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Discussion Starter #1
The Gen 1 Insights are starting to come into the reasonable price range for modifying them to do autocross (AX) racing. They actually perform pretty well even in their "stock" configuration. And they are a heck of a deal, economically and ecologically, to get to and from the race...a lot better than a 'Vette or Mustang at least. Their on-track MPG may not be entirely green, but that is typically only about 6 miles of 11MPG "inefficiency"...

This thread will hopefully be helpful in setting up Gen 1 Insights for AX racing. I have some specific projects in mind to add IMA performance enhancements that are already well established. And then there are modifications that can be made to the suspension, and a few other tricks perhaps.

I've been racing Insights since 2007. And there have been a number of folks that posted their AX experiences in the past, going back to around 2004. Hopefully folks will join in with their interests and recommendations as well.

Just for an intro, here is a recent AX race with my 2002 CVT Insight. My plan is to have a nicely modded car ready for the 2014 AX season that starts around May in the midwest.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Bluesight Autocross Background

My 2002 CVT Insight is run as a stock car with street tires. The specific class given by the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) is Road Tire Front drive - H stock index. No notable mods have been made to the engine, IMA or suspension. It really is STOCK like lots of Insights out there. I have put tires on that are well suited to autocross, 185/60R-14 Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Specs, mounted on Honda HX wheels, which are almost as light at the OEM Insight wheels. That's it!

I originally started Insight racing in 2007 with a 2001 MT, again stock, except in that case I put on "racing rubber", with a set of Hoosier 13" (20.5X6-13 R25As for one season) and then a set of Yokohama Advan A048 14". Racing in a direct "side-by-side" comparison, I found the MT was considerably slower than the CVT (by 2 seconds on a 60 second course, which is a lot), probably because of the 2nd gear gearing on the MT, is more suitable for MPG than speed. So from 2008 on, the CVT Insight has been my choice. For a change of pace, I tried racing a CVT CR-Z for most of 2013, but gave up on it when I found it wasn't considerably faster than my Insight. Just a lot more money to keep around. So I came back to the Insight at the end of this year and have been making plans for what to do in 2014.

When I race the CVT, I put it in S mode, and drop into L (at least for most races). If you watch the video, you can see that the engine RPM stays in a pretty good range with that setup. Other than that, it's mostly pedal to the floor and a little bit of occasionally touching the brake. It's a blast!

For 2014, I'm looking to up performance into a modified category (out of stock), probably into the STF (Street Touring Front drive) class, if they'll (SCCA and local clubs) will allow it. The CR-Z and Fit are in the STF class now, but the Gen-1 Insight is not, even though it is similar. Probably it hasn't been an issue until now.

Typical times for my CVT Insight are around 3 seconds out of first place for Road Tire Front, with cars like Mazda 3s (raw time) and Dodge SRTs (on index) beating me. In STF, it will probably be more like 6 seconds to 1st compared with where I am now. And, in comparison to the fastest door slammers ('Vettes, Camaros, Miatas, FR-Ss), I am typically behind by 9 to 11 seconds. Again, on a typically 60 second course.

So to get into the interesting competitive range, the mods are hopefully going to get a performance improvement at least 5% (3 seconds) which might get me a 3rd place trophy in STF, or better yet 10% (6 seconds) to put me in contention for 1st in STF against Mazda 3s and base Minis. It would be nice to go further, but maybe a few seconds at a time is the best to hope for.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Forum History

I found that there was a bit of early discussion (2003-2005) on Insight Central about Autocrossing the Gen 1 before I started in around 2007. Here are a bunch of the threads for historical perspective:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...d-contact-insight-owner-s-race-autocross.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...issues/9564-first-autocross-won-my-class.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...st-gen-discussion/10337-autocross-trophy.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/9486-wheels-autox.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/10059-autox.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum.../10157-san-diego-ca-katrina-relief-autox.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...st-gen-discussion/12225-auto-solo-sunday.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...ost-2004-auto-slalom-auto-x-results-here.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...scussion/9242-insight-auto-slalom-2005-a.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...6-race-porsches-insight-hybrid-autocross.html

This post specifically included pointers to a set of previous posts that talked about mods for autocrossing, but I can't get to those posts. The post numbers are: 2508, 3121, 2902, 2810, 2185 and 1364, if anyone knows how to pull them from archives or whatever.

I compiled a list of folks that participated in the threads and will try to PM them, though quite a few that were active back in 2004 and 05 don't seem to be active now:

Willie Williford (today), Need4Speed (today), Mike Dabrowski 2000 (today), Mark Elvin (today), The Citrus Smoothie (today), Calpod (today), Aaron Cake (recently), originalbadbob (2013), ikhoudvanu199 (2013), Rick (2013), Guillermo (2012), commuter (2012), opal (2008 ), gatherer (2008 ), Hambone (2007), Sparky5501 (2006), Skimmer (2006), Insightful Trekker (2012), figgy (2012), Space Panda (2012), Jerry (2011), b1shmu63 (2011), Todd (2010), Dougie (2009), twonicaguy (2009), Normand (2009), gomarlins3 (2008 ), Alexander Hales (2007), Electric CO (2007), Spinjack (2006), InsightfulBob (2006)

That's what I have so far!

B
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Lots of forum threads for mods of potential value for AX

IMA performance mods (thanks Peter):
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...al-issues/16206-inside-g1-mdm-more-power.html These are the current hacks to get 10% to 44% more
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...ues/28194-simple-ima-boost-reduce-device.html This is the IMA boost using modification of the power signal to the IMA motor
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/20488-obdiic-c-gauge.html This is really useful to monitor results of mods and to control some of them
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...-issues/21418-obdiic-c-gauge-build-notes.html

Suspension mods:
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...-insight-specific-rear-sway-bar-interest.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/25236-rear-suspension.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/25935-gaz-rear-shocks-gcs.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...al-issues/16941-ground-control-coilovers.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...issues/18424-ground-control-coilover-kit.html
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Special -- set of links for several spring options considered and/or tested
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More shock and springs options:
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Special -- Some specs for different shock and spring options
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http://www.insightcentral.net/forum.../20414-rear-shock-replacement-my-version.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...ical-issues/16601-aveo-spring-mod-w-pics.html
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...stalled-matiz-rear-springs-over-week-end.html
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Special --Matiz springs sold by ReVolt
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Other IMA control options and programming info:
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...1-imac-c-aka-ima-control-bcm-gauge-combo.html -- maybe less suitable for AX
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...sues/25873-programming-peters-pic-gizmos.html

B (this is my list, so far)
 

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It was difficult to tell as I was dropping frames watching that video, but it seemed your engine hovered around 5 grand and you popped it in gear at the begining?

Looking at the video reminds me of the gen 2 with its cvt minus a few mods Ive done. I think you should look into eneos cvt fluid. You can find it 7-11 bucks a qt on ebay. It reduces a lot of the slippage that occurs when the going gets tough. Id also look to remove the muffler and add a cai for more air flow. Your engine sounded like it was hyperventilating. I replaced my muffler with a straight piece of pipe and air intake with a crz kn cai.

Although I havent auto crossed, here is a 0-60 run of my insight. Ill see if I can make a video of the current setup, here it is 0-60 11 seconds on regular. I now run 93 octane, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSYUfDNXkw
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
It was difficult to tell as I was dropping frames watching that video, but it seemed your engine hovered around 5 grand and you popped it in gear at the begining?

Looking at the video reminds me of the gen 2 with its cvt minus a few mods Ive done. I think you should look into eneos cvt fluid. You can find it 7-11 bucks a qt on ebay. It reduces a lot of the slippage that occurs when the going gets tough. Id also look to remove the muffler and add a cai for more air flow. Your engine sounded like it was hyperventilating. I replaced my muffler with a straight piece of pipe and air intake with a crz kn cai.

Although I havent auto crossed, here is a 0-60 run of my insight. Ill see if I can make a video of the current setup, here it is 0-60 11 seconds on regular. I now run 93 octane, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSYUfDNXkw
I rev to maybe 3000 and drop into low (sometime into just D) with the Gen 1 Insight. It does chirp the tires and provides a fairly reasonable hookup for start. Not a nice thing to do, but I've probably done it like 150 times so far. Seems to hold up. I tried something similar with the CR-Z, and it is a little more protective and just dumps back to low RPM. There, it was hold the brake and try to rev, but it wouldn't rev very high (2000). I didn't have a chance to try it with the CR-Z, but on some other cars (BRZ/FRS autos), if you hold the brake lightly and rev, you can go to higher RPM before release.

I'll have to look into the eneos fluid. Honda CVTs are touchy about what you put in, but if you have had good luck...maybe so.

I'm thinking about a CAI (Cold Air Intake...). It would be allowed for the class I am planning to get into. At this point, I put a KN replacement into the existing box (only for racing). It might help a tiny bit. Tuning a CAI would be the trick. I don't know if pre-tuned CAI kits are available for Gen 1s.

It is interesting how loud the engine noise is on the video. When I am racing, the complaint is that no one on the track can hear the car coming...they think it is an EV. Some of the reason for the extra wheezy noise (and the near 6000RPM tach shots) is that the outer front wheel (maybe it's the inner...?) is spinning when going around sharp turns. Wish there was a limited slip for a Gen 1 (not likely). That is something that the driver should be getting a little more control over...

I had seen in some posts that straight pipes on a Gen 1 can cause issues with back pressure that trims power. In any case, the ICE tweaks will come after the IMA and suspension tweaks.

B

PS...if you look on my Vimeo list, there are a few CR-Z autocross runs. That would be more similar to what you find with your Gen 2 Insight.
 

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I am assuming reaction time plays a role like in drag racing? I think you would be better to hold the brake and throttle to load the suspension, then floor it and lift from the brake vs dropping it in gear for the launch. This is where the ima mods should help.

You may also want to experiment with tire psi if not get a set of wheels n tires for this with a greater offset to widen the track and more traction. Since its 4x100 that shouldnt be a problem.

So there was wheel spin? Ok, it looks like to me from the gen 2 there was a lot of cvt slipping or loss of power somewhere.

Yes, the eneos fluid really helps it hook up around 4 grand. Its like magic. Its louder too as it really hooks up. Fully floored I seldom see 5 grand on the tach as it hauls *** and loads up the engine as much as it will take. Otherwise it runs to red line and the power is cut by the rev limiter and what the cvt can handle.

Well, other than the launch could be improved you need to get your traction problem solved before much can be done. I cant say about the handling,but if there is a lot of body roll that can also add to the weight shifting from one side to the other and contributing to the wheel spin.

I drove a cvt and stick crz. I wasnt impressed with either. My passenger commented that my car was faster than either. :D
 

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I lived in Madison till I was 24 in 1984. Still get there a couple times a year and have a friend who is just starting to autocross an NA Miata. It is cool to see you having fun with your insight. So far my fun has just been learning how to get mine to stay in lean burn, and maintaining it.

Now my question: Is your AX hard on the motor mount? I put a new one in my car and then lent it to a friend. When i got it back, it was just like the old one. I assumed that he did some hard starts and that was it. Even if it is true, I am not mad at him - he just wanted to see what it would do. But I am out the $100 and wondering if I should spend it again (and not let anyone else drive it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I lived in Madison till I was 24 in 1984. Still get there a couple times a year and have a friend who is just starting to autocross an NA Miata. It is cool to see you having fun with your insight. So far my fun has just been learning how to get mine to stay in lean burn, and maintaining it.

Now my question: Is your AX hard on the motor mount? I put a new one in my car and then lent it to a friend. When i got it back, it was just like the old one. I assumed that he did some hard starts and that was it. Even if it is true, I am not mad at him - he just wanted to see what it would do. But I am out the $100 and wondering if I should spend it again (and not let anyone else drive it :)
I haven't been paying attention to the motor mounts. But, given the number of AX runs on my Insight (well over 150), I expect if there was a problem, it would have been very noticeable by now. I'll have to look and test.

It brings me to another point about possible AX mods...that is keeping the engine where you want it on starts and torquey turns. When I was AXing my MT, I would get lots of bucking on the launch. Problem was the engine wasn't hooked to much. I had planned to adapt a "stiffy" torque damper from a Honda Fit to keep the engine "quiet". With a CVT, this is less of a problem given the relatively low and slow torque/power to the wheels on launch. However, once the IMA hacks are in place, it might actually help to revisit a torque damper installation. I think I have been noticing the potential need for it on some sharp turns as well, as the "lighter" front wheel slips and grabs. Maybe this is an issue with deteriorating motor mount(s), but I don't think so.

Not sure what your symptoms are, but if it is bucking on start, it might be that you need another set of replacement motor mounts. Or you might want to look into the option of a torque damper.

B
 

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Mine is an MT and it bucks on starts. Backing up my driveway uphill is terrible, but necessary. And i can't take a run at it because my city's gutters are too abrupt to go thru quickly.

It will be interesting if you find a fluid that gives better engagement.

In regular driving, how much did you mileage go down and when you had a manual, were you in lean burn alot?

The friend that I lent my car too wants one, and I have been tilling him lean burn is a big part of the 68mpg average I get in non-winter weather. If i am wrong, there have been a lot more CVTs avail than manuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am assuming reaction time plays a role like in drag racing? I think you would be better to hold the brake and throttle to load the suspension, then floor it and lift from the brake vs dropping it in gear for the launch. This is where the ima mods should help.
I did a few tests today and couldn't get any satisfaction flooring with braking. It would only come up to maybe 2500RPM and then launch anemically. No chirp or anything. So I'll probably need to stick with the "drop" from rev method, at least until I can test it with the IMA hacks. Being light on the brake and revving didn't do much, so the Gen 1 Insight isn't smart enough to allow that.

Mine is an MT and it bucks on starts. Backing up my driveway uphill is terrible, but necessary. And i can't take a run at it because my city's gutters are too abrupt to go thru quickly.

It will be interesting if you find a fluid that gives better engagement.

In regular driving, how much did you mileage go down and when you had a manual, were you in lean burn alot?

The friend that I lent my car too wants one, and I have been tilling him lean burn is a big part of the 68mpg average I get in non-winter weather. If i am wrong, there have been a lot more CVTs avail than manuals.
I think a torque damper would help, but it is a tradeoff, with less regular driving comfort and more rattling of you and the rest of the car.

My MT had great mileage on the highway...I got up to 75MPG going from MSP to MSN on one trip...but it was really down hill with the wind at my tail. Once the 10% ethanol came in, it went from typical 62 to 58ish. On the track, maybe 12MPG. I used lean burn whenever I could.

The CVT was well into the mid 50s without ethanol (no lean burn). Now its more like 50 typical (all this on the warmer...like over 45 deg days). Track is like 11. CR-Z was 40 all around. Never worried about track, but I expect 9 or 10. I don't hypermile, but I have learned to drive for modest to good efficiency. And I keep my tires close to 40PSI. Staying about 2 second behind an 18 wheeler on the highway also tends to help.

There are probably more CVTs out there for sale than there are manuals. Not sure why that is. Maybe folks want to hold onto the manuals more than they do the CVTs. But there are also plenty of manuals available if one looks.

B
 

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Thats interesting, I never tried it, something to look into. I know in sport mode, pressing full throttle the car seems to pause for a few seconds before it takes off vs just flooring it in drive. Now shifting from drive to S while rolling the change is instant.

Yeah, you are rolling there. May want to add some weight where your spare tire is or install a hitch. The gen 2 just feels better on on and off ramps with the hitch installed. I think part is the low slung weight on the body behind the rear wheels, plus the extra bracing. I find the rear of the car twists and mines is actually tweeked. I had to wrench the rear strut brace into place. I like to get some more body parts, but ground clearance is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The goals

So, what's to be accomplished with AX mods for my Gen 1 Insight. If I evaluate a typical race (or, for example, the one there is a video for), there are a few spots I'd need to improve:

1) Launch...need good low-end torque with smooth acceleration on hookup. Also, need to keep the engine from jerking...want "tschhhhh" at the tires, not "tschh...tschh...tschh". Losing at least .5 seconds (maybe more) for jackrabbit starts from the line. Less when the start gives some room before the clock is triggered.
2) Straights...just need more dang HP to get hotter acceleration from 30MPH to 45MPH. That's probably from about 4000RPM to 5200RPM for the CVT. Each straight is likely a .25 to .8 second loss for my Insight.
3) Curves...Need to get the car flatter with better control. Need to reduce release/spinning of front wheels. Need to get more tire on the road (camber) pointing in the most optimal direction (toe), both front and rear. Hard to say what losses on curves are like. The Insight is pretty nimble, but maybe .1 to .25 seconds per sharp curve. .25 to .5 seconds on sweepers (lot like straights). Losses add up from the transitions.
4) Transitions...Curve to straight, need more torque and HP, from 20 to 35MPH, mainly in the 3500 to 4200RPM range. These cost at maybe .1 to .5 seconds, but hurt on the setting up straights as well. Straight to curve is less of an issue, but want to make sure that IMA recharge doesn't present hidden deceleration. Brakes have been adequate, but may cause issues if more straight-line speed is found. Need the entry to be relatively flat. Maybe .1 second loss as things are now.
5) Slaloms...Mainly need to get body roll under control for close slaloms. Long slaloms are not too bad. Short/close probably lose .4 seconds. Long, maybe .1 second.

It's a place to start...then how mods are going to help...?

B
 

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If you don't want to go to the rolling road then I suggest when you get your package from me first build the OBDIIC&C which has a performance timing mode that counts to 1/10ths of a second.

It times 30-60mph and 50-70mph.

Do a few runs with the car standard to get a baseline then add the power mods and retime.

Please post the results on here and our spreadsheet.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...1UOFF4WWxoaEpfTmhGWlFnYWc&usp=drive_web#gid=0

Quantifying the results is important and we can all learn from your great project.

The OBDIIC&C will also give you a feel for how your battery is performing in general.

Don't forget to get yourself a L50S200 fuse if you are fitting the current hack board!

It's also fair to point out that using the IMA boost device will stress the standard fuse even though the peak current will be <100A
I've seen nearly 95A in my wifes car with a good battery and the ima boost device.
You will be using that power level a lot and the original fuses aren't getting any younger and it could fail.
I would upgrade it as a matter of course to the 200A version for your usage profile.
 

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:2) Straights...just need more dang HP to get hotter acceleration from 30MPH to 45MPH. That's probably from about 4000RPM to 5200RPM for the CVT. Each straight is likely a .25 to .8 second loss for my Insight.
3) Curves...Need to get the car flatter with better control. Need to reduce release/spinning of front wheels.
B
Yours a catch 22.zone You need low end grunt that 1st gear cvt, ok, but your revving out pass the engine natural torque curve, a fat thick short curve and v-tech and the ima power curve 2,500+ using so your using just rpm for power at 4,000 + rpm
but on the straight away at the middle zig zag cones before and after you need speed, that quicker time, shifting to 2 or drive should give you a few mph in a second, a engine revving is a poor indicator of speed,
this is where I pass most v8 or m.t. As they rev out and stand still to shift. As I grab a about 1-3 car length here, they have to catch up. IAM right smack in the power band of second gear in drive 25-35 mph or 2,500-3,000 so shifting to 2 gear or into drive letting the car decide the best in-between gear might be best, as it can be between 1 and 2 gear its a CVT. Higher speed but The downside is you have less engine braking on turns but that what the suspension work for.
:1) Launch...need good low-end torque with smooth acceleration on hookup. . B
Didn't you change to taler rims and tires. Werent some insight 13 " rims Could you run 50s or less?
a tire hight is the same as new final gearing.
This will lower the car gearing and power curve. You have a cvt so your stuck with one up shift into 2 or drive and can't go back into 1 gear again.

You can test your suspension by doing a test start in 1 gear and shift run through the whole course in drive. Write down the speed enter in each corner and exit. Compare that with a test of using 1 gear data.

So basically, you want power in second gear or drive as strong as first gear, after the 0-40 sprint in 1 gear, and engine torque curve in the 25-55 mph 2,500- 4.500 rpm area.
do this test first, if 1-2 gear is faster,better yet, as I would go this route, but build power first then decide how low gearing is needed that how low profile and wide tire is best.
Also after this you can also custom adjust the torque curve by fooling around With the exhaust pipe and intake for final tuning.
after this don't expect the same mpg .:)

TIre Height Chart
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I'm not sure how to compare the CVT to the MT in terms of gears (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and the limited settings the Gen 1 Insight has for CVT options (D and S settings on steering wheel, and D and L settings on shifter). But just relative to the CVT options, I can get around the course faster with the S setting (steering) and D setting (shifter) than without S. And, in most cases, I can get around the course faster with the L setting (shifter) than with the D setting (shifter). Not sure if the S setting really has an effect when using L, but I always put it there anyway, so S + L is where my times are almost always best. Now, there are some cases when S + D has worked very marginally better, but it was not because D brought me into the lower (higher potential torque) ranges for the VTEC. It seems to be more a case of hitting the rev limit (close to 6000RPM) for the L setting. Those courses had long straights where most other cars would be getting into 3rd gear to get through the course.

Having said all that, I would agree that it would be nice to be in a "sweeter spot" to grab more torque when trying to run a straight, through a sweeper, or through a slalom. On the Gen 1, there are no paddles, and switching between D and L on the shifter is probably more a time waster than an advantage. By the way, using paddles on the CR-Z ended up wasting too much time as well, and just leaving it in D actually worked best, letting the CVT figure things out (that was at least for me). So I will be stuck trying to tune in as much power and torque into the bands I am able to work in. Those are 0 to about 3000RPM for launch, and then 3500 to 5500RPM through the course.

As for tire size, it was really the case that smaller wheels (and, actually, tires) had a positive benefit for the Blue MT that I originally was driving. That was mainly because 2nd gear gearing on the MT does NOT operate in a good power band for AX racing. However, when I tried the 13" wheels and small Hoosiers on the CVT, it seemed to be a disadvantage. It's been a while, but I think it put the engine at too high an RPM range, and I was probably hitting the rev limiter more. The differences were not great, but enough to lose races.

So I am back to 14" wheels and a pretty typical tire size (185/60R-14), close to what the OEM size would be. Going to 15" rims will be allowed next year, but there would likely be significant weight gain (compared to my HX rims), and greater tire costs (well...$$ has to come in somewhere) with uncertain benefit.

A lot of this will be trial and error to see where the benefits relative to the costs end up. But I will probably try the cheap, "low hanging fruit" first...

B
 

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I can tell you from experience on the gen 2 the eneos fluid made a world of difference for me. The belt slips and best indicator is when the ima assist starts to back down. Many cases I floor it, I dont see 5 grand, but 100% assist as its hooked up. May want to get an extra cooler for it too.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I can tell you from experience on the gen 2 the eneos fluid made a world of difference for me. The belt slips and best indicator is when the ima assist starts to back down. Many cases I floor it, I dont see 5 grand, but 100% assist as its hooked up. May want to get an extra cooler for it too.
I'm still trying to see how many folks use the Eneos on the Gen 1s. Searching the forum, so far I found 1, and several others giving warnings about using something other than Honda. So, I will probably leave this until other things have been tried.

As for a cooler, my runs are about 1 minute, and while a cooler might help get things more stable between runs (in prep for the next one), I think the cost, hassle and added weight would again leave this for a later mod.

B
 
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