Honda Insight Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

A few months ago, my Insight had a problem where it didn't want to start. When I turned the key, the dash dimmed, and a loud clicking/buzzing noise emanated from under the hood, somewhere on the right (looking from the front). On a second attempt, it started and ran fine. Every week or so, it would pull this trick again, but recently it has been occuring more and more often and now it won't start at all!

If I jump it from another car it starts off the IMA and runs normally (no engine light or anything), and will do so for about a day and a half until it dies again. I'd suspect the little battery, but its indicator shows fine and it has just over 12v with the car off. What I figure is that for some reason, the computer is trying to start it off the little starter and 4 years of disuse have rendered it unusable. I can't think of any reason for trying to use the backup starter though.

I want to hear your opinions before I take it in to a dealer, preferably one in north San Diego County. And if I have to, are there any recommendations for which to go to/avoid?

Thanks for your help.

2001 CVT
Bought used January 2004
55,000 miles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,240 Posts
It's not the 12volt battery that starts the car, so that isn't your problem. If you are still under warranty I'd take it in. The 12 volt battery is getting use, it powers the headlights, dash lights, power windows, radio and locks. So don't assume it just sits under the hood and does nothing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
Just over 12 volts as in about 12.1-12.2 volts? It should be around 12.7. If you've still got the original Furukawa in your 01 it's very likely done for. Get it load tested, it's probably your problem.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
The 12v battery can cause the car not to start if there is insufficient power to pull in the high voltage contactor relay. The 144v IMA system will effectively never be turned on to start the car. And with such a weak battery the back-up 12v starter will never even "click".

Get the 12v battery tested. The probability of the 12v "system" failing is 99% given your stated symptoms. If the battery tests good then the going is gonna get tougher. There's gotta be another problem in 12v the starting circuitry causing a voltage drop in a critical location. Check the condition of the cables for corrosion and their _body_ connections.

HTH! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I just checked the battery and it reads 12.1 volts. But it has been a bit over a week since I last ran it. When I clicked the remote to unlock the door (to get to the hood latch), it did have half a second of hesitation before clicking open.

I'll find somewhere to have the battery tested today. There's a big battery place down the freeway. If anyone has a good replacement for an Insight battery, they'll be it. (I ain't paying shipping and handling for a 40+ pound battery)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
A "standard" Civic battery will fit by size, but is much bigger in weight and unneeded capacity. Group size 51 or 51R ( + & - terminals reversed)

Search the forum for other options if you want an OEM "exact" fit or something more exotic. Its in here :!: :D

HTH! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,291 Posts
Resist said:
I don't agree. The 12 volt battery has nothing to do with his car not wanting to start.
The 12V battery does in fact have everything to do with starting the car. :) It is 12V power that initially boots all the computers, and pulls in the contactors to enable the 144V pack and start the entire IMA system. If the 12V battery is weak, then this initial current draw (maybe 30A or so?) can cause it to sag, thus dropping out all these relays and rebooting ECM/MCM/BCM/etc. When the relays drop out, the load on the battery decreases and thus the voltage rises and the relays activate one again. Voltage from the load sags the battery, and the cycle repeats. Hence the buzzing noise.

In cold weather, the 12V battery is also used to start the car as the BCM has decided the IMA battery is too cold. So the regular starter is used, and assist is limited as the IMA battery is forced charged to warm it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Resist said:
Again, the 12 volt battery has nothing to do with the car not starting issues.
Gee, it had everything to do with my Insight not starting. :oops:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
Yeah if it's only showing 12.1 volts it's done. Insight 12 volt batteries only last about 3 years anyways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Between home and the battery place, it lost half a volt (or someone's meter was off). When they tested it under load, the voltage dropped to about 5. One new battery later, the car starts and runs as normal, besides the recal I got. (Recal + steep hill outside my house = not fun)

Hopefully, that's it. Thanks for all your help. Saved me a trip to the dealer, who would charge me an arm and a leg, I'm sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
Whenever you disconnect the 12 volt it looses track of the IMA charge. So that's normal if you had that recal right away.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
679 Posts
battery voltages with loads

I replaced Edwin's with a Civic battery ($42), but I may not have needed to do it yet...

The service manual says that if the 'EYE' does not change after charging for 3 hours, then the battery should be replaced. Edwin's 'EYE' did not change after 3 plus hours of chargine, so I changed it, but I had not had any problems so I kind of feel bad changing it.

After the charging on the charger (out of the car), I put the battery back in and after standing over night (temps in 40s) in the morning with temps in 50s I saw the following:

BATTERY VOLTAGES ('EYE' WILL NOT CHANGE WITH CHARGING)

Post charging (warm): 12.85 V
Post overnight (50s): 12.50 V

Car ignition 'on' - car off:

With no loads: 12.43 V
With fan on full: 11.95 V steady
With fans & radio: 11.92 V steady
With fans & radio & highbeams: 11.61 steady

It seemed to keep a decent voltage close to 12 V, but I changed it anyway. I bet it would have gone longer. I never had any problems that I could detect with starting, driving, electrical systems or anything else, but since it is a 2001 car, I changed it pre-emptively. It bums me out to think that maybe it would have been good for another 2 years, but maybe it wouldn't be.

One other data point:

I was looking to buy a 2003 Insight with about 30,000 miles and the car's battery had the 'EYE' indicating charging required. The owner brought it up with his dealer, and they tried to charge it and failed. They said to him that it was fine and that the 'EYE' didn't matter. The service manual says if the 'EYE does not go blue with charging, then it is no good. Clearly you can drive for quite a long time with the 'EYE' not being blue. The question seems to be, how long?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,942 Posts
The "eye" is simply a crude hydrometer. It can only relate the specific gravity of the electrolyte in the cell its immersed. Chemically, the specific gravity of an electrolyte solution in a lead acid battery will accurately correlate to its SoC.

In a 12v lead acid battery there are 6 separate cells. Most commonly they deteriorate more or less evenly, so an eye in one cell tells the "whole" truth. But sometimes the cell in which the eye is installed is a "good" one but the battery will still fail to hold a charge and is bad because of another cell.

With a VOM that is accurate to 1/100th of a volt you can accurately determine its SoC. With its known load capacity (Amp/hour) you can partially load a battery and observe its voltage under load to determine if its good or bad.

From:

http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-13.htm

SoC Voltage

100% 12.65V
75% 12.45
50% 12.24
25% 12.06
discharged 11.89 or less

HTH! :)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top