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Honda Civic Hybrid IMA Problems



  • After reading a lot of posts about the HCH I would like to report that my 2003 has never had a problem. I have put 115,000 miles on the car. The IMA indicator has never come on and the "check engine light" only comes on when scheduled service is required.

    From what I have read here I am a very lucky man.
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    Oh my gosh, I just found this forum, and glad to know it's not just me.

    No more Hondas for me. Not after this. I'm going back to Toyotas next time. Two instances of Honda Corporate trying to screw their customers recently for me is enough. I'm sure they don't care, but they've lost me, and I'll be buying cars for a long time. First was the rear control arm which cost me 4 new tires and Honda wouldn't pay anything towards them (no notification, no recall -- and almost spent $800 on struts as at first that's what was thought was the problem).

    Before I explain my situation, one question. They did a software update again which I can plainly see has tried to extend the battery by not allowing the hybrid to kick in now except when you really put the pedal down. CAN I GO BACK TO THE DEALER AND ASK THEM TO REINSTALL THE OLD software version so I have full use of my hybrid again? To me this is NOT a fix, it's them cheating their customers in even another way. If there's a problem with something it should be FIXED NOT DISABLED. If you buy a TV and the sound started buzzing, what would you think of a company's service department cutting the power cord and saying "there, now there's no more buzzing." I paid for, and expect a hybrid system that works. What I'm afraid I've got now is a barely-working hybrid because Honda doesn't want to live up to its obligations (and by disabling much of the hybrid's use, it may indeed extend the defective batteries past the expiration date, screwing me two ways). Has anyone asked Honda to revert their HCH back to what SHOULD be a "normal" software package? This is what I want to do... and I'm sure they're not going to want to.

    Now since I'm new here, let me explain what's happened with my car (2006 HCH, 42k, live in California):

    My batteries have been crashing for a few months now. I let it go for a while because it was merely annoying. But the other day it crashed and almost caused an accident, so I decided to take it in (crahsed while going uphill on a freeway right as the freeway onramp dumps you onto the FAST lane of traffic. Yes, this is a strange onramp, but of all places for it to crash, it crashed here). Cars behind me were slamming on their brakes honking because the car had to do a forced major regen -- and even with the pedal shoved down I could hardly get up the hill -- with the AC off.

    * Car has had battery crashes for about the last 8-9 months like this, occasionally (once or twice a month). Has gotten more frequent lately. (4-6 times a month). Each time I'd take it in, the dealer would say "well, we don't SEE it now. Bring it in when we can see it" -- a brushoff because as you all know it's close to impossible because as soon as it crashes it forces a regen. Well it happened a few weeks ago right next to the dealer. Took it in, showed them, they verified the problem, called the Honda Tech line, and was told "since there's no error code, there' s no fix." Their "fix" was to take away most of the hybrid's power to prevent it from use (something I am STEAMED about). A few days later after software "update", crashed again. Took cel phone photos while driving. Spent today on the phone with a Honda rep (the "higest" person I can supposedly talk to, as those above him refuse to talk to customers) who sounded like he was reading from a script ("I feel your pain." But without an error code we're not going to fix anything. Doesn't matter how unsafe it is. End of story). I just filled out an NHTSA form on the problem, and suggest ALL THOSE WITH THIS PROBLEM do the same.

    Since the software update obviously didn't even make the problem less frequent (it's happening more frequent) I want the software reset back to what it should be for a normal condition battery. Then maybe the battery can get replaced and I'll have what I paid for and thought I bought.

    Thoughts, anyone? Should I go to another dealer to ask them to reset the software? Or will they refuse to do so? Have others? I don't like being screwed with a failing battery they don't want to replace -- and don't like being double-screwed by them crippling the hybrid system as well (especially since it has not solved the problem).

    Comments, anyone?
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    >>(there are 3 associated with 1 update number).

    Does anyone know the actual Update # or code or listing, and what the "normal" version should be? Again, I want to take my car into a dealer and have them "reset" it so that I can actually use the hybrid instead of having it come on only when you floor the accelerator. If it causes their defective batteries to wear down faster, too bad for them. I paid for a hybrid. As someone else said, they're simply trying to run out the clock, and it's unconscionable.

    So for those of you out there that have been asking for details and keeping details, can you please post the software "update" codes, and any information that might help me explain to another dealer that I want the car reset to how it should be? Again, the car is still crashing so it's not going to make it any more unsafe to have it reset so I can actually have a somewhat working hybrid system again...

    (I'm talking about the IMA "updates" for problems with the battery crashing, that limit when the hybrid kicks in, and how much it'll kick in).
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    CAN I GO BACK TO THE DEALER AND ASK THEM TO REINSTALL THE OLD software version so I have full use of my hybrid again?

    Let me preface my remark with the fact that I'm not a Honda tech.

    It's possible that the dealer may not be able to restore your software to the way it was even if they wanted to. It may be that only the latest version (the one you have currently) is the only version that is available to them.
  • I doubt they'll have the old code to put back. You could get an MCM out of a junkyard and put it in, or contact me as I have one here. (It's easy to install.)

    The updates that Honda has made to the MCM software have not been disclosed to anyone or even when they came out. It's easier with the Insights, as the 2000-2001 have to have the modules replaced (not flashable) and they have part numbers that identify the version.

    The latest updates for the Insight (and presumably the HCH) came out in 2007 and cause the car to attempt to maintain a half-full battery. The car will be more liberal with assist when the gauge is above half and more agressive with regen when below half. This messes with fuel economy and many drivers don't like it.

    BTW, you might want to refer to it as "recal-ing" instead of "crashing".
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    >>You could get an MCM out of a junkyard and put it in, or contact me as I have one here. (It's easy to install.)

    What is the MCM? Is it just a chip, is it a motor, is it large?
    How expensive would one be? Is it heavy?
    And could a non-Honda mechanic replace it?
    (And do you have one for a 2006 HCH?)
    Also, I live in California... with Calif's different emissions and such, would the MCM be different for California cars?

    Actually the way the car is now, it's NOT more liberal with assist even when full. Before the latest update (less than a month ago) it would indeed be liberal with normal driving, but now the white assist bars will stop at 3 tiny bars unless you really press the accelerator. It will never go to 4 bars as it used to. Also, you can no longer go to electric only coast mode while driving fast on the freeway, even when going straight as you used to easily be able to. I've only been able to get it to happen once, only when going street speed. And again, even when that happened, as I slowly tried to increase it past the 3 bars, the gas immediately came on afterwards. Basically I used to never take the car above "2" on the rpm dial, but now the hybrid won't even kick in until after 2 (between 2 and 3) and will only give 3 small white bars unless you really hit the gas (in which case it'll give 4+ -- but only when really hitting on the gas).

    I'm serious about doing this because I hate the car the way it is now, but I don't really want to put an Insight part (or version 1 hybrid part) into the 2006 HCH...

  • mrlar,

    The Service Bulletin number is 09-058, there are 3 software updates associated with the one SB number is how I understand it, Elk Grove Ca did only a partial and it ran like severe crap, then Lodi Ca did the additional one and it improved but still assists/charges/performance like crap. And no, have already asked if they can return it the original settings, they said no. Just received a follow up letter from Honda Rep, and responded with :

    American Honda Motor Co., INC
    1919 Torrance Blvd.
    Torrance, CA 90501-2746
    (310) 783-2000

    File Number N012009-08-1701419

    Dear Mr. Chandler,

    I would like to thank you for your time concerning my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. I too am grateful that the mileage issue has been resolved, as I mentioned during our conversations, I was under the impression that the tires had been replaced with OE tires.

    Please correct me if I am wrong concerning our last meeting, I agreed that the 2009 Civic Hybrid that I test drove performed as my 2006 has been performing since the software updates. I do not consider the software updates that were downloaded to my vehicle as “programming enhancements” as they have reduced the original performance of my vehicle; I consider the change in performance a severe safety issue and my vehicle is not performing as it was prior to the software updates.

    I also informed you that I would never have bought a vehicle that performed as the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid did, nor as my 2006 is performing now.

    I believe you agreed that the Civic Hybrids were experiencing IMA assist battery issues related to outside temperatures (heat issues) and that the software updates were designed to reduce or eliminate having to replace the IMA batteries.

    Having said that, I would hope that the engineering department of American Honda Motor Co is addressing the issue and not merely putting a band aid on it. Having been exceptionally happy with my Honda Civic Hybrid since purchasing it in 2006, I am extremely unhappy, frustrated and detest driving it now.

  • By the way, I was screwed out of 2 sets of tires, had a blow out in10/ 07, was never informed that the tires were wearing bad, replaced with same OE tires from Honda, then again in 06/09, same thing, after inquiring why the same problem and no one saying anything at regular rotations, tech came out and said, humm think you need your rear control arms replaced... only 100 cause I still have the honda care warranty.. the service bulletin came out about 6 months after the 07 new tires! No discount, no nothing!
  • What is the MCM? Is it just a chip, is it a motor, is it large?
    How expensive would one be? Is it heavy?
    And could a non-Honda mechanic replace it?
    (And do you have one for a 2006 HCH?)
    Also, I live in California... with Calif's different emissions and such, would the MCM be different for California

    The MCM is a metal box the size of a hardcover book. It's not expensive from a junkyard, but is from a dealer. Any mechanic (or you) can install it. The MCM is CARB certified so is the same for all states.

    Sorry, I have 2003-2005 only. 2006 is Gen II and there isn't much call to repair batteries on three year old cars yet (they're under the 80K warranty)
  • As I said before, an OCCASIONAL recal is normal as the battery ages, so a recal doesn't mean it's broke, so they won't fix it. After the recal, the car successfully decides that the battery is still serviceable. The problem is that you can't prove that it's happening constantly. I suggest you go over to insight central and find a thread there where someone successfully argued for a battery replacement based on recals alone.

    The new behavior may actually be due to them resetting your IMA system rather than any software update. Your car has been forced to relearn your battery.

    It is obvious that your battery is dieing, but your bad luck is that it is hanging on. Don't worry, it will die and illuminate your IMA light, and then you'll get a replacement - free.
  • I see lots of 160K 2003 HCh batteries. 115K is not unheard of.
  • To mrlar: Don't have the update installed. It's a gimmick designed to stretch your worn out battery. Drive it until it crashes. Honda has calculated that if they make these pieces of junk last past the warranty, the loss of goodwill will be outweighed by a monetary savings. Once again, if you can afford to dump the car, do it. BTW does anyone know if the Prius is better? It certainly can't be any worse.
  • Dear Ogre: You sound like you work for Honda or own stock in the company. The reality is that people have paid good money and received a hell of a lot less than promised. The car has design and drivability problems that I suspect Honda is unwilling to fix. They are just patching things until the customer goes away in frustration. You can call it a recal, crash or just plain taking a crap for itself, but it is dangerous and definitely not what people have paid for. And I'm one who loved my car until American Honda basically said to go screw. I understand that the Accord hybrid was discontinued because it was far worse than the Civic, if that's possible. Junk is junk and putting a happy face on the problem will not make it go away. Buying a different brand will.
  • i got my car taken care of at Long Beach Honda on Spring St (Signal Hill).
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    Here's the latest, from Honda about the battery crashes on my HCH. There's good news and bad news. Honda is going to make some fixes, but not what I really want. Read on.

    First of all, I had the update done. I had no idea it was such a bad thing to do. As I said earlier, I lived with the battery crashing as just a nuisance for probably close to a year, but it was just a nuisance so I let it go. Then one day earlier this month I was getting on a freeway onramp that goes uphill, and lets the cars out onto the FAST lane (instead of the usual slow lane) of the freeway (a strange onramp) -- and at that very moment the battery crashed. There was almost an accident because of it, so what was once just a nuisance, I decided needed to be fixed. If I knew then what I know now about the update severly cripping the hybrid I still might not have brought it in (though at some point when the battery died, I'm sure they would've done the update anyway).

    Well the update was done, the hybrid hardly turns on.
    I'm not sure what parts of the update were done (another poster here mentioned it's in 3 parts?) I don't know if all 3 parts were done or not, and I'm afraid to ask. I've just been told that I now have the latest software update on my car.

    So as you all know, now the hybrid hardly comes on. While I can still coax the car into all-electric mode for short periods of time at slower speeds (such as been 30-40mph), I no longer can do so at highway speeds (55-65mph) even though I used to be able to do so all the time, especially at one stretch of freeway I take all the time. No matter how gentle or how many times I try, when the car is going at highway speed and I lift up on the pedal and then very gently push it down ever so lightly (the same technique that still works at lower speeds, and used to work at ALL speeds), it no longer works at highway speeds -- it'll go right to gas. In everyday driving, only THREE bars of assist are allowed -- never more than 3 unless you really step on the gas (and thus by flooring it, it totally negates the reason to have a hybrid in the first place). And you have to press on the pedal more than you used to for ANY bars to kick in at all. And again, it'll never go above 3 unless you really floor it.

    So I'm stuck with a barely-a-hybrid car now.
    Plus, the update did NOTHING to stop the battery crashes.

    So I called Honda Corporate in Torrance. They assigned the case to a 2nd level (rather than the first level of rep you first speak to) rep, but when he called me back, he said there was no fix, to basically just live with it, that Honda doesn't "know" if it's a battery problem that causes the battery to keep crashing (yeah, right), and that because of that, they don't do any "blind repairs." Doesn't matter that I was able to bring it into the dealer right as it crashed to zero for them to verify it (in the records). They didn't get an error code (meaning the battery can still be charged if only for a short time before it keeps crashing) so Honda would not do a thing. But the car kept crashing, and I asked to speak to someone higher up, and the rep refused, telling me he was the highest person I'd ever be able to contact, and saying absolutely that nothing will be done with the car and that's the way it's going to be.

    Meanwhile after the software update, the crashes kept happening. I documented a bunch of them with my cel phone camera while driving (after the first few I changed the odometer to show the odometer miles instead of the temp or mpg as verification of how often the battery keeps crashing). The day after the update it crashed. A few days later. And again. And again. And again. (So this is when I called Corporate and was told there was no one else I would be allowed to speak to). Crashes kept happening, all the while I barely have a hybrid.

    So I finally decided to go to the local county courthouse and pick up the documents on how to file a small claims case. I was told that I need to file it in the jurisdiction of where the dealer is, not where Honda corporate is (even though the dealer is just doing what Honda Corporate directs it to). The analogy used was "if you want to sue McDonalds and it's in small claims, you don't go to Chicago or wheverver their head office is, you do it at the local branch where it took place." Well, next I went to a totally different dealership to see if they would do anything, only because it was close to the courthouse. They didn't, and the head guy there didn't know anything, insisting at no point can the car go under electric-only mode, insisting if my car ever did, then it was defective (I managed to show it to him in lower speed on a test drive). We were just going around in circles, so I left.

    Over the last weekend, the car battery crashed on Friday. I left a message on the Honda Corp rep's voice mail (after hours) on Fri that it had just crashed again, to please call me back. I didn't use the car on Sat. Then on Sunday, after the battery had charged up, it suddenly crashed again. Once again, I left a mesasge on the Honda Corporate rep's voice mail that it had, once again, crashed, and asked to be called back. It's Thursday now, and he never called me back. Nice.

    I thought about it, and decided I was going to file a claim in small claims court. Up to $5000 it costs only $50 to file, and what do I have to lose? Honda uses defective batteries that do NOT last the 8-10 years that Calif laws covers on the batteries, and doubly screws its customers by trying to ride out the clock by installing software that cripples the hybrid so much they're hoping the battery never gets used and never has to be replaced. So armed with the documents (which I hadn't filed yet) I went to the local dealer today -- the one that I generally take the car into for warranty stuff, as they were the ones that installed the software update (as per Honda's guidelines).

    There's a really nice, decent service guy there, and he was totally understanding of what was going on (and he was the one who had seen it visually himself when I was able to bring the car in right during a battery crash). Though I was completley unable to get Honda Corporate rep to do anything, and he refused to let me speak to anyone other than himself, left the car off at the dealer, making sure they typed in the service record what I was requesting (so it'd be in the record for the court case) and even showed the decent service guy there the celphone pictures (with mileage) of the battery down to zero on some of the crashes I was able to document with the cel phone camera (dated and everything). He said he'd see what he could do.

    Well, he just called, and it's a good news/bad news thing. They are going to replace the batteries on my car. That's good. But they are saying it's impossible for them to install the old software. I can understand the dealership... he said it's not like they have the old software to install.
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    The dealership said it's not like they have the old software to install... he said they'd have to get it from Honda, and they're not going to send it. They consider the new software the correct software.

    I asked him "well what about cars that don't have battery problems... it's not a recall, so they're still running with a full hybrid." He said yes. But he also said (don't know if it's true or not, but it's what he said), that the latest software doesn't fix JUST the battery problem, but a group of problems that may occur on the car. So if someone comes in with Problem X or Problem Y or Problem Z (one of them being the battery crashes, but it's not the only one) then they'd get the "update." He also said (again, I don't know if this is true or not -- can someone verify this?) that Honda considers this new software to be the normal software now, and that ALL THE NEW 2009 HCHs HAVE THE NEW SOFTWARE IN THE CARS.

    Is this true?
    I noticed someone posted something just a few posts back that said:

    >>I also informed you that I would never have bought a vehicle that performed as the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid did, nor as my 2006 is performing now.

    So is it true then, that the 2009 HCHs have this software that makes the hybrid only 1/2 to 1/3rd as useful as it originally was?

    If so, I'm assuming it's because even with Honda replacing the batteries now (and for new 2009 car sales) they don't want to be flooded 2-3 years from now again as the replaced (or new) but still cheap/defective batteries inevitably go bad. So I guess Honda is making sure everyone from now on's hybrid system never gets much use? So that the battery will have a longer life?

    At this point I'm not sure what to do. The batteries are on order, and are supposed to come in next week and be installed. It's about time, because the crashes are happening all the time now. The "update" didn't fix it of course. But the car I bought and paid $4000 more than a regular civic for, is hardly a hybrid anymore. In my court case, I was going to demand either $4000 or no monetary compensation if they put the IMA software back to the way the car was when I looked it over and decided to buy it. With Honda replacing the batteries, that's good, but I still don't have the car I bought and paid for.

    By the way, I'm only writing this above to show what has happened in my case. Everyone's case is different. The crashes increased in frequency (to where they'd happen on consecutive days), was able to show it to the techs themselves, have been documenting it with photos showing the zero level and miles on the odometer, and was ready to file a small claims case (already had the paperwork in hand).

    Can someone verify though, that the "update" is standard on all the new 2009 HCHs? Or is it in fact, just for people who have experienced one of the problems on the list of problems that the update addresses?
  • Hi mrlar, that was me that test drove the 2009, that car did have the updated software, don't know if all the 09's have them installed or not. I am hoping to have some sort of response from the Honda Rep from the letter I sent, not holding my breath though. Am hoping that the battery in my car crashes, as of now, it simply sucks to drive it in the hot weather, N. CA, go figure... I don't know what else to do, as they continue to say that the battery is working as designed. No way would I consider purchasing an 09, how they have sold any if they all have the software update is beyond me! Keep us posted on your car..

  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    Interesting that at least some of the new 09s have the new software installed.
    Does it work somewhat like the way I described above (ie, most of the time only getting 3 bars max unless you really press hard, and such?)

    I guess Honda's throwing in the towel and instead of using better batteries, really toning down the hybrid. When I first bought the car I knew it wasn't a Prius, but I considered everything (it was close), and bought it anyway. Had it been the way it is now, I would not have. And when it comes time for the next car...

    Just for the heck of it, I did a check of the Prius as well as the HCH to see what the service bulletins and recalls were. Couldn't find anything major for the Prius (I know there were stalls at first and software updates and such, but nothing really major like battery problems the HCH is having).

    As far as weather, that's another strange thing. I live where it is MUCH cooler (by the beach). It rarely gets above mid 70s here even in the summer. Maybe there is one week each year where it gets hot (low 90s) for a few days, but for instance, no one here has air-conditioning. I park it indoors, and the garage is so cool, I store food there and even on the hottest days, it's cool. When I go to work, it's parked under shade. There are times of course in daily life where you drive to the store and park it outside, etc... but in 3 years of having the car, I have gone to a car wash ONCE. That should tell you how it's parked. So it's not constantly exposed to high temps the way it might be to someone in the Valley, or places like Arizona or Texas and such. High temps may indeed cause the battery deterioration faster, but the batteries go bad just fine in normal temps as well.

    It's really a shame. It's a nice looking car that, until this point, I really liked. I guess now I have (practically) a normal Civic that just cost a whole lot more than a normal Civic.

    OFF TOPIC UPDATE: I changed tires too recently, when (again, because of Honda's design problems), the flawed-designed rear control arm caused cupping on all the tires. They replaced the arm of course but nothing for the tires that went bad. I bought some of the Goodyear Fuel Max tires -- Low Rolling Resistance tires tested specifically on the Honda Civic (not the hybrid, but all the data for fuel savings the company posts is on a Honda Civic). It comes in the HCH's size and specs and stuff, so I paid the extra money for them (a lot of money -- though still less than the Michelin LRR tires).

    After first putting them on, I noticed a huge drop in gas mileage. I hoped that as the tires "wore in" after a bit, it'd improve. I'm glad to report, it has. With the hybrid crippled on my car now, and hardly ever coming on, I'd have absolutely terrible mileage if it wasn't for these tires, which is helping me get only "worse" mileage instead of terrible. I can see it for myself: the hybrid assist isn't coming on much, but when driving even WITHOUT the assist (with NO assist whatsoever), the real-time MPG meter is showing mileage higher than it used to be with the old OEM tires. It just took a couple weeks for it to start performing well. So I can report that they DO work well (after an initial couple of weeks -- don't freak out at first, it WILL get good).

    Specs on the tire are great (wear, weight, durability, etc) but of course it's still more than normal non-LRR tires. But after the initial few weeks, I DO see a big improvement on mileage where the hybrid isn't in use (driving the same roads and areas, comparing to similar situations with old tires).

    It's the Fuel Saver tire by Goodyear. More than regular tires, less than the Yokohama or Michelin LRR tires.
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    Two PSs, one about the tires, the other about the hybrid update:

    (1) Tires. Just to clear up something in my last post about the tires and MPG: since my hybrid is now in "low usage" mode... for comparison with the older tires, I'm not using the car's *total* MPG (since it's now much lower since the hybrid system is hardly coming on). What I'm using to compare mileage on the Goodyear tires vs the old OEM tires, is times when driving with NO hybrid assist at all (since that's the way my car is now most of the time anyway!) I'm always looking at the real-time MPG meter (the real-time one that constantly changes) and I know after 3 years of driving the car where the meter always is at certain speeds and places. So I'm not comparing apples to oranges but comparing only apples to apples -- comparing the "hybrid completely off/no assist at all" moments on my car now (which is most of the time) vs. the same conditions as it was with the old tires (times where no assist went on at all). And after a couple weeks, the mileage DID improve in comparison to similar speeds and places in the past where, like now, the hybrid system wasn't even coming on at all. Right now my overall tankful mileage is really suffering because the hybrid system is hardly coming on, but in driving with NO hybrid assist, the new tires help improve the mileage compared to the same situations before with the old tires. For the first week or two the mileage (again, same exact circumstances) was much worse, but the tires have now been worked in I guess, and the mileage while driving without any hybrid assist has improved over what the OEM tires gave under the same conditions.

    (2) The software update: Before the update, the car would always be right at "2" on the RPM needle for most coasting speed operation on the freeway. I never really went above the "2" except maybe when passing. Right on the "2" is where the needle always seemed to settle when driving 63-65mph flat on a freeway, and getting good gas mileage. With the old software, even with just a tiny push at that speed and place, the hybrid would come on with the RPM there at "2". NO MORE. Now the hybrid will NOT come on at ALL at 2 on the RPM gauge, but only start if you push medium (not light) on the pedal, and are at or above 2.5. Doing so will give you only 2-3 measly little bars MAX -- and again, that's only when pushing down medium to accelerate. And while flooring it is required to see most assist bars (as was the same in the past), pushing down HARD (not flooring it, but pushing down hard) is now the only way to see even just 5 bars of assist. And unless you're in the process of accelerating at least medium-hard (like from a stop light), you won't see any bars AT ALL until 2.5 RPM. 3 years of constant driving around 64-65mph @ 2 on the RPM and eager hybrid assist are no more. Now it's a piddly 2-3 bars only at or above 2.5, only when pushing down at least medium hard.

    One final thought: I think about it this way. Imagine buying a nice new large-screen TV with a volume setting that can go from 0 (mute) to 10 (max vol) -- and shortly after buying it (while still under warranty) a very loud buzzing comes on whenever the volume is at anything above "3." You take it in for repair, but instead of getting rid of the substandard parts, the company simply resets the firmware so that the volume only goes from 0 to 3 instead of 0 to 10! You can hardly hear your movie or TV show, but when you complain, the company says "the problem is fixed. No more buzzing, right?" And if you complain that you can hardly hear the TV, and it's absolutely NOT the TV you bought and paid for, they simply say "well you do have SOME sound. This is the fix for this problem. End of story." Then, even if they DO replace the defective part, they still refuse to restore and reinstall the original software, because the new settings will help them not have to address that defective part in all the other sets. At least those who haven't purchased the sets yet but are just looking can see there's not much there anymore. But for the rest of the people who paid for and bought those TV sets that now only go up to barely a whisper on the volume? Would you buy another TV from that company?
  • Dear mrlar: Honda must really be experiencing some afterglow since screwing so many people. I am having the same experience as you did, except American Honda keeps claiming that my case is closed. I always thought that the Japanese model was one of providing satisfaction to the customer. Now, I see that Honda is back to building shoddy goods as in days of yore. :lemon:
  • I've had a good run with my 2007 Civic hybrid, that is up to about three months ago. I've enjoyed fuel economy of over 45 mpg overall and 42-43 mpg in the summertime. However, since the beginning of June, fuel economy has fallen to 37-38 mpg. In this period I've had full IMA battery failures that had not occurred previously. I've had failures in the past due to summer heat in the Coachella Valley, but now it occurs in the morning when it is cooler. I have over 75,000 miles on the car. I've discussed the issue with my dealer who appears sincere about resolving the problem, even if it means replacing the IMA battery under warranty. There hasn't been any mention of a software update and I wouldn't agree to an update based on the comments I've read.
  • Hey scbrian,

    Let me know if they actually replace it, without error codes, etc, American Honda is refusing to do much of anything... yup, had a great run with my 06 until recently too....
  • Even though they replaced my battery, I've now found that with the installation of the new software, the IMA doesn't kick in as much as before, and the mileage has dropped to around 35 mpg, overall. Not really happy about this and have decided to trade it in for another non-hybrid car with less drama before the value of the car depreciates more. No point in fighting a losing battle.
  • mrlarmrlar Posts: 14
    I just had my IMA battery replaced.

    Funny that Honda (especially the Honda Corporate Rep) absolutely refused to do anything with the battery unless an error code was shown (it didn't matter how many times or how often it was crashing -- or how terribly unsafe it can be if it crashes at the wrong time). Remember, I lived with it crashing from time to time for about 9 months and didn't bother because it was just a nuisance. Only as it started to crash more and more (like day after day) and it happened while merging onto the fast lane of a freeway uphill (the worst possible combination, but a stretch of freeway I drive all the time) when it crashed and lost all power, did I take it as serious as the problem IS.

    Anyway, again, with me ready to file a small claims court case against them (paperwork in hand) the dealer managed to convince corporate to do what they should've done anyway in the first place (as, at least here in California, the hybrid system and battery are warrantied for either 8 or 10 years, even if the rest of the car has just the standard 3yr/36k warranty).

    So the batteries were replaced today. After the paragraph indicating the problem and complaint, here's what the service people entered on my service record:

    "...customer is requesting that the IMA bettery be replaced and have the PCM update back to original program. FOUND DTC P0A7F stored. FOUND IMA BATTERY TO BE DETERIORATED. Replaced the IMA battery under in warranty goodwill gesture per XXXXX XXX (person's name), Authorized on 9/XX/XX, authorization #: XXXXXX."

    "Goodwill gesture?" It's STATE LAW in California that the hybrid and hybrid batteries are under an 8-10 year warranty, and even as Honda Corporate insisted there's no problem with the battery, that they don't do "blind repairs", right there in the record, "FOUND BATTERY TO BE DETERIORATED." How does having to be ready to go to court to get them to do what the law requires them to do become a "goodwill gesture?"

    By the way, does anyone know what the "P0A7F" is? Is that the firmware update?

    They were also unable to install the old firmware/software, as they said they don't have it, and Honda doesn't provide the old software.

    So now I finally have non-deteriorated batteries, but of course, the hybrid has been serverely crippled, and it's no where near the car it was when I bought it.

    In reply to Cdubya1's question, your car's MPG has nothing to do with the battery in that it's the software/firmware that controls how much/little the IMA comes on (or not), and with the latest firmware update (even with a brand new battery) the hybrid comes on about 50% less.

    I wanted to drive a 2009 Civic Hybrid myself to see if the new ones also have this very toned-down hybrid, but the dealer didn't have any on the lot for me to try. However, I DID try the new Insight. Yes, I realize this is a completely different car and battery, but I test drove it around town for a bit, and sad to report, the same anemic hybrid is on that car. Instead of "VU-meter" like bars, the Insight has just a needle move, but it was the equivalent of where my hybrid (and anyone else who has the "update" done or forced upon them) is: even when in "eco mode" (on the Insight there's a button you push for eco mode to supposedly use the hybrid more), the most it would give was the equivalent of 2-3 bars unless you do a hard press of the pedal (again, negating the purpose of the hybrid in the first place if you waste gas by doing really hard accelerations).

    So the long and short of it is, I have yet to verify that the 2009 HCHs have this crippled/serverly toned-down IMA firmware as well (someone else here on the forum tested one), but I can report that the Insight's hybrid is as anemic as an HCH's with the "update" installed. I have a new IMA battery now, but nothing has changed with MPG or hybrid usage because of the new update.

    One point once again to remind people, is that everyone's case is different. This is simply what happened in my case. But I have seen firsthand Honda Corporate absoultely NOT wanting to take responsibility for what they are legally responsible to do (replace defective, deteriorated batteries that at least in California, are under warranty).

    I suppose what I'd tell people are, DON'T have the update done if you can help it (because you can never go back, and it'll make your hybrid really anemic and barely come on unless you really floor the pedal). If one's IMA battery is dying or dead, I'm not sure if Honda will replace the batteries WITHOUT doing the update. It's too late for me though. I have a nice almost-non-hybrid, normal Civic now that I paid quite a bit more for. I had it as a working (instead of barely there, anemic) hybrid for 3 years before this update was done.

    Well, I guess that's it. If anyone has any ideas on how to have the original firmware installed (other than putting in another unit), or knows anyone who still has it and can install it or send it on a disc or something, please let us know.

    Also, I was just wondering if anyone knows what the "P0A7F" is? Is that the firmware update?

    It would be foolish for me to say here that I will never buy a Honda as long as I live. But I will tell you this: I will never, EVER consider a Honda in a hybrid or any other newer technology car. Comparing them to Toyota, the choice is clear who I should've gone with in a hybrid, and I forsee myself sticking to hybrids and other cutting-edge cars in the future. I'm not ever going to forget this.
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    P0A7F means "One of the blocks in the battery pack has deteriorated: its dynamic resistance is too high".

    See this link which is for the Honda Accord Hybrid, but which seems to be somewhat relevant.
  • Yeah, I agree that the software updates probably decreased the performance of the car and not so much the new battery. The paperwork I had from when the battery replaced mentioned P0A7F, too. It is very disappointing that Honda has created product that doesn't work as advertised.
  • We have had an 09 HCH for one year now. The first battery was replaced 12/08, with no problems since. I took in for service and to complain about sluggish performance when accelerating from a stop. Of course, the technician was unable to duplicate.

    We had the 09-39 IMA recall installed (FYI, this is to help with the cold weather problem that the IMA has. :( ). The technician also noted the following on the invoice: "Performed crank pattern relearn and start clutch learn."

    I don't know about the crank pattern, but the clutch refers to the clutch that engages the IMA motor, and can be responsible for some problems (according to the technician). It is interesting that it is possible for the system to "learn" anything, but I wonder if some of the problems reported here could be helped by some "relearning." I can say that the IMA performance seemed to improved (more aggressive use of assist), although mileage is still about the same (40-42).

    Anybody know anything about this issue?
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    ...but the clutch refers to the clutch that engages the IMA motor...

    That can't be quite right, the IMA is permanently attached to the output from the ICE, or at least that's how I understood it. Does it refer to a clutch between the IMA/ICE combination and the transmission?
  • Does it refer to a clutch between the IMA/ICE combination and the transmission?

    Sloppy writing on my part. I believe this is the clutch that allows the IMA to connect with the drive train, however that is done. Your description makes sense. I was told that this clutch can fail, but there is usually some noise associated with the failure. I'm assuming that this is the modern equivalent of the old clutch cable adjustment.
  • rx2manrx2man Posts: 14
    I am responding to the neccesity of computer patches. The computer programing can degrade in cars, a patch is simply an update to a program however sometimes they actually need to be completely reprogrammed. I traded in my 00 Dakota in as it was a POS. At 80k the dealer said I needed a new trans, but erasing and reprogramming the computer fixed most of the issues. I only realised it could be a problem when I read that a computer reporgram needed to be done with tranny rebuilds as the rebuilt trans still hhad problems. hmmmmmm you think we should have reprogrammed it first!!!!??
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