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2001 Honda Insight
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Hello IC community,

I became a 1st Gen Insight owner over the weekend and am in love! I picked up this 200k Monte Carlo Blue AT/CVT after a decent amount of self research, talking with the owner about the history of it, and going over a large list of maintenance records performed; including the recent replacement of the IMA battery. The vehicle is in amazing condition and runs like a champ. I am a service technician at a dealership (not Honda) and have a basic amount of knowledge with this format. As a new owner and first time Insight driver, what advice can the InsightCentral community give to someone like me? What are some of the first components/areas I should check and give attention to? There are currently no issues.
92162


Thank you guys! Am very excited for my new journey with this beauty!
 

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Welcome to the CVT family - there is a ton of info herein (much of it focused on the 5MT), but there is info for you here...

If unknown as to when the last time the CVT was drained & filters changed, that should be your next effort (as well as checking the ground straps). The how to, is pretty straight forward and can be found with a search.

This one I keep in my bookmarks as it's so easy to forget: CVT Clutch Judder Solved - Success!!!
 

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Perhaps number one is to be sure to use authentic Honda CVT fluid from the dealership when you service the fluid.

A worn out EGR valve and upstream air/fuel ratio sensor can lead to reduced mileage, though the latter not so much for the US CVT which can't do lean burn, which is where a well performing sensor makes the MT's improved mileage possible.

A valve lash adjustment is super easy and free and can noticeably clean up the idle if it is off.

The car should not be allowed to sit long periods especially if the pack uses aftermarket cells. Grid charging is not well understood and perhaps overrated. Since you are a trained technician, if you have been trained in hybrid electrical safety you might want to look into acquiring and building up a spare pack from OEM cells (with spares) and look into very low current, long deep discharges as part of that regimen. This, however, has many nuances and is beyond the capabilities and/or patience of most mortals. Cost wise, it may be the cheapest path to keeping the IMA running, if you keep on top of forum posts to pick up a pack for cheap or free when someone is cleaning out their garage (happens every few month and those offers go quick).

Having a spare pack will let you address pack degradation with minimal downtime (condition at your leisure, swap on a Saturday morning, repeat) but few people are taking this approach. It sucks to drive without IMA for any amount which is why I'm pursuing this.

Don't get trapped into wishing you have an MT. I have both; the CVT is pleasant to drive; the MT's gearing is set up for hypermiling and therefore has wide bands with no power between 1/2 and 2/3 gears; for acceleration you have to run each gear to near redline to have anything when you downshift. An MT will never beat a CVT off the line; people prefer the CVT for track work. If you are not into hypermiling, going from fifth to third and maybe second to pass or climb a steep grade will get old in an MT, and MPG when not focused on hypermiling and enjoying the car with AC isn't that far from the CVT.

I remember when I got my first Insight; I thought the high MPG would have been paid for by loss of performance, making it a gutless wonder. It was thrilling to find out that was not true! Enjoy!
 
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2005 Honda Insight Automatic
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80 Posts
Build yourself an arm rest from a honda civic, theres plenty of how to guides and videos on this subject.
 

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1,183 Posts
Pump up the tires
but do not exceed the manufacturer's maximum pressure on the sidewall to avoid failure such as tread delamination from the belts leading to catastrophic failure (and worse depending on when it happens) which is known to happen
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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11,541 Posts
Most G1 Insighters are running about 10-15 pounds air pressure(45-50psi) over the OEM recommendation without any problems.
 

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2002 Monte Carlo Blue CVT
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836 Posts
I love my CVT, still get relatively decent mileage and have no knee pain from working the clutch on an MT. Best of all possible worlds for me. I don't find performance anemic, but pick your times to pass on the highway. Folks can sneak up behind you if you don't judge carefully.
 

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Perhaps number one is to be sure to use authentic Honda CVT fluid from the dealership when you service the fluid.
-I absolutely cannot stress this enough. I bought a blue CVT some years ago that my brother still has(240k and going on original trans). When I picked it up, it was surging pretty badly, and I thought the transmission was either low on fluid, or it was going out. It turns out the previous owner put Honda ATF in it!! I replaced the filter(s) and flushed it 4x times to ensure none of the old stuff remained. That was at about 175k miles. So to stress, ONLY FIRST GEN HONDA CVT FLUID, NOT SECOND GEN FLUID.

-As for engine oil, 0w-20 Mobil-1 advanced fuel economy is the way to go.

-Get Scotts springs for the rear, unless you enjoy breaking your back on every single bump. I was running 36psi to make my car bearable, but after going to Scotts springs as I have done on many of my cars in the past, I pumped to 45 without a problem.

-I would check the Valve adjustment unless there is a recent record of it. It's a very easy job, and seeing as you are already a tech already, it should be a no brainer. It's something like 8x 10mm bolts, a hose clamp and the PCV valve and the VC comes off.

-Absolutely check the spark plugs for #1, proper plugs, and #2, they are at the correct torque setting. On a CVT I picked up recently (now @Zoooms car) every single plug was hand tight, one of them being loose and wiggling around in the plug threads. I tightened them back up and he gained some noticeable power.

-Check the radiator, if it's white and chalky then replace it, once again, an easy job, and fairly cheap(~80 bucks) considering it could result in the death of the motor if it goes.

-Does your trip button work? If not, then there is an easy way to repair it, there are many guides here on the forums.

Someone else touched on the EGR, so I won't speak on that.

As for CVT vs MT... I have both, I love both, however the CVT car is my DD, considering it's my turbo car, but regardless it's nice to get in and just drive it. I don't have to worry about shifting in LA traffic, and my leg/back isn't sore all the time. The downside is I get about 10mpg less than I do in the manual car, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
 

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I have the exact same with same mileage. I am looking to sell at some point. Just curious what you paid.
 

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Here's a link to a thread that has various Insight-specific things, like various resets, checking blink codes, CVT start clutch and other related procedures, etc: Misc. RESETS
 

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2000 Silver M/T
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1,084 Posts
Find yourself a leather S2000 steering wheel, and the armrest suggestion above is spot on. Welcome to the club.
 
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