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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all, now that it's summer I think it's finally time to start a build thread. Back in 2015 I took a train 400 miles to pick up and purchase this beauty right here.



The car is a 2001, and had 120,000 miles on the odometer when I picked it up. The car was clean, had never had more than a scrape, and had an IMA battery with only 40,000 miles on it. I drove it home and immediately started to work. Going to this:

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And now as it stands in June, 2017, this:

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The main purpose of this project has been to create the highest mileage insight possible, although only baby steps have been taken up to this point. Progress will be slow as I'm transferring to a university this next year, but I hope to inspire others and present any issues I run across here in this thread.

Heres where the car stands today:

2001 Honda Insight

Engine:
-EGR valve from Honda Accord 2.3l
-A/c removed
-heater core bypassed+removed
-no radiator shroud/fan
-motorcycle 12v battery


interior:
-carpets removed
-tar-sound deadening removed (except under IMA battery)
-interior panels removed/ carbon door panels installed
-carbon IMA battery cover
-carbon cluster gauge mount

Exterior:
-vinyl rim covers
-corrugated plastic underbody panels (small)
-frnt radiator cover
-upper lip cover
-side view mirrors removed/ mirrors inboard
-pass. wiper removed
-rear wiper removed
-cut springs to bring back to slightly below oem ride height


As far as mileage goes it will currently get a little over 100 mpg on an A-B-A 100 mile trip through Los Angeles.. but that is mostly highway :)

Stay posted details and more pics will be coming (this thread is as much for me just logging what I do somewhere).
 

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Sounds pretty interesting, I'm looking forward to seeing the pics.

One thing though, aren't you really worried about overheating the engine without a radiator fan and with blocking the grills? Are you even watching the coolant temps with anything other than the dumb dash gauge? The engine being all aluminum it isn't exactly overheating friendly...
 

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a number of things seem over the top to me, like removing the fan and the extreme car lightening.
 

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I personally wouldn't run without a radiator fan either, especially considering the Insight has a water jacket on the header, designed to collect heat. However, I'd love to see how far you can take this!

I'm hitting about 100mpg highway at 50-55mpg in mine with no weight reductions and the wrong tires on the back, but with similar aero mods.
 

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Weight reduction doesn't seem to yield much in terms of mileage gains in this car.

For instance I made 99.4 mpg coming home from work yesterday. I've added about 85lbs to the car in sound dampening, stereo equipment, and equipment.

Running with no rad fan in particular seems silly. I hope you at least have a Bluetooth dongle to monitor the engine temps.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sounds pretty interesting, I'm looking forward to seeing the pics.

One thing though, aren't you really worried about overheating the engine without a radiator fan and with blocking the grills? Are you even watching the coolant temps with anything other than the dumb dash gauge? The engine being all aluminum it isn't exactly overheating friendly...
I've driven about 5000 miles without the radiator fan in temperatures up to around 100F without much issue. I did have a close encounter with overheating once going up an inclined mountain pass in very slow moving traffic in high ambient temperatures. I pulled to the side and didn't see a loss in coolant levels from boiling, just that the temperature gauge (dash) crept up a notch. That being said, I didn't have a way at the time to measure the coolant temperature directly, but this has only occurred once.

The lower grille block only covers the pass. side, thus the radiator side is fully open. My thinking was that because I've removed over 200 pounds from the car and reduced aero drag, my thermal load has also been reduced (less fuel in, less heat out). I did just receive a new temperature gauge with a water-proof probe and that will be installed soon to directly monitor the temperatures.

Ideally I could find the exact heat absorbed by the engine, know the surface area of it and the radiator, and the relative velocity of the air around them to find an estimate for heat transfer, but that's not in the cards, for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Weight reduction doesn't seem to yield much in terms of mileage gains in this car.

For instance I made 99.4 mpg coming home from work yesterday. I've added about 85lbs to the car in sound dampening, stereo equipment, and equipment.

Running with no rad fan in particular seems silly. I hope you at least have a Bluetooth dongle to monitor the engine temps.
As far as the weight reduction goes, this project is about making the most fuel efficient Insight on the roads in the long run. Thus, any pound that doesn't contribute to propelling the car forward must be lost, as it adds friction at the tires, and potential energy for a given speed(energy that will be wasted at braking). Of course, this being my daily driver compromises are made, such as the crash structure, some aftermarket speakers (I know you can get behind that one), among other things. But eventually I will end up finding a lighter solution for even those.

The current modifications were all done to get as high mileage as I could for very little money as I'm on a college budget :(
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So let's get into it and catch up to where I'm at now:

About a day after getting the car to my parent's house, the work began. As I said this is my daily driver and I am a huge music fan, so a light sound system with one small sub was a necessity. Four 6.5" speakers with a 10" sub installed in the spare tire's old home.

MDF was cut to make speaker adapters:
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The 12v positive for the amp was connected to the 12v+ from the DC-DC converter in the rear
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The amp mount:
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Is this a manual? If so, get a clutch switch and get one of my auto-stop arduino clones. Basically you wire a button somewhere, press it, and car will go into auto-stop even if you're like on the highway. I mean it's a little more complicated than that, but the point is that when it's set up properly you can engine-off-coast almost any time you want without having to key-off.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The exhaust paths on the intake after buying before and after cleaning




The worst day of my girlfriend's life summarized in the following photographs. A/C is just drag and dead weight!

 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is this a manual? If so, get a clutch switch and get one of my auto-stop arduino clones. Basically you wire a button somewhere, press it, and car will go into auto-stop even if you're like on the highway. I mean it's a little more complicated than that, but the point is that when it's set up properly you can engine-off-coast almost any time you want without having to key-off.
I do have the 5-spd. I'll read through your thread and check it out! That was something on the to do list and would save me the trouble.

Took the grinder to the fasteners in the throttle body. Every little bit of drag on the air pump of a motor must go right? (more to show my friends how dedicated I am)



LED indicators/ running lights. Electrical power isn't free power. You will start to see the theme if you haven't already.

 

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^A lot of 'junk' there (OK, not 'there', but 2 posts up, now). There was someone looking for an AC around here like a week or so ago, if you still have it and would sell it...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The air dams upper and lower are made from Lexan polycarbonate. Great against rock impacts from following cars on the highway.. Even better for not cracking while drilling like acrylic. Painted black to make them blend into the car. Retaining a "normal" looking car can be nice.



If you're wondering how they are secured to the front bumper: zip ties

The upper dam was given a bend to match the curve of the bumper. Preheat the oven at 250F and let bake 5-10 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165F before eating
 

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Discussion Starter #14
^A lot of 'junk' there (OK, not 'there', but 2 posts up, now). There was someone looking for an AC around here like a week or so ago, if you still have it and would sell it...
I've thought about selling the a/c on and off for a while.. The only thing holding me back had been if I'd ever resell the car. That thought doesn't come so much anymore. I'll get to posting it along with most the unmolested interior pieces sometime soon. If anyone sees this and is interested message me too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Lots of heavy sound deadening that is easily replaced with tiny in-ear foam cylinders (a few grams of dead weight a piece but some things can stay)



 

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Discussion Starter #16
Auto-cad and Solidworks are expensive, cardboard isn't.



Be sure to test fit and make sure you can still open your door.



Once again Lexan shows it's usability

 

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Discussion Starter #17
While I had the car up on jack stands slapped on some heat shielding in the exhaust tunnel. Not a necessity now, but eventually with the carbon underbody made the exhaust will need to be moved very close to the aluminum body. No a/c, plus any kind of external heat from burning gas, combined with hot california sun, equals a bad time and no girlfriend. I use DEI "Reflect a Cool" after good results with my Jeep. Adheres well. Not for conductive insulation


The mercedes S-class of Japan


That ugly heater core has since been removed.
 

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All good stuff IMHO apart from removing the radiator fan.
But's it's your car and you are doing stuff which is up to you.

A cooked engine will cost you far more than you will ever save from removing the fan weight/power reduction.

If you get some sort of OBD device with an audible temp warning that might save you from disaster when distracted.. ;)

What did you do in the throttle body? I'm not clear on that idea..
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Speaking of removing your heater core here's how you bypass it without a welder. The hose flowing to the heater has an ID of 11/16" and the hose flowing back to the engine has an ID of 3/4". Kinda hard to find a hose with those sizes at each end to just slap on, so I went the next best route:

Get a regular old hose fitting and 2 clamps


Cut the old hoses down


And just bend them around and attach to the new fitting to close the loop.


I used Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket on the hose fitting as an extra precaution since I don't want coolant leaking out while the system is under pressure. No issues yet.

Pro tip** You can always just bend the smaller ID hose around and close the loop without the extra fitting.. Problem was space was tight and I couldn't get it to squeeze over the 3/4" barb, So I went this route. I think it adds under hood bling;)
 

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If you operate the car like that won't a lot of the water pump effort be wasted pumping hot coolant round that unrestricted loop bypassing the radiator. You could perhaps get a nasty hot spot in the head?

The heater coolant circuit had a valve so you could close it off.

It seems more sensible just to bung the two ports and force the coolant via the radiator for maximum cooling.
 
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