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Old 10-06-2017, 12:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Popsicle - '00 Nissan Frontier [Regular Cab] Base XE
90 day: 25.91 mpg (US)
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Hello! Another new one!

Hey everyone!

I often frequent this forum for fuel economy advice and I figured I might as well join! I am Theo, and I drive a 2000 Nissan Frontier compact pickup. It's a regular cab, 2.4L 4-cylinder, 5-speed stick shift with roll-up windows a bench seat. We are talking real, real basic here. I would like to eek out more fuel economy out of the little truck. My last fuel mileage calculation was 25.91 MPG. My goal is to adjust my driving style to drive more efficiently. As for the purpose of the vehiclec, it's currently my daily commuter to and from college, 20 minutes away.

Here's how small it is.

One question though.
Since the bed is an open empty space most of the time, does this create more aerodynamic drag? Would it help some if I added a tonneau cover over it?

Thanks for reading...
Theo T.

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Old 10-06-2017, 10:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site Theo.
Current project: Heating the manual trans with engine coolant
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome Theo. Tons of great advice to be had here. Suggest you start with the 100+ Hypermiling Tips at the top of the page.
People Think They Are Thinking When They Are Merely Rearranging Their Prejudices

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Old 10-06-2017, 01:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As a member with a pickup similar to yours, there's a lot of improvement to be had.

As to whether a tonneau or cap is the way to go for you, that's difficult to say without some testing. I've had a full cap on the bed of my truck since it was new and it has delivered mid-30s fuel economy on many occasions.

You could rig up a quick and dirty tonneau of sorts with a simple lumber framework in the bed to support a coroplast lid. Run your truck a few tankfuls without a lid, then a few with, then a few without for A-B-A testing.

I guarantee the underside of your truck is an aero disaster and there's no end of improvements to be had under there that, in addition to serving you well at the pump, won't detract from the vehicle's appearance. If you don't want to go to the full belly pan, a deeper air dam may suffice to give you significant improvements.

I think your truck's generation still had an engine-driven fan. Replacing that with a thermostat-controlled electric one will take a lot of load off the engine. An electric will only run when necessary, leaving a lot more power than you ever imagined at the crank for moving the vehicle. Generally the electric fan will drop out when you're moving, and only fire up when the vehicle is paused or at very low speeds.

Like the other guys said, there are some stickies at the tops of these categories: Aerodynamics, Hypermiling / EcoDriver's Ed, and EcoModding Central. As you already mentioned, adjusting how you drive is the first step, and in terms of return on investment nothing else will come close: there's no money involved. Even now that's pretty much all I've ever done with my truck, and the results speak for themselves.

Welcome, and have fun with it.

Take it easy
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Old 10-06-2017, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sure a tonneau is going to lead to an improvement, most noticeably in highway. I'll have to second on elhigh's advice on an electric fan, since it's a fairly simple mod and leads to some good improvements not just in fuel-savings but also making it easier to reach the operating temperature in a shorter time after the start, leading to smoothier idling and also increasing the efficiency of the catalytic converter since the "cold phase" becomes shorter.
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Old Today, 12:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The Popsicle - '00 Nissan Frontier [Regular Cab] Base XE
90 day: 25.91 mpg (US)
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Thank you for all the replies. Special thanks for elhigh for all the tips and advice. My Frontier has a shaft driven fan since the engine is longitudinally mounted. I've seen the underside, and yeah aerodynamics are poor there. Plenty of gaps and spaces for sure.

Also I will need new tires soon. Tread is wearing thin What would you guys recommend for low rolling resistance tires? (P215 65 R15 size tires)

Theodore Thorpe
Houston, Texas
2000 Nissan Frontier XE Regular Cab 2WD - 'The Popsicle'
- 5-Speed Manual
- 2.4L 4-Cylinder Engine
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