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Old 10-30-2011, 05:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ahoy hoy! New member here with 2000 Sunfire


Ahem. Just kidding. I'm a noob but not a total lemon.

I'm new to the forum here and I'm going to be starting a thread or threads sometime soon but I figured I'd bite the bullet and get registration out the way while I'm still gathering info and formulating a plan.

I have a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire 2 door 2.2 OHV, 5spd and I usually get about 32mpg on the highway. I've been wanting a VW TDI for the last couple of years for utility, non-krapboxness and economy but due to the other economy a TDi isn't in the cards for a year or so at least. Instead I've set myself a goal of making my Sunfire into a 40mpg (highway) car and getting the best overall mileage I can. Most of the time.

Mods planned or being considered include:

Grill block, streamlining the front end.
This is actually pretty easy for me, the ~1999 cars had a different front bumper and facia that basically had a factory grill block, or no openings where the later cars have them above the bumper. The lower skirt of the bumper cover also doesn't have a few lumps at the corners that the 2000+ covers do.

Lower airdam, probably using lawn edging from a box store.

Headlight blending.
I'd thought about swapping to a Cavalier front end largely because of it's more smoothly integrated headlights but unless I find a donor car with all the parts I need for several of these projects it isn't worth doing. Instead I plan to make lexan covers to blend the existing non-aero aero headlights into the hood line. I'm also going to use some neoprene stripping to close the gap between the hood and bumper facia.

Rear spoiler delete/replacement.
The OE Sunfire rear spoiler...I hates it. I'll save this for another thread but I'd take a small MPG penalty to get rid of this miserable thing. I have a Cavalier LS spoiler I may install that has no air gap under it and provides a sharp break at the rear of the car as opposed to the OE Sunfire which looks like it must do terrible things to the wake.

Mini Kamm back? This is for another post also but I just stumbled on a GT Styling rear window "shade" type thing that is basically a mini Kamm from what I understand of how those work. Seems like it would separate the flow right at the roof to window transition.

Side skirt extensions? Air Tabs? Powdered Unicorn Horn Smoothie?

Whip antenna will eventually be replaced with power antenna with a switch, not connected directly to the radio because I only use the tuner about 1/3 of the time.

Right now it has 205/50/16 tires which will need to be replaced next season, I'll miss the grip but I'm going to try something more like a 196/55/16 unless I'm feeling flush and get new rims also in which case I might go 195/50/17. Those are both closer to the correct size for this car anyway.

SGII for data collection and live FE monitoring.

I plan to replace the OEM mirrors next Spring with motorcycle mirrors. I use my mirrors and won't remove one for the sake of mileage but I think I can achieve roughly the same gains as deleting the passenger mirror by using a more aerodynamic and smaller option.

Wiper Arms:
I'm going to do some junkyard swapping and find arms that should cause less turbulence at rest. Mostly I want arms that don't have a built in bend so I can set the rest position closer to the actual bottom of the glass. I don't think this would cause any significant loss of cleared acreage in the rain.

I occasionally make 1000mi plus trips and while I don't think I'd drive with them every day I've had some thoughts on building easy to install rear wheel covers that could live in the trunk most of the time. (maybe 10lbs at most) I'm talking about something to cover the entire wheel opening, not just the rim.

I think there is one option for a taller FDR and I may go with that if I end up swapping in a different engine.

Engine: I change my air filter with Napa Gold filters twice a year, run a full synthetic oil (T6 right now) and Napa Gold oil filter and gap my plugs twice during their 12-18 month life. I plan to relocate the oil filter for easier access and change from a 180 degree thermostat to a 195* part at the next coolant change.

I want to gain aero benefits but I also have some performance mods in mind that may or may not impact mileage with a light foot. I plan to use the stock airbox but delete the snail shell intake under the fender and replace the rubber tubing to the throttle body with metal tube for flow. A larger throttle body from a different GM car is also an option as are a matched set of OE injectors. I have a header I may install (got it cheap) but will be installing a 2.25in ID radius bent exhaust system with a resonator, a straight thru muffler without the coffee can tip and a freer flowing cat.
I'm planning to buy a parts car with the same engine and rebuild that (I have over 200,000mi now) since this car is rust free. If I go to the trouble of building up a new engine I'll probably port match the manifolds and use full roller tip rocker arms, possibly with different ratios from the stock arms.
The final touch, and one I'm not likely to get into unless I can relegate this Sunfire to Hobby Car status, would be a light pressure turbo system.

My goal obviously isn't strictly about MPG and the engine mods that don't relate to or result in better mileage I'll be talking about on a different forum. My question at this point is "have you read this far?" and if so would a single "my project" post or a series of posts in different areas be a better fit for the culture of this forum?

Thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to being obsessed with drag and turbulence!


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Old 10-30-2011, 09:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, I followed all the way to the end. I'm not always that patient, but I guess I'm having a good night. Or, my wife is too busy to bug me right now...

Good luck with it! I think with the 5-speed and a reasonably small engine, the car has potential. I'm sure you can improve its aerodynamics.

This project definitely looks interesting. Ya know, you really can choose between one all-encompassing thread, or multiple threads each dealing with its own area.

My guess is - if you're gong to build each segment once and not go back to re-modify it later, then one big thread might be best. OTOH, if you think you might hop back and forth (some) between the different areas you're addressing, then maybe separate threads would be better. So that all the work or discussion of - say, side skirts - would be in one thread, even though that actual work was interrupted when you worked on some other part of the car. Just put a common header at the start of each of those thread titles so they're easy to recognize. MyCar - front mods, MyCar - fuel cutoff switch, MyCar - wheel covers.

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Driving '00 Honda Insight, acquired Feb 2016.

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Old 10-30-2011, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input, Bruce! And for sticking with the message... I didn't realize that the faux Noob post was the only thing you could see when opening the thread...

I'll probably start one thread generally covering the aero mods like the air dam and headlight cover construction and also for discussion of options for the OE parts swaps. I wish that 2d flow simulator was up and running! Yes, I emailed the Prof about it. I plan to mod one area at a time, starting with the front, then the rear spoiler swap/delete and then the mirrors. Things like the antenna probably aren't worth going into detail over.

If I get into more mechanical mods with an Eco application at a later date I'll start a thread on those too. My basic thought is to plan out what I want to do over the winter and then make the actual mods in the spring although I may still do the air dam and an upper grill block this fall once I find some coroplast.

"This project definitely looks interesting."

Thanks! I picked up this car for $200 coming up on 3 years ago when I moved back to NY from GA and I can honestly say it doesn't owe me a thing back. Zero issues other than a dead battery because, um, someone left the lights on. Burns no oil, gets reasonable mileage and thanks to some junkyard shopping it even handles reasonably well. I'd really like a TDI but this is the car I've got and I might as well have some fun tweaking it!


P.s. I used to live in Danbury and at last count I'd had more than 20 Bricks. About half were 240 series, 2dr, sedans and wagons and the rest were a mix of 122, 140 and a pair of 1800ES'. I got 30mpg driving to Atlanta in my 245 Turbo! I think it was the leather seats.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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5th gear swap is interesting.
I have a 98 Sunfire and suggest you do the air intake muffler delete and pair it to a high flow air filter.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome aboard.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome! Sounds like you have some great ideas cook'n!

It also sounds like, even though not TDI; that you like this car well enough to consider
the long list of possibilities.

Yes, I read to the end, but the heaviest gearheads on here probably don't visit the
Intro section much.

So be prepared to repeat yourself!

06 Chev MonteC JG#24tribute car 30mpg 00 Honda Insight 63MPG 98 Buick Park Ave3.8 33MPG 89 Toyota Corolla wag 53MPG so far 81 VW Rabbit diesel pu 50MPG+ 80 Mercedes 240D stick 30-ish 90 vette 6-speed,29ish 07 Honda ST1300 55MPG 83 Honda 650 GL 64MPG 19 Suzuki dr200 88MPG23 HondaGrom?+Tow K10D Sub 26mpg NEVER,NEVER GIVE UP!
SLOW DOWN AND SMOOTH UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![SIGPIC]
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