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Old 01-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Short trippers unite!

I'm starting this thread to have a concentrated collection place to share best practices for Ecomodders who as a matter of routine drive trips of less than 10 miles with internal combustion engine (ice) vehicles.

I know that there are some strong opinions that short trippers should use alternative and cleaner methods of transportation such as bicycling, electric vehicles, public transportation, walking, etc., but there are also solid reasons that eliminate these choices for many people. I'm not saying these opinions aren't welcome in this thread, I'm just saying that they are duly noted.

Every aspect of hypermiling and ecomodding is wide open here as they relate to increasing efficiencies in short tripping. Additionally, short trips can be destructive to vehicles in the long term, so ways to keep our vehicles alive and healthy can be included in this thread too.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In my case, I took my present job 11 years ago. I was driving 90 miles round trip. It was economically viable to move to the town where I work and I bought a house 1 1/2 miles from my job. I rode my motorcycle in decent weather and my E150 van the remainder of time. I've developed arthritis in my wrists and had to give up motorcycles.

A year ago I made a commitment to myself to eliminate as much gasoline usage as possible. I replaced my van with a Scion XA with a manual transmission. It is outfitted with an Ultragauge and for my commute I have set the main screen to include short range trip (srt). I encounter three stop signs and two traffic lights on my way to work. I coast in neutral as much as possible in between stops and time the traffic lights to avoid stopping.

I am presently going to be installing a 400w cartridge style block heater and am contemplating a 125w oil pan heater for a couple of reasons. First is to get in to closed loop as quickly as possible. The second is in an attempt to try to eliminate all or some of the crankcase condensation. I am also going to be doing a complete grill block.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When you are ready to seriously cut down on the dino addiction, check into electric- bike, scooter, cart, car, whatever. They are perfect for such a short run.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
When you are ready to seriously cut down on the dino addiction, check into electric- bike, scooter, cart, car, whatever. They are perfect for such a short run.
I agree that my short run could be better done with electric. The barriers at this time are:

1. Garage space. I prefer to keep my vehicles garaged to keep them in decent condition. I live in the rust belt. My wifes car & mine fill the garage.

2. Range. I have family that I visit where I moved from (90 miles round). In the summer I would be at the maximum range of most that I have looked at and in the winter it wouldn't be possible.

3. Electric bikes that are worth owning are pretty pricy. I do have and ride a decent Cannondale road bike that is cheaper yet. Problem is I work second shift and even in my short commute I see some really strange examples of driving by others on the road. I'm too young to die (but not too pretty)

4. Scooters. I'm 6'1" & 210lbs. The scooters that I have ridden don't appreciate me.

My XA burns a half gallon a week average with just commuting. If I can marginally increase that to get two & a half weeks driving from a gallon, well, I'm going to feel a little smug. From what I have read about the 2013 Mitsubishi Mirage, in a few years when they enter the used market I'm going to be very interested.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTXA View Post
Garage space. I prefer to keep my vehicles garaged to keep them in decent condition. I live in the rust belt. My wifes car & mine fill the garage.
Garages can make cars rust faster, because they trap moisture and keep the car just warm enough that the chemical reaction of the salt and steel works nice and fast, I've seen this time and time again with vehicles around here, people who have garages have them rust faster, you can slow this of course by keeping the car clean or keeping the garage cold or warm and dry.

One thing I've started doing, because I drive 4 miles to work and drive mostly when it's getting dark out, is charging my battery a few times per year, a 1.5 amp charger on over night does wonders in making the engine crank over faster, my battery is going on 7 years old and I thought I was going to have to replace it 4 years ago, but charge it up over night and it's good as new, -10F right now and it's happy.
0w30 engine oil also helps with cold starts with short trips.

I also avoid using my gas car as much as possible, 12 minutes to walk a mile down town, less then 5 minutes to get my bicycle with studded tires out and bike, in the warmer weather my 31 year old electric car gets used for most of my trips.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Electrical engine heater and grill block should be just the thing.

Use your (hope you have one!) UltraGauge now to monitor engine temps. Learn the base line behavior so you know if you have too much grill block. BTDT and not fun.

I'd say use the thinnest oils your owners manual allows. Synthetic keeps its "thin-ness" better than Dino stuff. As long as it doesn't get consumed by your engine.

Engine kill switch if you dare. Beats letting a cold engine idle while you coast.

EXCELLENT thread, BTW. Glad you started it. I'm still a long tripper but I hope I can help.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Define "short trip".
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Define "short trip".
I'm not going to offer an objective definition due to the spectrum of vehicles, routes, climate, driving habits, and other variables. I, myself, would subjectively define short trip driving as recurring driving events where a vehicle does not get up to peak operating condition before it is shut off again. An off the cuff number of miles could be 10, but it could be more or less depending on the variables. The semantics of short tripping would have to apply to the individual circumstance.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
Garages can make cars rust faster, because they trap moisture and keep the car just warm enough that the chemical reaction of the salt and steel works nice and fast, I've seen this time and time again with vehicles around here, people who have garages have them rust faster, you can slow this of course by keeping the car clean or keeping the garage cold or warm and dry.
I try to wash my cars once a week paying extra attention to the fenderwells and undercarriage. The town I live in is very liberal with road salt in the winter. I don't heat my garage and during periods of high humidity I run a small dehumidifier to protect my cars and tools. A major source of early car rot in my region is the use of crushed limestone for gravel roads and driveways; that stuff eats exposed metal.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Define "short trip".
I'm guessing the line between a "short trip" and something else is more a "transition" rather than a "point".

For example, let's go with MTXA's short trip definition of shutting off before reaching optimum operating temperature. Even if we could pin that down, what if your trip is one mile beyond that? Or 2 miles beyond that? It would still be mostly a short trip, right?

But at some point - 10 miles/minutes beyond the optimum temperature point, maybe - it would probably not really be so much a short trip anymore...

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