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On the other side of the head, there are three fuel injectors, sandwiched between the fuel rail and the cylinder head. The injectors are controlled by the computer using a duty cycle signal (percentage on-time vs. percentage off-time). When the computer wants to add more fuel, it increases the injector on-time, (also called pulse width). […]

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This is the electrical-assist power steering rack. Since the internal combustion engine does not run all the time, a conventional hydraulic-assist power steering rack with a belt-driven pump will not work for the Insight or other hybrids. This unit is made by Showa, a subsidiary of Honda which makes many suspension and steering parts for […]

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The Insight uses a conventional belt-driven water pump and a thermostat to control temperature and flow. I suspect there will be electric waterpumps controlled by temperature sensors on future hybrids, which would eliminate the need for a drive belt, thermostat, front crank pully, and front crank seal (assuming the AC compressor is electric as well, […]

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I wish I had taken some pictures of the brake components. For the most part, the Insight’s brakes are conventional. The Insight does not really have regenerative braking; it’s more like regenerative deceleration. The amount of battery charging will actually decrease when you apply the brakes, unlike the Prius. One special brake feature is a […]

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Most of the time, the Insight uses the electric motor/generator to start the internal combustion engine, but if the main battery is discharged, or the weather is very cold, there is also an auxiliary starter motor that is powered by the auxiliary 12-volt battery. It’s important to check the auxiliary battery periodically, since you are […]

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The Insight uses a conventional air conditioning system with a compressor driven off a belt from the gas engine crank pully. This means that the engine must be running when the air conditioning is on. Owners who are accustomed to their hybrid’s gas engine shutting off when they come to stop signs are sometimes concerned […]

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The Insight’s frame is built entirely of aluminum and appears to be entirely hand-welded. Very little steel can be found anywhere on the car. Most components are made of aluminum or plastic. Aluminum is usually considerably more expensive than steel, and hand-welding is far more expensive that robotic welding. The Insight is no doubt a […]

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The Insight uses the thinnest motor oil of any car we work on. Generally, thinner oil will reduce drag and improve mileage. This is not the only reason to follow Honda’s oil viscosity recommendations. The bearing clearances on the Insight are very tight, in order to "hold" the very thin oil. Thicker, higher viscosity, oil […]

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This is a rather poor picture of the oil leak under UV light. Dye was added to the motor oil a couple hundred miles before this picture was taken. Our first thought was that the timing chain tensioner o-ring was leaking. It’s a fairly easy repair, so we replaced it and rechecked. Unfortunately, the leak […]

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This is the catalytic converter. You may notice that it is about a foot-and-a-half longer than the average import car’s converter. This is not because the Insight emits more that most cars. Just the opposite. The Insight runs a very lean air-to-fuel ratio, about 25% leaner than other cars. When very lean mixtures are used, […]

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