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Old 05-03-2011, 01:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Simple mods to a Ranger...

Hello all. I'm new here.

I joined up after gas prices started climbing here in Kentucky. I commute 133 miles per day, 66.5 to and from work. I've been doing this for about 9 years now, and gone thru several different vehicles and combinations of vehicles. A Focus, old 3.0L Ranger, S10, Geo Tracker, Blazer...

Now, I've consolidated. We own a farm, so a 4x4 truck is necessary... and I do enjoy the winter drive to work in snow, so my truck works. It's a 2003 Ranger FX4 Lvl 2 with 4.0L & manual 5-speed. However, it's not the greatest with gas mileage. I've averaged somewhere around 19.27 over the life, which is above it's rating, but I still think I can get more out of it. I top off the tank every two days... and have every receipt since the purchase of the truck. I've documented it religiously. I always have with every vehicle... since I've made this drive.

I'm looking for some good reasonable modifications I can do to get this truck to the mid-20's. I can't lower it, add dams to the front, or do anything to greatly reduce the functionality of the truck. I need it. I'm wondering if I'll see some improvements from little hidden things like electric water pump, underdrive pulleys, cold air induction, custom tuners, etc. Or, should I focus more on learning how to drive efficiently... via a vaccuum gauge or ultragauge?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm not targeting 30 or 40mpg... so I don't think my goal is too unrealistic. Thanks!

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Old 05-03-2011, 02:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
UFO
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You will get the most gains from driving techniques, namely slowing down. But your drive is so long, it will probably not be practical, so aero mods would be necessary.

I'd say you are commuting in the wrong vehicle; maybe you could reconsider having a fuel efficient commuter, and keep the truck for the snow.
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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nix cold air induction, unless you can make a system to switch between warm and cold air, Warm Air= MPG, Cold Air=HP. Definitely get a ScanGuage or an Ultraguage, I use both (SGII on my girlfriends Focus, and a UG on my Jeep), and I prefer the UltraGuage. Post a picture or 2 of your truck, this could help us with other possible mods. I would also suggest a Grill block, which would likely be an easy add on.
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Is your commute mostly highway? An easily removable aero bedcover attached with hitch pins would help and a grill block. Get a Scanguage or MPGuino and pulse and glide up and down those Kentucky hills. Engine Off Coasting (EOC) isn't for everyone but it will boost your mileage numbers. Even 4x4 trucks get good mileage coasting with the engine off.
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the quick replies.

UFO-
I've tried the dual vehicle mode... as I mentioned. I had a Ford Focus that was getting somewhere between 36 & 42 depending on my driving style, and a Chevy Z71 for farm & snow stuff. I had double insurance, and was limited to the things I could pick up while near the city. I haul lumber at times, and it's nice to have the truck. Now that I've driven it the time I have, I don't see myself going back unless gas prices get in the $5/gallon range... which very well may happen.

JoeNavy85-
I do think an Ultragauge will help. I do what I can, and try to minimize braking and such, but I'm sure there's so much more I could do. It's all habit. I've attached a few pictures of my truck. I do realize the tires are a little wide @ 10.5", and that doesn't help. I'll worry about that when it's time to replace them.
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh, and the drive is mostly highway... probably 90hwy -10city. I already coast where I can, but this 4x4 doesn't really pick up much speed downhill unless the incline is strong.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ford trucks are tuned on the soft side compared to the GMs and leave some room on the table for a software upgrade. See if Hypertech or Superchips has an 87 octane economy tune for your truck. I personally like dpTuner, but I don't know if Jody does tunes for the V-6s. Worth a call to find out.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The simplest mode, and which is good for a few mpg, is using a roll of black duct tape to do a grill block. A pick-up truck's grill inlet is sized to handle the cooling load for the largest engine option towing/carrying the heaviest rated load under the highest environmental temperatures (i.e the largest V8 towing a loaded stock trailer through Death Valley in the summer in stop and go traffic). 99% of the time the grill air flow is massive overkill and for normal driving you can block most to all of it off, especially in winter. Just monitor your temp gauge and be ready to rip some tape off if it gets too hot (which I have never had to do on my F-150 4X4, even when towing a loaded stock trailer.

Another mod which will take a little more work, but which shouldn't affect functionality is to install underbelly panelling to get rid of a lot of the drag on the underside and if done well can do double duty as a skid plate when off roading.

I'm averaging 21mpg overall and have gotten 26mpg on highway trips in my 97 F150 long bed with just a grill block installed.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks basjoos... I'll check out the grill tape. Since my truck is a Ranger, and the largest engine available is the 4.0L I have, the grill is likely designed for it, right?

The FX4 Level 2 option came with a factor front skid plate and transfer case/tranny plate. Those probably help.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyz View Post
The FX4 Level 2 option came with a factor front skid plate and transfer case/tranny plate. Those probably help.
Those could also be good places to attach a belly pan, if you decide to do one.

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