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Old 05-15-2009, 03:25 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Even in my absence there has been some great, informative replies to this thread! Thank you guys!

Sorry for not keeping you updated; as I mentioned, I was hoping to donate this Insight to my university as a project for what I had indicated. While my university is open to the idea, I have as of yet, not made this happen.. I have been distracted.

Here is what I have been doing..
Needing some cash I decided to part out all the parts on the Insight I already have but will not be needing for my project. Parts on the Honda Insight are worth big $$. I've already made $1500 on Insight parts alone and still have all the hybrid components.

You guys were right! That Honda Insight NiMH battery is a little tiny baby battery. Here's a picture of mine that I just threw in the back of my trunk:



Anyways I've gutted the Insight to the bare chassis with only the suspension, wheels and steering still attached.. I even have the rear hatch for sale since I intend on making the car more aerodynamic (and spacious) with a custom rear end. But like I said, I haven't really added anything to it.. I'll get better pictures later, here's some now:





Anyways, Since I clearly have been doing no work on the project I posted, I might as well say what I have been doing..

Besides making a lackluster attempt not to fail out of college, I have been playing with some other cars..
Since I wanted to make some money and I was curious about the way some other cars work, I sold my soul to the devil and bought some first gen. Priui. That's plural for that evil car. I actually bought two more hybrids.. : (







The first Prius is a 2003 and was (obviously) wrecked.. I bought it for parts.

The second Prius is a 2001 w/ 150k miles. Believe or not, it had a failed NiMH battery pack!

Some morons on the web are still trying to say not a single NiMH pack has ever failed on the Prius. That is ****ing bull****. They in fact go out, on average at around 150k.. No matter what you hear, the past month has given me solid evidence of the fact that (at least the 1st gen Prius) are NOT reliable used vehicles. They are not aging well, and if they weren't made in higher numbers (39k on the roads in America I believe), I guarentee Toyota would be in store for a pretty nasty black eye.

I have been parting out the 2003 Toyota Prius. Now while the parts are not anywhere near as valuable as the Honda Insight parts, they are still selling. In specific I have loads of people contacting me with requests for.

CVT transmission--some people have a **** trans by 90k! This is a car that debuted in 2001 people--Ford and Chrysler don't even make transmissions that bad any more.
HV inverter--You ****ing kidding me? $1500 for a new power inverter that's about 5 bolts to remove?
Electrical ECU issues--The 2001 Prius I picked up that had a failed new NiMH battery pack had $1600 worth of repairs done to, diagnosing and repairing two ECU's.
NiMH battery pack issues--Yep, sure enough, they fail.


It is true that the battery pack from my 2001 Prius had failed. I removed the pack, opened the case, took a simple multimeter to each of the NiMH subpacks and read the voltage on each one.

My findings were interesting.

This 1st Prius actually has the largest battery pack of any Domestic Hybrid--SIGNIFICANTLY larger than the 2004+ Toyota Prius.

It comes in at 273.15 V, and has 38 7.2 NiMH subpacks. In each subpack there are 6 1.2 V NiMH cells. That makes a total of 228 cells.
Well my 2001 pack had 31 subpacks reading around 7.5 V and 7 subpacks reading 6.2. What happened apparently was that 7 (7 of 228!) individual cells died. Despite this, the pack was programmed to continually output 273.15 V, as it still was doing, even until the time I removed it. However, since it only had 221 cells, all of those 221 cells were being overcharged, resulting in the problems that the car experienced once you drove it for more than 5 minutes. In other words, 7 cells failed, the whole pack became useless, the previous owner was charged $1600 in attempt to fix the problem, then got his car back and was told he needed a new pack at the cost of $3500 as well!

Okay, that's why I bought the 2003. I dropped the '03 NiMH pack right into the 2001 and now the 2001 is a nice happy little Prius.

So there ya go. I am now the owner of a freaking reliable, functioning Prius.. I am so ashamed. I hope to have it sold by the end of the week.

I admit, the midrange torque that you can feel from the electric engine is impressive. However the rumors are true, to really feel this you do still come in at 15 mpg when you race it for a 5 mile cycle--as bad as most other 4 cylinder cars.

So anyways, I've played with my hybrids, I'm marginally impressed with their performance, it has put some extra cash in my pocket, but I still stand by my original ideals of hybrid hating. There's no reason why we shouldn't have cheap IC, 80+ mpg ecoboxs in this country--and I'm going to turn that Insight into one.. in due time.

I am not going to lie though--while the engine in the 2003 Prius has been heavily damaged, the CVT trans and electric engine are good. I also have a Honda Insight NiMH pack just sitting around and I actually am repairing the 2001 Prius battery pack! That Prius pack just needs some new cells--I actually bought 2 subpacks on ebay ($55 shipped) and I intend to break them up and install one cell into each of my bad subpacks.

So anyways, I got all the stuff to turn that Insight into one hell of an EV. I mean that Prius trans/engine w/ 44 hp--Two NiMH packs... It would be great!

I'm not going to do it though! No more collaborating with the devil car.


If anyone wants a Prius NiMH pack, or a Honda Insight NiMH pack though let me know. I'm thinking this Prius pack would be pretty cool to drop in the Honda Insight. It's huge--two and a half times the size of the Insight one!


Anyway, I guess this isn't an excuse for neglecting my dream project, but at least I am gaining a more experience based reason for my hybrid hating.


Last edited by Fabio; 05-30-2009 at 04:31 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:34 AM   #52 (permalink)
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As the owner of a wrecked Insight, I'm definately interested in parts. My Insight's battery appears to be cooked, so I'm interested in at least a few cells from yours. I may also need to buy a radiator support bracket and a driver's side fender, but first I'll try my hand at fabrication.
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:28 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Generally the prius and insight batteries don't "go" they get out of balance (because the BMS is more of a BS and doesn't track each cell instead it has upper and lower limits), if you check each individual cell inside the module you will find that only a few are dead and the rest are charged,

recharging or replacing the dead cells will bring the entire string back to life in at least 75% the cases.
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Old 05-15-2009, 04:24 PM   #54 (permalink)
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I'm late to the thread but I just want to say THANKS FOR THE RANT!!!!!
It was the most entertaining post I've read - ever. Maybe I don't get around much though.

While it was not exactly technically accurate, it doesn't matter. I think we all get your drift and agree with the point. Like alot of us, I make project vehicles in my head and in sketches. The reality I live in doesn't afford the time to develop these cars in the flesh, so there they sit. If I could start a local community of hans-on people to actually make a vehicle or two we all could get alot out of it, and maybe it wouldn't take so much time.

Fabio, go do it! There are many many of us that would like to do the same but something in life is stopping us. I'm sure you'll get lots of support from EM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:14 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Unless you really make a killing on selling parts, it looks like these broken hybrids weren't the greatest purchase, economically speaking. After all, you have 4 broken eco cars, and none of them are drivable.

For the cash you've spent dragging these four wrecks home, you could buy a truly perfect Metro/Swift/Firefly like the one MetroMPG drives. And, for the cash it would take to get any of your ecocars drivable, you come close to buying a decent used Insight.

But hey, if you like to tinker with broken stuff...I guess buying these wrecks wasn't that bad of an idea.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:23 AM   #56 (permalink)
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little long but i will offer some of my diesel knowledge....ive been around 18wheelers all my life. the epa can go ahead blow wind up my pantlegs but diesels are the best around. tractor trailers nowadays get 7.5-8.5mpg which is great working on 10! problem is it took forever to "get" the new technology thats been around for years the epa i swear is paid but the oil companies to do this the new jetta tdi runs cleaner then any gasoline powered engine out there...the simply answer to the diesels is run them on ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel) which is becoming the standard today!....the other problem the oil companies would lose their billion dollar profits because most diesels (cars) get 45-80mpg HWY diesel is cheaper in most places! thats your answer its a damn shame because you get 500k+ out of the engine send it for a overhaul and good til at least a million miles! the technology is there the goverment is holding it up!
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:11 AM   #57 (permalink)
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It's funny, I never actually hated the high mpg hybrids. They are reasonable pieces of efficiency engineering with good CD, smaller engines, regen braking, built in pulse and glide, etc. Driven like a perfect moron, you can make anything (i.e. a metro) get 15mpg. The greenwashed tanks are what bug me the most though, OMGIDONTWEIGH10000000POUNDSIMGOINGTODIE!!!

You find a windshield for that insight?
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:54 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
It's funny, I never actually hated the high mpg hybrids. They are reasonable pieces of efficiency engineering with good CD, smaller engines, regen braking, built in pulse and glide, etc. Driven like a perfect moron, you can make anything (i.e. a metro) get 15mpg. The greenwashed tanks are what bug me the most though, OMGIDONTWEIGH10000000POUNDSIMGOINGTODIE!!!

You find a windshield for that insight?
Those are going bye-bye. CAFE mandate is 39 by 2016. Which means no one would be allowed to own an SUV if any manufacturer was planning on not getting a "serious fine." Not passed yet, but I'm not holding my breath.

I very highly doubt the government is holding technology up for cars. The EPA is pretty retarded, but I doubt they are in cahoots with big oil. The problem with the new tech is it took along time to get the equipment to make it happen. The technology might have been around for 50 years but it wasn't cost effective. More expensive technology means more expensive units they can't sell.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:14 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theunchosen View Post
...no one would be allowed to own an SUV...
There are lots full of them (and tumbleweeds) around here.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:26 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
There are lots full of them (and tumbleweeds) around here.
Google CAFE+Fuel+economy. I know there are lots out there. I'll end this quickly so as not to hijack another thread.

CAFE if it passes will mandate all manufacturers will have to have an average per car sold FE of at least 39. It would be virtually impossible to meet those goals with any more than a handful of SUVs per hundred.

I too hate greenwashed SUVs/hybrids. . .What I dislike even more is the notion that somehow its impossible for a gasser to compete with a hybrid.

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