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NoD~ 04-08-2016 07:10 AM

Got me an Insight...
3 Attachment(s)
Links (to threads with pics)
*First round of fixes: Cabin filter and Grounds replacements
*EGR Plate Cleanup and AC Insulation
*Window switch replacement, Trip buttons fix, electronic trunk release fix, and Front Marker LED swap, Front markers upgraded LEDS, LED Headlights
*Grid Charger build and Front Brakes
*Electronic Lock Mechanism Fix
*Removing the EPS motor and pinion gear
*Clutch fluid replacement
*Motor Mount, Interior mirror, and Block heater
*Lower Grill Block V1.0, V1.1, V1.2, V1.3
*Upper Grill Block V1.0
*Front Speaker Replacement, Stop door rattle
*Rear wiper removal/blank
*Clutch/Brake switch V1.0
*Subwoofer Box Template, Sketchup Design, Built part 1, Build part 2
*Sealing up the roof
*12v Trickle Charger install and first shot at WAI
*Rear turn LEDs
*Oil pan heater and belly pan part 1, part 2, Warmup Graph 1
*LED Headlights
*P&P FAS system
*Advanced Aerodynamics (remove squirters, antenna, passenger mirror mount, etc.)
*Meanwell DC converter

Weight Reduction G-Doc (Accurate weights of various things)

To Do List:
*Solar powered cabin cooling fan setup (in progress)
*Finish trunk from IMA removal (in progress)
*Sound deaden/absorption/isolation for reduced road noise (in progress)
*Complete underbody panels
*Fix rear window defrosters
*Polish headlight plastics
*3D print and install hot/cold air intake changer
*3D print and install adjustable grill block
*3D print and install new mirror blocks
*Design and 3D print cup holder/pocket around hand break
*Design and 3D print extended real spoiler
*Design and 3D print dash pods for mid and tweet component, design crossover
*Arduino/Pi automation for intake temp and grill block
*Experiment with evaporation cooling


Originally Posted by (Original Post #1 below)
So I finally took the dive...

A little history: I rebuilt my current daily driver, the 98 Dodge Neon, about 5 years ago now with hypermiling in mind. Went from DOHC to single, rebuilt high compression, longer geared transmission, etc. She did pretty well over the years and I plan to keep her around. In fact, I wanted a 2nd daily driver so I could have some dedicated sitting time with the ol Neon as it's hard to do some of my eco upgrades when I just can't have that down time! So, it was time to go shopping. I've eyeballed a few cars, but I kept coming back to the Insight, as it just made the most sense for me.

First, I test drove an 01 silver at a stealership... the interior was beat, right window wouldn't stay in the track, but the IMA seemed to work on a 20 minute drive without issue. They wanted $5K and didn't seem to want to wiggle that price (didn't try too hard, though). So I left and decided to keep looking. I found an Insight about 50 miles out that was in really good shape. My biggest reservation was 180k miles, but after reading enough, I feel confident that it shouldn't have been a deal breaker.

I went over and got to see this thing first hand and was very impressed. Couldn't find any concerning damage, interior or exterior. He showed me where he hit his garage/house when backing up, which scraped up the right tire cover, but that was really it. Sun fade here and there. Interior had a little damage to the dash... otherwise, extremely clean. Stock stereo, wipers in place, just about everything untouched from the factory.

Gave it a test drive and the IMA battery was very low. Did some regen braking and it went to fully charged real fast. Auto start and stop worked and some assist, but shortly after, IMA light came on and the battery gauge bottomed out. Check engine light came on as well. This was probably 3-5 miles on this trip.

I got it back and checked the blink codes. Engine light said IMA issue, IMA said deteriorated. I came in expecting that.

I did the carfax on it, seems to have a good maintenance records at mostly Honda dealerships. It did say it was rear ended at one point, but no airbag deployment or major damage. I checked under the spare and everything looked straight.

He was asking $3800/$3200, but I got him down to $2500 cash, paperwork signed, and drove it home (without any issues).

Problems & fixes:
-Drivers window switch went out. He tried to fix it and seems the whole switch itself is now missing (housing to the full assembly is there, but the driver's switch itself is completely gone).
--Will have to probably order full assembly... $150 :(
-Trunk doesn't open from electronic button (but does with key). Motor mounts seem weak/done for.
--User on honda insight forum sells custom 3D printed ones, Paypal'd!
-Window tint on drivers side was partially removed and impossible to see out of (have to lean way back to see the mirror). Rear tint is pretty crummy.
--Take to local tint shop, see what they will charge to replace these.
-Trip buttons are shot.
--Digikey replacements ordered!
-Passenger mirror doesn't move, seems taped in place.
--Was planning to ultimately remove this mirror anyways... so... no loss!
-IMA is gone.
--Already contacted Bumblebee, I'll be in their hometown in a few weeks anyways... steep price, but seems it'll be worth it.

So it came with a lifetime of 61.8 and ~180,300 miles. In my short drive home, I got that lifetime to 62.0! lol.

I'm pretty happy thus far. I'm planning on changing all the fluids and checking out brakes, mounts, etc. this weekend. Any suggestions on other things to check out while I'm at it?

I'm going to give it a full tank and start the fuel chart after getting the battery in it (has about 1/2 tank right now). From there, tank by tank, I'll start doing some of the typical mods to it, as well as perhaps some untypical ones (who knows!).

I'll get more pics later, especially the interior... I'm pretty excited. ;)

(said something about security trying to upload to the site, so I'll just link dropbox pics for now)

cowmeat 04-08-2016 07:28 AM

It's always cool to see another Insight owner here. There are some helpful threads specific to G1 Insights here.

Enjoy! My Insights have been the most fun I've had driving in years

Ecky 04-08-2016 07:30 AM

Sounds like yours has all of the typical problems, and most of them are easy fixes. You can see solutions to them in my build thread, linked in my signature. ;)

RedDevil 04-08-2016 07:39 AM

Another one set to drop me down on the Top Hybrid MPG list... ;)

Daox 04-08-2016 09:12 AM

Woohoo, congrats. Citrus yellow even. I really like that color.

I'm jealous. :p

Ecky 04-08-2016 09:25 AM

Some immediate suggestions:

-There are no aftermarket motor mounts for this car. You likely only need the rear, but the others might be cracked, if not broken. The rear is around $100 from G1parts, which is where I like to shop for original equipment. Some people repair their mounts by filling them with silicone, but you end up with more vibration.

-The trunk latch has two common problems:

1) If it doesn't unlock with the FOB or with the lock switch, it's because you have a minor roof leak at the passenger B pillar. There's a connector behind the plastic interior panel that corrodes. This can cause either no signal to the trunk latch actuator, or no power to it. The fix for this is to pull the panel off (takes 90 seconds) and clean the contacts, then put some dielectric grease on to prevent it from corroding again.

2) The trunk latch actuator has failed. If you press the button and hear a whirring sound, this means the plastic gear inside it has broken, and you'll need to replace it. There are inexpensive aftermarket options for this.

-There are plans for a super cheap grid charger in my build thread. You can probably get a few more years out of a weak battery with my $30 charger.

MetroMPG 04-08-2016 11:56 AM


Best colour, too.

I drove my 2000 for much of the time with the hybrid functions disabled. I wouldn't necessarily spring for a replacement pack before trying the trickle charger, or without IMA at all.

Also: first mods should be the engine kill switch (yes, it has autostop, but it doesn't do it nearly as early/often as possible) and the clutch switch (which enables you to control when you get assist).

Fun car!

I was just saying to Tim the other day I was having a hard time deciding whether I had more fun driving the Insight or the Prius. Both are awesome geek's cars.

PS: my related threads...

NoD~ 04-08-2016 01:50 PM

Thanx gang! It's definitely exciting and I believe all my little issues will be easy fixes. I've lived with FAR more problems with my Neon for years now, so I think I can have patience for this and hopefully get them all up to snuff.

Ecky, I've browsed through your entire thread and definitely going to steal... errr... be inspired by some of your work! :) The trunk hatch definitely has a motor moving, but no release (but key works fine) so it is definitely the common issue many seem to have and I've already paypal'd the guy on the other forums for a replacement part (the 3D printed one). Motor mount wise, I'll be (hopefully) doing a full inspection on everything this weekend and will find what does or does not look good. Given that, I've repaired my Neon mounts 2 different ways now... 1. Hot Glue fill (lasts between months and ~4 years) 2. Urethane fill (I think I'm 7-10 years now on some and still going?!). Both solutions will definitely add vibration, so not sure how bad in this car... if too bad, then a replacement may be necessity.

MetroMPG, I remember when I did key off-on for a year or so in my Neon before I installed the kill switch. It made such a night and day difference in usability that it will undoubtedly be done in this car very soon. I haven't looked much into the clutch switch, so I'll need to research that one more, but sounds like it has some real value.

I've looked into the DIY repairs and diagnostics on the battery pack and, though it seems easy enough, I really just want a set it and forget it for the battery pack for now. Eventually, do a grid charger to keep things in check, but the sooner I get this car to a 100% (or close to), the better. I hate to spend the money, but if I don't do it this way, I probably won't do it at all. Having driven a working IMA system, I really do want it. To me, it's worth the ~$2100 to just get it done and over with. (I'm really cheap and it's hard for me to say that, but my time/patience lately is just too low). On top of that, seems that this has been sitting in a garage for years now with no starts, plus being 16 years old... what are the odds these cells can come back to life? Who knows, I got a few weeks until I have to make a decision anyways. I guess one thing I didn't see is: If I find a completely dead stick, where do you get a replacement for just that stick? (Edit: Answer: ) Plenty of research to be had, that's for sure.

Ecky 04-08-2016 02:03 PM

You'd be surprised at how much capacity can be lost by a particularly bad imbalance, but a replacement certainly can't hurt. If I were in the market to replace my pack right now though (which I'm not - the pack is still very strong despite being 16 years old), I'd probably wait until this fall to see how the lithium replacement being developed over at Insight Central turns out. It would be nice to have hours of assist and the ability to safely top it off at home every night, rather than the ~10-15 minutes of assist a strong, new pack can deliver.

NoD~ 04-08-2016 03:13 PM

Idaho decided to have a $81.25 tax for hybrids... doh! Ah well... worth it.

Anywho, I'll look more into attempting to limp my battery along in the mean time. Just being very impatient :)

Something I just noticed: Once i hit around 4K RPM, the battery AND brake light come on for about 30 seconds, then go off. Seems to be only when I hit higher RPM... not sure on that one. Has a new 12v battery and seems fine. Just hoping that not a detonation warning or anything.

(Edit: Man I'm getting good at Google-ing! lol... Here's the issue it seems:

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