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Discussion Starter #1
After buying my first insight a few weeks ago, I have decided that there is no way I can stop myself from modifying it to get the best gas mileage I possibly can. I see many modification on this site, and am very happy to see such a community of gas sipping Eco friendly people on the web.

This is the beginning of a long project that I have wanted to do for some time now. Let the modifications commence!

Vehicle info:
2000 Honda Insight m/t with a/c citrus yellow
Starting mileage: 149,400
Current lifetime mpg: 50.0


What mods seem to be the cheapest to start out? I am a fabricator, and am willing to do anything in the name of mpg. Lets hear it guys!

Pics soon
 

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Ideas

Welcome! Lots of approaches. If an Insight were a typical car, one could improve aerodynamics easily with fabricated parts. However, with a stock 0.28 CD, you're already pretty slippery. So don't expect 25% mpg improvements there. You've probably noted pizza pan wheel covers and deeper front air dams and beyond-stock belly pans on Insight Central. ThreeWheeler has done a full-blown boat tail add-on and gained significant MPG increase, but his project is way over the top for the average Joe.

Personally, I've pursued higher MPG by dropping weight, adding a MIMA system, radiator block and not much else. My driving is conservative so I gain some mpg from doing steady 60 mph vs. 75 mph on the Interstate and other common sense driving tips like combining trips, anticipating stops, etc.

Good luck with your project and keep us updated!
 

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Don't forget...Jack up the tire pressures.
 

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Before doing "mods" get the baseline car working properly (or at least figure out that it currently is). Describe your commute, and other members can comment on what MPG you should be getting.

On flat, level ground, no wind, what MPG can you maintain at 40, 50, 60 MPH? You need to make sure your car can easily get into lean burn.

What is the tire pressure currently set at? Do you have the exact, correct tire? Even the same brand tire in a different size can kill your MPG.
 

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50 mpg could be on the low end for your car. When I bought essentially the identical car, its previous owner ran the A/C continuously and never in ECON mode, so auto-stop never engaged for him. The inflation pressure of the OEM tires was ~30 psi. I saw no evidence that he drove it any differently that if it were a regular car. Its lifetime fuel efficiency was just under 50 mpg.

I pumped up the front tires to their sidewall max, 44 psi, and the rears to 41 psi. I rarely ran the A/C, and when I did, only in ECON mode. I engaged auto-stop at every red light. I accelerated and braked as gently as traffic permitted, using regen for most of my braking. As a result, the same car averaged 62 mpg driving in the same hilly urban environment.

So before making any modifications, see what you as a driver can do to improve your car's fuel efficiency. Then when you've done all you can or are willing to do as a driver, consider other modifications. But do realize that Honda's engineers had the goal of designing the most fuel-efficient mass-produced car when they designed the Insight, so much of the low-hanging fruit has already been picked.
 

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I like to reset the lifetime fuel economy when I buy a Gen 1. That way, the number you get is just you, not the previous owner and you. There are instructions in the drivers handbook for resetting the gauge.

I second the words of others. Use the standard configuration to polish your technique for 6 mo. to a year. That way you have a frame of reference. I have one heavily modified car and it only makes a few MPG difference. Most of the improvement is the nut behind the wheel;)

OBTW, welcome to the family.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the warm welcome guys. My current gas mileage that I'm achieving is in the 50 to 60 miles per gallon range. It's doing the bucking thing, so I need to mess with the EGR plate and clean and wd-40 the EGR valve.

So far I have done the following, mostly trying to get the mpg up, but it didn't start herky jerking untill after ordering parts.

New NTK front o2 sensor (check engine code said it was bad)
New NTK rear o2 sensor (check engine code said it was bad)
New bosal catalytic convertor (check engine code said it was bad )
New spring bolt clamps (old bolts broke as expected)
New donut gasket (missing upon purchase)
Replaced the exhaust bolt with used 05' mustang exhaust manifold bolts (old bolts and nuts were in very bad shape)
New Denso iridium spark plugs (engine efficiency)
New denso cabin filter (driver comfort)
Ned EGR (removed EGR valve, soaked in wd-40 for 10 min and replaced. Helped for the first drive, then started coming back)
New Bosch clear advantage front and rear wiper blades (lower c/d)
New k&n air filter (Needed to be replaced about 40,000 miles ago. Hopefully gets me better mpg, but intended for the lifetime of the car)

Other things I have done so far are as follows.
Sanded and polished headlights ( didn't event want to drive for one night the way they looked)
Pulled seats, center console, door trim, and body wire harness to remove carpet and power wash it. Also cleaned the floor under the carpet. ( previous driver was a smoker, and you can smell it throughout the car)
Steam cleaned the plastic panels that we to difficult to remove in a timely manner. (To remove the tar built up over the years)
Front end Alignment (steering wheel was a little off)
Power washed the engine bay, door jams, hatch jams, and outside, and gave her a nice hand wash. (Looks sooooooo much better!)
Washed windows inside and out, and rain-x'ed the outer windows all around.
 

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New Denso iridium spark plugs (engine efficiency)
I assume these are oem spec and indexed correctly to the head which is stamped with A,B,C or D next to each plug hole or it will be a backward step.

 

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Dude, sounds like you could open a detail shop specializing in Insights! Nice work.
 

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Not to overlook the obvious, if your current tires are not the OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE92s, then get OEM tires put on.

Also, there are two schools of thought on IC about resetting the lifetime MPG. Unlike jime, I'm in the other camp. When I bought my Insight, it had a lifetime of 61.1 and I've raised it to 72.6 over the last 80,000 miles. Now, granted, I only had about 23,000 miles on the odometer when I bought it. It would be a big challenge to raise your numbers with as many miles on the odometer as your G1 has. But that is exactly the kind of challenge that I'd like to take on.

-Bryan
 

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New NTK front o2 sensor (check engine code said it was bad)
New NTK rear o2 sensor (check engine code said it was bad)
New bosal catalytic convertor (check engine code said it was bad )
Hopefully, you didn't waste a considerable sum on these. Early Insights had an ECM version that set O2 sensor DTC's unnecessarily. A Honda emissions recall resulted in these ECM's being replaced at no cost. If your Honda hasn't had this recall service performed, you might experience an O2 sensor DTC set prematurely in the future.

Some DTC's are set as a result of a related problem such that fixing one problem could result in several DTC's not being reset. I think the front O2 sensor is the most common replacement. Many Insight owners with such DTC's seem to fix the most common problem first, clear the DTC's, and then see whether any return.

New Denso iridium spark plugs (engine efficiency)
I hope you installed OEM spark plugs that were correctly indexed for your cylinder head. Adjacent to each spark plug hole is one of four stamped letters: A-D. I haven't read of any Insight with different letters stamped by each spark plug hole. The most common seems to be 'B'. Honda sells A, B, C, and D spark plugs. They don't seem to be available from any other source. If you didn't install the correct plugs, your stated engine efficiency goal won't be maximized.

Ned EGR (removed EGR valve, soaked in wd-40 for 10 min and replaced. Helped for the first drive, then started coming back)
The bucking could be caused by a clogged EGR plate as well. Hopefully, you didn't buy a new EGR valve needlessly. Many of us have been able to clean and modify our EGR valves according to instructions in this forum to eliminate the bucking.

Front end Alignment (steering wheel was a little off)
Insights have very unusual front wheel alignment settings. If your Insight was not aligned to these settings, your fuel efficiency could suffer.

If you haven't done so yet, buy the Insight Service Manual and Electrical Troubleshooting Manual from Helm. They are invaluable resources for those who like to work on their Insights.

Your Insight will be a very nice car after your TLC. It's likely that all of the repairs that you have performed or will need to perform have already been performed by many others who have described what they have done in this forum. I hope you have taken advantage of the experience of others to minimize your repair costs and to perform the repairs correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What is the consensus on the Michelin tires? They are destined for fuel economy, and I've had nothing but good experience with Michelin. I have already ordered a set of them, and they are on their way from california to Michigan. They haven't been paid for yet, and will be delivered to discount tire. I want the best ride quality from my tires, so the price isn't much of an issue.

I didn't buy the plugs from Honda, but did notice they old plugs all were "B" plugs. Upon installing the new plugs, they were all within ~20 degrees of where the originals were. I'll put the old ones back in to see if makes a difference, but my main problem is the EGR valve/plate right now.
 

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What is the consensus on the Michelin tires? They are destined for fuel economy, and I've had nothing but good experience with Michelin.
If you want to maximize your fuel efficiency, the Michelin Energy Saver is inferior to the OEM Bridgestone RE-92 as reported by several Insight owners in this forum. The problems with any tire other than the OEM tire are that they are heavier (not only adding to the vehicle weight but increasing the rolling inertia of the wheel-tire combination) and their rolling resistance is greater. Entering lean burn mode where outstanding fuel efficiency occurs is more difficult with greater rolling resistance. I believe others have reported a 5-10% loss in fuel efficiency with Michelin Energy Savers.

However, the OEM tires are rather loud and harsh and tend to wear on the edges faster than in the centers. Some are willing to sacrifice some fuel efficiency for a quieter, softer ride. Your call…

I didn't buy the plugs from Honda, but did notice they old plugs all were "B" plugs. Upon installing the new plugs, they were all within ~20 degrees of where the originals were. I'll put the old ones back in to see if makes a difference, but my main problem is the EGR valve/plate right now.
With the electrodes that close to the 'B' plug's electrode orientation, I doubt that you would notice any difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Excellent info on the tires! Of course looking for max efficiency does not always mean max comfort, so I'll have to go with the RE92's then. It's really to bad the michelins aren't up to par. I was hoping they would somehow be better than the factory tires, since I'm sure they are more comfortable.

Does anyone have experience "siping" their tires? Supposedly it helps improve traction in snow and adverse conditions, but it seems more like a gimmick to make some easy money. I'm wondering if it would make the road noise go down any.

Where on the engine does it have the letter code for the correct spark plugs? I didn't find it, and I'm wondering if someone picked up a set of "whatever was most common", at the dealer. Hence all "B" plugs being found installed.

This site is so full of good info and good people. I'll be attempting some interesting and innovative ideas an the car. Lots of learning and research left to do!
 

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Its on the head right next to where the coil pack bolts down. You might have to clean the area a little, don't actually have to remove the coil pack or the plug to see it. Check all three to be sure they are the same, it is my understanding they could have been any combination of A,B,C,D.

Before I did mine I pulled the coils looking for the mark and still didn't see them, cleaned the area and found they were visible without pulling them.

HTH,

Scott
 

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Hi,

congratulations on the purchase and all the work you have done so far , I have mine for 3 years and have not done even a fraction of this yet...

the Michelins are reportedly reducing some mpg but also I have heard they give better road grip and comfort. Unfortunately I have not tried them personally yet, big fan on the OEM things on the insight...

In addition to the above posts (great point: before attempting improvement over the factory state , first we need to restore them to the factory efficiency)

would add to get a grid charger and revive the IMA battery , also to check and charge the 12v battery . a good , balanced ima battery will reduce background charging and give 10-15 mpg more compared to a tired/unbalanced one.

A bad 12v battery can drag you down 2-5 mpg.

One more point is you will need to get accustomed to the car and new speeds , acceleration patterns.. it took some guys week to get to great mpgs and others (like me ) still trying for years....

als the under body panels in good shape get 5-8 mpg better than when missing or damaged....

one question , when you removed the floor carpeting : was it steel or aluminum under the drivers legs? My carpet has a hole there and looks like a lot of rust on the plate under , is it rust I am seeing or could it be just dirt?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Although I don't have time to respond to everyone, rest assured, I am reading all posts, and making considerations to everything said. I very much appreciate all the great advice.

I had the michelins sent back to Cali, and ordered the RE92's
I removed and cleaned the EGR plate and EGR valve. WOW! What a difference that made! It was very dirty, and clogged in a few areas. I have pictures most of the things I have done so far, but haven't had the time to post anything yet.
I swapped the Sony CD player out that had been in the car, an swapped it out for another similar sont cd play, with a USB port on the front. Solid 10 minutes, and the easiest thing I've done so far for Creature comforts.
I also aired the tires up the 45 psi. I believe they are general tires. The choppiness in them leads me to believe they are contributing to some of my missing mpg's.
 
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