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Author Topic: Modifications to increase MPG Back to Topics
AustinLee3

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Tennessee

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2014 5:47:43 PM

Does anybody know of any modifications that you can do to your vehicle that could increase your fuel economy?
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Hemond
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Message Posted: Feb 19, 2014 9:35:05 PM

::::::cheap improvement... make sure air filter is clean::::


no longer of significance on modern engines. The computer compensates for a partially blocked air filter. If anything a blocked air filter will give better mileage as the engine is being fed less fuel air mix - properly mixed at the ideal 14.7:1 ratio.

Don't worry about the air filter. Change it out at what? 30,000 miles these days?
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Hemond
Champion Author Providence

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Message Posted: Feb 19, 2014 9:29:48 PM

:::::I somewhat remember Ford back in the latter end of the "90" trying a starter-less (non electric type)system on their T-Birds and some Lincoln models.:::;


What they did was have the computer stop the engine at a specific point. Then when ready to restart, the computer would squirt a bit of fuel into the appropriate cylinder. The engine would run backwards, (yes backwards) and compress the next cylinder. That cylinder would get an extra squirt of gas, starting the engine.

Clever system and no starter needed. I've been reading that this system is making a comeback in new generation start/stop hybrids.
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gougedQC
Champion Author Montreal

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Message Posted: Feb 19, 2014 8:33:37 PM

cheap improvement... make sure air filter is clean, boost tire pressure 5 psi over mfg recommendation

(they tend to keep it lower in order to have more flex in tires to give a softer ride)
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dontuknowOH
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Feb 19, 2014 11:34:01 AM

I somewhat remember Ford back in the latter end of the "90" trying a starter-less (non electric type)system on their T-Birds and some Lincoln models.

I believe that worked by using the ECM to take a reading of what cylinder was in a good stopped position to be pulse fuel injected partially (minimum)fuel/minimum air, then ECM providing a designated spark detonated using slight combustion to result in a crank-over energy start-up to that engine.

I don't know if that ever went into production, saying it seems that there could be a MPG advantage with that design if interest prevails. Electric starters are heavy, heavy gauge wire, related heavy amp parts are a weight factor for starting an engine. Including engagement metal. Seems so....
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Hemond
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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2014 8:20:16 PM

::::::You could also run "rhoads lifters".:::::


Although I've never heard of Rhoads Lifters, after your write-up, I know exactly what they do. Whoever dreamed them up is ingenious. They are sort of the fore runner to variable valve timing. They address through clever means the big problem with 'hot' cams. ie poor low RPM performance and especially horrendous idle.

If you've ever heard a race car idle, the thing can barely keep itself running. But since race cars don't idle much, who cares? However if you want a high performance engine in a street car, you want a comfortable idle. The Rhoads Lifter will do that.
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dontuknowOH
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2014 4:39:47 PM

I stumbled onto an in-line AC coolant tank heater to be fitted in line with a vehicle's heater hose connection. A Kat's brand 850 watt small tank type I like DIYing so I might try it for a mileage improvement for Winter.

Under say $50 bucks, saw only one left in stock, possible a lower wattage would work for me if it is available, I was really shopping for battery cable fittings. Next Winter may be a doozy also......
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skaboss79
Sophomore Author New Mexico

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2014 1:24:49 PM

Switch to ethanol/electric hybrid conversion kit
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oilpan4
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 18, 2014 10:46:25 AM

You could also run "rhoads lifters".
They are hydraulic lifers Normally used to tame high lift long duration cams for street use. They hydraulically leak down more than standard hydraulic lifters to reduce lift and duration at low rpm.
High rpms lessen the leak down time and allow the cam to run its high lift and duration.
These concepts can be applied to regular cams.

Only problem is they are only avaible for some push engines. Not for OHC engines.
Other wise they are pretty cheap last time I checked.
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Hemond
Champion Author Providence

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Message Posted: Feb 17, 2014 9:02:05 PM

QUOTE :::::How's that work when merging onto the expressway? I'd think twice about this mod.:::::


No reason I can see to think twice.

If you are looking for realistic mods to improve fuel economy, then stick with the tried and true. A fuel economy cam is as conventional and basic as you can get. Good for a 10% improvement.

Yes you will lower the torque curve. Life is a trade off. Its not as if its a game breaker. The freeway is full of vehicles without neck breaking acceleration. They merge just fine.

Some cars have multiple versions of engines which already have FE cams. You can buy the cam in junk yards or on ebay. The Geo Metro is one. The Civic and I believe the Corolla are others. $100 plus your time. If not then you will spend some money in a cam grinding shop.


[Edited by: Hemond at 2/17/2014 9:03:16 PM EST]
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Houckster
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Feb 17, 2014 10:03:27 AM

TRUE synthetic lubricants can make a difference too if you convert the entire drivetrain including engine, transmission and differential.
*******
HEMOND writes: A swapped out cam with a cam profile tuned for economy. The principles for eco cam design are well understood. Reduce intake and exhaust duration, reduce valve lift and overlap. Slightly advanced timing.

This modification shifts the torque curve lower. Improving low engine speed performance and significantly better mileage. Dramatic reduction in max torque point though.
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How's that work when merging onto the expressway? I'd think twice about this mod. OTOH, if the vehicle is driven almost exclusively around town then there might be some benefit.
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Hemond
Champion Author Providence

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2014 9:53:27 PM

A swapped out cam with a cam profile tuned for economy. The principles for eco cam design are well understood. Reduce intake and exhaust duration, reduce valve lift and overlap. Slightly advanced timing.

This modification shifts the torque curve lower. Improving low engine speed performance and significantly better mileage. Dramatic reduction in max torque point though.

On many economy cars this is a relatively painless mod. After you do it once, you can do it again in an hour.

[Edited by: Hemond at 2/14/2014 9:55:28 PM EST]
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oilpan4
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2014 12:43:54 PM

An old 5-speed chevy calv can get 38mpg with out even trying on the highway if you keep it under 65.
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Fredelin
All-Star Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Feb 12, 2014 7:05:18 AM

easy on the pedal on the start. carpool.
I also agree with PhilnTx
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hoopitup2000
All-Star Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 12, 2014 12:52:47 AM

"I've heard of people getting 38+ MPG out of their cavaliers . . . . "

They likely have manual transmissions & know how to shift for maximum engine efficiency.
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pawnkingfour
Champion Author Georgia

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 9:50:43 PM

Post all the old tricks.
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AustinLee3
Veteran Author Tennessee

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 3:47:11 PM

Honestly I think I may be trying to get more out of my car than it can give me haha and sadly my car doesn't have cruise control or I'd use it constantly! I just have been wondering if I can get more MPGs out of it than what it offers. I've heard of people getting 38+ MPG out of their cavaliers, but I guess it must have been something they have done to their vehicle or how it's driven.
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PhilnTX
All-Star Author Dallas

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 2:45:07 PM

Pace yourself in town to keep in sync with green lights.
Turn off engine for trains.
Idle as little as possible.
Only use cruise control on flat roads.
Monitor your tire pressure and keep within specs for your vehicle.
Keep vehicle tuned up and running good.
Don't carry a lot of extra weight in your car. (drop off the mother-in-law)
Use a "gas milage meter" to monitor how you drive. (Scan Gauge, Vacuum Gauge, factory instant mileage gauge, etc)
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jimmy544
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 1:45:51 PM

engine block heater is one that will surely save some fuel.
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the1roadhog
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 8:30:59 AM

drive less
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twt
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 5:35:47 AM

No modifications, needed. Use Cruise control.
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dontuknowOH
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Feb 11, 2014 3:27:07 AM

Over the past years when I have driven other's vehicles, I was really surprised how much different each vehicle's go pedal action was.

Saying I had some difficulty being accurate with the throttle action on some of those cars/trucks each time I left a stopped position. The difference in ratio action plus accelerator tension(maybe general stiffness)pressure tension to operate was quite varied.

I mentioned Go Pedal instead of saying throttle because some drivers aren't accustom to what that word refers to(mostly power equipment speed control)not automotive use.

The ratio of leverage control of the go pedal(sensitivity) to the drivers right foot action alone among different vehicle designs can be a factor in saving fuel.

As vehicles age often there is practically no maintenance lubing done to the original linkage controls of the go pedal systems. Same goes for door hinges/position palls, they get often forgotten service.

Vehicle hobbyists, street-rodder's, car collectors, ETC. generally take time to service these auto areas and keep things smooth to the touch. I just think the OEM's for the sake of fuel economy should also take time to refine the leverage ratios of the linkage system (Go-Pedal stuff)better attention to tuning...... "Do-over"! refinement.....LOL!
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drgeeforce
Sophomore Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 5:23:11 PM

My best way to cut my gas cost in half...carpool. If I drive every other day, I've just cut my gas cost in half. simple.
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oilpan4
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 4:59:32 PM

Saying you can't prove the fuel economy of a vehicle is like saying you cant make a car faster or make a truck go off road better.

Check out ecomodder.com, a lot less negitivity over there when it comes to getting better gas mileage.
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rick_evans
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 1:08:26 PM

Hemond wrote: "I even bought an O2 sensor socket from Harborside Tools for $5"

Do you mean Harbor Freight Tools which is nationwide?
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espo85
All-Star Author Connecticut

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 12:28:27 PM

Modify your driving habits.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 12:05:48 PM

A modification to your vehicle implies a change to your car's design, it's aerodynamics, or "tinkering or tooling" with the engine. If you mean "Does anybody know of any changes they can make...", you're including how you might change your driving habits (which is what you said in your follow-up post).

Think of it this way: If there were any significant "modifications" that you can "do to your vehicle", that would increase fuel economy, don't you think the automotive industry would have made those modifications? Or at least most of them? After all, isn't it in the automotive industry's best interest to get most mileage it can from a gallon or tank of gas, to encourage you to buy their car, and not a comparable vehicle with lesser fuel economy? And, so you're not confused, discussing the automotive industry, in this case, is different than discussing the energy industry.
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Houckster
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 12:00:51 PM

RICK_EVANS writes: The best modifications are how you drive, when you drive and the routes you choose.
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Correct.

While you can do a few things to your car like increasing the tire pressures, engines these days are basically closed systems so if you want a noticeable improvement in gas mileage you have two options: 1) You can do extensive engine work that will require dyno time to tune for maximum benefit or; 2) You can buy a new car that will have the improvements in fuel efficiency built in.
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rick_evans
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 9:42:06 AM

The best modifications are how you drive, when you drive and the routes you choose.
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MertieMan
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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 8:37:10 AM

Like my sorry excuse for a son in law, go ahead and mess with the vehicle, and most likely you will achieve less mileage per gallon. This moron ruined every vehicle that he owns.
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dassfg
Champion Author Fort Worth

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 8:26:36 AM

With a rear wheel gas vehicle (truck or older full size car) a good muffler shop can help with exhaust modifications. Newer front wheel drive models should leave everything alone since the computer controls all functions.
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OilerFan
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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 7:10:30 AM

In most cases, unless you are an engineer, the best way to get better mileage, is to get a different car.
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hoopitup2000
All-Star Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 7:05:47 AM

"I can get about 30 MPG in my little Cavalier"

If you are getting 30 MPG in a Cavalier, you're already doing well. The best I have ever gotten out of a Cavalier was 34 MPG on a flat terrain 700 mile highway trip.
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pilotdlh
All-Star Author Minnesota

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Message Posted: Feb 9, 2014 9:20:23 PM

Proper maintenance is always a good idea, but it's not a modification. I tried a K&N air filter on my truck, saw no noticeable difference.
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Houckster
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Feb 9, 2014 9:16:52 PM

SUPERMAN1AZ writes: The other thing you can do is have an injector service done every 15,000 miles, plus use cleaner in tank every couple of months. Clogged injectors make for misfires and wasted gas.
______
None of this is necessary with modern fuel injection systems. All that's necessary is to use high quality Top Tier fuels that have the necessary high levels of detergent.
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Hemond
Champion Author Providence

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Message Posted: Feb 9, 2014 8:01:47 PM

Change the upstream o2 sensor. Even if its not throwing a code. Even if its functioning within specs.

My old Corolla was starting to suffer a drop off in mileage. I was getting as little as 24 mpg. A huge loss compared to a normal 32mpg. turned out to be a worn O2 sensor.

The sensor was still generating a usable voltage, within spec. Not throwing a code. Yet, it was partially defective and not fully responding. It worked well enough to fool the computer though. Plus the car still ran just fine.


I bought a low cost O2 sensor off ebay. About $25 dollars. Extremely easy to install. (I even bought an O2 sensor socket from Harborside Tools for $5, heyheheyhey ) Mileage went back up to normal with the new sensor.

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superman1AZ
Rookie Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Feb 9, 2014 6:16:24 PM

You can keep you air cleaner changed, and also keep your car clean and slick. The other thing you can do is have an injector service done every 15,000 miles, plus use cleaner in tank every couple of months. Clogged injectors make for misfires and wasted gas.
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thirstyV8suv
All-Star Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Feb 9, 2014 4:28:43 PM

more free flowing intake and exhaust might help. porting and polishing the engine would lower air restriction. Problem is you're talking well over $1000 for all of these modifications which makes the breakeven hurdle pretty high.
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AustinLee3
Veteran Author Tennessee

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Message Posted: Feb 9, 2014 2:58:26 PM

I can get about 30 MPG in my little Cavalier by being smooth when I drive and not trying to slam on the gas every time I need to go. I make sure there's not extra weight in my car and that everything is tuned up. I need to check my tires as it has been quite a while since I have done that. I'm wondering about things that I could either add to the engine like a cold air intake or any kind of fuel economy gauge. I'm not even sure any of those type of modifications are worth it to be honest haha
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hoopitup2000
All-Star Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2014 6:48:53 PM

You can gain a slight MPG by increasing tire pressure. Make sure to not exceed the maximum on the tire sidewall. I run 35 winter / 40 summer as the car rides too hard in the winter with over 35.

The single most important factor is driving habits. Preserve momentum by avoiding excessive brake usage as much as possible. Avoid jack rabbit starts.

I estimate at least 75% of the drivers on the road are just plain terrible drivers & only care about themselves. I can get from point A to B just as fast, but use a lot less gas with much less wear & tear on the car.
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