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Old 03-27-2011, 02:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Fuel economy mods - by the numbers

We have owned our 03 Insight for 5 years. The car has been my wife's daily commuter until the last year and a half when we decided that she needed an SUV. So we found a Ford Escape Hyrbrid as a compromise vehicle so that she could get the 4wd and space she wanted and still get respectable fuel economy for an SUV.

Well I am the lucky one. Since she drives the SUV all the time the Insight was handed down to me. It needed some serious TLC, and it had been sitting for quite a while so getting the car up and running again took a little work. We did end up having to replace all of the under body panels, and inner fender panel, and the strakes on the bottom of the front bumper. I still have some things that we want to get done as preventative maintenance work such as replace the EGR, clean the EGR plate, replace the injectors, install some properly indexed plugs(I just installed a new set of Iridium plugs, but didn't know they needed to be indexed so I am fixing that problem), do a valve adjustment and some things like that just to make sure that the car is in good shape for another 150k miles. We just did a fresh oil change with 0-20w synthetics, put a new air filter in the car.

So now I am starting to look at the fuel economy mods that we can make to the car to improve mileage. I am noticing already that what works well in our TDI VW for fuel economy doesn't translate 100% to the Insight so I can see I have some learning to do in the "loose nut between the drivers seat and the steering wheel" problem. That given as part of the equation I am making the list of mods that I will want to make to the car to improve mileage. Wanted to find out if I am missing anything or what your suggestions might be. I already have a newish set of OEM tires on the car and just increased the pressure in those to 60 psi. Makes for a rough ride, but the coast and roll is nice. I am learning about how to use lean burn and assist and trying to understand the techniques for maximizing fuel burn rates. So I am wondering what other mods can I make to the car that will assist me with getting every mile I can out of the car. Below are some of the things I am thinking about based on what I am seeing in my search here on this forum. So I would love your input and suggestions on where to begin to really turn our little Insight into the MPG champ that I know it can be.

Mods I am consideirng:
1. Radiator block
2. Hot Air Intake Mod
3. Lower Grill Block
4. Engine block heater

What other things should I be considering that can help to make thing better? Thanks again. I love this forum.

Longsnowsm
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longsnowsm View Post
Mods I am consideirng:
1. Radiator block
2. Hot Air Intake Mod
3. Lower Grill Block
4. Engine block heater

What other things should I be considering that can help to make thing better? Thanks again. I love this forum.
great start ... be sure to pace yourself ... don't bite off too much at one time ... don't burn out ... go at your own pace ... do as little or as much as is right for you.

Of course these will depend on how much work you want to invest in it ... and how extreme you want to go ... but ...

A few others have done, in no particular order... there are more out there ... tons on this site for Gen-1 Honda Insight:

Engine Blankets.

PHEV Grid Chargers.

Upgrading OEM Battery Capacity.

Improving OEM Aerodynamics.

Manual control of IMA with MIMA gives the driver more control ... the results depend on how you use it.

FAS... ideally with DC-DC enable.

Reduce vehicle weight ( every 20 lbs reduces rolling resistance, hill climbing energy, and acceleration energy by about ~1% for each of the three. )

Lean Burn indicators can help as 'training wheels' until you get a good feel for it.

LED lights.

AC removed.

Solar cells to reduce 12V charging loads.



Has been discussed but have not yet seen it completed:

Engine Coolant Thermos

Waste heat recovery ( exhaust or radiator )

ICE Lean burn manual control.

Least energy mapping from point A to point B , instead of shortest distance or fastest.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Longsnowsm View Post
Mods I am considering:
1. Radiator block
2. Hot Air Intake Mod
3. Lower Grill Block
4. Engine block heater
Where are you located? Please add your location to your sig. Some of these mods will be more effective in cooler areas.

Also, you don't say but I assume from your mention of lean burn that your Insight is MT??

If it is MT, MIMA would be the first mod I would do. Failing that, at least switches that enable you to block assist and regen when you want to. And a FAS button (leaving DC : DC enabled, as Ian says).

And if MPG is your priority, simply slowing down to the speed limit or below has a major effect on MPG.
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Last edited by red1dr; 03-27-2011 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies and the expanded list of things to look at. I updated my profile with my location. I am in Colorado. Our Insight in a 5 speed. I have been a modest hypermiler for a long time with our TDI VW. So I know a lot has to happen with me(between the left and right ear) as I really learn how to drive this car efficiently. My wife paid pretty close attention to her mileage and driving technique when she drove the car and it seemed like she was driving the car a year before she was able to maximize her driving technique for her daily commute. So I know this will be a learning experience for me.

At what RPM do you recommend for shifting the Insight? I have been trying to shift around 2000-2400 rpm. I see there are many times when it would be preferable to have the ICE auto stop, but it appears that auto stop only works below 20 mph and then only if the ICE has reached operating temp. So I assume I would need FAS to address this, but I understand that there is a new MIMA in the works and that the older kits are not available at this point so is sounds like I might have to wait to get this ability.

I did put my name on the list for the grid charger. I am hoping that when these are available that it is simple enough that a mechanically/electrically challenged person such as myself will be able to install it, or that maybe there is someone else in the area that is willing to help us novices install it, or that there is a good shop that folks can recommend that will do the work that we can trust. So I am hoping that there is an option for me to get the new MIMA and Grid charger for our car.

Yesterday I found a yard sign that was left behind by a roofer. So I cut out a radiator block and managed to squeeze it between the AC and radiator. For some reason the space there is very tight, but I managed to get that in there. I found Figgy's winterizing tips and will be getting some of the foam flooring mat to make a grill block. The hot air mod however I am having a hard time finding the intake tubing and parts from the descriptions online. So I will have to wander down to a parts store and see what I can have them drag up for me.

I have a Scanguage II in the VW, but haven't bought one for the Insight yet. I am looking at the EcoRoute HD to add to my current GPS to see if it will give me much of what I use the SGII for. It looks like if that will work it will simply the mounting challenge for the SGII display if I can just send that data directly to my GPS display. So I think I will be trying the EcoRoute HD out to see if it works as well as the SGII and if it is a workable substitute for the SGII.

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Old 03-28-2011, 07:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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At what RPM do you recommend for shifting the Insight?
I don't think there is a one correct answer for all situations.

For example Lean burn in 3rd gear will return better MPG than Rich burn in 5th gear , no matter what RPM you are at ... although depending on the engine load and the RPM Lean Burn might not always be possible.

With a MT the RPMS are directly connected with tire speed at a set ratio for a given gear ... and sometimes it is better to plan the route to gain a bit of speed going down a hill and loose a bit of speed going up the next hill ... shifting at specific RPMs may not make the best use of conversing your momentum , and keeping the engine efficiency as high.

It will very with the context ... but as you get a better feel for the engine over time ... you will also begin to get a better feel for what to do in the specific context you find yourself in ... eventually it becomes almost automatic.

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So I assume I would need FAS to address this, but I understand that there is a new MIMA in the works and that the older kits are not available at this point so is sounds like I might have to wait to get this ability.
You can do FAS with or without MIMA ... one does not require the other... although they can supplement each other.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm still a huge believer in increased tire pressure for maximum mileage in our Insights. Inflate all four corners to 50 lbs/tire, and you'll bump up your mileage over stock pressures. Just this morning, my CVT Insight, AC on Econ at 72 degrees as always, normal traffic, with a passenger (going to his office), and driving normally, did this:



Still not fearing this $4 a gallon gas summer...

Stats: My Insight has 55.9 LMPG in 66,000+ miles (My Beloved drives it like a Civic, with no regards for mileage); 50#s in the tires since new, AC at 72 and never turned off, the tires in front replaced at 54,000 miles, the rears are original to the car (I don't rotate tires in front drivers, and the rears usually last for 60-70-80K miles, as they're just holding up the back of the car) and look just fine, with maybe 60% wear. YMMV...
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So we found a Ford Escape Hyrbrid as a compromise vehicle so that she could get the 4wd and space she wanted and still get respectable fuel economy for an SUV.
We fix those batteries too!
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Old 04-28-2011, 01:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Boogety,

I suspect that the Dallas temperatures really helped as well. You did not mention what the ambient temperature was during your drive.

You did mention tire pressure as a big factor, and this is true, but air temperature is even larger.

With the MT that I drive, 120 mpg summer and 65 mpg winter is typical, so air temperature is a bigger factor than tire pressure. OK, so a turtle driving style helps too.

Still very impressive mpg's for a CVT.

Jim.
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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With the MT that I drive, 120 mpg summer and 65 mpg winter is typical, so air temperature is a bigger factor than tire pressure. OK, so a turtle driving style helps too.
I just installed my own MIMA system and actually found a decrease in mileage (maybe need to relearn to drive). I find my mileage around 60mpg or so with 50-55 deg weather here in washington's spring. 75mpg for a CVT makes me jealous!

I just took my radiator block out because these hills are raising the temp over my comfort zone. I'm gonna try doing the lower grill block thing. I would love to build an automatic radiator block and remove the thermostat like the old war-birds had.

I would agree with most on the list of mods posted up there. The lower grill block, hot air intake. Engine block heater would only show gains in short distance driving. Radiator blocks are REALLY bad for long hills.

In lean burn, 3rd gear will take you all the way up to 55mph, 4th does 70mph. As they said before, lean burn in any gear is better than any gear without.
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Old 05-07-2011, 06:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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for mods to the body, I like how Alfred State did their insight, especially the upper grille block and partial lower, making sure that radiator opening is clear, pictures here: Project " Insight " | Facebook
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