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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • I am third week into the software updates and still losing IMA every time I drive. Highway driving seems to bring the charge up to 4-5 bars, but then back down to 2 not long afterward. I have had some close calls the last few days when accelerating without assist.

    Today the I drove 30 miles to work, trying to charge whenever possible. Parked at 11:00am with 6 bars. Got in the car at 7:00 pm to go home and had 2 bars with no assist.

    ALSO, my current average MPG has dropped to 37.

    I had hoped to drive this car for 10 years! But if it needs a $4500 battery every 2 years.....well...forget it!
  • jack000jack000 Posts: 16
    If you need a new pack, try rebuilding it with the Headway cells that I mentioned. You can get them from EVcomponents for $19/cell. In order to access the battery, you need to remove the entire rear seat (which is probably why the technicians are very reluctant to service hybrids properly). You'll need 50 headway cells in series. You can go for the regular cells at 10AH. Total cost without shipping: $950!!!. If you need any help I have the service manual for the 06-09 HCH.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    edited August 2010
    So where have you gotten a BMS computer to use with these lithium cells? 2006+ Civics are expecting 132 NiMH cells in 11 packs of 12 cells each. In order to switch to lithium, you would have to replace the MDM with a custom one that could interface to the stock ECM. The stock computer can't charge or balance lithium batteries.

    For that matter, how are you welding the cells together? Solder will flow at the 100 amp draw that is 20 bars of assist so they have to be welded.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >  Do you consider recals resulting in no assist a safety issue?

    No I do not. No more than when you deplete the battery while climbing a long hill.

    Inconvenient and annoying, yes. Unsafe, no. The car's engine has more than enough power to run without the 10 hp of IMA assist.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    All civic hybrids are within their 8 year warranties unless they have a salvage title.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    The 2 bars with no assist was a recal. The charge didn't actually drop to 2 bars, it just showed you 2 bars as it retested the battery. The gauge then climbed to the actual charge amount. It sounds like your battery may be on the way out, but since you are seeing more of this activity since the update, you MAY be experiencing convulsions that the battery is going through as the new software reconditions it. Recals can happen because the battery improved. You're going to have to give it a couple more weeks. Either the battery is going to improve and stop recaling or it will die and you'll get an IMA light and a new battery under warranty.

    Yours may have been too far gone to save - or not.

    Please let us (or at least me) know how you do with it.
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    > The car's engine has more than enough power to run without the 10 hp of IMA assist.

    When I purchased my 07 HCH-II I remember the electric motor was rated at 20 hp, not the 10 you say it is. The ICE was rated at 110 hp. Yes the car runs with only 110 hp but why not just purchase a low powered car in the beginning. The regular Civic had 140 hp at the time and it weighed less than the hybrid. Would have had a/c when I wanted too. On average I bet the regular Civic got about 10/12 mpg less than the HCH-II and cost $5,000 less. A lot of gas could have been purchased.

    If you lose your assist because you used all the energy in the battery climbing a hill then you are well aware that you have no assist available but when it happens randomly such as making a left turn with on coming traffic or merging into traffic then it can be a safety issue and a dangerous one. For the first 27 months I do not ever remember seeing a recal and then all of a sudden I was getting many daily and Honda said I had no problem. Even though I no longer have this vehicle I am still upset with Honda's attitude. It was a nice car for the first 27 months.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Sorry - typo. 20hp - aka a sudden 15% drop in power. The insight has a 68 hp engine with a 10hp electric which is about the same 15%.

    It takes 18-25 hp to drive the average car down the highway at 65 mpg. Probably about 20 for the civic and about 15 for the insight.

    Are you driving so that sudden reduction in power will cause someone to hit you? A hybrid is not a sports car. You should not be driving it at it's limits.

    I'm used to old cars. Old unreliable cars. I've had classic sportscars that could not be trusted not to stall if you punched the gas. I NEVER turn left when I've got traffic bearing down on me, nor do I punch it to try to squeeze in front of someone when merging. I live in the land of aggressive drivers (NYC) and it only adds a few seconds (not minutes) per trip to drive defensively.

    I'm sorry that you had battery issues, but as I explained before, technically nothing is wrong until the IMA light comes on. Someone further up this post is seeing his recals go away.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    Very recent recall to update software in my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid resulted in a drastic reduction in the electric power assist function and noticeable reduction in gas mileage and power immediately following the update. This update is designed to prevent premature battery failure. My car has been transformed into a standard Civic that is significantly under powered. This loss of power makes it much more difficult to pass cars or to enter highway on ramps safely. My dealer said they cannot correct this and that the software update is irreversible. I have contacted Honda with my complaint and I am currently waiting for a response from them.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > No way would I ever buy a hybrid again!

    Good luck with that - seriously. The industry word is that every car made by 2018 or so will be electric or hybrid.

    Mercedes has an S-class hybrid
    Porsche has a hybrid
    Ferarri has a Hybrid!

    And VW had a Hybrid Diesel Rabbit in 1987 that was very similar to Honda's IMA system. They never brought it to the US because of the problems getting the emissions to work with the diesel and the electric motor.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >Very recent recall to update software in my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid resulted in a drastic reduction in the electric power assist function and noticeable reduction in gas mileage and power immediately following the update.

    Very recent, like this week? We've been talking about it here. Two others report better mileage and power with it. Did you have any previous updates done?

    Try to keep track of your battery gauge. It appears you will experience normal power and mileage when it is half full or so, but Honda restricted use of the battery when it is depleted (to improve battery life). If you're regularly driving it empty, then you will see a reduction in power.

    If you had it done a couple weeks ago, then have the latest one done.

    BTW, according to Honda, this latest update doesn't address the 2009+ cars because they are already running it. We'll see if that's true or not later on.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    I had the recall update done last Wednesday and immediately called the dealer back the same day to complain. I took it back to the dealer today after putting over 500 miles on the car since the software update. The performance has actually gotten worse and the batteries will not charge past 4 bars. Batteries used to charge all the way. The gas engine roars but the power is so limited it feels like the transmission is slipping. I never had a complaint with this car right up until the day the dealer installed the update. Honda has ruined my car. Anyone interested in starting a class action suit, I'm in.
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    > The industry word is that every car made by 2018 or so will be electric or hybrid.

    That may be true but in my opinion the current HCH-II is equivalent to the Model A Ford and with all of us owners of a Honda Civic Hybrid acting as beta testers the hybrids in 2018 may actually be a reliable vehicle but it isn't now.
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    I do not have a Civic hybrid, however I do have a regular gas 2006 Civic so what I am about to comment on is strictly my opinion. You seem to be dispensing mostly useful information about what actually might be happening when the "less than advertised" hybrid (non) function starts to manifest itself on 2006-09 Civic hybrids. But, you also seem to be defending the company and the car's obvious defective behavior. I for one am very, very thankful I bought the non-hybrid version (although I am not happy with Honda or the gas version either). I have read post after post after post stating the thing is hopelessly under powered when the assist is gone and yet all the sympathy you can muster for being in a dangerous situation when rapid acceleration (or some anyhow) is needed is to say," Well it isn't a sports car so don't drive it like one". Sorry, not good enough! I find myself in situations from time to time (and not always through my lack of pre-planning before making a move) where the need for the ability to get out of ones own way is more than useful it is crucial. So, on this alone the car is dangerous not to mention the frustration I sense over this whole situation from owners here. The Civic hybrid is a half-a**ed attempt to send something to the market place to compete with Toyota. I don't know if the Prius is perfect, likely not, but I am sure its better than this feeble attempt. My opinion and nothing more.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I'm a battery guy. My concern is the "won't charge above 4 bars". As has been stated in the press releases, the change to the software is that it won't allow assist below 4 bars, so naturally, your car feels like a slug.

    My question is why? Is the battery incapable of being charged? Is it being discharged at a rate that won't let it charge?

    The gauge is supposed to adjust it's range so that the most the battery can hold shows full and the least shows empty. From others' reports here, it is still working that way, so I'm guessing one of two things: the gauge was not properly calibrated by the dealer (and you haven't recal-ed yet), or your battery showed strong during the calibration and is not now.

    You can recalibrate it yourself. Make sure you have your radio security code and then disconnect your 12v battery for 20 seconds. Reconnect it and start the car. You will see 4 bars of regen. Hold down the throttle so that the car is revving at 3500 rpm and turn off the AC. After about a minute to a minute and a half, you should see battery bars appear. Hold the throttle until either the 4 bars of regen go out or the battery gauge stops climbing. Then let go of the throttle and take the car for a test drive.

    If this works, the gauge will range normally and you will have your assist back (except when the battery is low).

    Please let me know how this works.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    Thanks for the info. My battery will rarely charge up to 5 bars but quickly discharges and maintains at 4 bars. At the 4 bar level the assist function works intermittently and sometimes not at all. Battery level sometimes drops below 4 bars when I speed up or pass someone, then the assist won't work at all, when I need it the most. Prior to the software update my battery would charge the full range with power assist working down to but not including 1 bar. I'm not very mechanically inclined and not comfortable attempting the recal process myself. I don't know what a radio security code is or what to do with it. Thanks for your input.
  • jack000jack000 Posts: 16
    They come with screw holes for threading, so you don't need to weld them. You can match them up to the same voltage as the NiMH pack. As far as I know, I haven't seen any sensors on individual cells or cell sticks (please correct me if I'm wrong) so maybe one would just need to replace the sticks. I just really want to see someone try this. As a reminder these are LiFePO4 cells. They are much safer and can tolerate the same abuse as NiMH, as well as being 50% more efficient.
  • las2002las2002 Posts: 8
    My mileage is up at least 3 MPH to 41-42 in Las Vegas summer heat. Prior to the upgrade, mileage was around 38.0. Driving is mostly city with significant stop and go like on East Flamingo in Vegas. Recalls seem to be getting less frequent. Most noticeable lack of assist is above 105F with A/C on auto and set to about 76 deg.

    My car is a 2008 Civic with 23000 miles since new.

    I do miss the power of my BMW 3 series but I personally think the car is performing like the Hybrid it is. Honda here (Findley) has been providing very good service - replaced glazed brake pads free and steam cleaned the engine compartment free with my recent software upgrade.

    I'm still happy with the low fuel costs and low maintenance costs. Would I buy another Hybrid - I'm not sure?
  • mabecanemabecane Posts: 46
    I'm due to bring my 06 HCH Friday for the update but now I'm getting cold feet after reading about problems some of the owners are getting following the update. I've driven the car mostly on highway, and never noticed any problems with the battery, it seems to charge normally.
    My mileage has dropped to 45 mpg since I switched to better riding tires.
    I'm interested to know more about the calibration procedure you mentioned in your posting.
    Doesn't the computer takes over and override the procedure.
    I'm wondering if I should hold on the update and see what happens. My wife did mentioned that the bars dropped down to one once at the traffic stop. :confuse:
  • selinzselinz Posts: 11
    however, I did get my battery changed at around 130K. They chose to do it and when they did, they gave me the "4 bar mod."
    I decided to drive my last tank of gas at the speed limit (or close) and got 46mpg. This is with Yokohama YK520 tires. When I started using these tires, my mileage dropped 2 or 3 mpg.

    So if any of you are getting crappy mileage do this:
    Try to keep your RPM's between 2000 and 3500 rpm. You get very little acceleration benefit above 3500rpm and it really starts sucking gas...

    Of course, AC sucks significant mpg's (my experience is about 3-5mpg).
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