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Old 09-10-2013, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Tooele, UT
Posts: 412

ZJ - '95 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo Upcountry
90 day: 20.57 mpg (US)

Neon - '03 Dodge Neon SE
90 day: 33.46 mpg (US)

S'Crew - '02 Ford F150 Supercrew XLT
90 day: 16.4 mpg (US)

Ranger - '90 Ford Ranger
Last 3: 28.02 mpg (US)

Not the Jeep - '03 Dodge Neon SE
90 day: 34.11 mpg (US)
Thanks: 7
Thanked 15 Times in 10 Posts
You know, every day is a gift, brother... I was 2mm from a paraplegic. Or, if I'd tried to stand on my own, it would have been my last attempt. Friend riding with me was an EMT and literally sat on me keeping me down. But I digress.

2003 Neons have the NGC controller and don't take kindly to too many mechanical mods without throwing codes. Adjustable cam gears can throw codes, too large a throttle body throws codes. Too high intake air temp throws codes. So most of anything I do is going to be between my ears and maybe some grill blocks.

I am also considering taking the car to the local race track for open track days. No performance mods, but suspension work. Lowering a little. Giving some thought to flexible side skirts and coroplast underpans.

And being a Jeep guy, and wanting light on the road in the desert, a friend and I are looking at a removable light bar that looks a little like a pushbar. Removable for regular driving. And back on for those few times I need night time vision.

I gave some thought to a little lift (like the Subie guys do) with cutting board material for spacers between the strut and the body. And then running Rally Cross. But I'm not really sure my back will tolerate that sort of pounding. While I can do most of what I used to, I need to understand I now have limits.

The majority of my driving will be less than 5 miles at a time, I can at least coast (in neutral if I hit all the lights right) down the hill in the morning to catch my vanpool (4 days/week). And weekly trips into the city (Fridays). Trips are planned so we don't have to back track or use city streets as little as possible. Even just around town I don't go out for just one thing if I can help it... While the Jeep doesn't do bad, the Neon will easily double that MPG. I would like to get my overall average to at least 35. The more longer trips I take the better that number of course.

I'm currently on the lookout for either a Ford Pinto or an early Bronco 2. Last year, my son and I stripped both his Explorer and Ranger. EVERYTHING possible from the Explorer went into the Ranger. The Ranger went from being a lawn ornament to useful, and now gets much better mileage than the Explorer ever did, even pulling a trailer with an ATV. We are looking for a 5 speed to improve those numbers.

So, why am I looking for a Pinto (I had a 1972 many many years ago!) or Bronco 2? Well, I have the complete 2.3 and 5 speed from the 1990 Ranger. In a Bronco 2, the 2.3 would be a bit underpowered compared to the earlier 2.8, but has the advantage of the 5 speed where the 2.8 had a 4 speed manual or 3 speed auto. But I want to have a fun cruiser, and maybe something just a bit different. In a Pinto, the 1990 engine is 15 or more HP than any 2.3 that came in one. The 5 speed should make it a fun driver. And, well, it would amuse me to have a 4x4 drivetrain in it, sort of Pinto meets AMC Eagle. I am looking for a 2WD 5 speed in case a car becomes available, I can get the thign running and then make it 4x4 whenever I want to. Simplest would be to use a Jeep front axle. No, I have no desire to have tall lifted Pinto. Keep it as low as possible, on nothing larger than a 235/75-15 P series tire. I have parts on hand, and in a front axle I have 3.07, 3.55, and 4.10 gears. The 2.3, 5 speed and 4x4, 4.10 gears and 31" when it was in the Ranger, got me 28MPG before I parked it and began the never ending project. In a Bronco 2, I doubt I could touch 28, even with the idea of keeping it low on smaller tires. In the Pinto, I see no reason even as a 4x4 I couldn't get the 28. Either vehicle would be fun for Special Interest in car shows... Everything I need is sitting in my shed and garage. Minus the project vehicle itself.
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