Latest update: 4/10/2021 OBDII hacks added
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The purpose of my whole website is to present ideas, how to do things etc with an amateur or first time user/builder in mind. I usually present ideas and things I've done that are somewhat out of the ordinary or using material that other people would have thrown out. Because I have a very extensive collection of "stuff" I very rarely have to go to the store to buy material to make things.
This section of the website is to describe changes, features etc I've made to my 2005 Honda Insight Hybrid car. The 2000 to 2006 Honda Insight is the high fuel mileage king of most (all?) cars.
Here is a link to a chart that shows what fuel mileage a stock, unmodified Insight can get with careful driving, Insight speed vs mpg. It takes time to learn how to do it, but those figure are possible.
Even though Insights get unusually high fuel mileage they can be tweaked to get even more! Of course the best mileage will depend upon how the car is driven. Drive it with no regard to fuel mileage and you may only get 40 mpg or even less. Drive it carefully and you can easily get 85 to 100 mpg. A few exceptionally patient people have gotten over 1200 miles on less than one 10.6 gallon tank full of gas.
This portion of the website is devoted to the changes etc I've made to my car. Some of the changes are very minor. Some changes are what I do on all my cars. But most of them are towards getting more fuel mileage or tricks I've learned while playing with cars.
I've been driving a very dependable 1988 Honda CRX-HF for 22+ years. There aren't many practical gasoline only road cars that can even get close to the fuel mileage of a stock CRX-HF. The CRX-HF is the present 4 cylinder, gasoline powered high mileage king with mpg numbers of 42 to 48 mpg in town and 51+ mpg highway. I used to get even more mileage but ethanol gasoline reduces fuel mileage especially in town. The HF can get more mpg than most present day hybrids, especially so on the highway.
I had been thinking of getting another car for a while now and I had several things I wanted another car to have or be. One was to have even better fuel mileage than the CRX. That was going to be a tall order to fill right there. To get high fuel mileage the car was going to have to be very streamlined, be light, rather small and not have a lot of hp. I've had 2 door coupes as my normal car for decades so the small part didn't bother me at all.
I also wanted a car that wouldn't have any rust problems later in life The first generation Insight meets all those criteria.
There is a very active Insight owner forum at insightcentral.net . As much fuel mileage as a stock Insight can deliver there are several modifications that the users have found that can increase the mpg. There are also driver hints, maintenance topics etc on the site.
Quick details of the Insight
The Insight was designed basically to get exceptional fuel mileage with modern features and comfort. I also think that Honda was using the Insight as a test bed to see how well a hybrid car would be accepted by the public. All new cars of that era already had the OBDII system built into the car. The Insight was unique in that it's OBDII system has many times more data measurement points than normal cars have.
The body is made of aluminum except for the front fenders which are lightweight plastic. The chassis has forged aluminum and aluminum crush zones built in. Light weight metals or specialized plastics are used for parts of the suspension, brakes, engine, fuel tank etc.
Aerodynamics was an important consideration in designing the CRX and the Insight. The CRX has a Cd of .295 and the Insight Cd is .250. The Cd of both cars are very good. Attention to small details is how you get good Cd numbers. For instance the Insight body narrows toward the rear of the car to help simulate a tear drop shape for good air flow at the rear of the car. The rear wheels are ~4" closer together than the front wheels to allow the narrower body.
To help reduce weight, the front brake calipers are made of aluminum (remember this was done in 1999),. The gas tank is made of composite plastic and other synthetic materials, the 3 cylinder engine has aluminum, magnesium and other light weight materials in it's construction. The engine has special design features to reduce friction and increase efficiency. For instance the crankshaft is offset ~1/2" from the cylinder bores. The engine also has a Vtec-E valve system designed for efficiency which also gives increased power. The electric portion of the drive system (Honda calls it the IMA system) can give an additional 13 hp on demand.
History of my car
I bought this local one owner car in December of 2012. Luckily I also got all the Honda service invoices with it and it appears that the car was very well maintained. Like most older hybrids it had a weak high voltage Ni-MH battery. Luckily I was able to get a Honda warranted replacement battery at very low cost.