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Discussion Starter #1
what might cause engine to - only recently - hesitate and "cought" a bit when hitting accelerator at 25-35 mph?

For past 2k miles or so - coincidentally, as my wife has become primary driver for her local commute - my 2001 MT with 95k miles has "hesitated" when accelerating from cruising in 3rd, 4th, even 2nd gears.

speeds usually 20 - 30 - 35 mph, local roads, RPM sometimes on the low side, like 2,500 rpm, and it is cured by downshifting & going up above 3k.

If it were clogged filters, I expect hesitation would occur at other times.
It's approaching the 105K spark plug changeout - so my current plan is to have a look at them ( using Insightful Trekker's warnings & suggestions ).

I looked briefly yesterday at the block, trying to locate plugs.
Perhaps they're on the BACK of the engine - I'll look again today.
On FRONT I did notice worn/cracked rubber gasket-like material around 3 colored spark-plug-like shafts going into the engine . . .

MPG has dropped in past year, from avg 64 to more like avg 58 ( each with +/- 5mpg in summer/winter )
and I've attributed that to much less highway driving in my (or wife's) commute - but perhaps it's something else.

I'm back to being primary driver . . . gave gas a long-overdue dose of Techron 8 oz. . . . which hasn't helped yet.
 

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The spark plugs are underneath the ignition coils, on the back of the engine, under that silly plastic engine cover.

I believe those would be the fuel injectors on the front. Mine also have cracked gaskets, but they're not leaking.
 

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its a common problem with 5spd's. Some people get lucky and the problem is just the EGR valve or the EGR passages being clogged. But sometimes even after fixing those things, the problem could still be there, being caused by something else.

Here is quote from a Honda service bulletin:

A faulty EGR valve in an M/T-equipped ’00–03 Insight can cause a DTC P1163 (A/F sensor [sensor 1] slow response) to set, the car to surge, hesitate, jerk, or buck between 20 and 60 mph, or both to happen.
To check if the EGR valve is the culprit, unplug its 6P connector and test-drive the car. If the surge or hesitation goes away with this connector unplugged, test A/F sensor 1. If the sensor is OK,
then replace the EGR valve and clear the DTC. With the EGR valve connector unplugged during your test-drive, the ECM/PCM will set DTC P1491 (EGR valve insufficient lift) and the MIL will come on. Make sure you also clear that DTC.

there is also another type of hesitation that could occur which is related to the VTEC system. But it could only be a slight 1 or 2 second hesitation before VTEC is enabled somewhere around 2000rpm. This is caused by oil supply problems to the VTEC solenoid. But your problem is most likely the common "Lean Burn Hesitation"
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow - thanks for each of these no-BS replies ! ! Love this forum.

Not sure that I can debug EGR myself . . .
BUT - I'll pursue steps outlined,
and my favorite local mechanic might be able to do it.

I'd like to avoid the Honda dealer shop -
I've disagreed w/ their "Master mechanic" more than once, and I was right each time, so not exactly a good working relationship there.
 

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could a bad egr or egr manifold cause intermittent P0302 errors too.
 

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could a bad egr or egr manifold cause intermittent P0302 errors too.
 
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