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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Got me a 2010 CR-Z with now 108k on the clock. Around a week or so ago when driving slightly harder than usual, I noticed a weird smell filling the cabin. Couldnt put my finger on it. After a few more days of this I noticed all my windows were steaming up big time with this gas/burning smell. Had to drive with the windows full down.
Shortly after the IMA warning popped up and the battery assist failed to do anything.

When I stopped and turned the car off, It then struggled to start again (Never happened before, usually always started first time) When it did turn on there was no error codes etc. I then re tested this and drove the car hard to get the same problems. I checked the water level (Fine) checked the Oil level (Slightly low but topped it up to below the top filler mark and had a little bit pour off the top, Tried cleaning it up as best I could) I did some googling and checking, to find the Hybrid cooling fan was dead. I replaced the fan myself and still had the same problems despite the fan working at full power.

I put it into Honda on Monday past and they told me and I quote.. "There is no error codes, but we noticed the oil level was too high and the smell your getting is from the oil burning up. Also the negative terminal on the 12v battery was slightly loose so this is why the hybrd battery failed." Im not an idiot. So I explained the IMA failure happened prior to me topping the oil up, She went back to the mechanics and kept it in for another day.

Today I called up and they said there was 4 pages of fault codes but nothing to do with the IMA battery. So they were cleared and they tightened the negative terminal on the 12v (Which imo wouldnt of made any difference) and charged me £132 for the priveallge.

I then took the car and within 4-5 minutes the car was gassing me out again. I then took it home for a proper test and boom, IMA battery error again.
I called Honda back and told them its the exact same and she quoted me almost £200 to just diagnose the Hybrid battery.. Iv told her im not interested in that and I'll sort it myself.

Spoke to a specialist who has quoted me between 550 and 850 to repair the battery depending on cells damaged but also said the battery sounds like its leaking hyrdogen gas and not to smoke around it, or drive it..

So thinking I should get a second hand battery off ebay (3-500) and sell the car before anything else happens.

Anyone got any input or experience with this situation? The gas smell is mental.. its hard to breathe and you need to put the windows down to get cold air in. Iv removed all the rear interior aswell and double checked the cooling intakes which are all fine. Fan is still working too. The right hand side (from the rear) of the hybrid battery is boiling hot after a drive. Could fry an egg on it...

Thanks,
 

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Interesting. Who was the 'Specialist' you spoke with? :unsure: Where are you based?
Please post a picture of exactly where the hybrid battery is boiling hot after a drive. Point to it.

What were the four pages of fault codes, you paid £132 for that diagnosis, grab the codes/details from the Honda dealer and post them here. Thanks

What is the exact IMA DTC error code you are getting now?
If the pack cells really are venting (incredibly rare) you have a serious problem and it will have to be removed and replaced/repaired.
Not driving it would also be sensible if they really are leaking that badly.

You need an HDS/clone or equivalent tool to take a look at the IMA datalist.
If you do go back to Honda get them to print it out and post it here.

Your best (IMO) and cheapest bet if the battery is confirmed bad is to get a Nimh breakers yard CR-Z or Insight G2 e-bay pack. ~£300
Do my cheap cycling process on it to gently wake it back up, restore it's capacity, and then fit that in the car.
You can swap over your MCM into the new pack to avoid doing the IMA motor rotor calibration procedure.

Repairing a bad battery by swapping in only a few sticks is generally a poor idea as they won't match the originals that remain.
Different ages, different usage profile, different number of cycles, different internal characteristics. etc etc :(
You really have to replace all the sticks as a set or do some very time consuming (expensive) testing and matching for a repair that will have some longevity.

Post pics of anything you find during the investigation.

If you want to go down the self repair route I have a couple of sets of good sticks if you want to come to Hull for the day.

I also have a complete good Nimh IMA pack sat here I was using for testing recently.
I would charge you £500 for that but I would help you fit it at my place in Hull and give it a years warranty.
 

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Interesting. Who was the 'Specialist' you spoke with? :unsure: Where are you based?
Please post a picture of exactly where the hybrid battery is boiling hot after a drive. Point to it.

What were the four pages of fault codes, you paid £132 for that diagnosis, grab the codes/details from the Honda dealer and post them here. Thanks

What is the exact IMA DTC error code you are getting now?
If the pack cells really are venting (incredibly rare) you have a serious problem and it will have to be removed and replaced/repaired.
Not driving it would also be sensible if they really are leaking that badly.

You need an HDS/clone or equivalent tool to take a look at the IMA datalist.
If you do go back to Honda get them to print it out and post it here.

Your best (IMO) and cheapest bet if the battery is confirmed bad is to get a Nimh breakers yard CR-Z or Insight G2 e-bay pack. ~£300
Do my cheap cycling process on it to gently wake it back up, restore it's capacity, and then fit that in the car.
You can swap over your MCM into the new pack to avoid doing the IMA motor rotor calibration procedure.

Repairing a bad battery by swapping in only a few sticks is generally poor as they won't match the originals that remain.
Different ages, different usage profile, different number of cycles, different internal characteristics. etc etc :(
You really have to replace all the sticks as a set or do some very time consuming (expensive) testing and matching for a repair that will have some longevity.

Post pics of anything you find during the investigation.

If you want to go down the self repair route I have a couple of sets of good sticks if you want to come to Hull for the day.

I also have a complete good Nimh IMA pack sat here I was using for testing recently.
I would charge you £500 for that but I would help you fit it at my place in Hull and give it a years warranty.
This is the reason I'm immensely happy Peter is in the UK and not the USA, what a gem of a guy!
 

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CRZ
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply. Honda didnt give me any paperwork regards fault codes so would need to call them back again and our last phone call didnt go well...

I'll take a photo tonight when im home. I have paperwork here which is maybe 4 or 5 pages of stuff they noted, such as door handle not working. Tyre needs replaced soon, etc so im actually thinking now this is what she meant by '4 pages of faults' as originally on Monday I was told they couldnt find fault codes..

All that does sound a little complex to me and im a car guy, No experience with hybrid systems before. I can get a used one 3-500 online and swap myself I would imagine and then put it to someone like webuyanycar etc. I was thinking this may be my best option for getting rid of it before something else goes wrong.

All the other cars I own older Japanese ones are fine, when they break I can repair them and have the parts. This CRZ is not the same haha.
Will get back to you though with photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also im in Aberdeen and took it to the main dealer. Imagine telling me the IMA issue was due to too much oil and the smell which is obviously leaking from the battery, being the overspill.. Hearing that the negative on the 12v wasnt secure enough made me think.. hmm maybe, because it doesnt have an alternator, so maybe thats creating it to over heat but imo... from the little info I know on this car its gone like this..

The hybrid battery fan in the boot died. Whilst still being run at that time the battery has overheated and damaged some cells. Replacing the fan didnt really make much difference, maybe stopped the problem from happeneing for a further 10 minutes but only maybe. So im left with a faulty battery. Thats logical to me anyway. I cant figure out what else it could be considering you cant touch that battery when its hot, its roasting and the boot is stinking so badly, Rear window fogs first, then the side windows from the rear then the windscreen, unless I put both windows right down.

The specialist I called was in Glasgow and works mainly on Toyota and Nissan I think he said. So he hasnt touched many Honda ones but was more than happy to help me out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You can also drive the car slowly and get little smell, it will charge and assist but the battery bar jumps from 2 bars to full, then back to almost empty with maintaing an average speed of 40mph. Its not until you give it beans that it'll start flashing problems. But goes away when you turn the car off and on again but it will, struggle to restart the first time now.

The first time it happened it siad IMA system error I think, Today it didnt say IMA it just said system error, showed the little battery sign and the bars for the assist etc were gone. However this was flashing on and off non stop, the first time when it said IMA it stayed on solid until i turned it off again. So i suppose in that respect its not identical to the other day. I used an OBD2 plug in thing and it showed me nothing. I will take a photo of the one I used aswell tonight and post up when I can.
 

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If the battery is really as hot as you say it is/was it sounds like it has gone into thermal runaway, vented and cooked itself in its own corrosive battery juices. :eek:
I'm very surprised it hadn't shut down and faulted long before this, but maybe you got unlucky or it is a poor quality aftermarket pack/rebuild.
It's clearly very unwell so you will have to replace it.

You need a proper HDS diagnostic reader/clone ~£100 to get sensible data from the IMA system.
If you have had an IMA light you have stored codes. A £10 dongle is not going to cut it.

The 12v battery upfront will die quickly without the IMA charging it.
So take jumper cables and plug in power packs if you really have to drive it.

I'm intrigued to find out what has failed it's a shame you are so far away.
If you replace the pack the car should return to fine health. 👌
 

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This is an interesting case as I don't think anyone else has reported a similar meltdown of an IMA battery even with a fan failure. I'd think a later Li-ion pack would be more prone to this type of self-destruction than an Nimh pack (think Galaxy Note 7 etc). I've seen smaller NiCd and Nimh cells that got pretty hot and never observed them to smell or leak when that happened.
Steamed-up/slimy windows (or just the windshield) can happen with a leaking heater core which coats the windshield with coolant but you'd get a strong coolant smell with that which is more sweet than burning.
This type of battery does not vent hydrogen gas, that is a characteristic of lead-acid cells when shorted or overcharged. I'm not sure what would vent out of a Nimh or what it would smell like.
And as Peter said it should probably shut down from its internal protection before major damage is done. It is too bad that Peter can't take a look at it.
 

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Unfortunately Nimh cells do vent hydrogen/oxygen and caustic electrolyte in extreme circumstances. :(
These IMA cells have vents designed to open when internal pressure gets beyond critical.

I have seen a few cases of thermal runaway in Insight packs but this exacerbated due to a bad design in the G1 pack or gross abuse.
Generally it was initiated by excessive/prolonged grid charging at high current or the use of cheap aftermarket sticks.
A cell would leak (vent) and the electrolyte is destructive and conductive, unfortunately so was part of the OEM IMA G1 battery case so this set up a short circuit.
The battery then shorted and heated itself and its neighbours causing a cascading failure and meltdown.. :eek:

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Ok so I stand corrected. Curious what the chemical reaction is for that, I know what it is in lead-acid. Must have to be pretty extreme to happen with an IMA pack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In all fairness, I would doubt there were many CR-Z owners who drive like myself (what same mate said). Iv been drifting cars for the last 18+ years (Did a comp in Japan, Did comps here). Usually the cars only going back and forth to work and I dont usually go that quick, however the other week, I was on back roads in the middle of no where and the car was being driven pretty hard for a wee while. It was the following day the smell begun. Had this car for a few years now and never made that smell.

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Looks OEM to me?
 

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In all fairness, I would doubt there were many CR-Z owners who drive like myself (what same mate said). Iv been drifting cars for the last 18+ years (Did a comp in Japan, Did comps here). Usually the cars only going back and forth to work and I dont usually go that quick, however the other week, I was on back roads in the middle of no where and the car was being driven pretty hard for a wee while. It was the following day the smell begun. Had this car for a few years now and never made that smell.

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Looks OEM to me?
No, it looks like it has been rear ended pretty good. Might have caused some internal IMA battery issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just had a look and yeah I see what you mean now... The thought had never crossed my mind. Bugger... Took more pics to let you guys confirm. Iv never seen another CRZ in person before really so its all new to me. Doesnt look OEM though down on the metal, looks messy the sealant.
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With the better pictures I don't think it was rear ended. Something bad is happening on that rust spot. Is it also rusty from the underside? Heat shield for the muffler might block the view.

But also someone has been in there. That tire rack is new. That Honda sticker is only on replacement parts. And the battery cover is missing hardware. I am not convinced this is simple battery failed from age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Its got me thinking now though for sure.. I hadnt considered it. Not sure what the best plan of action is now. I suppose the car can be driven.. As long as you dont nail it.

As much as I appreciate the previous offer i wouldnt be keen to go to Glasgow, let alone Hull haha. Hmm.. Im not even sure the value of it, Iv seen 80k ones go for 5k, This has 108k and obviously a faulty battery... Oh me. The joys.
 
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