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Old 9th May 2011, 15:54   #196
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Nice picture there Spadix. So what's the odo reading now for BQ? Look forward to a bit more details of how it performed during the goa trip including the average?

Now with a goa trip behind, i hope (atleast now) you have some exotic pictures of BQ ?
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Old 9th May 2011, 18:45   #197
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Nice picture there Spadix. So what's the odo reading now for BQ? Look forward to a bit more details of how it performed during the goa trip including the average?

Now with a goa trip behind, i hope (atleast now) you have some exotic pictures of BQ ?
It's 14474 as we speak, on the 283rd day of ownership. It's around 1022 kms short of the 20k km/year target I had.

The details are in the travelogue (link in earlier post) which I'm adding to slowly as and when I get the time.

And no, I don't have any exotic pictures of BQ even now. I never find it in pristine enough condition to take pictures that are worthy of having a black Civic in them.

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Old 18th May 2011, 20:59   #198
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Default Under-body hits - an analysis

There's quite a bit of chat about the Civic's propensity to scrape its under-body very easily, and it puts many people off. It's a valid criticism of the Civic, but is it really bad enough for prospective buyers to stop considering this wonderful car? Well, owners will say no, and others will say yes. How can this bias be eliminated?

With raw data, of course, and suitable statistics and analytics built on top of that data.

With that goal in mind, I set about gathering hit/scrape data for BQ and here are the results. How did I do this? I painstakingly maintain a detailed log of trip + transaction + incident data and other notes and tables for BQ and update it without fail every day. All of the data that you see here is from that document.

Before we dive into the numbers and charts, a few disclaimers and definitions are in order.

Disclaimers
  1. While this data counts the number of times BQ has been hit, it does NOT count/record the number of instances where BQ has effortlessly sailed smoothly over some real monstrosities. I recollect an example where an Innova near me scraped a bumper but we went over smoothly. And then there are countless speed-breakers I've seen with marks on top of the hump (indicating scraping) that we've sailed over.
  2. There is a certain amount of subjectivity involved here as you'll soon see in the chart and raw data on "severity of hit", but it's the subjectivity of just *one* person and to that extent, it is consistent.
  3. Numbers and analytics are one thing. The emotive experience of car ownership can't be quantified. This is just interesting data and numbers to look at. Nothing more, nothing less.
  4. The data here is heavily dependent on me, my car, my style of driving and the roads I drive on. It most definitely won't apply to all Civics. It may not even apply to another Civic (driven by its owner) on the same roads.

Definitions
  • Avoidable hit - One that could've been avoided simply by being more careful i.e. either slowing down, or taking a slightly different line (traffic permitting) or some other optimization (i.e. getting passengers to sit in the car *after* negotiating a ramp when leaving some place, say) or something I know is avoidable based on prior experience in similar if not same conditions
  • Unavoidable hit - An unavoidable hit is, as the name suggests, something that could not have been avoided no matter what. This is typically caused by bad geometry (think a really nasty speed-breaker near a railway crossing or a totally unscientifically designed ramp with a hump near the entrance/exit), or encountering a really huge hump when the car is fully-loaded, or encountering a hump where speed could not be reduced or that cannot be taken at angle solely because of prevailing traffic conditions
  • Known conditions - Road conditions that are known and have been previously negotiated by me on BQ
  • Unknown conditions - New roads, or changed conditions on known roads that I've encountered for the first time

With those out of the way, I present to you the numbers and charts.

The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)-bq1.jpg
Table of raw data on hits showing number of days on which hits were recorded and the number of hits classified by severity, avoid-ability and familiarity with road conditions

The data above in the form of charts, below.

The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)-bq2.jpg
The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)-bq3.jpg
The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)-bq4.jpg

This is just raw data and the real analysis hasn't started. The next few posts will be about that.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 19th May 2011, 07:59   #199
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Hey, nice efforts. As you realize that the data is very city and driving style specific. However will keep a look out for your analysis.
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Old 19th May 2011, 10:09   #200
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Exactly what DOT said. In my almost a years ownership I've scraped the car just once, that too on the very second day.
Not sure if my mangled running board counts as a scrape.

Great effort though.
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Old 25th May 2011, 19:26   #201
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Thanks, guys!

Before I continue with the analysis, however, I would like to share this with you all.

If Obama's limo can get the treatment in a developed (albeit, in a little bit of trouble) country, then what chance do mere mortals like us and our machines have!

EDIT: Forgot to mention that tomorrow marks BQ's 300th day in my care, and the odo will cross 15k kms on my way back home now. Over the weekend I'll get the 4th service done. I'll have to cut down on the driving around a little bit now, for obvious reasons. I think it's time to recalibrate BQ's running to 12k kms/year as opposed to the current 20k kms/year.

Regards,
spadix

Last edited by spadix : 25th May 2011 at 19:32.
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Old 25th May 2011, 21:32   #202
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Quote:
Originally Posted by spadix View Post
Before I continue with the analysis, however, I would like to share this with you all.

If Obama's limo can get the treatment in a developed (albeit, in a little bit of trouble) country, then what chance do mere mortals like us and our machines have!
Wow, what a video. Made my day. Thanks for sharing.

Thats the issue if a car has too long a wheel base with a soft suspension. About 6-8 months back I had witnessed a City getting stuck when it tried to get off a high concrete road into a shallow "gali". IIRC, a tow truck had to be called.
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Old 26th May 2011, 13:33   #203
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

@spadix: Appreciate your painstaking efforts in gathering this data for the analysis. Also, would be good to add a column to list the number of people in the car plus luggage, if any as these two factors play a vital role in determining whether the underbelly gets hit or not.
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Old 26th May 2011, 15:10   #204
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Prashant, firstly, wish you many many happy returns of the day and have a great time on your birthday. Also, wish many more happy miles with BQ ( - the hits, ofcourse)

That is one comprehensive analysis but, is very individual specific. However, noting the number of hits ( ~ >50) it indeed seems quite high. Either the route you take is the main culprit or you are not properly guiding the car over these obstacles. Not sure if a Civic is so susceptable to so many hits just during the first year of your ownership.

Comparatively, WA had to go through <5 hits to its under-body till date and nastiest of them was during the weekend drive to Vikarabad.

If the hits to under carriage is as many as you have outlined. I recommend strongly to get it completely checked during the 15K kms service.
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Old 26th May 2011, 15:35   #205
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rr_zen View Post
Also, would be good to add a column to list the number of people in the car plus luggage
Good idea. I'll do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Prashant, firstly, wish you many many happy returns of the day and have a great time on your birthday. Also, wish many more happy miles with BQ ( - the hits, ofcourse)
Thanks a lot for your wishes, mobike008!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Either the route you take is the main culprit or you are not properly guiding the car over these obstacles. Not sure if a Civic is so susceptable to so many hits just during the first year of your ownership.
I'm sure it's the routes and it has nothing to do with the car (or its age) per se. There was a learning curve I had to master in the beginning and now I can clear some mountains with ease. These are bumps over which BQ would scrape regularly early on (and even now, if I'm careless). Anyway, this is what the analysis is supposed to present with the right data backing up my claim. Let's see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Comparatively, WA had to go through <5 hits to its under-body till date and nastiest of them was during the weekend drive to Vikarabad.
As a point of comparison, BQ hasn't had a single scrape over the the routes WA normally takes (for instance, the bumpers near Whisper Valley and even the flyer near Gachibowli flyover construction area where WA once got a bad hit). Or the Himayatnagar - Liberty - Secretariat - Khaiatabad - Punjagutta/B. Hills - J. Hills/Filmnagar/Madhapur routes. Some of the roads BQ has seen are truly horrible. That's where the heavy hits have happened. The light/super-light hits are mostly a result of my own carelessness.

Once again, the analysis should lead us all to the final word at least on the (BQ + spadix) combo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
If the hits to under carriage is as many as you have outlined. I recommend strongly to get it completely checked during the 15K kms service.
I actually have an all-round suspension check request on my list of items for the SA but you're right. I'll ask them to pay specific attention to the spring/suspension damping settings.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 31st May 2011, 14:01   #206
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Default 4th service (15k kms/~10 months)

This is an update on the 4th service before I get back to the undercarriage scrapes analysis.

BQ finished 15k kms in a little under 10 months and went in for her 4th service on the 28th with the odo reading nearly 15100. From an engine/braking/handling/electricals perspective, the car really didn't need a visit to the service centre at all. It was that smooth. So this was going to be just a regular periodic maintenance thing. In addition to the regular servicing I had some minor issues that needed resolution -
  1. Bad odour from AC vents (again). Not as frequent as it used to be but when it happens it's *bad*.
  2. Front seat (I think) rattle on certain roads. Occurs when it's just me in the car.
  3. Front bumper left corner has come loose. Can make it out via vibes in the throw of the fog lamp (when the car shudders in 1st gear, say).
  4. All-round suspension inspection (as suggested by mobike008)
  5. Front right suspension makes a metallic noise when going over sharp bumps or potholes at some speed. Doesn't happen always so I could only reproduce it once during the test drive near the service centre (and they obviously didn't catch it) but is 100% reproducible on certain roads.
  6. Periodic whirring sound seemingly from somewhere inside the dashboard. Typically happens when I turn the key to 'ON' position after a long stop. One can also hear it from time to time when the car is in motion. From other threads on the forums it felt like it could be an issue with the heater actuator coil.

Issue #1 has been fixed. Apparently there was a ton of fungus on the outside of the compressor and in the SA's words, heaps of it just kept falling as they washed it. Long-term resolution is to direct some pressurized air/water at the front grille when the car is washed. I'm not sure I completely get this. I didn't know the compressor was situated there, near the radiator grille.

Issue #2 - Not fixed.

Issue #3 - I have yet to check this.

Issue #4 was attended to. Apparently they re-torqued all suspension mount points.

An interesting aside w.r.t. issue #4 -
In a strange way, BQ suffered two scrapes at the hands of the service centre's driver during the test drive! Also later in the evening after I collected the car I visited an apartment complex with an insane ramp which led to another very mild scrape. The watchman was telling me that even the Alto with its short wheelbase gets the treatment on that particular ramp. My in-laws, who live in that complex now, do not take that ramp at all in their i10 and prefer another narrow entrance gate with a slightly less steep mud ramp.

Issue #5 - Ultimately not fixed. The SA suspected it could be a worn out engine mount. My heart skipped many beats when he said that, because this is an 8000 INR part and by all accounts on TBHP it lasts for around 40k km if not more. The SA however was saying they have seen many cases of 20k km old cars suffering worn out mounts. Despite what he said I knew that it could not be the mount as the noise is apparent only in a few cases, and I can never hear it when I crank the engine. Anyway, it turns out it wasn't the mount, and they said they couldn't find anything else. I can still make the noise out.

Issue #6 - Not fixed. The frequency has come down though. I don't hear it as often as I heard it in the days leading up to the service. However, the noise hasn't been eliminated completely.

Cost of service: INR 1148 including wiper fluid top-up and all taxes. No parts were replaced.
Bottomline: This car is inexpensive to run as long as no parts need replacement.

So it was another middling experience and that's only due to Pride Honda service's lack of attention to detail and ability to understand and debug issues. Just like after the 3rd service, they'll probably end up sending the mobile crew again to tackle issues 2, 5 and 6. I just wish they could fix everything in the service centre itself.

The other long-standing concern is their absolute ineptness when it comes to interior cleaning. They focus only on the seats and mats, but they don't dust/vacuum the dashboard and all the various cubbyholes which tend to gather dust over time. I've pointed this out to them multiple times but they won't change for the better.

It's a good thing the car is inherently reliable and smooth and other than these minor issues and easy-to-do periodic maintenance, requires very little care.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 31st May 2011, 14:06   #207
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

Nice report there Prashant.

So BQ didnt get an oil change? I was under the impression it gets its first oil change at 15,000kms? Or was it done earlier that I missed?

Keen to know the charges of oil and quantity it consumes?
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Old 31st May 2011, 16:08   #208
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Default Re: The march of the Black Queen (my new Honda Civic 1.8V in Black)

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Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
So BQ didnt get an oil change? I was under the impression it gets its first oil change at 15,000kms? Or was it done earlier that I missed?

Keen to know the charges of oil and quantity it consumes?
Thanks, Avi!

The first oil change happens during the 3rd service (10k kms). Post #164 in this thread talks about the 3rd service (incidentally my best experience with Pride service so far).

The Civic consumes around 3.8 litres of oil and with synthetic, the cost of an oil change comes to around 25xx INR. If mineral oil is used instead, the cost is 9xx INR. In both cases, the oil brand and grade is as recommended by Honda.

Of late the Civic comes out of the factory with synthetic so I just continued with the Honda-recommended Idemitsu 0W30 synthetic.

Of course the associated costs are that of an oil filter (around 600 if I'm not mistaken) and drain plug (some 20-30 or so).

Regards,
spadix
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Old 31st May 2011, 21:49   #209
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Default Re: 4th service (15k kms/~10 months)

Good to know that the 4th Service went "fine" thanks to BQ's inherent strengths

Quote:
Originally Posted by spadix View Post

Front right suspension makes a metallic noise when going over sharp bumps or potholes at some speed.
Could it be that the heat shields are loose. But they should have found out while re-torquing the suspensions nuts. Another possibility is sharp bumps are hitting the shields. Nothing to worry though if this is occurring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spadix View Post
Periodic whirring sound seemingly from somewhere inside the dashboard.

felt like it could be an issue with the heater actuator coil.
In my Scorponok the noise ("gneeek") has gone away after they lubricated the actuator. It has been more than a week and I have not heard it so far, otherwise it used to come every now and then.
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Old 15th June 2011, 19:33   #210
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Default Re: Under-body hits - an analysis

Pride Honda service called me up twice over the past couple of weeks checking if I was available at work so that they could send their mobile service crew to attend to the unresolved niggles.

While I did it once, it's problematic to obtain a permit for the mechanic to enter the office premises, take time out from office work and ensure the problem is resolved. So I made it very clear to them that I was open to having the crew come over on Saturdays. They promised to do that twice but it never happened, and now I've stopped receiving calls as well.

The issues of course persist, and I've just resigned myself to this fate with Honda and its after-sales service. Luckily for me they're very minor and except for that metallic clang from the front suspension in some cases, not even irritants at this point of time.

That said, I cannot ignore the whirring sound from the dashboard and the suspension clang for too long. The whirring sound is definitely from the HVAC now, because I can reproduce it by changing the temperature setting (around 50% of the time)!

Coming back to the analysis on under-body hits/scrapes -

Quote:
Originally Posted by spadix View Post
This is just raw data and the real analysis hasn't started. The next few posts will be about that.
These are the questions I'm really trying to answer -
  • Is overall hit count showing a reducing trend?
  • Are the number of hits under known conditions coming down?
  • If not, how many of them are in unavoidable circumstances?
  • What's the trend in medium-heavy and heavy hits, especially in known or avoidable conditions?

I've realized that the earlier organization of data will not readily help in answering these questions. While I have grouped them individually under road conditions, severity and avoidability, I haven't tabulated the correlations between severity and avoidability and road conditions and avoidability. The raw data in my daily log does have this information however, so all I need is to go over some 40-odd days' worth of data again.

The coming weekend should hopefully afford me some time to do this.

In the meantime, I would appreciate it if you could come up with some other interesting questions you would like to see answered. We can analyze whatever the data allows us to.

Regards,
spadix
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