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Old 12-03-2012, 07:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry I need more power! Help!

So I use my 2000 insight daily for work and I have to go up and down hills for delivery. I often find I have to downshift to 1st gear if i am going up hill on windy roads in 2nd and my speed dips below 30 mph. I also have to go up and down highway 13 allot and am stuck in 3rd gear unless i want to max out my battery and do 55 on the steep hilly parts.
I have the new bumblebee battery and it has been an amazing improvement, thanks Eli, but the improved battery performance hasn't solved my lack of power issues.
What are the best spark plugs to use?
Can I squeeze a few more ponies out with air box mods?
Any computer mods to improve performance?
Gearing changes in the manual tranny?
I know about turbo charging thanks to meeting Willie at the green car show but I don't have the money to spend thousands on a turbo install so maybe someone out there would be willing to team up with me to do our own mods and install turbos?
Sorry I am so loquacious but I am desperate.
Any help or suggestions much appreciated!

Last edited by cordog13; 12-03-2012 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Because
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Unfortunately there really isn't anything. Turbo is the only thing that is going to help, and even that may not in your specific case.

I almost wonder if your car is a "low power" car. They seem to exist, for an unknown reason.. low compression perhaps. Maybe next time I'm down there, we could do one of your typical drives in my car, and see if it performs any better?
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My Insight does well off the line, I do 35 in 1st 65 in 2nd and I feel I am as fast as any Civic when I push it. I feel it is a lack of torque.
My complaint is low end power, the Insight is geared high I think to accomodate the lack of power with the battery torque in order for it to drive like a normal car but I believe after putting 105,000 miles on mine that the boys in Japan failed to test it in twisty hills with low speed limits because if they had they would have made 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear geared a little lower so that you could maintain 15 to 25 mph in twisty steep hills and 65 mph on steep grades without having to downshift radically low to stay at speed.
This amazing little marvel of a car is perfectly tuned for highway cruising and optimizing mpg on leisurely little strolls to the market however I have chosen to take this little go cart out of it's comfort zone and use it as a work horse. It has proved unbreakable and superbly engineered and built but lacking in the one thing I truly desire, low end torque.
Perhaps I was spoiled by my previous 39 cars I owned before this one, and 7 motorcycles.
Before the Insight I owned a Suzuki Swift GT, Subaru WRX, Acura Integra GSR, Nissan 240 SX, and a Toyota MR2 Turbo. Those were just the last 5, spoiled I was! All of those gas guzzlers, compared to the Insight, could handle the hills in 2nd gear even when stuck behind grandma in her 13 mph crawl up the windy hill to her house. I just long for the days when I could pass said grandma on the 30 ft straight away in a flash before the next turn however I am stuck in 1st gear with my Insight getting 17 mpg as she snails up the hill scared to death of anything peripheral to her manic focused terror or anything opposing that may be moving in determined speed to scurry back down the hill for a low fat yogurt run to Safeway. My life is hell! If only I lived in Italy where everyone drove like me, with reckless abandon and superb time tested skill.
However I do not!
So.
I contemplate selling my brilliant little gas sipper and move on to something meatier or I find more low end torque, or I just relax and live with the fact that grandma still has a license and enough money to afford a Prius and deal with it.
I don't want to deal with it.
Help me.
I beg for help.

Last edited by cordog13; 12-04-2012 at 05:42 AM. Reason: I am an editor at heart!
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't think it's a lack of torque; the Insight has a diesel-like torque curve thanks to the IMA motor(91ftlbs @ 2000RPM). It's a respectable number for the power output(76HP), and it happens nice and low.

The problem is the gearing. I know exactly what you're talking about, I've encountered it many times.

Jeff, what say you? Possible to swap 2nd gear with something shorter?

Edit: On second thought, maybe it is just a plain old lack of torque/power. I guess I have very little perspective; our 3 Insights are pretty much the only cars I've driven for the last several years.
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Last edited by Eli; 12-04-2012 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, it's not lack of power per se but gearing and the ability to slow right down to a crawl on a gradient and perform an overtake without changing gear, with a manual transmission...

I have a similar gearing issue with high powered superbikes - they don't lack power and are capable of collosal speeds, but a 20MPH crawl is only just about possible in first gear (of six) and slipping the clutch or clutch-in coasting is needed to go slower than that - crawling traffic can be a real pain!

With the Insight, you get a 3 speed box plus overdrives. You're going to need first gear at low speed on a steep hill, so dropping out of second to overtake and back to second as soon as you're past the hazard gives the driver more work to do. The benefit is enjoying the free-revving VVT triple and the noise it makes, plus the knowledge that you will be using less gas than anyone else in the process

I'd probably need first gear on my motorbike in the same situation!
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UK_MJN View Post
Yes, it's not lack of power per se but gearing and the ability to slow right down to a crawl on a gradient and perform an overtake without changing gear, with a manual transmission...

I have a similar gearing issue with high powered superbikes - they don't lack power and are capable of collosal speeds, but a 20MPH crawl is only just about possible in first gear (of six) and slipping the clutch or clutch-in coasting is needed to go slower than that - crawling traffic can be a real pain!

With the Insight, you get a 3 speed box plus overdrives. You're going to need first gear at low speed on a steep hill, so dropping out of second to overtake and back to second as soon as you're past the hazard gives the driver more work to do. The benefit is enjoying the free-revving VVT triple and the noise it makes, plus the knowledge that you will be using less gas than anyone else in the process

I'd probably need first gear on my motorbike in the same situation!
I thought the same thing, but the batteries that Peter, Eli (BumbleBee) and Mile Hybrid are selling make a significant difference in torque. Search youtube for my video "BetterBattery vs Sideling Hill". It's a 6% grade hillclimb in 5th gear for 3 miles.

BetterBattery vs. Sideling Hill - YouTube
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Last edited by Hybrid-Battery-Repair; 12-04-2012 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In your previous concise post you apologized for being loquatious.

Then you say:

"I just long for the days when I could pass said grandma on the 30 ft straight away in a flash before the next turn however I am stuck in 1st gear with my Insight getting 17 mpg as she snails up the hill scared to death of anything peripheral to her manic focused terror or anything opposing that may be moving in determined speed to scurry back down the hill for a low fat yogurt run to Safeway. My life is hell! If only I lived in Italy where everyone drove like me, with reckless abandon and superb time tested skill.
However I do not!"

Ha!

Now that's loquatious- funny too!

An obvious cheap and easy thing to do is dump weight. Ditch the spare tire and the jack and replace them with a can of air with sealant. Maybe remove the passenger seat. A lighter 12v battery may be possible too.

And wind that little three! Rev-match, double clutch, whatever you have to do.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cordog13,
have you cleaned your EGR plate and are your cats OK, clogged cats and/or egr plate can make some difference in the power you are getting from the G1... Also you are mentioning you are delivering stuff 9 how much of a payload including you are you carrying around.

My insight was quite sluggish and cleaning the EGR plate and pumping the tires to 45 psi made some improvement, but I am 220 lbs of deadweight there ... so more lightening is needed here.... I went through some hilly area in IN and PA a couple of years ago. I remember i had to downshift a lot, I could use 3rd on the hills but above 45-50 mph, otherwise I needed 2nd, I do not recollect having to use 1st gear often, but those inclines may have been not so steep as your hills....also I did not have much staff with me (except for my own weight...)
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You know, I've been running on a dead pack for a few weeks now but I still manage to keep the car running quick up these hills. The easiest thing would still be to lose weight.

When I'm alone in my car, I can drive up very steep hills no problem. But once I have a passenger, I lose speed like no one's business.

Aside from that, learn to double clutch, keep it around where vtec is (3k rpms) and you will be fine.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think you need to go over your car and check the basics. I would look at your compression as stated in an earlier post, then egr and cat. I own on 01 with 205k and drive 50 miles home everyday that is nearly all uphill ( slight grades to about 5% grade). On the 5% hill I downshift to 3rd only occasionally , and that seems to be overkill in my opinion. My battery never gets used when going up these hills, yet I can comfortably maintain my speed in 3rd. Don't give up on the little girl yet!

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