I have two trucks, well technically a truck and an SUV that I have been using as daily drivers. Both are GM s-series vehicles but they could not be more different if they tried. The pickup truck is an 88 S10 with a 5 speed and a 4 cyl engine. It has no A/C, no radio, manual windows, locks, steering and brakes. It is about as bare bones as you can get. The other vehicle is a 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada, V6, Automatic, AWD, and about as fully loaded as cars came in 98. For obvious reasons I mostly prefer to use the Bravada as much as possible but honestly it has got to be one of the most pointlessly inefficient vehicles ever.
At least if you have a sports car pulling down getting crummy mileage is understandable because it's fast, but the Bravada is not fast. Or poor mileage in a full size truck makes sense because you can haul large loads and/or large trailers, the Bravada does neither. Or in a Van at least they can carry a lot of people and stuff but alas the Bravada only seats 4 comfortably 5 if you squeeze them in there, but throw a couple car seats in the back and it isn't even an option. All things considered The Bravada is just a pig for no good reason.
Well I have been aiming on improving the fuel efficiency of both trucks but I have mainly been focusing on the Bravada since it gets driven the most. And I will be honest up front Most of the stuff that I am doing is based on the research of others because I really just don't have the time or money to try and ABA test every single modification that I have done. Hopefully though the results will show at the pump and so far for most of them they have.
Now onto the Mods!
I'll start with my S10 Pickup because, well there are less mods on it. For the S10 I already know that it is going to get fairly decent gas mileage right off the bat by virtue of the fact that it is a 4cyl, it is very light and with the 5 speed I can drive it much more efficiently. The most obvious thing that I have done was to lower it, which one, reduces drag and two, allows me to carry more momentum through corners. I have also installed a hard tonneau cover which I have seen firsthand on my old truck definitely helps the fuel efficiency. I also very recently just finished replacing the mechanical fan with an electric fan. That mod was high on my list of priorities because I knew that mechanical fan was just constantly robbing the engine of power because it did not even have a clutch it was just mounted solid to the water pump. But honestly that's about all that I have done with that truck so far other than some cosmetic stuff and normal maintenance. So far I have no idea what kind of mileage that truck gets. I just don't drive it a lot and I rarely ever put gas in it. It's crazy how long I go between fill ups, usually months.
Here are some pics before:
Old Mechanical fan
I mean who's bright idea was that?
New E-Fan, much better!
And then there is the Bravada.
I have been trying lots of little things to help bring up the FE of the Bravada. I started with smaller mirrors and also lowering the suspension. And although I lowered it far less than I did my S10, the improvement in stability was still drastic. I have also swapped out the fairly aggressive All Terrain tires for some that were more street oriented and put them on a set of larger lighter wheels. Overall I lost at least 10 pounds from each wheel and tire. I also recently pulled the roof rack off and built a grill block for it. That last item is still sort of in it's trial period though as I don't know how that is going to effect the engine temps when it gets warmer. Overall with the combination of modifying the truck and modifying my driving style the Bravada has improved from an average fuel efficiency around 14.5mpg to almost 18mpg. It would probably be even better than that but traffic to and from work has been getting worse in a direct inverse proportion to the number of things that I have done to the truck. It's kind of weird.
But the mods that I have done to the Bravada I am trying my best to keep either very tasteful or easily reversible as I don't expect to keep it much longer, and I want to be able to keep the resale value at least still existent. But as long as I have it I am going to keep trying to make it better.
Close up of the Grill Before:
I just wanted to start a thread where I could document the work that I am doing on my trucks and track the changes and hopefully positive impacts on my fuel efficiency. But if anyone has suggestions on things that I cna improve or ideas for other simple mods please feel free to throw them out there.