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Our beloved red 2001 Insight (manual transmission) which is otherwise in fine condition, needs a motor control module and batter control module. Even though we installed a brand new set of tires in Aug 2020 and new 12 volt battery, we're not quite sure what to do about the car. And now after just a few miles driving it after the dealer's inspection of the car, the Malfunction Indicator Light (aka check engine light) is constantly on. We don't know if the car is really reliable to drive in this situation.

The dealer's $3,775 price quote for parts and labor is, naturally, more than the vehicle is probably worth even with just 68,500 miles on it. The hybrid battery pack (IMA) was replaced six years ago and has just 5,000 miles on it -- and judging by other posts here that could be the problem, namely that we're not driving the car enough (some posts has suggested it needs to be driven at least 70 miles/week to keep the hybrid battery system healthy and it's clear we're not driving it enough and won't be in the future).

The car has gotten 45 mpg in largely city driving in the Chicago area. The interior is in excellent condition and the exterior is too except for some paint scrapped of one corner of the front bumper and a 3-inch circle of what looks like bubbling paint in the lower corner of the passenger's door.

So my wife and I are turning to the folks here to ask:
Is it worth trying to replace the motor control and battery control modules? And is the dealer price gouging on the parts and labor? (It really looks like replacement of the two modules isn't all that time consuming.)
Is the car sellable? Can it be cannibalized for parts?
Best advice? Thanks for whatever informed guidance you can provide.

Engine Automotive engine part Screw Machine Fuel line
 

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You simply can't take these old cars to Honda dealers. The bill or estimate is invariably more than the cars are worth, particular when they are broken.

The cars are particularly prone to stall and strand you if the battery light is on. That means that the 12V battery isn't getting charged and will deplete fairly rapidly.

Do the simple and free stuff first. Take it to an auto store and get a free read of the stored codes. Write them down.

Then, when you get home, read out the blink codes. These are sublevel codes, which some P codes(the primary codes) may have. Use this ref for directions. This post is by Mike Dabrowski, one of our most brilliant members, so it is quite safe and easy to implement. Just use a bent paper clip.

Reading the blink codes - MIMA Honda Insight Modified Integrated Motor Assist (99mpg.com)

Come back to us with your results and we should be able to make better recommendations. Certainly don't sell or salvage at this early point.
 

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^ He doesn't even know yet what is wrong with the car. Too early to "throw" parts at it on the word of a dealer ;)
 
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OP the car almost certainly does not need either computer module..

Ask the dealer for a full printout of the diagnostic codes they found and post them here.

Then we will advise.
 

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...it's clear we're not driving it enough and won't be in the future).
Because of this statement, I advise that there is no point in you putting any money into this car. You likely need a new IMA battery and that will likely fix your problems, most if not all...I think it's safe to assume that you're not interested in taking yours apart and replacing sticks and/or going through the wizardry of doing a deep discharge and trying it out...like a wise owner here told me 6 months ago, if your IMA is old/dead/without warranty it is best to consider it dead.

That said, a cheap IMA if you install yourself is $1200, a nice one installed is $3000. So let's say you put only the $3000 in the car, you have a low-mileage G1 Insight in pretty good shape, it might fetch $7000-$8000 at that point assuming you purchase a good IMA warranty and find the right buyer.

So you have to ask yourself do you want to sell it as is (I would bet you can get $3500 minimum if it's in as good condition as you say) or put a few thousand into it and get top dollar.

Either way since you said you're not planning to drive it as it needs to be driven in the future IMHO there's no point in keeping it or your IMA investment will be for nothing. Every minute and dollar you spend trying to diagnose and fix a car you won't drive is wasted. And, there could be other big problems. Maybe you do need those modules, or who knows what other costs you'll incur getting it back to good driving condition.

Hope that helps. Sounds to me like you need to cash out...take the first $3-$4k that is offered and pass it on to someone who will make good use of it.

Good luck!!!
 

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Like others have said, some real, basic DIY diagnostic steps are needed, not something you get from dealers, it seems. In general this sounds like a good candidate for a full IMA bypass - just go gas-only, remove the pack to reduce weight (possibly add space), drive it like a normal car.
 

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Like others have said, some real, basic DIY diagnostic steps are needed, not something you get from dealers, it seems. In general this sounds like a good candidate for a full IMA bypass - just go gas-only, remove the pack to reduce weight (possibly add space), drive it like a normal car.
Correct me if I'm wrong but from my experience driving my last G1 with bypassed IMA I learned that you can't rev past about 4000rpm without lights coming on and the 12V not charging for a time, which could lead to getting stranded if this goes on too long. Without IMA the motor has no grunt at all and can't get much torque until higher in the rev band...which can't happen because of what I just described. I drove mine in gas-only mode for a few weeks but I can't recommend this to anyone.
 

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if you want to keep the car, there's a good chance you only need a grid charger that you'd use about once a month. Update your profile and include your geographic location. You might find that one of us is your neighbor and might help you out.
 

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Dan,
I am a hybrid mechanic in your area (up in Wisconsin.) And I also provide mobile service when needed.
I can definitely help you out.
Call me and we can talk.
608-729-4082

The posts above are correct.
I can't imagine why the dealership thinks you need those parts. They rarely if ever go bad.
And even if you needed them the folks on this forum could find you a set for waaaaaayyyyy less than what the dealership is quoting.

Do not let them talk you into that outrageous replacement of those modules.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong but from my experience driving my last G1 with bypassed IMA I learned that you can't rev past about 4000rpm without lights coming on and the 12V not charging for a time, which could lead to getting stranded if this goes on too long. Without IMA the motor has no grunt at all and can't get much torque until higher in the rev band...which can't happen because of what I just described. I drove mine in gas-only mode for a few weeks but I can't recommend this to anyone.
There are (simple) ways around this. I drove without my IMA battery for a year before I did my engine swap, and had no issues revving to 6k or keeping the 12v charged.

It's slower, certainly, but it gets a little better with all of that weight taken out of the back.
 

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^ Similar to my sentiments - last time I drove IMA-less my conclusion was that it wasn't that much different, particularly with the extra weight removed. I agree that without the IMA you'd want or need to rev higher than usual - the 4k RPM DCDC charging limit is a...annoyance at most. I don't think it poses damage risks, or they're minimal, in most cases it shouldn't hobble the 12V too much to make a difference, unless your 12V battery etc. are at the margins. There's ways around that. For a car that's just an occasional driver, make sure you have a good 12V battery, maybe disconnect the WHT/GRN DCDC wire, and you should be fine.

Personally, I'd probably do the arduino mod to avoid the 4k limit (and other things), I'd probably buy a Mean Well 12V power supply to replace the DCDC, and I'd probably, eventually, replace the transmission with a Civic one, or one of those (Fit?) that have lower gearing.
 

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Because of this statement, I advise that there is no point in you putting any money into this car. You likely need a new IMA battery and that will likely fix your problems, most if not all...I think it's safe to assume that you're not interested in taking yours apart and replacing sticks and/or going through the wizardry of doing a deep discharge and trying it out...like a wise owner here told me 6 months ago, if your IMA is old/dead/without warranty it is best to consider it dead.

That said, a cheap IMA if you install yourself is $1200, a nice one installed is $3000. So let's say you put only the $3000 in the car, you have a low-mileage G1 Insight in pretty good shape, it might fetch $7000-$8000 at that point assuming you purchase a good IMA warranty and find the right buyer.

So you have to ask yourself do you want to sell it as is (I would bet you can get $3500 minimum if it's in as good condition as you say) or put a few thousand into it and get top dollar.

Either way since you said you're not planning to drive it as it needs to be driven in the future IMHO there's no point in keeping it or your IMA investment will be for nothing. Every minute and dollar you spend trying to diagnose and fix a car you won't drive is wasted. And, there could be other big problems. Maybe you do need those modules, or who knows what other costs you'll incur getting it back to good driving condition.

Hope that helps. Sounds to me like you need to cash out...take the first $3-$4k that is offered and pass it on to someone who will make good use of it.

Good luck!!!
I did not buy mine for resale, I bought it because I have always wanted one. I do wonder though if at some point they may take off in value. I had 3 early Broncos back when they were nothing, sold the last one just a year or two before they skyrocketed , I had a 91 911 C2 for a number of years, sold it just before they went way up , and I also had a 68 Camaro which fetch idiotic money today. So, either way, I am holding on to my Insight... :)
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong but from my experience driving my last G1 with bypassed IMA I learned that you can't rev past about 4000rpm without lights coming on and the 12V not charging for a time, which could lead to getting stranded if this goes on too long.
Why would you rev past 4000 rpm anyway? I've driven plenty of times without IMA assist and don't remember having to go over 3500 rpm. And that included mountains at highway speed. Of course no A/C and under 65 mph.
 

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^ I remember I said something similar, a long time ago, and the couple of people in the thread who had gone IMA-less more or less reamed me for it... Without the IMA the car is gutless in the less than 3000 RPM range (in large part due to the gearing), so if one were to go IMA-less and wanted to try to maintain performance, revving higher is needed.

And it does work, the car is actually quite peppy at higher engine speeds - like 2nd gear above about 3800 RPM... At the higher engine speeds - I think right around 3800-4000 - AFR drops to 12.1:1 and it's a very noticeable kick. You get VTEC around 3000, and then the AFR drop - taken together it's surprising just how much oomph the tiny engine can produce... BUT, it's like the car becomes a 2 speed with 3 overdrive gears! Almost all 'big acceleration' takes place in 2nd gear - you're going like 60+ MPH in 2nd by the time you hit these engine speeds.
 

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I did not buy mine for resale, I bought it because I have always wanted one. I do wonder though if at some point they may take off in value. I had 3 early Broncos back when they were nothing, sold the last one just a year or two before they skyrocketed , I had a 91 911 C2 for a number of years, sold it just before they went way up , and I also had a 68 Camaro which fetch idiotic money today. So, either way, I am holding on to my Insight... :)
Sounds awesome, glad you're keeping it, sounds like you have answered your own question in post #1!!! You did ask if the car was sellable....

That said, if you spend the money on a battery but don't drive it much (as you said you wouldn't).....you're throwing your money away because the battery will not be happy. If you're determined to keep it then just live with it in gas-only mode. See my other comments below on this.

Be warned, I've looked at several super low-mileage Insights lately to purchase...and ended up buying one with 170k instead. Owners wanted a fortune for a car with low miles but it was in pretty rough shape. So keeping it as an investment is fine but please don't park it under a tree or keep under a cover (not good long-term) and make sure it is driven regularly.

Why would you rev past 4000 rpm anyway? I've driven plenty of times without IMA assist and don't remember having to go over 3500 rpm. And that included mountains at highway speed. Of course no A/C and under 65 mph.
I can't understand this question but maybe it's perspective...my previous G1 (blue) was in gas-only mode for a while before I installed a new IMA. The car is gutless under 4k, as I mentioned earlier, the reason to rev past 4k would be to accelerate. How anyone can accelerate and move through traffic safely without endangering others in this car in gas-only mode without revving past 4k is a wonder to me but then again I have only owned two of these and am still relatively new to this platform.

Also someone said above that gas-only mode isn't that much different...I have to strongly disagree. Again, I drove my blue G1 with no IMA for a time and once the IMA was installed it is like a different car. No I didn't remove the 72lb battery for weight reduction but I don't see how that could have made up for no IMA.

That said, this thread is making me sad because there is a nice low-mileage G1 out there that isn't being enjoyed as it should be.
 
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And I'll add that the wizardry/Arduino needed to avoid DC converter issues/12V charging issues for gas-only mode sounds more than the OP wants to take on. I might be wrong here but I've heard several stories of people local to me who revved past 4k in gas only mode only to be stranded, and always at the worse time possible.
 
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