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Discussion Starter #1
Details:
-Brent buys salvage 2001 Honda Insight, equipped with MT, busted oil pan.
-Brent discovers evidence of a spun bearing. Decides not to risk further engine damage and opts to replace ICE.
-Brent does not have another 2001 Honda Insight ICE on hand. Fabio, on the other hand, has a 2003 CVT sourced ICE, along with a half dozen other CVT sourced Insight engines that Brent can't sell for the life of him.
-Fabio decides to install one particularly high mileage 2003 CVT sourced ICE in the aforementioned troubled 2001 MT Honda Insight.
-Fabio decides to heed paranoid rumors on InsightCentral that CVT and MT Insight ICEs are not compatible. He swaps some spark plugs and a couple engine dressings.
-Fabio mates 03 CVT sourced ICE to 01 MT IMA motor, clutch, trans, etc.. Installs misc dressings, drops in the hacked together assembly, finishes swap. Fabio test drives Insight.
-Fabio lean burns. Easily.

I think this is reasonable evidence to suggest that the difference between the CVT and MT sourced ICE's piston heights have consequences that could have been possibly been over-emphasized.

I sure as heck can't notice a difference and either can the original 01 ECM. This MT Insight with it's CVT sourced ICE holds lean burn at 65 mph like any other well-maintained Insight.
 

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Nice!! Well done Fabio and Brent!

This gives us a more universal option for engine swaps. I'd imagine with a slightly lower compression ratio that the performance might be slightly less but if lean burn still operates, there is not much to complain about. ...especially if it becomes hard to source engines. I don't really see many engine failures here though so it might not be a problem but it's nice to know we have the option.
Now I'm wondering what it takes to get lean burn working with a CVT. Is the CVT handled through the same unit as the engine, if that is the case, sourcing one from Japan is the only option. If they are separate, it seems it would be a pretty simple change to get it working.
 

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CVT w/lean burn vs. Manual Transmission

Maybe in some ways, your CVT is better than the MT.

Driving my MT Insight on 5th gear, with a high tachometer reading, it's obvious a higher gear is needed when driving down a long steep mountain &/or strong tailwind traveling around 80 mph with lean burn on. I wonder if a CVT with lean burn might be the best option for this scenario?

Overall, I bet the CVT with lean burn may yield better mpg. I named one great advantage, the top end gear ratio on CVT is much higher than the MT.

The top end ratio on the CVT is 0.407
Manual Transmission 5th gear is 0.710

Now, if we had two Insights, CVT & MT, that are both driving the exact ideal conditions or better to the level were the CVT can maintain it's maximum high-end gear ratio 0.407 with lean burn on, how will the mpg charts compare between the two hybrids?

Congratulations on the lean burn upgrade, brilliant.
 

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2000_Insight_#882, An excellent question. As far as I know, It doesn't seem like we have anyone with a Japanese lean-burn CVT here to answer this question, I wish we did though. I think some of them ended up imported to UK soil from what I've read here but I never heard of MPG results or how the CVT and lean-burn nuances go together.
 

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Now I'm wondering what it takes to get lean burn working with a CVT. Is the CVT handled through the same unit as the engine, if that is the case, sourcing one from Japan is the only option. If they are separate, it seems it would be a pretty simple change to get it working.
That's an interesting question. Could you just run two ECU's? Have both of them see all the sensors, have the MT ECU run the fuel injection, ignition, and gauge cluster, and have the CVT one run the transmission and IMA? Sure, it's 50-100 wires to splice and a permanent Check Engine Light, but you want Lean Burn, right?
 

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Maybe in some ways, your CVT is better than the MT.

Driving my MT Insight on 5th gear, with a high tachometer reading, it's obvious a higher gear is needed when driving down a long steep mountain &/or strong tailwind traveling around 80 mph with lean burn on. I wonder if a CVT with lean burn might be the best option for this scenario?

Overall, I bet the CVT with lean burn may yield better mpg. I named one great advantage, the top end gear ratio on CVT is much higher than the MT.

The top end ratio on the CVT is 0.407
Manual Transmission 5th gear is 0.710

Now, if we had two Insights, CVT & MT, that are both driving the exact ideal conditions or better to the level were the CVT can maintain it's maximum high-end gear ratio 0.407 with lean burn on, how will the mpg charts compare between the two hybrids?

Congratulations on the lean burn upgrade, brilliant.
CVTs from most manufacturers have (much) higher internal losses than gearboxes. I've heard it speculated this is why the US CVT didn't get lean burn: it wouldn't produce enough power to cruise at US highway speeds, which were at the time 60-65mph.

My gut feeling is that the Insight's road load is too high - aerodynamics are poor - to be able to make much use of a lower gear ratio.
 

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I figured that the CVT might play an active role in lean burn so that it could maintain itself near the 2500rpm when the demand is there to provide a little extra power when needed while maintaining the 65/70mpg range that hangs on to lean burn.

...but I suppose since the car doesn't utilize its battery pack to do anything similar that I shouldn't hold the optimism that Honda would design it that way.

It seems that Honda didn't really put anything into the MT car to help us obtain and hold lean burn, other than the instant MPG in the FCD. If we had a little display that would help us with the throttle position to hold it at to get lean burn and at what point to stop to avoid dropping out of lean burn and some sort of way of finding out when it just won't do it based on temperature or those weird times it refuses for no apparent reason while I sit at 100mpg waiting and loses speed for nothing and then losing MPG and battery or an extra shift trying to catch up with my speed again.

We'd almost need to control the CVT manually along with MIMA to get it to work right on the highway. ...maybe. [/endrant]
 

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I think your on to something here. The CVT with a lean burn would out perform the manual trns car on the highway. I only say this because the CVT in the Fit and the Civic have higher mpg than the manual counterparts. A CVT with lean burn might be the ultimate for mpg.
 

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My gut feeling is that the Insight's road load is too high - aerodynamics are poor
Yet I was under the impression that the Insight is one of the most aero-efficient car designs on the road today... ?

Although I agree with the rest of your premise...

I'll continue to follow OP's experiment with great interest, if he'd be kind enough to continue reporting his experiences going forward... :D
 

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Yet I was under the impression that the Insight is one of the most aero-efficient car designs on the road today... ?
Yep, it is just about the best. The EV1 is the only mass-produced four wheeler with lower CdA than an Insight. But that doesn't make it good. Darin Cosgrove's aeromodded Metro hatchback is slightly more slippery than a stock Insight, as are the AeroCivic (~30% less drag!) and Dave Cloud's electric Dolphin. Drag coefficients lower than 0.15 have been demonstrated on concept cars, and the same or better should be achievable on an Insight.

So the Insight is very near the head of a very disappointing pack. I'm occasionally offended by how much fuel economy automakers leave on the table. For 70 years now, we've had the technology to halve the drag coefficient of the typical auto, but we've ignored it. And for what? Styling? Disgusting.
 

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And for what? Styling? Disgusting.

I agree, I was watching the Chevy Volt videos and couldn't help but think of the EV1 and then the lady in one of Chevrolet's videos came out and said "This is the second most aerodynamic vehicles that GM has ever produced" describing it as being right behind the EV1, out of GM's line of course. If they would do EV1 or better they would be able to advertise 50 miles. I'm curious what the "up to 40 miles" will really mean on the highway. I'm waiting intently as I plan to scour every post of the Chevy Volt forum after it's release to read peoples experiences.

The Insight is small and light, if we did similar aero mods to Dave Cloud's electric Dolphin we would have a pretty sweet car. Not sure what we can do to match his 1200 pound frame weight but we would be able to be lighter than his 3200 pound total weight with the heavy lead-acid's inside. I'm curious enough to wonder what that would do for MPG(since it would provide a more direct comparison) without the batteries and just the Insight lean-burn gas engine inside.
 

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There have been a few topics of people wishing that their cvt insights had lean burn, and that the Japanese market cvt did have lean burn. Some of the Japanese cvts were also exported to Europe and other countries.

Can anyone comment on real life operation, mpg, ability to get into and maintain lean burn in a cvt?
 

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There have been a few topics of people wishing that their cvt insights had lean burn, and that the Japanese market cvt did have lean burn. Some of the Japanese cvts were also exported to Europe and other countries.

Can anyone comment on real life operation, mpg, ability to get into and maintain lean burn in a cvt?
I asked this same question not that long ago. The problem is, there was only one IC member that seemed to have one of these mystical JDM-come-Euro CVT's w/Lean-burn, and they were in a very hilly area, and so were unable to compare top-end numbers with some US members in the flatlands (Canada never even got the CVTs at all).

The last thread about this, I started, with the concept of figuring out a way (easiest way being to put the ECM from one of these mystical JDM CVT's into a USDM CVT Insight) to make a USDM Insight Leanburn.

We already know that a USDM CVT ICE is capable of LB because of Fabio's experiment in this thread, and thus, its the control electronics that simply arent doing it.

We came up with a part number for the JDM CVT ECM, but all the dealerships wanted upwards of $1500 for it, if they could even get it.
 

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Paul Andrews in UK has the CVT rally car and a number of normal CVT's, he reports from a long journey yesterday using the OBDIIC&C tool and LB light he achieved over 90mpg IMP at 60-65mph. If that helps? Once he gets used to seeing the AFR etc he will prob comment further.
 

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Someone else needs to try this... maybe I will some day. I trust that Fabio knew what he was talking about, as lean burn is pretty easy to detect once you're familiar with it.. however, it would be nice to have a verification with the OBDIIC&C or something.
 

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I would really like to know more about any potential differences in the engine for the MT compared to the CVT. I know the CVT compression is lower, but what else might be different? I would hate to try something on a CVT and fry valves, CATs, etc......but it would be nice to get lean burn....where I live it is fairly flat terain and I could probebly be in lean burn a lot.
 

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The only difference is the compression ratio as far as I know. It would be worth getting a JDM ECM and trying it out. Shouldn't be any concerns with valves and cats.
 
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