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Discussion Starter #1
I got this 2000 Insight last year with 198,000 miles on it. Lifetime MPG was 56. I reset the lifetime when I started driving it. It's around 64 MPG now. I was getting about the same (long-term average 62 MPG) with a 1991 Civic Wagon! I really expected closer to 100 MPG. I can get over 90 MPG (trip) if I keep my speed around a road rage-inducing 40 MPH.

So is something wrong with my Insight? I've driven it with a good IMA battery and no IMA battery, MPG didn't seem to change enough to notice. I haven't noticed a huge difference between proper RE92s, some 175/65-14s, and my 145/65-15 snow tires on heavy donut wheels. I think I've had them all around 50 PSI. I'd go higher if the RE92s weren't dry-rotted. I've always used a clutch switch to limit IMA usage.

My leanburn "window" is more of a mail slot or keyhole. It falls out of LB at around 45 MPH on a flat road. I usually lose speed if I try to keep it in LB at higher speeds. And yes, I do get LB. I can see the MPG jump up along with the timing (30°) and the MPG no longer matches the ScanGauge reading. MPG in LB will usually sit around 125. Drop out of LB and I get about 50. I can see how much LB helps when I compare the trip MPG on the FCD and the ScanGauge. Not much in my case. :(

I spend a lot of time at 50 MPG with very retarded ignition timing. Does it really fire the plugs at 20° ATDC??? And this thing really seems to hate hills. 2nd gear up some of them! I drove the Civic Wagon up the same hills. Top-end power at WOT feels great, so I don't think it has a clogged cat. It had some bad bucking, swapping the EGR valve from my not-a-parts-car Insight eliminated most of that. I know I lose some distance waiting for the engine to stop when I key-off for an engine-off coast, but I don't think that's significant.

I have a lot of mods planned, but I'd really like to know I have a healthy baseline first.

More (hopefully) useful info:
Used, but correct indexed plugs that look fine
No CEL at this time (sometimes a P1457 EVAP code)
Missing some underbody panels - on my to-do list!
Cleaned EGR passages in plate and head
Newish OEM primary cat and wideband O2 sensor
Brakes don't drag
0w-16 M1 AFE oil
Tried both 345 and 505 ECM - same results
Coolant temp usually 198°F (92°C) and gets there quickly
New TPS
Adjusted valves (set a bit looser than spec, hoping for more low-end)
I haven't checked alignment, but tire wear seems fine
Not leaking fuel
Doesn't use much oil, probably externally leaking more than burning

My old Civic Wagon, compared to an Insight:
Aerodynamically, a brick (0.35 Cd vs. 0.25 Cd)
Larger frontal area
Probably slightly heavier
Larger engine (1.5L I4)
No leanburn
Junkyard tires at 55-60 PSI (or Blizzaks at 45 PSI)
Slightly taller gearing (CRX HF trans)
A lot more cargo space!!!
Rust :(

Civic Wagon fuel log:
I used a GPS to come up with a correction factor to account for the odometer error from the tires and trans. And very often the same gas station pump to fill the tank from empty. I trust the accuracy of my ridiculously high MPG. :)

More about the Civic Wagon:

Insight fuel log:
 

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It sounds a bit like the motor is down on power. I think I'd start by doing a compression test. Remove all plugs, turn the IMA switch off, have someone operate the starter and hold the throttle wide open. The spec is 128 +/- 28 psi. I have always considered this ridiculously low. I've never seen one that low. A good motor will pump close to 200 psi with the procedures above.

Age hardened RE92s aren't a problem. They may be slightly better than fresh ones.

Driving technique is very important on an Insight. In particular, rock solid throttle is absolutely necessary. Even slight sudden positive throttle can kick it out of lean burn.

Otherwise, another thing is the sometime 4 bar mandatory balance charging. If you see a lot of that while cruising, it can also wreck your MPG.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll do the comp test.

One of my RE92s blew up, another had a huge blister! They're bad! I have better used ones, just need to get them mounted.

I have noticed how finicky it can be!

I keep the IMA disabled with the clutch switch when cruising. I only let it assist when climbing steep hills and only let it charge going downhill or braking.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My frustration with this car might be the motivation I need to work on the CRXFi!
 

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The ONLY tire that achieves extraordinarily high MPG on the Insight is the RE92. If you have a couple of off brands on the car, that will hurt a lot. Overinflating the tires will also pay off in better MPG. Most of that gain is achieved by 50 psi.

Aggressively managing the IMA like you are doing doesn't really accomplish much unless the battery is already weak and your are doing that to stay out of 4 bar mandatory rebalancing. The highway mileage isn't much impacted by the IMA either way. For example, when you regen going down hills, you are robbing momentum from the car. That momentum might help carry you up the next hill if you allowed the car to lose speed slightly. The only positive highway use of the battery is to help you stay in LB to get you over a hill. If you aren't already in LB then it is a negative.

City MPG is improved by near continuous use of the IMA, since you usually have lots of stops anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I currently have off-brand 175/65s in the rear. But I had 4 RE92s on it last year until I put the snows on it. Two went bad over the winter in storage. My best RE92 trip was 97 MPG. My best snow tire trip (same 70 mile route) was 86 MPG. I'd be happy if I could consistently get these numbers. But it's an overall downhill trip and I have to cruise at 40-45 MPH to beat the EPA rating. I bet the correct tires would make a bigger difference if I could stay in LB.

The battery is a bit weak. I had to replace one stick to get it to function at all. I sold my good battery for more than I paid for the car. But even with the good battery, I had to keep the IMA off. My driving style doesn't work well with the IMA system, I don't brake a lot. I only let it charge down hills steep enough that I need the braking effect. Down small hills, I'm in neutral with the engine off. Unless I need to build speed for a climb.

I do very little city driving. I still don't brake much in the city!
 

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Blame it on your driving style.
 

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Blame it on your driving style.
Maybe, but I still think he should do a good compression test. Some of his earlier comments caused me to suspect low ICE power.

Hill climbing torque, particularly in 4th gear is a pretty good indication of engine health.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did a compression test. Cold engine and I got around 230-240 PSI on all cylinders.

I have no proof the A/F sensor was replaced. Should I try a new one?

I'll add that the A/C compressor is seized and bypassed, so that's not affecting my MPG.
 

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That compression seems too high to me. I don't recall seeing numbers that high. Maybe Scott has since he has seen a lot more cars.

Did you follow the directions and do the test with the IMA switch off? If you spin the motor with the IMA motor, it will produce artificially high numbers.

Do you have an OBDII C&C gauge? If so, what A/F numbers are you seeing on that?

You may not actually have a problem. In your first post you said that you had a lifetime average of 64MPG, and that post was about a month ago, just coming off cold weather in NY. Insight MPG are extremely sensitive to ambient temperature. Set one of your trip odometers about now and see what mileage you get over the summer and early fall months. The 64MPG isn't badl for mixed driving. My cars tend to be somewhere in that range, and yet I can take them out and pull 100-110MPG if I hypermile in warm weather.

Many folks give somewhat misleading MPG numbers, seems to me. They report what are basically hypermiling numbers, given their technique and setup, causing others to think they should be getting the same numbers. Look at my signature. You'll see a "brag" MPG of 134.4MPG. That number was set under the very best of circumstance, starting with a full, new IMA battery and a MIMA which could command just enough assist to stay in LB on grades. The car was extensively modified, and the car ran on real gas. The course was short at about 14.5 miles, and the battery was empty at the end. Another really good Insight hypermiler got 110MPG, so there was also a big element of luck in catching everything just right. Those are the sorts of games some play.

I looked at your fuel logs, with particular attention to dates. The Insight did fine in the late summer of 2019. You should expect that the Insight will have wider seasonal swings in MPG than the Civic did. Not sure of all the reasons, but most folks seem to note that effect. I don't think you have enough Insight data yet to conclude that much if anything is wrong. Your limited ownership time with the Insight probably means that you haven't fully figured out how to maximize the MPG. It took me a year to get near to record MPGs, even when hypermiling.

I can see from how you modded the Civic that you are a dedicated hypermiler. I once was also, but hypermiling results in the Insight can be much more variable than other cars. In my experience, the single most effective tool in the Insight is a good FAS circuit. Second of course is the particular Insight driving technique. I have a little cheat sheet of techniques I once got from Rightlandcruiser. I'll see if I can find it and post it.

I cheated a bit and checked you posting locations (mods can do that). I see that you seem to be doing a lot of driving in the Southern Tier of NY, in the general area of Oneonta, NY. I've traveled that area and the terrain in that area is beautiful, but TERRIBLE for hypermiling. The roads along the little rivers are pretty decent, but the hills are monsters. If I had my Insight there, I suspect I'd be in second gear on some of them. In terrain like that, a FAS circuit would pay BIG dividends.

Hope this helps. Lots of chat so don't get lost in it:)
 

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Agreed 100%, bottom line................. it boils back to driving style must change.(MHO)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks! I had the IMA off and the injectors unplugged. Cranked until the gauge stopped climbing.

No OBDII C&C gauge. It's on my wish list.

My IP address is never right. I use a mobile hotspot. I'm further North in Wolcott (we say Woolkit for some reason). Much flatter, but I do drive back and forth to hilly Ithaca. The Civic Wagon seemed to do better in hilly terrain, until the hills got really steep.

Average is about 70 for the current tank. Certainly not bad, but the Civic Wagon could do that too.

I know I'm still learning the car, but I've put over 10k miles on it since last July. I haven't logged most of the tanks, but I'm always watching the trip MPG. It's really the inability to stay in LB at higher speeds that bothers me. I read about LB at 65 MPH and I get kicked out by 40-45 on level ground.

A few years ago I borrowed a 2001 Insight and was getting 80 MPG on dry Winter roads. And still over 60 MPG on unplowed snow-covered roads. 165/65-14 Blizzak tires on that Insight. Maybe my driving got worse?
 

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Agreed 100%, bottom line................. it boils back to driving style must change.(MHO)
You've said that twice now without any helpful tips. Maybe I'll delete my location info just to spite you! :D
 

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Maybe it is time for someone else in your area to visit you and see if they can evaluate the problem, either with the car or your diving style.
Try running the vehicle in the 2500 rpm range most of the time and see what you get.
 

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I'm no expert on the engine timing question. I haven't watched it enough on my OBDII C&C to be able to say anything smart, and I have never owned an Insight that I thought had timing issues. If there were genuine timing issues, then that might make a big difference in engine power, which would affect LB performance.

Do you have the proper Bridgestone RE92 tires on the car?? Hypermilers usually run the tires at 50 psi minimum.

Make sure that your front end alignment is within specs. If fact, you might get a 4 wheel alignment if you can get it at a reasonable fee. Serious misalignment will increase rolling drag at either end of the car. As a minimum, use a steel tape or strong string to check the alignment.

Have you checked for brake drag?? You are in a salty road environment. You might be having front caliper retraction issues. You should be able to detect this by excess wheel temperature, or by jacking up the front and rotating the wheels by hand. There is always a little pad drag, but serious drag can be detected.

How about rear brake drag?? Jack up the rear and rotate the tires by hand. The shoes have spring retraction, so the wheels should spin with very little drag.

From your testing, it doesn't sound like the catalytic is defective but it might be. Do you have any codes showing? In fact, make sure your Check Engine light is going through test illumination when you turn the ignition on.

I found RightLaneCruiser's notes to me, but I have to photograph the paper copy and post them separately. There is some worthwhile information in the notes.

edited
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Maybe it is time for someone else in your area to visit you and see if they can evaluate the problem, either with the car or your diving style.
Try running the vehicle in the 2500 rpm range most of the time and see what you get.
Thanks! I've thought about either trying someone else's Insight, or have someone drive mine, but there are no other Insights in my immediate area. I have a friend with a CVT, but that's not much help. Maybe at the Green Grand Prix or an Insight meet when socializing makes a comeback.

So maybe my RPM is too low? I've tried cruising in 4th gear briefly, but didn't see any improvement. I'll try to keep my cruising RPM around 2500 to see what the long-term affects are.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm no expert on the engine timing question. I haven't watched it enough on my OBDII C&C to be able to say anything smart, and I have never owned an Insight that I thought had timing issues. If there were genuine timing issues, then that might make a big difference in engine power, which would affect LB performance.

Do you have the proper Bridgestone RE92 tires on the car?? Hypermilers usually run the tires at 50 psi minimum.

Make sure that your front end alignment is within specs. If fact, you might get a 4 wheel alignment if you can get it at a reasonable fee. Serious misalignment will increase rolling drag at either end of the car. As a minimum, use a steel tape or strong string to check the alignment.

Have you checked for brake drag?? You are in a salty road environment. You might be having front caliper retraction issues. You should be able to detect this by excess wheel temperature, or by jacking up the front and rotating the wheels by hand. There is always a little pad drag, but serious drag can be detected.

How about rear brake drag?? Jack up the rear and rotate the tires by hand. The shoes have spring retraction, so the wheels should spin with very little drag.

From your testing, it doesn't sound like the catalytic is defective but it might be. Do you have any codes showing? In fact, make sure your Check Engine light is going through test illumination when you turn the ignition on.

I found RightLaneCruiser's notes to me, but I have to photograph the paper copy and post them separately. There is some worthwhile information in the notes.

edited
Only two RE92s right now. I had 4 last Summer. I need to get my good ones mounted. I think I filled the dry-rotted tires to 50 PSI. I'll go higher with the good ones.

I did a successful DIY alignment of the Civic, I've been meaning to check the Insight. The rear can only be aligned by shimming the spindles, right?

I hate brake drag and wouldn't tolerate it on my cars. :) I pay attention to how it rolls on the slightest incline at stop lights. And I check for brake drag anytime I jack the car up. Was fine the last time I checked. The front brakes are pretty new and I cleaned and lubricated the pins. I think a piece of rusty backing plate is dragging on a rear drum, but that's not going to create much drag. I easily push it around the yard/driveway all the time!

I don't think there's a timing issue, I just think the engine would perform better with more timing advance. Both of my ECMs severely retard the timing under load. I assume that's normal for an Insight. Higher octane fuel didn't change the timing, so I don't think it's the knock sensor retarding the timing.

No codes now. CEL works. I had an EVAP code last year. And of course I get codes if I shut the IMA off.

I guess I could unbolt the second cat and take it for a loud drive. The first cat is relatively new.
 

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When the "assist" kicks in, the timing goes way "retarded".
More load on the engine less timing advance.
 

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Even 2 non RE-92 tires will hurt. Get ALL your new RE-92s on the car.

There are a couple of things that I have noticed which really kill long term MPG. The first are stops. ANY stop is going to badly hurt trip MPG. You'll net big gains if you can eliminate routes which have stop signs and if you can work out signal light timing. The second killer is cold starts. The more of them during a cycle, the worse it gets.

As I said, get a FAS circuit installed. I found it to be the single best thing I could do to hype MPG. There are a couple. I believe that a schematic is available at 99mpg.com for Mike Dabrowski's original FAS circuit. Even more convenient is Natalya's "elegant" FAS, which is relatively easier to install. FAS circuits on hilly terrain are MAGIC.

You would also benefit from use of a manual control of assist. The Dabrowski MIMA is sometime available used. More accessible and just as good is the retepsnikrep IMA C&C. This device can be purchased in a version which is integrated into the OBDII C&C which is also very helpful as noted earlier. The magic behind these devices is that they allow LB to be sustained longer. Both of these devices can be used also as FAS circuits, so all-in-one. Operable IMA battery required for both. On the level, I made heavy use of both MIMA and FAS when I set the MPG showed in my signature.

Of course, non of this will solve a power issue with the ICE. I think you are going to have to get a truly successful hypermiler to drive the car figure out if something is wrong with the power, or if it is driving technique and other factors. There is one superb hypermiler over in the Hudson River area, iirc, named Joel. I'll have to see if I can find his screen name. I would encourage you to take your car to him, assuming I can find him and that he is willing.
 
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