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Old 02-14-2018, 11:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Silver Aero - '04 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic
90 day: 41.96 mpg (US)
Thanks: 89
Thanked 39 Times in 35 Posts
Ecomodding an automatic '04 Civic Sedan

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Note: Click here to go directly to the start of the actual modding build part. The rest is mostly dialogue about my car and asking questions related to ecomodding it.
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Also as a side note, the 42+ mpg obtained in my introductory post below was on "longer" (30+ minute) trips. My current modding baseline prior to modding is 38 mpg due to most trips being 10 miles or less.

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Hello all! Yes this is my first post, and yes I am new to Ecomodder.

I'm also a newer driver (newer is relative), and this '04 Honda Civic EX sedan is my first car. Yes, it is an automatic, don't hate me for it (my next car will probably be a manual though). Now if your area is anything like mine, most new drivers get lumbering SUVs or buy Civics to trash around. But being the nerd among my associates I decided to buy a Civic, keep it stock, and see what kind of MPGs I can get out of it.

Well at first it went well. When I bought it I knew the brakes needed to be changed, but drove around in it a little using basic hypermiling techniques and averaged 39 MPG - decent considering the new EPA combined estimate is 30 MPG (because no, this is not an HF or a VX, as I didn't want a coupe). Well after changing brakes my MPG went down to 25, kind of disappointing.

Looking at the problem revealed a bad brake caliper. The caliper was already bad, but somehow worked until it was remounted during the brake change.

Once that was replaced and a new air filter was installed, I drove it around with much greater success. First trip was 44 MPG, second was 52 MPG, third had some traffic and was 38 MPG, and the trend continued. And yes I was hypermiling, just for the record.

Anyway, the rest of the tank averaged 42.2 MPG (~40% above EPA and with winter blend gasoline as well! ). Final tank ended up at 34.1, which isn't bad considering the 25 MPG from the brake caliper had brought my average down from 39 to 29. However with all issues fixed, looking forward to starting a trend of 40+ MPG tanks (and maybe closer to 50 in the summer)!

No mods done to the car, however I may install a removable grille block for winter time and possibly some underpaneling. My key thing here though is for my Civic to look and be stock -- too many Civics are modded to look like ricer junkies, and that I am determined my Civic will never look like. My biggest goal is to get a 50 MPG tank just once, but we'll see if that's achievable.

Want to give a huge shoutout to all the extremely helpful hypermiling tips listed on this site! They've definitely helped me learn how to best squeeze the most miles out of my car (despite it being an automatic) as well as better pay attention to surrounding traffic to avoid being perceived as one of those completely rude drivers out there.

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Old 02-15-2018, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Cibbie - '88 Honda CBR 250R
Motorcycle
90 day: 56.37 mpg (US)

Rarity - '06 Honda Accord EX V6
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90 day: 41.76 mpg (US)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Well at first it went well. When I bought it I knew the brakes needed to be changed, but drove around in it a little using basic hypermiling techniques and averaged 39 MPG - decent considering the new EPA combined estimate is 30 MPG (because no, this is not an HF or a VX, as I didn't want a coupe). Well after changing brakes my MPG went down to 25, kind of disappointing.

Looking at the problem revealed a bad brake caliper. The caliper was already bad, but somehow worked until it was remounted during the brake change
I hope you lubed up those caliper slider pins good. If you feel like going back in there, you can make some brake pad return springs, i've got a video on them. Be careful to not make them too strong. I made mine very strong with the assumption that the hydraulic brake system would easily overpower them. Well, it does, but the initial pedal feel has changed. I have gotten used to it, but I would prefer it to bite more.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
No mods done to the car, however I may install a removable grille block for winter time and possibly some underpaneling. My key thing here though is for my Civic to look and be stock -- too many Civics are modded to look like ricer junkies, and that I am determined my Civic will never look like. My biggest goal is to get a 50 MPG tank just once, but we'll see if that's achievable.
I should hope you can achieve a 50 MPG tank, my best tank in the V6 accord was 44.6 MPG, and I just passed 50 MPG yesterday! I have yet to be called a ricer and my car looks like:

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You should be able to get some pretty helpful mods in even with maintaining a stock appearance. My car remained mostly stock looking for a while because of parents...

Add an engine block heater to your list of potential mods, they are cheap, effective, and very nice to have in the cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Want to give a huge shoutout to all the extremely helpful hypermiling tips listed on this site! They've definitely helped me learn how to best squeeze the most miles out of my car (despite it being an automatic) as well as better pay attention to surrounding traffic to avoid being perceived as one of those completely rude drivers out there.
When you are stopped(assuming engine on), do you shift into neutral while waiting? That is worth a 25-30% reduction in idle fuel consumption vs in drive, and gives a smoother idle.
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Best trip in v6: 50.4
Best tank in CBR: 59.1
Best tank in VFR: 52.7

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Old 02-15-2018, 10:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site and congrats on the great mileage with a stock automatic! Nicely done.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Chorizo - '00 Honda Civic HX, baby! :D
90 day: 36.05 mpg (US)

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We have a member that wanted an HX and four doors. He did not make excuses.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Silver Aero - '04 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic
90 day: 41.96 mpg (US)
Thanks: 89
Thanked 39 Times in 35 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
I hope you lubed up those caliper slider pins good. If you feel like going back in there, you can make some brake pad return springs, i've got a video on them. Be careful to not make them too strong. I made mine very strong with the assumption that the hydraulic brake system would easily overpower them. Well, it does, but the initial pedal feel has changed. I have gotten used to it, but I would prefer it to bite more.
For sure, that was the problem with the old brake caliper, whenever the brake was pressed the pins would engage and wouldn't release (I'm assuming that's how they work, I'm not extremely mechanical myself), creating a pretty significant amount of drag that quickly heated up the wheel itself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
I should hope you can achieve a 50 MPG tank, my best tank in the V6 accord was 44.6 MPG, and I just passed 50 MPG yesterday! I have yet to be called a ricer and my car looks like:
Is your Accord an automatic or a manual? How much of an increase have you seen with your mods?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
You should be able to get some pretty helpful mods in even with maintaining a stock appearance. My car remained mostly stock looking for a while because of parents...
Lol! I also don't want to ruin the resale value of my car so any mods I would do would have to be easily removable without damaging the car. Only if I end up not selling it later on would I consider doing some "serious" (probably not "serious" to you experts) mods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
Add an engine block heater to your list of potential mods, they are cheap, effective, and very nice to have in the cold.
Definitely have considered that, especially during the colder weeks when MPG is noticeably reduced. However I am kind of on a budget, hence why hypermiling appeals to me besides just the simple nerdiness of attaining those higher numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
When you are stopped(assuming engine on), do you shift into neutral while waiting? That is worth a 25-30% reduction in idle fuel consumption vs in drive, and gives a smoother idle.
I haven't done that, and I haven't done any EOC just for safety reasons. If the intersection is busy enough to warrant that I just don't feel it safe enough, and if there isn't any traffic I'm just not stopped long enough to do that. I have considered doing it though, however I still occasionally try to accelerate in neutral after coasting just because I sometimes forget to shift back into drive, something I hate because it's just a waste of fuel lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Welcome to the site and congrats on the great mileage with a stock automatic! Nicely done.
Thank you! <--one thing I have already noticed, there needs to be a "moderate" grin face..sometimes isn't enough and is too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
We have a member that wanted an HX and four doors. He did not make excuses.
Lol I'm sure it's possible! However I have very little mechanical know-how and of course a budget has to be applied to.
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Silver Aero, 2004 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic. Daily driver, very little highway driving with mostly short trips.
Best single trip: 58.2 MPG (US) / Best day: 57.7 MPG (US).
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Silver Aero - '04 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic
90 day: 41.96 mpg (US)
Thanks: 89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
I hope you lubed up those caliper slider pins good. If you feel like going back in there, you can make some brake pad return springs, i've got a video on them. Be careful to not make them too strong. I made mine very strong with the assumption that the hydraulic brake system would easily overpower them. Well, it does, but the initial pedal feel has changed. I have gotten used to it, but I would prefer it to bite more.
Don't remember if I put extra lube on them, but I do remember making sure they worked properly, since that seemed to be the issue with the caliper that came on the car.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
I should hope you can achieve a 50 MPG tank, my best tank in the V6 accord was 44.6 MPG, and I just passed 50 MPG yesterday! I have yet to be called a ricer and my car looks like:
Is your car a manual or an automatic? How much have these mods improved your MPG?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
You should be able to get some pretty helpful mods in even with maintaining a stock appearance. My car remained mostly stock looking for a while because of parents...
Lol! Resale value is also another thing to keep in mind, in case I ever end up reselling it when I buy a newer car later on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
Add an engine block heater to your list of potential mods, they are cheap, effective, and very nice to have in the cold.
Definitely something I've looked at, however budget does come into play with some mods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
When you are stopped(assuming engine on), do you shift into neutral while waiting? That is worth a 25-30% reduction in idle fuel consumption vs in drive, and gives a smoother idle.
I've considered that, but I just need to first make sure I stop trying to accelerate in neutral from forgetting to switch back into drive after coasting lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Welcome to the site and congrats on the great mileage with a stock automatic! Nicely done.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
We have a member that wanted an HX and four doors. He did not make excuses.
Lol I'm sure it's possible! However a limited budget and zero mechanical experience hinder me somewhat from doing something like that.
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Silver Aero, 2004 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic. Daily driver, very little highway driving with mostly short trips.
Best single trip: 58.2 MPG (US) / Best day: 57.7 MPG (US).
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
EcoModding flying lizard
 
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Join Date: May 2012
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Cibbie - '88 Honda CBR 250R
Motorcycle
90 day: 56.37 mpg (US)

Rarity - '06 Honda Accord EX V6
Team Honda
90 day: 41.76 mpg (US)

Baby viff - '86 Honda VFR 400R
Motorcycle
90 day: 47.32 mpg (US)
Thanks: 349
Thanked 143 Times in 95 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Is your car a manual or an automatic? How much have these mods improved your MPG?
Manual all the way! Honda only made my V6 6 speed manual accord sedan for two years. My mods, of which there are more, have improved MPG probably between 10-15%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Definitely something I've looked at, however budget does come into play with some mods.
My block heater was only $53.60 plus shipping.
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Best trip in v6: 50.4
Best tank in CBR: 59.1
Best tank in VFR: 52.7

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
You can lead a fashion-conscious horse to unusual-looking water...

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Old 02-15-2018, 03:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Silver Aero - '04 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic
90 day: 41.96 mpg (US)
Thanks: 89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
Manual all the way! Honda only made my V6 6 speed manual accord sedan for two years. My mods, of which there are more, have improved MPG probably between 10-15%.
Nice! Seeing all the big success stories happening with manuals almost (not quite) makes me regret purchasing an automatic, but for a first car it's probably best. My next car is definitely going to be a manual or an auto with paddle shifters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
My block heater was only $53.60 plus shipping.
That's not bad, but do you think it in itself has saved you at least that much in fuel costs?
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
EcoModding flying lizard
 
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Cibbie - '88 Honda CBR 250R
Motorcycle
90 day: 56.37 mpg (US)

Rarity - '06 Honda Accord EX V6
Team Honda
90 day: 41.76 mpg (US)

Baby viff - '86 Honda VFR 400R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Nice! Seeing all the big success stories happening with manuals almost (not quite) makes me regret purchasing an automatic, but for a first car it's probably best. My next car is definitely going to be a manual or an auto with paddle shifters.
Don't be too sure that having an auto that lets you shift would be the same as a manual. Lots of autos will not let you shift before they will. My mom's Mazda CX-5 will not shift into 6th until 45 mph, manual mode doesn't change that. My dad's Mercedes Benz E550 however will let you upshift a little early, letting the engine be around 700-1000 RPM, but it won't go into 7th until 40mph. In my accord, i'll go into 5th by 20 mph or 6th by 27 mph if I don't have to accelerate. That's 800-900 RPM



Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
That's not bad, but do you think it in itself has saved you at least that much in fuel costs?
Not yet, might take another year, but it certainly has the potential to. The more short trips you do, the quicker it would pay itself off. If I were one to turn on the heat early, then it may have paid off already, but as is I wait until I hit 186F until I turn on the heat. It also has the potential to make your engine, starter, and battery last longer, so that should be a consideration too.
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Add yourself to the Ecomodder user map! As of 11/30/16 there are only 50 people on it!

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Best trip in v6: 50.4
Best tank in CBR: 59.1
Best tank in VFR: 52.7

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
You can lead a fashion-conscious horse to unusual-looking water...

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Old 02-15-2018, 04:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Silver Aero - '04 Honda Civic EX Sedan Automatic
90 day: 41.96 mpg (US)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
Don't be too sure that having an auto that lets you shift would be the same as a manual. Lots of autos will not let you shift before they will. My mom's Mazda CX-5 will not shift into 6th until 45 mph, manual mode doesn't change that. My dad's Mercedes Benz E550 however will let you upshift a little early, letting the engine be around 700-1000 RPM, but it won't go into 7th until 40mph. In my accord, i'll go into 5th by 20 mph or 6th by 27 mph if I don't have to accelerate. That's 800-900 RPM
True, a manual would definitely be better overall, but an auto with paddle shifters would have the benefit of if you ever had a day you didn't feel like driving a manual or if someone else were to drive the car, since few people nowadays know how to drive a manual. Either would be better than trying to trick an automatic into shifting lol.

Those are some sweet RPMs though! My tach only works sporadically (and I haven't gotten a gauge yet for that) so idk exactly what my RPMs are, but I can safely guess they're higher due to the civic being a smaller vehicle. I know it seems to hit 4th gear around 41-43 MPH (or so it feels like) and on that 52 mpg trip I was going around low 40s since there wasn't much traffic, so something must be right there. And of course having 6 gears on your Accord beats the 4 on my auto!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daschicken View Post
Not yet, might take another year, but it certainly has the potential to. The more short trips you do, the quicker it would pay itself off. If I were one to turn on the heat early, then it may have paid off already, but as is I wait until I hit 186F until I turn on the heat. It also has the potential to make your engine, starter, and battery last longer, so that should be a consideration too.
That's kinda the thing with me though, I'm not very patient to wait for things to pay themselves off which probably explains my hesitation to buy a Scangauge or Ultragauge.


Last edited by mpg_numbers_guy; 02-17-2018 at 09:29 PM..
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