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@Dougie, the Miata was in a higher position on my car bucket list than the Insight, but the Insight landed in my lap first. I remember driving one when they first came out and falling in love. If only the Insight were a convertible or the Miata made of aluminum.

I'm thinking of scratching that itch. I have a sunroof that came out of an Insight. The Insight can wind up with a good IMA if you keep the RPMs up. Can it be made to handle like a Miata with that "seat of your pants" feel on the twisties? It does have a weight advantage. Or is a sunroof and windows open never going to replace the convertible top?
I sold my Miata some time ago, and I now own a car that makes about 120whp more than my Miata ever did. It also has a sunroof, and I'll tell you, it doesn't even come close to throwing the top down on the Miata. It just hits different.
 

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@Dougie, can it be made to handle like a Miata with that "seat of your pants" feel on the twisties? It does have a weight advantage. Or is a sunroof and windows open never going to replace the convertible top?
I would say the Miata (the first generation is the only one I have experience with) is quite a bit different from an Insight.

The Miata has a fully adjustable double-wishbone suspension with anti-roll bars at both ends, to start with, like every racing car. And an engine that can withstand a lot of tuning or turbocharging. And a really strong (RX-7) gearbox with ratios selected for performance, not economy. And an LSD in most models. There are plenty of tuning options, and several racing classes. It is around 500 pounds heavier, but an out-of-the-box Miata is going to be much faster than an Insight in just about every condition.

The open top reduces the stiffness of the chassis of the Miata A LOT. When you go over RR tracks in a Miata, the whole thing twists like a pretzel (although not nearly as much as, say, a Mustang convertible). A sunroof won't change the stiffness of the Insight chassis very much. To get a stiff Miata you need a roll cage and a hardtop. But to get the suspension performance of a Miata will take a lot of changes to the crude Insight suspension.

On the other hand, if you start with a car as light as the Insight and are prepared to make a lot of mods, you can make it into a really great racing car. There was a guy in England who got kicked out of the rally competitions because he was winning too much. And there are a number of drag cars and speed record cars based on the Insight.

Speed costs money, how much do you want to spend?
 

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Put a new 12v battery in it. Dad finally gave the thing to me (and since my wrecked 2001 Prius finally went to the sky) so I washed the poor thing, checked the water (good), put a fresh battery in, and drove it on a 30 mile test drive.

Engine is running better, still stumbles at idle, but does not stall which is pretty good. Now to figure out why I can't get >40mpg out of it :)
 

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Washed and covered it for a few days of brutal sunlight while I drive a different car. I've been using this car cover for about a year, it fits perfectly and can really save your car from paint and clear coat damage, not to mention damage to all those plastic trim pieces that deteriorate. You want the 160" one, it has a zipper to get in the drivers door and 3 adjustable straps that latch under the car.

Amazon.com: Amazon Basics Silver Weatherproof Car Cover - PEVA with Cotton, Sedans up to 160": Automotive


 

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2002 Monte Carlo Blue CVT
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739 Posts
As far as upping mileage -- check torque spec of spark plugs. They work themselves loose. Torque spec is 17 ft lbs. If mileage is poor, you may find them only hand tight.

Loose plugs can diminish mpg, as can non-Honda plugs.

Potenzas (tires) at 45 psi will give you a mileage boost.

Underbody aero panels are worth several mpg as well.

Foregoing A/C use will boost it as well.

As will pulse and glide driving technique.

On my only 5:speed, mpg is still climbing from pick up mileage of 36.7 to 42.3 and rising.

Dragging brake will kill mileage too.
 

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Did a little 100 foot smokey burnout for early fourth celebration with friends. It definitely wouldnt do that factory, Peter's mods really wake up the ima motor. I can't wait to see what the mutant transmission will do for the car, I'm still waiting on bearings though:(
 

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Used it as my “Plan B” recovering vehicle…….. I don’t have a truck and hauler, and have been stranded at the off-road park more than once, so we bring 2 vehicles with us now.

I’m guessing this is the first time this parking lot has seen a 21 year old hybrid….

91261
 

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2002 Monte Carlo Blue CVT
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Probably has something to do with the fact that the front driver's side caliper is essentially seized, to the point of barely being able to turn the rotor by hand when the car is jacked up, the IMA pack being dead, dead, dead and the prior owner taking frequent short trips and loving the A/C, not to mention having incorrect size, non low rolling resistance tires, so, yeah, it is possible, but, as noted, you do have to work at it. Oh yeah, the prior owner was running non Honda plugs that were basically finger tight in the head too. I am attributing mileage gains to correct plugs at proper torque, plus not using the A/C. Rebuilt calipers on the way. I imagine they will result in a significant mileage boost.

Prior owner was also unaware that brake fluid is a two year maintenance item, so never renewed the brake fluid. I'm guessing that produced the sticky calipers.

I suspect the passenger side front caliper is in similar shape.
 

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Yea, people rarely replace brake fluid. My 77k car had a stuck caliper Scott was able to fix by cycling it a few times with a clamp. I has him replace the fluid too.
 

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2002 Insight 5MT A/C
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19 Posts
91277


My Insight was fighting me going into gear at times. Replaced the clutch master and slave cylinder over the weekend.
Had to take a blow torch to the slave hard line... But other than that, pretty smooth sailing!
 

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2002 Monte Carlo Blue CVT
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Wept and gnashed my teeth over it. The water outlet reseal (separate thread) is an unpleasant, but necessary task. I discovered a perished flange on the small diameter coolant inlet pipe which has ground the project to a halt while awaiting replacements (small and large diameter).

On the plus side, all removed fasteners got the Evaporust treatment which they surely needed.
 

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Oil change.
Then drove nonstop Baltimore to Atlanta. Longest solo drive since I got the car last year. It was a very pleasant 700 mile drive!
 

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This was more of a "what did I do to my Insight this week", because it was time consuming. I had peeling paint on my side mirrors, so last Friday, I removed them. I sanded them down, applied three coats of primer. Then, sanded again. Then, three coats of Sem Trim Black to the black parts, three coats of matched silver paint (from paintscratch.com), and then three coats of 2K Spray Max Clearcoat over the silver. Got them reinstalled this morning. While I had the door panels off, I cleaned them, as well. Glad to have this done. I'm sure people with a paint booth could do this much quicker. There are some flaws in my job, but this is the first paint work I've done on a car, and I'm generally happy with the results. Pictures of the before/after on the driver's mirror, below.
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91308
 

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2002 Insight 5MT A/C
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Detailed my Insight yesterday. Cleaned the engine bay and interior. Polished the wheels. Polished and waxed the paint. I can't stop looking at it in the sunlight.

For those who care: 3D Speed one step, orange Hexlogic pad. Porter Cable 7424XP.
 
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