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  1. #1
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    AutoStop is erratic and battery charge up and down often

    Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed my autostop not working well as usual. I used to have it kick in a few minutes within my regular trips and now it comes on every other time.
    The other weird thing I noticed is that my battery shows a change that jumps around alot in 30 minutes or so. It just does not seem to make its mind up and stick around like it used to.

    Any ideas???

  2. #2
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    AvidHY:

    That is pretty odd.

    Given the symptoms you describe I would say that one of two things must have happened:
    1. You had a failure of your 12V system (battery or another high powered device/component on the 12V subsystem). Leaving the lights on overnight will do it as well.
    2. You boosted someone with your hybrid.

    Assuming that the worst did not happen, the following may solve your problem:
    - Make sure your 12 volt battery is charged. If it is not then have it charged with an external charger. Once it is charged unplug it from the car for 10 minutes. After these 10 minutes, plug the battery back into the car and go for a 10-20 minute leisured drive around the neighborhood. All should be back to normal and you should end up with a full IMA State of Charge.

    Assuming that the worst did happen you will need to take it in to the dealership and have them look at it.
    If the cause was number (1) then they may need to replace the malfunctioning component. Climate control, steering rack, etc are likely causes.

    If the cause was number (2) then your DC-DC module likely got damaged and maybe your BCM got affected just as well. These rather expensive items should be covered under warranty, but you have to avoid boosting other people's car with your HCH. It is generally not a good idea.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  3. #3
    MSantos,

    I am boost-starting (Jump-starting? west of the Rockies) a car with our '06 Civic Hybrid, about once a month (one of my son's, suspension damaged but engine ok car, stored in our garage). I hook up and disconnect the cables in the proper sequence, and start our car before starting the other. As soon as the other car is running I shut down our and then proceed with cable disconnect.

    So far no problems noticed, but you have me worried. What detrimental effects could there be?

  4. #4
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    OK, I dropped by the dealer on the way home and they hooked up my car, 1 hour into it they tell me that my DC/DC module is a goner and they have to order it in. they said they will call me when the part arrives.

    msantos, that was a dead-on bulls eye diagnostic, and they needed a whole hour to figure it out !!!!!!!!

    Yeah, now that I think bout it I boosted a friends car and then this started happening. I guess that did my dc/dc in, right. Good thing I did not tell that to the dealer. I'm never gonna give boosts anymore thats for sure.


    I will update you when it gets fixed. You are the best.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    AvidHY:

    Sorry to hear your DC-DC is damaged. This is one of those times where I wish I was wrong. Fortunately, nothing happened to the BCM and that is good thing. It is possible to give a safe boost but you have to know the car's limits.


    Mendel:

    Jump starting another car can be done pretty safely provided that you are trying to boost the right car under the right circumstances. I'll try to explain:

    Typically when boosting another car, the donor vehicle will depend mostly on the residual capacity of its 12 battery with the alternator providing the peak supplement current. That is why it is traditionally a good thing to have the donor vehicle running and even revving a little higher when starting the failed car.

    Now, fast forward to a hybrid vehicle like Civic Hybrid II. It has one of the most friction free engines in the world and that enabled the Honda designers and engineers to include a rather small battery that, to put it mildly operates within a very narrow tolerance range. In other words, the battery has very little cranking capacity to even start the car's own engine simply because the traction battery does that job quite well 99% of the time.

    Now, what happens when the HCH is boosting another car that has a lot more engine friction to overcome? Well, the 12 Battery is likely not to be able to start a larger engine without (bottoming out) and that means the IMA will be providing the extra current via its DC-DC module. So if the load is too high and the foreign vehicle is too cold, the DC-DC module may be stressed beyond its normal operating envelope. While it may survive a couple of times, there's always a chance that there will be one odd time when the 12 battery on your HCH is too weak and the DC-DC gets to do all the work and may get damaged in the process.

    So, what are the safer vehicles to boost? Another HCH, a prius, and an Insight and perhaps other smaller engines would be relatively safe.

    Can we boost another car/truck with larger engine or even an average engine when it is really cold (higher cranking effort due to the high viscosity of the oil) ?
    I certainly would not!
    I would recommend other HCH and Prius owners to avoid that too. Once we know how it all works, it just becomes common sense.

    Yes, there have been reported DC-DC failures already, some of them attributable to extreme loads during jump start routines. So far, Honda seems to be replacing them without many questions asked. Many other companies would put their foot down even during the warranty period. Anyhow, it helps to be cautious.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  6. #6
    Thank for the explanation, MSantos. I've not noticed anything untowards, no change in the charge state, etc. Hopefully I've not done any damage. Can you hazard a guess?

    Think I'll look into a starting device for the other car, or perhaps it is high time we just sell the car to a wrecker. It's a very nice 96 Maxima SE, with with a badly damaged rear axle, and body misalignment at all the corners.

  7. #7
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    Mendel, I would not be too worried at this point.
    The DC-DC module has protection designed into it and that helps make it a little resilient in most situations - pity it is not invincible in some cases. As I mentioned, a proper amount of caution is always good but you are always better off not doing it at all.

    However, If you feel like you may be doing frequent jump-starts then it might be a good idea to "invest" in a booster pack or even a battery charger that provides a start option setting.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  8. #8
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    I will not use my hybrid as a booster. It is not worth the risk!.H

  9. #9
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    My car is finally fixed. They called me earlier this morning saying the parts were in and I took the car to the dealer on the way back. I waited 1 hour and 45 minutes and it was done.
    No more jump starting other cars for me either. I learned my lesson and one time is enough.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
    FWIW, page 223 and 224 of the owner's manual outlines the jump-start procedure for the Civic Hybrid having the dead battery. There's no mention (or caution) of the reverse situation.

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