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Old 08-28-2008, 10:47 PM   This thread is in the EcoModder Project Library | #1 (permalink)
Tango Charlie
Deadly Efficient
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Goshen, Indiana
Posts: 1,234

Olivia - '03 Pontiac Vibe base
90 day: 36.01 mpg (US)

R2-D2 - '00 Honda Insight
90 day: 58.81 mpg (US)
Thanks: 134
Thanked 176 Times in 91 Posts
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;

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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