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Old 12-30-2012, 04:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2000 MT disappointing MPG / lean burn

I recently purchased a one-owner 2000 5-speed Insight from a local dealer. It's got 159K now and I put a bit over 1000 miles on it in the last couple weeks, mostly on a road trip from SF to LA. Lifetime MPG display reads 56.6 MPG. I'm finding it hard to get into lean burn and maintain it without losing significant speed. My FE so far is around 50 MPG, which just isn't cutting it for me, considering most of my driving has been highway. I'm a fairly careful driver and I know some of the tricks--I've owned a TDI and a Civic before and I'm used to driving for mileage. I try to drive at 65 MPH or so.

I do have some of the service history and I know the EGR and IMA battery were replaced at 110K. IMA, assist, and auto stop seem to function normally from what I can tell.

The car had 175 65 14 Potenzas on it when I bought it but a tire place convinced me to buy some cheap Hercules 175s to replace two tires with nails in them ($180). Tires are at 40+ PSI. I had the car inspected by a local shop and they mentioned a slightly rough idle, oil seepage on timing chain cover, old-looking spark plugs, unknown valve adjustment history, front end creaks, some shuddering, rear motor mount broken, etc.

I had the dealer do the spark plugs, oil change and valve adjustment ($366) and have honestly not noticed any improvement. If anything, the idle seems rougher, although I might just be imagining it or haven't had enough time with the car since the work was done. I did notice that they filled the oil to above the full mark on the dipstick--is that bad? I'm supposed to monitor it because of the seeping.

From my reading on here, my list of possible needs/culprits for reduced MPG are:

- EGR Valve/Plate cleaning
- Stock tires (not sure I can afford them yet)
- Ultragauge for learning the subtleties of lean burn
- Possibly a radiator block
- ???

I really want to like this car and get some better FE numbers (anything into the 60s sounds great to me), but so far I'm finding myself being frustrated with the loud road noise, creaks and squeaks (which I'm trying to address), and the delicate operation of trying to get into lean burn. Without great/spectacular MPG, it just doesn't seem to be worth it. I got up to 44 MPG in my old 95 Civic LX sedan in mixed driving and without having to try to coax the car into lean burn. So far, I'm not impressed with my Insight.

If anyone has any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated. Also, if there is anyone in the Bay Area who might be willing to go for a ride with my in my car and give me some pointers, that would be great...

Thanks!
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The tires are hurting you maybe up to 10 mpg hit, might make it difficult to maintain lean burn. Only the exact size correct potenzias work, potenzias in any other size kill the mpg.

You egr plate may be plugged up and need cleaning.

How easy is it to maintain lean burn in fourth gear at say 60 mph?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's a 12 year old car with 159k miles. Wrong tires, overfilled with oil and you are driving "65 or so mph". You have very limited experience driving this car. Its winter time. And you are still getting 50 or so MPGs.
I wouldn't be disappointed.

Any CELs?


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Old 12-30-2012, 05:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That you can get "44 MPG in my old 95 Civic LX sedan" is impressive.
even your current insight can out do that...

In a lot of ways the 00 insight is not impressive.
aluminum chassis are a pain and are not a whole lot lighter than steel.
the original wheels are boring and featureless.
and we shall call planning your acceleration a driving skill.

Your chassis arrived with a l-MPg rate of 56.
Someone figured out how to get good mpg runs
Mine arrived with an l-mpg of 51.7, and a weak battery.

Your example needs some attention, but please do not blame the car for some one making de-tuning and de-rating decisions
50 mpg with the 10 percent alcohol fuel we now use is not bad.

from what you have said here are the things to try;
I would look over the undercarriage for a panel scooping air.
replace the tires. use bridgestone re92 65/165-14's
(a 10 percent improvement from all I have read) there is no substitute.
(when I do 80MPH, I get 53 mpg)
find out why you are leaking oil. use 0w-20 once you have it attended to.
the over fill does not help.

check the tranny oil, and If you are like me.... make sure the handbrake is off.

victor
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have to drive my 2000 MT at 54 mph to get 90 mpg. So I think you are driving too fast. Good luck.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey everyone, thanks for the tips. I don't mean to take out my frustration on the car, but I am recognizing that there are many sacrifices that have you make with the Insight. The upside is that you're supposed to be able to get spectacular FE, but I haven't seen it yet.

I discovered another downside today when I tried to go out for a drive with a friend to test out lean burn. We both weigh about 195 and I was getting what I believe was tire rubbing in the front end when driving on the highway. I thought I read on here that the weight capacity was 400 lb, but today I discovered in the manual that it is 365 lb. It may be my worn out suspension and maybe this wouldn't happen on a car in better shape, but a 365 lb rating sounds a bit ridiculous. Not being able to drive two full size men around in a car is a serious limitation. Has this happened to others?

---

I have no CELs. I was told that all the underbody panels are intact. Regarding speed--is 60-65 mph a speed at which I can expect FE in the 60s or 70s (assuming everything is in good working order, up to spec, etc.)?

I will start tackling the various MPG drains one by one and do some more lean burn tests asap.

Just hoping to be as satisfied with this car as many of you seem to be...

Thanks again.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Don't get too frustrated... 50 mpg sounds low to me. There are probably one or more issues causing the low mpg. I dont know what to think about the tire rubbing. I would look into that first. Its been said a thousand times here on this forum that it take a couple few months to "learn" how to drive these cars and its true. When I bought my 01 I was averaging 65 mpg (end of summer in the desert area) with tires at 60 psi, creeping around at 55 to 60 mph. Within 2 months I was regularly averaging 75 to 80. Now its cold and I drive about 62 to 67 and I get 65 mpg if Im lucky. Still beats the hell out of just about any other hybrid out there.

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Old 12-31-2012, 12:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I drive 60, 65, 70 and go with flow of traffic. 40 miles one way, 80 roundtrip daily. Sometimes bumper to bumper. I average 59-62. Lower in cold winter weather.

My best roundtrip was 92 mpg over 140 miles on a hot summer day on flat country backroads. It was mostly at 48/50 mph.

The guys who are getting 80, 90, 100 mpgs are driving slow. You are not going to get that with your 175/65/14 cheapo tires, but conversely, you will probably not get that by simply switching tires either.

And you need to do the math, whether spending $400 on new OEM style tires will pay off in MPG improvements over the life of the tires. If you only drive 15,000 miles per year, the return on your investment may be many, many years. Depending on what car/truck you switched from, and how much you drive per year, and how much gas costs, you can figure out your savings with the Insight. Mine paid for itself in less than 4 years!

There have been new owners on the forum here complaining that they can't shoehorn a third passenger seat into the car, and how disappointed they are with the car, because it rides so horrible, and that they aren't getting 70 mpgs. The EPA estimate was 61/68 in 2000. The newer mpg calculation (used after 2007) would reduce that by 15% if I remember right. Deduct another 10% for 10% Ethanol "enriched" fuel, which wasn't as prevalent in 2000. So I believe that would put your current mpg right in the ballpark.

Before I bought mine, I did extensive research. Mostly on IC. For me, the car works. I love the car for what it is: a technological marvel, a cool little machine, a fun to drive personal vehicle, with cool, (still) fresh styling which is still about the most fuel efficient vehicle on the road. If your battery holds out for several years, you can't do much better in a commuter car.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If your 12V battery or IMA battery is low, or not at a point to enact forced regen, you will have a "hidden charge" that can put enough load on the engine that your mileage will suffer.
Maybe do a forced recal and see if that helps.
Is your driving mostly at night or day?

HTH
Willie
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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the fenderwells in the front of an insight are not over large.
I suspect the over size tires are the issue.
I am a flabby tabby and my best friend is similar weight.
we ride on standard re92 and have no rubbing sounds.

victor
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