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Old 08-28-2008, 11:47 PM   This thread is in the EcoModder Project Library | #1 (permalink)
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Vibe mods: One man's quest to better 40mpg.

This thread will be a chronicle of mods to my daily driver, a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. The very first thing (other than the nut behind the wheel thing) I did was to pump up the tires to 45psi. At first they seemed really loud, but now I'm used to it. Heck, my main complaint about the car when I first started driving it, was that it was too quiet! Oh yeah, let me introduce you to Olivia.


The next thing I did was get a ScanGauge II installed.

Yeah, baby, yeah...

I wanted to get the SG calibrated and a baseline of a few tanks laid down with my new ecomodding powers gained from instantaneous feedback, but I just couldn't resist... The roof rack cross bars were just buggin' me too much. Before;


and after;
after?
after!

Ah, shoot. You'll just hafta use yer imagination. Sorry. It looks like a blue Pontiac Vibe with the roof rack's cross bars removed. Honest.

Well, now I'm primed, so this is what I want to clean up next.

Yeah, tell me about it. Big ol' drag inducing, no good fer nuthin'...
See how the center post is recessed? I figure I'll go right over that puppy and it will help support my grille block.
So first I get some regular old cardboard and start making a template. I found that if I pressed hard with my thumb (ouch) I could kinda crease it to show where the edge of the opening was.


Then I sketched the outline of the crease with a sharpie so I could trim it to size with scissors. I used V-shaped marks on pieces of tape that aligned with V-shaped marks on the cardboard to keep things hunky-dory.


After creasing, marking, trimming, humming, creasing, cutting, marking, cutting, fitting, etc., then I transfered the outline to my one-and-only-free-for-the-asking scrap piece of coroplast that I picked up from my friendly local sign shop.



Then I cut that puppy out with my $1 scissors.


When I test fit the coroplast, I noticed that the Pontiac badge on the center post pushed out the center of the coroplast more than I cared for. Time for a badgectomy, Olivia. It's held on with really sticky double-sided foam tape, but came off with minimal fuss.


It wasn't real easy shaping the coroplast. I needed to bevel the back side of it so that it would fit reasonably flush. (hee hee, he said 'flush')
The most suitable way I found was 60-grit sandpaper. My hand just wasn't steady enough for a knife. By this time I had picked up the de rigueur blue painters tape.

ooooh, this is gonna turn out gooood.

Okay, so I drive to work and back with it blue-taped in place (a bit more securely than in the last picture) to test it out. I was 92% sure there would be no overheating issues because of Trik's pioneering research with his Evil Mantis.
Instantly I enter the ecomodder's realm of being on the receiving end of off-hand comments from coworkers.
"What's that for?"
"How's your engine gonna stay cool?"
"Your AC won't work very well."
"Does it make a difference?"
and my favorite
"You going to paint teeth on that?"
thanks, boss.

On my way home, as I coast down my favorite hill (you know, on CR 15, the one between Bashor road and CR 28? No? Yeah, you know...what? Ohhh...never mind.), I feel like it's EOC'ing a few mph faster than before.

Stay tuned. In the next installment: Smiling grass!

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Old 08-28-2008, 11:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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awesome
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks good. Blue tape is nice too.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Tango Charlie -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango Charlie View Post
This thread will be a chronicle of mods to my daily driver, a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. The very first thing (other than the nut behind the wheel thing) I did was to pump up the tires to 45psi. At first they seemed really loud, but now I'm used to it. Heck, my main complaint about the car when I first started driving it, was that it was too quiet! Oh yeah, let me introduce you to Olivia.
...

Okay, so I drive to work and back with it blue-taped in place (a bit more securely than in the last picture) to test it out. I was 92% sure there would be no overheating issues because of Trik's pioneering research with his Evil Mantis.
Instantly I enter the ecomodder's realm of being on the receiving end of off-hand comments from coworkers.
"What's that for?"
"How's your engine gonna stay cool?"
"Your AC won't work very well."
"Does it make a difference?"
and my favorite
"You going to paint teeth on that?"
thanks, boss.

On my way home, as I coast down my favorite hill (you know, on CR 15, the one between Bashor road and CR 28? No? Yeah, you know...what? Ohhh...never mind.), I feel like it's EOC'ing a few mph faster than before.

Stay tuned. In the next installment: Smiling grass!
Excellent Thread! I agree, paint teeth on it!!!!!!!!!!!!

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CarloSW2
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Very nice.
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Old 08-29-2008, 02:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Doax, you better set your goals higher .. 40mpg came real easy for me and I am automatic. Also let me know if you venture into higher tire pressure. I am having a bear of a time keeping my tires inflated @ 55psi. For some reason they will not hold the pressure and slowly leak back down to 47 psi. I have changed valve stems on the fronts but it looks like it is still doing it with no apparent leaks.

Let me know if you come up with something worth experimenting with, I'm willing to try it first if you are hesitant.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lol, my goals are higher. Its quite hard to keep the mileage up when my wife drives 1/2 of the miles on the tank. She mildly hypermiles, and does get better then EPA, but nothing like we're used to.

My summer tires are rated to 51psi max. So, they are pretty much right at max sidewall, and they hold that pressure very well. I don't think I'll be going any higher.

There are definitly plans for the vehicle. They are just on hold because I just moved into my new house this Tuesday. There is lots of other stuff to be done before I can get back to working on the Matrix. I'll actually be posting on that other stuff soon too.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, my ultimate goal is higher, too. Just tryin to bust through this wall at 40mpg. Maybe I need to change my plugs.
Congrats on the house, Daox. I've moved a couple times in my lifetime. Pretty exciting. One thing I've found: the quicker you get rid of the cardboard boxes, the sooner it feels like home. But if you're anything like me, there will always be a couple of them lurking in the basement, silently mocking you...

Okay, Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. The grille block.
I'm not leaving blue tape on there. Looks tacky. So I scrounged around the garage and came across my floor jack. It's a pathetic little thing I bought at Meijer on clearance. It gets the job done, but it's got a flimsy piece of metal that sorta snaps on top of it as a dust shield or something. Honestly, I think it's just a place to plaster a label. So I snatch that up, and with my aviation-grade tin snips, whack it into six little brackets. I popped the hood and slid them behind the coroplast. A little adjustment here, a little tweak there... I think it'll work.


Removing the badge had given me an idea for attaching the brackets to the car. On my lunch break, I went to the local NAPA and picked up some 3M double-sided foam tape used for weatherstripping and what not.




AHH! SPIDER! Ha! Just seein' if you were awake. My wife, bless her heart, likes to throw random insects into spider webs and watch the carnage. I know, weird, huh? And she thinks grille blocks are strange. Actually, she doesn't. She's quite understanding.
Anyway, I stuck the tape on the brackets and slid the brackets down the backside of the coroplast and stuck them puppies down tight. I had pre-drilled a hole in each bracket, so I took a 90 degree pick and poked through the hole in the bracket from the backside and through the coroplast to locate each attach point. Then I removed the coroplast.


Dang. I shoulda painted them dang brackets first. I'm such a tool.
The blazing white coroplast was just too much. Gotta paint it. And no, I'm not painting teeth on it. Sorry. I layed it on the front lawn and blasted it with some flat black spray paint. It's made for plastic and works quite well, if not somewhat expensive. (edit: it's Krylon Fusion. $4.79 at Meijer)
Hey, look! My lawn is smiling back at me!


After it dried overnight, I installed it.


The top of the coroplast is somewhat unsupported yet, and I'm afraid that at speed it might be bowing back and not staying flush (hee hee, he said flush again!) with the front lip of the hood. I'll have to address that next.
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Last edited by Tango Charlie; 08-30-2008 at 05:20 PM.. Reason: spray paint details
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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looks great!

just a thought, how was the emblem attached? was there a locating rod or bolt along with the adhesive? if so, you may be able to poke it back through and use it to secure the grill block as well.

or just stick it on to make the chloroplast more rigid.

either way, i think you should stick the emblem back on ontop of the chloroplast.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That looks awesome ... as a version 2.0 I would consider making it a hair longer on top with some rubber dots on the inside lip. that way, if the wind does flex it enough it will fold over the hood line and rest on the rubber stoppers. Of course I would cut it in the center in order to access the hood latch when necessary.

All this is in the event that the wind does flex it badly. Only a pace car can tell you that though ... LOL

Great Job !!!

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