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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    >But, you also seem to be defending the company and the car's obvious defective behavior.

    That's where we differ. I don't think it is defective behavior. Due to my work with these cars, I have a great deal of knowlege about what is going on behind the scenes when you see behavior "A" or behavior "B" and it isn't necessarily what you think it is. I do think that Honda is caught between a rock and a hard place here, because the original programming which produced the original feel of the car is now known to be bad for the batteries when used in certain ways. So their only choices are to try to fix the problem (which affects the performance of the car) or leave it alone and have people screaming at them with dead batteries that are just outside of warranty. Let's not kid ourselves - they have plenty of dead batteries inside warranty as well, so they're looking to cut those losses as well.

    Still, two people here report that the latest software release seems to be improving mpg and fixing their batteries at the same time, so maybe they've hit on something good.

    > I have read post after post after post stating the thing is hopelessly under powered when the assist is gone

    Put 5 adults and luggage in your car and it's about the same as a hybrid without assist. With assist, the hybrid is more nimble than yours. You can decide for yourself if that is "hopelessly" underpowered. It IS significantly less and is a real slap in the face, but the car still moves.

    > Well it isn't a sports car so don't drive it like one". Sorry, not good enough!

    As far as I know, every US owner took a driving test from a state that teaches and encourages defensive driving. Why people should feel that they don't need to continue those practices after getting their licenses is beyond me. The car doesn't stall when it regens, you just have to put your foot down harder. If you were using the entire gas pedal already to make a left turn, then you should really re-evaluate your driving habits. That kind of driving CAUSES accidents, mostly to the poor people coming the other way as they try to avoid the car that is cutting them off.

    > 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.

    I agree, but can't you just stomp on the gas? Any hybrid owner that regularly uses full throttle acceleration (note that I said "regularly") is not getting the benefits of the car that they bought. They are killing their gas mileage.

    > So, on this alone the car is dangerous

    No, it is not.

    > not to mention the frustration

    Now that is something that I'm in full agreement with you about. The people here have every right to be angry about the annoyance of the changes in performance. They need to continue to raise hell about it - AFTER they completely understand what is going on, not just in a vauge way. If the latest update results in a loss of power when the car is being driven conservatively (when the battery is more than 4 bars), then they need to make their situations known.

    But complaining about lack of assist at 2 bars when the documentation clearly told you that this was what would happen is not constructive and will not get anything accomplished. Perhaps the next release will be better at keeping the battery more full, but that will negatively impact mileage. The software is walking a thin line. There are a range of drivers with a range of styles. Some will fall outside of what the software can do, but if they make it more restrictive, the others (the majority) will be negatively impacted. There are something like 300,000 HCH cars and if all of the drivers were having these problems, it would be front page news across the country.

    Lastly, recals are bad. I hate them. Everyone hates them. Frequent recals are usually the sign of an impending failure. They are not, however, a failure. They are an attempt by the car to avert a failure. People don't realize this and assume that the effect is the cause. They are extremely annoying, but dangerous? It might reduce the performance, but it'll still outperform many production econoboxes of today and yesteryear.

    It could be far worse. In a 97-99 Prius (international spec) when the car detects a similar problem, it limits the car to 10 miles per hour. THAT would be extremely dangerous if it happened in traffic. In a later model Prius cars, it won't even let you start the car with some failures.

    Just my opinion.

    Now back to helping anyone who wants it.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Your gauge before may have showed 20% to 40% while now it is showing 20% to 80%. Same charge, different scale on the gauge. 30% would have showed as 10 bars before while it may now only show 5 bars. The difference is that the car is acting differently at those low bars.

    > I'm not very mechanically inclined and not comfortable attempting the recal process myself.

    Perhaps a neighbor or a car-saavy person could do it for you.

    >I don't know what a radio security code is or what to do with it.

    Your radio has an anti-theft feature. When the battery is disconnected (like it would be if the radio was stolen) the radio locks up and will not work until you punch in the correct 5 digit code. This code is unique to your car and should be in your owners manual.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > 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.

    Okay, but from my experience, the gen 1 cars (2000-2006 Insight, 2003-2005 Civic, 2005-2007 Accord) are extremely reliable. They need battery work every 120,000-160,000 miles on average, but that isn't exactly the end of the world. The catalytic converter lasts about the same amount of time and costs somewhere around the same to fix.

    The newer cars are mostly still under warranty, so I can't draw any conclusions - yet.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    There are three temp sensors, and the battery management computer will not be able to handle any Lithium product. They will NOT work without completely replacing the computer system and nobody has created one that works for this car yet.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    Thanks again for the info. Where do you enter the 5 digit code to unlock the radio?
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    You just punch it in with the radio preset buttons (the number buttons). The radio will ask you for the code if it wants it.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    Thanks ogre GEV. I take my 2007 hybrid to the dealer again this week(3rd time) per Hondas request to have them road test it. From what I've read here, it may just be a waste of time. Thanks again.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Get the newest update while you're there if you don't already have it. Tell them that someone mentioned that your "battery relearn" might have been done wrong (they might have just let the car idle) and that it may solve the problem.

    I had a customer last week with a 2003 (a totally different car from yours) that did the relearn at idle, and his car only would show 4 bars of battery despite me shipping it to him full. It didn't affect his performance because the 2003 has different software and has no electric AC or electric-only mode. He re-did the relearn and got the full 19 bars (2003-2005 cars will almost never show the 20th bar).
  • targettuningtargettuning Posts: 1,371
    Yes, I am an interloper on this "hybrid Civic" site, BUT I read it out of interest and with a large sense of relief that I did not choose a hybrid version in 2006 when I bought mine (although the gas version is not without its problems) so as I said I am not speaking from a position of ownership but anyone who has half a brain can follow this trail of woe. The car simply is not what people who did buy it expected.
    My car (2006 EX sedan w/auto) has 140 hp and while a full load will probably effect the performance it will never be as slow as the hybrid version with and especially, without assist...never! Further, you espouse safe driving and while I'm all for that have you been out in the real world lately? 6 out of 10 drivers don't give a crap about what is safe or even sane so YOU better be able to compensate for their idiotic moves and if the vehicle you end up with won't respond quickly enough then however safe you are just doesn't matter. I did not respond to you to start something but to simply say that hybrid owners should not have to put up with all this just because they bought the car for economy, so they should forever drive accordingly. Real world situations demand some small amount of response from the car and if this car cannot routinely deliver that then it IS unsafe. Oh, when I bought my gas Civic in 06 I took a hybrid version for an extended test drive and even brand new, in a back-to-back test drive with a gas Civic it never impressed me as being the super car you think it is. Adequate when brand new with everything operating as it should but apparently with use it is less than adequate. So, back to helping for you and back to lurking for me.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I didn't say it was quicker. I said it was more nimble. The electric motor provides x lbs-feet of torque (sorry, I don't have the Civic number handy) which is available at 0 rpm. This means that the 0-10 mph performance of the hybrid is better than the gas model. When turning left (presumably from a stop) it will be quicker as long as torque steer doesn't get in the way.

    You are missing the point that I am agreeing with you that the car is not working the way it did when it was sold and that people should be angry and should be taking legal action, but I disagree that it is unsafe and that it is defective now. I feel that the original software was defective in terms of allowing damage to the battery system. I'm not trying to claim that it is correct now, but they have addressed that problem. Now if they can get it usable for the remaining percentage of the owners, everyone will be satisfied.

    You say that you'd better compensate for idiotic drivers moves. That is called driving defensively. Waiting until it is safe to turn left (a big enough gap) is a big one. Why? Not because the car might stumble, but any number of other things might happen. A pedestrian might decide to step out into your path, an animal might run out, a car parked at the corner might choose that instant to pull out, etc. Any of these things might leave you stopped blocking oncoming traffic. If you didn't wait for a safe gap, you're going to be T-boned, your passenger may be killed, and the oncoming driver may die. All because you're in a hurry?

    If you've left an adequate gap, a sudden recal event or a low charge condition will still allow you to complete the turn without danger. This is why I disagree with it being a safety issue.

    Hybrid owner buy a car for economy. Yes they have to drive it accordingly or they will never see the benefits. You don't buy a sports car to get good economy and you don't buy a hybrid to get a sports sedan.

    Real world situations demand a response. The car can deliver even during a recal. It can deliver more than some other cars, BUT it can't deliver as much as the owners are used to.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    Also, how did I ever survive my 1988 Chrysler lebaron which weighed 2800 lbs but only developed 110 hp when the turbo spooled up (not when turning from a stop)?

    Or my anemic 90-ish hp 1988 Jeep Wrangler that weighed 3500 lbs?

    How does a Subaru Justy owner manage to drive a 1900 lb car with 66 hp? About the same as a 68 hp Insight owner with depleted or recalling pack. The performance of the Civic when depleted is about the same. It is DESIGNED to have a safe level of power with no assist.

    Not a fun level, but a safe level.
  • The 2010 HCH provides 110HP & 123 lb-ft Torque. The electric motor is rated at 20HP & 70 lb-ft Torque. Now, I'm not an engineer & might be completely wrong, but it would seem that a car with these specs who's elec motor doesn't function, should be considered dangerous. In the HCH setup, torque is almost more important than HP. When you punch it to avoid danger or pass a car & the elec motor/batteries engage at full power, well the car functions at an acceptable level for sure. But remove the elec motor & I'm sorry but its dangerous. And the general public would agree, it's simply unsafe. Can it get you to the side of the road, yes, Can you get to your destination, yes. But an underpowered car IS UNSAFE! It would seem you might also believe that someone driving 55-60MPH on a highway when people drive 80mph because the speed limit is 70mph, would also be safe because you can drive cautiously enough. The problem isn't you, the problem is the accident you're going to cause because everyone else is driving 80mph. Yes we can agree that if everyone on the highway slowed down enough then the HCH wouldn't be part of any problem, but since that won't happen lets just agree that it's UNSAFE to drive an underpowered car on the highway. If you still don't "get it", it seems you may live in Montana & maybe haven't driven a HCH without it's elec motor functioning, in real world driving that 99% of HCH owners encounter each day. I have and IT'S UNSAFE!!!!!! NO QUESTION ABOUT IT!!!!
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    I filed a complaint with the NHTSA back during April 2010 when I was getting numerous recals a day (Honda said I had no problem) because I felt the loss of assist when in recal was dangerous and a safety issue. My recal would last about 2 to 3 miles and then all was well until it happened again after driving 5 miles or so. It seemed random but I think it happened every time I restarted the car after stopping for 10 minutes or so, about 5 miles after restarting.

    I also filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau Auto Line at the same time. I went to arbitration and the decision came back that my 07 HCH-II was a lemon (Honda had to repurchase the car) and one of the reasons was the frequent recals causing no assist and this WAS determined to be a safety issue.

    After receiving the decision I filed another complaint with the NHTSA explaining my car was officially determined to be unsafe to drive at times because of numerous recals but I was never contacted by the NHTSA for either submission other than the 2 computer generated acceptance forms.

    It doesn’t seem they think it is a safety issue but I do and so did the arbitrator.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    > But remove the elec motor & I'm sorry but its dangerous. And the general public would agree, it's simply unsafe.

    Nope. Power to weight is measured as lbs/hp (when you compare gas to gas engines). The 2006 HCH is 93 HP and 2877 lbs. That's 31lbs/hp.

    That is wimpy, but here are some other production cars that are not considered unsafe:

    2006 Honda Civic Hybrid with depleted battery (gas only): 31 lbs/hp
    2010 Prius with a depleted battery (gas only): 31 lbs/hp
    1990 Land Rover Defender: 33 lbs/hp
    (and because someone mentioned it) Ford Model T: 60 lbs/hp

    Now try this
    2009 Ford Fiesta: 29 lbs/hp
    2010 Volvo C30: 27.5 lbs/hp
    2008 Honda FCX Clarity: 26 lbs/hp
    2006 Hummer H1: 26 lbs/hp
    2003 Audi A2: 25 lbs/hp
    2006 Honda Civic Hybrid with Assist: 25 lbs/hp
    2010 Prius with assist: 23 lbs/hp

    So you're saying that a Prius is unsafe, a land rover is unsafe, etc? The HCH has EXACTLY the same performance as a Prius when it's pack is depleted as well. I don't hear Prius owners complaining about their cars being deathtraps. In fact, the Prius has a more powerful electric motor and has a bigger performance drop when it loses battery power so it should be a bigger shock to the user.

    > And the general public would agree

    Not if they do the math.

    > It would seem you might also believe that someone driving 55-60MPH on a highway when people drive 80mph because the speed limit is 70mph, would also be safe because you can drive cautiously enough.

    First of all the speed limit around here is 50 in NYC, 55 near populated areas in the northeast and 65 everywhere else (limited access highways and rural areas). Secondly, if you drive the speed limit you will find yourself passing people in the slow lane and accompanied by many others that are going the same speed you are. I do believe that driving at the speed limit while the speeders go by in the fast lane at 10 mph faster is safe (and legal, by the way). And, on a 30 mile trip, it will only cost me (at 70mph) 3 minutes over the 80 mph drivers. At the same time it will probably save me 10% or more in fuel economy.

    What's the old addage? "Driving a car at 75 mph is like willing paying $4 a gallon for gas."

    > If you still don't "get it", it seems you may live in Montana & maybe haven't driven a HCH without it's elec motor functioning

    If you read this thread you'd know that I have experience with both Insights and 2003-2005 Civics with no assist. I have also driven a 2006 with no assist. No, it's a slug to drive, but it isn't severly underpowered. It still moves.

    If your driving style dictates that the car is unsafe, then YOU are the unsafe driver and doubly so when the car has full assist.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    An occasional recal is normal. Numerous ones per day are not normal. There is at least one instance of someone getting a battery replacement without an IMA light by using videotape to prove the behavior.

    If the NTSA thought it was a safety issue, they would force a recall.
  • mainiaxmainiax Posts: 12
    > I have also driven a 2006 with no assist. No, it's a slug to drive, but it isn't severly underpowered. It still moves.

    When I paid roughly $5,000 more for a hybrid Civic than a regular Civic I do not expect to drive a "SLUG" at any time!! It wasn't a slug when I purchased it but it turned into one.
  • shonda3shonda3 Posts: 42
    LOL. If the NTSA is anything like MMS, they're too busy having sex on the office furniture and snorting drugs on the microwave to care much about our lousy Hondas.
  • grunn320grunn320 Posts: 16
    mainiax I agree with you. My 2007 HCH was what I expected when I paid an extra $5000. for elect power assist feature. Now that feature has been severely limited I am also experiencing unexpected loss of power which does place me in very vulnerable driving situations. You don't change your driving habits overnight, nor should you haft to. Bottom line is Honda has just converted our cars into under powered standard Civics without our permission. No matter how you look at it, thats just wrong.
  • pmzpmz Posts: 26
    Guys, trade it in! I did at the same Honda dealer where I bought my 06 HCH and got what I consider a fair price.
  • Ogre_GEVOgre_GEV Posts: 263
    I agree with you. I just disagree with the claims that it is "unsafe".
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