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Old 10-15-2009, 07:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Beast - '97 Ford F-350 XL
90 day: 12.49 mpg (US)
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11 mpg to 15 mpg is it possible mostly on driving style and small mods?

My rapidly growing family forced me to get a new vehicle and since I can/do use a pick up truck my hunt was on for a crewcab truck that I could afford. Jump ahead 3 months and I got a great deal on my new truck. A 1997 F-350 crew cab long box 4x4 5.8L with the automatic with overdrive. I didn't really want the long box or the 1 ton but the price was right and older crewcabs that aren't rat beat are not common around here.

Here's what it looked like when I first got it.


Anyways I filled both tanks up before driving home the first time (19 gallons/72 liters front, 18.2 gallons/69 liters rear)
Since getting it home I removed that spare from the front and put it in the bed. I also threw the original under inflated bald mud tires away and got 4 new good year wrangler Silent armor tires. They are a semi aggressive All terrain which should be good in the snow and occasional offroad that the truck will see. I know they are not a good choice for mileage but at least they aren't swampers.

Anyways
I decided to drain the front tank before switching to the rear and had gone 220 miles/355 km when I switched tanks which gives me about 11 mpg.

I'm aware that the truck is a beast but I'm not hoping for miracles so I'd like to get to 13 mpg. 15 would be awesome.

I figure that driving style can get me part of the way so I've ordered a scangauge that should be here next week. My old truck had a 1.6 L engine and as a stick so driving it efficiently could be very different then the new truck.

I'm slowly doing the basic maintenance to make sure the engine is running well

I'm going to put a canopy on the truck and I'm aware that it will probably make the mileage worse. I was reading bondo's thread about his aero cap but he's not going to be making one for my truck anytime soon and based on the prices I saw in the thread it would cost almost what I paid for the truck so it's out of the question.

So I'm wondering what everyone recommends? I see someone on here has slammed and re geared a F-350 to get close to 30 mpg but I think he has a diesel?

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Old 10-15-2009, 08:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
...beats walking...
 
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...get something like a ScanGauge II to "tell" you what MPG is happening in realtime, and YES, you should be able to go from 11 to 15 mpg...but not at a lead-foot speed!
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I always though it would be neat to make a jon boat that doubled as a cap, with the bow to the rear.

regards
Mech
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Pasta - '96 Volkswagen Passat TDi
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Yeah, you can get 15 out of that, but it's going to take time, patience, and re-learning how to drive, if you plan to keep doing it w/ that automatic.

If you're got a u-pullit yard near you, you can probably get a 5 speed OD swap for less than $200, buy a new clutch for $100 or so, and you're good to go. It'd probably be the first thing I'd do. Beyond that, see if you can find yourself a 6.9 or a 7.3, preferably Turbo. They can both be installed as standalone engines, with no real work necessary to the truck, other than installing and changing fuel systems.

I usually see these engines on craigslist for ~$500 or less, often in good running condition, and parts for them are cheap.

Another great option would be a 6BT Cummins. You can see where this is going.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Geo - '93 Geo Metro
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Oh it hurts me to see people buy vehicles like that. (Getting a "good" deal on them) I really think with a truck or a large vehicle that you are better of adjusting the "nut", and doing a few aeromods. I don't think you want to swap engines (if you don't want to get a cap) but if you do Christ is right.

lists:
bed cover
passenger mirror delete
driver mirror smaller
grille block
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I could drive a Hummer around all day

then come home and pour a gallon of gas on the ground and light it (or not)

crank up the furnace with all the windows open

and still have less of a carbon footprint

due to keeping it sleeved.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The Beast - '97 Ford F-350 XL
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Well this is my daily driver but since I'm a stay at home dad my daily driving doesn't add up to 400 miles a month. We use my wife's car for pretty much everything when she's home and it gets far far better mileage. It however isn't going to pull a travel trailer or haul a cord of firewood or a bed full of manure home.

So yes it's an environment destroying truck. At least I use it to do things that require a truck.

Scangauge ii should arrive next wednesday if the post office tracking is to be believed. I started reading the manual. My only real concern is getting it calibrated. I'll have to do a bunch of small fill ups for awhile so that it doesn't take me 6 months to get it dialed in. I'm currently filling up every month and a half or so.


an engine swap is unlikely any time soon. Diesel engines up here cost a lot even when very used. There was a 7.4 with 350,000 km on it listed for $2000 about a month ago. It was pulled from the truck so you couldn't even hear it running. Also diesel is just a bit cheaper then gas, roughly 4% right now. So I seriously doubt I'd ever recoup the cost with the swap. The 5spd with overdrive swap could be more promising dollar wise. I'm not too sure how difficult the actual swap would be though although I've pulled an engine and successfully put it back before so it's probably within my skill range.
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well I think 15 is possible, but it'll take some serious work. Back in the very early days of my questing for gas mileage, I had a '92 Bronco (same bodystyle generation) with a stock 302 and automatic and averaged around 13,3 in mixed driving, 18+ on the highway. Yours has the advantage, I believe, of sequential fuel injection vs. batch fire on my older 302, and I think they had roller cams in the 351's by then which my 302 also didn't have. Plus you have have a mass air system versus my speed-density EFI, so you have three advantages right there if I'm right on the roller cams.

I am a little jealous, that was one of my favourite truck bodystyles with a crew cab and a 351...it's a nice combo. I had a chance to buy a similar truck with a 460 but I'm glad I passed on it. Also had the chance to buy a '95 Eddie Bauer F150 with a 300 straight six and 5-speed, I regret passing on it. 5-speed would be nice though the 5-speed Ford trucks that got EPA mileage ratings got lower mileage, so I don't know if the final drive gearing is less advantageous on the manuals.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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I have so little experience driving trucks like this, I can't honestly say if that's a realistic goal.

But the ScanGauge purchase was definitely the right first step. With the amount of fuel this thing will burn in a year, it'll more than pay for itself!

Weight reduction tip: don't fill both tanks if you don't have to.
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Draco - '89 Ford F150 ext cab shrt bed XLT Lariat
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Not sure what kind of driving you do. but I was getting around 12 in town with my 89 F150 2wd 4.9 5 spd. I'm up to 25 average in town and just got 30+ on a long trip mostly rural road mixed with some highway.

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