Automobiles

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Installing a trailer hitch on my Bolt

Installing a trailer hitch on my Bolt
After some research
I settled on a draw tite hitch from e-trailer
It is rated at 2000 lbs and max of 200 lb tongue weight
I don't expect my trailer to be anywhere near that but rugged is better than
Light weight when it comes to trailer hitches
The scariest part in the install is cutting out the slot in the Bolts rear bumper cover.
Note***
Instructions say 3.25" wide x 5" tall in the center
I assumed the 5" was measured vertically so my slot actually came in st
5.75" after putting it together it seems they mean
5" measured along the face of the rear cover
Pop two rear cover plastic retainers
Remove bottom two screws of the bumper mount
Place two rear attachment screws with anti rotation bars
And cool fish wire into the big hole in the cars frame
Lift whole hitch under the now loose rear bumper cover
And hang it from the two bumper studs .
Start the two nuts but don't tighten until the frame bolts have been passed through the big hitch stabilizer arms
Tighten the 4 bolts and the hitch is installed
Will work on the light kit today

grinding transmission no more

grinding transmission no more
transmission rebuild and underbody panels
Thanks to Scott, we saw how to rebuild a 5 speed, and install new under body panels

Lifting the battery safely

Lifting the battery safely
Some insight battery pack lifting options
As anyone that has pulled the battery pack on their insight can tell you, it is just heavy enough to hurt your back, and it requires you to lift in a very awkward position. Honda has a special lifting frame that the techs use, so I thought that with the requirement that one pulls the Insight pack to do a clean grid charger install,it was time to see if a quick and dirty version of the lifting frame could be fabricated.
Randall sent me a photo of one he made, using some handles, and a piece of plywood.

I made one with long handles, that allow comfortable lifting angles, and full control of the pack while removing or installing.

Converting a telephone truck to electric

Converting a telephone truck to electric
Ful electric telephone truck
Old telephone trucks make a great tool for cleaning gutters, painting, siding and many other uses. I converter my 40 year old truck to full electric, this blog which starts at the page bottom follows the conversion process.
Read More

Reading the blink codes

Reading the blink codes
how to read blink codes
While most of the nice OBDII code readers can tell us which P code is causing a check engine or IMA light, it cannot tell us the subcode ( Blink code).
The photo shows which pins need to be shorted together on the Insight OBDII plug to have the car report the blink subcodes.
Short with wire and the codes are reported.

When reading the IMA blink codes, the IMA light blinks and if the check engine light is on, it will blink
Example: a 74 IMA code would be 7 slow blinks, and 4 fast blinks, if there is more than one code, the blinking will have a long pause, and then blink out the second code.It will cycle through all the codes in a circular fashion. Say there was a 74, and a 78, and a 63. The IMA light would bilnk the 74, then the 78, then the 63, and then start back with the 74 and repeat until you release the short.

Blink codes:
Blink codes page 1
Blink codes page 2
Blink codes page 3

Insight Oil Pan second chance

Insight Oil Pan second chance
Oil Pan second chance
Thanks to Jim Alger at Find My Insight who sent me a stripped out oil pan, I believe I have a better solution to the expensive replacement that many people have faced.
This may have actually been part of the design, as I cannot see any other reason they would have put that strange O-ring retainer in the stack of washers.
I carefully looked at the pan, and saw that there were at least 4 complete threads in the rear of the stripped out magnesium hole. I quickly realized that if the crush washer, and O-ring plate were gone, and I cleaned the remains of the old threads out of the hex bolt, that it threaded in fully, and actually came out the other side with the full 4 threads to hold on to.
I got out the trusty gasket punch set, and made a nice 1/8" thick rubberized cork washer.
I screwed the bolt back in, and found that from first resistance(initial crush), to where I felt I was going to squeeze out the cork (not likely)that I had nearly a 1/4 turn. This should seal easily between the hex plugs polished underside, and the nice flat surface of the oil pan. The only question that remained was could it work loose over repeated hot cold cycles.
I decided that since there was already a nice blind threaded hole and bolt left over from the O-Ring washer, that I may as well make a hex plug anti rotation retainer,
I dug up a thin aluminum sheetmetal plate, and drilled a hole that was just a smidge larger than the distance across the hex head flats of the hardened plug. This hex is 17MM, so as a backing cavity I used a 6 point socket, and pressed the hex head through the aluminum with my drill press. This cold forms the aluminum to make a nice snug fitting hex hole to fit the hex head of the plug. I cut out the aluminum and made a narrow tab, then carefully bent the tab to slightly less than the wide base of the hex plug and the cork washer so it would not bottom out when applied.
Finally I drilled a clearance hole in the tab for the retaining screw.
I tightened the plug with the retainer in position till the hole lined up, put in the screw, and believe that this oil pan will work as good as it did before stripping out, all without the need to do any machining or removal of the oilpan, and with only the addition of a single sealing washer.
Cork rubber is good in oil, and is rated for -40F to 180F. I just happened to have a piece, but a better washer material may be Aramid/Buna-N, which is rated for -40 to 700F
You can buy a pack of 5- 5/8" X 1" X .062 Aramid/Buna-N
washers from http://www.mcmaster.com/
Part # 93303A284 for $8.10

When cleaning the EGR does not fix the hesatation

When cleaning the EGR does not fix the hesatation
EGR chanels can get blocked
As any hard core Insight owner knows, the Insight will buck and hesitate under low throttle when the EGR valve either gets clogged, or develops a bad feedback potentiometer.The exhaust gas passes into the cylinder intake by passing through an aluminum casting. Each of the three channels that are fed by this channel has a steel flow control orifice in the path.
When we removed the intake manifold on the green machine, this channel was totally clogged, and we needed a screw driver to clean it out. Probably should be cleaned whenever the EGR is serviced.

Rear view Video cameras

Rear view Video cameras
Rear view Video Cameras
Even before the rear MPG display, I played with using video cameras as a way to potentially replace the drag inducing rear view mirrors. I had acquired some LCD video displays and color cameras at the MIT electronics flea market. The cameras had a rather narrow field of view, so I set up four of them looking out the lower rear hatch window. I built a joystick operated 4 camera switch so I could easily select the camera. The display worked well except for when the sun shined directly on it, so I had a removable sun shield. The cameras worked very well during the day, or under street lights, but even with the automatic appture control, did not have the low light sensitivity to see much more than headlights of approaching cars. Of course to totally replace the rear view side mirrors, I would have needed two more cameras. With the correct choice of cameras,field of view, and a bright monitor, two side cameras should easily replace the side mirrors.
Several years later,at Hybridfest, I saw Bill Kinneys Insight that was set up with exactly that system, which seemed to work very well.

Real time external MPG display

Real time external MPG display
Rear Real Time MPG display
Back in 2002, I decided that I wanted to let the other drivers on the road know what I was getting for MPG.
I mounted a tiny color video camera on a bent piece of solid # 14 wire, which I stuck into the slot between the dash bezel and the steering column bezel. The camera was carefully focused so that only the bargraph and MPG displays were in the field of view. I made a waterproof rear LCD video display and fed the video signal to the monitor.
It was a bit too dark for full sunlight viewing, but was quite readable under most other conditions.
I hated it. I felt compelled to drive in my most efficient way, since everyone was watching, and finally took it out for that reason. Now if I were a hard core hypermiler that always got super numbers, it would have been another story.This was before MIMA, so maybe I need to dig it back out?

Auto brake light

Auto brake light
MIMA regen auto brake light
Calpod asked that a regen based brake light activation be designed for MIMA equipped Insights, as the car can slow down pretty fast if full regen is applied.
Without the brake lights to warn the guy behind you that you are slowing down, you could get rear ended if he is not awake.
The software is already working, and the Violet MIMA aux wire will pull low when the regen is greater than 15A.
The problem was how to interface to the car. If the brake switch was shorted by a relay, that would work, but as soon as the brake light is activated, the car will try to apply full regen, as that signal feeds to the MCM.
In looking at the schematics, I chose the connector in the passenger side B column as the best place to tie in. This spot is where the drive signal for the high mounted brake light is located. With this circuit, only the high mounted brake light will activate when MIMA or the car is over 15A of regen.
Any small 12V relay with SPDT contacts should work.