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Old 08-13-2008, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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'98 Dodge Caravan 3.0L - 26 mpg pulling a trailer & 24 mpg pulling another car :)

Took 2 days to visit friends at a cottage Monday & Tuesday about 130 km (80 mi.) away. I borrowed my brother's minivan to tow/deliver a small 16 ft sailboat that my friends had just bought near where I live.

The trailer sailboat combo was probably 350-450 lbs, and a bit narrower than the width of the van. The van itself was in an unknown state of tune, but probably not very good knowing my brother! Still has its snow tires on (lousy RR, likely).

New EPA for the van is 17 / 24 mpg with the 4 speed automatic (which I think I had, but not sure - there was also apparently a 3 speed automatic sold. Shame on them).

Quick mods: outside mirrors folded on the highway, roof rack cross bars removed.

On wet/damp roads the SG reported 26 mpg (US) on the trip there, secondary roads, through several small towns & 1 small city, little to no wind. This was almost exclusively DWL (driving with load) with a few EOC at low speeds (lights/stops).

Return trip quick mods: Added temporary full upper grille block.

Return trip: 29 mpg without the trailer. Drove slightly faster on this leg (45 mph avg. / max. 58). Same techniques. 15 mph crosswind from about 8 o'clock position.

Has anyone else driven one of these vans? I thought I noticed an unusual behavior: when cruising in top gear at around 45-50 mph and accelerating lightly-moderately, the RPM actually dropped a couple hundred. Ease up, and it rises again. Very odd.

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Old 08-13-2008, 01:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My wife has a 98 Town & Country, with the 4 speed and a 3.8 L engine. The phenomenon you were seeing is that you were driving it right at the low end of the speed range the controller is set to shift into 4th and then go into torque lockup. The torque lockup only happens at low to moderate levels of throttle input. When you give it a little more, it will unlock, then downshift to 3rd if you keep the throttle down.

I can get pretty good mileage out of it, some of the time. I have gotten as high as 29 mpg on a drive from Ventura to Long Beach, on hwy 1. I have not been able to get it consistently, but I think it's due more to the fact that I start to get impatient and tired.

On the fact that Chrysler was still selling the 3 speed auto, your right, shame on them. The mileage potential is improved significantly with the 4 speed.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can confirm the lockup part of it with my '98 Stratus with 4-speed auto. The 3-4 shift is at 36 mph, lockup at 46. If you then let the car slow down slightly, it goes out of lockup at about 42 and the revs go up.
However, 3-speed revs per mile are near those for the 4-speed, so mpg with the 3-speed should not be that bad unless the 3-speed doesn't have lockup.
Ray Mac
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

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90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoops View Post
The phenomenon you were seeing is that you were driving it right at the low end of the speed range the controller is set to shift into 4th and then go into torque lockup. The torque lockup only happens at low to moderate levels of throttle input. When you give it a little more, it will unlock, then downshift to 3rd if you keep the throttle down.
Except the RPM was *dropping* as I pressed the throttle, not rising. It seemed to be upshifting or t.c. locking under light accel from cruise at that speed. That's why I thought it was so unusual.
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good test. I've noticed little diffrence when towing light trailers behind relatively larger vehicles. I like the grill block test, too, good stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoops View Post
Chrysler was still selling the 3 speed auto, your right, shame on them...
on a side note: Chrysler shouldn't be allowed to sell transmissions, at least back in the 90's

I've got several Chrysler mini-van stories but the best is the running joke between a friend of mine and I (He managed the servie department of a Chrysler store) It's my assertion that a 30k service on a Dodge Caravan should include a rebuilt transmission... Scott's service department used to remove and replace 1-2 mini-van transmissions per week. The service department had a special caged lock up area with 4 minivan transmissions on hand at all times!
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 53.78 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
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Borrowed the van again and got 24 mpg (US) pulling the 2070 lb ForkenSwift about 230 km round trip to Ottawa and back for the annual EV Expo.

It's sort of cool to be able to match the EPA highway rating with that size of weight & aero penalty:



I took secondary roads, kept the speed between 70-85 km/h (43-53 mph).

Other techniques were: driving with load, some minor EOC up to stops/lights, driving without brakes.

My only other point of reference with this van was getting 26 mpg (US) towing the light (450 lbs ) sailboat & trailer last summer.

EDIT: I forgot... another point of reference I have is the test I did with my other brother's Ridgeline & trailer:



http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...nomy-7552.html
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Latest mods: 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. EcoMods now in progress...
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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halfbakery

Question, what if you own a motorcycle, and figure out remote clutch and throttle, and use it to push your small EV on longer hiway trips?


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Old 05-25-2009, 12:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 53.78 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 66.29 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3,399
Thanked 6,211 Times in 3,218 Posts
Awesome idea! Splitting that into a new thread.

Edit: new thread here - http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...t-ev-8502.html

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Latest mods: 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. EcoMods now in progress...
Ecodriving test:
Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown



EcoModder
has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage
www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
www.ForkenSwift.com - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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