think the battery is not the problem - but I’m worried about everything ELSE now...! At some point I think you need to be a mechanic to keep an older car. (Or have a trust fund, which definitely DO NOT have!) But what’s that point?
 

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I'd been struggling with an intermittent IMA light on my 2006 with similar mileage (~250,000mi) for several months recently, for a different commutator sensor code. Code was P1559 if I recall correct. Turned out it was just a wiring issue! There's a blue connector that's in the interior under the bulkhead behind the seats, which all nine wires for the commutator sensors go through. It connects the IPU compartment wiring harness to the main body wiring harness. It seems to be fairly common for the pins in that connector to stop making good contact and eventually cause engine and IMA lights for the commutator sensors. This post was particularly helpful, and I'll see if I can upload some pictures of my repair as well.

Commutation Error P1565


The harness as seen from the passenger side after removing the interior trim to access:
IMG_20200429_1911503.jpg


Close up:
85695


My repair in progress:
85696


I tried unplugging and re-seating the connector, spraying it with contact cleaner, and so on, and was able to clear my original code, but wiggling the wires or going over bumps in the road would cause new codes to show up (P0A65 being one example). I ended up just splicing the entire harness wire to wire to bypass the blue connector. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of everything heat-shrunk and bundled up before I put the interior back together.

TLDR; if you have someone else working on the car, have them check out this connector. Barring any other obvious faults it may be the source of your issue. It's not actually all that hard to get to if you're comfortable removing 10mm bolts and trim clips, so you can absolutely give it a shot yourself or with a friend too!
 

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@elphaba If you do not wish to be a mechanic, then @Honda hybrid442 may be correct.

You can be a mechanic! If you really love the car, and you're in COVID-19 limbo, then what better opportunity to learn a valuable skill that will save you LOTS of money down the road, both on this car and future cars! These aren't hard to fix, and there is a lot of support in the group if you continue this thread by asking how to do the things people are suggesting. You probably have a few things to sort out (like the ground cables and not driving it a while) before you can say definitely there's a problem with the battery.

But first you need a place to work on the car. I would suggest trying to find a local makerspace that has a space to work on cars. These are friendly people and should be willing to give a break in the membership dues for someone affected by COVID-19. Eventually, if you ever move, you may put a priority on a place with a garage or room to work on a car.

Second, you said that you have not been driving it a lot. If it has been a few weeks, it's quite possible that one of the cells has discharged more than the others and when the car started up, the cells were out of balance. @jime has already suggested charging and discharging.

Bottom line is this car probably costs little in gas, insurance and taxes. It won't get cheaper than this. Paying someone to fix the car, well, you probably are better off finding a reliable 10 year old non-hybrid car for $5K. Doing it yourself, you can pretty much replace everything several times over with used parts for that price. Many of us are here because it's our hobby and we enjoy each other's company.

Try fixing it over the next few weeks/months and see how you like it. If you give up, it's still a lot cheaper than taking it to a mechanic. You will also be reading the forum and seeing cars come and go for sale, and get an idea what to ask if you do decide to sell it. Or, you might just get it running enough to last you years more. Best of luck.
 

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I'm going to put on my "fatherly" hat and be a bit of a dissident with the others. (I am a father and at my age have seen lots of water flow under the bridge.) Though many of us have a love of these old Gen1s far beyond the rational, the truth is that they should not be in the hands of those without mechanical skills. There is a lot of good information in the above posts, however given the widespread financial distress, it seems to me that you need to keep your expenditures as low as possible. As is widely discussed across the forum, the car can be driven reliably and essentially forever in the IMA battery bypass mode.

I endorse mudder's post #8 above. I believe this is the correct systematic way to proceed. If you can print or copy that post and discuss it with with your mechanic, you MAY be able to either resolve the problem or get the car setup for bypass.

The underhood ground locations are here:


Either you or mechanic grasp each one and give a good hard tug. These wires frequently rot completely.

On mudder's #2, , once the cover of the IMA is off, the MCM is the right most of the two computer boxes which sit on top of the battery. Also while the cover is removed, have mechanic remove the transverse bar just in front of the IMA compartment to expose the area of the plug discussed by v-raze in #12. If you mechanic has any contact cleaner spray, it might help with any dirt or corrosion in that particular plug - a frequent trouble point.

Last, If these measures fail, then bypass the IMA system by unplugging all the plugs on the BCM, the left most of the two computer boxs on top of the IMA battery. You will have warning lights on the dash, and the car will not have benefit of IMA assist, but it will run reliably indefinitely. If you have pollution inspection - then the car won't pass. You can get all the lights off by using the procedures in the link mudder cites, but this procedure is electronically sophisticated and you probably won't be able to get a professional mechanic to do the work.

One operational warning - if the dash "battery" light comes on, then the 12V battery isn't being charged and the car will soon stall, depending on the condition of the 12V battery and use of lights and A/C.

That's my take. Bottom line, it is relatively simple to get the car to run reliability in bypass mode, if you can get it through polution inspection. In these austere times, this may be your best course. Good luck.
 

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2005 Insight, Automatic, RED, lots and lots of miles.
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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, y'all. The light's gone off and stayed off, and I've been just going for medium-length drives in it to keep it happier. So far so good there. The mechanic pointed out a lovely feature that I honestly have gotten used to - the transmission shudders, kind of a lot. He said it's hanging on by a thread, and when it goes of course it's $$$. I'm down with learning things; I have my pop-up for sale and when that goes I can make a little space on a gravel drive to park the car and fiddle with it, although here I can choose between swarms of mosquitos in the AM or 100+ degrees in the PM, YIPPEEEEE...! but I'm interested and willing, just nervous about making something worse or electrocuting myself somehow. Transmissions don't seem like the third thing to learn to fix lol. But, it's not dead yet, and I guess we'll just see how it plays out.
So... I guess I need some tools!
 

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Shuddering on a CVT could possibly be cured by a good transmission fluid flushing and filter change..
 

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2005 Insight, Automatic, RED, lots and lots of miles.
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Discussion Starter #17
I am a real chicken$#!+ but that sounds better than digging into a transmission! I fixed the lawnmower last month and now when it starts on the first pull I AM BEAMING. So, if I can hit the gas after a stoplight and not jingle and jangle around, OR spend $2K... that will be nice too. Just read 14 pages in a thread here about my busted trunk latch, next up is: repair leaking pillars. EXCITING!
 
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