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I just purchased a 2006 Honda Insight CVT that needs some work.

When I try to start the car, it appears to turn over, but doesn't even stay running long enough to put it in gear. (maybe a second or two) There is also a knocking sound while trying to start it. The knock sounds rotational in nature. Car is in otherwise in reasonably good condition with about 140K miles on it. Does anyone here have any idea what the problem could be?
 

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check compression, hope you got a good deal.
 

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Usually when someone posts that the engine runs for 2 seconds then shuts off, what is really happening is the engine isn't running at all. During the start sequence, the IMA motor spins the engine at nearly full idle speed. If the engine doesn't start running in 2 seconds, the IMA motor gives up. It sounds just like it's running for those 2 seconds, but it's not. So you have a long list to go through... fuel, spark, compression. Once it's running figure out the knock.
 

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Usually when someone posts that the engine runs for 2 seconds then shuts off, what is really happening is the engine isn't running at all. During the start sequence, the IMA motor spins the engine at nearly full idle speed. If the engine doesn't start running in 2 seconds, the IMA motor gives up. It sounds just like it's running for those 2 seconds, but it's not. So you have a long list to go through... fuel, spark, compression. Once it's running figure out the knock.
I suspect you're right. It doesn't seem like it's really running to me.
 

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Fuel pump could be dead. Pull off the feed line to the fuel rail and cycle the key on/off. If no fuel comes out. Dead fuel pump. Don't waste your time doing anything else before you do this, it's literally a 30 second check that could save an *** load amount of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bad Engine

I just purchased a 2006 Honda Insight CVT that needs some work.

When I try to start the car, it appears to turn over, but doesn't even stay running long enough to put it in gear. (maybe a second or two) There is also a knocking sound while trying to start it. The knock sounds rotational in nature. Car is in otherwise in reasonably good condition with about 140K miles on it. Does anyone here have any idea what the problem could be?
Well, the news was bad. The verdict is "Internal Engine Failure". The dealer recommends replacing the engine.

Does anyone know of a good place to get an new/rebuilt/used engine put into a Honda Insight? The dealer wants like $2500 to replace the engine. I could buy another Insight for that price! Do you know of a reasonable alternative?
 

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Was the IMA light on before this started happening? Was the car out of oil? These cars typically do not just "blow" an engine at 140k miles. What was happening before you took it to dealer? Was the car sitting for a while unused by any chance?
My hunch is that the IMA needs reset (or replaced)...but the Internal combustion engine is just fine. Also, check the ground straps.
I'd get a second opinion... but $2500 is NOT unreasonable for the job IF your car needs it.
 

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According to OP, he bought it non-running. There could be several reasons for a starting knock, but internal engine failure is certainly possible. It doesn't sound like he does any of his own wrenching, so most of the fix options for a just "OK" car are limited. As he rightly points out the $2500 repair(probably just labor - new short block is $3505.90 discount at Majestic) is prohibitive.

Folks who don't wrench for themselves should not own these cars - sad but true. The viable repair options just get too limited. I certainly agree that internal engine failure is rare, but the cost of the detailed mechanical diagnosis is going to be prohibitive, IMHO, and repairs "probably" excessive.

Do you have any covered space and a friend who could help you pull the cylinder head and the sump? That much disassembly is needed to look at the lower end parts.

Sometimes the cheap measure of just draining the oil into a clean container will reveal valuable clues. If the oil has a metallic paint sheen, those tiny metal flakes are bearing material from crank or rod bearings. If you see sizable pieces of metal, then that alone is a death sentence for the engine.

Good luck!
 

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Sounds like his best option is a junkyard engine and a local shop to RnR it. That could keep it in a reasonable budget. I've seen engines around here for $400.

Forget about the dealer.
 

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Sounds like his best option is a junkyard engine and a local shop to RnR it. That could keep it in a reasonable budget. I've seen engines around here for $400.
Yeah, I thought about that also, but the problem for me is that the car is a CVT with 140,000 miles. From my reading, those transmissions get questionable at that mileage. Remember, he never test drove the car, near as I can understand from the OP.

The junk yard engine would have to be local. Packaging and shipping would likely be prohibitive otherwise.

Later: He isn't far away from gelevin in Indianapolis. Perhaps a pickup trip over there would net a decent tested engine???

If he can he needs to so some simple diagnostics before going off this "deep end."

Echo- stay away from dealers!!!!
 

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engine knocking while cranking and won't start, doesn't surprise me that the engine is toast and i work on cars for a living. not sure why it's so hard to believe that an IC engine can blow up.
 

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Blown Insight ICEs are pretty rare, BUT it isn't hard to visualize if it ran w/o oil because of a stripped sump plug - just for example. As you say, it certainly can happen.

There is also the broken cam, sheared drive pin problem, but that has only been noticed in high mileage cars iirc. That could very well cause cranking noise.
 

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The problem with purchasing a non-running car is that you really don't know how far down the rabbit hole you need to go to get it running and driving, unless you know the history. If you *knew* that all it needs is a new engine, not a big deal really, used engines are available (I see a few on ebay around $500) and it's not that difficult of a swap. But then you *might* need a new CVT, you *might* need a new IMA battery, etc. etc.

If the car otherwise appears in good shape mechanically and cosmetically, might be worth the risk.

Out of curiosity, who diagnosed "internal engine failure?", the dealer?
 
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