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I have a 2008 civic hybrid with 50k+ miles which I bought new in April of '08.
This has happened 3 times over the past 2 years - once with a cold engine and twice with a warm engine. Latest and worst was last Friday:
I back out of a parking spot; put it in drive and have to hit the brake just as the car begins to move forward (car pulls in front of me or someone steps in front of me). As I'm standing on the brake the engine continues to accelerate. First 2 times this happened to me I lifted my foot off and on the brake quickly and the engine speed dropped immediately to normal. The last time I could not do this (car was right in front of me). I watched the tach and when it got past 1500 rpm I popped the trans in neutral. The engine then rev'd to 4500 rpm and I shut off the key. With my foot still on the brake (never lifted it), I restarted the car in neutral and the engine shot right up to 4k+ rpm before I shut it off again. I then put the car in park, took my foot off the brake and the car restarted normally.
This really sounds like a software/hardware interrupt kind of glitch although I can't believe it carried over shutting the car off. The problem is, I can do this 1000 times where this does not occur.
I'm no expert, but believe it or not, I think this is normal behavior if your battery is dead low and I don't think there is any danger of hurting anyone or your car. The HCH has a very different kind of transmission called a CVT which among many benefits, allows the IMA system to idle your car fast without loading the drive train. What you are seeing would absolutely be a problem with a normal auto transmission because your car would be straining against the brakes to lunge forward. As you observed earlier, when you take your foot off the brake, the car returns to normal idle in preparation for driving. This is how it is supposed to work from my observations.
I believe your IMA battery level occasionally goes to an extremely low state of charge and the IMA system is programmed to aggressively restore the charge to a safer level. I've seen my '06 HCH do this on numerous occasions just as you describe.
I hope this restores your confidence that everything is okay.
Thanks for the quick replies. I do agree that I'll have to take this to the service manager although my experience with them is that they do all the plugin diagnostics and say the cars fine.
As for the CVT trans and charging, that's an interesting idea but I think this was more than that. I was standing on the brake as the engine was revving and it jumped from about 1500 rpm to 4500 when I popped it into neutral. Did the same thing when I restarted the car in neutral. It didn't drop down to normal idle until I took my foot off of the brake and restarted the car in Park .
A few months ago Honda sent a notice to bring the car in for a software update to change the battery charge parameters. The service took about 1 1/2 hrs to load the new software. Since then I have not felt any of the light surging I used to feel and no acceleration issues although it's only been about 5 months. The charging behaviour has changed - seems to not discharge as far. I've read that the latest battery charge philosophy is to keep it between 40-80% for longer battery life.
This seems like a good thread to make this statement in, one of the most important factors in high battery life is never to let it complete full charge cycles I know this from many years of dealing with them on a professional level.
So what does this mean to an HCH owner especially one who hasn't had their car "neutered" is to never let that SOC fall below 2 bars and if possible never let it fully charge(this one is more difficult). I find in order to meet this goal I have to drive with it in mind all the time and even plan routes accordingly so I don't sit in stop and go and deplete the battery.
However, Honda was considerate enough to give us a saving grace for our batteries during stop and go situations and low SOCs. This solution is called Low range on your CVT whenever you are driving very slow and are thinking "darn it I wish I could speed up to charge the battery" put it in low then you get very aggressive charging and even 3 bars while at idle stopped. Yes it costs a bit as far a fuel economy, but I use it all the time in stop and go to keep my SOC up and around 4-5 bars.
The only car worth owning is the one that will get you to where you are going every time you need it.