-   EcoModding Central (
-   -   02 G1 Insight with many ecomods- 999.6 mile tank @ 105 MPG (

The donkey CRX 09-15-2015 07:29 PM

02 G1 Insight with many ecomods- 999.6 mile tank @ 105 MPG
I am starting a new thread to document the build of our 2002 G1 Honda Insight. This car came to us with 120,000 miles and included a Mike Dabrowski MIMA/PIMA system that allows manual control of the regen and assist functions of the IMA battery. It also included a Genesis One grid charger and a FAS injector "kill switch". We added many other ecomods that have proven themselves on our two Honda Civic VX hatchbacks.

Here is a picture of the first full tank after 'The Walrus" got back on the road.

The actual mileage was 105 MPG after the tank refill. Our goal is to average better than 100 MPG over the next 12 months.

I will be posting pictures of the build soon.


Baltothewolf 09-15-2015 10:20 PM

Awesome! Pictures pictures pictures!!!

COcyclist 09-15-2015 10:52 PM

Subscribed. This should be interesting.

BabyDiesel 09-15-2015 10:58 PM

Simply unbelievable Donkey!

I was thinking to myself the other day, "Why isn't there an Insight pushing 100% above EPA? That should be 'easier' to do so with their lean burn and great aerodynamics."

The timing is ridiculously incredible :D

Insight for life 09-15-2015 11:13 PM

This should be good!

pgfpro 09-16-2015 12:25 AM

Can't wait for more info!!!

cowmeat 09-16-2015 04:56 AM

Wicked first tank! I always wondered why you kept doing it the hard way in the Civics when you could absolutely crush it in an Insight.

But hey, if I'm gonna incorporate any of your tricks, trips or mods on Ron Burgundy I'm gonna need some pics and instructions! Looking forward to the thread.

You are planning on joining the Gen-1 Insight team in the challenge, right?

*Don't know how many miles you drove on zero bars, but I've driven almost thirty miles before. I'd have had to drive around the block to kick that tank over 1K, how did that not drive you nuts?

RedDevil 09-16-2015 05:13 AM

Like that fuel log. A worst tank red bar - at 105 mpg!

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 03:30 PM

Thanks for your interest Balto, COcyclist, BabyDiesel, Insight for Life, pgfpro, and Red Devil. I will do my best to show pictures and the why for all my mods. I'm sure I will change my mind on some things as more data is complied, but I am committed to keep this car above 100 MPG for the next 12 months.

CowMeat, You are right about the Civics. Looks like I don't have the skills to get even the VX over the 100 MPG goal line.

I will be glad to provide any and all pictures and the reasons for any mods, even if we find out later they didn't work as planned.

I do plan on signing up for the Gen 1 team. Thanks for the invitation.

You are right about me missing the 1000 mile mark on this tank. I still had 2 bars showing on the gas gauge when I stopped at the pump for the fill up. I was using the "A" trip meter for the trip home and thought I would be over 1000 miles for the tank. I only looked at the "B" trip meter after the fill up to find I had not actually made it. I wrote it off as another "senior" moment!!

Thanks for your interest.

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 03:41 PM

Here are some pictures of The Walrus. It is one of those "rare" gray colored ones. I like the color but know from experience that other drivers don't always "see" gray colored cars, so I have added some more LED lights that I will keep on at all times when I am driving (slow?):turtle:

Baltothewolf 09-16-2015 03:55 PM

What moon disks are those? I like that you can still pull the rim/check pressures with it on.

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 04:38 PM

Here is a list of the current mods that have already been made to this car. I plan on showing pictures and explanations for all of them here. If you have any one you are interested in, let me know, and I will cover it first.

MIMA/PIMA IMA battery control of regen and assist functions of the IMA battery.

Genesis One grid charger. This item and the above one where sold by Mike Dabrowski over on the Insight Central site, but are no longer available. This is the main reason we decided the purchase this particular Insight.

OBD2C&C from to monitor IMA SOC, volts and amps.

Wideband O2 senor and gauge

Manual adjustable Warm air intake attached to the catalytic converter.

Manual adjustable Grill block

Bridgestone RE 92 low rolling resistance tires mounted on alloy 14"X4" Insight space saver spare rims. (with vinyl "moon" covers)

100 AH LIPO4 deep cycle battery with DC/DC converter bypass switch.

FAS injector "kill switch" This item was already installed on the car also.

Pre heaters for water(block and circulating thru radiator), oil, and transmission fluid.

Relocated OEM outside air temp sensor from front of grill to top of engine to "spoof" sensor to read higher outside temps. Also added another temp sensor beside this one connected to a gauge to read this temp from the instrument panel.

Relocated the OEM intake air temp senor close to the catalytic converter inside new WAI tube to "spoof" computer into thinking intake temps are higher. Also added another air temp sensor to this one attached to a gauge on the instrument panel.

Extended OEM front belly pan to enclose more of the engine compartment to the rear and sides.

Added all new LED lights including head lights.(did not replace rear brake light bulbs).

Added the following gauges and instruments:

Water temp in upper and lower radiator hoses.

Oil temp and oil pressure with a "sandwich" between the oil filter and oil cooler.

Air temp sensors in front of grill, in engine bay, where the OEM AIT sensor was formally located, inside cabin, and on the LIPO4 battery.

Added a volt, amp, and amp hour meter to the LIPO4 12 volt deep cycle battery.

Added a MPGuino so I can monitor instant and trip to date MPG without the 2 minute delay of the Insight gauge.

Now I have a "see thru" instrument panel;)

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 05:07 PM

Reply to Baldo
These are the OEM Insight alloy space saver spare tire rims. They are 14"X 4" and the regular rims are 5 1/2" wide.

If you go to the thread for the 92 Red Mule car " Aeromodded Civic VX 72 MPG" The #1 perma link on page one shows the wheel without any covers and starting with perma link #130 shows how I made the vinyl covers for the rims and also where you can buy the vinyl. This is the same material used to "wrap" entire cars.

Sorry I don't know how to put a link here to make it easier to find.

admin edit:

cowmeat 09-16-2015 05:26 PM


Now I have a "see thru" instrument panel
Holy cow man, that's some hard core instrumentation you have going on there!

It's like one of those station wagons you see with bumper stickers from all the places they have vacationed plastered all over the back, but on the inside of the windshield.

I did happen to notice you're still sporting OEM side view mirrors. Check out Ron Burgundy's page for pics of my tiny aero mirrors, they'd be a perfect fit for your set-up! If you're interested I can pop one of mine off this weekend, send it to Daox for sizing up, and he can start 3D printing housings for the Insight guys. I've been too lazy so far, but your Insight is renewing my interest!

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 08:33 PM

Thanks for the offer on the mirrors Cowmeat, but when I get the time I want to make some small mirrors that stand out of the airflow of the car with airfoil type stalks. Yours would look much nicer, but I have found that small mirrors that are out away from the body offer me a fuller view to the rear of the car.

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 09:04 PM

If you read the mods list above you my come to the conclusion that getting more heat into the engine and removing all external loads like regen and 12 volt power drains is the key to getting the engine to stay in Lean Burn almost 100 percent of the time.

This little 3 cylinder engine is extremely efficient when in lean burn, but will not stay there unless the water and oil temps are above 160 degrees and the intake air is above 120 degrees. The computer also seems to need to see outside air above 80 degrees. I think a lot of this is because Honda was trying to keep the NOX as low as possible when the engine is in lean burn.

So I found that by getting to these temps or "spoofing" the sensors to think the temps are this high is one of the main keys to constant lean burn.

I am also grid charging the IMA and the 12 volt LIPO4 battery each night and when I get to the shop in order to take as many outside loads as possible from the engine so it can use all of its limited power to move the car.

I use the MIMA/PIMA IMA system to turn off all regen and assist unless I use the joystick to manually apply it when needing to climb hills without leaving lean burn.

I still have a lot to learn about the most efficient way to get increased MPGs from the Insight, but think I am going in the right direction.

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 09:25 PM

Here are some pictures of the Warm air intake.

The stainless steel clam shell surrounds the catalytic converter and directs the warm air to the intake. I try to maintain 120 degrees at the intake

The O2 sensor to the left is the one I added so I can be sure of when the engine is in lean burn with the gauge on the dash

2 1/2 " silicone duct carries the warm air to the intake and also draws in fresh air to adjust the temps with the exhaust cut out valve .

The donkey CRX 09-16-2015 09:43 PM

The OEM intake air sensor has been relocated within 8 inches of the catalytic converter inside the 2 1/2" insulated duct. In this position the sensor "sees" between 120 and 170 degrees even if it is too cool for the actual intake to see high enough temps to allow lean burn. The computer doses not seem to mind if the temp is as high as 170 degrees. It must just be looking for temps of at least 110 or 120 degrees. If too high temps become a problem, I will just relocate the sensor father away from the cat.

Here is where I moved the outside air temp sensor that was in front of the grill. Also notice the small silver colored sensor I have attached to it in order fro me to monitor the temp on the dash

Ecky 09-16-2015 11:52 PM


Removing electrical loads definitely helps. Even very minor draw really shows up when you're shooting for 100+. I'm frequently able to get trips that high, but having to use assist sparingly so as to keep the HV battery up really robs mileage, and I'm not sure that grid charging every night will be healthy. Replacement batteries aren't exactly cheap.

I think it's time I made a proper WAI.

*goes outside to relocate air temperature sensor, and to plug in 12v charger*

Baltothewolf 09-17-2015 12:01 AM

Grid charging packs nightly - is- bad for the pack, it's been proven by the battery gurus at IC that it harms the cells on a long term basis.

There are multiple people who run 180-200F intake temps for MPG in the insight.

Nice mods and cockpit! A writeup on that adjustable grill block would be awesome!

Focus-Ak 09-17-2015 01:35 AM


Originally Posted by The donkey CRX (Post 493670)
... If you go to the thread for the 92 Red Mule car " Aeromodded Civic VX 72 MPG" The #1 perma link on page one shows the wheel without any covers and starting with perma link #130 shows how I made the vinyl covers for the rims and also where you can buy the vinyl. This is the same material used to "wrap" entire cars.

Sorry I don't know how to put a link here to make it easier to find.

Here is the permalink to the #130 post:

I see on that page that those covers were conical, to fit over steel wheels. The covers in you photo above are flat, so am I correct that these were applied to a ventilated wheel cover? If so, are these also the same 3mm thickness as your earlier ones?

These look terrific, and look like they should work terrific. Thanks for posting!

The donkey CRX 09-17-2015 02:54 PM

Reply to Balto and Ecky
Thanks for the warning about grid charging every night. I am hoping that the Genesis One charger with its cell balancing mode will allow me to get away with charging every night. The IMA battery in this car was exchanged by Honda in 2011 and so far seems to be in good shape, but I admit I have very limited experience to know a good battery from a weak one except I am getting no warning of trouble on this one so far.

The donkey CRX 09-17-2015 03:04 PM

Reply to Focus-Ak
Thanks for posting the link to the vinyl covers how-to on the 92 red VX thread.

Trust me, the black vinyl covered wheel in the how-to and the new gray vinyl covers wheels are applied to the same Insight alloy aluminum space saver spare wheels. Both have a slight cone shape. If you look closely at each one you will see the outline of the ventilated holes from the original wheel.

Thanks for the compliment on how they look.

cowmeat 09-17-2015 03:12 PM


I admit I have very limited experience to know a good battery from a weak one except I am getting no warning of trouble on this one so far.
I would grid charge it once, then wait until you start getting recals or it starts throwing codes or force-charging a lot, then you can get an idea of any issues it has. Grid charging every night seems like overkill, and won't really give you a chance to see the actual condition of the IMA battery. Plus, the 12V battery tender should keep the IMA from charging the 12V too much. You do have a lot of extra instrumentation, though, so it's hard to tell how much juice all that takes.

Maybe consider pulling the EPS fuse to offset some of the extra draw. Or a solar tender like I have on mine to keep the 12V topped off.

The donkey CRX 09-17-2015 03:34 PM

Adjustable grill block
Here are some pictures of how I constructed the adjustable grill block for the Insight. On the VX's I had almost 6 inches of gap between the grill and the radiator to fit the shutters and the adjustment cable. On the Insight that gap was barely 3 inches. This forced me to redesign how the shutters are actuated by the push pull cable. I had to mount the cable underneath the shutters instead of behind them.

Because the front plastic bumper was so flimsy, I attached the shutters to the bottom of the sturdy aluminum bumper.

The push pull cable is routed under the oil pan to reach the shutters

Both the push pull cables for the WAI and the shutters enter the cabin of the car from a 1 1/4" hole I drilled right next to the exit hole for the drain tube for the A/C evaporator. This access hole was also used to route all of the electrical wires for the sensors and gauges. Sorry, I don't have a picture.

The donkey CRX 09-17-2015 03:50 PM

adjustable grill block shutters
Here is how the shutters look both opened and closed.

Here are the shutters with the bumper cover attached back on the car.

I wasn't too pleased with the way the shutters looked exposed on the front of the car so I got some mesh grill cover material and added it in front of the shutters. With everything behind the mesh painted flat black you don't notice the shutters at all.

The donkey CRX 09-17-2015 04:04 PM

Upper grill block and other air blocks
On the VX's I would see as high as 140 degrees in the engine compartment in the summer, but even with the upper grill blocked and the shutters on the lower grill closed I was only seeing 80 or 90 degrees under the hood of the Insight.

I will need to work on getting more heat in the engine compartment.

The donkey CRX 09-17-2015 04:11 PM

Reply to Cowmeat
Thanks for the tips on the IMA battery.

vskid3 09-17-2015 04:58 PM

Nice mods and numbers!

There was a guy on Insight Central who rebuilt the IMA battery using LiFePO4 cells. Something to look into when yours starts getting tired.

Daox 09-17-2015 11:29 PM

Got a link to that vskid3?

RedDevil 09-18-2015 03:11 AM

I believe it is this thread: IamIan's I1-PHEV - Insight Central: Honda Insight Forum
It is not ready yet. IamIan is doing a thorough job designing and testing each detail.

vskid3 09-18-2015 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by RedDevil (Post 493839)
I believe it is this thread: IamIan's I1-PHEV - Insight Central: Honda Insight Forum
It is not ready yet. IamIan is doing a thorough job designing and testing each detail.

This one by retepsnikrep is what I was thinking of: A123 20ah Lithium Install - Insight Central: Honda Insight Forum I don't think I've ever seen IamIan's, interesting.

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 03:24 PM

more pics of vinyl covered wheels
Here is a picture of a 14" X 4" Insight alloy space saver spare wheel as it comes with the car

Here are some close up Pictures of the black and gray vinyl wheels

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 03:28 PM

Here is a picture of the push pull cables that allow adjustment of the WAI and the grill block shutters from inside the cabin of the car.

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 03:32 PM

Here is the set up for the Genesis One HV charger (yellow box) and the 100 AH LIPO4 deep cycle battery and charger in the rear storage area.

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 03:36 PM

Here are the heavy duty switches that allow me to switch between the LIPO4 battery and the regular 12 volt battery under the hood.

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 03:47 PM

Here are the 4 components of the water, oil and transmission fluid pre heat system. First is the circulating water heater that warms the water in the block and radiator to 125 degrees in 20 minutes. There is also a block water heater that I don't have a picture of that heats the block water to 180 degrees in 2 hours.

Below are the heating pads that heats the oil and transmission fluid to 180 degrees in 2 hours.

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 03:54 PM

Here is the "sandwich" adaptor that allowed me to install an oil temp and oil pressure sensor. No one listed this part for an 02 Insight, but I discovered that the same item for the 92 VX would work. Even though these two cars have different size oil filters, the flange to both is the same.

secaturbo 09-18-2015 05:16 PM

Coolant Heater
Can you show or tell us where you draw coolant from a push coolant into. Starting to cool off here in MN and need ideas for my 1500watt Kats tank heater

The donkey CRX 09-18-2015 05:46 PM

Hi secaturbo, If you look at permalink# 38 from this thread, you will see that I am drawing water from the lower radiator hose as it comes out of the bottom of the radiator. The 1500 watt water header pump pushes the water up to a tee into the heater core return line and from there the water bypasses the thermostat and circulates through the engine, out the upper radiator hose, through the radiator and out again through the lower rad hose.. The return line from the heater core is the one that doses not have the heater core shut off valve. Sorry, I don't have a picture of where I tapped into the heater core line. It is under the battery tray.

PLEASE NOTE, if your Kats tank heater doses not have its own water pump motor to circulate the heated water this set up will not work for you.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.5.2
All content copyright