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CappAttack 08-18-2016 06:04 PM

Alabama, and my civic, salute you.
Salutations form north Alabama! I have recently gotten my first car (ever). It's a 2002 Honda civic LX coupe, I have not measured FE before mods so I lack baseline data but I want to assume it was meeting EPA standards. I am starting out with the mods that seem universal and guaranteed to work to some degree or another. I have installed a partial grill block, and belly pan, have also sealed all gaps with silicone. I have plans to move the side mirrors inside and get smooth wheel covers. Any fair estimates on what the finished product will get? I'm hopeful for low 50's but would be happy with low 40's.

Any suggestions for cheap and easy mods? I have considered doing a custom bumper, but that's at least a few months in the future, the mods listed above will be done in the next couple of weeks and then I will measure that as my baseline for FE.

I'm glad to be here and hope to contribute in some way, lurking can only get you so far :cool: but here goes nothing!:thumbup:

elhigh 08-18-2016 07:52 PM

Suggestions for cheap and easy mods? Dude, you're all over this, you're already doing them.

And welcome to the forum, by the way. Funny, trying to read up on North Alabama I see it's sometimes referred to as the Tennessee Valley. I'm also in the Tennessee Valley - the one in East Tennessee.

I see your car weighs in at about 2400 lbs, a featherweight by modern standards but not especially lightweight in the EM garage. Go ahead and start a fuel log for your car, it'll help you keep track of what works and what doesn't. Make one change at a time, watch it for a couple of tankfuls and see what direction the mileage moves.

There's a sticky at the top of the listing under Ecomodding Central that has a bunch of mods you can try.

There's another sticky at the top of the listing under Hypermiling/Ecodriver's Ed that has a bunch of tips to help you hone your technique. Pretty much anyone here will tell you that for return on investment, nothing beats adjusting the nut behind the wheel. It costs nothing to change how you drive.

Anyhoo, welcome.

California98Civic 08-18-2016 09:44 PM

Welcome to EM. Is this a manual transmission or auto?

CappAttack 08-18-2016 11:26 PM

It's an automatic, 4speed (I think). What could I take out to save weight? Not willing to ditch my spare tire/jack or my get home bag, also need all of my seats.

Also gonna switch to full synthetic 0w-20 mobil1 oil on my next change.

California98Civic 08-19-2016 12:14 AM

The auto constrains you. Fifty+ MPG is probably beyond reach without a lot of really slow driving. You can't coast with the engine off, like we can with the manuals. Weight reduction is a strategy, but before you hack the car... does it get driven in a lot of city or highway conditions? If the former, weiht loss can help because of all the acceleration. If the latter, weight loss matters little.

One of the best places for weight loss is in the wheels. If you have the stock 14 inch steelies, you have a 20lb wheel (excluding tires). If you get 1996-2000 HX rims, you get about 9lbs weight reduction per wheel. But since that is rotational weight, it has the effect of 18-36 lbs per wheel. So youcould count on a 100 lb effect through the rim swap. Cool.

Another option for your car is low rolling resistance (LRR) tires. Get them in a larger than stock diameter, and a thinner than stock width, and you will pick up gearing advantages and aero advantages.

Take off your power steering belt and test the feel of no PS. I go without. NBD. And it will yield an mpg or maybe more.

Your car has deceleration fuel cutoff capability. When you are approaching a hard stop, or need to shead some mph on a freeway, say approaching a far ahead traffic jam, slow down in gear without using brakes until necessary. The computer will turn off the fuel injectors.

Hoping that helps...


elhigh 08-19-2016 07:13 AM

I meant to point out that in a 2400-lb coupe, you may not have a lot of room for weight reduction without digging into the comfort of the car. You can shop for lighter seats but those are usually race-oriented, and look kind of cheesy, especially in a daily driven commuter. Weight reduction helps a lot, but only if you're in a lot of stop and go driving. If you're on the highway most of the time, there isn't a lot of advantage to be had from it.

+1 on the lighter wheels. If you can find Insight wheels (especially if you can get the Insight with them!), you can shed some pounds at each corner and they should bolt right up. Less unsprung weight also means a nicer ride, which is important in areas with rough roads.

Check tire pressure. That's another no-cost item. I run about 42 lbs in each tire and it's worth about 2-3mpg on my car. It's well above the door placard recommendation but below the sidewall limit spec.

Taking off the PS belt means, if you like the steering without, you can remove the PS pump entirely. There's a bit of weight reduction right there. It also frees up a tiny bit of space under the hood for wrenching. Save the pump, of course - when you sell the car on, the absence of power steering will probably put every potential buyer off your car.

CappAttack 08-19-2016 10:21 AM

Will definitely look into a PS delete. I can add the down shifting to my driving technique.

I'm mostly driving on highway. I need a minimum of 12 miles highway before getting anywhere inhabited, I live in the boonies. Average 50-55mph on roads near my house. I usually go 65 on the freeway.

I'm currently running tires at sidewall pressure, 44psi. I will look into rims/wheels when it's time to replace the tires. Previous owner replaced tires as a selling point.

CappAttack 08-19-2016 10:47 AM

Also gonna look at lowering the car a couple inches. Can't go too low though cause I need to clear some pretty rough railroad tracks and speed bumps.

elhigh 08-19-2016 12:16 PM

An air dam, belly pan and lowering all are aimed at improving how the air behaves under the car, and of them I think the air dam is the cheapest and most convenient. We've seen effective air dams constructed out of plain old cardboard.

NOTE: Donkey CRX's two older Civics are running dams put together from Home Depot's Auto Body department. The white car appears to be wearing lawn edging and it looks surprisingly good, whereas the red car is equipped with a snow plow of an air dam from a big sheet of polyethylene. And both of those cars are consistently in the tippy-top of the MPG leaderboard. I don't remember if the cars are lowered, I think one of them is but it's a modest drop.

California98Civic 08-19-2016 12:16 PM


Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521064)
Also gonna look at lowering the car a couple inches. Can't go too low though cause I need to clear some pretty rough railroad tracks and speed bumps.

IIRC, you don't want to go down more than a couple inches, anyway. The benefits stop increasing at some point. One or two inches is enough. Search this site and you'll find discussions of it.

Do you have an ultragauge, or a scangauge? Close monitoring of your driving style, instant detailed feedbck from a gauge that can report RPM, load %, instant and short term MPG, and O2 sensor readings and fuel trim all at once on one screen is very useful. You might be amazed what a difference imperceptible changes in throttling make. I use the UltraGauge. I love it.

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