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Just wondering what might be going on with my 2000 Insight (103K miles, manual transmission) -- I'm not getting auto-stop and not seeing any lean burn -- Took a drive today to Madison, WI (about 100 miles away), ambient temperature was ~43F. Engine was nice and warm, but only got 50MPG average for the day -- high was about 52MPG or so. Driving 65-70 MPH, actually trying to get into lean-burn when cruising on flat terrain, but never saw it pop up to ~75 MPG like it used to. When I got into Madison and was hitting some red lights I thought I'd see auto stop happen but it didn't.

I had David Hobbs Honda in Milwaukee check out the EGR valve in early December -- they said it was reading a bad value when they tested it so it was replaced. Still didn't seem to help at all, but I hadn't really taken it for a long trip so didn't want to jump to any conclusions. My IMA battery was in bad shape and I had been intending to replace it for a while, so I replaced it with a Bumblebee unit in late December, took it for a 300-mile trip right before Christmas and was still getting poor MPG so took it back to Hobbs and asked them to look it over again. Oh yeah -- and I pointed out to their Service Manager that the engine hadn't been put back together properly after the EGR valve fix -- see attached photo showing improper reassembly.

This time they said there was a bad oxygen sensor and replaced that (but I had never seen a warning light). Then I took it for the drive today and am still not getting decent MPG. And when I popped the hood to take a look, the engine was still in the same improperly-reassembled condition as before -- I'm pretty pissed off that they didn't fix that, given that I had actually pointed it out to the service manager on the last service visit.

So I'm wondering what would keep auto-stop from happening -- I know there are a lot of variables for lean burn, so I thought maybe I'd start with the auto-stop question. Like I said, the engine was nice and warm, ambient temperature was warm enough. What else might prevent it from happening?

And what approach would you suggest with David Hobbs Honda? They're the closest Honda dealer (there is a guy in Madison, 90 minutes away, who works on hybrids but that's an awful long way to go for service), but I'd expect Hobbs to be able to figure out what is wrong with my car and fix it. Though so far they aren't pumping me full of confidence. I actually called last week and left a voice mail for the General Manager with a brief message about what is happening and asked him to all me but haven't heard a peep out of him since.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this situation.
 

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You are taking your car to a stealership, that's your first problem. Secondly, 60+ at 70mph on the highway should be easily obtainable without lean burn. My bad IMA is keeping me from having lean burn, and a 70 mile drive today consisting of head winds and a lot of uphill and downhill netted 60.2mpg. If you are struggling for 50 then there is got to be an underlining problem. I almost want to point the finger at clogging cats, but have you had the following checked..

EGR plate.
Proper spark plugs.
Clean air filter.
Proper tires (MUST be Bridgestone potenzas Re92's at 45psi or higher, I run 60psi, wouldn't recommend that high but yea).
Adjusted valves.


If all the above has been done in a reasonable amount of time, then your cats may be starting to go.
 

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So, I take it you checked for trouble codes, or had it checked, and nothing came up?...

First thing that comes to mind, or came to mind, is simply the cold: 43F seems like the ragged edge for auto-stop. I don't know what the exact temp cutoff is, but seems like sometimes my car doesn't auto-stop around ambient temps like that. On the other hand, although lean burn might be more difficult to engage around those temps, I don't think I've ever had much of a problem doing it, not with a warmed-up engine...

So, next thing that comes to mind is the ambient temp sensor in front of the radiator, kind of right of center, just under that flat cross bar. Might want to check that and make sure it's still attached. I know that being disconnected affects auto-stop, not sure if it also affects lean burn...

Next thing that comes to mind is any other temperature or climate control-related issue - bad sensor, reading, something, that prevents the ECM from getting the right temperature readings for enabling auto-stop and lean burn... How's you engine coolant temperature gauge look? - populated normally, something like 6 bars or so?

Another thing that comes to mind is IMA issues, but sounds like you don't have any codes, so that doesn't seem likely...

On the dealer and their mis-assembly - seems pretty nit-picky to me, yet I can understand how something small like that sort of reflects poorly on the level of care they're putting into the things that matter... Doesn't sound like very top-notch service and repair... I don't have any suggestions. If you can't or don't do your own work then you're pretty much stuck with whatever service you can find - and the quality or lack thereof...
 

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Actually now that EQ1 said something, take your car for a drive and see if it will get up to temp after a while (6 bars on the temp gauge). If it doesn't, you may have a bad temp sending unit.
 

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And now that Balto mentioned speeds and mpg, made me think that doing 65-70mph, around 43F ambient temp, can often be hit or miss for lean burn -- like a bit of a head wind, low tire pressure, a loaded down car, background charge going, high 12V electrical load, etc. can easily frustrate attempts to get into lean burn... If you were doing say 55-60 mph and couldn't get into lean burn, that'd be a more sure sign of a problem. But 65-70mph? - not so cut and dried...
 

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And now that Balto mentioned speeds and mpg, made me think that doing 65-70mph, around 43F ambient temp, can often be hit or miss for lean burn -- like a bit of a head wind, low tire pressure, a loaded down car, background charge going, high 12V electrical load, etc. can easily frustrate attempts to get into lean burn... If you were doing say 55-60 mph and couldn't get into lean burn, that'd be a more sure sign of a problem. But 65-70mph? - not so cut and dried...
Very true. More often than not, I can get lean burn at 65-70 on flat ground (when my ima isn't dead) but the acceptable throttle window is only about 8%. 18/19 it will drop in, and 25-26 it will drop out. It may seem like a lot, but it really isn't. At 55 I can push to 31-32% before it drops out.
 

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Autostop is difficult in the winter. Lean burn is difficult if the engine isn't warm. I imagine it's cold, but have little experience. Austin's high tomorrow is 84 degrees ;).
 

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first I need to point out that I have a CVT.
I have never had an issue with autostop in the winter, even when it is -20F, after driving a few miles and getting the temp to 170F or so, and I turn off the climate control completely. Make sure you have the climate control in the econ mode. Even in the econ mode, it will not allow autostop in cold weather, I am not sure what temp it needs to see to stop using autostop. I turn the hvac on to econ when moving, and before hitting the brakes I turn it off in the cold weather. Once up to speed I turn it back on to econ.

Member ericbecky owns a hybrid shop near Madison, Wi, and works on these cars. I would check with him before having anything done on the Insight, he should know them better than a random tech that only works on an Insight on an ocasional basis.

www.EVPowers.com
 

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Madison

Bite the bullet and either call ERIC or give him a visit. He is the "Man" on the east coast.

HTH
Willie
 

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I get lean burn LB when engine temperature ICE is above 68C, 164F or above.
Some layers of corrugated cardboard in front of the radiator helps.

Higher intake air temperatures IAT up to about 45C ~113F promote earlier onset of lean burn.
Route hot air from cat with a duct to engine intake.

Engine Load LOD is good for LB when 65~85%,
so after warmed up, 'near lug it' on upshifts when cruising and it often slides in if other conditions are met. I use Mima assist to push into LB.

Throttle position sensor TPS less than 32 [scale=9-90 iirc]
can sustain lean burn. [<deltaTPS is good].

Outside air temperature OAT sensor, a.k.a. IAT intake air sensor, is located behind the grill.
If disconnected, it cancels autostop AS. [nb. as said prior auto climate control cancels AS.]
The OAT/IAT harness can be detached and moved with the temperature sensor itself relocated and sitting sideways in contact next to the radiator. An insulating chunk of unicel type foam can position and block it against the top of the radiator; it can be further secured with more cardboard and tape for wind isolation.
A winterfront may be an option to improve heat retention in the cold and lower the aero Cd as well.
[btw: if you stuff corrugated cardboard sheets in front of the rad, be careful to monitor ECT , especially as weather warms. On removal be careful about dislodging that rerouted wire etc., a situation that could stop AS. Tip: Use several custom torn cardboard sheets layers vs. one big one.]

A proper gauge for the car would be useful to monitor ECT. I don't think the bars on the dash portray how cold the engine can be and how much of a change the climate control makes to ECT; the OBDIIC&C will do that and so much more.
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ie. If you turned the cabin temperature control up in cold weather for cabin heat on a longer drive, this will come at the expense of ECT, especially running into a wind as observed on the obdiiC&C ECT parameter readout. You may not see any change on the dash.
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Just have to guess: Have the tire pressures adjusted to 32psi by the dealer again last month and you're noticing now on a highway trip?
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re: misaligned reassembly image
I think you'll see how to fix the hose and engine cover tab misalignment yourself and avoid the dealership visit if you surf here to see a name sakes photos: InsightCentral.net - Honda Insight Modifications - Cruise Control 1
of the same area of the car. It's a snap!

Good luck, & I hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the input.

I did double check a few things on yesterday's drive -- climate control was A/C off, econ mode. There was no real wind (all the flags I looked at on both the outbound and return trips were pretty much hanging there). There were a few times during the drive where we went through construction zones with 55MPH posted, so I dropped the speed and tried to get into lean-burn but no dice. No real 12V load (just the Garmin GPS running).

Now that you mention it, I'm really starting to wonder about the clogged cat -- At one point while I was kind of taking it easy on the throttle to try to get lean-burn, a big SUV came up behind me so I floored it to speed up and move ahead and get around the car to my right to get out of his way, and acceleration was pretty crappy despite full IMA contribution. At the time I was thinking that it felt like I only had two functioning cylinders, it was so bad. I do have a guy at a local independent shop who I trust -- I think I'll have him take a look there this week.

As for auto-stop, on my car auto stop has always been essentially as good as a thermometer -- If I can auto-stop, it's always been a sign that it's 32 degrees F or over. If not, it's below freezing. That's what makes me think something is very wrong there, because over 40F used to be guaranteed auto-stop territory.

Anything you suggest I can check with my ScanGauge II? I've been planning to set up the XGauge for lean burn as discussed elsewhere on this forum. Would that be a good way to also check various engine parameters for the auto-stop issue?

As for the mis-assembly, I see this as the canary in the coal mine. It's like the previous dealership that left a screwdriver and shop rag in the engine compartment of this car on one visit, and on the same visit didn't reset the service reminder light. The rag was draped over the exhaust manifold, caught fire and partially melted a plastic wire conduit. Those clowns had been trying to troubleshoot a bad MPG and lurching issue for almost 2 years, which when I took it to Hobbs was diagnosed in about 30 minutes (EGR valve) and fixed that day. It's why I've trusted them since, and why this bad reassembly was so disappointing. Little things on these cars can matter a lot -- if they miss a fairly significant detail like those two pins that aren't close to fitting, what else did they miss?

I'm gonna go down and check the outside air temp sensor now, and look around for anything else that looks fishy. And I'll call the other shop and see if he wants to check out the cat for me.

Thanks again for the input. I love this car and want to keep it performing up to its potential.
 

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I don't know what the exact temp cutoff is, but seems like sometimes my car doesn't auto-stop around ambient temps like that.
41 degrees is the cutoff. I thought it was a bit odd that they'd chose 41 (seemed arbitrary), but it's 5 degrees Celsius, so it makes sense.
 

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I DO get auto-stop in sub-freezing temperatures, even as low as 22°F. :-? But my car is a Canadian one so maybe there is a difference or something?

But the car has to be warm. I have a custom cat heat shield that I made, I don't think it's all that special, but maybe it reflects more heat than the OEM one? The metal is kinda shiny//reflective on the side facing the cat.
 

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I DO get auto-stop in sub-freezing temperatures, even as low as 22°F. :-? But my car is a Canadian one so maybe there is a difference or something?
Someone may have modified the temp sensor behind the lower bumper grille. Some will remove and insert a resistor to "fool" the system, while others will remount the stock sensor to "mid-engine" to enable lower temp auto stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, that was an educational trip to the garage.

First, I popped the hood and checked the ambient temperature sensor -- WHICH WAS DANGLING BY ONE WIRE (the green one) behind the front bumper. The clip that is supposed to hold it to the bumper is gone -- part of its tab was left in the sensor itself, broken off. I'm probably lucky the sensor was there at all. I repaired the wires (both, since I was worried that the green one could have been damaged as well with all the movement) and zip-tied it back to the front bumper where it should go.

Next, I removed the top cowl from the engine and adjusted the rubber intake hose onto the air filter so that it was in the proper position to receive the pins from the cowl and the other black intake tube, checked under it to make sure everything under there looked OK, then replaced it.

Then I looked down at the dipstick and figured I might as well check the oil level. The car had been sitting there for about an hour. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the dipstick, and checked it three times to be sure I was getting the right reading -- the oil reads probably two inches above the "full" hole on the stick! Does anyone know how much that represents as far as an overfill? IIRC, overfilling oil, especially on these hybrid engines, is a BAD THING -- it can affect fuel economy, too -- right? Given this screwup, I'm wondering if they even used the proper 0W-20 oil. Good grief. I used to ask for the remaining partial quart of oil whenever I got an oil change; I guess I'll have to start doing that again to guarantee they're using the right oil, and check the dipstick to be sure the damn thing isn't overfilled.

After getting it all looked over, I took it for a drive, letting the engine get warmed up to 6 bars on the temperature gauge. Ambient temperature was about 37F. At the first stop sign, it auto-stopped! The funny thing was, I did a little more driving around, and got no more auto-stops -- The heater was set to A/C OFF, ECON. Just on a hunch, I turned the heater OFF entirely, and from then on it auto-stopped EVERY TIME. So that's kind of a mystery -- any reason it might do that?

Once the auto-stop was confirmed to work, I set up my ScanGauge II with an XGauge for the Lean Burn as described in another topic here, and took it out again.

The good news is, lean burn itself is working fine. I can see the LBN gauge drop to 0 when cruising around town at low speed, with the usual careful foot on the throttle.

The bad news is, I can get lean burn only to about 52 MPH in 5th gear. Above that, I can't hold the speed without the LBN gauge popping up to 80-82. This is on a pretty level highway. Oh -- and I had inflated all 4 tires to 46PSI prior to the test.

But here is the other thing, involving the tires. The rear tires are Potenza RE92's, which are apparently "good" tires -- The front tires, which Hobbs put on the car last fall, are Uniroyal Tiger Paws, which I suspect are not as good for this car. While they were rotating the tires they noticed that one of the tires they were rotating had some delamination going on, and I assumed the tires they'd put on would be OK. Comments?

So, I think there are two or three primary issues going on with this car which I'd like to investigate:

1) Overfilled oil, possibly wrong viscosity. Causes MPG/performance drop?
2) Possible catalytic converter clog issue robbing power?
3) Front tires might be problematic?

Your thoughts?

Are there any readings (or custom XGauges I can set up on my ScanGauge) that would help to further troubleshoot this?

I REALLY appreciate all your help!
 

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I think everything's pretty much been covered. I'd go over all the tuning-type things, like spark plugs and valves, change your oil, make sure it's right level, then see how it works, maybe do a 'quick' check of some sort on the cat... One person recently posted a picture of some major object blocking the top cat; he separated the exhaust pipe from the cat and the blockage was some part of the cat that had fallen loose and blocked maybe 80% of the passage...

If your front tires aren't the right size, and even more so if they're not so good high rolling resistance, then I'd pop for a new pair of tires; I think wrong tires up front would make a noticeable difference, shave off some lean burn action and make the car feel more sluggish than it should be. But I'd pick the low hanging fruit first, that 'tuning' stuff...

Oh, and start learning how to do your own maintenance -- doesn't sound like you've got very good options for service...
 

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Well, that was an educational trip to the garage.

First, I popped the hood and checked the ambient temperature sensor -- WHICH WAS DANGLING BY ONE WIRE (the green one) behind the front bumper. The clip that is supposed to hold it to the bumper is gone -- part of its tab was left in the sensor itself, broken off. I'm probably lucky the sensor was there at all. I repaired the wires (both, since I was worried that the green one could have been damaged as well with all the movement) and zip-tied it back to the front bumper where it should go.

Next, I removed the top cowl from the engine and adjusted the rubber intake hose onto the air filter so that it was in the proper position to receive the pins from the cowl and the other black intake tube, checked under it to make sure everything under there looked OK, then replaced it.

Then I looked down at the dipstick and figured I might as well check the oil level. The car had been sitting there for about an hour. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the dipstick, and checked it three times to be sure I was getting the right reading -- the oil reads probably two inches above the "full" hole on the stick! Does anyone know how much that represents as far as an overfill? IIRC, overfilling oil, especially on these hybrid engines, is a BAD THING -- it can affect fuel economy, too -- right? Given this screwup, I'm wondering if they even used the proper 0W-20 oil. Good grief. I used to ask for the remaining partial quart of oil whenever I got an oil change; I guess I'll have to start doing that again to guarantee they're using the right oil, and check the dipstick to be sure the damn thing isn't overfilled.

After getting it all looked over, I took it for a drive, letting the engine get warmed up to 6 bars on the temperature gauge. Ambient temperature was about 37F. At the first stop sign, it auto-stopped! The funny thing was, I did a little more driving around, and got no more auto-stops -- The heater was set to A/C OFF, ECON. Just on a hunch, I turned the heater OFF entirely, and from then on it auto-stopped EVERY TIME. So that's kind of a mystery -- any reason it might do that?

Once the auto-stop was confirmed to work, I set up my ScanGauge II with an XGauge for the Lean Burn as described in another topic here, and took it out again.

The good news is, lean burn itself is working fine. I can see the LBN gauge drop to 0 when cruising around town at low speed, with the usual careful foot on the throttle.

The bad news is, I can get lean burn only to about 52 MPH in 5th gear. Above that, I can't hold the speed without the LBN gauge popping up to 80-82. This is on a pretty level highway. Oh -- and I had inflated all 4 tires to 46PSI prior to the test.

But here is the other thing, involving the tires. The rear tires are Potenza RE92's, which are apparently "good" tires -- The front tires, which Hobbs put on the car last fall, are Uniroyal Tiger Paws, which I suspect are not as good for this car. While they were rotating the tires they noticed that one of the tires they were rotating had some delamination going on, and I assumed the tires they'd put on would be OK. Comments?

So, I think there are two or three primary issues going on with this car which I'd like to investigate:

1) Overfilled oil, possibly wrong viscosity. Causes MPG/performance drop?
2) Possible catalytic converter clog issue robbing power?
3) Front tires might be problematic?

Your thoughts?

Are there any readings (or custom XGauges I can set up on my ScanGauge) that would help to further troubleshoot this?

I REALLY appreciate all your help!

Yup, idiots at the stealership will often overfill insights by 1.2qts. (fill with 4qts when 2.8 is all that's necessary). Drain that excess oil asap. Yes it will rob you of power, and MPG.

Front tires are definitely hurting MPG. The closest tire to the potenza is no longer made (don't recall the name) and that still is a 1-3mpg drop over potenzas. Everything else is pretty much a guaranteed 5+mpg hit.

Fix what you KNOW is wrong first. No use wasting money chasing ghosts when the problem is right in front of you.
 

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Lots of things can effect the ease of getting into LB. Tires, under panels, terrain, egr system cleanliness, etc etc, not to mention the driver. I took me awhile to get the hang of it. I also have a hard time getting into LB, but when I do, it's a beautiful thing :)

At the first stop sign, it auto-stopped! The funny thing was, I did a little more driving around, and got no more auto-stops -- The heater was set to A/C OFF, ECON. Just on a hunch, I turned the heater OFF entirely, and from then on it auto-stopped EVERY TIME. So that's kind of a mystery -- any reason it might do that?
Yep, working as designed... if you want heat, below 41 degrees, you lose autostop.

Spend some time in the owners manual and in the knowledge base. The insight is a robust little machine, so there's lots to learn about.

InsightCentral.net - Knowledge Base - Honda Insight Common Problems

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6EDknyr-8und3NBaExpSWZ2REU/edit


But here is the other thing, involving the tires. The rear tires are Potenza RE92's, which are apparently "good" tires -- The front tires, which Hobbs put on the car last fall, are Uniroyal Tiger Paws, which I suspect are not as good for this car.
I've got the same setup on my car. It came w/ 4 tiger paws, but one had a bad belt (whump, whump, whump)... Bought a pair of RE92's and put those up front. Common recommendation on the forum here is to put the RE92's up front and non-re92's in back.
 

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Drain out the excess oil

1) Overfilled oil, possibly wrong viscosity. Causes MPG/performance drop?

Yes, lots of posts to support this. Drain out the excess oil.

2) Possible catalytic converter clog issue robbing power?

Maybe but likely just the rich NOX purge cycle is what you see on gauge.

3) Front tires might be problematic?

Back tires could be problematic if they are bare. Best on safe side to have a good matched set, preferably re92. The stock tire is only about 12.7lbs iirc and other tires rotational mass is sometimes much greater. ymmv.
 

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"Bottom line" suggestion is that the engine is being "loaded" to much. Throttle opening vs. speed. Try using 4th at 52 and see if there is an improvement. Tires are the major cause!

Check your PM box.

HTH
Willie
 
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