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2004 Honda Insight: D16Z6, turbo'ed
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys! This is going to be an open discussion on converting a ZE1 insight into a trailer. I am planning to do this for the simple and wonderful idea, of running my Insight at Rocky Mountain Race Week next year.

First off, the tow vehicle, which will be my current Insight, will have more than ample power to handle pulling a second Insight of lesser weight. By the time this happens, I will be either around 200-220whp, or possibly 300+whp if I get an engine built beforehand. I will get into more safety specific things down below.

The reasoning for this is just to be different. I have always loved cars that pull a trailer that is either part of another car, or designed to flow with the car as if it were meant to be part of it.

Ideally, I plan to purchase an Insight with a decent body, and most likely mechanical failures, preferably a blue one to match my current car. I do not want to put any tongue weight on my insight, so I plan to use a Tow Bar, like you would behind a RV. As far as safety is concerned, I plan to add electric trailer brakes to work on the rear axle, which as we all know, already has drum brakes. This is not required in my state, since the trailer will be under 3000 pounds, but when configured correctly should help immensely with stabilizing the setup under braking.

I have started a list of all of the components I plan to remove or replace on the trailer, in an effort to get it down to right around 1000 pounds. Since I have already swapped my engine in my car due to a transmission failure, I am already familiar with removing everything from the steering wheel forward, and the hybrid components.

So, this is my crazy idea I had two days ago, and I feel that I have most things covered in my head as to how I will get what I want!

Please comment and let me know of any issues you guys see, as constructive criticism is a great way to force me to look at things from other perspectives!

Thanks for reading,

John
 

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Hi guys! This is going to be an open discussion on converting a ZE1 insight into a trailer. I am planning to do this for the simple and wonderful idea, of running my Insight at Rocky Mountain Race Week next year.

First off, the tow vehicle, which will be my current Insight, will have more than ample power to handle pulling a second Insight of lesser weight. By the time this happens, I will be either around 200-220whp, or possibly 300+whp if I get an engine built beforehand. I will get into more safety specific things down below.

The reasoning for this is just to be different. I have always loved cars that pull a trailer that is either part of another car, or designed to flow with the car as if it were meant to be part of it.

Ideally, I plan to purchase an Insight with a decent body, and most likely mechanical failures, preferably a blue one to match my current car. I do not want to put any tongue weight on my insight, so I plan to use a Tow Bar, like you would behind a RV. As far as safety is concerned, I plan to add electric trailer brakes to work on the rear axle, which as we all know, already has drum brakes. This is not required in my state, since the trailer will be under 3000 pounds, but when configured correctly should help immensely with stabilizing the setup under braking.

I have started a list of all of the components I plan to remove or replace on the trailer, in an effort to get it down to right around 1000 pounds. Since I have already swapped my engine in my car due to a transmission failure, I am already familiar with removing everything from the steering wheel forward, and the hybrid components.

So, this is my crazy idea I had two days ago, and I feel that I have most things covered in my head as to how I will get what I want!

Please comment and let me know of any issues you guys see, as constructive criticism is a great way to force me to look at things from other perspectives!

Thanks for reading,

John
You obviously have too much time on your hands. :D
 

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How much weight do you plan on hauling? Technically the combined weight of passengers and cargo in an Insight shouldn't exceed 400 pounds but most Insight owners have loaded up their cars with more than that before.
 

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I'm no trailer expert, especially behind an insight, but I don't like the idea of towing 4 wheels, but I clearly see the dilemma. I think a powerful Insight might be happy with a light trailer, but having to steer the rear vehicle seems like it would add some unpleasant physics, though I don't know for sure.
 

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Where are you located? I have the perfect donor! It just blew up the engine, but the chassis is fantastic. And it's already gutted in the rear. To save money, I could put it back to stock springs and shocks in the rear too.

My car is in central Texas.
 

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2004 Honda Insight: D16Z6, turbo'ed
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Discussion Starter #6
Oh I've looked at your car! Sadly I'm in northwest illinois! It's 30+hrs round trip....

As far as having too much time. Quite the opposite! The problem is I can't shut my brain off!

I understand the gross vehicle weight is only 400lbs more than the car weighs, but that is based off of a stock insight. With my D16, I bet towing 1000lbs at 60mph would be just fine, and that's with only about 115whp. The key, I believe, is to make sure my hitch is securely mounted to the rear frame. Not the bumper, but the actual framing.

Towing with a tow bar allows correct geometry to pull a car and have it track correctly. I don't think that will be a problem.

Thank you for the replies guys, keep them coming!

On a side note, if I have to go with a small trailer I will, but I would love the wow factor of having an insight in tow, lol. Keep in mind, people do this all the time in transporting cars, I've seen SUV's pulling a car with a tow bar, that is also pulling a car with a tow bar!!!
 

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I have towed a couple of Insights with a tow bar behind my minivan and they towed just fine.

Sam
 
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I've pulled over 2000# behind my Insight, and have a few thoughts:

-Even with a K24, an extra 2000# in the back makes acceleration pretty sluggish, to the point that it feels almost like a normal car. :LOL:

-Aluminum does not have a fatigue limit like steel does. What this means is that if you have any kind of torque load on the chassis where the hitch or tow bar attaches, it's eventually going to break. Try to build your attachment points so there are no twisting forces on the attachment points when accelerating or braking.

-Weight distribution is critical. Even if it's on 4 wheels, you'll have to be careful with weight distribution, or you'll get serious trailer sway.

-If the trailer brakes don't do most of the work you're going to lift the back of your puller car off the ground in an emergency braking event. A K swap only has around 300lbs over each of the rear wheels.

So long as you do it right, I expect it to be a hoot. This is actually tempting me to do the same...

 

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I think if you use the complete shell it will look like you're just towing an Insight. If you eliminate the front part is will look like a cool trailer. Google "matching car and trailer" for a lot of examples.

Sam
 

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2004 Honda Insight: D16Z6, turbo'ed
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Discussion Starter #10
I would love to just do the firewall back, but there is no way for me to keep the tongue weight down in that situation, since the rear axle is so far back on these cars.

As long as I can get the axle brakes fitted, I think I should be good. Once I get a donor for this, I will document all weight savings and go from there. I may very well have to change how much I bring along on the race week depending on how much I can get the chassis down to.
 

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Where are you located? I have the perfect donor! It just blew up the engine, but the chassis is fantastic. And it's already gutted in the rear. To save money, I could put it back to stock springs and shocks in the rear too.

My car is in central Texas.
Where in central Texas? I'm in Killeen, and will soon be selling 4 insights.
 

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College Station.

Do any of them run? How cheap are we talking? If I could get a runner for real cheap I would be tempted to swap the drive train and keep it. It would have to be cheap though. There are many reasons I decided to give up on the insight. Money Time and taking care of an elderly inlaw with mental problems among them.

Feel free to email me at HighSPL (at) gee mail (dot) com
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've pulled over 2000# behind my Insight, and have a few thoughts:

-Even with a K24, an extra 2000# in the back makes acceleration pretty sluggish, to the point that it feels almost like a normal car. :LOL:

-Aluminum does not have a fatigue limit like steel does. What this means is that if you have any kind of torque load on the chassis where the hitch or tow bar attaches, it's eventually going to break. Try to build your attachment points so there are no twisting forces on the attachment points when accelerating or braking.

-Weight distribution is critical. Even if it's on 4 wheels, you'll have to be careful with weight distribution, or you'll get serious trailer sway.

-If the trailer brakes don't do most of the work you're going to lift the back of your puller car off the ground in an emergency braking event. A K swap only has around 300lbs over each of the rear wheels.

So long as you do it right, I expect it to be a hoot. This is actually tempting me to do the same...

Hey Ecky, can you show what you did for a hitch?!? There seems to be next to zero info on hitch mounting on the ZE1!!! Thanks,

John
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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dueces:
Please include your Location in your profile.
There are several threads about hitches on a G1. Search with the right termonology is a suggestion.
 

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2004 Honda Insight: D16Z6, turbo'ed
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Discussion Starter #15
dueces:
Please include your Location in your profile.
There are several threads about hitches on a G1. Search with the right termonology is a suggestion.
Updated! I will look further, I guess I only seen ones for basic bike racks and the like. Mine will need to be substantially more heavy duty!

John
 

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Hey Ecky, can you show what you did for a hitch?!? There seems to be next to zero info on hitch mounting on the ZE1!!! Thanks,

John
I have two threads on Ecomodder, under the same name. The first one, "TLC and Ecomodding" has an indexed first post with a link to how I built it. Let me know if you have any trouble finding it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey guys, just throwing an update out there. I am currently scrapping the Insight Trailer project. With things like Drag Week being cancelled, and the backlash some of the racetracks are getting, I will wait until closer to next season to decide if this is feasible. I am just going to concentrate on getting my D-sight running as good as possible and sweat the small stuff later!

John
 

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I've pulled over 2000# behind my Insight, and have a few thoughts:

-Even with a K24, an extra 2000# in the back makes acceleration pretty sluggish, to the point that it feels almost like a normal car. :LOL:

-Aluminum does not have a fatigue limit like steel does. What this means is that if you have any kind of torque load on the chassis where the hitch or tow bar attaches, it's eventually going to break. Try to build your attachment points so there are no twisting forces on the attachment points when accelerating or braking.

-Weight distribution is critical. Even if it's on 4 wheels, you'll have to be careful with weight distribution, or you'll get serious trailer sway.

-If the trailer brakes don't do most of the work you're going to lift the back of your puller car off the ground in an emergency braking event. A K swap only has around 300lbs over each of the rear wheels.

So long as you do it right, I expect it to be a hoot. This is actually tempting me to do the same...

I have friend named Tom green who has a junkyard. In wolf point Mt.

He and his help have a side business of taking truck beds and making trailers out of them.

They cut off the front of the truck with an extension of the frame attached. They then heat the frame extension and bend the two sides to center, weld the bent frames and weld a ball hitch on top.

If the frame has strength enough you could do the same. Depending on how much time you have you could center the tear wheels for less bounce and more balance you could eliminate the firewall and cover the frame bend with a cone for mote leg room/storage.

Buy a. Front end wreck with a good motor/trans for a spare. You eliminate weight, gain balance and have an aluminum trailer. Happy trails!
 

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What is "tear wheels" and "bend a cone for mote leg room/storage"?
Spellcheck unidentified.
 
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