Wankers Leap into Life

Posted on April 10th, 2008 in Driving Emotion,Economy,Hybrid Power,Opinion by Julian Edgar

When we ran the story on modifying the Honda Insight’s TPS signal, I knew that we’d get some attention. That’s in part because to a much greater degree than with the Toyota Prius, Insight owners – especially in the US – are much more likely to modify their cars.

But what I hadn’t counted on was the stupidity that’s so rampant in car discussion groups. Just as occurred when I wrote about upgrading the Insight’s rear springs to improve load carrying and handling (see this blog), all the idiots came out of the woodwork.

Examples? Try these:

Just my opinion but the circuit does not extend lean-burn, it just helps those with a heavy foot maintain a smoother TPS input into the ECU and the Insight will not drop out nearly as quickly.

Well, no kidding – that’s exactly what the article says the modification achieves!

He was driving pretty fast and I get better results with just my foot.

I was doing the same speeds as other traffic, 80, 100, 110 km/h – what do you normally do, dawdle along in the slow lane?

Not to take this off topic, but I am getting to the point of offense at the term “real world mileage”, etc..etc., such as the tone in the article. It would seem that 3 years of daily commutes, sprinkled with road trips for Christmas, Hybridfest, picking up family at distant airports, is not real world.

See above – I was going as fast as the other traffic, and accelerating as fast as they were too. That’s what I call real world. Do you do that?

It’s pretty unneccessary. I can stay in lean burn for 95% of long highway trips easily with good foot modulation. As mentioned earlier, I pick the mileage. The terrain decides how fast I go.

Sure, and that’s real world driving, eh? Going slowly up hills and fast down the other side – the people behind you must hate you.

OK, if [it’s] not drive by wire [throttle control], then smoothing the tps signal to the ecu won’t do much good.

Great, someone who didn’t even read the article but feels qualified to comment…

The scope readouts would be more useful if the AFR was on one trace and the tps on the other. Then relating the tps signal to degrees of pedal ‘push’ would tell you how much tps sets off the leave lean burn mode.

Another person who didn’t read the article – if he had, he’d know that I specifically state that it’s rate of throttle change not throttle position that tips the car out of lean cruise…

And so it goes on… No one has (yet) done the mod – something that takes maybe 30 minutes – and yet here they all are, saying how well it will work or not work, happily describing bizarre driving behaviour that nets them incredible fuel economy and must drive everyone else on the road insane (for more on the idea, see this blog).

AutoSpeed is certainly heading in a greener direction but I hope we never lose the idea of performance driving. Some of these people seem to have never heard of it, let alone having developed any reading comprehension…

10 Responses to 'Wankers Leap into Life'

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  1. James said,

    on April 11th, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Admit it though Julian, you didn’t really expect any better did you?

    For what it’s worth, I read the article, understood it and thought “you clever bugger.” It’s thinking and reasoning like this that keeps me reading & subscribing to your site.

    Just remember that empty vessels make the most sound and keep kicking against the pricks.

  2. Julian Edgar said,

    on April 11th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Actually, I did expect better.

    But I now know for certain that the next Honda Insight mod (also applicable to many other cars – story to be published in a few weeks) will be greeted with condemnation in complete ignorance of its actual efficacy.

  3. Jason said,

    on April 11th, 2008 at 12:36 pm


    I thought you were well and truely over keyboard warriors after the Autospeed Forums as well as many of the other forum threads that have shown little or no idea about topics they ‘discuss’

    Seriously, WHY given them MORE publicity and stoke their egos more… You know the mod works, you have proved it, – let the keyboard tuners bitch and moan all they like….

  4. Julian Edgar said,

    on April 11th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Some people on those discusison groups are smart – they’ve developed a very tricky manual over-ride for the electric assist/regen braking system.

    Others are clearly not so smart…

  5. Julian Edgar said,

    on April 11th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Gosh, someone has just gone and done it, and you know what? They say it works. Who’d have believed that?!

  6. Mitchell said,

    on April 11th, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    This is the new world of Pandora’s Blog, which has actually impacted on some people’s psyche. It allows morons to pretend they are experts. Have you seen the DRIVE(L) on some of the other motoring blogs? For what its worth I found it a fascinating read and I wonder if leaner-cruising has a possible use in regular ICE cars?
    Although it appears you wrote this in the spur of an angry moment.

  7. Ron B. said,

    on April 13th, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I remember the schtick you got when you put discs on the rear of your Prius….and on the subjects of hybrids,I spent some time in Adelaide last month Cruising around and GOING OFF ROAD in a lexus LS 600 hybrid. it’s a huge car by hybrid standards and simply amazing in it’s complexity but not what i would think of as a Green vehicle by virtue of the fact it must weigh close to 2 tonnes and must have left a elephant size carbon foot print while being built. ha ha

  8. Julian Edgar said,

    on April 14th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    From the one person who actually has done it:

    “Today I had the chance to put this to a pretty good test on a route I have traveled quite a few times.

    The route (from my parents house to mine), is 18 miles and consists mostly of slight rolling hills, with one bigger drop follwed by a rise. The last 5 miles is mostly straight city driving with a few lights. Average speed is 45 mph, with a low of 25 mph through the University area.

    Last summer, the best I could ever get was into the mid to high 80 mpg range, this was with temps ranging from the 50’s to nearly 100 degrees F.

    Today I pulled into my driveway sitting at 106 mpg, and the car was at 110 mpg when I hit the city limits. The mod definitely does what is promised and the car clearly stays in lean burn longer even with some throttle movement. Again, it might not affect the mileage of a really good hypermiler, but with my skill level it makes a noticeable improvement. Also, considering how simple the mod is makes it a no brainer for those who have the ability to do the installation, and for those not worried about voiding a warranty.

    edit: btw, the temperature was around 65 degrees F.”

  9. Wayne said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Finally got around to putting together the ” simple ” mixture display. and did some testing on my new car. For those interested, the Vy Commodore drops out of lean cruise based on throttle angle, not rate of change so the ‘smooth driver” mod will not make any difference. As soon as the throttle position is relaxed, it goes back into lean cruise, so at least it is only out for the climb. Incidentally when it does, it goes completely off the chart of the mixture display, (leaner than it can show obviously). I was thinking i might change the operating range (possibly make it a dual range display with a switch).

  10. Julian Edgar said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Wayne, that’s interesting.

    Because the ECU software for that car is so well understood, the lean cruise configuration can be changed by chip remapping. If you happen to live in the Gold Coast / Brisbane area, I may be able to get it done for you – it’s a story we’d like to do in AutoSpeed, especially if detailed fuel consumption records are being kept.