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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, although this seems too early on I came across an Insight today that needs restoring. It was at the dealer auction I frequent as it is where my car came from. This particular car was a red 2000 insight with 68,500 miles on the odometer with a lifetime of (cringe) 48.0mpg. Inspecting the car the carpet on the interior was ruined. You could pull shreads of it back from the area where a persons feet would rest and see the plastic bare floor under neath. It was shot. The seats had stains all over them. The drivers seat had what appeared to be some cigarette burns in it. The rear carpet was probably about the only part that was even remotely still decent, but it was all frizzed up. The door panels were also stained up. Well it was still and Insight. I tried starting it, click click click. After searching for about a half hour I was able to locate someone to assist me and jump the car. It started off of the starter motor and showed about 3 bars of charge (amazed it didn't loose even that).

I clicked the air on automatic at 60 and held it at 3 grand for a few minutes and watched, it recalibrated normally and the IMA light that initially came on shut off after the jump. Ok this was good. At this point I realized the car had an unpleasant smell of tobaco smoke in it. The air was blowing as cold as my cars so that was good. By this time I noticed the EPS light was on, electric power steering. No power steering, I checked the fuse, it wasn't blown so that made me wounder how much it would have been to fix.

Ok so interior being shot aside mechanically aside from the eps I think it was ok. To the outside, there was a big 2 inch diameter chip/crack forming in the windshield. Suprisingly the rock chips wern't that bad on the bumper and all the vin tags were correct, I dont think it had ever been hit. However, there were a few scrapes here and there. On the back bumper the driver side lower corner had been pushed in, I think it could be fixed with a heat gun. Looking at the wheels, they suprisingly were mostly good, one tiny curb scrape, but thats it. The tires were some brand of oversized yokohoma tire though so that might explain the lmpg partially.

Ok get the picture in your head yet? That in mind, the dash was fine, all of the consoles were fine. I was not able to drive it unfortunately, auction rules, but I think it was mechanically ok aside from the power steering. The paint chips could probably be air brushed and buffed out ok, the windshield would need replaced and the interior would have to be redone completely (it was disgusting). I sware this car was crying to me "help me rick." The thing that scares me most was the power steering what that would be to fix. I'm thinking I could just have the seats reapholstered for a few hundred bucks, new carpet would probably be a few hundred bucks as well. Slap a set of correct tires on it and go at fixing it up properly. What do you guys think? It's wholesale book is 8 grand, I was thinking maybe 4 or 5 it would be worth it as I'd have another grand or two restoring it to prestine condition. Then maybe I could find some kid who wants a cheap ride to drive cheaply I could sell it to and maybe make a couple bucks. Is this sounding like a money pit to anyone else? Looking at it how it stood there today it was a piece of junk, but it could be fixed. It was the second time this particular car had been through the auction as it did not bring the money the seller wanted the first time around. I'm not 100% sure whether it sold or not, but if it didn't the seller might be desperate to get rid of it. Who knows. What do you guys think, am I carzy?
 
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SAAB 96

Rick, yeh your a little crazy over this one, probably better let it go...but hey, with Honda, a manufacturer who does not want to sell the best car it has ever dreamed up, and Honda dealers who really hate to sell it, along with its unfortunately limited production, collecting a few Insights for parts and restoration attempts sounds like a dam good idea. When SAAB was a real car, back in the fifties and sixties, the two stroke three cylinder was one mean rally dragon. a few people still collect and try to rebuild and maintain the "strokers", but many critical parts are simply not available. Once SAAB chose the ford V4, the end was insight.
The Insight is just a small blip in car history, there are far more people interested in a high power V10 under the zipper than a high performance 3 cylinder. Personally I think everyone should drive an Insight at 45-55mph, but I know that most people are simply uneducatable, so the Insight has its moment and then we move on to bigger and better power. A handfull of dedicated hobbiests can try to keep the Insight alive....so yeh...collect it
 

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Rick said:
(snip)
By this time I noticed the EPS light was on, electric power steering. No power steering, I checked the fuse, it wasn't blown so that made me wounder how much it would have been to fix.
(snip)
There is probably nothing wrong with the EPS. You failed to pull the number 15 EPS fuse before running the engine to recharge the battery pack. The EPS is designed to signal a fault if the engine is revved constantly for more than a few minutes with no wheel movement. The following sentence from page 14 of the "Honda Insight Technician's Information Guide" spells it out:

"If the EPS Fuse is not removed, the EPS system will set a DTC if the engine RPM is held above 3000 for an extended time without a VSS input."

Pulling the fuse, as described in the "How to End a Troubleshooting Session" section on page 12-6 of the Service Manual, prevents this from happening. The EPS light will be on during this process but it will not signal a fault.

If you can get a good deal on it I would say go for it.
 

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I would not advise you to buy this car as a financial investment with interest in making money from the deal. If you buy it, you should do so because you can afford to spend this much money and it would make you feel good to fix it up.

Most people wouldn't notice the details you have noticed on this car. Most people would not get anything close to a good feeling from the prospect of replacing carpet or scrubbing down surfaces stinking of tobacco residue. Meanwhile, life is a remarkably interesting way to spend time, and if you can spend your time enjoying doing these things to this car, you ought to go for it.

By that, I mean do the whole thing your way. Work the deal your way to get it as cheaply as possible. Restore it your way to fix every detail that will leave you feeling happier because you fixed that detail. Find the kid your way who would love this car. You could change his or her life with the generosity of your time, making this excellent car available affordably.

That would also mean one more Insight on the road, and one less oil-smoking wreck that kid would have bought if you hadn't come along. Still, this is a big deal. Choose well.
 

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You left out one important piece of information: What is your purpose for buying this car? Are you going to buy it to fix it up and sell it (maybe at a profit?) or will it be your personal car.

If you are going to fix it and sell it, you need to releastically determine how much you can sell it for after you fix it up. You would have to be a helluva insight advocate to buy an insight knowing that it'll sell for less money than you have in it.

If you are going to keep it and drive it yourself, then you should still ask yourself how much the same car would bring at the same auction after all the repairs are done. If it's less than the money you'll be putting into it, maybe you should wait for a better one to come alone.

I suppose another question would be do you consider working on the car to be a hobby or a job?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well some potential good news. The car did not sell, there was no reserve on it and no one even bid on it so the seller if he's still around next week might be desperate to just drop the car cheaply. I'm looking at this from a mixed approach, the car just needs help when I look at it, but I'm also seeing possibly a buck to be made, but also giving someone a good car. If I couldn't make money on it I wouldn't buy it, no point in loosing money.

I was looking on Majestic Hondas web page last night, I think I could get all new carpet for about $500 or so. The whole EPS was about $700 I think assuming it's bad. I was about to pull that fuse under the hood, but I saw that it wasn't blown so I didn't think so. The thing is my 2002 has never defaulted on the EPS while doing force chargings like that. The light came on though right after I started the car so this scares me some. So assume worst case scenario here and I have to replace that I could just drop the seats off at an apholstry shop and have them re do the seats for a few hundred... so shout, I'm 2 grand in to fixing this car probably.

As far as the car selling back at the auction, maybe, but in the past I've seen they don't bring very much. It would be sold out of my house. I'm thinking it would find a home for about wha the wholesale book is of around $8000. The other part of me is saying how gratifying it would be to give the car what it deserves though. I mean I dont see a foot in diameter hold worn through the carpet on the drivers side as a minor detail exactly.

I dont know, I can't make up my mind can I? I'm going to investigate some more, if they will let it go cheap enough I'll drive it home and begin some minor interior dismanteling. I've just about had the carpet completely out of mine once already so I doubt it would be all that diffiult to get it completely out.

Ok now for your entertainment I might mention why I was not there when it went through the auction yesterday. So I was standing around with my dad there kinda killing time as they were on about run 70 and the Insight was like 130 so there was stilll a few hours to go. My dad says "look, theres a new H2 (which for some reason he likes, I sware I'm an outcast in my own family as far as vehicle preference). So he drags me over there and wants me to look at the big box on wheels. So I go to open the back door of the thing and it's a big door so I naturally assume it's heavy. Nope, plastic. One big pull and the door kept comming, right in to my forehead. It hurt initally until I realized I was bleeding quite a bit. So now there is about an inch long gash in my forehead from that. I feel really stupid about doing that, but maybe someone out there will get a good laugh. See, the hummer is out to get me.
 

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Rick - If the car is still available and you have the time, money and inclination then go for it, save that Insight.

Thanks for the story about the Hummer door - yes, I had a laugh, mainly due to your Dad's hint dropping!
 

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If you can buy it for really cheap then turn it into a race car!
Just remove all the interior that's not needed for driving and do not replace the carpets with anything.
Remove the power windo motors and rear wiper and motor.
Remove side and rear windows and replace with thin lexan.
YOu can remove several hundred pounds of weight i'm sure if you really try.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the input. I don't think I would be making it in to a race car though. This would be buy it, fix it, sell it, I kinda need that money for tuition here eventually. The bad part about this whole situation is the time table. I'm leaving on Sunday to spend a week in California so if they run it through again I wont even be here. I'm gonna take my laptop along and try to check the listings durring the week and see if it goes again. If it does I might be able to get someone we know to bid on it for me.

I'll keep you guys posted on what happens. Now that I think about it I wouldn't mind having this car if it was cheap enough. There's also a possibility that someone I know might also want it as is, in which case it would be fixed better than what I would do. I'll have to post some pictures of this car if I can get to it again ever. Poor car.

And the gash in my head is healing up quite well 36 hours later. I've been keeping it saturated with vitamin E oil so hopefully it wont scar up too badly. Stupid hummer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well just thought I'd update you guys on things. After taking a week long vacation last week and not being able to attend the auction the car seemed to stay around. It was back there yesterday. Oddly enough the battery under the hood had been replaced as it needed it and now the EPS light was off, but the check engine light was on. Since they had put a few hundred miles on it, averaging... get this 31mpg. Ick.

Poor car. Well anyways, the initial listing showed that the car would go through early, but they changed it on us to a late run so of course we get there early and look for the car aimlessly for about 20 minutes before we seek help and find out that the lane had been changed. So we waited and waited around for a few hours in the nice 120 degree heat. The car comes through and some stupid idiot paid book value for the car of $8500. It wouldn't suprise me a bit if the car showed back up there in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps he finally looks inside the car. All well, I'll be watching for it because I know the guy who bought it won't be making any money on the deal.
 

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Poor Car! What did the owner do with it??? I can't imagine abusing a car, esp an Insight, like that!
 

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james said:
I'd go for it myself, if I could get it cheap, but I enjoy working on cars. If nothing else, you could use it to test mods - maybe it could become the world's second turbo Insight :)
I'd buy it, sell the bodywork, and use the money to turn the remains into one wicked trike.
:twisted:

Fred
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Too late now, the car is long gone. I think it may have been exported actually. Like I said, probably a good thing I didn't because it would have to have been way cheap to buy with a check engine light on that I did not know what code it was.
 
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