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Discussion Starter #1
I am a new owner of a 2001 5 speed with about 46,000 miles. The lifetime mileage on the car is only 53.1 mpg, but I've averaged about 57.5 mpg in the month since I bought it including a visit to the dealer for valve adjustment/oil change. The second tank of gas is giving me right around 60 mpg. Also, the weather has been fairly cold and I've made lots of short trips, so the mileage seems about right.

After the car warms up and the heat starts blowing (Econ mode, AC off), I've noticed an exhaust smell - almost like incomplete combustion. I haven't fully defined the parameters and I've only glanced under the hood - I haven't spent much time looking yet, but I thought I'd see if others have experienced this. I notice it most when I'm stop and go driving (less wind, I guess) and it seems worse when I'm loading (lugging?) the engine at lower RPMs, trying to improve economy.

Has anyone had problems with cracked exhaust manifolds or downpipes? Is this a problem that others have experienced? Are the EGR issues I've read about a possible culprit?

Any "Insight" will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Jim
 

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Hi,

You wrote: Has anyone had problems with cracked exhaust manifolds or downpipes?
But you did not write about engine noise.

When there is an opening into those (hole before the muffler) at the least you would hear hissing or sporty engine sounds(louder than usual). Is is the case?

If not, could the odor be comming from an open window or loose hatch weather strip? Wild guess.
 

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If the smell's comming from the vents I'd say check your micron air filter. If it's never been replaced in 46,000 miles it's deffinitely way past due for this. I don't know if it would smell like exhaust, but I'm sure some funky stuff can grow on it.
 

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Doesn't smell like oil? I ask 'cause you could just have a minor seepage problem. Look for oil seeping on the engine.

Since you just had the dealer "service" it, Check your filter to make sure it is not leaking (although they usually put in on way too tight) and check your oil level. If it is overfilled, get them to remove the excess.

The last thing you would want is a "cracked exhaust manifold" since it is actually part of the cylinder head (unique to the Insight). Let us know what you find....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to everyone for the input.

There is no noticeable sound. I had forgotten about the manifold being integral to the head. I can't smell or hear it under the hood. So...

I'm leaning towards the air filter. Only seems to happen on heat, not on ventilation so maybe I'm cooking some new kind of bacteria.

How do I get at the filter? I saw roughly where it should be here on the web-site, but so far have not been able to purchase a Service Manual (When will Helm get their act together?) and the Owner's Manual says to go to Honda - pffft. I hate to just start undoing screws until I find it.
 

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You remove the glove box, then remove the metal bar benind it so gain access to the filter. I wouldn't attempt it until you have the filter on hand, believe me it's going to be nasty anyways after 46,000 miles. They aren't that cheap, but once you see what they catch it's worth it. This will also afford you the opportunity to take a look at the heater core as well in the process as the filter sits right in front of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I replaced the cabin air filter over the weekend. First, let me say that it was a good thing that I had received the Service Manuals. I would never have guessed that you had to cut away part of the dashboard the first time you change the filter. So, that means that the filter had never been changed in 45,000 miles and 3 years. It was a little dirty.

Now the bad news. The exhaust odor is still present. I notice it in stop and go traffic, especially when I slow down at a stop light.

Here is a new question: Above the rear license plate, where the light is, I have an opening in the bumper. Is that "standard"? Is that where the inside of the car and the battery pack vents? It looks like there are 4 screw holes that are not filled. Having never washed another Insight, I don't know if the gap is usually there. I just wondered if exhaust could be coming in that way. The blow-up in the Service Manual isn't too clear but shows a "Rear Bumper Upper Beam" but that looks too heavy for this area.

Does everyone have this opening?

Thanks,

Jim
 

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Hi,

The opening is normal. It is a standard question. It is for European license plates or Japanese which are longer.

The hole leads to under the car, not the cabin so it might be irrelevant.

Just a 'Wild' guess but, you wrote "in stop and go traffic". I do not know if you live in a big city but here, you smell the 'not so clean' car in front of you while you are in stop and go traffic.

If you smell the odor while the fan is ON, the odor should come from the outside by the fan. Because it creates a positive pressure and air can not come from elsewhere.

I hope I am helping, if not , I have no idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yves,

Thanks for the info on the opening.

I said stop and go "traffic" - I should have said stop and go "driving". I notice it even when no one else is on the road.

I suspect that it is something under the hood coming through the air intake, but I haven't found it yet. Everything looks so clean and perfect.

Jim
 
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