The Yeager's 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid
Civic in the driveway of our home south of Trenton.
It was a poor bit of timing but our old faithful 1988 Mercury Cougar dropped a valve seat right in the midst of the first economic recession of the Twenty-first Century. Our home town mechanic, Kenny Anderson, diagnosed the problem with the alarming prospect that the repair could easily top $1500. Combined with the already deteriorating power equipment, suspension, and just nickel and dime stuff. The inevitable had happened and we needed to purchase another automobile.
The Dying 1988 Cougar.
Fortunately, being a car buff, I had already done a fair amount of research on what car would be a good addition to the stable. We wanted it to be a 4 cylinder, 5 speed manual, and have a very reliable pedigree. I spoke with Kenny Anderson and got a laundry list of advise: avoid Saturns (junk), avoid Volkswagen (replacement part costs and complication of repairs), and avoid early Ford Focuses (junk). Be careful with Toyota as while they are very reliable there is little in the way of after-market repair and replacement parts. Hondas are reliable, are easy to repair, and have a huge aftermarket parts supply network.
I concentrated on Toyota and Honda with an eye toward hybrids. Craig's List was used but it's search routine was garbage. It was hard to narrow down the search and the loose method of posting by users made it equally difficult to narrow the search parameters and come up with a small group of results. A typical search for "Toyota Corolla 5 speed" resulted in hundreds of postings, many of which were extraneous. eBay was utilized next but few local cars were listed. From a nation wide standpoint several usable leads for hybrids resulted from searching eBay.
So the search algorithm that developed was to concentrate on hybrids while assuming several tradition Civic and Corolla possibilities would arise locally. I made several calls and personal visits to local dealerships and sent emails to several groups asking for prayer and open eyes.
I followed a local lead or two and dismissed those mainly because the asking price well surpassed the Kelly Blue Book value for the vehicle. Meanwhile I had selected a wide variety of hybrids and other little cars to watch on eBay mostly to get a feel for what vehicles are selling for and how the eBay system worked.
After a couple of weeks I was monitoring the end of an auction for a Civic Hybrid I was actually interested in. The price was very depressed so I posted a bid during the last 60 seconds and won the auction, well, kind of. I had not surpassed the reserve amount and technically did not win. I called the cell number posted on the listing to inquire whether or not the car would be listed again. I spoke with Evgueni Popov who went by "Eugene". Evgueni was a kind and forthright professed Christian so we hit it off right away. We quickly agreed on a price we could both live with and I began to make arrangements to fly out to see the car and visit Mr. Popov.
A used hybrid? Well, why not? Its not like I don't get a kick out of things that get good fuel mileage. My other blogs chronicling our adventures with the Escort, the Ninja 250s, and the E-Z-GO TXT certainly underscore my fascination with fuel effeminacy and small vehicles. So why not play with something that can really get some fuel mileage. Additionally I have been watching with interest the development of hybrid automobiles and had reached the conclusion that, for a variety of reasons, the first generation Civic Hybrids were the pinnacle of the power assist hybrid technology that would be an excellent fit with our unique situation.
It would seem that many Texans think that "they" are going to start giving gasoline away again as little cars are not selling as they should and big SUVs are still clogging the freeways. However, the same human greed that caused the economic mess the world is currently embroiled in will cause fuel prices to soar above $4.00 and beyond in time. At $5.00 a gallon for 87 Octane near 50 MPG for long distance family transportation begins to look very attractive.
There are several reasons why a hybrid might be a logical choice if the purchase price is similar to or under that of a tradition internal combustion driven automobile. Most hybrids are manufactured in Japan and made to very strict tolerances which means they maybe be better built than their American and Mexican made non-hybrid counterparts. If we can get well over 300,000 miles out of an Escort we should be able to get at least that many out of an engine that requires synthetic oil from the factory.
So why a first generation Honda Civic Hybrid? The 1338 cc VTEC engine is a direct descendent of the 1994 Honda VX hatchback owned by my parents. The Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) is well proven as it was first seen in the 2000 Honda Insight. Compared with true parallel hybrids the IMA is simple and the automotive hobbyist can more easily keep it running at full functionality. Additionally, there is real world evidence that the G-1 Civic Hybrid with manual transmission is more fuel efficient at highway speeds than G-2 Civic Hybrids which only come with a constant velocity transmission..
There is an old adage that states "there is no replacement for displacement." while this is quite true for power and acceleration the converse is equally true for fuel mileage as our little Ninja 250s prove that less is more when correlating to fuel economy. These little VTEC engines get amazing fuel mileage in their own right, my parents' VX for example, getting in the mid to upper 40s on the highway (until the tiny 165/70 13 tires were no longer available). The hybrid version of the VTEC engine is set to operate at or close to peak efficiency at highway speeds and the small, but torquey, electric motor is available to help the little 1.3 liter up hills and passing trucks.
The type of hybrid drive system is also a consideration due to our rural location (See How Hybrid Cars Work from How Stuff Works for an excellent explanation of the differences of the two primary hybrid systems currently on the market). The first generation Civic Hybrid's Integrated Motor Assist (electric motor assisted hybrid) technology is designed to use the engine for primary power, with a torque-boosting electric motor grafted into a conventional drive train for efficiency during highway travel. The internal combustion engine must be operating for vehicular motion to take place. The Toyota Hybrid-Drive System (parallel hybrid), which can support forward motion with the electric motor only at low speeds, is most efficient in urban environments. The more complex Toyota Hybrid-Drive System can use various combinations of gasoline engine and electric motor at high speeds. The configuration differences would also allow the G-1 Honda Civic Hybrid to survive without the Integrated Motor Assist with only a drop in fuel mileage where as the Toyota Prius would have a harder time being functional if it lost its battery pack. Second generation Civic Hybrids adopted a parallel hybrid design that is more attractive and marketable to urbanites.
One of our greatest concerns was the life span and replacement cost of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) battery array. After some research including interviewing Ronald Tanka of Honda Cars of McKinney, speaking with a local Toyota service manager, rifling through the FAQs of several hybrid car forums, and reading up on basic battery technology I uncovered some hybrid battery basics: batteries hate heat and like to be kept charged. The instances of early IMA battery demise (sub 100,000 miles) are linked to short trip urban stop-and-go commuting with long periods of sitting in hot parking lots while long IMA battery life (150,000 mile plus) appeared to be directly correlated to extended highway driving.
It is clear that with new hybrids having a $3000 to $5000 premium over typical economy cars and hybrid batteries commanding a $3000 replacement cost every 100,000 miles that hybrids cannot yet be economically justified. It maybe that considering hybrid battery disposal and manufacturing there is no improvement in carbon foot print over non hybrid autos. Hybrids are likely not completely "ready for prime time" yet. But this is likely to change with the introduction of the G-3 Prius and the G-2 Insight. (In all honesty, I feel that a hybrid mode added to the well proven diesel-electric system used for years by the railroad industry has the most potential.)
The automotive industry is clearly viewing hybrid technology as a transition to the "next big thing", whatever that might prove to be. Most major manufacturers have hybrid vehicles as at least a halo model. The hybrid technology in the third generation Insight and Prius are quite impressive and prices are coming down. Because of this concentration on development and marketing one can logically extrapolate that the aftermarket will begin to become involved and further force hybrid replacement part prices lower. All this of course gives hope to those that would like to keep their hybrid for the long term as the implication is that ease and cost of hybrid repair and maintenance should improve over time.
Our situation is very unique as we live in a small town that has a local grocery store, schools, and churches all with in two miles of the house. A the nearest large grocery store, mall, etc. requires a trip of at least 25 mostly highway miles. The 10 to 15 miles urban trips that parallel hybrids like the G-3 Toyota Prius and G-2 Honda Insight truly excel at do not exist for us. We use the E-Z-GO for commuting as we live half a mile from one of the Trenton ISD campuses where Joleen and I both work. The Escort is still the ideal transport and all around workhorse. The Honda IMA could therefore "live in the lap of luxury" benefiting from both "battery cooling" garage life and the greater battery charging efficiency of a designated highway trip vehicle. In turn the Honda Civic Hybrid could provide its optimum efficiency as the designated highway trip vehicle.
At this writing the market for Civic Hybrids with a manual transmission is depressed when compared with Toyota Prius or other hybrids with CVTs (the first generation Insights are considered by many to be the "holy Grail" of hybrids and command quite a high price even with 200,000 miles or more on the clock) making a Civic Hybrid equivalent in price with other comparably equipped Civic models. In our unique situation a hybrid could make sense given the right price. The opportunity for a tinkerer such as myself to play with emerging technology and push the MPG envelope: priceless.
Monthly Journal Entries
May 16, 2009 -- When they tell you to arrive about 90 minutes prior to your flight they "aren't just whistling Dixie". Joleen was busy with graduate homework but could spare a bit of time to take me to Commerce and drop me off at my folks house. My mother had business in Dallas that Saturday morning and dropped me off at Dallas Love Field where I made my Southwest Airlines flight with only about 20 minutes to spare. This was my first time on a commercial flight and I am sure I looked it. I was struck by how much flex was designed into the Boeing 373, as was evident during take off. The power of the jet turbine engines was amazing. The mooring was rainy and once we reached a little over 10,000 feet we were in or above the clouds for the trip (yes I wrote this during the flight) Coffee and a tiny bag of honey roasted peanuts: the "breakfast of champions". I am sure 37,000 feet would been quite the view if the only thing to view weren't clouds. Once we began our approach to Saint Louis the clouds broke briefly and revealed a lovely rural landscape. Man looks pretty insignificant from up here.
Evgueni Popov met me at the west terminal of the Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport once I landed. Evgueni immigrated from Moscow, Russia in 1997 and later earned a batchler's degree from Tennessee Temple University. Having settled in Saint Louis he met and married Larisa, a young lady who attended the same church as Evgueni. Larisa had immigrated from the Ukraine with her family. They currently are expecting their first and live with her parents and siblings while Evgueni searches for a job that will launch his post collegent career.
Upon picking the car up I want to see what it would really do with 600+ miles of Interstate and four lane in front of me. I filled the tank as I was just leaving town and stopped only for dinner in Springfield. The car achieved 50 MPG while having the cruise control set to the speed limit which ranged generally from 65 MPH to 75 MPH. I discovered later that the tires were under inflated and the alignment off.
Rain at Dallas Love Field.
The clouds begin to break.
Barges in Saint Louis.
The Arch and Down Town Saint Louis.
In the Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport.
Larisa and Evgueni Popov.
At Evgueni's home.
Stopping for dinner at Springfield, Missouri.
June, 2009 --
June 1, 2009 -- Took the Civic to Honda Cars of McKinney for the "TLC" checkup. The car checked out very well with all software updates having been performed. The IMA and ABS systems indicated no problems. The service department personnel mentioned that the car is likely worth $8,000 to $ 10,000 and would be considered well bought. The only real precaution is that the AC condenser is pressing against the radiator and that situation should be watched.
June 2, 2009 -- A package of parts from Showcase Honda in Phoenix, Arizona arrived.
June 4, 2009 -- I dropped off the driver side front fender for repairs and painting at the Plano Maaco location.
June 9, 2009 -- Picked up the driver side front fender from the Plano Maaco location. While the paint is clearly not show quality it is much better than what is on the car currently. Still waiting on a few remaining parts, including a grill from Auto Parts Avenue (an eBay vender), before I begin reassembling the front end.
June 9, 2009 -- The grill showed up so I began putting the new and repaired parts on the car only to discover that I needed a few more parts and that the Plano Maaco failed to repair one of the dents. The front bumper skin was not primed before painting and the paint began chipping quite easily. I just chose to remove much of the lower front paint and just blackout the area visible behind the bra.
The front covers are easily removed.
The front bumper was not properly primed and the paint flaked off quite readily.
Trunk floor board bottom.
Trunk floor board top shown in place in the trunk.
A proper trunk interior.
June 18, 2009 -- Completed the grill install.
Civic Hybrid in the driveway at home south of Trenton.
June 19, 2009 -- Tried a roll-on pass in 5th gear. It didn't happen. One will have to downshift to begin to hope of gathering enough torque to accelerate in an even remotely spirited manner. No one will ever confuse the Civic Hybrid with a performance automobile.
June 21-23, 2009 -- Took the Hybrid to Austin to attend the Texas K-12 CTO Council Leadership Clinic at the University of Texas Pickle Research Center. While the Hybrid is not an exciting vehicle to drive on twisting mountain roadways it is a very comfortable place to while away the time spent cruising Interstates. The car is designed for this type of travel. You can literally drive for hours at a time before needing to pull over. Keeping a constant speed of course reaps fuel mileage benefits. I drove to Austin without stopping and achieved about 46 to 47 MPG with the usual stiff southerly headwind found in Texas.
Once checked in to the Austin Days Inn North I asked the desk clerk a recommendation of a good local eatery and she mentioned Trudy's Tex-M ex Restaurant. The food was good and well plated. The pricing was on to high end of reasonable. The atmosphere pleasant, but a little loud. The wait staff was very attentive.
The Texas CTO Leadership Clinic was informative and compelling with a variety of knowledgeable speakers including: Brian Rowson, Chief Technology Officer, State of Texas; Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN; and Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner of Standards and Programs, Texas Education Agency. IBM gave a tour of their "green" data center and School Dude provided dinner at the Cool River Cafe. The food, served as a buffet, was very good.
The University of Texas did a decent job of hosting the event although we did miss some of the normal niceties such as water and coffee stations and adequate electrical outlets for all the laptops that participants tend to bring. Amazingly the University of Texas actually charged for a wireless connection so I simply skipped having access during this conference.
On the way home I stopped at The Euro Shop of Waco, a Ducati, Triumph and Victory dealer. An added treat was the owner's Austin Mini Cooper parked out front. I also stopped at Woods Fun Center to purchase a pair of summer riding gloves to use with the Kawasaki Ninja 250s, to run an errand for Joleen, and dodge Dallas commuter traffic by stopping at the Cracker Barrel in Lancaster, Texas.
The trip to Austin was accompanied with a consistent head wind out of the south and temperatures in the mid 90s. Fuel mileage suffered as a result of the wind . While the trip back was just as hot the winds were light to calm, but I had several stops along the way. I drove the speed limit and used the cruise control when I could and accelerated lightly when it was safe. Fuel mileage to Austin was 46.83 MPG and the trip back to Trenton was 49.04 MPG. Wind direction makes a difference.
In front of the Days Inn.
The Commons Conference Center located on the JJ Pickle Research Campus of the University Of Texas at Austin.
The Civic Hybrid at the Commons Conference Center.
Mini Cooper at the Waco Ducati, Triumph, and Victory Dealer.
The Mini Cooper makes the Civic and Miata look rather like excercises in automotive excess.
June 24, 2009 -- Newer cars, such as the Civic Hybrid, are very complex and reliant on their on-board computer systems. Therefore I purchased a new Actron CP9180 AutoScanner® Plus scan tool on eBay. The CP9180 is compatible with 1996 and newer OBD II compliant vehicles and is CAN compliant which should enable me to keep track of the Hybrid's secret life.
July, 2009 -- I found a location that specializes in restorations right here in Trenton. I had pretty much ignored them due to the name, but happened to note they were listed under "body shops" in the Fannin County yellow pages and decided to investigate. While J & J Volkswagon focus is on classic air cooled Volkswagens they do body work and restorations on anything from old trucks to Chevelles and El Caminos. The quality of their work is excellent and their pricing reasonable. As the Plano Maaco failed to repair the fender I took them to my satisfaction and refused to make it right J & J Volkswagon now has my business. This changed in 2010 (see July 2010)
August, 2009 --
September, 2009 -- Joleen (the spouse) has been the primary driver utilizing the Hybrid for commuting to her master's degree classes. Achieved 51 MPG running the speed limit on a trip from the house to Greenville, Texas.
October, 2009 -- Purchased a ScanGaugeII that will keep one abreast of fuel rate, throttle position, ignition timing and more in order to tweak hypermiling techniques while driving. The ScanGaugeII has the additional benefit of being able to read the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and clear the trouble codes and data on the fly. While it will not replace the Actron CP9180 AutoScanner® Plus scan tool it will be nice to keep track of the reoccurring P2000 secondary catalytic converter trouble code.
October 2, 2009 -- I took the Hybrid to Bonham to get an over-due oil change and drop by Wal-Mart for a few items. On the way back to the house I stopped to inspect a small pickup at Blackland Star Motors located on Texas State Highway 121 between Bonham and Trenton. It seems that the senior owner of Blackland Star Motors has recently purchased a 2003 Civic Hybrid. I suspect we will be comparing notes on our cars from time to time.
October 10, 2009 -- Joleen and I took attended the Saint Jo High School Class of 1979 Thirtieth Class Reunion. One of the major drawbacks of being a Methodist preacher's child is the almost complete inability to lay down roots when growing up. I only attended Saint Jo High School for a year and a half before graduating in the spring of 1979. I had actually spent more time enrolled at previous schools over my academic career. Similarly, Joleen graduated from Commerce High School after attending only her senior year. Joleen moved to Commerce after living in Quitman for several years so her mother could complete a Masters in Counseling in fall of 1974. The Commerce High School Class of 1975 has yet to have a reunion. Most of the Saint Jo High School Class of 1979 have attended together since first grade. The fact that the of Class of 1979 has allowed us both to "adopt" them as our High School class is a testament to the Texas rural mind set and "Southern Hospitality" that runs deep in this area.
Slightly over half of the Saint Jo High School Class of 1979 still live in the area and the remainder have moved far away and/or have been lost track of over the years. Sadly, only about 25% of the class could attend this year's function. The reunion was held at Ancient Ovens located a few miles north of Saint Jo, Texas just east of FM 677. Ancient Ovens specializes in baked Italian style cuisine served at an outdoor venue. Having visited the website Joleen and I were really looking forward to the cuisine and catching up with the folks from Saint Jo. Those attending enjoyed reminiscing and catching up on how each other was doing. I personally remembered some of the anecdotes and teachers referenced during dinner conversation. As we broke up for the evening all desired to get together more often than every five years, but life has a way of making its own schedule.
Unfortunately, the day dawned quite cold for mid October and the out door venue was a bit trying for some as the temperature hovered in the low 50s to upper 40 for the evening. Ancient Ovens is designed to be the focal point of the evening. The dining experience took a little over three hours which in many ways was ideal for a event purposed to promote visiting and fellowship. The fare was quite palatable and served family style by a personable wait staff. The big issue was that every course was served in such a way as affording each patron a mere taste and then several minutes would pass before the next opportunity to partake. The time between the serving of each individual course would stretch to half an hour or beyond. The issue appeared to be the distant proximity to the chef and the large number of patrons. At the prices charged all course servings should have been hot, plentiful, and timely. It is likely that the more intimate seating near the oven would have been more entertaining as well. Ancient Ovens was very enjoyable and I would recommend it as a culinary destination when the trip and traveling are a large part of the evening. A superior dining experience can be had at a top notch local restaurant such as Luigi's Italian Cafe of Rockwall, Texas for example at about half the price.
Fuel mileage for the 200 mile round trip was 44.8 MPG with slowing through small towns causing the biggest drop in fuel economy.
The Civic Hybrid at Ancient Ovens
Joleen walking toward Ancient Ovens
Home, kitchen, and oven at Ancient Ovens.
Owners home and kitchen at Ancient Ovens.
The oven at Ancient Ovens
The owner and chef of Ancient Ovens seating patrons.
View from the patio looking toward the oven at Ancient Ovens.
View from the patio at Ancient Ovens.
Travis Moore and Richard Corley.
Tina Miller-Laws and Darla Gaston-Preuniger
Joleen, Darla and Mike Preuniger, Travis Moore.
Tina Miller, Kathy Corley, and Richard Corley.
Roger Nunneley and his friend, Annie
November, 2009 --
December, 2009 --
December 22, 2009 -- I replaced the worn incorrect tires that came on the Civic Hybrid with the correct stock tires: Bridgestone B381s. The reputation on many of the hybrid forums is that having the incorrect tire on a first generation Civic Hybrid could make as much as 5 MPG. The car has been getting in the 40s at a tankful. We shall see.
January, 2010 --
January 15, 2010 -- Victoria and I took the hybrid to Waco to visit Baylor University as we explore what college Victoria will continue her education. The Civic achieved 51.6 MPG at the speed limit on the way to Waco with calm winds. The winds and rain dropped fuel mileage for the return trip to only 49.5 MPG. For more on the Baylor University visit please visit our Waco to visit Victoria's University Visits site.
January 23, 2010 -- I drove the Civic Hybrid to Waco, Texas to the North Texas Christian Motorcyclists Association Officer's Orientation in Waco at the Church of the Open Door. The Civic achieved 57.1 MPG driving the speed limit with calm to a slight north west winds. The evidence is beginning to indicate that the Bridgestone B381 tires do indeed make a difference in fuel consumption. The sessions were very informative and enlightening. I attended topics on Christian leadership, conflict resolution, anger, and forgiveness. The King's Kruizers CMA chapter officers met for lunch at the Casa Ole' across the street from the church. Traffic congestion and rain dropped fuel mileage for the return trip to only 54.1 MPG.
February, 2010 --
February 5-6, 2010 -- I drove the Civic Hybrid to Tyler, Texas to the North Texas Christian Motorcyclists Association 2010 Seasons of Refreshing at Westwood Baptist Church. The Civic achieved 49.2 MPG for the trip due to the road construction and the number of small towns traveled through in route. I spent the night with Joleen's folks in Quitman, Texas. There were a record number in attendance and a variety of sessions to attend.
March, 2010 --
April, 2010 --
May, 2010 --
June, 2010 --
June 1-4, 2010 -- I took the Civic Hybrid to J & J Volkswagon correct a parking lot ding on the rear bumper skin. This time the car came back with very poorly mismatched paint. When I expressed interest and concern I was told that was the best that could be done as the bumper skin was plastic. I can no longer recommend J & J Volkswagon due to a lack of customer service and a proper paint booth (they out source the painting it seems).
July, 2010 --
July 8-11, 2010 -- We drove the Civic Hybrid to Colby, Kansas for a reunion on Joleen's side of the family. This was our first extended trip with the Hybrid. The Civic was judged comfortable and competent in long distance travel as it gobbled up the 775 mile Interstate dominated route with aplomb in about 13 hours. Fuel mileage for the Kansas trip was only about 45 MPG due to winds and carrying an extra 700 lbs over the usual one person and some light luggage. The fuel mileage highlight was 54+ MPG from Colby, Kansas to Salina, Kansas on the trip home likely due to the favorable wind direction.
Visiting and remembering past times.
Meal preparation about to get under way with Jeff Maestas in charge.
Joleen and first cousin Debbie.
Crafts for the youngest family members.
Working on pine wood derby cars has been a highlight of the festivities for years.
July 13-15, 2010 -- I took the Civic Hybrid to The Body Shop of McKinney in McKinney, Texas to correct the very poorly mismatched paint of J & J Volkswagon. I had stumbled across The Body Shop of McKinney when the McKinney Toyota dealer recommended them to do some minor work on our daughter's 2004 Camry. Steve Newman, The Body Shop of McKinney saw that the bumper skin was done correctly with a life time workmanship warranty at half the price of J & J Volkswagon. I now know where in the area to take a car for body repairs.
Correct rear bumper skin color thanks to The Body Shop of McKinney
Ask any sixteen year old "import tuner" and they will tell you that placing this badge on a Japanese import car will get you at least a 5% increase in horse power.
Therefore, when restoring the rear end of a hybrid one might as well have a good in-your-face "I'm greener than you pavement-only, four-wheel-drive SUV piloting, urbanite poseurs" early generation hybrid badging on the driver's side rear bumper to get a similar increase in fuel economy (deleted the Civic badge and moved hybrid badging to driver's side). Well, at least they will know why I am accelerating so blasted slowly while entering the freeway.
July 16, 2010 -- I took stumbled across the valve adjustment service schedule on the Internet and presumed that the valve lash had never been checked. I spent the morning adjusting the valve clearance. All the valves clearances were greater (looser) than factory specifications.
I later took the Civic Hybrid to Honda Cars of McKinney for a four wheel alignment (coupons rock) Ronald Tranka, service advisor did a great job of taking care of the Hybrid as is the norm. Honda Cars of McKinney has a very attentive and professional service department. Unfortunately the rear wheels could not be adjusted correctly due to years of road salt so some repair parts and possibly a couple of after market items will have to be tracked down.
I was able to locate a correct Civic Hybrid spindle and trailing arm at Nevada Import Salvage Parts just west of nearby Nevada, Texas (it will be nice to have a good parts car close by). The stock Honda trailing arm/spindle design allows good caster adjustment but dictates a limited camber adjustment. To allow fully independent camber adjustment I located a Skunk2 Racing Pro Series Adjustable Rear Camber Kit at a good price.
August, 2010 --
September, 2010 --
October, 2010 --
November, 2010 --
December, 2010 -- Someone has clearly placed a target on the rear bumper of the Civic Hybrid. On the way to the Target Super Center at US 380 and US 75 in McKinney, Texas, we were waiting to merge onto the US 75 South service road. We had just begun to ease into service road traffic when a small dual purpose motorcycle appeared from behind the road construction signs. We braked for the motorcycle. The driver of the Dodge 1500 was likely looking down the road in preparation to merge and did not notice our brake lamps. Crunch! Fortunately, only the rear bumper skin was damaged.
Joleen immediately called Dixie Turman our State Farm agent, and reported the incident while I traded information with the very appologetic Ram driver. The pickup was insured by Geico. I remembered the solid experience we had taking the Civic Hybrid to The Body Shop of McKinney and dropped by there on the way home. The Body Shop of McKinney is a Geico "Flagship" shop so getting the car repaired there was a non issue. The Geico adjuster and staff at The Body Shop were fantastic and provided a Chevrolet Aveo (more on that later) rental car. The Body Shop of McKinney once again provided superior service on the properly installed bumper skin and a life time workmanship warranty. This is the first time I did not have to reinstall the "repaired" parts correctly upon return from a body shop. We highly recommend The Body Shop of McKinney.
The Aveo is a shoddily manufactured, poorly designed little automobile. Shockingly the little car only achieved about 25 miles per gallon to the house and back. Clearly both Chevrolet and Suzuki are better off designing and building their own cars than slapping their nameplate on Daewoo's pitiful little offering.
The Dodge Ram that hit the Civic Hybrid (Photos by Joleen Yeager via Palm Pixi)
Chevy Aveo manufactured by Daewoo.
Repaired bumper at a twilight pick-up from The Body Shop of McKinney.
January, 2011 --
June, 2011 -- We replaced the missing lower fairings, added Skunk2 Racing rear suspension links (to get full camber and caster adjustment to get factory wheel alinement), and installed a carbon fiber hood (lost 25lbs - and is more to pay omage to the departed Escort LX Wagon and likely made little or no difference in fuel economy). Drove to the Chicago area to see our son-in-law graduate from Navel Basic Training (The Yeager's Chicago Trip).
Septemeber, 2011 -- We drove to the Charleston, South Carolina area to see our first grandchild shortly after she was born (Family Fall 2011 Trip to Goose Creek).
Decemeber, 2011 -- We drove to Goose Creek, South Carolina area for Christmas (Family Christmas 2011 Trip to Goose Creek).
July 12-15, 2012 -- We drove the Civic Hybrid to Colby, Kansas for the biannual family reunion on Joleen's side of the family. The faithful Hybrid threw multiple ODBC error codes just as it was stretching its legs on the first bit of north bound interstate in Oklahoma. After making phone calls to Kenny Anderson of Anderson Automotive and Ronald Tranka of Honda Cars of McKinney I confirmed it was the Integrated Motor Assist (hybrid) battery that was the issue. Apparently the battery was dying. After confirming that we could still safely operate the car with a substandard battery we continued onward. Fuel mileage for this Kansas trip was only about 41 MPG due to a waning hybrid battery.
December, 2012 -- We drove to Goose Creek, South Carolina area for Christmas (Family Christmas 2012 Trip to Goose Creek).
Between Santee, South Carolina and Summerville, South Carolina on a heavily forested stretch of Interstate 26 a rather large fox ran from the wooded median in a full speed attempt to reach the woods on the other side of the southeast bound lanes. The fox did not fare well and neither did a significant portion of the Honda's front bumper skin. Further inspection indicated damage to the air conditioner condenser and radiator support. We filed with our Sate Farm agent, Dixie Turman. Repairs were done by the The Body Shop of McKinney. Installation of the new front bumper skin included fog lights.
Incident Report: January 20, 2013 -- While returning home from a Blandelles show, chatting on the phone (Bluetooth headset) with Joleen Deibert Yeager (my spouse), and rounding the upper level west bound IH 635 to north bound US 75 interchange (part of the High-5) I noted a downed black sport bike and fallen rider in the merging lane of the entrance ramp. I was the second person to stop and render aid. The first person had pulled his car into the “no-man’s land” between the merging lanes leaving the motorcyclist exposed. By the time I had stopped the car I was past the downed motorcyclist.
The first action was to position the white Honda Civic Hybrid, with emergency flashers activated, in the traffic lane just beyond the fallen rider in hopes oncoming traffic would note the Hybrid, be alerted to the situation, and slow down. After determining the first individual to stop and render had called 911 and reported that accident, the second task was to get the rider out of the traffic lane. Fortunately a third individual stopped and assisted me in righting the heavily damaged Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R (the case was cracked and a pool of engine oil had collected on the roadway). It took both of us to upright and move the big Ninja because of the oil coating and damage to the handlebars. Once the bike was out of the way a direct path was cleared to move the rider to a safer location out of the traffic lane.
I was appalled at the number of people that neither stopped to render aid nor slowed their vehicle. Tow of these buffoons almost collided in front of the group of good Samaritans because each was trying to beat the other around the Civic Hybrid.
Two police cars, two fire engines, and an ambulance arrived and fully blocked traffic. It soon became clear the first motorist at the scene were hampering operations. The police took names and phone numbers and excused us. I continued my way home after placing a prayer request on Facebook.
Apparently the sport biker intending to enter north bound US 75 from west bound IH 635 when a “cager” switched lanes in the interchange and forced the rider to brake heavily before hitting the shoulder (now covered with pea gravel from the snow and ice the area had earlier) and subsequently sliding into the guard wall. The “cager” failed to stop and continued on his or her way. The continued forward momentum of the bike and rider forced the hapless pair into the east bound IH 635 to north bound US 75 merge lanes leaving a roughly 25 yard trail of engine oil. The pair came to rest with the ZX-14R solidly in the traffic lane nearest to the lane merge divider and the motorcyclist just on the other side of the bike almost in the second traffic lane.
In the "cager's" defense, the motorcyclist had mentioned off the cuff he was pushing 70 MPH rounding the sweeper. While this speed is well within the handling capabilities of the motorcycle, it is far over the velocity most cars would be carrying through that interchange. It is quite possible the "cager" was concentrating on the dark sweeping curve of the interchange never realized what had happen the speeding motorcycle did not "register" with the diver because of the plethora of lights in the automobile's rear view mirrors.
Fortunately the rider was appropriately attired including helmet and full leathers. It looked as if he only sustained a possible broken left leg. The motorcycle was clearly totaled with a cracked engine case, almost every fairing piece damaged, and likely a tweaked the frame.
2004 Civic Hybrid Wrecked Left. (Photo by Evgueni Popov)
2004 Civic Hybrid Wrecked Right. (Photo by Evgueni Popov)
2004 Civic Hybrid Mostly Repaired Exterior. (Photos by Evgueni Popov)
2004 Civic Hybrid Interior. (Photo by Evgueni Popov)
eBay Photo Grouping by Evgueni Popov
4 door sedan
1.3 liter SOHC 16-valve VTEC assisted by a 13-HP electric motor
Country of Origin
5 speed manual
General Description and Condition
Ronald Tranka with the Civic Hybrid at Honda Cars of McKinney
Detailed Modifications List
The "To Do" List
Project and "How to" details
Adjusting the Valve Clearance on a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid
Civic Hybrid Related Links
How Hybrid Cars Work from How Stuff Works
Hybrid Vehicle Drive train from Wikipedia
Recommended Parts Sources
Discount Tire Direct
Honda Cars of McKinney
Honda Parts Unlimited (Showcase Honda in Phoenix, Arizona)
O'Reilly Auto Parts
The Body Shop of McKinney
Support Your Local Auto Salvage Yard
Other Yeager Group Sites
Texas Trail Dust Cycling
The Yeager Group Education Research and Family Ministry
The Yeager's Trip and Vacation Journal
The Yeager's 2006 Trenton, Texas Home
The Yeager's 1976 Triumph TR6
The Yeager's 1993 Escort LX Wagon
The Yeager's Kawasaki Ninja 250s
The Yeager's 2004 E-Z-GO TXT
Further Information on the Yeagers / Contact Information
God Bless America
This site was constructed using