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Anything I can modify on my car to get better fuel economy?

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Anything I can modify on my car to get better fuel economy?

Old 07-14-07, 07:59 AM
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Anything I can modify on my car to get better fuel economy?

Many of my friends modify their cars heavily to gain power. Well, to me the beautiful car is the efficient machine, the quiet, non intrusive machine. I've actually found it fun to find a way to increase fuel economy, it's sort of a game now. I really have not done anything to my car except keep the tires inflated to 36psi, change antifreeze, and add windshield washer fluid. When I started driving this car (and getting used to the stickshift), I was getting 29mpg in town. THat does include a 3 mile highway stretch.
Now, after refining my technique and modifying my driving habits, I have been getting 35mpg. I am happy with this, the previous owner got 31 in town, and the car is rated for 28 or something close.
I really don't think there is anything left for me to modify when it comes to driving technique. So the next logical step would be modify the car . Does anybody have any suggestions for a starting point? Something to replace or alter that would positively affect fuel economy?
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Old 07-14-07, 08:09 AM
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A turbo would be a good bet.
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Old 07-14-07, 08:10 AM
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Not so much with fuel injection, at least not for the average tinkerer. Mostly good maintenance, which it sounds like your on the rright path of. Regular oil changes, clean air filters, run some fuel injector cleaner through it. Good driving habits, as you have discovered, probably make the biggest difference.
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Old 07-14-07, 08:15 AM
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What is the car?
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Old 07-14-07, 08:22 AM
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Replace the motor and drive train with a hybrid. Then replace the body with a more streamlined half tear drop shape.
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Old 07-14-07, 08:32 AM
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Step 1. Remove engine.
Step 2. Install pedals.


Done!
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Old 07-14-07, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by deanp
What is the car?
1993 Honda accord.
Engine swap is out of the question
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Old 07-14-07, 09:20 AM
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OK, here's my trying to make a more fuel efficient car story.

Had a truck - Chevy R3500 crew cab dually with 454 engine - pure power. It was used for some serious towing before I got it, had a fifth wheel in the bed and custom paintjob.

It started with 4-5 mpg highway with regular and about 6 with premium (with two 20 gallon tanks) over 45 since it had a three speed high torque transmission/rear-end.

By memory over ten years ago replaced the exhaust from the engine back with a high performance/high efficiency one (~$600) , put in an electronic/racing ignition so each plug would spark twice to use up the gas in the cylinder (~$200), high efficiency air filter (~$100), synthetic oil ($20 just for the oil each oil change and I did it myself - remember this was 10 years ago) to get a whopping 15% improvement in performance...or almost 1 mpg up to 7.

The rear-end went (think it had 444's in the back but I could be wrong) and replaced those with 357's which were less torque but the engine shifted around 55/60 now. Mileage jumped up to 10 mpg.

So, yeah, I spent probably around $2k to improve it by about 60%, or up to 10 mpg.

Since I filled both tanks twice a week sometimes (OUCH!) it did pay for itself over the life of the truck.

You can get better mileage for the cheapest amount by being more efficient with your driving habits - laying off the gas before coming to a 'stale green' or where a possible slowdown is possible, not driving much faster than each shift, driving the speed limit, etc...

How many miles do you think you'll put on in a year? 20,000? A difference from 33 to 36 mpg is 606 to 555 gallons of gas over the course of a year, or about four to five tanks. Say that translates to $300 in possible savings. Most noticeable improvements will cost well above that, so you have to have the car for over a year (or 2 or 3) before you'll start to see the financial benefits of putting money into it. If the engine or anything major goes and you have to scrap it you've spent more money than you've saved.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:24 AM
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You are already getting some great results, so improvements would be minimal at this point. However if you allow it to breathe a little easier you might see some gains. A free flowing air intake system and low resistriction exhaust would help. Those modifactions will likely make the car a little louder to drive and you might not find that desireable. You could also switch to all synthenic fluids in the car, like Mobil 1 or Royal Purple. Change the engine oil, transmission fluid and differential gear lube and free up some parasitic drag.

I sell aftermarket automotive parts wholesale and could reccomend some brands or products to look at if you're interested. There are lots of things available for Honda's, but lots of them are total junk.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:26 AM
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Reduce weight. Start rippin' stuff out. Interior, carpeting, stuff in the engine compartment that you don't absolutely need (air conditioner), if it's a dry climate, all of the glass (except the windshield) and the associated window raising/lowering hardware... Go nuts.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:28 AM
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Well, I am not really pursuing this for economy. This has become more of an addiction, a project. I know that from here out won't make much economical sense, but that's not my intent.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:29 AM
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keep the windows up, reduces drag.
keep the A/C off, it reduces fuel economy by 5%, although it is a sacrifice most aren't willing to make.
Reduce the weight of the car when possible, perhaps take the seats out or - if you are really hardcore - remove sound insulation and carpet.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:33 AM
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PC - you've already made the most effective and cost efficient modification you can make (and that 99% of other drivers aren't willing to make!) and that's the modification to your right foot. I've seen it said in another, more graphic way: Add an egg between your foot and gas pedal. Don't break the egg.

You can add high flow air filters ($), engine chips ($$-$$$), larger exhaust systems ($$$+) and other mechinacal mods but your gains will be minimal based on the type of driving you describe.

One point regarding your tire pressure. What is the tire pressure on the sidewalls of the tires you have? My guess is up to 35psi, a pretty common pressure. By exceeding that, you may get slightly better milage but at the expense of a rougher ride and wearing out the tire faster. Plus, if the tire is bowing out in the center - that's where it happens with overfilling - you're getting a smaller contact patch on the road thus less traction. And it's especially bad in wet conditions.

Just keep the car in good mechanical condition with good quality fluids, tires PROPERLY inflated, spark plugs and wires in good shape, clean air filter, brakes adjusted properly, wheels aligned correctly and lubed. And monitor that right foot closely!

Oh, and whatever you do, don't fall for the stupid things like magnets on the fuel lines, "cyclone" air inlet doohickey, etc etc. They're all worthless.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:44 AM
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Is the "Cyclone" one of those things that goes in the air tube thing? I read something about that, pretty funny how little sense it makes.
My tires are actually rated for 44PSI, according to the sidewall.

I think I am going to start with a high flow air filter. I am almost certainly going to have to replace the exhaust system next year, according to the previous owner and the mechanic who handles my state inspections. Maybe then I'll try the exhaust system.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:46 AM
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when i was 18 i had a 91 accord 5spd, same body style as yours...

typically i got about 28mpg overall.

i installed a full catback exhaust, headers, and an intake. It bumped me up to about ~31mpg average and i had a pretty significant improvement in power on the top end. It became a goat around town... not fun.

would i do it again? no. Was it fun doing all the work on my own car? heck yes. was the cost benefit worthwhile? I don't know. The power going over the grapevine(mountain pass on 5 fwy) in california was surreal. Once i hit 84 mph the car would pretty much go up any incline w/o loss of speed, needless to say it was a blast...
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Old 07-14-07, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by x136
Reduce weight. Start rippin' stuff out. Interior, carpeting, stuff in the engine compartment that you don't absolutely need (air conditioner), if it's a dry climate, all of the glass (except the windshield) and the associated window raising/lowering hardware... Go nuts.
For some reason I had this vision of the cars from Mad Max...and I liked it
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Old 07-14-07, 10:19 AM
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water injection. It works, but if you run out of water, bad things happen.
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Old 07-14-07, 10:25 AM
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My dad worked for Shell and told me some of the ways cars got better mileage in the 1940s and 50 during the old Mobil economy run and flat out fuel record attempts. The only ones for you with your set limits would be to drive as slowly as you can get away with and to limit air flow to the radiator so you can run as hot as you can. Runing hot can improve the thermodynamic efficiency of the engine. It may/will shorten the life of your engine but you didn't say you were worried about that.
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Old 07-14-07, 10:53 AM
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Fuel economy is a combination of powertrain efficiency (friction losses as a result of design or thermal concerns) vs. weight vs. aerodynamics.

You will be hard pressed to get tons of economy from it. Electric cars merely offset the economy issue to the power plant. Hybrids work best overall because they run an engine at the optimal RPM range and load to get the most out of it, while the electric motor has the most efficiency variables to deal with (which is fine, since an electric motor is more efficient than an internal combustion engine at that output level).

The way a hybrid does it bypasses the inefficiencies that happen when transferring power from the plant through miles of cables, to your home, to a transformer so the power is suitable for your car's charging system, which then the batteries have inefficiencies...it's an ongoing fustercluck. You can argue a hybrid is tis way as well, but at the end of it, you cannot have more efficiency through a production line with twice as many processes (each having a certain degree of waste)

Basically, keep your tires optimally inflated, use the right gas for your car, and keep in mind any "easy/cheap" mods will net very small gains if any. Most cars are engineered to have as good economy as possible for their size class and type of vehicle.
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Old 07-14-07, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by skiahh
Oh, and whatever you do, don't fall for the stupid things like magnets on the fuel lines, "cyclone" air inlet doohickey, etc etc. They're all worthless.

The cyclone was the greatest forum troll I have ever done.....Cyclone claimed a 7hp gain, so by theory 10 would be a 70hp gain, right?

So I made a thread in this car forum where I made a shopped pic of me installing 10 of them in a 2.3l Mustang to bump it from 105 to 175HP (eat it Type-R peeps)....then went on about how it was so awesome on the street, hwo everyone feared my extra 70HP, etc.

It was truly epic....the lollery lasted for years. I bet if I join and even takl about chaining Cyclones now I will get insta-banned.
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Old 07-14-07, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by skiahh
PC - you've already made the most effective and cost efficient modification you can make (and that 99% of other drivers aren't willing to make!) and that's the modification to your right foot. I've seen it said in another, more graphic way: Add an egg between your foot and gas pedal. Don't break the egg.
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Old 07-14-07, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by twahl
run some fuel injector cleaner through it.
That stuff is a waste of money if you dump it into the tank. Premium gas every now and then is all that fuel injectors need. Dumping it into the fuel lines directly, now that isn't just a waste of money, it will destroy your injectors.
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Old 07-14-07, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Air
For some reason I had this vision of the cars from Mad Max...and I liked it
Someday I'd like to get a smallish, expendable car, and go completely insane weight weenie on it. Tear everything out of it, remove parts that are heavy and not completely necessary (hood? pft!), drill holes in stuff, and see how far I can get before I start getting pulled over.
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Old 07-14-07, 12:05 PM
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If I could afford it, I would make this car electric right now. Hybrids are certainly no more efficient than a full electric, since the electricity is generated from an already grossly inefficient IC engine. The argument that electric cars simply shift the pollution is a bunch of bull. Larger power plants which run off non renewable resources are still several times more efficient than your little IC engines in a car. I don't believe transmission line losses are that great, at least relative to the input. I^2 * R = Heat dissipation
But I isn't so large, since they run many kilovolts through there to keep current lower.

Electric motors have a torque curve far better suited for driving, in that it has full torque at stall, and continues to have torque throughout the curve, just not as much as it did at a stall. Already your motor is probably approaching 90% efficiency, then the last thing to make a greater inefficiency would be your choice of cabling from battery to motor. But then as motor speed increases, it generates it's own back emf, cutting the current draw, consequently heat production caused by resistance down the transmission line.
*sigh* someday.
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Old 07-14-07, 05:28 PM
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Why spend money to make your car just a little more fuel efficient?

My mom had a car that got 28 mpg, she wanted something more fuel efficient to save money on gas. So she spends $17,000 on a new, slightly more fuel efficient car. I don't get it. Your not saving any money. If you want to save money on gas, don't drive as much.

Cars...
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