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Old 01-12-2015, 09:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Curious newcomer from Eastern ND.

Hello,

I have been lurking this website a while unregistered. I have a pretty long daily commute (63 miles), and I'm looking at options to improve efficiency of my current vehicles, and also researching options for my next used vehicle purchase with efficiency in mind (likely Honda Civic, Geo Metro, or something else).

I currently drive a '97 Camry V6. It used to get only 22 to 24 mpg, and I met a Toyota mechanic who plugged my car in, and modified the fuel and transmission shifting settings in my system, and that boosted it to 25 city, 29 highway. The car now has 278,000 miles and driving 126 miles a day is going to quickly reduce its lifespan.

I'm a home DIY mechanic, CAD designer (AutoCAD, Draftsight, AutoCAD Mechanical, Pro/E PTC Creo 2.0) with ~8 years experience professionally, and working to become a subject matter expert on GD&T.

I'm looking forward to learning as much as I possibly can here, and hopefully be a contributing member wherever I can...

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Old 01-12-2015, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome! One of the mods will be along to make it more official.

My Dad is from a tiny town in Minnesota, about 60m ESE of Fargo - extreme eastern North Dakota, you could say. Certainly Fargo was about the nearest city of any note within an hour's drive.

120+ miles per day will certainly rack them up, but flat prairie means the loading isn't ever that bad. The bigger killer to your car will be wintertime, which in ND is nothing to sneeze at.

Block heaters, grille blocks, warm air intakes I think will be some of the best places to start. Aero is certainly important, especially if you're spending so much time at cruising velocity, but in your case it may be more important to first mitigate some of the extremes the engine experiences, and when doing aero to do them with snow resistance in mind. You may have to dial back some of the bigger measures like airdams, considering that they will be spending at least part of their time as ersatz snow plows.

A microscopic cruiser like a Metro would be a good choice regardless, but I think we can all agree that when the snow flies, you're going to want something with a bit more beef. I could be wrong however, and we have an awful lot of Canadians on this forum; they can almost certainly speak with more authority to that than I can.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the fun!

Modifying the shift points was a great move. Getting some instrumentation like a ScanGauge or UltraGauge will help you make the most of that. It's one thing to be told "keep your speed down," it's another thing entirely to have on board instruments telling you how your car performs at what speeds.

Enjoy.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome to posting on the site.

As we tell most people, instrumentation is always a great start. So, a scangauge, ultragauge, or bluetooth adapter with torque on a smartphone should be on your short list. That'll help you tweak your driving habits. After that, I think aerodynamic modifications will be your best bang for your buck.

Have you considered replacing the car with something more efficient?
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bannie View Post
I currently drive a '97 Camry V6. It used to get only 22 to 24 mpg, and I met a Toyota mechanic who plugged my car in, and modified the fuel and transmission shifting settings in my system, and that boosted it to 25 city, 29 highway.
I'd be interested in learning exactly what was done. The Camry has been the best-selling car in the US for years. If it's relatively easy to reflash the autotragic transmission logic, I'm sure other owners would be interested!

As for finding a more efficient highway cruiser, they're definitely out there. We have a fun thread going about cheap, used beaters with 35+ mpg US highway ratings, if you haven't seen it:

http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...mpg-30489.html

EG: '02 Corolla - 37 mpg highway - $1500

If you have the luxury of time, good choices always come up.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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With that long of a commute you will want to sacrifice some eco for creature comforts. I'd stay away from the micro sized Metro and look more for a 4cyl Camry. Look at what they offer compared to tiny cars and see if the trade off is worth it for you. But like was said already, you will have to deal with snow so fowl weather abilities should be a major priority as well.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspif View Post
But like was said already, you will have to deal with snow so fowl weather abilities should be a major priority as well.
Heh. Fowl weather:



And now we can return to more constructive posts.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 01-12-2015, 02:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elhigh View Post
A microscopic cruiser like a Metro would be a good choice regardless, but I think we can all agree that when the snow flies, you're going to want something with a bit more beef. I could be wrong however, and we have an awful lot of Canadians on this forum; they can almost certainly speak with more authority to that than I can.
Where did the Ecomodder forum go???

There's nothing wrong with cruising a Metro or some such in this environment. In fact they are perfect and much more suitable than the typical ubiquitous 5,000 lb V8 4x4 solo commuter vehicle.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
As we tell most people, instrumentation is always a great start. So, a scangauge, ultragauge, or bluetooth adapter with torque on a smartphone should be on your short list. That'll help you tweak your driving habits. After that, I think aerodynamic modifications will be your best bang for your buck.
Instrumentation for droning on a highway for hours on end?

Here you can actually use a cruise control to hold steady throttle. I usually pick a cruising speed nearer to 50 mph while many North Dakotans seem to prefer 80 mph. Guess who spends more time stopping at gas stations.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Charlie View Post
Welcome to the fun!

Modifying the shift points was a great move. Getting some instrumentation like a ScanGauge or UltraGauge will help you make the most of that. It's one thing to be told "keep your speed down," it's another thing entirely to have on board instruments telling you how your car performs at what speeds.

Enjoy.
Think of a slate pool table. Then think of snapping a chalkline mark on it. That is a ND road. The distances are far enough such that a motorist can test different speeds and fe tank-to-tank and get a feel for the results fairly quickly.

Just sayin', instrumentation is nice but not necessary.

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