Honda Beat update... - Fuelly Forums

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Old 04-20-2007, 10:29 AM   #1
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Honda Beat update...

Well, I kind of dropped out of the mainstream posting on this board, but I still lurk daily.

Everything's been going pretty good with the Beat - I still love it. STILL waiting on one last document to come from Japan so I can get it registered. I still take it out once in a while with the Civic's tag on it (shame on me).

A common problem with Beats is that the six canister capacitors on the ECU's PCB wear out over time. This is due to engine heat and to natural aging. If you don't catch them in time, they swell and burst, releasing their highly corrosive electrolyte onto the PCB and causing lots of problems. There are all sorts of gadgets to help prolong the life of them - from thermal insulation blankets to put between the ECU and firewall to wiring harness extensions so you can relocate the ECU away from the firewall.

I finally got around to pulling my ECU and main relay to check them. The main relay has the same issues as those on Civics - cracked solder joints. My main relay is perfectly fine, but two of my capacitors have leaked. As I understand it, the capacitors work mostly with the fuel control circuit, and are the cause of poor efficiency and poor performance.

When I get back from camping this weekend, I'm going to remove the capacitors and try my best to clean up the board. If the neighboring resistors and diodes look to be corroded enough for concern, I'll replace them as well. I'm going to be using a higher temperature rated capacitor to help alleviate this problem. As I understand it, I'll be great for another 10ish years after this, which is the average life of these capacitors.

Hopefully I'll notice an improvement in performance and efficiency after this. Pictures of the ECU and the two leaky capacitors:







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Old 04-20-2007, 10:39 AM   #2
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Dang electronicks! Everything should just be carburetted anyway.

Nice to read an update. Keep 'em coming.
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Old 04-20-2007, 10:45 AM   #3
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unfortunately, leaking of the electrolyte is a normal failure mode for electrolytic capacitors. After several years, this can occur. It doesn't really have to do with the voltage rating, but it couldn't hurt to try to put 50V 33uF caps as replacements if they will fit (they are bigger). I'd do what you plan, clean up the board as best as possible and replace the corroded/damaged components. You probably don't need me to say this, but ensure you get the polatiry correct on the new capacitors.
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Old 04-20-2007, 11:32 AM   #4
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Well, hope things work out for you after the replacement, and don't forget, if you need anything for the beat while I'm in japan, I'll hook you up.
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:07 PM   #5
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Wow thats a nice car. How much did everything run you to get it to the states?
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Old 04-21-2007, 11:32 AM   #6
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would it be possible to solder wires to where the caps are and relocate them, in case they ever burst again? or is it important that they stay on the board?
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Old 04-23-2007, 04:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmad View Post
unfortunately, leaking of the electrolyte is a normal failure mode for electrolytic capacitors. After several years, this can occur. It doesn't really have to do with the voltage rating, but it couldn't hurt to try to put 50V 33uF caps as replacements if they will fit (they are bigger). I'd do what you plan, clean up the board as best as possible and replace the corroded/damaged components. You probably don't need me to say this, but ensure you get the polatiry correct on the new capacitors.
I'll look into the higher voltage rated capacitors. I know that these are rated for 85 degrees Celsius, and everyone recommends replacing them with ones rated for 105 degrees Celsius, since the ECU tends to get heat soak from the engine bay. Hopefully replacing them will get me another 10 years of worry free performance! Everyone has stressed correct polarity to me, so I'll be sure to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOboy
Well, hope things work out for you after the replacement, and don't forget, if you need anything for the beat while I'm in japan, I'll hook you up.
I'll be sure to let you know, as I'm sure there will be some small bits I'll want you to get for me. Will you still be posting on this board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by korax123
Wow thats a nice car. How much did everything run you to get it to the states?
All in all I have about $8,000 tied up in getting it home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan
would it be possible to solder wires to where the caps are and relocate them, in case they ever burst again? or is it important that they stay on the board?
That's a good theory. I'm not really sure how it would affect the performance of the ECU if I soldered the capacitors in all they way at the end of their leads. I have also thought about cutting a small hole in the ECU lid and wiring up a small 12V computer fan to cool the interior. Regardless of how well I take care of it, as mrmad said, this is the natural aging process of electrolytic capacitors, and while I may prolong the life, this will eventually happen again.
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Old 04-23-2007, 04:59 AM   #8
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In other news, I got the rear window replaced by an automotive upholstery shop - I can't wait to put it back on the car.
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Old 04-23-2007, 05:46 AM   #9
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Longer leads on the cap would help it cool better and remove it from the board should they leak again. Higher voltage is not needed since the board probably has at most 14 volts on it. Don't make the leads too long or else other problems with its operation will be affected - leads become inductors and then the cap will not be filtering the noise spikes that it is intended to be doing on the board. Adding some aluminum reflective 1/2 inch insulation inside the engine compartment firewall would keep the heat out and check the water flowing through the heater core. I know on my xB the radio gets really hot and tends to act up with the heater on as the entire dash gets warm.
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Old 04-23-2007, 06:01 AM   #10
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Longer leads on the cap would help it cool better and remove it from the board should they leak again. Higher voltage is not needed since the board probably has at most 14 volts on it. Don't make the leads too long or else other problems with its operation will be affected - leads become inductors and then the cap will not be filtering the noise spikes that it is intended to be doing on the board. Adding some aluminum reflective 1/2 inch insulation inside the engine compartment firewall would keep the heat out and check the water flowing through the heater core. I know on my xB the radio gets really hot and tends to act up with the heater on as the entire dash gets warm.
I'll look into insulating the ECU. The firewall is actually behind the driver's seat (mid-engine, RWD), while the heater core is under the dash.
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