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-   -   Just scored a super cheap 2000 Insight! What to do now? (

War_Wagon 04-07-2011 07:13 PM

Just scored a super cheap 2000 Insight! What to do now?
Sorry, I am in such a good mood I need to gloat a bit! Just got a 2000 Insight for $1500! Has 369,000 kms on it, but hey I'll take it. So, what to do now? What is the best way to figure out if the charging system/battery is in good shape? Is there anything else I should look for on it? I will have to sell off the fleet of other F.E. friendly vehicles I have been hoarding, as I am pretty sure this will be the best choice. Any insight on the Insight on what the next step is? (Pun totally intentional)

JMac 04-07-2011 09:42 PM

Congratulations, War Wagon! What a great price for a vehicle, let alone an insight! I would recommend just getting the basic maintenance stuff squared away, but you already know that.

I think another poster mentioned to drive the car up some big hills while flooring the throttle. You'll be able to see how fast the pack can drain out. I am by no means an expert in hybrids though, so I'm sure you'll have some more guys posting soon.

I must admit, I'm a bit jealous considering I paid almost twice that for my Civic. Congratulations again. :)


Ryland 04-07-2011 10:49 PM

Do a tune up, only on that car is 0W20 and spark plugs are a dealer only part because they are indexed so you have to take a look at the head to see what plug letter is stamped, auto part stores will sell you plugs but they are not indexed, for the first few years they installed copper plugs then switched to iridium plugs, the copper don't last as long but they give every so slightly better mileage.
You might also want to read up on rebuilding the battery pack altho with the number of miles on the car it might just be that it was driven alot of highway miles, not sure how that affects the hybrid pack on the hondas but for the prius the pack is worked harder with stop and go driving and gets very little wear from highway driving, the insight the motor is also doing the work of the flywheel, not sure if they have a large capacitor bank or if the battery pack is taking this stress, but doing the test of flooring it while going up hill will give you an idea.
other tune up stuff, tires should be Low Rolling Resistance tires and I thought there were a few other oddities but I can't remember.
I think making sure that the 12v battery is good is important as well, the car will work without it but not well.

some_other_dave 04-08-2011 12:52 PM

What do you do with it? Give it to ME, of course!!

Congrats on the purchase; I'm intensely jealous if you couldn't tell. :)


jamesqf 04-08-2011 01:12 PM

The flooring it, or just driving hard enough up hills to get the assist going for more than a few seconds will give you a good idea of pack condition. There are basically three things that can happen: 1) The battery indicator goes slowly to a low level - you've got a really good pack. 2) It goes slowly part way, then drops quickly - it's somewhat weak, and you may want to look into rebalancing it &c, and/or learn to drive so as to stay in the good area. 3) After a few bars, the indicator drops quickly, and the IMA light may come on - definitely look into rebuilding. Also pull the #18 fuse (IIRC) from the box by your left leg, and wait 10 seconds to reset the IMA.

Other things to watch out for. First, if the lead-acid battery goes bad, the car will not start, and may even quit running. You'll get a couple of red lights lit on the dash that seem to have nothing to do with anything - I think the seat belt & brake. These can come on sometimes while driving (about once every few months for me, usually when I've had to really punch it). Seems to be an overload of the DC/DC converter that powers the accessories. The car will run fine for some time, but the 12-volt won't be charging. To clear it, just stop and turn the ignition off for a second or two.

If you get some jerkiness driving on the level at about 50 mph, it's the EGR valve. You can clean it, or buy new (about $125), and a fairly easy replacement.

That's really all that I've had to do to mine that'd be any way different from a normal car - and in fact, except for replacing brake pads and an O2 sensor, it's all I have done in 7 years/ 100K miles of owning mine.

War_Wagon 04-08-2011 03:02 PM

Great, thanks for all the input everyone. As you can tell I know nothing about these cars, and it just came up 2 days ago so I haven't really had time to do much research. I believe the car has an almost new 12 volt battery in it, so I should be good there. As soon as I get a chance to put insurance on it I will test out the battery pack on one of the local big hills.

I am assuming the 1.0L has a timing belt, and since I don't know when that was last changed, I will probably get that replaced just to be safe. An oil change and a gearbox fluid change are in order too, can anyone recommend the best choice in brand and viscosity in a synthetic oil for it? I assume the gearbox takes 10w30 like in my Civic, but is there a better choice? Also, is a K&N air filter a good idea, or should I just leave that alone for now?

I will try to get some pics of it and post them later today. Thanks again for all the help!

jamesqf 04-08-2011 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by War_Wagon (Post 230525)
I am assuming the 1.0L has a timing belt...

Nope, it has a timing chain. Nothing in the owner's or shop manuals about replacement as normal maintenance, and the shop manual says the engine needs to be pulled to remove the timing chain.

AFAIK the Mobile 0W-20 synthetic is the only readily available oil (other than from Honda dealer), and even with that, "readily" is an exaggeration. WalMart usually has it, though, and you only need 2.5 quarts. You also need a special aluminum crush washer for the drain plug. Be careful with the plug, since the oil pan is magnesium and some people have reported problems with stripping the threads.

The manual recommends using Honda Manual Transmission Fluid (I'm assuming yours is manual?) 10W-30 or 10W-40 motor oil can be used as a temporary replacement, but not advised for long-term use.

groar 04-08-2011 04:06 PM

I'm so jealous...

Here in France no insight 1 has been sold. A few hundred were sold in Germany, Switzerland and England. I searched a few French web sites for an insight 1 and found only a few US imports for 5k$ and a couple German one for 25k (36k$)... more than the price of a brand new insight 2 (21k = 30k$)...

Have fun,


Ryland 04-08-2011 04:33 PM

I don't like K&N filters, every motorcycle that I've owned that had one had tons of dirt in the carb, the paper and foam filters do a much better job of keeping dirt out, I personally like foam the best, the let air flow like a K&N but filter better then any other filter I've ever used, they are hard tho to find for most cars, you might check in to what the dealership charges for the filter, not sure if there is anything special about it for the insight but it might be worth spending the extra, if you look online at places like Majestic Honda - The Internet's #1 Honda Automotive Parts Store then it's only $15 for the factory air filter, also the insight has a timing chain, not a timing belt like the civic's do, so you are safe there as long as the tensioner has not wore out, but Honda has been putting timing chains on motorcycles for over 50 years so I think they figured out how to do it right as the timing chain tensioner looks almost exactly like one from a Honda motorcycle.
As far as the gear oil goes, Honda does sell a MTF that is supposed to be what was in it from the factory,
Otherwise I read on Insight Central: Honda Insight Forum that Amsoil MTF works really well, it is a bit thiner then motor oil and is supposed to work in trannys that call for motor oil as the gear oil and for older Honda's that is what is called for, Motor oil, 10W 30 seems way to think tho, the same 0W20 as the engine calls for seems closer, but a synthetic MTF will be even better.
As for 0W20 motor oil for the engine, can you get Amsoil? I think they sell that weight of oil, otherwise Royal Purple has a 0W20 and I had good luck with both of those brands, pretty much any 0W20 oil is going to have to meet current SAE standards and I think that weight is pretty much only sold as a synthetic.

War_Wagon 04-08-2011 10:10 PM

A timing chain eh? Wow, you learn something everyday! I will have a look and see what kind of synthetic MTFs are available around here. As for the K&N, when I looked in the rear storage compartment of the car today, I found a regular paper filter stuffed inside a K&N box, so it looks like it might already have one installed, I'll check it out when I get a chance to spend some more time on it. I can't get over how light everything is on that car, the hood weighs nothing, and even the doors seem super light. The storage compartment lid is made of styrofoam! I can't wait to get a chance to start going through it. Thanks again for all the input.

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