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Old 01-12-2008, 08:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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98 Ford Taurus 4dr Sedan- where do I start?

I picked up the car last month after my gas guzzler 87 Suburban 4x4 died. I love big trucks, but it was a blessing when I got 18mpg around town in my car instead of 10 or 12. I haven't had the car on the freeway much but the previous owner reported up to 30mpg on the open road.

I'd like to mod the car for better mileage. Looking at some of the mods around here I think I have to start very small, because I don't have the capability (ie, wifes permission) to do a lot of outrageous mods.

For example: Antenna and drivers side mirror delete: No problem. Blocking the front grill: no problem. Rear wheel skirts: We'll see. Front wheel skirts I don't even want. Windshield wiper delete is a problem in the winter, but during the summer its a go. We are driving from our town of Reno to San Francisco this summer and I want to exceed 30mpg if possible. The car has brand new tires so I don't see putting different tires on it unless I could get a considerable gain even around town.

The thing is this: We generally drive around town around 150-230 miles per week. If we were doing lots of freeway driving, I'd certainly be interested in more extensive mods. But, we aren't. In fact we rarely drive out of town (we're homebodies) and as for commuting to work (6mi) I usually ride my bicycle anyway (see www.rykoala.org)

So there it is. What simple, unobtrusive aero mods could I do to this car to increase mpg and cut down emissions? I can't afford a lot but I do love being creative. I also have designed and built my own r/c airplanes (they even flew LOL) and so I understand that type of aerodynamics but by browsing the forum I can tell that there is a lot about automotive aero that I know *nothing* about.

thanks for the tips folks!

Rykoala

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Old 01-12-2008, 08:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The first thing I would suggest, given that most of your driving is around town, would be that you pick up a Scangauge. Best tool you'll find.

I would work first with a grill block, rear skirts, wheel covers, and mirror delete. That should keep you occupied for a bit and let you think more about how far you want to go with the aero mods (and none of them really look bad, most of them would be to my taste if done well, ).

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Old 01-12-2008, 09:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for that, I appreciate it. I just came from the SG website. I will have a hard time justifying the expense to my wife but if I can save $10 a week in fuel, it'll pay for itself pretty quick. Is that reasonable?

Also, what are wheel covers and why do I need them if I have wheel skirts in the back? I'm still learning all this. Thanks
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Since it's all city driving modify the driver. Take a look at the eco driving tips forum and inflate the tires along with the other mods you have planed. Welcome to the site and good luck with the adventure.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I didn't know exactly what model you had, but it looks like the epa combined is in the high teens or up to 20 mpg, and since many of us regularly exceed the EPA estimate by 20-50%, I think we some effort (and just driving habit changes), you could pop up into the mid 20s. Of course, I'm just guestimating, but I'd say it's certainly possible.

Wheel covers look like this: http://www.autowonderland.ca/index.a...ROD&ProdID=524

They work to cut down drag from the wheels...might not be too necessary for the back if you have skirts, but I'd do it anyway...I'm not an expert on wheel well turbulence by any means. You can also DIY them out of pizza plates or something such if you're up to it.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Congrats on not getting another Suburban, may it Rust In Peace!

I know you asked about aero mods, but first I'd suggest making sure it is tuned up and running properly, and inflate the tires to at least max sidewall psi, if not more.

The aero stuff will net little at in-town speeds, in fact my preference is to have better visibility of surrounding traffic than the .001 Cd reduction taking a mirror off may get, and if you enjoy your radio you might end up missing it for a very dubious reason... but if it makes you feel good, do them anyway. You might find a deeper air dam to be of some benefit, but then if you encounter lots of not-so-smooth entrances to parking lots/driveways in your travels you won't want to overdo that. P.S. Same goes for lowering the whole car- known to improve aerodynamics. The grille block, however, should do good things for the engine warm-up times- while driving I mean- and that will help emissions too.

Biggest variable is operator technique. Don't let it sit there idling to "warm up". Don't sit there and idle through drive-throughs and whatnot either. Basically, no idling anywhere, anytime except at traffic lights. It is possible to accelerate too quickly and too slowly. When possible, try to get it into top gear as soon as you can without flooring it- use roughly 3/4 throttle. Stay closer to the minimum speed limit than the maximum, when you are in places that allow you to use top gear.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Turtle Hello Hello

Greetings and Salutations,
Glad to have you here. I don't have much experience with the newer body style Taurus, but, I just sold my last one to a friend. (I used to have 2 of the 1995's 1 with 175K on the clock. and the one I sold with 225K on the clock ). I did some mods to the engine that allowed me to average 26mpg on my weekly drives, combo driving, with little technique. And. TaDa, 35mpg on trips to Ma's.
If you would like more info on my tweakings, send me a PM, or start a thread and ask questions.
Everyone will help.
I know I love to spew information.
There are no failures, just more ways that won't work.(thats a really bad plagiarism, and I can't even remember who I stole it from)
BTW, he's getting 27's without even trying.
S.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Turtle If the plural of Fungus is Fungi, is the plural of Taurus Tauri ?

I received some PM for my Taurus mods. As you may know I work in the biz, so I can get many things for cheap. There was a lot of time, and some parts in the Taurus.
lemme get a fresh cup-o-joe and we'll begin.

In 1999 I worked for the corner gas station as Shop Manager. Translation; I did most of the work.
Our towing company was auctioning some of their collected vehicles.
I purchased a 1995 Taurus Sedan for $125. ( great price eh?)
It ran very well but looked like #e!!. not a straight panel on the thing.
I drove it for years
Specs:
14" original steel wheels
3 spd auto trans (no lockup, no overdrive)
3.0 cam in block V6
nothing special about the car, to & from work, groceries getter etc. (My wife had our Better car 1996 Dodge Spirit,[last of the "K" cars])

jump to 2003

I now work for my good Friend who owns and Independent Repair Shop
Customer comes in shop with 1995 Taurus that won't run.
Diag: need motor, blown heads led the demise of engine.
~ 2300.oo
Customer P!$$ed
Just had Trans rebuilt to the tune of $2500.oo
Gives car to Ralph to cover cost of towing and Diag.
Ralph gives car to me, Heck I already got a good Eng.
Nice car, very pretty, my wife wants to drive it. It's bigger inside than the Spirit.
Now I have 2 Tauri.
Pull both apart, ( from here i will call them t1 & t2)
Oh, Ralph lets me borrow shop truck while I work on cars.
t1 runs
t2 don't, but has the 4 spd trans with overdrive and lockup. WooHoo.
Rebuild motor from t1 with
>New cam and lifters, "RV" style cam, apparently this is the same 3.0 in the Rangers. "RV" cam has better low end torque, no gain in hp. more overlap blah blah blah.
>New bearings, Perfect Circle circle track style(looking for longevity not speed)
>New rings, see above
>all new gaskets, seals, etc.
>used emery-cloth wrapped around drill bit spin at high speed on die grinder to clean intake and exhaust ports, while I rebuild heads.
>local machine shop cuts 15 thousandths from heads.
>new everything else i can get my hands on.
> basically just re-use the block, crank, slugs, &rods.
while engine is out of t2 clean engine bay till landlord gets mad at runoff.

Install fresh engine in t2(Krap i just realized this sound like a terminator movie, oh well)
Catalytic converters must be removed to install engine.
While they are out, open cats, all four of them, and replace strata with flex-pipe, weld cats closed. Result.. free flowing exhaust and no empty chamber ringing. Still looks like I have cats. NOTE this is not legal in all states check with your local gubmint.
upon install i find under-drive pulleys are available for the 3.0.
oops it just fell on there.
new owner gonna be mad when he has to replace the belt. I only used the crank pulley resulting in the need for a shorter belt. the kit comes with pulleys for all. but I was feelin lazy that day.

as with any major project everything I touch gets cleaned, occasionally painted but don't hold your breath.

after its all together take it for a drive.
Performance is greatly enhanced. WOW.
i expected some boost. but got way more than expected.
14" tires will NOT stay glued to the road anymore, even my wife spins them pulling away from a stop.
local boneyard here i come
Score 15" Taurus SHO rims. KEWL.
new tires Good Year Comfort Tread. 205/70 R 15.
man these tires are quiet and they ride smoother than any Ive ever installed IIRC.I believe the smoothness is an indicator of rolling resistance. ie: if you can hear your tires making noise they are creating friction with the road.

This is what it looked like the day I sold it. Ain't she purty?

thats not a dent in the front fender, thats a reflection of the lamp post across the street.

Recap:
> lots of time and my own skills
> new cam, better low end torque(less effort to pull from stops) I believe this alone made the biggest diff.
> under-drive pulley
> free flowing exhaust. btw i had to replace the muffler for Va. State Inspection. I used 2, 1 was too loud, straight through el-cheapo glass packs. IIRC they cost me $15.oo each.
> larger diameter tires. (you NEED, i can't stress this enough, to get your speedo recalibrated!!) before you ask, no i did not get a ticket, but i should have.I got pulled over by a Friend who happens to wear a uniform, we go way back and i let him beat me once in a drag race. ( I got skeered and i didn't want to hit the tree-line)
> 4spd auto with lockup torque converter & overdrive.
> all new tune-up parts, best I could afford. New owner may NEVER need to replace the wires.
> set timing 7 deg more adv. than stock.
> all fluids replaced with synth.
> free flowing heads. do not make the ports bigger just clean 'em a little.
> adjust the nut behind the wheel.

and thats all i can recall right now.

Yes the guy I sold it to said he is getting ~ 27 mpg, that's combo driving, him, his wife, his daughter, city, highway. Some tanks a little more, some tanks a little less. He does spend most of his time on the highway tho.

I sold the car with 225K on the clock. He knows the engine was rebuilt 4 years ago and asked me if we could run the clock back. NO. I am relatively sure he found a shop to change it tho.

I buy and sell cars all the time.
I always have too many cars. Ask my wife.
check my garage. in addition right now( working a deal for another Metro,[don't tell Barb.])I have
1999 Buick Le Sabre
1993 Dodge Shadow
1989 Honda Civic
none of them run ,but, they will.
If you look in the background of the Taurus pic you'll see 4 in my driveway, then there is the Taurus, and out of pic is my sons Grand Am and a Neon I had.
Never
Ever
Own a
Neon.
sorry had to throw that in there. I am sure they have "fixed" the head gasket problem by now. When I worked for the Chrysler dealer we said," there are two types of neon on the road, those with a new head gasket and those that need a new head gasket". A little inside humor.

Hope this all helps, I gotta goto work now.
S.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Your modifications all sound good to me (except for the hollowed out cats) and my intent is not to rain on your parade, but frankly 1995 Taurusses with the 3.0 and automatic get 27-30 bone stock. This I know. You are probably enjoying some more torque and get-up-and-go while not reducing economy... but the economy itself hasn't shot up... unless, of course, the car is getting 27 while being driven much harder than a gently driven stocker getting 27.
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ooh I fergot, I used a double roller timing chain setup instead of the oem gear tooth set up.
Your not rainin on my parade Frank. My 1st Taurus averaged ~23 combo drivin and never got better than 28 on the highway, so I was very pleased with the new version of my old car.
But I used to drive like a maniacal 18 year old in his fathers Porsche. Then with the new car I could Get 35 on the highway and 27 combo.
I'm a more intelligent driver now.
I like me more, and I respect the other drivers much more.
Gotta go, I'm at work and shouldn't be on the 'puter.S.

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