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Old 12-19-2011, 06:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Toronto
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New 1st gen prius owner from Toronto

Hey all! I'm a 20 year old junior tech and shadetree mechanic. I just picked up a 2001 Toyota Prius. It's got 170,000 KM (105,000 miles), is in really nice cosmetic condition, and is solid mechanically other than a fuel gauge that just died on me (I'm thinking sunken float). It's been dealer serviced it's whole life, has the battery upgrade, is 100% free of body rust and significant dents, etc.

My previous fuel-miser car was a rather beat 98 Suzuki Esteem. No options at all, with a 5 speed manual. I had an all time best of about 6.9 l/100km (41mpg) in that car.

My other car, currently sleeping for the winter, is a 1985 Crown Victoria with a 351W and a few minor performance mods. It's my baby, but it's all time best was more like 10.5 l/100km (22.5mpg) on the highway in the heat with no passengers, and economy-specific mods are not in it's short term future so that's all I'll say about it.

So far, aside from the unforseen death of the fuel gauge, the prius has been VERY nice to me. I've gotten an indicated 4.3(!) l/100km (54.5mpg) on my first first bit of mixed city and highway driving, mostly with no one in it and with the tires at around 32psi. This is in slightly above freezing weather. I then aired the tires up to low 40s, piled my 200 pound (same weight as me) buddy into the car, and drove to Kingston, which was about 450km total. semi-DWL and sticking a safe distance behind trucks where I could netted an indicated 4.7 L/100km (50mpg) including about 20km of frenetic driving, and 5 starts, 3 of which were an ice cold engine. There was some heavy rain and my speed varied from 50mph to 67ishmph. Temperatures hovered just above freezing. Suffice to say, not ideal nor scientific. After that, I got a less-impressive 5.5 l/100km (42mpg) in 110 km of pure city driving with 300ish pounds of passenger and cargo, driving somewhere inbetween my previous miserely prius-owner ways and my normal 20 year old with a chick in the passenger seat ways.

I'm ecstatic to have gotten a good deal on this car, and even levelling off in the 45-50mpg range would be a ridiculous gain over the mid teens I averaged in mixed driving in the crown victoria, but I'm sure experienced Prius drivers will know there are big gains to be had.

So far the only modification I've done is a pair of pipe insulation tubing lengths slipped over the centre divider in the upper grille, probably blocking 80% of it. This was done near the beginning of the 450km block that included a trip from Scarborough to Kingston via the 401.

I've started incorporating putting it in neutral in certain coasting situations as a hypermiling technique, but I'm not sure I'm doing it "right". My best understanding is that it's simply used to allow me to keep out of the accelerator in a situation where the regenerative braking would normally slow me down too much. Is there more to it?

I'm also not sure how much of the hybrid system related info out there on 2nd and 3rd gen priuses cross over, and if there's a way to non-permanently (ie without messing them up if I sell them) mount wheel disks or other aerodynamic aids over my aftermarket 5-spoke 14 inch wheels. Additionally, I'm curious how accurate the consumption numbers on the display tend to be. I know the scangauge will give me far more accurate instantaneous numbers, but what about my long term numbers? About how big is my margin of error for something like that 450km trip?

As is hopefully apparent I've done some reading on these forums, but anyone with a link or two they think I've missed is welcome to chime in. I don't know how hardcore I'll end up being about fuel logs and such, and stuff like pulse and glide sounds downright suicidal since my main highway is literally the busiest in the world, but I'd appreciate any little tidbits about my specific car or techniques that might help me out.

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