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CappAttack 08-18-2016 07:04 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 08:52 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 10:44 PM

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

CappAttack 08-19-2016 12:26 AM

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 01:14 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...

james

elhigh 08-19-2016 08:13 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 11:21 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 11:47 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 01:16 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 01:16 PM

Quote:

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.

darcane 08-19-2016 01:27 PM

Quote:

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.

I would go with modest, simple drop springs (nothing adjustable) if that's where you want to go. The exhaust hangs real low on these cars and will scrape on everything. I've got coilovers (Ground Control w/ Koni STR.T shocks/struts) and my exhaust is constantly scraping things. I can't bring it up any higher or I may collapse the rear springs on a hard bump.

Check out my sig for ideas on grill blocking and an air dam.

I've had tank averages in the low 50's back when it was running right. But, I have an HX with a manual.

Hopefully you have better luck with yours than I've had with mine.

basjoos 08-19-2016 03:54 PM

If you have a scangauge or other instantaneous mileage indicator, one way you can determine your car's aeromod potential is to note what your mileage improvement is when you are drafting someone on a flat road, as that is the potential mpg improvement you could get via aeromods. When drafting, the only thing that has changed is the reduced wind drag (which is what aeromods accomplish). Engine, drivetrain, and tire drag remain unchanged. My car is so highly aeromodded that I see very little improvement when drafting. Likewise anyone drafting me would see very little improvement in their mileage

Vman455 08-19-2016 04:50 PM

You're doing mostly highway? My build thread for my previous car should be of some interest. I averaged just under 50mpg over two years in an EX with manual tranmission. You'll find pictures of my mirror delete and front bumper project in there too. I had custom coilovers as well, but those were from when I autocrossed the car; now I would find cheap lowering springs (like I did with my current car).

If you don't mind your trunk looking raggedy, you can ditch all the trim pieces and floor, but leave the spare. I also removed the front speakers, sway bar, possibly some other things (it was a while ago).

I replaced my stock alloys with heavier steel wheels with moon caps--I think improved aerodynamics trumps weight any day, especially when we're talking small differences like wheel weight. Insight wheels would be the best of both, but I don't know if they fit. Considering you already have the steel wheels, I would put smooth wheel covers on (you could make your own out of coroplast or pizza pans, even) and call it done.

CappAttack 08-20-2016 03:35 AM

Do not have any mpg monitoring equipment yet. It's planned for the future where I can afford things. I am gonna gonna finish the under tray and look into a dam tomorrow. As for the ps delete, I think I'm more likely to look at an alternator delete and opt for a deep cycle battery....how does that work?

I'm gonna move the side mirrors inside and install smooth wheel covers on the next paycheck. The air dam, gap sealing, grill block, and under tray will be my baseline tank to measure from.

Also, any thoughts on getting just a plain old vacuum gauge for FE monitoring?

basjoos 08-20-2016 10:38 PM

A vacuum gauge acts like a sensitive throttle position indicator and is a tool that can help you improve your mileage.

CappAttack 08-21-2016 03:39 AM

I got the first part of the under tray done! It's corollas that extends to just behind the front wheels. I'm gonna leave it as is and have it be my baseline to work from for FE improvement measuring, need time to use the tank I'm topping off tomorrow. Is it bad that I'm excited to get measurements? I never thought I'd be this excited about FE...

I think I've decided on an ultra gauge for monitoring. Anyone have experiences that decided why you use what you use? If so, mind sharing?

Future mods that are for sure gonna happen: extend the under tray to full length, make the rear bumper not a parachute, move side mirrors inside, and smooth wheel covers (how does one attach pizza pans securely?).

Mods that I'm considering: alternator delete, custom front bumper (Bondo?), and Power steering disable (too much work to remove it for the little weight it'd shave off). Any others I should consider?

CappAttack 08-21-2016 04:16 AM

Also, what is an EGR valve? And should I be concerned if mine appears to be disconnected?

elhigh 08-21-2016 08:29 AM

EGR = Exhaust Gas Recirculation.

The engine control systems will pump a bit of exhaust gas back into the intake to give the engine something to inhale besides air. If things are running hot, or you are under low load, it means it can take in something that will fill the cylinder without adding too much air and leaning out the fuel-air mix.

I'm not sure where it is on your car but if it's a Honda then it's probably up front and pretty easy to see. There are LOTS of guys on here - myself included - who have taken on this simple maintenance step. Due to the nature of the gases it handles, the EGR is prone to picking up a lot of soot and schmutz and its passages getting clogged. When it's clogged, that means the EGR can't perform its usual function and then the engine HAS to breathe straight air, and the ECM has to pump in extra fuel to prevent the engine running too lean.

As to it being disconnected, there's electronic connects - just a single cable on mine, if I recall correctly - a bit of pipe and, of course, the gallery of passages routing gases from the valve to the intake runners. You'll take the valve itself apart of course, but don't forget the passages. If the valve itself is blocked at all, it's almost a sure thing the galleries - nice, long, cool galleries where gases can lose heat and velocity and gunk can condense against the walls - are going to be blocked too.

There's all manner of guys on YouTube walking you through the process. I had never done one before I did mine last year, and it took about an hour. No big deal.

DON'T FORGET TO REATTACH YOUR GROUND WIRES. Holy crap there are so many ground on a Honda and it will freak out if you don't get them all back on, nice and snug.

Budget-wise, if you're considering an alt delete and moving to a higher capacity battery, don't. Not yet.

Get a tank or two on your current configuration to establish a baseline. You're moving awfully fast already with your front belly pan on, but I wouldn't worry about that - I don't think anybody here will argue whether a belly pan is going to have an effect: it will, and probably a pretty good one.

Then f you're seriously thinking about changing the parasitic loads on the engine, do the power steering first. Remove the lines from the PS pump to the rack and loop the rack's hoses from the rack's input to the output. Then loop the pump's output back to the pump's input.

This will give the pump nothing to do. There will still be a bit of drag but nothing like what you're used to. The steering will feel heavy so don't let it surprise you. The only thing you've changed here is some plumbing and it's all reversible and you haven't spent a dime. Test carefully to ensure that everything works and you have reliable control.

Here's the fun bit: when you have an aerodynamically slippery car, making changes to the engine become pretty noticeable since they don't affect the car's aerodynamics at all and the noisy fuel economy of an aerodynamically messy car has been reduced. If you can get a pretty good baseline established with all the engine auxiliaries attached, then you should be able to spot pretty clearly what effect eliminating the PS has.

elhigh 08-21-2016 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521149)
Is it bad that I'm excited to get measurements? I never thought I'd be this excited about FE...

Is it bad: no. It's almost the same rush guys get when they stage up for a pass down the drag strip. "I've made some changes, let's see what kind of numbers I get this time!"

RE: saving up for an Ultragauge:

I ordered an OBD wireless adapter from Amazon for about $20, and purchased the Torque Pro app to pair it with my phone. NOTE: Torque Pro was about $5, but I was able to get a lot of functionality with the free Torque Lite version, including instant fuel economy readings. Like a vacuum gauge, it can give you a moment-to-moment read on how you're doing; even if the numbers turn out to be completely wrong you can see the changes. If you're on a tight budget, this might be the money-smart way to go.

CappAttack 08-22-2016 02:28 AM

I would love to clean out the EGR valve and say it made a difference. But I cannot, for the life of me, find the electrical connector. I've looked all around where the EGR is and no electrical hookup for it is to be found.

On the note of maintenance, I am going to be changing trans fluid, doing a coolant flush, and replacing the thermostat after I run through this tank and get some numbers from it. I did the first half of the trans fluid change on the tank before I started modding. Will also replace the fuel filter.

Also, my brother is suggesting I get some seafoam and apply it to the throttle body. Any thoughts on this?

CappAttack 08-22-2016 02:31 AM

Missing egr valve connector https://imgur.com/yHDZYMc

Here's a pic of the EGR valve and it's absence of a wire.

Edit: Moved the image from a Google drive link to an Imgur link.

darcane 08-22-2016 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521149)
I think I've decided on an ultra gauge for monitoring. Anyone have experiences that decided why you use what you use? If so, mind sharing?

<snip>

Mods that I'm considering: alternator delete, custom front bumper (Bondo?), and Power steering disable (too much work to remove it for the little weight it'd shave off). Any others I should consider?

I have both an Ultra Gauge and a Scan Gauge II. The SGII seems to provide more accurate info when the engine is off or during DFCO. That said... the UG is the one that stays in my car all the time. More info on each screen and easier to flip between screens. I like the UI better and the low price makes it a great value.

PS delete isn't done primarily for weight savings, it is done to reduce parasitic drag on the engine. It's pretty simple to do and the increased effort isn't much of an issue. My wife barely noticed when I killed PS on mine.

elhigh 08-22-2016 04:46 PM

Your picture didn't post, at least not for me.

Drop it into Imgur or similar and post a link here.

CappAttack 08-22-2016 08:24 PM

Just updated the picture link.

darcane 08-22-2016 09:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521194)
Missing egr valve connector https://imgur.com/yHDZYMc

Here's a pic of the EGR valve and it's absence of a wire.

Edit: Moved the image from a Google drive link to an Imgur link.

You can see it in the background of this pic:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/member-da...gaskettest.jpg
and here:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/member-da...ew-battery.jpg

Pull the cover off of the spark plug wires and see if it is tucked away under there. There should be two wires coming out of the end of this cover, one is the EGR and the other is coolant temp sensor IIRC.

CappAttack 08-22-2016 11:02 PM

Here is what it looks like under the spark plug cover: https://imgur.com/z9t671B
https://imgur.com/VNE7Uup

Not sure where else to look.

Edit: added second picture.

California98Civic 08-23-2016 01:07 AM

You need a shop manual! There are so many details you'll want for reference. You don't have one? Here is a video of a dude cleaning his 7th gen Civic EGR:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JHOtixPU88o

Hope that helps. (And you get great cicada sounds!)

elhigh 08-23-2016 09:48 AM

Well, poop. Where the heck did that cable go?

If I had to guess - and this is coming out of deep left field so don't treat it as gospel at all - the PO either removed it to kill a Check Engine Light (though you would think that would cause it to throw a code) or wanted to prevent EGR so he could wring a few extra horsepower out of it.

You're going to have to source a new cable or build one, and route it back to where it belongs. Not having EGR will truncate your MPG results for sure.

CappAttack 08-23-2016 10:04 AM

Easiest option seems for me to source a a somewhat used engine harness from my local junkyard. I called and they have 5 seventh gen civics in their yard.

CappAttack 08-24-2016 12:26 PM

Update: it seems that the D17A1 engine didn't have an EGR system on motors built 2002 or earlier. What seems likely then is that when this motor was replaced about 40k miles ago that I got a 2003 or newer D17A1 that have the EGR system included. However, the wiring harness and ecu (that's the computer, right?) We're never replaced to support the new motor. Hence my lack of error codes.

Is it worth the trouble to replace both the engine harness and the ecu?

elhigh 08-24-2016 12:49 PM

Okay, I got nothin'. There's Honda guys that change engines like I change pants. Knowing that it might not be too hard to find an appropriate ECU out there to swap in, the trick is knowing whether it's the RIGHT ECU.

I would think that the new ECU would plug up to your existing wiring, but it might give some trouble if it's looking for sensors that aren't installed or hooked up. Tracking that down could be a serious PITA.

How do you feel about hogging out that engine and dropping in a Briggs & Stratton? I understand those pretty well and might be of some use there.

MetroMPG 08-24-2016 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521149)
Is it bad that I'm excited to get measurements? I never thought I'd be this excited about FE...

Nope! Welcome to the club.

If you're having fun now, wait until you get a digital fuel economy gauge in the car, a.k.a. "game gauge"!

Having instant & resettable fuel consumption info takes things to different level.

darcane 08-24-2016 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521353)
Update: it seems that the D17A1 engine didn't have an EGR system on motors built 2002 or earlier. What seems likely then is that when this motor was replaced about 40k miles ago that I got a 2003 or newer D17A1 that have the EGR system included. However, the wiring harness and ecu (that's the computer, right?) We're never replaced to support the new motor. Hence my lack of error codes.

Is it worth the trouble to replace both the engine harness and the ecu?

I would say no.

Replacing the CPU is a little trickier on these cars because there is a separate device called an immobilizer that prevents starting up the car unless the correct key is present. The CPU needs to be programmed to match your key instead of the key to the car the CPU was pulled from.

CappAttack 08-24-2016 07:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darcane (Post 521383)
I would say no.

Replacing the CPU is a little trickier on these cars because there is a separate device called an immobilizer that prevents starting up the car unless the correct key is present. The CPU needs to be programmed to match your key instead of the key to the car the CPU was pulled from.

I've heard of mechanics and/or dealers doing that. Do you think they'd be willing to use the ecu I brought them and program it for my key?

CappAttack 08-26-2016 10:02 AM

Just got my first FE measurement! Last tank was 40.43mpg!

elhigh 08-26-2016 11:55 AM

NICE.

I see at fueleconomy.gov that the best '02 Civic was rated at 36 highway, 31 combined. Even coming from behind with the automatic, you're smoking that rating. Muy bueno!

CappAttack 08-26-2016 08:24 PM

Just ordered an ultra-gague, hopefully the instant feed back will help some more.

also, how does one set it to show FE per vehicle like y'all have in your sigs?

darcane 08-29-2016 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CappAttack (Post 521487)
Just ordered an ultra-gague, hopefully the instant feed back will help some more.

also, how does one set it to show FE per vehicle like y'all have in your sigs?

I think you'll like the Ultragauge. Here's what I have on my primary screen:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/member-da...4568-61mpg.jpg
I use the O2 sensor info to monitor lean burn. With an LX, you probably won't want that gauge displayed.

As for setting up your signature:
How to Setup Ecomodder Mileage MPG Image in Your Signature

CappAttack 08-29-2016 05:31 PM

Thanks a bunch! Only one last newbie question.

Where can I start a proper build thread?

CappAttack 08-29-2016 06:08 PM

Jk, I started one here! http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...tml#post521685


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