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-   -   What would you do to all-out modify (ecomod) a Honda Insight (gen 1)? (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/what-would-you-do-all-out-modify-ecomod-8087.html)

MetroMPG 04-24-2009 11:47 PM

What would you do to all-out modify (ecomod) a Honda Insight (gen 1)?
 
The question: if you had a first gen Honda Insight, what mods do you think you would actually do to it?

---

I was talking to Tim (Daox) today, and compulsive car shopper that he is, he told me about a gen 1 Insight he was looking at.

http://ecomodder.com/forum/attachmen...1&d=1239760115

(Not the Insight Tim was looking at - this is the Insight RobertSmalls is restoring/modding)

(Not sure why there seem to be more than a couple of current Insight threads on EM lately... aside from the fact it was the pinnacle of efficient vehicles in North America, and maybe more of them are coming available as "project" cars.)

I told Tim I thought that because he's a tinkerer at heart, he'd eventually get bored of repeatedly punching out 100 mpg commutes in a bone stock Insight.

"What would you do to mod it," I asked. It would be tough to improve on the king of efficient late model cars. But that just makes it more of a challenge.

Any thoughts? We came up with a decent list for a hard-core ecomodder, but then I closed my IM window. :p

My opening thoughts were:
  • Mirror delete/relocation (to inside A pillar)
  • Rear wiper delete
  • Articulated front wheel skirts
  • Full belly pan (Tim says the stock one is OK, but could be better)
  • MPGuino (because SG doesn't do lean burn well, and you want a resettable fuel economy gauge)
  • 155/80/13's on VX rims with smooth wheel covers
We came up with a pile more than that. Want to flesh this out? I'll come back to this post and update the list.

Frank Lee 04-24-2009 11:54 PM

Being a flatlander, I'd decide if I wanted it primarily for in town use or out.

For in town, making it a plug-in might work out well.

For out, chucking all the electric stuff and going straight gas might work out well.

There's an Insight that looks just like the one in the pic at the local scrap yard right now. Yard owner talked me out of having interest in it though.

Bicycle Bob 04-25-2009 01:50 AM

Gap-filling tape, and other detailing, especially smoothing front and underside, and fairing around wheels.
Remove soundproofing and stereo; use noise-canceling headphones with MP3 players.
Proper ducting to the rad, with a variable opening to take advantage of cold days or fast speeds.
Use exhaust heat for absorbtion AC, if needed, or to replace generator.
Lightweight battery.
A tail extension or complete aero-trailer.
New, smaller engine from FIAT with variable valve timing.

Daox 04-25-2009 09:05 AM

Its so true, I would get tired of only 100mpg. :D

Actuated grill block. Get that puppy warm fast, plus Cd reduction! :)

Of course block heater too. Prefferably a large one that could get it up to temp very quickly. 800W or so should do it.

Daox 04-25-2009 09:10 AM

Doh, almost forgot boat tail (and I just posted in Delta Flyer's boat tail thread too...).

RobertSmalls 04-25-2009 09:16 AM

Seal up the radiator grille opening. Build smooth aluminium fenders and/or underbody trays and plumb coolant through them. Add coolant-to-frame heat exchangers.

bennelson 04-25-2009 09:16 AM

Come on! you KNOW you want to make a plug-in hybrid!

We could figure that out!

jamesqf 04-25-2009 12:03 PM

Just how all-out do you want to get? I've owned one for about 6 years, and have had some ideas over that time. The ones I've actually done have been fairly basic, due mostly to lack of time & skill. They include MIMA, radiator block (easy, just a piece of coroplast that slips between radiator & A/C), hot air intake, & removing the rear wiper - something that's not much use in Nevada.

Things beyond that which don't get into major structural mods would be more turbocharging, battery capacity & replacing most of the glass in rear hatch lid with carbon fiber.

If I had time and a crew of skilled body builders, I'd really like a different body, something like either the Aptera or (old-style) Lotus Europa. I'd like the current body better if it were several inches longer, lower, and narrower.

And one other not-an-ecomod thing: I'd really like some good door pockets.

aerohead 04-25-2009 01:39 PM

Insight
 
If you wanted to leave the rational world,you could lose the windshield and A-pillars,re-configure for a $3,000 GTP full semi-circular windscreen and Lexan side windows.That alone would get you into sub Cd.20 territory.The articulated front wheel skirts and cleanup of the belly have been mentioned.Then if you could deal with parking,hang more tail on it.After that,you're looking at some sort of active suspension which could drop the car on the highway and add a bit of rake.Throw in articulated airdam at front, valance at rear,road-riding ablative wheel fairings,and your looking Cd0.14 maybe.Go to rear radiator,maybe Cd0.13 like a Probe-V.One-wheel tadpole trailer to complete tail for road trips only and maybe Cd0.10( HONDA Dream-2 Solar car).Then we'll have you fitted with a designer straight-jacket!

jjackstone 04-25-2009 03:10 PM

As opposed to Frank, I would chuck anything having to do with gasoline and add more batteries and a larger electric motor. Toss on flush mount solar panels to help with HVAC duties.
JJ

Chuck. 04-25-2009 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjackstone (Post 100369)
As opposed to Frank, I would chuck anything having to do with gasoline and add more batteries and a larger electric motor. Toss on flush mount solar panels to help with HVAC duties.
JJ

You would have to replace the entire engine on the Insight

Silveredwings 04-25-2009 05:15 PM

Electric drive, full boat-tail, and solid rubber tires. :D

MetroMPG 04-25-2009 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 100331)
Just how all-out do you want to get?

Well the horses are already out of the barn (and halfway across the neighbour's fields), but I should have said: keeping the Honda drivetrain in there. Modding the hybrid drivetrain seems reasonable, and has been done before (plug-in boost pack, MIMA, assist/regen disable switch, etc.)

For those wanting to delete the hybrid components, you can effectively do that with a switch.

Extreme
body mods (as opposed to add-ons) are theoretically interesting, but how realistic?

(I know, I know, I didn't say anything about "realistic" in the first post, but I meant this to be a "what would you actually do to your Insight if you had one" kind of list.)

vinny1989 04-25-2009 05:27 PM

Replace the engine with a small diesel (1.3 multijet?)
A 6 speed manual gearbox
Double up on the battery pack

ithinkidontknow 04-25-2009 05:27 PM

solid rubber tires? While that may improve the rolling resistance slightly, that is so much more weight for the engine to have to move. I dont think that is going to help fuel economy the slightest. The moment of inertia on solid rubber tires would be ridiculous.

Silveredwings 04-25-2009 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ithinkidontknow (Post 100389)
solid rubber tires? While that may improve the rolling resistance slightly, that is so much more weight for the engine to have to move. I dont think that is going to help fuel economy the slightest. The moment of inertia on solid rubber tires would be ridiculous.

22" diameter wheels 1" wide made of graphite with Kevlar spokes. Lightweight composite rubber tyres. 80% Less weight, rolling resistance and wind resistance. :p

ithinkidontknow 04-25-2009 07:52 PM

sounds much better, only problem is little friction between the wheels and the road and a 2000 pound car. Also, I would be surprised if those wheels could hold up 2000+ pounds without running into some sort of failure.

Silveredwings 04-25-2009 08:01 PM

Need to loose some weight on that thing! Remake that entire body and frame out of carbon fiber. LiIon batteries, aluminum core AC hub motors. No tranny. Lexan windows, lightweight fabric seat(s). No sound system, AC, or heater. No bumpers or airbags. Don't think about hitting anything. ;)

(Darin, is that far enough off the rails for ya?)

ithinkidontknow 04-25-2009 08:02 PM

Now its not an insight anymore :P

Silveredwings 04-25-2009 08:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ithinkidontknow (Post 100410)
Now its not a Prius anymore :P

Wow, when were we talking about a Prius?

Frank Lee 04-25-2009 08:04 PM

If I was in CA with it I'd totally keep the hybrid gear, Boss.

ithinkidontknow 04-25-2009 08:07 PM

whoops, mental slip

Silveredwings 04-25-2009 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ithinkidontknow (Post 100413)
whoops, mental slip

It's all in good fun...

theunchosen 04-27-2009 11:21 AM

Basic within reason mods. . .I would dump the AC, refrigerant cooling fins, all the piping for it, swap the belt for a shorter belt(probably from a different car thats the exact length I need(length of old minus running to the AC.)) Boosts a little.

I would consider running a turbo with very non-aggressive back-pressure build up and running the alternator off of that instead. The total power ouput of an array would need to be about half a KW to effectively delete the alt.

Buy a battery pack of another wrecked insight(or prius) drop some solar panels in the front dash and rear window to charge the batteries passively all day to run the head-lights if you end up needing them or wipers if it starts raining. I think you could get 500 watts out of 2 very steep bladed turbines, but its hard to say as I've never seen anyone mention the power output of one(although if you used a saw to get the same RPMs with a speed increase gear its consuming a ton of electricity(1KW)).

I would dupe the engine into constant lean burn(variable resistance between MAF and ECU and O2(and any other sensors that throw CELs and change the AFR sneakily on me)), toss the old cat and inject a tiny amount of water at the intake(to shut down most NOx and SOx) and run the other 500w with a centrifugal turbo to keep the engine above 25:1 AFR(NOx and SOx virtually disappear at or above 25:1) using IMA to heavily assist to speed so I don't dip to 14.7 AFR(hydrocarbons that water injection won't fix). In the process I would definitely yank the throttle body to drop pumping losses.

With the alt running off the turbine, if the car is not drawing load it will automatically free-wheel(until it goes under load) and increase the AFR to increase FE. So once you get to speed and your packs are(80-90% charge let the PV handle the rest) set and you are up to speed you can coast in ultra-lean burn territory(throttle partially open creates pumping losses and holds AFR in lower range, while WOT ultra-lean avoids that and delivers cooler charge(water injection and pre-cooling(misnomer=intercooler))).

discovery 11-25-2009 10:30 PM

fix the existing EGR valve system for better MPG, and find the pot that keeps the lean burn mode more prolong or change the TPC with drive -by- wire, make the water pump electrical so the car would be beltless"you don't need A/C when targetting 100+MPG and next would be add an removable E-weel with no more than 6 BAT for city range. Other than that i think the car is good to go on a highway.

random_variable 11-26-2009 12:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bicycle Bob (Post 100295)
Remove soundproofing and stereo; use noise-canceling headphones with MP3 players.

I don't know about CA, but in many states driving while wearing headphones, or anything to prevent you from hearing sirens, is illegal.


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