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Old 03-19-2017, 02:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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90 day: 25.1 mpg (US)

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Eco My Echo

Hey all. I've decided to start a mod thread for my 2000 Echo winter beater. I know it won't be as inspiring as some of the build threads here but hopefully there will be something that may be helpful to others looking for ideas. This car is a short trip city commuter that almost never sees the highway. I doubt it has seen more than 50 miles of highway since I brought it home six months ago. I started looking for ideas on this thread last fall. Best mods for my Echo?
As usual I got some helpful advice. Since we have some pretty cold winter weather and all my trips are short (1-5 miles) My focus to start was keeping it warm. I use the block heater whenever possible. I've been able to plug in at work too so that has helped mileage a lot. Nevertheless, below 0 F everything gets pretty stiff and it doesn't coast well at all.
What's been done so far:
Changed oil to 0w20
Changed transmission fluid to GM Syncromesh fluid.
Built a front belly pan with reflective foil liner (pic in other thread)
Installed my Scangauge on the steering column.

Built a windshield cover and cover my mirrors with freezer bags. (This is actually an eco mod because it reduces the need for my heater so warmup times are reduced and windows stay clear better because snow is kept out of the vents)

Interior car warmer. (Eco and safety mod for the same reasons as above. It's scary when your in heavy traffic and can't see. Heater is useless for the first mile or two)

Built full grill block with one sliding section for the warmer days.

Added insulation to hood (pics on other thread)
Added insulation around engine bay.




Installed kill switch.
Installed DRL disable switch.
Also had to replace front lower control arms. (Not an eco mod but necessary)
Replaced my MAF sensor to correct a lean burn code. It runs better now and the code is gone but I think it actually hurt my mileage

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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km

Last edited by puddleglum; 03-19-2017 at 02:57 AM..
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Rondo - '07 Kia Rondo EX
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DRL disable switch mod

Thought this deserved it's own post.
I am not a big fan of DRL's since they only activate the headlights. I suppose they might help in certain situations, but very few IMO. This is stage one in the lighting plan. I'm seriously thinking of installing LED light strips front and rear that will draw very little power and make me visible from all angles, not just in front.
Okay, on to the mod.
First, I wanted to make sure that none of the other functions of the car were disabled and DRL's were still available if required. Removing the park brake switch or the DRL relay does stop the lights from working but affects some of the dash indicator lights. Unplugging the DRL#5 relay in the fuse panel doesn't work.
I wanted to cut them off with a switch so turning them back on will be easy.
The DRL relay on the Echo is located behind the dash to the left of the instrument cluster. Remove the cluster plastic trim, remove the mounting screw for the relay and disconnect the connector.

The red wire with yellow stripe is the negative from the headlights and the white wire with black stripe is the relay ground.

Interrupting either wire will disable the lights. I went with the negative from the lights because I figure it will be easier to transition to LED's later as I can just run a ground from the led's to my switch.

If you didn't want a switch you could just cut the wire and call it good. I chose to install a switch in the red w/yellow wire. Works perfectly, the DRL relay is still functioning so none of the other circuits that run through it are affected and I can turn the DRL's off or on with the switch.
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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice work there! I could never do that with my car, I have 2 pre-cats under the hood, smells like its burning already. That is a lot of insulation! How many miles does it take to get to operating temperature?

How about insulating the coolant hoses?
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks. Yes, bigger engines make more heat. Ambient temp and longer trips make a big difference too. My regular commute is 4 miles. Around freezing its up to temp in a couple of miles and I usually turn the heater on then. When it was -15/-20F, I had to turn on the heater after the first mile or two but it never got quite warm enough to open the thermostat. Shorter commutes with the family were worse since I needed the heater on right away. Its's good around town as is to about 50F but warmer than that and I will need to open things up some. Insulating the coolant hoses might be worth a try. I wish I had a garage for winter. The wheel bearings get so stiff in the cold it feels like the brakes are dragging.
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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Rondo - '07 Kia Rondo EX
90 day: 25.1 mpg (US)

Tinkertoy2 - '00 Toyota Echo base
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90 day: 50.84 mpg (US)
Thanks: 19
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Kill switch

Here are some details on the kill switch. I followed echo-francis' lead so thanks go to him for leading the way. I found that the wire coding on my older Echo was not the same as his. The fuel injector power wire on the older one is a black wire with a red tracer and comes through the front corner pin. Installed relay as shown. Yellow relay wire is the coil ground and goes to the switch.


Did this mod with stuff I already had so it was free but making the switch fit was a bit of work. Didn't want to just tied on so took the time to mount the switch into the handle. Grounded the switch under the console.



So far it's been working perfectly, way better than using the key switch.
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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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CM400E - '81 Honda CM400E
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Looks very nice.
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Old 04-14-2017, 08:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Brake Vacuum Reservoir

Just finished installing a auxiliary vacuum reservoir today.


While this won't improve my mileage any, I think it is well worth doing for safety reasons. Now that I am doing more EOC (mostly in heavy traffic) I have been concerned about only having a couple of brake applications before I lose my brakes. It hasn't been an issue yet but it could be. Took my lead from the EV conversion guys. Picked up a old 4 lb. fire extinguisher bottle from a extinguisher service company. They gave me a 5 lb. for free from the scrape bin. Finding a fitting was a bit difficult for this bottle as it was a odd size. Had to do some searching for an extra vacuum check valve but finally found one. Honda's made in the 90's use a hose mounted valve. Hardest part of the install was figuring out where to mount it in. Only did a quick check after install but looks like I now have 4-5 brake applications instead of 2 so I'm happy. Cost was $18 which includes a couple of fittings I bought and didn't need.
Looks like the kill switch is helping as well. Won't need to gas up for a bit yet but the gas gauge and the Scanguage are looking better. I'm getting to use this car in place of my Rondo quite a bit as well so saving even more fuel.
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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Rondo - '07 Kia Rondo EX
90 day: 25.1 mpg (US)

Tinkertoy2 - '00 Toyota Echo base
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90 day: 50.84 mpg (US)
Thanks: 19
Thanked 87 Times in 62 Posts
Seeing success! Had my best tank so far. Obviously the mods are helping and my hypermiling skills are improving. Filled up today and got 5.47 l/100 km (43 mpg). All short trips and some lingering winter weather off and on.
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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Neat stuff! I really like what you've done. You're making me miss my Echo.
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks. I really am enjoying this car. It's had a hard life and it's beat but it's fun, cheap on gas and easy to drive in the city. I don't know if I could find another non-hybrid car with city mileage this good and room for 4 adults, 2 walkers and several bags of groceries. I've been using it as the family car every chance I get as I would rather drive it than my Rondo in town.

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Almost all my driving is done 1-5 miles at a time.
Best short trip: 2.4 l/100 km, 3.9 km
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