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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am wondering what is the best mileage I can expect to get with my car? I just bought the car yesterday for $2500. It is a 1 owner with 202k miles. I have already flipped the switch to off on the IMA pack and pulled the three plugs on the BCM because the 12v battery light was beginning to come on frequently and I want to keep driving the car IMA or not. I have not decided if I want to recondition the pack myself or just pull it and leave it out. It seems like a lot of time and effort to have to deal with the IMA battery at all with the cost of a grid charger and the device to charge and discharge the battery sticks unless there is a very significant gain by having it functional. I commute 130 miles a day round trip. I have a friend that commutes with me and we split the costs of gas and oil. I typically drive between 55 and 60 mph and most of the time 55 mph. I shift as early as possible and coast down the 6 or so mile hill from my home till I get to the flats. I am thinking that I will get the worst mpg on my way back up the 6 mile hill but the rest should net me good mpg because it is very flat. I am getting new Bridgestone Potenza tires for the car soon. I will probably run the tires at 60 psi, maybe 65. I really want to maximize my fuel economy as fuel is a huge monthly expense for me. Thanks in advance for any helpful advise.

Alex
 

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If your driving is mostly steady speed, not a lot of traffic or lights, probably your mileage will be the same with or without the IMA working. As you are probably aware driveability does suffer. Driving 55-60 mph you should do better than 70mpg.

Your location is listed as California. Pretty sure you're going to need that IMA working to pass inspection, no?
 

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As ackattacker stated, the IMA system isn't responsible for good fuel economy at steady-state highway speeds on flat terrain. But your fuel economy will suffer a bit on your 6-mile hill where the IMA motor would help ascend the hill thus reducing the load on the engine and where the IMA system would add charge to the battery pack descending the hill which would extend the life of your brakes.

If passing a state inspection with the IMA warning light on isn't a problem, it would probably be difficult to justify buying a BetterBattery from an economic perspective. Rebuilding your battery would be very time-consuming and would require specialized equipment and a source of good battery sticks to replace your bad ones (not easy to find). Used battery sticks don't seem to have a lot of life in them since they're becoming quite old, so rebuilding may not be worth the effort.

With RE-92's, even inflated to only the maximum sidewall pressure of 44 psi, you should be able to average 70 mpg with ease.
 

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akatacker is probably correct about the inspections, though I don't live there, so could be wrong. You will probably need to get all the warning lights on the dash turned off before you can get through inspection.

Which lights were lit when the IMA battery was turned on? The lights begin to lite up when the battery deterriorates to about 10% of original capacity. And you will start getting "check engine" codes. These codes can be read by following the directions here:

Read the blink codes with no special equipment by following the directions here:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/problems-troubleshooting/18505-reading-vehicle-error-blink-codes.html

All you need is a paper clip to jump between two pins in the OBDII plug. Let us know the codes.

Fuel economy with the Insight is highly variable depending primarily on climate, driving conditions and driving skill. You will probably start out around 70mpg, IMA battery operating, and with time and skill reach nearly 100mpg on the flat sections. Even a single stop, can drop you trip mpg by 6-8 mpg, so it is advantageous to try to smooth out any variations is traffic flow - tough to do when traffic gets dense. Learn how to detect lean burn and keep the car in that state. Incidently, I don't think you can get into lean burn with the IMA battery turned off, so you fuel economy suffers some.

At the price you paid, it would probably we worthwhile to buy the better-battery from Ron Hansen. Reconditioning the old subpacks is iffy and requires special equipment. You need to spend a bit of time and assess the condition of the car. I have one at 211,000 which is in excellent condition, but a bad condition one might not be worth the $2000 better-battery. Do a compression check on the engine before you buy the battey. Ask for instructions if you need.

You are going to need to learn to work on the car a bit yourself - nothing heavy, but the basic trouble spots like cleaning of grounds, compression checks, oil changes, etc. Folks at this site are Insight lovers and can usually help with any troubleshooting. If you get locked into taking it to a Honda dealer, you will wind up in the poor house.

Hope this helps a bit. Ask lots of questions until you get some basic understanding of the car, and good luck!
 

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Congrats on the purchase! Drop that speed down to between 50-60 with lean burn you'll be getting 80+mpg round trip (maybe 90 one way, 70's the other depending on that hill). Do a quick calculation on your cost savings and see if the savings alone will pay of the battery. I'm guessing it'll be pretty close, and driving the car with a good battery can't be beat. Without the IMA boost that "hill" might turn into a mountain haha. Congrats again and welcome to the site.


Tim

ps i think someone else will chime in with exact knowledge on being able to lean burn with the IMA battery turned off. Without lean burn expect mid to high 60's at most. Possibly touching in the low 70's.
 

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Welcome to the forum and congrats on getting such a good deal in California! I paid more than that for mine and it also had a bad IMA battery.

Lean Burn will not work as long as the IMA battery is not working. randerson0248 is right, we are smog exempt (for now), so that's not an issue. I have a couple good IMA batteries that I am selling for a very good price, a little less than a third of a BB. Your close enough that there'd be no shipping and I could help you install it (and a grid charger) so that you would be able to maximize your mileage for a long time.

Shoot me a PM if you would like more info. Thanks -Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update from yesterdays post.

Hi All,

First, thanks for all the good responses. I drove my first commute round trip in the car this morning with me in the drivers seat for the first 10 miles down the hill and my commute buddy driving the rest of the way in to our destination. He was good about keeping the mph very close to 55 on the way down. I recall that the trip down indicated about 68 mpg on the dash. The codes that were on my OBDII tester were Prior to the disconnection of the IMA Battery and unplugging the BCM last night were the typical 1447,1449, and 1164. I got a code 1648 after the BCM and IMA battery disconnection. My 12v battery was about 12.35 static and 13.5 ish when the ICE was running. I did not experience the battery icon on the dash as was occuring frequently before especially when driving at night with the lights on.

On the way home I strickly adhered to the 8,18,24,31 shift mph points. It was a little hard to get used and acceleration was pretty slow. I had to stop multiple times as I did not time the traffic lights correctly to keep moving smoothing through them. I was indicating 66 mpg for the day when I started to ascend the hill. I did my best to drive it conservatively but I was really beginning to slow the traffic down behind me when I was down to 24 mph for about a minute. By the time I got home, my mileage for the day was down to 62 mpg. In my book that is still fantastic and I am sure I have room to improve in my driving technique. I am going to take another route home that I hope has a lesser impact on the overall mpg. I personally do not think that spending the money on a better battery and a grid charger would improve my mileage enough to justify the expense. Jeff652, I may consider your offer at a later date. I have to sell my other two non hybrid cars before I get too deep on this one. By the way, the car is in very good condition with only one 3 inch seam separation on the driver seat. There is no body damage save for a quarter sized dent on one side and a paint scuff area near the right rear wheel. Everything works as far as I can tell except for the IMA battery. It does need tires and I am willing to spend the money for those.

Thanks,

Alex
 

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It does sound to me like you are not getting lean burn, but you're probably right that it's not worth the money for a new IMA battery from a strictly economic standpoint.

Back of the envelope calculation... you are getting 62mpg. With working lean-burn you may get 75mpg. 130 mile round trip, splitting the cost so 65 miles, 5 times a week, $4 a gallon, I figure you'd "save" $189 per year by replacing the battery. Since a new battery is $1800 that cost will take nearly 10 years to recoup.
 

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Hi All,

First, thanks for all the good responses. I drove my first commute round trip in the car this morning with me in the drivers seat for the first 10 miles down the hill and my commute buddy driving the rest of the way in to our destination. He was good about keeping the mph very close to 55 on the way down. I recall that the trip down indicated about 68 mpg on the dash. The codes that were on my OBDII tester were Prior to the disconnection of the IMA Battery and unplugging the BCM last night were the typical 1447,1449, and 1164. I got a code 1648 after the BCM and IMA battery disconnection. My 12v battery was about 12.35 static and 13.5 ish when the ICE was running. I did not experience the battery icon on the dash as was occuring frequently before especially when driving at night with the lights on.

On the way home I strickly adhered to the 8,18,24,31 shift mph points. It was a little hard to get used and acceleration was pretty slow. I had to stop multiple times as I did not time the traffic lights correctly to keep moving smoothing through them. I was indicating 66 mpg for the day when I started to ascend the hill. I did my best to drive it conservatively but I was really beginning to slow the traffic down behind me when I was down to 24 mph for about a minute. By the time I got home, my mileage for the day was down to 62 mpg. In my book that is still fantastic and I am sure I have room to improve in my driving technique. I am going to take another route home that I hope has a lesser impact on the overall mpg. I personally do not think that spending the money on a better battery and a grid charger would improve my mileage enough to justify the expense. Jeff652, I may consider your offer at a later date. I have to sell my other two non hybrid cars before I get too deep on this one. By the way, the car is in very good condition with only one 3 inch seam separation on the driver seat. There is no body damage save for a quarter sized dent on one side and a paint scuff area near the right rear wheel. Everything works as far as I can tell except for the IMA battery. It does need tires and I am willing to spend the money for those.

Thanks,

Alex
Sounds like you guys are getting with the program. The 8,18, 24,31 rule is for max FE under ideal conditions(i.e. not traffic obstruction and honking horns). You will have to vary sometimes on account of traffic. I find that if I'm threated by traffic I can sometime wind out rather quickly in first to get up to a reasonable speed without paying too much FE price. Without without assist you won't pay much price anyway. Since you can't see LOD it is kinda useless to talk about that, but just use about half throttle and watch the revs climb quickly to 4000. Puts you into the flow a little better.

The Bridgestone RE92 is still available through Costco here in the east, and probably in the west. They have frequent Bridgestone promotions. I have of folks finding them through Firestone stores also.

With a big hill at the end of your commute, you might want to rethink that battery. It would give you a big boost up the hill, then you could recharge it on the way down hill the next morning. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Getting the new Potenza tires next week

Costco in California can special order them. They are running a promotion of $70 off on four so I find that is the best deal local to me without having them drop shipped and then taking them to a shop to install. As far as the IMA battery goes, the savings in fuel would have to be pretty high to make it worth my while. I am going to try an alternate route and see what happens with the fuel economy. I will not have my carpool buddy today so I am expecting to see a 1 to 2 mpg gain overall for the day.

Alex
 

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Costco in California can special order them. They are running a promotion of $70 off on four so I find that is the best deal local to me without having them drop shipped and then taking them to a shop to install. As far as the IMA battery goes, the savings in fuel would have to be pretty high to make it worth my while. I am going to try an alternate route and see what happens with the fuel economy. I will not have my carpool buddy today so I am expecting to see a 1 to 2 mpg gain overall for the day.

Alex
You are probably right about the economics of a new or replacement battery, but it isn't quite so simple. First, with a functioning battery you can reach lean burn. That is good for 20-25 MPG while you have it activated. The savings on your apparently long commute would start paying back the cost.

Second, the battery would improve the drivability of the car. The tiny little 1L motor is just barely enough to meet the needs of the 1800 car. The battery enabled assist is good for those situations when you really, really need a little extra power. Using assist will lower your FE, but sometimes you just need a little assist.

But, you current plan works. Drive it a while, get the feel of it, get to appreciating it, then revisit the battery decision. Rome wasn't built in a day;)
 

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As far as the IMA battery goes, the savings in fuel would have to be pretty high to make it worth my while. I am going to try an alternate route and see what happens with the fuel economy. I will not have my carpool buddy today so I am expecting to see a 1 to 2 mpg gain overall for the day.
Your fuel efficiency should increase after you install your new tires as well. But without the IMA battery pack, your engine can't operate in lean burn mode which could increase your instantaneous fuel efficiency by 50%. However, lean burn mode can't be maintained continuously, so your average fuel efficiency improvement would be somewhat less. Except for your 6-mile hill, your route sounds pretty ideal for lean burn cruising. But even on your 6-mile hill, the battery pack would capture some of your kinetic energy while descending for later use thus reducing the load on your engine while ascending, so your fuel efficiency would be higher on this hill as well even though lean burn would not be involved.

I don't think many people really believe that gasoline prices will do anything but trend up in the future, so your battery pack payback would likely accelerate.
 

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"I have already flipped the switch to off on the IMA pack and pulled the three plugs on the BCM because the 12v battery light was beginning to come on frequently and I want to keep driving the car IMA or not." End Quote]

What other symptoms made you decide that your battery is bad? If it was just the IMA light coming on, as mine occasionally does, Honda diagnosed that as MCM issue. With the IMA light on I get even better lean-burn performance than with it off. Also, with the IMA light on, taching up past 4,000 will give you the 12V battery light (and brake light) every time, but for only 30 seconds.
 

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The main thing is drivability. There is a big difference between a weak battery and a good battery, and I can't imagine living with this car with NO battery. I would worry about it from a safety standpoint.

If you are going to keep this little jewel, and spend hours in it every day, do yourself a favor and fix the battery. Yes, the monetary payback might take a long time, but the other rewards will be worth what you spend. You're into this car right, and even with the cost of fixing the battery you could make money on it.

Sam
 

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It's all about driving style.

Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update on fuel mileage with IMA battery disconnected

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming. I have a lot to learn. I have no clue about the lean burn or how to enter into that mode and what indications there are when in lean burn. It is clear that it is not available while the IMA battery is disconnected. I have yet to pull out the IMA battery. I would like to pull all the sticks out and test to determine the problem and then replace any failed or failing sticks. Then I would reassemble and see what is what. Any suggestions for doing this the least expensive way possible assuming that I do all the labor would be great.I am sure there is a thread for this. I have just not located it so far in my wanderings on the site. I went the alternate route to my work and back and managed to up my round trip mpg from 62 to 63.4. I am pretty sure that this is due to my car pool buddy being absent today as I still have to climb a pretty steep hill on my way home. I will test it on another day when he is with me. I believe that it is the Insight transmission gearing that slows it down so much on hill climbing. The Metro we were commuting in before also has a 1000 cc three cylinder engine and it goes up the 6 mile hill a bit faster but it still bogs down to about 45 mph at some point. I have been bogged down to 24 mph in the Insight on the hill now.

Thanks,

Alex
 

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"I have been bogged down to 24 mph in the insight on the hill now."

That means you are in the wrong gear and driving wrong.
Approach the hill around 3K and let her go. Third gear should be good for 100+.
Fourth and Fifth are overdrive ratios.
At 4K the Insight will start to pull strong, all the way to 6K+.
Don't expect any super duper mileage at that point, all you want is power to get up the hill.
HTH
Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I will try that tomorrow

I just don't want to exceed the 4k rpms so that I cancel the 12v battery from charging right? Or is that not a big deal as long as I don't stay over 4k rpms for very long? Update: I just bought a MRC Superbrain 989 so when it comes I can start working out which of my sticks are weak and failed in the IMA pack. Hopefully I can get some replacement battery sticks for a good price somewhere.
 

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The 12V will quit charging for app. 30 seconds and then come back on line. If the 12V battery is real weak you could have problems. If I remember right less than 10.5 volts is about right for problems. (Especially at night with a lot of load on the 12V system)
HTH
Willie
 
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