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Wonderboy 09-20-2011 11:30 PM

Wonderboy's 2001 Honda Insight (5 spd)

I'm the proud new owner of the insight in that picture! woo! It is CLEAN.

It's pretty slow as expected, but I like it. Not too slow, but sometimes the acceleration response is a little... slushy.

The first thing I notice is that it wants to do a lot of stuff out of my control and I think it's funny that I immediately want manual control over it most of the time. I can feel most of the stuff happening by the seat of my pants, and I can hear and feel the electric motor spool up, help, then spool down.

I guess I can tell when lean burn is on but the indication isn't very explicit. More experimentation will be done. Very interesting beast. When you do what it "wants to" at higher speeds, it sort of seems to "want" to go 50mph. At times I could eek out what felt like LB at 65mph.

Another thing I notice is that starting off from a complete stop is pretty weak then the electric motor kicks in kind of suddenly to help after a bit of the acceleration work has already been done which defeats half the point of hybrid.

98 Civic is now for sale for $2400 and the one-of-a-kind CRXFi is a steal at the $1500 ecomodder special.

P.S. RobertSmalls - may we come up and visit your trickle charger?

MetroMPG 09-21-2011 08:52 AM

Congrats on the purchase, Will! Did the used Insight checklist come in handy at all?

Wonderboy 09-21-2011 11:13 AM

Hmm... Well, I did have some things to look for there, but fortunately none of it came in handy as grounds for price reduction. I think one thing that should be underscored in that list from what I've read is the condition of the exhaust system. That is one PRICEY exhaust system, esp. the cat converters and o2 sensors. I made sure to get under the car and look at how rough all parts of the exhaust system looked, and it all looked pretty dern good on this car.

I bought it from the second owner. Original owner bought new in Philadelphia, and the guy I brought it from had it in upstate NY (beware - salty winter roads) since 09. (Pretty cool guy - he's going all diesel everything).

A lot of these things are a bit tough to judge being unfamiliar with the typical behavior of insights. I noticed the things I mentioned in my previous post, but I had nothing to measure them against. Were the things I sensed the "bucking", or can the activities of the electric motor interfacing with the transmission normally be felt? Tough to judge. I thought it might have felt a little rough moving the shifter through all the gears with the clutch in at about 10mph, but again, hard to tell because I've got my loosey goosey XFI motor/trans that shifts like a hot knife through butter with not much of a "click" into gears to speak of. Maybe the insight is supposed to be "clicky", but it didn't seem to be much of a problem at higher speeds.

I didn't end up looking at the pack itself or opening it since I took the advice of looking at how the battery life meter behaves. Again, I have nothing to compare it to but it seemed a little weak on hills - If beginning from a lower RPM and shifting at a lower RPM, it was extraordinarily weak on hills, and felt much like the XFi - very chug-a-lug-y even in low end 2nd gear. However, if I ran up a hill in 1st and brought it to between 4-5k rpms, THEN shifted to second, that seems to have "coaxed" the electric motor to help more and it felt fine and not as luggy, even if I reduced my speed enough to reach the same RPM I had been lugging in before. This might just be gearing too. This car seems to have been built for the highway and flat ground and can handle hills if it needs to... which is why I bought it :) I got 68mpg on the mostly flat trip home. I hope this can help someone else or someone who knows what I'm talking about can chime in. That means you RobertSmalls!

Wonderboy 01-24-2012 10:42 AM

I built a (the) grid charger for my insight. I've had a couple of unrelated problems preventing me from getting it going for 36 hours straight, but on my first try I got it on for about 22 hours.

When I flipped the ima back on and turned the car on, it appeared to have no battery power whatsoever, but within a mile of driving, it kind of filled up by quarters at a time until it was full. I cleared the CEL codes for that trip and kept ima on the whole time and didn't get CEL again. The IMA light, however, remained on.

I went to a conference this weekend where it was awful nippy, and apparently I'd left my dome light on. I still don't know exactly what the order of electrical operations are in the car (does the 12v battery power the ignition relay?), but the dead 12v prevented me from starting the car. I got jumped and the ima battery showed completely dead, but then again it jumped up to full roughly 1/4 of the gauge at a time, and given its immediate ability to assist, I believed the gauge. weird.

Anyway, after that ordeal, even the IMA light went away and stayed away, which I would consider good news (must have been the 12v battery retaining the ECM's memory - I wonder if there were any good/bad "habits" it had forgotten after that as well.

Again, not totally familiar with how smart or dumb the car is) I plugged in the car when I got home the other night, and this morning marked what would have been 36 hours, but my AC side fuse (1A fast blow) had blown at some point. Time to up it to 10a per someone's suggestion (perhaps it was RobertSmall's), cautioning that the 1A fuse would blow constantly.

When I measured the battery leads from the plug I made (one goes to - terminal, one goes to + side of precharge resistor), the voltmeter read 166v, which I would consider good news and would lead me to believe the fuse blew relatively late in the process, or even by the time the batteries had all topped off as much as they would.

Haven't driven it yet since this, but I unplugged the charger. I'll measure the voltage again when I get (bike) home from work and see if it has changed after a day of sitting there, but it may have already been sitting there for a good chunk of time depending on when the fuse blew. The air in the car was slightly warmer that the balmy morning air today, so hopefully that also points to a fuse blow late in the charge.

MetroMPG 01-24-2012 11:25 AM


Originally Posted by Wonderboy (Post 281998)
When I flipped the ima back on and turned the car on, it appeared to have no battery power whatsoever, but within a mile of driving, it kind of filled up by quarters at a time until it was full. I cleared the CEL codes for that trip and kept ima on the whole time and didn't get CEL again. The IMA light, however, remained on.

Did the car have any CEL or IMA lights on before this?

Or did the grid charging experiment set them?

Wonderboy 01-24-2012 11:49 AM

Yes, the whole idea to try the grid charging sprouted from the CEL that indicated IMA/battery problems. I then shut the pack off for a while until I could build the charger. The grid charger did not set the CEL, the battery pack did.

Wonderboy 01-25-2012 07:09 PM

Checked the voltage again and it read only 1v lower after daylight's amount of time. I'm wondering right now (I'll eventually find out by digging around) if its possible for me to replace the 250v 1a fastblow fuse I blew with a 32v 7.5a automotive fuse to similar effect. That's more of the kind of stuff I've got lying around...

payne171 02-16-2012 10:33 PM

The hesitation I think you commented on sounds like a clogged EGR valve. I have found that a radiator partial block both helps warmup and aero, but be careful without a temp gauge. Definitely inflate the tires as much as you feel safe. As for what speeds are attainable in lean burn, it will help you reach higher speeds if you forget about accelerating in lean burn. Accelerate to 3 or 4 mph over the speed you want, then back off until get into lean burn. It can't easily get to 55 in lean burn, but it is not that hard to maintain 55 there. 65 is a little tougher, but doable more often than not.

RobertSmalls 06-06-2012 06:48 PM


I've been scarce around here, but I'm glad to see you've drank the Kool-Aid. That is a nice looking car you've got there. Do you have a ScanGauge or other reliable means of detecting lean burn?

I was reading your fuel log, and your 12.8gal fill into a 10 gallon tank reminds me of a filling method Wayne Gerdes wrote about back when he had an Insight. He'd fill up the filler neck, and keep dribbling in fuel for another ~3 gallons after the tank was already full, thus filling the charcoal evap canister with fuel. I think he parked on a slope with the right rear wheel elevated if possible. It doesn't seem like a good habit to me. As I understand it, your evap canister is too full of fuel to do its job until you burn a few gallons.

How's the Insight treating you lately?


MetroMPG 06-06-2012 09:38 PM

Coincidentally, Will and I just talked about the Insight "super fill" issue yesterday. I experienced it myself on my first or 2nd fill-up. I now quit at "5 clicks" for the reason you mention.

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