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Hi,
I'm an insight newbie, and I'm now the proud owner of a 2006 manual. I live in the middle of the yukon and we regularly get -40 c for up to weeks, down to -50 occasionally. I'm doing all the standard vehicle winterizing - block heater, pan heater, piece of cardboard, and starter battery blanket, but my concern is the IMA. If it sits for a week at -40 will it be toast? Should I be keeping the heat up in the IMA at all times when it is that cold? I'm not so keen on running so much power to the car when I'm not using it and only driving it on weekends, but if that's what I have to do that's what I will do!!

Any tips about using the vehicle in such extreme winter cold, the kind where anything plastic shatters, would be appreciated. I full expect mpg to suffer.

Cheers,
Laird
 

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Welcome to the forum!

You may get the award for the "Northern-Most Insight". Extreme climate is harsh on the systems, as you are aware. The owners manual specifies the optimal temperature range IIRC.

My electric car has Lithium Ion battery, so not the same as The G1, but it even protects the system by preventing startup in -25 F or colder weather. This has gotten some folks stranded, as they do fine when leaving a preheated garage in the morning, then park in the elements at work (unplugged) and the car/batteries cool below the threshold. I suspect you probably have 110v outlets in most public parking areas for engine plugs, so you may get away with your plan, depending on your driving distances.

Remember that the car is low, and the front spoilers (underbelly) do not like to mingle with snow, slush, and water puddles. Recommend removing them before inadvertent damage. Happened to me twice.

I applaud you for pushing the envelope, but I would like to know why? Why stray from the convention of 4WD, or AWD, higher ground clearance, and simpler internal combustion propulsion? Maybe I have a wrong image of how the roads are in the Yukon Territory, so enlighten me. Has anyone you respect thinks you are crazy, or too adventurous? :) If you are convicted about your plan, don't let them stop you, just give it your all! That's how we advance. Wish you the best!
 

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I know Art has experience with northern climate. He will give you good advice too. So you've come to the right place.
Again, Welcome.
 

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Keep the battery plugged into a grid charger to provide a very mild charge to keep the battery temperature up. That way you get the IMA start instead of the miserable chug-chug-chug of the 12v starter. Use a good 0w20 synthetic oil in the motor. A block heater is a good idea too.
 

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I know Art has experience with northern climate. He will give you good advice too. So you've come to the right place.
Again, Welcome.
Art does it right. He spends the winter in Hawaii.

Sam
 

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the first thing i would do is drain the coolant and re fill with a 60-40 mix (or more). The 50-50 mix will slush up and then freeze. Id not bother with the block heater all week. The motor dumps heat really good and will cost a small fortune to keep that plugged in. The pan heater yes, id run it. The IMA I wouldnt worry about it. The system is rather decent on warming it self up slowly and the ultra cold will slow the discharge that happens from sitting
 

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The rear tires are an inch or so each closer than the fronts, so in snow your fronts will plow a path, and the rears will twitch back and forth, left to right, and they try to figure out which front tire path to follow. Some guys have installed wheel spacers to push the rear tires out an inch. You also have to be aware of slush building up in the rear tire wheel well areas and scrapping the rear rims and/or rear tire skirt. Some of the guys only use the wheel spacers for the winter, with winter tires, and remove the skirts for the winter. In the winter I use a block heater on a timer, for about an hour before leaving for work.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/24011-rear-wheel-spacers-recommendations.html

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-discussions/26994-20mm-rear-wheel-spacers-installed.html

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/34633-warning-car-flat-out-dangerous-deep-snow-3.html
 

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.... The IMA I wouldn't worry about it......
My .02,

I live in southern Wisconsin, and owning the car for the past 5 years or so, there have been three times that it has been too cold for the IMA to start the ICE. Ambient temp was -15F or so.

If I wanted the car to start on the IMA, then I would plug in the trickle charger over night in those super cold conditions you are describing. Maybe run the trickle charger on a timer and and start it 4 hours before leaving.

However, this may work great when you leave the house, but without being able to plug in a work, you could get stranded if the 12V starter does not get things going. This *almost* happened twice last winter, when it was -15F at work. It was close!

Maybe think about running an extra large 12V battery just in case.

Jim.
 

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I would worry most about the low SOC at which the car seems to maintain the 12v battery (resting voltage of about 12.8 from what I can tell).

For a deep winter, I would consider just disconnecting the IMA plugs in back so the DC-DC will charge the 12v at a higher SOC and drive for the winter as a gasser. Then use a grid charger in the spring before you plug things back up and go hybrid again.
 

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If you're familiar with the Insight 'grid charger' (devices sold on this forum and elsewhere), you could use that to keep your battery warm. These devices typically charge at 300mA, which is ~C/20 (420mW/cell). Since the battery is fairly well insulated, I suspect you'll keep the cells 10-20 degC warmer... possibly warmer if you keep the IMA fan off (most of us hack the fan on in warmer climates).

If your battery has temp sensors installed (some no longer do), you could use that to increase/decrease the charge current from C/10 to C/40 to maintain a certain temperature setpoint (this would require some basic EE theory). Don't indefinitely charge the batteries over C/10, as this will create more heat internally than the cell can discharge without damage.

FYI: A charged NiMH battery turns excess charge current into heat, which creates an internal gas that recombines from anode/cathode, so there's no damage as long as the battery doesn't get too hot internally.
 

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Muddier - I am not sure what you mean....if you mean 150 volts at 300 ma, that is roughly 45 watts of power.....heat into the battery...
 

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Iherbert,

Welcome to the forum and congrats on your G1. Do some search for posts from Artisbel, he lives up north, also posts from AbCaRed00 (he's in Alberta).

An engine block heater may be worthwhile (a heated garage better). As for the pack, when my pack temp hit single digits (F) the car would not start from the IMA, a self-protective feature. It started from the 12v starter. I had to run cabin heat and the pack 'cooling' fan to draw heat through the pack to warm it up. The OBDIIC&C enables operation of the pack fan. The pack does not behave normally when too cold and can be harmed.

I recall reading about grid-charging should be done 41-86 deg F ideally, and 5 deg F was a 'critical minimum'. I can not remember where I read that, I jotted a note in my 'maintenance pad'.

Running a small electric 'ceramic' heater in the cabin to provide some sort of heat to keep the pack from freezing solid would help, but care must be taken not to set your car on fire.

I also use a lower grill block. MSantos posted on cleanmpg.com (his article in the link) some preps for winter including the lower block. I used foam rubber pipe insulation and cut notches to fit the lower grill (msantos' method).

Some of us use radiator blocks of various decripts, but you need to be able read the actual coolant temp to prevent overheat (OBDIIC&C allows this too). The temp indicator on the G1 is not very accurate or responsive. The thread 6 x 17 inch piece of cardboard has much info on grill blocks. Mine are on pages 27 & 28.

Post some pics when you make your mods.

Good luck,
 

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There is nothing you need to worry about when driving the car in the winter. No coolant changes, no grid chargers, nothing.

My 2000 has seen 14 Canadian winters, temperatures down to -40C.

There are however, a few things you should be aware of.

Like ANY VEHICLE, make sure the Insight is in good tune and nothing is broken. Winter will find weak links.

I highly suggest 4 snow tires. The stock all season LRR tires are downright dangerous in the winter.

Because the IMA will not star the car if the temperature is below -20C or so, make absolutely sure the 12V battery works enough to spin over the 12V starter. It is amazingly funny when the car doesn't start because of a "dead battery" and you need to jump it.

In heavy snow, be prepared to rip off the undertray. I suggest removing them for snow season if you get more than a few inches at a time.

A block heater will greatly increase mileage for that first trip of the day because engine will already be up to temperature. Colder than -20C or so, the thing never warms up. Especially if you try to use the heater before the thermostat has opened.

Assist and regen will be greatly reduced until the IMA battery warms up.

The Insight rear defog sucks.

If you are in salt country, keep your fuel door lever (beside the driver seat) lubricated! White lithium grease. If not, it will rust solid through disuse and then you're in the cold pulling up the trim and carpet to access the cable directly.

Don't expect lean burn unless you have a tail wind or slight downhill below about -15C.

Keep a folding military shovel in the storage compartment for when you high center the car on show.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
 

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If you are in salt country, keep your fuel door lever (beside the driver seat) lubricated! White lithium grease. If not, it will rust solid through disuse and then you're in the cold pulling up the trim and carpet to access the cable directly.

This reminds me when my fuel door was failing to open at a gas station while I was on "E", and I was starting to explore the cable tear down procedure, when a grandmother came over to school me on how to easily jimmy the fuel door latch open with a credit card. Lol
 

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I know Art has experience with northern climate. He will give you good advice too.

Art does it right. He spends the winter in Hawaii.
I'm useless in this regard. Although I haven't always spent winters in Hawaii (I do now), I have never driven my Insight in Sweden between 1 December and 1 April when snow tires are required by law. In the winter, I walk, ride my bike (studded bike tires are common here), or take advantage of Sweden's excellent public transportation. Besides, winters near Stockholm are cream puffs compared with Yukon winters (thank you, Gulf Stream). :)

When I stored my car in a carport parking space (i.e., outside temperatures), I ensured that the freezing points of the windshield washer fluid and coolant were below the expected low temperatures. I plugged in my block heater before driving whenever ambient temperatures were below 10º (50º F) (common in spring and fall). I have begun keeping my 12 v. battery on a trickle charger because the Insight's 12 v. charging system doesn't keep the battery's charge level high enough (that could be very important when temperatures are cold enough that the 12 v. starter motor is used).

I now store my car in a heated garage, so it no longer experiences low temperatures.
 

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The rear tires are an inch or so each closer than the fronts, so in snow your fronts will plow a path, and the rears will twitch back and forth, left to right, and they try to figure out which front tire path to follow. Some guys have installed wheel spacers to push the rear tires out an inch. You also have to be aware of slush building up in the rear tire wheel well areas and scrapping the rear rims and/or rear tire skirt. Some of the guys only use the wheel spacers for the winter, with winter tires, and remove the skirts for the winter. In the winter I use a block heater on a timer, for about an hour before leaving for work.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/24011-rear-wheel-spacers-recommendations.html

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-discussions/26994-20mm-rear-wheel-spacers-installed.html

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/34633-warning-car-flat-out-dangerous-deep-snow-3.html
Cannot stress this enough. I almost totalled my insight last year because of this. Last year was a pretty rough winter for Wisconsin, and I had a few issues. The turn signal cancellation quit working, and I'd hear a grinding/chunking when turning the wheel from inside the steering column. I suspect the grease on the turn signal mechanism was just too cold, and caused things to bind. When warmer weather finally returned, it went back to normal. I also had to install a radiator block, because the car wasn't heating up unless I went on drives over 20 minutes. Around town I was just freezing my *** off and the car was hard to see out of since the defrost wasn't very warm.
 
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