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Old 05-15-2008, 07:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 303

Pushrod - '02 Chevrolet Cavalier
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Thanks for the quick response Johnny.

Yes it is a 2200, auto transmission. Knock on wood, this is the best car I've ever owned. We payed $8000 for it in 2002 with 15000 miles on it. I've never done anything to this car (including maintenance) until last year. I brought it into my mechanic with 145K miles for breaks and asked him to look it over and fix anything minor. He called me saying I had OEM everything on it! So he replaced everything that needed replacing and I've still never had a problem with this car. Only money I've spent on it is gas, tires, batteries, and brakes.
Do you know exactly what was replaced? How about the fuel filter? Air filter? Coolant?

What synthetic oil do you recommend?
Any fully synthetic (not blended) 5w30 made by a company you've heard of, will serve you well. Some people report a small MPG increase on 5w20, but if you go that route, it's important to stay with 5w20. Your engine doesn't like switching oil weight often. Before you switch over to full synthetic, run an engine flush of some kind. I'd recommend changing your own oil if at all possible. If not, buy your own oil and filters before taking your car in.

Also, I've never done anything with the auto transmission fluid. Should I? If so what should I have done? I was thinking about just taking it to Jiffy Lube and pay the $100+ to get that done. I have been noticing it shifting hard, especially cold from reverse to first.
PLEASE get this done soon! I wouldn't wait longer than 60K miles to change the transmission fluid. I did mine and noticed a good pile of metallic sludge on the pan magnet. It involves unbolting the transmission pan, which then drops most of the fluid at once, so you need a large pan. Then you have to replace the fluid filter, which is a large, flat assembly that costs around $30. After that, you put a new gasket on the pan (included in the filter kit), bolt it back on to the transmission, put about 4 quarts in the transmission, take out the overflow plug, put the handbrake on, idle the car in drive, and keep adding fluid untl it starts to come out of the overflow hole. Then reinstall the plug and you're done. A few quarts of the old fluid will be stuck in the torque converter. If this, or any part of this procedure bothers you, I'd suggest taking the vehicle to a shop. Note that you can use synthetic fluid here too, but it will cost you about $6/qt, and your transmission takes about 8 quarts. Please avoid B&M trick shift fluid at all costs. It contains abrasive particles.

Part of the reason shifting is hard when your car is cold, is because the idle speed is higher until the car warms up.

I've done a lot of reading today and going to buy an air compressor for home for the tire pressure.
If tire inflation is all you're going to use it for, one of those compact 12v units work great. Plus you can keep it in your trunk if you'd like.

Is there anything cheaper to monitor MPG other then the ScanGauge 2? The $160 is a little steep for me right now. I'm just doing the math now when I fill up and consistently getting 29-31 MPG.
Depending on your highway percentage, those numbers could be pretty decent. The SG gives you a rough estimate of fuel usage. Injector based units are far more accurate and it looks like they'll be cheaper. There's an open source one that's under development right now in the Instrumentation forum. Also, I'm working on developing one.

How do you get the lean mixture on your '98?
My 98 is running a stock 14.7:1 mixture, my 02 is leaned out. I've been asked this question a lot, so if the mods are willing, I'll post a sticky thread. In short, it involves a wideband 02 sensor, a fairly simple circuit and some routing of wires. Total project cost is under $300, but my car responded quite readily with a 10% economy gain across the board.

Also for what it's worth some specifics about your powertrain...

-Your transmission will lock into overdrive at 40+mph at low load.
-Your car achieves its best steady-state mileage at 53mph.
-Your engine burns no fuel during decelleration in most circumstances, so maximize coasting and stay in drive.

Last edited by JohnnyGrey; 05-15-2008 at 07:28 PM..
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