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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #1
I just moved from Ft Myers area where I lived in town to out in the country in Ocala FL. Nothing is close and my 07 Tundra been burning lots of gas. I picked up a 2000 Insight with AC on craigslist for $1500 including a towbar for pulling behind an RV. Has 165k on the odo, although it also has I don't know if it is all driven miles or some towed. The PO had removed and bypassed the battery for vague reasons, but included a pile of parts. He said the guy before him had bought a replacement battery pack. Runs and drives OK. Newer tires. It hadn't been getting much exercise. I've driven it about 100 miles and get 50 mpg. Accelerates like my old '65 VW Bug.

Using this forum and a few YT videos, I familiarized myself with this thing and plucked out the old battery faceplate and computer box and installed the new battery pack and computer boxes. Seems to work. Sure helps with power. Rusty fasteners on the battery cover panel made me worried I had a flood car, but I found broken glass in the spare tire well, so I guessed the back window got busted and notice the inside paint on the hatch is grey not green. A bit musty smelling too. Rear sheet metal in spare area looks OK.

I pulled and fixed the fuel gauge sender while I was at it. Hard to get the pump back in until I saw there was an extra spring inside the tank, in addition to the one in the pump. Seems like there's more to this car's history than I suspected.

Driver's window was sluggish at first but seems to have recovered. AC temp dial busted but fixed with some JB Weld. Ordered new hatch struts. Lights and radio work, Brakes seem OK. 12V battery fully charged, terminals cleaned. It's got a funky piece of house wire as an extra ground on the battery for some reason. I will check the regular grounds.
Replaced wiper blades. Driver's side was too long before which limited travel. Not sure if the correct blade completely fixes this.

Last problem is the CEL is on. Seller said it was the O2 sensor. Took it to the auto parts store but their reader couldn't communicate with the computer to pull the codes. I ordered a new sensor and will likely wait to recheck codes until after I swap it out if the light stays on. I haven't done much of anything other than a cursory glance under the hood.
 

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Hey there. Congrats on joining the club. There is a thread started for the car that you bought. It's Citrus yes? It is strange that they could not pull the code for the CEL. They are fun cars to own and can get addictive if you like to tinker.
 

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Welcome to the club. You'll fall in love with the unique little time machine.
 

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Make sure you got the right O2 sensor. There are threads on this - our cars are very particular about what sensor you use, and the wrong one will light a CEL.
 

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Post some pictures and get yourself a code reader. Beats going to the parts store every time the light pops up.
 

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Just before getting your codes read at the auto parts store, get some contact cleaner and spray the obd2 port liberally with it. On my 2000 Insight it seems to be only way I can get my bluetooth code reader to work.
 

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Congrats! I’m guessing this is the Citrus Insight with the tow bar that was for sale in FL. That’s a desirable color among Insight groupies.

It sounds like you’re the right kind of tinkerer to own the car. They are fun to drive and work on, but at their age require a little extra TLC.

I would doubt the odometer reading includes towed miles. With the key off, I don’t think the computer keeps track - but I could be wrong.

The car can be driven with or without the IMA boost. Keeping the IMA healthy at this age generally requires occasional conditioning with a grid charger. If you’re comfortable with a soldering iron, plans are available to build your own for <$100. Or you can purchase them for $200 and up, depending on how fancy you get.

This community is a great resource. Welcome to the family!

- Park
 

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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all.
Code reader ordered.
Hatch struts should arrive today and the lumps on my head are getting better.
I have been holding off driving it. Grid charger on order. Once the battery is reconditioned, I should be good to go.
When driving, the battery came up to full charge pretty quickly which suggests low capacity to me. Then it was flat after sitting overnight, but started charging again.
How important is a discharger? I am hoping this battery is salvageable. The car has an extra battery although the end plate and associated electrical gizmos are off. That’s plan B. Includes an extra “box” on the left as well. I assume that is the charger. Some leftover brain boxes as well.
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954E68C6-50AD-4E1A-9E5A-A57B5DCDE03D.jpeg
 

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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #9
Here is the second picture I tried to post. The Internet is not cooperating with my phone.
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D9FB4AF4-B16F-4A40-97A4-562CA0764A3A.jpeg
 

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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #10
And I may be wrong, but the prior owner told me the ignition had to be on in order for the lights to work while towing.
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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That is to unlock the steering while being flat towed.. Safety.
This site isn't happy with using a cell phone for practically anything.
 

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How important is a discharger? I am hoping this battery is salvageable.
I’m a relative newcomer to this world with a year and a half of Insight ownership, but my reading on IC and my experience is that the discharger is a necessary part of the battery conditioning.

You need to gently exercise the battery all the way up and then down, maybe a few times, to exercise the battery chemistry and balance cells.

The good news is that a discharger is as simple as less than $20 of light sockets and bulbs. Plug it into the existing charger harness (assuming there’s no diode in the harness) and let it run for a day or so.

The bad news is that these simple dischargers need to be monitored closely. The pack will maintain a slow, steady discharge for a long time... and then suddenly fall off a cliff and head for zero in an hour or two. Most (not all) experienced folks suggest you don’t want it to crater all the way.

I have a detailed post elsewhere about building OlRowdy01’s simple charger and discharger (link below). See (1) for the parts list and (6) for building the discharger, then read the last few posts for my experience doing a three-stage battery reconditioning. There are links to a spreadsheet and graphs showing the discharge curves. That got me six months of trouble-free driving, and I just did a single discharge-charge cycle.

- Park

 

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You can register on the citrus yellow registry. Document your bundle of joy. Hope you got a NTK O2 sensor. You can put other ones in and not get as good of mileage.
 

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2002 Monte Carlo Blue CVT
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IMPORTANT TIP:

When replacing the lift gate struts, on removal, start with the bottom bolt first. Same is true for replacement. Affix the bottom strut bolt first. That's factory service manual procedure.
 

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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #15
My new struts are Monroes. Upper ball fitting is separate. Seems integral with the ones that came off. Quick and easy fix. Did not consider looking in manual, although I guess I did it right. Anyone need a nice low mileage hatch stick?
 

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2005 G1 NFR 5spd
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310 Posts
I believe Brent has a Citrus front bumper if you want to replace your's. It can be shipped via bus if there's a bus station nearby your location. I have had a great experience purchasing parts from him since 2017 his prices are very reasonable. He brought a Uhaul full of parts to Insightfest 2019.
Call or text him:
614 Nine Four Nine 0529
He also has other items on ebay:
fboyantautoparts
Not all of the items are on his ebay site
 
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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #17
Trying to clear my check engine light. PO said it was the O2 sensor. I got an OBDII reader. Codes are P0118, P0128, P0134, P1444. Also P0128 pending.
I replaced the O2 sensor, cleared codes and light was out. Drove down the street and back on.

Now showing P0118 and P1444 with P0128 pending. I will check coolant. Looks like sensor is cheap, likely gotta purge coolant after replacement which looks like a chore.

The booklet with the reader only goes up to P0999.
Searching Google gives O2 sensor and Evap cannister issues but forum shows the P1444 is a Battery Pack problem? I grid charged it. The IMA light is on. The IMA system seems to work, but it is flukey. Have to start, run it, shut it off and back on for the IMA to work right. When it works, it seems fine.
 

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P1444 is a high voltage short to chassis, can be dangerous. Do you have your grid charger disconnected when you drive?

I re-read some of the background, but I can't follow what you've done. If you can summarize the situation that'd help. For example, you say the pack was removed when you got the car, and you had, what?, two packs to choose from, you installed one?, which one - the original that was removed, the other, a blend of the two?, etc etc. You say the pack charged fast and looked like low capacity, then 'overnight it went flat,' what does that mean? Are the packs OEM or aftermarket?
 

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2000 Honda Insight, Manual with AC
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Discussion Starter #19
High voltage short is worrisome, especially if it becomes high current, although a low current short is no good either.
Maxx Volts EV-1 grid charger box is out, harness is still connected. I used a hard plastic grommet when passing harness through the aluminum panel to avoid wire chafe. Doubt it is charger related, but I am a newb to hybrids...
Car came with a pile of parts. One inverter assembly, a computer box or two, a complete assembled battery pack (I suspect aftermarket, but don't know how to tell) and one partially disassembled pack with its assorted electronic components which had been removed. I opened car's back panel. The faceplate off one battery pack was connected, along with computer boxes. The PO said it was to "bypass" the system and make it run OK. I took that faceplate and boxes out. Installed the other battery pack which was complete and appeared undamaged. There are not too many connections and all seem straighforward. Pack was flat when I installed it. Drove maybe 10-15 miles and it seemed to fully charge according to the dash light. Next morning dashlight was down to zero. After grid charging, it is at full and only drops a little bit while driving and comes back up. Stays the same at least for a couple of days. Not sure if it will go flat if left longer.
I had busted glass in the spare tire well and rusty bolts suggesting prior water intrusion. Could this cause a short problem with the inverter/charger box on the left?
 

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Look carefully at that pack you have in car. Look through fan housing and you can see the color of the sticks installed. If they are other than orange or yellow, then the pack is probably an early rebuild with the early chinese sticks. They have a nasty habit of leaking electrolyte, and when they do they frequently eat through the vinyl shield on the PTC strips, causing a high voltage short. I don't have direct experience, but Peter has spoken of it several times since he is a U.K. builder and has seen several:(

If that has happened, you may also have damage within the BCM box.
 
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