i-MiEV Servicing

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CometBoy
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Post by CometBoy » Thu, 21 Nov 2013, 19:57

20 years for the circulating coolant replacement is correct – NOT a Typo.

I understand the concerns about being ripped off by service departments and I also would normally service our vehicles. My concern is keeping the 5 yr warranty on mainly the pack but also the controller, charger, drive assembly and various computer modules. The service department on the various 15,000 km service intervals do log the pack data (and history) and records other data used as a basis for warranty claims.

After the warrenty period it's back to me for servicing....

Sure do it yourself, but it might help to have a lawyer in the family if any serious claims come up! Might be cheaper just to pay the $200 to $400 (as per the CAP structure) every 15,000km and get on with life? Just my view....

I also think it pays to get to know the guys that do the work on the i-MiEV. My experience so far has been great and they welcome talking to people that appreciate the technology. Providing data from caniOn etc can be used to support their work as well and they seem OK with that.

I haven’t found any conspiracy theories so far but it is early times. I guess Adelaide traditionally has had a strong Mitsubishi community so could be very different elsewhere?

Bruce

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offgridQLD
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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 21 Nov 2013, 22:00

I can see you point,

I agree that the Battery,controller,charger and most likely in that order are the key items of value in the car. It would be interesting to get a price on all three.

The battery has a 5 year 100,000km warranty. Whats the warranty on the other components? do they come under the 10 year - 130,000 dive train warranty?

Yes insurance isn't free and if you look at the servicing costs as a form of insurance then you just need to make your mind up if the cost of the insurance is worth it..perhaps it is. I think I will be lucky to do 15,000km pa so my servicing will be a time based thing perhaps one service PA $300 average.

I got mine back from the first free 1000km check/service with a complementary small ding in the passenger door (very ,very small. Most likely opened it gently into a hoist or something, they are paper thin panels. I just couldn't be bothered with the negativity of mentioning it and having it fixed.

Average of say $300pa x 5 years = $1500. Now the likelihood of something actually going wrong in the 5 years and then the likely hood that it will end in court while Mitsubishi try and prove negligence on your part and avoid there warranty obligations. Honestly I feel if there is a issue with there product being defective to the point of needing a replacement then they would just replace it and save face.

The question I need to ask myself is do I think I can put 5 years worth of driving - 75,000km on my Imiev without the battery,control or charger giving me issues. Considering there a few imievs getting around with 50,000km + and a few in AU (ACmotor 35,000km?) I think the risk over warranty period is low.

I have a inverter powering my house and workshop 24/7 and has been doing so for years with a optional 20 year warranty on the product in Europe. I would say the inverter on the Imiev should last a long time given its only in use for 1 - 2 hrs a day.

Back to the just the subject of servicing. What I want to know is what equipment dose Mitsubishi have in Australia to hook up to our cars. Is there equipment just a passive unit that can simply read information or dose it have some control via user input. For example can they activate a balance cycle. I did see a screen shot on a forum I could read battery trim as one of the tabs on the screen (perhaps balancing) Can they actually load test or perform a internal resistance test on your pack (my suspension is no) I know there is info stored in the car as to what temperature its been stored at over time, available from the OBD port.

How did you find out about the 20 year coolant life, did you have it confirmed by the servicing department?







Last edited by offgridQLD on Thu, 21 Nov 2013, 11:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by CometBoy » Thu, 21 Nov 2013, 22:59

Bad Luck about the ding!

If you look at the total service costs for the i it works out as follows from the Cap Schedule;

15,000km/12 Month       $280
30,000km/24 Month       $480
45,000km/36 Month       $280
60,000km/48 Month       $480

So a total of $1520 (max) over the 60,000km or 48 month period. In our case it would be time based so 1st year $280, 2nd year $480, 3rd year $280 and 4th year $480 (cheap insurance what?)

Re circulating coolant;

Yes I asked when I original read that and was assured the coolant service was 20 yr. They gave me a bunch of reasons – mainly the fact that the coolant unlike a radiator coolant in an ICE is not subjected to temperature extremes and the nature of the closed system is inert – My guess all plastic? The fluid is stable under these conditions and thus not an issue. But that could be BS – your guess is as good as mine! BUT I would NOT put normal anti-freeze in there....

Bruce
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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 21 Nov 2013, 23:49

I was just trying to think were the contamination gets into a ICE cars cooling system. Every time the coolant expands due to the high heat levels it ends up in the overflow bottle (usually only 1/2 - 2/3 full containing outside air as its vented via a tube to atmosphere.From what I can see the Imiev is like you say completely sealed. Whats with what looks to the coolant reservoir in the rear near the charge and then another one in the front? Just so you can clear air from the system each end

Even after a 1 1/2 hr drive from the hills to Brisbane I can still hold my hand continuously (just) on the motor at a guess its 50C or so. Try doing that on your engine block of a ICE car after the same trip. Image

Though considering the coolant runs through the motor,controller, charger and radiator and all would have it contacting aluminum. What the negative effects of that are I'm unsure.

Kurt
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Post by acmotor » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 07:03

The coolant specified in the handbook is standard mitsubishi glygol based item ? It is just a 'normal' coolant not special to the iMiEV ? with de-gassing tanks. Temperature cycles would be from -lots to plus lots maybe -30 to +80 for world market. There is plenty of metals contact.

That is why I struggle with the 20 year number. Maybe they just don't worry 'coz they don't expect any of these early EVs to be still going that far down the track. I note the 20 year text in the handbook is a paste job in a different font/size.

The leaf specifies 15 year inital change and every 5 years thereafter..... optimists of vehicle life expectancy too ?
But is does confirm long life claim for the coolant.
Just say the coolant lasts the life of the vehicle !

The most common failure of electronics that is water cooled is from the cooling water itself corroding the equipment. It would be sad to have that happen to your VFD or motor.

The motor and inverter are covered by the 10 year drive train warranty so the coolant only has to last that long. You pay for any fix after that. The US model gets 8 year battery warranty but only 5 year powertrain warranty. We get 5 year battery and 10 year powertrain. Possibly the better deal ?

So I've had the brake fluid flushed at 30,000km and less than 12 months... where is the logic in that ? It is not like I use the brakes or they ever get hot.
Leaf also replace brake fluid at 15,000 miles (US) / 12 months so is there something in this. Water ingress 'coz the slave cylinders don't get hot. Dunno.
Reading from here http://www.mitsubishicars.com/media/own ... mplete.pdf
Shows the US MY12 model has brake fluid change at 72,000km or 36 months. So what is it with Oz brake fluid ?


Call me paranoid, I'm with Bruce re the warranty. Well so far at least.

The service departments must be concerned for their income as EVs move in. Image
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Post by CometBoy » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 13:37

I’m not totally sold on the 20 year concept either especially the more I think about it. Lots of contact area with ali as mentioned.

The product used is DIA Queen Super long Life Coolant (green) and the system seems to have a pressure cap rated at 29kPa (just over 4 psi) on our model – uses 5.1 litres. The forums that talk about the DIA Queen Coolants seem to say it is nothing special and most likely Tectaloy or Nulon are equal or better anyway.

The manual (which I now have as well - btw very useful) gives some resistance values and talks about a Coolant Sensor Resistance of 2.1k to 2.7k @ 20 deg C. So maybe the system monitors the Coolant? Haven’t look further....

(edit... Just looked further at the circuit drawing and I think that is just the coolant temperature sensor! da)

After our warranty is up the first thing I will do is change the coolant. Very straight forward and the drain plug is easily accessed.

Bruce
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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 13:51

Yes the servicing department are trying to keep some kind of regular ongoing income flowing through. 99% of people wont question the logic behind there recommendations.

I'm sure if your concerned about the coolant you can do a simple PH test to see how its holding up after a few years. I was heavily into early 80's Honda's up until just recently. The model I worked with had a all aluminum motor, block head, pumps, manifolds the lot. You could pull down 1984 model motors in 2010 - 26 years after they rolled off the factory and I'm sure the coolant change intervals were long forgotten some 24 years ago after the warranty ran out. The tiny little coolant passages in the head were as good as new. The quality of the aluminum plays a big part to. I'm always shocked at the oxidation on all the aluminum parts on new cars, you can see all the chalky powder all over the Imiev's motor,charger and controller. If that was a 80's Honda it would be clean as a whistle.

I think it would just be standard ethylene glycol with a few inhibitor agents mixed in (standard long life Automotive coolant)

In 20 years will we still have our Imievs? In ten years mine will have 150,000km on it or more and most likely the battery will be at a point where I will be not meeting my range needs from then on. I will be in a position where I will need to spend a significant amount of money on a battery or sell the car to some one living in the inner city who doesn't mind a 60km - 70km range or so. It's hard to predict the future.

I guess we are all reasonably technically minded and more than capable of servicing out own cars but trying to find the balance between being fed rubbish and taken for a ride, door dented or brakes full of air and covering a warranty.

Kurt



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Post by CometBoy » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 14:10

I guess the other way to look at it is these things are strange enough that when the packs do expire there will be people that offer replacement packs or DIY kits with current technology batteries of the day.

I would love to rip this thing apart in 10 years and redesign a new state of the art pack - I have already run a tape measure under there!

In my view well worth protecting the other valuable bits to allow that possibility to happen.

Bruce

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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 14:27

True,
     I must admit the simple layout,accessibility and largish format of the 88 cells used in the Imiev was a selling point for me over the 10000 of tiny laptop size cells. I could see my self easily dropping the pack on the floor and adapting new cells to fit the box or remodeling it to fit new cells. Cant say I would be up for doing that to a Tesla model S.

Considering my tinkering nature it will be most likely to hard to resist.

On the subject of coolant at work we were told not to use Automotive propylene based glycol in our big heat exchangers all the silicate based rust inhibitors like the automotive coolant has that would eventually clog it up.

Kurt

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Post by Johny » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 15:16

acmotor wrote:So I've had the brake fluid flushed at 30,000km and less than 12 months... where is the logic in that ? It is not like I use the brakes or they ever get hot.
Do you happen to know if it was DOT4 or DOT5? DOT5 isn't hydroscopic so water absorbtion isn't an issue - only condensation collection due to temp cycling - and bad work practices (water doesn't get absorbed with DOT5 so sits in low spots in the system and rots it out - but is less likely to be there in the first place).

Brake fluid is a pet subject in Classic car circles.

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Post by CometBoy » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 15:36

Interesting - the service manual states DOT3 or DOT4 - so yes hydroscopic unfortunately.

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Post by Johny » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 15:48

CometBoy wrote: Interesting - the service manual states DOT3 or DOT4 - so yes hydroscopic unfortunately.
Bruce
I'm not sure that it's unfortunate. As I mentioned, the problem sited by classic car forums with DOT5 (after a complete brake system rebuild to ensure no DOT3/4) is that, if it gets there, water stays in the system and pools causing localised corrosion.
Some other disadvatages of DOT5 are that it aerates easily so takes longer to bleed as it should be left to settle in the reservior whenever it's topped up.
BIG advantage - it doesn't eat paint and maybe doesn't ever require changing - maybe.

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Post by CometBoy » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:15

Yes lots of reading material out there on DOT5 and DOT5.1 you are right most likely better with DOT4 anyway.

Bruce

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Post by CometBoy » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:18

I just received this from Mitsubishi in reply to my question about DIY servicing of our i-MiEV.

No surprises - it is not treated in any special way as far as warranty is concerned. So as long as you use correct parts and fluids and are happy to accept a challenge should anything arise requiring a claim (most unlikely) go for it.

In our case we will spend the money and have the battery pack data checked and logged as per the 15,000km intervals – seems an OK price for that insurance. And happy to keep on the good side of the factory trained service technician that I find OK.

If you proceed with DIY, it might be worth corresponding with Mitsubishi and keeping the reference number and the document they provide. Not sure the individual dealers would be that happy should a claim come up and you may need to remind them of your rights?

Anyway here is the reply:

Image

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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:37

You can worry your self sick over every possible potential bad outcome. That on paper might be true.

The reality is some of the Old European and I guess really old Jap cars braking, and cooling systems just were not up to the task and were not as long lived as modern components. Component Layout, material, manufacturing processes and the fluids that run through them have come a long way. Remember the good old days when cars had a bubbly line of rust along the bottom of the doors after just 10 - 15 years (even in realy dry climates like Adelaide). Valve seats, guides brake cylinder linings all had there issues. Most cars 1990ish and beyond have come a long way I wouldn't be surprised if you never changed the brake fluid it would still function fine in 15 years and 1/2 of us will be pushing up daisy before the brake lines rust through.

Modern cars use a copper-nickel alloy instead of the old steel tubing with zinc or epoxy exterior coatings.

Kurt
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Post by acmotor » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:41

Yeah well that may be half the concern.
It appears that for 12 months or more there has not been a Mitsubishi trained iMiEV technician at the principal mitsubishi iMiEV dealer in Perth, despite a framed certificate at the dealership service department claiming there was one.
I made the enquiries after the brake vac pumps were not being replaced. It appears that the dealership were told they could perform non EV HAZV related work without iMiEV training. Clearly the wheels fell of this when my brake fluid change was not performed correctly.

Despite all that, I agree with Bruce that it may pay to stay onside with your local dealer.

Truth is, so many things with vehicles will change. Buying online without ever involving a dealer won't be far away.
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Post by Johny » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:42

offgridQLD wrote:Modern cars use a copper-nickel alloy instead of the old steel tubing with zinc or epoxy exterior coatings.
Kurt
Agreed on brake components - lots better. But I still see the odd less-than-10-year-old car with bubbly rust - usually rear window. I'm assuming they live near the sea.
I guess the point is, even with shallow heat cycling, DOT3/4/5.1 brake fluid will still need changing every few years.

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Post by acmotor » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:45

Yes, but every 12 months ?
Sometimes it would be good to know the logic behind some of the design/servicing decisions.
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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 16:48

Yes I was using a extreme example and not good practice.

I will be changing mine ever two or three years. For $30 of fluid it is cheep insurance . Anyhow have to get some value out of that expensive brake fluid vacuum pump I purchased a few years back.

Acmotor, It really dose sound like they are struggling for items to put on the service list so brake fluid every year works for them. No one will question it.

Kurt
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Post by CometBoy » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 17:20

Seems a big difference in dealerships around the country, I know in Adelaide we currently have 3 qualified techs at the 2 dealers I have been talking to and that is without checking the other dealers around here. Maybe the training was offer here and they all wanted free lunches and time off work? A bit like fire warden training maybe?

I actually would rethink all my comments if no qualified staff member was going to look at her car. In fact I don’t think we would have bought the car. It was part of a deal maker decision.

Re the brake fluid - I just use the old pH measurement and change accordingly. Not rocket science.

Bruce


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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 22 Nov 2013, 17:40

Bruce,
        I would say you would have a better understanding of EV's considering your background and continuing passionate interest. Than the guy who took the Imiev short course at the service department. They key advantage he has is a direct line to the people in the know in Japan.

Whats the old saying to become it takes about 20 hours of deliberate practice to become proficient in most skills (most likely what the Imiev training tookImage ). A world expert in any field one only needs 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in there domain. About 3hrs a day for 10 years.

There are many people tinkering in there garages that would run rings around the so called world experts.

Kurt
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Post by carnut1100 » Sun, 24 Nov 2013, 06:07

Coolant not subjected to the stress of ICE operation is certainly going to last longer, but corrosion inhibitors and so forth are time limited, not usage limited.
My iMiev certainly won't be going twenty years without a coolant change....

Brake fluid....hygroscopic so it absorbs water whether being used or not
Brake fluid on an EV is going to deteriorate at the same rate as on a normal car.
I know we are much less likely to push our brakes to the point where a saturated system is going to boil....but everyday driving will still see the fluid degrade and start to corrode internal components.
Most moisture enters either at the cap vent or migrates through the caliper seals.
My standard practice on petrol cars is at every oil change I flush a bit of fluid from every bleed screw. The fluid in the calipers has the hardest life as it cops all the heat as well as moisture through the caliper seals so by flushing out each caliper every 5000km I keep the overall system fairly fresh and never have to completely flush the system.
I intend to do the same to the iMiev.

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Post by acmotor » Sun, 24 Nov 2013, 08:32

Another thought is that the coolant hoses and coolant pump may not last 20 years so you will leak all the coolant and need to replace it anyway.Image


Despite the wealth of automotive and DIY EV experience out there, I am still thinking that there are some production EV specific pointers that Mitsubishi for instance give to the 'trained' techs at the dealerships on their 3 day course.

I wonder if we could get Mitsubishi to run the course for interested EV owners ? Call it education/information not 'qualifying' so there are no legal hangups maybe. Do it throught the AEVA for AEVA members ?
I'd pay to attend such a course. Hey guys a mitsi, you reading this ?
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Post by CometBoy » Sun, 24 Nov 2013, 13:08

Never thought about moisture entering via the callipers but maybe you have a point. With good seals/boots, should remin very dry in there anyway?

My view was been that the biggest problem is the largish surface area of the fluid in the reservoir (ie under the filler cap). This is where you do a simple pH test. I also thought (my dad was a very old school mechanic) that not performing a complete fluid flush/changeover was not such a good idea as you are just pushing the more contaminated fluid more into the critical areas. I’m sure this is splitting hairs but interesting how we old guys (well some of us are old) get set in our ways and never challenge stuff me picked up along the way. Remember being told ‘Measure twice and cut once’!

I agree that a coolant leak before the ridiculous 20 year replacement period is most likely anyway. As I said ours will have the coolant changed after the warranty expires for sure.

Re the service training, can’t see Mitsi considering it but would be really interested if there is a possibility. The guys in Perth seem to have the i-MiEV numbers maybe that would be a starting point to ask? I agree that there is no substitute for factory knowledge despite all of our collective backgrounds. I guess once again, the outcome will be playing the game and paying the CAP costs to cover our investment during the warranty period... For some reason I thought Mitsi have sort of a First level... Second level... Etc structure with these vehicles and the locally trained guys only take a serious problem (maybe a battery issue) so far and once they think an issue is really present, they bring in someone up the food chain? Anyone heard that??

Bruce

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Post by offgridQLD » Sun, 24 Nov 2013, 14:34

With the unshielded rubber hoses that dangle under the Imiev I think Acmotor has a point regarding a fluid leak forcing a coolant change. Living on what is essentially a old single lane loggers trail every time we get a good storm/wind the road is littered with hard dry sticks that have fallen from the trees lining the track. Even Another car coming the other way requires you to hang two wheels over the shoulder so you can both fit on the single lane (all kinds of nasty s in there.

That in mind Perhaps I could fit a sleeve over to the few venerable hoses.


I think Mitsubishi servicing department would be shooting them self in the foot running a training coarse for the public.


I would say the staff training would be limited to what they need to know and then more in depth training would be only given to a select few. Perhaps not even that.

I did read a thread on the US imiev form where one member did have a battery issue and his local service department/dealer got the approval to replace the battery. From memory it came from Japan. They sent the service department about 3 full size pallets worth of gear. One was the battery and the other two were full of lifting and lowering equipment (basically a nice looking scissor lift) Along with a few other tools.

Most dealer service centers would just replace parts now days. They don't restore, repair or rebuild anything. If there was a issue with the controller or charger. My view is the best they could do is narrow down the issue to that component and stop there. Replace it with a new one. (as in a completely new controller) Perhaps send the old one to Japan for review.


So who on the forum is going to be the first person to buy a wrecked Imiev and pull it all apart for research?

We all have around 4 - 5 years to study the it for when our warranty's run out and we dive into DIY. Seriously I am keeping a look out for one. Just having the spare main components would be great.Shame so few are on the roads in Au so the likely hood of one pooping up at action isn't high but it will happen.

Kurt

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