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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello Everyone!

I am wondering if it makes sense to block the engine grill especially during the cold New England winter for long work commutes. I drive a 2014 Honda Insight and my commutes are usually ~25 minutes long where 2/3 is highway driving. One way is ~17 miles so about 35 miles total. I kind of regret doing it a few months ago as we were getting hit with arctic temperatures of around -10F for a week earlier. Temperatures have now went back to normal around 20-30F. I am wondering if it would make sense to block the upper or lower engine grill or partially block it at least so my car is warm when I first start it up.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the link! Also, that is really cold! I don't think I could ever get used to that temperature (and I thought -10F was bad haha). Yeah, I am definitely consider blocking the grill though I'm not exactly sure how much benefit I will be getting for long commutes versus short commutes. I asked my dad about his opinion on this matter and he says I might not see much benefit unless I do short multiple commutes during the day where the engine is cold most of the time... though I guess blocking the grill regardless of commute length will still be an improvement!

Curious if you have the same opinion as well or would there still be huge improvements even for long commutes? I know that the engine usually warms up about 5 minutes after I start up during the winter and then the engine is pretty much warm/hot for the next 20 minutes especially when I'm cruising on the highway. If I can get some pretty good mpg increase by blocking the grill to have the engine keep some of the heat generated within, then I think I will definitely look into it more.

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A digital readout of engine temperature is absolutely required before blocking the grill. The dash gauge does not provide detailed enough information. Neither does monitoring for cooling fan operation. You need to know the temperature in degrees.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks gms24ru and brucepick!
I think I will try it out soon and will post back once I do to let you guys know the before and after results! :)

Also, I have an OBD II set up with the car and use the torque lite app on my tablet that I can mount in the car so I can read the temperatures from there. Will definitely make sure to take a look and see what I get for temperatures before I start this to get a baseline.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey guys,

Sorry for replying a bit late. Been a bit busy lately. So I managed to check the temperature of the car during my commutes for almost a week. Ambient temperature was around freezing temperatures or a little bit below 0 DEG Celsius. I have been monitoring the engine coolant temperature (not sure if there are other important temperatures to look at) and noticed that the cold engine light turns off after 3-4 minutes when the temperature reaches around 55C DEG. After another 5 minutes or so, it gets closer to 75-80C DEG and stabilizes around there for the next 15 minutes of my commute. What would be a dangerous or temperature I should be cautious about when I block the grills? Also, I guess I should block the grill partially first before blocking all just to make sure everything looks good? Or maybe there are some helpful guides for the 2nd gen Honda Insight that I can look at. Also, (if not mentioned in the guide), what would be the best material and store to purchase the materials to block the engine grill?

Thanks again!
 

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I would say anything over 98C is considered a 'dangerous zone' but really up to 104C could be done without damage. I DEFINITELY wouldn't recommend running it at 104C, but if it got up there for a second or two while say, climbing a really steep hill, it wouldn't be a big deal.

For example, I know that the cooling fans on the first gen come on at 97C. The perfect grill block will have the engine sit at 94-96C max, thus getting the most efficiency out of the grillblock, without making the fans come on and adding additional electrical load. I would recommend you attempt the same. Figure out where the cooling fans come on, then block your grill bit by bit until the max temp you see is 1-3C under the fan kickon temp. The fans coming on at a long stop light isn't a problem. That will probably happen anyway, you are looking at cruising temps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I would say anything over 98C is considered a 'dangerous zone' but really up to 104C could be done without damage. I DEFINITELY wouldn't recommend running it at 104C, but if it got up there for a second or two while say, climbing a really steep hill, it wouldn't be a big deal.

For example, I know that the cooling fans on the first gen come on at 97C. The perfect grill block will have the engine sit at 94-96C max, thus getting the most efficiency out of the grillblock, without making the fans come on and adding additional electrical load. I would recommend you attempt the same. Figure out where the cooling fans come on, then block your grill bit by bit until the max temp you see is 1-3C under the fan kickon temp. The fans coming on at a long stop light isn't a problem. That will probably happen anyway, you are looking at cruising temps.
Thanks Balto!

I think I'm going to go buy some pipe insulation (thinking maybe 6 ft x 1/2 inch pipe insulation though not too sure how much I'll need to cover the whole bottom) or maybe coroplast... to try it out. Probably block the bottom grill for now to see how things go. Temperature is slightly getting warmer now so I guess I'm a bit late but there's always next winter!
Going to be interesting to see how much mpg improvement I will be getting.


Does anyone know if I should use either coroplast or pipe insulation for bottom and top grill? Are there any benefits to using one or the other?
Thanks!
 

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So why are you wanting to "sue"" coroplast?

Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
The deed is finally done... at least blocking the lower half of the engine grill that is :)

And here is the result (pictures in folder):
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w9gi85cfmna2ld0/AACZPG_CWdHUrekq8kqs3PNKa?dl=0

I have to say, I thought the pipe insulation was going to stand out more but luckily, the car color is close to the pipe insulation color so it almost blends in!

I'm not sure if the way I did it is still not good as there are some small areas where air can go through for the bottom half... (see pictures). There is a gap basically at the outer edges around the pipe insulation.

I'll be providing temperatures soon for this complete (almost) bottom engine grill block...

I do have some temperatures for when I partially blocked the bottom grill (had a license plate frame holder that I kept there but wasn't using since not necessary for my license plate). I was getting around 80-82C after 8-9 minutes or so. Outside temperature was slightly above 0C degrees (~35F degrees) Didn't notice much improvements in engine warm up times but maybe I will with the bottom mostly blocked now.

Update: So I got some temperatures for Day 1. Not too bad.. but still think that the gaps around my pipe insulation is the reason why I'm not getting the results I was expecting or maybe I was expecting too much?

Day 1
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Weather: Cloudy, Dry
Morning OAT: 0.5C (33F) Degrees
Engine Coolant took 7-8 minutes to get to 80C

Night OAT: 3.3C (38F) Degrees
Engine Coolant took 6ish minutes to get to 80C
 
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