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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all --

I'm a prospective insight buyer who has been viewing the site for a while now and benefiting from everyone's discussions. So I thought I'd register and start my own. I've been looking at insights for a few weeks, and recently I found a beautiful insight. 2005, MT, 88k miles. It's exactly the car I want, and literally the max of (but within) my price range - 8,400. It seems to be mechanically very sound, all the service records etc..

My only problem is I called Honda of America and the IMA has never been replaced. As a 2005, it seems it's also out of warranty. I just got back from the Peace Corps and am looking for a job, so this is really all the money I can spend on the car. I'm nervous about buying this car, and then having the IMA fail down the line, and then basically being out a car.

I have pretty much written off the car because I just can't deal with the cost of replacing an IMA in the near future. But I wanted to double check with you guys first if there was anything to be done, or just get some IMA advice for buying insights more generally.

Also, is there an accurate test for determining if the battery has a lot of life left in it? If so, maybe I could take the car in and check it, and then ask him to lower the price by about the cost of a grid charger, and hope things go well from there?

Thanks a ton in advance for any advice or suggestions,
John
 

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Please add your location to your profile.

Find out exactly when the car was first registered.

The IMA system inc battery in a 2005 US car with no salvage title is under warranty for ten years from first registration that's pretty good.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/11191-us-ima-warranty-10-year-extension-updated-all-50-states.html

There is no accurate easy test for battery life remaining.

Don't waste any money taking it to a dealer asking them to check the battery if it does not have any IMA lights or other fault showing. They won't be able to tell you anything.

A grid charger may help prolong the life of the current battery, but that's a bit of a double edged sword for you as you really want it too fail just inside the ten years so you get a free one. If you use a grid charger now you may improve it so much it lasts beyond ten years and you will be stuffed. Difficult choice there. Also if Honda see you have been using a grid charger you will likely void the warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm in Gainesville Florida. The car was registered 10/20/2005.

Good to know about bringing the battery into a dealer.
Are you positive the warranty is 10 yrs/157,500? If it's the case I'd get the car right now. But my impression was that was only applicable to 2004 and before insights.

The CSR from Honda America mentioned that the IMA was not under warranty (though to be fair, when I called before about a 2004 insight with 80,000k he said it wasn't either, but then eventually corrected himself).

--John
 

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As a 2005, it seems it's also out of warranty.
Yep, the mileage has exceeded the 80,000 mile IMA warranty for 2005 Insights. As you stated, the IMA warranty was extended only for 2000 - 2004 Insights.

I'm nervous about buying this car, and then having the IMA fail down the line, and then basically being out a car.
If the IMA trouble light illuminates, you could disconnect the Motor Control Module which would allow the IMA motor/generator to continue charging the 12 v. battery. You would have no assist, regen, or autostop, the 12 v. starter would be used to start the engine, and the IMA trouble light would illuminate. Its fuel efficiency would be as good or almost as good. But if your state requires no illuminated trouble lights to pass inspection, you'd have to replace the battery pack to pass inspection. So you wouldn't be out of a car immediately and not ever if your state doesn't have a restrictive inspection requirement.

Also, is there an accurate test for determining if the battery has a lot of life left in it?
There's no definitive test. You could try stress testing the battery pack by climbing a long ascent in a high gear so that lots of assist is used. But you don't have such hills near Gainesville, so it would be very difficult to stress test the battery pack.

Late Insights like this one had battery management logic that stressed longer battery pack life over the best possible fuel efficiency, so there's probably a better chance that the battery pack is in good condition compared with an earlier Insight.

If so, maybe I could take the car in and check it, and then ask him to lower the price by about the cost of a grid charger, and hope things go well from there?
Simple grid chargers can be built for ~$100 these days, so you could build or maybe buy one of these to balance charge the battery pack which should extend its life.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If the IMA trouble light illuminates, you could disconnect the Motor Control Module which would allow the IMA motor/generator to continue charging the 12 v. battery. You would have no assist, regen, or autostop, the 12 v. starter would be used to start the engine, and the IMA trouble light would illuminate. Its fuel efficiency would be as good or almost as good. But if your state requires no illuminated trouble lights to pass inspection, you'd have to replace the battery pack to pass inspection. So you wouldn't be out of a car immediately and not ever if your state doesn't have a restrictive inspection requirement.
I don't think Florida has any. So that is interesting... Would driving without the IMA have a negative effect, short or long term on the car? And it really wouldn't have a significant dent on the gas mileage? I could probably live with that if it were to crap out...
 

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Would driving without the IMA have a negative effect, short or long term on the car?
You'd wear the brakes a bit more without regen to help you brake. Without assist, you might wear the clutch a bit more revving the engine to get a bit more torque when starting from a stop, especially with the A/C compressor on. The 12 v. starter motor would wear out faster since it would almost never be used in the Florida climate if the IMA system were working normally. I can't think of anything else.

And it really wouldn't have a significant dent on the gas mileage?
You might actually get slightly better gas mileage during highway driving since the IMA motor/generator wouldn't be trying to keep the battery pack's charge level up. You'd get slightly worse gas mileage in urban stop-and-go driving because the engine would not turn off automatically at stop lights. But your gas mileage wouldn't be much different. The IMA system primarily provides additional torque that allows the small 1 liter engine to perform more like a larger engine but with better fuel efficiency than a larger engine.
 

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My feeling is if you are spending all your penny's on this car with nothing left over you are setting yourself up for failure! I would recommend that you have 2K in reserve to replace the old IMA battery with one of the newer Better Batteries that are now for sale out there. Your old friend Murphay will frustrate you beyond belief if you spend all your money and then you get an IMA code.

Let's break it down this way:
IMA Battery - almost 8 years old, it is going to fail probably sooner than latter. You will always have that hanging over your head waiting for it to go out at the worst time

Grid Charger - Yes I would recommend, this will only put an old battery on life support and not actually fix it long term. Depending on your ability a grid charger will run you from $150 to $800, almost half the cost of buying a new better battery anyways.

Running without IMA - Yes you can do it but there is have been some long term issues with folks doing this, blown capacitors, vehicle dying, not charging the 12V battery. I've even run mine for a couple months while getting battery rebuilt but this car really sucks with no assist, engine way under powered.

Not saying this to discourage you but want you to be fully prepaired for the hand that reality will deal you. Can be very very frustrating putting your last dime into a vehicle and then it sucks another couple thousand dollars out of you that you don't have!
 

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I agree with glbertguy... you are operating from a position of disadvantage right out of the gate.. There are enough of these cars to not be so jumpy on one. However, you DID state that it IS exactly what you want and in my world, that is more important since that factor is harder to control. A new battery while expensive is a known and controllable issue whereas trying to find exactly the right color, transmission, mileage and initial acquisition cost is a much harder thing to accomplish.

I bought a red 36K miles 5 speed 2005 and it cost me. It does have a warranty on the battery but only for another year. I would have liked the longer warranty but oh well. I have what I wanted and my eyes are wide open.

As the old saying goes, Stick with the devil you know..
 

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My appologies for misleading you on the warranty i forgot about the later cars only getting a shorter period. :roll:
 

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Thinking about selling my G1

I also live in Florida and I was thinking about selling my SILVER 2000 G1 5 speed so I could get a small truck, these are the specs on my car:

Just a little about myself before I begin, I am an A&P aircraft mechanic and an Engineer by trade so I assure you that any work performed by myself was a first class job!

Before I bought the car all oil changes and service was performed by the Honda Dealership (I have the records). New battery pack installed December 2009 (about 2 ½ years old now) and four factory Bridgestone tires installed around 20K miles ago. The vehicle history report showed no prior accidents and as far as I can tell I believe this to be true, the paint and body (no dents or missing panels) are in very good condition and this was (is) a non-smoker owned vehicle. The car has everything that it came with from the factory, original floor mats, cargo net, manuals, two remotes, spare tire, jack etc….

I bought the car when it had 138K miles on it and performed the folllowing: Tinted the windows, Adjusted valves (engine looks NEW under valve the cover), replaced plugs (all ”Bs”), cleaned EGR plate and flipped/lubed the EGR wiper fingers (all new factory EGR plate/valve gaskets used). BTW, the EGR valve appeared to be new (inside and out). At 80K miles the transmission fluid was changed at the dealership but I changed it again, it was very clean coming out of the transmission and the car did and still does shift UP/DOWN very smoothly. I inspected breaks (front and rear), they were hardly worn. The car currently has about 147K miles.

Upgrades: From all that I’ve read (and in my opinion) these are the “MUST HAVE” upgrade/mods.
I installed a GRID CHARGER , this was the BEST upgrade of them all!!! (I only need to balance the pack about every three or four months). Rostra CRUISE CONTROL with steering wheel controller (looks/performs like factory!). CALPOD switch installed which allows me to turn OFF/ON the cars ability to CHARGE/DISCHARGE the battery pack, this was another GREAT improvement because it allows me to keep the battery pack fully charged all the time.

I recently installed a Sony radio with Polk Audio speakers in the doors and a new Honda factory speaker kit installed in the rear, the system sounds fantastic and with even enough bass for my liking.

Minor Performance Mods:
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My air inlet is much nicer then what is depicted in the attached article and I only advanced the timing three to four degrees (2K ohm resistor) …… and YES after these two modifications I did notice a BIG improvement in the engine performance, especially the low end torque without battery assist!

Even now with 147K miles on the car it does not burn or leak a drop of oil even with the ultra thin 0-20W Mobil 1 that I use. I consistently average between 72 – 76 MPG driving to and from work (70 miles per day) and that is not me driving as much as it is the cruise control. Believe it or not there have been times when I actually got well over 80MPG with a 10 – 15 knot tail wind!!

I have over $7,000 in the car but would probably be willing to let it go for that price. If you are interested just give me your e-mail and I will send some photos and my home number.

:)
 

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Hi John,

I would be a little worried about the battery. My 2004 has around 50K miles and the battery failed shortly after I bought it. Fortunately under warranty and replaced by Honda. It is a CVT and typically those use the battery less than the MT and you would expect longer battery life than in a MT.

Price seems high given those constraints. I paid 7,700 for mine about a year ago. Good luck. They are amazing little cars.

Hello all --

I'm a prospective insight buyer who has been viewing the site for a while now and benefiting from everyone's discussions. So I thought I'd register and start my own. I've been looking at insights for a few weeks, and recently I found a beautiful insight. 2005, MT, 88k miles. It's exactly the car I want, and literally the max of (but within) my price range - 8,400. It seems to be mechanically very sound, all the service records etc..

My only problem is I called Honda of America and the IMA has never been replaced. As a 2005, it seems it's also out of warranty. I just got back from the Peace Corps and am looking for a job, so this is really all the money I can spend on the car. I'm nervous about buying this car, and then having the IMA fail down the line, and then basically being out a car.

I have pretty much written off the car because I just can't deal with the cost of replacing an IMA in the near future. But I wanted to double check with you guys first if there was anything to be done, or just get some IMA advice for buying insights more generally.

Also, is there an accurate test for determining if the battery has a lot of life left in it? If so, maybe I could take the car in and check it, and then ask him to lower the price by about the cost of a grid charger, and hope things go well from there?

Thanks a ton in advance for any advice or suggestions,
John
 

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It's exactly the car I want, and literally the max of (but within) my price range - 8,400. It seems to be mechanically very sound, all the service records etc..

My only problem is I called Honda of America and the IMA has never been replaced. As a 2005, it seems it's also out of warranty. I just got back from the Peace Corps and am looking for a job, so this is really all the money I can spend on the car. I'm nervous about buying this car, and then having the IMA fail down the line, and then basically being out a car.
Good thinking, and keep looking. The problem is, you really need IMO, a Insight for $6k - and save $2k for "in case". New battery/AC repair, anything unexpected. Don't want to buy a used car with no reserve whatsoever. (I usually plan on $1k per car). There are some places listing used batteries for under $1000 (But they never replied to my email, either.) and Hybrid ReVolt has some, and they have a very good reputation, for about $1500, etc.

I think if you keep looking, you can find what you want. (Or, try and talk them down.. That seems really high price-wise to me (but I got a screaming deal on mine, which needed some work.))


I'm learning a lot about them - if you see the Citrus that's missing the passenger pillar trim tooling around town, that's me. :)
 

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Hi everyone. I also have been considering buying a first gen Honda Insight. I am currently considering a red 2001 with 82K. It has a very clean carfax report, one owner, but no mention of battery being replaced and they are asking too much (car dealer), especially if the battery might need replaced soon or even in nearish future. I am not at all handy, so I am in no position to fix anything myself. I live in a rural area (Southern Illinois), so I don't have access to first gen Honda Insight people as far as I know. I suppose I should call the nearest Honda dealership and find out if they can work on and with one. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions and have found it inspiring and helpful to be reading the posts. Should I play it safer and get a second generation Insight or an older Prius?
 

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Jill again. Also, another first gen2001 Insight I am looking at has a "Reconditioned IMA Battery Pack" that they are touting as a good thing. Is it? I guess the word "reconditioned" concerns me verus "new." It is listed on Carfax as "batter replaced" at around 67K in 2008. The car now has just under 98K. The car has apparently had, according to Carfax, all the recommended maintenance, front brake pads and rotors replaced under 60K - safety inspections, etc. have all checked out. It has been wrecked three times, however. Appears to have always been maintained and passed all inspections. This one is priced $1,500 less than the red 2001 Insight. Never totalled or any structural damage reported to Carfax. Wrecks were 03/17/2004, 03/22/2007 and 01/31/2009. One owner. Again, really appreciate any and all advice and guidance from those of you knowledgeable about these cars.
 
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