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Old 04-30-2014, 06:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Sangerville, Maine
Posts: 4

Emma - '01 Volkswagen Jetta GLS
90 day: 31.93 mpg (US)
Thanks: 5
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Hello From the Maine Highlands

Greetings everyone!

I've been a guest user of Ecomodder for years now, and I finally decided to become an official lurker!

I've been hypermiling for about 6 years now. My motivation is both better mileage and preserving my daily driver, Emma. Emma is a 2001 VW MKIV Jetta 2.0 AVH Automatic 01M 4-speed with 165,xxx miles. I have been using a scangauge ii since 2008 and admit I have an addiction to its gauges.

The region where I live is tough on vehicles. During the summer, we have 90+ degree days with brutal humidity and the winters (especially this past winter) can be unbelievably harsh with weeks never going above freezing, wind chills in the -40 degree to -50 degree range, snow, ice, freezing rain and I'm pretty sure I saw locusts fall from the sky in January.

While it is gorgeous up here, nestled in the pristine woods, the roads greatly suffer from such a large temperature range. Most of the roads are riddled with frost heaves, cracks, ruts (logging trucks), and potholes (more like craters this year). I feel like an Indy driver avoiding danger on my trips. Many vehicles were sidelined multiple times this winter and I have never seen so many broken headlights as this past season. But Emma keeps on going!

I purchased my VW with 60,xxx miles and have been hypermiling her from the get-go. Maintenance has been a high priority and is probably the second most important aspect IMO to improved MPG after driver technique. Emma is rated at 20/26 MPG (using the new standard) and I have never had a tank average less than 26 MPG. My lowest average this past winter was 26.74 during a nasty stretch in January. Oh, and Emma runs studded tires during the winter, too!

I have averaged over 40 mpg for a tank twice, during ideal stretches of weather. My last tank averaged 33 MPG, running summer tires. I routinely have 40+ mile trips (no highways, but 10 - 20 miles between towns, carefully watching for deer and moose) combined with dropping off and picking up my kiddos from school and local errands/meetings. We have significant hills as well.

Emma has no mods and all OEM parts and repairs through the VW dealership in Bangor. I'm a firm believer in higher tire pressure. I completely disregard the VW placard and go with the tire manufacturer recommendations. My winter studded tires are OEM spec size rated 42 psi and I run them at 40 psi. My summer tires are 225/45/R17 rated at 51 psi and I run them at 45 psi. The VW oil spec is 502.00 and I use 5W30 (many MKIV owners opt for 5W40) synthetic, although after reading BITOG I will probably switch to 0W30.

Considering Emma is an automatic and all other factors, I am darn proud of her FE and reliability. Mechanically, she is tip-top. I have only had one major repair on her - I went through an unmarked road repair at night in the rain doing 50+ mph and pulled a Dukes of Hazard jump, damaging the valve body. $2,200 later and she's fine (yes, I know the dealership is expensive and the repair cost more than her blue book value). But I'm the kind of person who thinks a 300k mile car running and looking better than most cars half her age (even a quarter of her age) is cool.

The scangauge is fantastic. While I calculate my tank to tank averages using the odometer and gas receipt for gallons (almost always using the same pump in the morning), I have found my SG to be pretty darn close now that it's been "seasoned" over many years. My standard view is MPH (VW speedo is a few MPH high), MPG, TPS and TFT. While many folks recommend driving by Lode, I drive by Throttle Position. TPS is easier for me to maintain and my driving mantra is "maintain the momentum" in the highest gear. I watch my transmission fluid temperature TFT (X-Gauge) religiously because many 01M transmissions fail well below Emma's current mileage.

I've tried EOC maybe 5 times and it's not for me. I just worry too much about coolant and tranny fluid not pumping efficiently while coasting (and I have routine 2+ mile coasts). I mostly use NICE - coast in Neutral with the engine idling. Emma moves very smoothly between coast and 4th gear, no problem, and her tranny filter indicates no worries.

I've been thinking about making a few improvements, like a skid plate, which will probable be a FE wash between added weight for protection vs improved aerodynamics and maybe try grill blocking next winter. I have really enjoyed reading many, many posts here and hope you are all well!


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