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I just bought a 2000 manual Insight with 165K miles. Its lifetime is only 42 MPG. I have been driving as gentle am possible but it is only showing 44 MPG for the current tank. From all the threads I have read that is impossibly low.

Problems I know of:
1) Tires, they are worn out and a brand i have never heard off, I have a set of OEM tires on order
2) Underbody panels, they are gone
3) IMA battery seems pretty weak, if I do full throttle it will only give full boost for 1-3 seconds then a few bars for awhile after that and has re-calibrated a few times.

I am an engineer and I bought this car because I love the lengths they went to to save weight. I am willing to spend some real money, including replacing the IMA battery if necessary, but I don't want to pour money in only not to get results. Any thoughts on what I should attack would be appreciated. From other threads maybe I need new spark plugs or to clean the EGR, I just have no idea what could leave me 20 MPG out of the hunt. Thanks
 

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Worn tires are your biggest obstacle. New ones will DEFINATELY help. Up the tire pressure to 50psi.Try to drive without useing excesive IMA assist. Sounds like your IMA battery is on the way out. Underpanels will help your mileage above say roughly 45mph.
There are numerous threads about how to drive on this site.
Learn to drive with an "egg" under the gas pedal. , coast whenever possible.
HTH
Willie
 

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a few things that probably will help:
-a grid charger to keep the ima battery in better shape
- cleaning the egr plate
- check the 2 ground straps in the engine compartment and replace if broken
- try to stay in "lean burn" more
-mileage depends a lot on amount of "city" driving vs "highway"
- using A/C kills the mpg
 

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Also check the air filter, that can have a pronounced effect as well. On the tires, you don't mention if these are the Potenzas or some or brand. Tires can also make a huge difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you

I don't really feel safe running the tires at 50psi, I am running 42 to stay within the tires max on a hot day, that may be costing me a few MPG but I wouldn't think it would be more than that.

The current tires seem like they must but some auto parts place store brand as I heard of all the major brands. I have a set of the proper Bridgestone Potenza RE92s on order from Costco ($400 for all 4 installed) they should be in next week.

I seem to have trouble keeping it in lean burn mode, it will seemingly slip out without my foot having moved at all. I do notice the battery charging while I am under power (not slowing down) sometimes but I have never seen a error light come on at all.

I don't really want to get into grid charging, I want to see how far I can go with the closed system, is grid charging what everybody who is in the 70MPG plus range is using?

Where is the second grounding strap in the engine bay? I only know of the one, part number 32600-S3Y-A00 009 001 CABLE ASSY., BATTERY GROUND

I will take the EGR and the EGR plate apart and clean it.

I do need to change the air filter, I wouldn't say the current one is awful, its funny but i can't find them at any local auto parts places, i will get it online.

Thank you for your time
 

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The max sidewall listed pressure is measured cold. Don't worry about heat induced pressure rises.

The tires adding excessive drag could easily make attaining and retaining lean burn difficult.

Grid charging has been suggested because older batteries often suffer from cell imbalances that the car electronics were not designed to correct. A nice long, low current charge can get the all cells "top balanced" and return the battery to better performance more closely approximating "as new" condition (ie, better capacity and better output). It is emphatically not necessary for 70+mpg performance. I've spent several years turning in tank averages over 100mpg (in warm weather) without a grid charger and without MIMA (manual control of the IMA system). If you are curious, the key is to avoid use of the battery -- even though that might seem counterintuitive (it takes more energy to replace used charge than if you had never used electric assist in the first place).

You are going to really enjoy your vehicle once you've worked through the current issues!
 

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you should be able to get at least 60-65mpg out of a stock insight (stock tire pressure etc..) and driving it easy (55mph highway + A/C off). After all, that is what they were rated for. (hwy)

I would not apply mods (50psi tire pressure), to try to overcome bad mpgs, because by doing that, you are not really fixing the problem, just covering it. So I would try to find the problem first and get a good running stock insight that can do atleast 60mpg, then try mods such as radiator block, high PSI in tires, clutch switch etc...

by your description, your battery seems kinda bad. Is it doing a forced charge a lot of the time? Also check for other things that may be putting drag on the car (brakes, correct engine oil, transmission oil, aero covers)
 

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I have seen a fair bit of forced charging. I just changed the oil to mobil 1 0w-20 with a mobil 1 filter. I also changed the front brakes and rotors, I don't think it is a mechanical drag issue with the rear brakes or bearings because in neutral with the parking brake off I can push the car with 2 fingers on each hand, i was shocked by that.

All the underbody aero panels are gone, I have been on majestic's website but I am having trouble finding the panels I need.
 

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I suspect you will see a huge difference just in using the correct tires. A friend bought an Insight a year ago and I drove is back for him over roughly 150 miles. The best I could get out of the car was ~55 mpg over the trip. As soon as he repaced the non oem tires with Bridgestone Potenza RE92's the mileage went up to 65 mpg. After replacing the air filter is went up above 70.

The car is comprised of so many little features that increase mileage, on the flip side if any of those features get compromised you will see a mpg drop.
 

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Handbrake cables also seize up causing rear brakes to drag. jack it up and check they should spin very freely.

Front brakes can also drag more if not serviced and lubricated they don't spin as freely anyway due to gearbox etc.

I also concur with the rest of the advice especially tyres/pressures and grid charging.
 

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I just had the brakes serviced, the fronts were changed, new rotors and pads and the rear was said to be fine.

I can push the car so easily it is amazing, I doubt anything is dragging.
 

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I'm in the Battle Ground area and generally spend Mondays in NE Portland if you want to drive my car for comparison. I'm also missing most of the underbody panels in case you find some maybe we can double the order and save on shipping. Might get them from flamboyant or from the 2006 that is being parted in Salem. I asked him about them, but then got busy and I never did find out if he actually had them.
 

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Something that hasn't been mentioned...

It might be worth trying to pull codes. I thought everything was hunky dory when we bought Insight #2, but it turns out the Check Engine light was burned out, so I wasn't aware of the bad O2 sensor.

Saw a big bump in MPG after getting that fixed.
 

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Also, it's really cool to see all these Insighters in the Portland area, my home town. :)

I'll be moving home with all three of our cars in about a year or so....
 

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I guess I could get the codes checked but on start up my check engine and IMA lights do light up during the check phase then they got out with all the other ones like SRS and ABS. Also I just passed an emission test to get my plates where they pull the status of all of the emission related stuff and everything was a pass.

Thanks for the idea though.
 

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Ah yeah, forgot to mention that it's easy to check if the CEL is burned out. So that's probably not it.

Hmmm. I suppose its possible that the tires are holding you back that much.. You could see a 10MPG bump, but that still doesn't seem to get you into the range we would expect on the highway.

You're not using the A/C are you? I don't imagine it's hot enough in Portland yet for that.. lol
 

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I'm not sure that you indicated what type of driving you do (hwy/city) and I am too lazy to check.
However, I can say that tires will make a huge difference. I drove my michilen winter tires until early spring with 65 degree temps.

I was only seeing 55-60 max mpg doing MI freeway speeds of 65-70 mph, sometimes dipping in 50mpg pending variables.

Soon as I switched to the stock bridgestones,it was easy to maintain 55-60mpg+. Then on a road trip from detroit to pittsburg, I achieved 73.7mpg!

About 2 weeks ago I cleaned my egr plate/valve. While I noticed the shudder was gone, I cant say it increased my mpg's, or getting into lean burn.

IMO as a relative newbie to insights, replace the tires (check), get the underbody panels (assuming you drive hwy), and get the battery serviced from hybrid battery repair to work correctly.

Only then will you be able to determine if the car is working correctly. Your position is like mine. My car was doing well (especially for 226k miles), but soon as I put a few bucks and some elbow grease, I am getting great results.

Also, I bought a grid charger. Not to be a 100mpg+ guy, but for maint for the battery.

I've owned my car for 6 months almost exactly and put 13k miles on. After putting some money into this car, it was the best car decision I ever made.
 

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I'm not sure that you indicated what type of driving you do (hwy/city) and I am too lazy to check.
However, I can say that tires will make a huge difference. I drove my michilen winter tires until early spring with 65 degree temps.

I was only seeing 55-60 max mpg doing MI freeway speeds of 65-70 mph, sometimes dipping in 50mpg pending variables.

Soon as I switched to the stock bridgestones,it was easy to maintain 55-60mpg+. Then on a road trip from detroit to pittsburg, I achieved 73.7mpg!

About 2 weeks ago I cleaned my egr plate/valve. While I noticed the shudder was gone, I cant say it increased my mpg's, or getting into lean burn.

IMO as a relative newbie to insights, replace the tires (check), get the underbody panels (assuming you drive hwy), and get the battery serviced from hybrid battery repair to work correctly.

Only then will you be able to determine if the car is working correctly. Your position is like mine. My car was doing well (especially for 226k miles), but soon as I put a few bucks and some elbow grease, I am getting great results.

Also, I bought a grid charger. Not to be a 100mpg+ guy, but for maint for the battery.

I've owned my car for 6 months almost exactly and put 13k miles on. After putting some money into this car, it was the best car decision I ever made.
I love reading stories like these. :) I wish all Insight owner experiences went like this. It's really saddening when new owners have the wrong impression and are disappointed in their cars.

Keep working at it. I've said it before and I'll say it again - It took me 6 months to learn the concepts behind driving the Insight to maximize fuel economy, and another 6 months to actually fully implement them. How long it takes you in particular will depend on how ingrained your 'normal car' driving technique is, and how much time you spend on this site. :D I joined when I bought my first Insight in 2007, but didn't read, research and become involved in the community like I should have until much later

I think the thing that confounds most new drivers is lean burn mode, and the extremely small pedal movements required to use lean burn mode effectively. I liken it to having two engines in one; a 76HP engine and a 20HP engine.

If you learn to recognize which version of the engine you're using at any given time, you're way ahead of the game. Just remember that if you push the go pedal too hard, the 20HP engine disappears. ;) Practice modulating your foot 5MPG at a time, up and down the full scale. These are very small movements, much smaller than a normal car driver is used to. Learn the limits - how fast you can move your foot, how far down you can push the accelerator, etc - while still maintaining lean burn mode.

Realize that when you are cruising in lean burn mode at 75MPG+, the engine is producing exactly enough power to maintain your speed. Nothing more and nothing less. My best guess would be around 10HP at 55MPH under ideal or close to ideal conditions.

Be in tune with your car. Learn to be able to tell if you are accelerating or decelerating not by looking at your speedometer, but by the sound and feel of your car on the road. This is important. If you are cruising along at 80MPG and you detect that you are decelerating, you can notch her down to 75MPG and see if that fixes the problem before you lose even 1 MPH. On the flip side, if you can tell that you are accelerating, you can leave the FCD where it is - or even push the envelope and see if you can continue accelerating at 85MPG. If I'm out on the open highway, I don't care if it takes me a mile to gain 1 MPH if I'm at 80MPG while doing it.

:)

Hope that is some food for thought for someone.
 

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ElI's message should definately be "earmarked'. It's a learning process and even after 287,000 miles I'm still experimenting with the mileage game with the INSIGHT.
On most of my long trips, that's my entertainment, not the radio, CD or tape.
With my "De Worm" exhaust system, I can actually hear the engine go in and out of lean burn.

Willie
 
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