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This mod will only give the MPG performance boost in moderate temperatures. Too cold and MPG suffers in all cases. And like with all hyper MPG driving it cannot make up for a heavy right foot. It will in moderate temperatures and with hyper MPG driving techniques _help_ retain up to 10MPG that would otherwise be lost to the colder weather.

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The radiator block and MPG improvement has been discussed many times in here. I too have used the above block but removed it early this June with the onset of summer and temps in the high 80's - low 90's. Several other type radiator blocking schemes that have been presented in here appear much more complex, difficult to install and remove.

Now that outside temps have moderated to low and mid 80's I reinstalled it. On my well worn route home today - voilà +10MPG with ECT readings approaching 203F (still safe, fans auto on @ 205F).

Simply slide the above size piece of plain cardboard long length horizontally in between the radiator and AC condenser. AC users should not use this since it also decreases air flow across the condenser, increases compressor load and reduces AC efficiency. Insighters in warmer climates should delay this until daytime temps moderate to the mid 80's or if you frequently get into heavy stop & go traffic such that the auto stop function is "used up".

I would also recommend that unless you have the means to monitor your engines temp separate from the dash gauge (e.g. a scan tool) that you carefully consider the risk.

My summertime average for my afternoon ride home without the radiator block was in the upper 70's to low 80 MPG. Today's MPG (under ideal conditions of weather and traffic) was 90!

I'd like to hear other field test reports!

[Edit 2/17/07, Summarizing the design and cautionary considerations]

1) The amount of blockage can be varied according to the outside ambient air conditions. Just remember that the maximum needed unrestricted radiator area depends on both the _load_ (e.g. hill climbing) and speed. There is an interrelationship between the blockage size, load, and outside air temp. In -20F, -30C conditions and with a light throttle a near 100% block would likely be optimum, but have a _very_ narrow tolerance for change in temperature and engine load (e.g. speed).

Should you go for a weekend drive in the mountians or be late for work and decide to run with the big dogs in the fast lane, the size that has worked perfectly in the past may now cause a severe overheat and damage :!: And don't forget $$$$

The above is why monitoring the engine temperature with something more accurate than the stock engine temperature gauge is necessary. IMO once you establish the safe operatinge range, continuous independent monitoring is better, but redundant. Perhaps the easiest way to get this data is from a scan tool via the ECT (Engine Coolant Tempertaure sensor). There are many tools to choose from and it will also serve as a code reader for any future check engine light problems you might have. If you already have a Palm or Pocket PC then there are cables & software available for only a couple hundred dollars (google or the forum search feature is your friend). But a nice temperature gauge can probably be had for about 2/3 of that.

For your _maximum_ load (and speed) condition the cardboard block should not allow coolant temperature above 205F, 96C (the fans on point).

2) Running the Air Conditioner (AC, remember "Auto" is AC on) in warm weather with the block is just as bad. The restriction will also reduce airflow over the condenser (the outside AC coil). This _will_ cause higher AC pressure loads and could rapidly cause AC compressor failure :!: IMO and from my calculations (there are charts for AC pressure based on temperature and humidity) with a 50% blockage (6x17" ;) ) and "using" the AC in winter (60F, 16C and lower) as the "defogger" will be in the "safe range" and no additional compressor "wear" will result.

3) Positioning the cardboard so that the blockage is primairly horizontal is also a design consideration. The radiator cross flow tubes on the Insight are vertical. A horizontal piece of cardboard is effectively "cooling" the tubes in their normal direction of flow. Blocking a percentage of the radiator vertically will cause the entire length of a tube to be chilled, rather than the "normal" temperature drop from top to bottom across all tubes (which happens with or without the _horizontal_ cardboard). In theory _vertical_ cardboard can contribute to mineralization (internal flow blockage) in these cold tubes over the _long term_ and can ultimately require premature radiator replacement.

[end edit / addendum]
18753
Will this work on a toyota tacoma truck 2005? I took the tailgate off and it helped some. Thanks [email protected]
 

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Will this work on a toyota tacoma truck 2005? I took the tailgate off and it helped some. Thanks [email protected]
Every little bit helps no doubt and the cardboard block is kind of universal and de rigueur up north for lots of vehicles, ....but applicability of a blocked off front can depend if the vehicle you are considering is turbocharged or supercharged and has an intercooler that needs airflow to function or the engine may be harmed. Not familiar here with that vehicle.
The cardboard in front of rad addition is very common, but may be inappropriate for some cars or trucks. Monitor levels carefully.
 

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Every little bit helps no doubt and the cardboard block is kind of universal and de rigueur up north for lots of vehicles, ....but applicability of a blocked off front can depend if the vehicle you are considering is turbocharged or supercharged and has an intercooler that needs airflow to function or the engine may be harmed. Not familiar here with that vehicle.
The cardboard in front of rad addition is very common, but may be inappropriate for some cars or trucks. Monitor levels carefully.
Ok What temps should I use this method with? less than 80? Can you look at the front end of my truck on line and see or guess how much this would help? Thanks Cameron
 

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Ok What temps should I use this method with? less than 80? Can you look at the front end of my truck on line and see or guess how much this would help? Thanks Cameron
Cameron, I wouldn't solicit guesses from Honda Insight owners about your Toyota truck. Too many variables: towing? 4x4? V8? 4 cyl? Odo reading? Thermostat? General health of cooling system? Would you really just go with what someone online would recomend and gamble the headgasket on your truck? Even if you would answer yes, I'd recommend you at least get this kind of advice on the Toyota truck forum.

Just my cautious 2 cents worth. You do you. :)
 

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As far as the engine temp goes, get a scan gauge and monitor it for a week. Then start putting the cardboard on and make sure the temp is not going much higher. Don't guess and kill you engine.

You removed the tailgate. I have a 2002 Chevy avalanche and have about 107k miles on it. Over 100k of those miles were the same trip to and from work for 10 years. I logged each tank of gas. I tried tailgate up and down, hard covers on and off, windows open, windows open and rear window removed, covers off and tailgate down, etc. the best mpg I consistently got was with all the windows up, tailgate up with the cargo covers in place. Any combination with the covers off dropped the mpg by at least 1.5 mpg. A hard or tonneau cover over the bed is probably the best way to increase the mpg. For the first six years or so I took the covers off every spring and put them back on in the fall and you could tell exactly when I did it, and separate of temperatures. After about six years I decided to leave them on year round and only remove them when I hauled something big. You can see in the graph that after the sixth year the mpg tracked temp better than the first six years. There was a drop each spring when i took them off and a jump in the fall when I put them back on. You can also see that I got a speeding ticket in feb 2010 and started driving a little slower.....you can also see that in oct of 2011 I bought the insight and only used the truck for short hauling of stuff, snow days, and then my 16 year old started to drive it to school.


 

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More cold weather

Got back onto this thread since freezing temps have arrived again here in PA.

I tried the 6 x 17 cardboard last year and was quickly cautioned by folk about watching ect and not relying on the dash display temp scale. Good advice.

I have since got an obd device and can monitor ect (as well as iat).

Already put in a 'variable' warm air inlet mod, and now just finished a 'variable' grill block mod. The block is a take on the piece of cardboard, with the ability to vary air flow through the rad.

1st pic, 2 14x16 pieces of duroplast with slots cut for air flow.
2nd, one piece sitting on the other (full open position = about 50% of rad surface area).
3rd, top piece slid to a 'partial open' position.
4th & 5th: painted and installed. Partial and full open positions.

Mounted it in front of the a/c hp condenser. It's only wide enough to to block the rad. (If you look close at pics 4 & 5, you can see the edges on the left.)

More in next post.

..Bob
 

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Hypermiler
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More grill block

1st pic: passenger side of the engine cover, aluminum dryer vent visible in rear, connects to kitchen drain pipe with 'adjustable window' (white plastic by dip-stick), then to plastic sump pump hose wrapping around front to engine air inlet. Not visible: heat from cat shield captured with aluminum turkey roaster pan with dryer vent attached to that.

2nd pic: 2 slotted pieces of chloroplast in full open postion, exposes 50% of radiator surface area.

I control the mods with dinosaur choke cables.

3rd pic: Pulls for choke cables. Top pull is for the warm air mod adjustable window. I try to keep IAT around 110 deg f (works good for my car.) Bottom pull is for grill block (to keep ECT 200 - 210).

grill block set in channel just in front and below the a/c hp condenser.

Crude, cheap, & ugly; but gives some control over a couple winter variables. If it helps keep temps up and minimizes the cold weather mpg hit, I'll be content. Much experimenting to do.

More on previous post, page 27 post #270
lower grill blocks on page 25 post #244

..Bob

Spring 2017 update: This crude combination of mods (+ lower grill block) is effective in reducing the 'winter hit' on mpg. 4 winters of successful use.
 

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Bob,
Welcome to REDNECK ENGINEERING and no it doesn't look ugly.
Good Job
Willie
 

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I also used a short piece of the metal sink drain pipe to couple two pieces of radiator hose together. Just the right outer diameter to fit in the inner diameter of the radiator hose.

What is your temperature rise from ambient outside temp to the intake air temp? With my current setup I can only manage a 65F increase over outside air temp.
 

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Thanks Willie, I've been a back woods hacker for some time. Just wish I had some of that digital and software touch.

Dave, depending on weather conditions and engine load, I can raise ambient as much as about 70 deg F, so I guess we're about the same. I didn't see any benefit to higher temps, but I seem to be able to hold more consistent mpg groups with about 110 deg iat (give or take a few deg). There's still unheated air going into the intake, via the 'box' that's in the left front fender/bumper area.

With freezing temps here now, if there's not much load on the engine, I'm lucky to get iat up to 105, and coasting allows the iat to drop into the 90's and 80's. It would be interesting to keep iat around 110 (and ect around 205 or 210) and compare my mpg with last winter.

I wonder if anyone has blocked the air from the 'box' and used only the air inlet under the hood (where my snorkel used to be) for the sole air inlet? Any problem with insufficient / starving air for the engine? Thoughts?

..Bob
 

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I need more than a 65f increase. Yesterday morning it was around 25f out, I don't know if it ever hit 100f intake temp.

Last winter there were quite a few days where the morning temp to work was -10f to 0f. I need a setup that will give me a 100f increase over ambient.

I still need to better insulate the hose right at the cat as well as the air duct from the air cleaner to the intake manifold.

My automatic setup, in 50f or higher temps regulates to around 107f average, lows around 102f, highs around 112f. Below 50f it seems to drop a little more, probably due to loses in the intake manifold and hose from the air cleaner to the intake. Below 30-35f and it can't maintain 100f IAT.
 

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N4S:

30 deg this morning. Got up to 112 iat (+82 on ambient) during the climb up to work. I get good heat with load on engine, but temp drops as soon as I ease up on the throttle. (I don't have the savy to make mine automatic, so I rely on the dinosaur method of control.)

I think I'm gonna try blocking the cold air coming from the 'box' in bumper and see how it goes.

..Bob
 

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I don't think those are air slots, but I haven't looked that close at mine either. The fact that it is called a resonator leads me to believe it is sealed.
 
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