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Honda Civic Hybrid Battery Pack Questions



  • bigredonebigredone Posts: 5
    I wish I would have read this thread before purchasing a used Civic Hybrid. I am seeing a consistent message throughout, CVT failures and high cost of replacing a battery pack. Anyway, I just purchased a 2003 Civic with 119,000 miles [from a used car dealer] and thought I was really getting a good deal as I paid a couple of thousand under what most 03’s where going for. I drove the car and it seemed to drive well except for the transmission shift leaver being hard to move. The dealer took off an additional $500 because of the shifting problem. A CarFax report said the CVT was replaced at 18,000 miles.
    What I didn’t notice, however, was the shudder at low speeds. My local Honda dealer replaced the shift cable ($175) but the shudder at low speed was a separate matter. This required draining and flushing the transmission twice and burnishing the clutches ($87). This did fix the shudder problem but the 30+ year vetran Honda mechanic said I should probably change the fluid once more in about 7500 miles.
    Next step, the check engine light was on and the dealer’s diagnostics said I needed both O2 sensors and a new IMA battery. Honda only sells the O2 sensors as a kit (installed price about $600) so I deferred this repair for later. You can get these parts at a auto parts store for around $200. For the IMA battery the technician had to personally talk with Honda Parts and they sent a loaner MCM to be installed, Honda required a dealer employee to drive the car as long as their loaner part was installed so one of the technicians drove the car home and back a couple of days, about a hundred miles, and they would then perform more diagnostics (the MCM was $1700 if I would have needed it).
    Before I spent more money on diagnostics I talked with a company called and gave them the error codes from the diagnostics, they were pretty sure that the MCM was not the problem so I purchased a refurbished IMA battery from them for $1600 including shipping which is at least a $1000 less than a refurbished battery from Honda. I replaced it myself in about an hour using their instructions and a couple of phone support calls. I drove the car about 30 miles and stopped at a local parts store and used their diagnostic tool and everything checked out fine including the O2 sensors. I don’t fault my Honda dealer as they were just following the shop manual procedures but if anyone is having IMA battery problems do contact this company because they will save you a ton of money. All in all I still only have in the car what NADA say’s it is worth so I didn’t really get hurt. By the way, if the MCM would have been bad Hybrid-Battery-Repair sells these for only $100.
  • reberrowdyreberrowdy Posts: 4
    FYI: You don't buy a hybrid to save money! Sure you get a few more MPG's, but even after 115,000 miles that has not come close to offsetting the difference a lot of repairs cost. To wit: I had to have the catalytic converter replaced. Had it been the regular Civic, the cost would have been $400. The hybrid? $1200. And now I worry each day about having to buy another IMA battery.

    If you have the money it is fine to be greener. Personally I won't own another one.
  • massey4massey4 Posts: 1
    edited May 2010
    The June/July issue (#137) of Home Power magazine has all the steps and tools described for replacing the battery pack of a 2003 Civic Hybrid. In it Mike said "The Honda dealership wanted $3,200 to replace the battery pack with a factory-refurbished one" yet in the end he did it for $380 using a "Used battery pack from junkyard ($315), Charger/reconditioner, iMax B6 ($55), Torx socket, #30 ($6) and Electrical energy (10¢ per kWh) ($4)". It took him about a month to work through the testing of all the battery sticks using the one "iMax B6" charger but it was time well spent I'd say. It was also pure brilliance to think to use a charger from the R/C hobbies world for this purpose; I cannot think of any group of people who are more picky about proper care of batteries than the ones with big $$$ tied up in models that can scream along at several hundred MPH.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >The June/July issue (#137) of Home Power magazine has all the steps and tools
    >described for replacing the battery pack of a 2003 Civic Hybrid.

    Mike seriously misquoted me in that article and has some factual errors, but he's mostly right. If anyone wants to fix their own battery, they should contact me for corrections before they start.

    > It was also pure brilliance to think to use a charger from the R/C hobbies world
    > for this purpose

    You mean, like this? (No, he didn't think it up.)
  • budileebudilee Posts: 2
    Can you email me the article? I would like to rebuild my battery pack.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    The article is linked and available for download in Ogre_GEV's post!

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  • stacys1stacys1 Posts: 1
    I've just been told both cats and the battery are failing. Glad I read these posts before forking over $4K to the dealer service dept. I will never buy another Honda. The 10 year extended warranty was apparently worthless...
  • reberrowdyreberrowdy Posts: 4
    Well worthless to us, rather worthy to the seller of the extended warranty! :(
  • Honda was great with my car. Needed a new battery pack (180,000km and 7+ years) at a quoted price of 5300$CN. The Honda garage and Honda Canada substantially reduced this cost in the end and I was grateful to both. My service representative did all the work and told me to wait to see what he could do about the cost. While I was shocked the battery went after the 7 year guarantee, Honda made good on their product afterall. Good for them! I for one will again buy another Honda (5 so far).
  • sarcodontsarcodont Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid with 97,000 miles on it. I would like the information on how to rebuild the IMA battery pack myself. I understand the magazine article was not accurate. Can you either send me the upgrade instructions by email, or tell me where I can get it?

    Thank you so much.
  • filopez75filopez75 Posts: 1
    Can you email me the article? Or the right instructions to rebuild my pack. I would like to rebuild my battery pack. I read the article but you found some errors. :P
  • budileebudilee Posts: 2
    No body wants to hand over information eh? I believe they want your ten dollars before you can get an article not really worth ten dollars. How's your rebuild going? Good luck with that one...
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    It's probably not been handed over for free by another member because it would be a violation of copyright law to re-distribute that article. While the article may not be worth $10, handing it over is probably also not worth risking.

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  • jer45jer45 Posts: 3
    So Honda could basically disconnect its functions and fut gas mileage, so as to extend the battery life instead of making a better battery, or replacing the batteries which are not living up to expectations and promises.

    Good-bye, Honda. I have six Hondas. Never again.
  • I am just furious and disgusted with Honda.

    We bought our HCH as a Honda Certified used car from XXXXXX Honda about three years ago. According to the records, we are the second owners of this vehicle. It had about 60,000 miles on it at that time. In the three years we have owned it, we have put on about another 60,000 miles or so. In December of 2008, the catalytic converter suddenly failed and we returned it to the dealer for repairs and an explanation. We were able to resolve the problem, but with an out-of-pocket cost of $736.00. Though we had never had a catalytic converter fail in over 25 years of Chrysler auto ownership, we chalked it up as an unfortunately painful and expensive experience with a used car.

    Then from February to May of 2009, we had a series of “Engine” lights that required us to spend about $560.00 (some for “Engine” light-related work again). In February of 2010, we had to pay another $726.00 to replace all of the engine sensors.

    A week or so ago, we suddenly started to get an “Engine” light and an “IMA” light at frequent, but irregular, intervals. At the same time, the fuel mileage gradually decreased by about 8 to 10 MPG. The panel lights would come and go, sometimes together, on no particular pattern we could discover. We took the car to XXXXXX Honda for diagnosis, where we were told the battery module was failing and that a replacement would cost approximately $5310.00. They also told us that they did not know what might happen if we continued to drive the car in this state. Apparently, we now own a car that we
    • Cannot afford to repair
    • Cannot rely on
    • Don’t know if we can even safely drive, and
    • On which we still have about two years of payments.
    The car is otherwise in great shape, according to the dealer. However, We've put enough cash into it (if we throw in the battery) to damned near buy it twice.

    I called Honda America today and when I asked for assistance, I was given a polite but firm "No." :mad:

    As a result, I'm mailing a letter to them tomorrow. I'm also going to file a Better Business Bureau complaint against Honda America. I may also talk this over with my attorney. From what I'm seeing online about the HCH, they're cruising for a class action suit over these cars. :lemon:
  • Hi everyone!

    I am the guy who wrote the Home article (issue 137) on IMA pack rebuilding. I am happy to answer any questions you may have on this subject, but the article covers most everything you will need to rebuild your pack yourself. Paying the Home power fee is a very small price to learn something this useful. And no, I am not being paid to say this either! LOL!
  • LOL< You are too funny Ron. I did not quote you in the article art all, I only mentioned the price you charged per your website as of the date I was writing the article. Hardly my fault you keep jacking up your prices! LOL!

    And as far as errors in the article... Ha! they are too small to even be mentioned as significant for a rebuild. Anyone who can follow simple instructions can do the rebuild fine.

    BTW, If you had simply been helpful when I asked last year, I may have gone out of my way to keep your info in the article. But since you chose to blow me off when I had questions, I thought the editors choice to delete your info appropriate for the article.

    What goes around comes around, you know. LOL!
  • Hi,

    I just found your posting and felt that you should know that everything you mentioned wrong with your HCH is dependent on the condition of the IMA pack. You see, most of the car's sensors use it as a reference voltage and if the pack has some cells messing up, some of the sensors will seem to as well. When I first got my used 03 HCH it had a bunch of error codes in the computer just like yours has. They all went away after I rebalanced (aka, rebuilt) the pack cells. So fixing the pack also fixes 99% of your other problems automatically.

    Dealers dont like replacing IMA packs because Honda gives them a really hard time about it (very expensive for them and the cells are not made by Panasonic anymore and it seem to be hard to get). Your local Honda dealer changed all that other stuff mainly out of ignorance (desperation?) and the fact that Honda will pay them without too much bother for sensors... I will also bet you there was nothing wrong with any of the replaced parts! LOL!

    Now that my 03 HCH is working right I love it! 54- 57 MPG every week! Rebuilding is the way to go, I say!
  • Thanks for your article Michael, very informative.
    To clarify, for those who scoff at paying $10 to become an online member of Home Power, this gives access to all articles. If you drive a hybrid, you may find this publication interesting. Also, If you aren't motivated enough to pay ten bucks, I doubt if you would actually rebuild your own battery pack anyway.

    Michael, is it possible to "plug in" a HCH to top-off the IMA pack? For the purpose of battery conditioning and increased assist / mph due to a full pack.

    Also when searching for junk yard buys, do you know the year range of compatible batteries? I have a 2009 we are watching sceptically and documenting for decreased milage. We had an IMA light with code indicating "module deterioration" they "fixed it" with a program update. Currently 29 mpg in city.

    Finally, I don't consider a 2003 year model to be that old to require such a rebuild. I wonder if 2003 Prius owners are facing the same difficulties.

  • Hello-

    I have a HONDA Civic 03 and need to refurbish the battery pack. I am glad to subscribe to Home Power magazine. Is this something that a shade tree person such as myself can accomplish?

    I also have Catalitic Converter issues. Any advice on that?

    Thanks in advance.

    jay Gilliam Raphine Virginia
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