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Old 09-01-2015, 08:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New Hybrid Owner In Texas

Hello all! I just purchased my first hybrid last night. Now I have typically seen a hybrid as the status symbol of the pretentious blowhard hippee wannabes, so this is a big step for me (I have to admit I still kind of feel that way about the Prius...). My current DD is a 1986 Chevy Pickup I got from my grandpa and a 2004 1 ton diesel work truck. My wife drives a 2006 Volvo XC90. She is a teacher and her commute is around 50-60 miles each way. While we love the Volvo, the whopping 18 mpg it is knocking down is not cutting the mustard. Another issue is we just bought the Volvo so we want it to last more than a year. The optimum plan is for her to drive the Civic, but since our 2 and 5 year old make the commute with her, not sure if that will work out.
So about the car... It is a 2003 HCH 5 spd with 185k on it. Right now it has an IMA light on and according to Honda needs a battery. It is still knocking down 35-40 mpg though. We got the car from some friends for really cheap. I plan to install a grid charger and see if that will settle things down with the battery. My biggest draw to the car is that it is a manual trans car. I am a tinkerer and motorhead, so I am really looking forward to the adventure ahead, and the prospects of a completely new toy to play with!
So enough of the novella.

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Old 09-01-2015, 08:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site.

IMO everyone these days drives hybrids. Its just the next step/evolution of vehicles. There are fuel efficient hybrids as well as sport hybrids out there, its definitely not just a green / hippy thing. Heck, almost every taxi is now a hybrid just due to the cost savings they provide.

Sounds like you got a good start on what to do to rehab the Civic. Looking forward to updates.
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Old 09-01-2015, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome! Congrats on the new-to-you HCH!

You may have lean burn if it it is an ULEV emission code. That will raise your instant mpgs to 70-80.
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Old 09-01-2015, 10:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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What IMA code is it throwing?

Definitely do a discharge/recharge cycle, I would recommend 2. If it doesn't work after that, time for a new battery. I recently installed a discharge ready harness on a HCH1 and did a discharge/recharge cycle and brought the pack back to life. Saved the customer 2k.

Do not get a battery from the dealership. Get one from Matt at hybrid revolt. Much better and 3 year warranty for 1895(?).

You will get better mileage with a good battery. Probably 50-60 depending on traffic and driving habits.

You will not have lean burn with a bad battery.

Tires make a big difference. Make sure to get the lightest tire in your size. Even if it costs a little more, the 2-3mpg difference will pay for them.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamnotahippee View Post
My wife drives a 2006 Volvo XC90. She is a teacher and her commute is around 50-60 miles each way. While we love the Volvo, the whopping 18 mpg it is knocking down is not cutting the mustard. Another issue is we just bought the Volvo so we want it to last more than a year. The optimum plan is for her to drive the Civic, but since our 2 and 5 year old make the commute with her, not sure if that will work out.
Has your wife never considered to get a Tahoe Hybrid or something like that instead of the XC90?
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, if she would consider cutting her speed back to the 60-65 range the Volvo would knock down over 20. She is not a fan of the truck based SUVs, but we both really like the XC90. She officially commandeered the Civic last night, so I am now in the Volvo.
To address other comments...
Tires...right now it has a fairly new pair of Prime Well 195/70/14's. So at some point we will be putting the correct size tire back on the car.
IMA...the PO is a good friend of mine. He took it to the local Honda dealer and they told him it needed a battery. The IMA system works, just not properly. It charges and discharges erratically. I have found a grid charger on eBay for around $220, so I plan to buy that. Is there anything super special about building a discharger?
The car has a fancy ULEV sticker in the window, so I guess it is.
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So I have been learning and reading. It amazes me all that honda left on the table aero wise. The front bumper is a disaster!


This would be so much better to work with...


And the wheels, they are supposed to be more aero, but I don't know how much so.


The next gen HCH has a much better wheel design, but it is 5 lug wheel. I think some steelies with smoothies may be a better option. I am gonna have to find a used bumper to start playing with.
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Old 09-11-2015, 09:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't see anything really wrong with that front end. "Buckets" pretty much just "fill up" with air and the flow goes on by as if the bucket wasn't there.

What is the Cd?

I can't imagine a Tahoe hybrid offering any advantage whatsoever for highway commuting.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Get a hybrid automotive grid charger/discharger and harness. You don't have to fuss with building your own and you have (I believe) a 3 year warranty. If you really feel like messing with building your own charger/discharger there are tutorials o believe to building your own. Do it wrong and you will cook your battery. It's also a lot more difficult building a harness for a HCH than an insight, before anyone says otherwise.
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The whole draw for me to the HCH is i am a tinkerer by nature. This is a whole new adventure for me. I love to do electrical/electronics work, i just don't have the opportunity very often, so I am looking forward to it. And to be honest, the car is perfectly usable in its current state of being, so is hard to justify $500 for a grid charger compared to the payoff. But a couple nights tinkering and $100 bucks, I can easily justify that.

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