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Old 05-24-2012, 01:20 AM   This thread is in the EcoModder Project Library | #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 26

Olive Drab - '94 Honda Civic VX
90 day: 52.54 mpg (US)
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Civic VX MPG project (Delete Alternator, add solar)

After a year of searching, I found a 1994 Honda Civic VX (49state) to base my project on so let the fun begin!

As the title suggests, I plan on using a solar system from SunRNR.com to allow for the removal of charging system losses. This solar system is cool because it uses a 135Watt solar panel hooked to a small battery unit. The SunRNR unit has a built in 12VDC charge controller and power invertor to supply 120VAC.
Heavy gauge power cables will connect the rear mounted SunRNR battery pack in parallel to the stock car battery and electrical system. I anticipate that removing the alternator belt and charging losses will result in sufficient gain in MPG to quickly pay for the SunRNR unit and more.

The SunRNR solar panel has a very sturdy aluminum frame which reduces the chances of damaging the panel and should allow for easy integration into a boat tail addition. It looks like the best mount will use the existing upper rear hatch hinges to make the solar panel into a new hatch. I'll upgrade the hatch support struts to hold the extra weight which will make it a functional trunk lid. Initially I'll be building the boat tail out of foam for easy shaping and aerodynamic testing. The outside will then be clad in a skin of fiberglass or aluminum and the trunk will be hollowed out leaving a layer of foam which gets fiberglass. (EDIT: The solar panel fit better on the top of the car)


Last edited by VXmpgRacer; 07-26-2012 at 03:22 AM..
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
Drive less save more
 
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Dusty - '98 VOLKSWAGEN Beetle TDI
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Sounds ambitious, but doable. You will find others on this site who have first hand knowledge with a boat tail add on.
I have a 15w panel on my dash that keeps keeps my battery at full charge, which is useful as my cars factory alarm and various components such as ecu ect.. slowly drain off my battery noticeable without the panel in place.
I leave my car for days at a time without driving it.
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 26

Olive Drab - '94 Honda Civic VX
90 day: 52.54 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2
Thanked 15 Times in 5 Posts
Vehicle Details:
1994 Honda Civic VX Hatchback (5-wire 49state model)
Stock 1.5L VTEC-E engine with lean burn - 130k miles
Aztec Green Perl exterior with black/gray interior

The previous owner replaced the distributor and plug wires but I didn't know any other vehicle history so I went through the entire vehicle.

Initial Work Completed:
New low rolling resistance 165/70-R13 tires
New Bosch 5-wire wideband oxygen sensor
Timing belt replaced(corrected incorrect valve timing)
Ignition timing set to 16deg BTDC
Thermostat replaced
Valve adjustment
Spark plugs replaced
Fuel filter replaced
Alternator belt replaced
Oil pan gasket
Clean EGR
Clean FITV
Clean air filter
PCV checked
Remove aluminum exhaust shield
Exhaust system heat wrapped
New exhaust gaskets
Rust spots fixed
Fresh 5W-30 Mobil 1 Synthetic (will use 0W-20 next time)
FRAM extra-guard oil filter
I also added air conditioning from salvaged parts

Last edited by VXmpgRacer; 06-01-2012 at 09:44 PM..
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 26

Olive Drab - '94 Honda Civic VX
90 day: 52.54 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2
Thanked 15 Times in 5 Posts
Current Modifications:
Sumitomo HTR T4 Low Rolling Resistance Tires 165-70R13
Radio antenna - Exterior antenna removed and interior antenna installed(5/13/12)
Passenger Mirror Removed(5/13/12)
Windshield wipers changed to low profile(5/13/12)
Belly Pan(6/14/12)
Vacuum Gauge(6/16/12)
MPGuino Computer(7/18/12)
Front air dam(7/20/12)
Side Skirts(7/20/12)
Solar charging and storage system(SunRNR.com)(7/25/12)
Future Modifications

Rear wheel well covers
Boat tail
Alternator belt removal (wire currently removed 7/25/12)
Wheel covers (14" pizza pans)

Last edited by VXmpgRacer; 07-25-2012 at 11:02 PM..
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Coastal Southern California
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Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
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90 day: 61.22 mpg (US)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by VXmpgRacer View Post
Current Modifications:
Radio antenna - Exterior antenna removed and interior antenna installed(5/13/12)
Passenger Mirror Removed(5/13/12)
Windshield wipers changed to low profile(5/13/12)
Future Modifications
Front air dam
Belly pan
Rear wheel well covers
Boat tail
Solar charging and storage system(SunRNR.com)
Alternator belt removal
Rear view camera system
Wheel covers (14" pizza pans)
Quite a list. The solar system sound cool too. I'll look it up. What are you using for the internal antenna?
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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.

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Old 05-24-2012, 12:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
90 day: 70.72 mpg (US)

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Welcome to the forum! Subscribed to this project.

Have you done the math on the solar payback time? How much does the panel/battery combo cost?
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Old 05-24-2012, 09:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia
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Olive Drab - '94 Honda Civic VX
90 day: 52.54 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2
Thanked 15 Times in 5 Posts
The radio antenna is a cheap ebay unit that is adequate but I wouldn't necessarily recommend.

The payback period of the solar system depends totally on the mpg change and current fuel prices but I put it at less than 150,000 miles if I gain a few mpg. Depending on how the unit works, I may also try using an electric motor to turn the air conditioning pump to eliminate those losses.

Last edited by VXmpgRacer; 05-24-2012 at 10:00 PM..
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia
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Olive Drab - '94 Honda Civic VX
90 day: 52.54 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2
Thanked 15 Times in 5 Posts
5/30/12 Project Progress:
Increased the ignition advance to 18deg BTDC

Mounting the SunRNR power unit
Using a large hammer, I made room for the SunRNR to sit inside the spare tire well. It is my hope that placing the unit lower to decrease the effect of it's weight on performance as well reduce the space loss.
(EDIT: I ended up taking the unit apart and mounted the battery behind the drivers seat)

Last edited by VXmpgRacer; 07-25-2012 at 11:06 PM..
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 26

Olive Drab - '94 Honda Civic VX
90 day: 52.54 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2
Thanked 15 Times in 5 Posts
More about the SunRNR:
Charger controller
12VDC - 30amp capacity
Multiple input formats (solar, windmill, 12VDC)
Inverter
Input 12VDC
Output 25.5 Amp @ 120VAC = 3060W
Huge Deep Cycle Battery Manufacturer Specs
1100 Cold Cranking Amps
210 Amp Hours
Valve Regulated
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Technology
Lead Acid

Solar Panel 135W
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by VXmpgRacer; 07-26-2012 at 03:19 AM..
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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WD-40's Insight - '00 Honda Insight
Gen-1 Insights
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90 day: 67.9 mpg (US)

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I like the idea of solar assist, however the cost seems extreme.
Can you please give a link to the specific unit your using.
Also just a personal choice .. I run Mobil 1 Synthetic 0/20 in the winter and 5/20 in the summer, I would wager that unless your VX is spewing oil, all your doing is killing your potential MPG with the heavy oil.
I would never run a Fram filter .. Wix is the way to go.

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Tags
alternator delete, high mpg car, honda civic vx 5-wire, solar car

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