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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've been reading these forums for years and hoping to buy a G1 for just as long.

I've been hypermiling and ecomodding since 2017 on my 2001 Civic. I routinely average 53MPG with this car.

As a hypermiler who's never satisfied with "good enough" I've always been fascinated with these little eco cars that Honda put so much engineering into.

In 2018 I attempted to buy one, though the car was rougher than I wanted. So I passed. Years went by, casually looking without much luck. Until a few months ago when I stumbled upon what you could call a "barn find".

I'm a career pilot and own a small flight school based in the bay area of California. I was on a trip one day and stopped into Los Banos, CA for fuel. I've visited this airport before. This time though I noticed a G1 insight under a tree, buried in weeds, in front of an old maintenance facility. I walked over to it, blew some dirt off the window hoping to find a 5MT. Sure enough it was. I left my card on the window with a note that I'd like to buy it.

Sky Tree Asphalt Road surface Gas


After making contact and a couple months trying to coordinate with the seller I became the proud new owner of a Gen 1 insight for $1000. A charger was all it took and the car started right up after sitting outside untouched for 7 years. I was able to drive it onto the trailer.

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Just left of the old red Mercedes is where this car sat for near a decade before I was able to save it.

So far its looking like a great builder. I can't find any evidence of accident damage and the body is very straight. I was only able to find one very small door ding. I do intend to repaint, this ding will be an easy fix.

If you've read this far I appreciate the time it took to read my story. This post was intended of course as an ice breaker. I have an extensive mechanical back ground and hope I'll be able to contribute to the community in some meaningful way!

A lot of exciting things have happened since I first started reading these forums and I'm very much looking forward to getting this car setup with @mudder LiBCM and some FoMoCo modules when it's ready. I'm looking forward to the journey!
 

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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Once home I got started in the engine bay.
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Lots of critters to evict.

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But cleaning up nicely. New air filter and a fumoto valve ready to go when I get to the oil change.

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$30 worth of gift cards, it's already paying itself off!
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It doesnt look too bad after a quick wash. I'll be slowly shampooing and extracting the interior until it's as clean as I can get it.
 

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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
180,000 miles. Which to me feels quite low relative to what I'm accustomed to. My civic is my newest vehicle currently sitting at 375,000. My K10 over 400,000.
 

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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Some more before pics...

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My seat covers didn't seem to fit right, which I thought was strange. Further investigation shows I actually had two sets if original insight upholstery!

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The original upholstery is all in good condition with the exception of the driver seat back. I'll be replacing that cover with one of my spares.

Comfort Grey Bag Car seat Flooring


I set the old cover on the seat for the picture.
 

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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Everything is cleaning up great, only a few minor things I'll have to repair.

Automotive tire Luggage and bags Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design

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Pass side carpet had something really gross spilled in it, and a lot of it. No idea what it was, it looks like iodine when it got wet.

Automotive lighting Grille Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood


All the upholstery/carpet got deep cleaned with lots of water, degreaser and a drill brush. I then sucked most of the water out with a shop vac. Because I used so much water the carpet will have to be lifted for a few days so it can dry out top and bottom. Otherwise the sound deadening will absorb it and likely mildew.

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A drill brush works wonders

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Driver seat back

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The only dark spots in the pic are shadows. All stains completely removed.

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Pass seat got similar treatment.
 

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Looks great! Also that's a great find. Any idea why the seller said he parked it? 7 years is a lojg time to just abandon a car.

Unfortunately no amount of cleaning will make the seats more comfortable. LOL.
 
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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks great! Also that's a great find. Any idea why the seller said he parked it? 7 years is a lojg time to just abandon a car.

Unfortunately no amount of cleaning will make the seats more comfortable. LOL.
IMA light came on so he just parked it there and walked away. Everything else was fine. Honestly I think if he pulled the pack and balanced/grid charged it would've been completely fine. I don't think he put more than 10-20k on it while he owned it.

I haven't driven it enough to know if it has the second gear issue or anything like that. It did try to IMA start when I pulled it off the trailer. Though I can't imagine many of those Nimh cells are salvageable after all this time left stone dead.
 

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There is some belief (and I think empirically verified) that prolonged self-discharge may not be all that detrimental to OEM Nimh cells.
 

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IMA light came on so he just parked it there and walked away. Everything else was fine. Honestly I think if he pulled the pack and balanced/grid charged it would've been completely fine. I don't think he put more than 10-20k on it while he owned it.

I haven't driven it enough to know if it has the second gear issue or anything like that. It did try to IMA start when I pulled it off the trailer. Though I can't imagine many of those Nimh cells are salvageable after all this time left stone dead.
I recently (well somewhat, about 7 months ago now) grabbed a MT that had been sitting, ironically, for 7 years. He parked it for the same reason: an IMA light. I grid charged the pack and did some work to the car, and passed it along to another forum member, who as far as I know, is still driving it without issues.

I implore you to grid charge the pack and at least attempt to revive it. The Honda OEM packs from 7+ years ago were much better built than the ones today. I wouldn't recommend a grid charge, just a top balance.


[Edit]: Furthermore I got a 118k mile CVT car that had been sitting for like 3 years because of an IMA light, and that car I didn't even grid charge, I just disconnected and reconnected the 12v about 10 times and let the car idle until the battery gauge did what is called a 'positive recal'. I then drove it home 450 miles+ about 300 miles around town without an issue. It didn't have registration so I haven't driven it further, but I'm sure the pack is fine. It survived a climb up the Gravevine(a 10% grade out here in SoCal).
 

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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The grapevine is no joke! I was thinking I'd do a little looking into the existing pack. Especially since it attempted an ima start after only running a few minutes. I would like to know that the IMA system is in good health and run the original system before installing LiBCM. That makes for difficult trouble shooting when you change things before verifying system function.

I didn't really want to invest in grid chargers and the likes before switching to lithium. Though I'm not sure how much risk I'd be taking just letting the car charge the pack back up. I suppose there's not too much risk of imbalance right now since all the cells are equally dead?
 

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The grapevine is no joke! I was thinking I'd do a little looking into the existing pack. Especially since it attempted an ima start after only running a few minutes. I would like to know that the IMA system is in good health and run the original system before installing LiBCM. That makes for difficult trouble shooting when you change things before verifying system function.

I didn't really want to invest in grid chargers and the likes before switching to lithium. Though I'm not sure how much risk I'd be taking just letting the car charge the pack back up. I suppose there's not too much risk of imbalance right now since all the cells are equally dead?
Idk maybe, but you can build your own grid charger for like, less than 50 bucks.
 

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Greetings from a different part of the aviation sandbox...I'm a mechanic at an airline.

I'm enjoying your progress here! My $1k Insight was parked for over 2 years out in a rural area and nature began to take over. Critters....yeah. :/
My pack was easily resuscitated on the drive from Hood River, OR to just north of Seattle. Hit lots of traffic. Car had been parked due to a bad ISB.

Would like to see another pic of your 7g civic...I like the wheel fairings and mirror delete!
 

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Greetings from a different part of the aviation sandbox...I'm a mechanic at an airline.

I'm enjoying your progress here! My $1k Insight was parked for over 2 years out in a rural area and nature began to take over. Critters....yeah. :/
My pack was easily resuscitated on the drive from Hood River, OR to just north of Seattle. Hit lots of traffic. Car had been parked due to a bad ISB.

Would like to see another pic of your 7g civic...I like the wheel fairings and mirror delete!
I heard Irish spring soap really keeps the mice away.
 
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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Idk maybe, but you can build your own grid charger for like, less than 50 bucks.
Honestly didn't realize it could be done that cheap. I'll probably do that. I'm sure there are plenty of threads on here about it. I'll do some reading. Maybe I'll run it as is just a little bit and see what happens. Then once I get some time discharge, charge and load test each stick. It would be nice to have a functional pack while working out the details of the FoMoCo LiBCM setup.
 

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00 Honda Insight 5MT, 01 Honda Civic 5MT, 85 Chevy K10 5MT DMAX SWAP, 97 F350 Powerstroke 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Greetings from a different part of the aviation sandbox...I'm a mechanic at an airline.

I'm enjoying your progress here! My $1k Insight was parked for over 2 years out in a rural area and nature began to take over. Critters....yeah. :/
My pack was easily resuscitated on the drive from Hood River, OR to just north of Seattle. Hit lots of traffic. Car had been parked due to a bad ISB.

Would like to see another pic of your 7g civic...I like the wheel fairings and mirror delete!
Very cool! Do you ever visit Hood river for the WAAAM fly in? I'm big into vintage aviation and taildraggers. My personal plane is a 1948 Cessna 170.

I'll grab a couple pictures of the old civic next chance I get. It's been a great eco car. I'll probably park it in my spare hangar and rotate it with the insight as necessary.
 

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See post #7 about the $50 Grid Charger
 
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