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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I joined up here a week or so ago and have been searching for a nice clean 1G Insight 5spd. In the last week I've learned a whole lot, have talked to a dozen owners/sellers, called on a bunch of cars, and driven a few.....and have realized I'm going to either pay $4000-$5000 for a super well maintained car with a good warrantied battery....OR $2000-$2500 for a super well maintained car with no battery. (they can be had for less but seem to have lots of miles and be trashed, need struts, tranny, etc....forget it...)

Well anyhow long story short I found a very nice 2-owner 138k 5spd 2001 with no IMA for $2500 (after negotiation). Has grid charger and S2K wheel and is really clean, lived indoors, etc. Has a few issues but nothing too horrible aside from the IMA not working at all. Owner drives it in gas only mode with IMA bypassed.

If I buy it, short-term plan is to drive it as is and love on it a bit, long-term plan is to put an IMA battery in it eventually when the time is right.

QUESTION ONE
So I'm trying to decide without having driven it yet (it's 2 hours away, I plan to go Thursday) what to expect from "gutless wonder mode" (no IMA) and whether or not I'm going to hate the car/regret the purchase.

QUESTION TWO
Also - the cat has been gutted to avoid high replacement cost. I live in a no-emissions area so that's not a problem, however I am wondering how bad the smell is in this situation, with the 1.0 it may not be bad but I wonder. If any have this same situation and can comment I'd appreciate it greatly.

QUESTION THREE
Battery is still in the car...will removing it and saving 70 pounds make any noticeable difference?

Thank you thank you thank you.
 

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If you buy it,look though the fan battery and see what color the sticks are. If they are orange and you do end up buying it ,look up the thread p 1449 and read up on eq 1 udd method. This has worked for me on my OEM battery. 3 weeks into the experiment and my battery showing new life I never knew it had. Ask how long the battery been unhooked. It could be slowly been discharge and mite be able to be revised with a grid charge. Some of the other members can explain it better than me.
 

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1-Drive it like a sports car, and you won't be disappointed. Run in the 3200 to 4500 rpm, range mostly.
2-No smell.
3-It could, but I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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You will notice some slowness off the line in 1st gear, but once you get to about 2000 RPM, it will pull strongly in 1st. Then, as Willie says, use lots of RPM. It would accelerate faster with IMA, but it will be ok with more revs.

Once you decide to drive without the battery, then you can experiment with grid charging and discharging. Might work, but probably not if prior owner made these attempts as it appears.

You're a smart guy. Why not buy the car with the long term goal of converting to LTO. The 3 pack conversion is sort of a no brainer and works very nicely. The only electronics you need is the BMS Interceptor, which retepsnikrep sells for a very reasonable price, and a BMS fooler, a simple voltage divider to keep the BMS battery taps sensor input happy. This gives you a basic Lithium capability and since the LTOs tend to stay balanced, it may be all you ever need. On the other hand, there is ample room to improve on the basic, hopefully one day including cell balancing with the native BMS boards:)

You are fairly close to Natalya and Adria in Atlanta who have both done conversions, so there are nearby advisors, but there are several conversion threads to read through before you decide how to configure the conversion.

I like a 1/4" aluminum plate for the 3 packs, but some have used plywood.
 

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The gear spacing in these cars is rather silly, and doubly so without the IMA. 1st is tall, 2nd is really tall, 3rd could be a highway gear in some cars, and then 3-4-5 are not that widely spaced. It gives a lot of choices to optimize your gearing under various cruise conditions, but after I sold my battery I found that, living in a very hilly/mountainous area, there were streets where 1st felt too short but 2nd couldn't climb the hill without that huge boost in torque the IMA provides. Some people swap in the Civic Hybrid gearbox to get more even gear spacing. Ideally (to me) it would be an Insight final drive with the HCH gear set, unsure if the HCH MS/CS fit in the Insight case but most of the gears and FD are interchangeable.

I'd at least put an O2 spacer on the downstream to get rid of the CEL, as I consider it useful to know if a new code pops up.

I second the lithium idea.

Edit: the extra weight out of the back makes it ride high, and helps with a lack of power without the IMA. As much as I could complain about gear spacing, I still regularly pulled a cargo trailer behind mine with no IMA.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
1-Drive it like a sports car, and you won't be disappointed. Run in the 3200 to 4500 rpm, range mostly.
2-No smell.
3-It could, but I wouldn't worry about it.
Thanks this is helpful.

Once you decide to drive without the battery, then you can experiment with grid charging and discharging. Might work, but probably not if prior owner made these attempts as it appears.

You're a smart guy. Why not buy the car with the long term goal of converting to LTO.

You are fairly close to Natalya and Adria in Atlanta who have both done conversions, so there are nearby advisors, but there are several conversion threads to read through before you decide how to configure the conversion.
Haha thanks. Not smart enough to avoid a G1 Insight but what the heck. Yeah I'm pretty convinced the battery in there is hopeless...I've been reading a lot...even if I got a bit of life out of it it would likely be dead in a month. Just basing that on others who've been in my shoes and spent a lot of time...for nothing.

Yeah either a Bumblebee battery or LTO would be the goal. I've done a good bit of install and modding to my other cars but I'm not well-versed in electronics, don't know that I'd want to tackle the LTO option. I read up on Natalya's build and it's a good bit above me. So I might just go the Bumblebee route.

It is nice to have members here so close, totally worth the 2 hour drive for help/collaboration.

The gear spacing in these cars is rather silly, and doubly so without the IMA. 1st is tall, 2nd is really tall, 3rd could be a highway gear in some cars, and then 3-4-5 are not that widely spaced. It gives a lot of choices to optimize your gearing under various cruise conditions, but after I sold my battery I found that, living in a very hilly/mountainous area, there were streets where 1st felt too short but 2nd couldn't climb the hill without that huge boost in torque the IMA provides. Some people swap in the Civic Hybrid gearbox to get more even gear spacing. Ideally (to me) it would be an Insight final drive with the HCH gear set, unsure if the HCH MS/CS fit in the Insight case but most of the gears and FD are interchangeable.

I'd at least put an O2 spacer on the downstream to get rid of the CEL, as I consider it useful to know if a new code pops up.
Yeah I noticed on the test drive, thought I was in 5th but it was 3rd. Luckily where I live it is flat so I won't have the problems of hills without IMA. The HCH is an idea...but that's way more complicated that I want to get. Just looking for a mostly stock-ish experience as Honda designed it.
 

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I lost my IMA system one winter to a small water leak, needed to patch a shorted signal wire under the dash (was a very simple fix). I was extremely unhappy.

However, around 6-8 months later I sold my good battery and drove it another year without assist and really didn't mind - it was still a very entertaining and engaging car to drive. A matter of perspective, I suppose.
 

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I have driven a bit with my battery disabled and didn't find it too bad. The only time I REALLY missed it was getting moving on a hill, especially with traffic behind me. With a functional IMA the car will blip the assist a little as you're putting the car in gear. It makes a noticeable difference on flat ground and a huge difference on a hill. One time I tried to get the car moving with the A/C on full blast and the battery disabled on a hill and very nearly thought it wasn't going to happen - and I've driven manual transmission cars in the mountains extensively.

Other than starting out you'll also miss it in 2nd gear, there's really kind of a "dead zone" between ~2200-3000 rpm in 2nd gear where the IMA usually gives the car some torque and makes it feel a little less gutless. Once at cruising speed having the batter disabled is pretty unnoticeable, except that downshifting to 4th or even 3rd to get any acceleration or pass anyone on the highway is pretty much mandatory, whereas the IMA would usually kick in under these conditions and make it unnecessary to shift.

I am also at 4500 feet in a very mountainous area. If you live in a flat area closer to sea level, I'd imagine having no battery could be quite tolerable for the long term.
 

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I found that pulling the battery and tossing out anything else I didn't need (including the spare tire) resulted in a pretty usable car. I've been meaning to fit the battery out of a Ford cMax (well, half the battery) for a while and when I finally did I remembered just how slow the car was with a battery fitted but not operational. It's actually pretty unsafe around here with shorter on-ramps and fast-moving traffic.
Guess I'd better get this pack hooked up. :)
 

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I think all the descriptions above of driving without a functional IMA are about what I experienced. Physically removing the pack, reducing weight, makes quite a difference. If I were to go IMA-less I'd remove the 'left side stuff' too - MDM, DCDC etc., replace DCDC with a smaller power supply. If you did that and changed the gearing along the lines of what ecky describes, you'd hardly miss the IMA.
 

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QUESTION TWO
Also - the cat has been gutted to avoid high replacement cost. I live in a no-emissions area so that's not a problem, however I am wondering how bad the smell is in this situation, with the 1.0 it may not be bad but I wonder. If any have this same situation and can comment I'd appreciate it greatly.
I hollowed out my cat in a previously owned Insight (RIP my silver 2003) and installed the spark plug defouler without any issues or engine codes. Just took a couple of hours with a long flat head screwdriver and a hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone for your comments. Since my last post on this thread I bought a car and have started restoring it. I started another thread on the build, you might have seen it.

After driving the car in "gutless" mode for a few days my take on it is yes it is doable but acceleration is meager at best and in some traffic situations this car could be dangerous without the ability to propel itself at least with some degree of urgency. The catless exhaust was an attempt to save money by the previous owner. It probably saved a few MPGs too. But the smell is unacceptable and without the cat it has that catless sound when accelerating that sounds as if something is wrong with the engine.

Plus there is the >4000 rpm issue where the 12V starts to discharge, which is dangerous and could be costly. You really need those higher RPMS to get going without the IMA, but when you get up there the battery stops charging. Not good. Plus all the lights and CEL codes on the dashboard kinda sucks

If a person were on an extreme budget this would be a way to keep the car going...that is, with no IMA.

I've decided to purchase both a cat and an IMA battery, will be ordering/installing soon. Davico cat is $264 shipped and I've read good things about them. I talked to Bumblebee for a long time the other day and I can get a rebuilt battery with 3 years of warranty for $1390 shipped. Life is short and I want to enjoy this car as it was designed and without the sounds and smells of a catless exhaust. I'm confident I will recover every penny and more from this investment in the car when I sell it one day. Nice clean Insights with good mileage and a battery with warranty seem to sell for $4500-$5500 all over the country.
 
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