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Daox 04-17-2008 02:09 PM

Daox's 2003 Matrix Build Thread
Well, its almost summer and that means its car workin time. I figured I'd start a thread for the Matrix as I really want to get it over 40 mpg this summer. There is also the fact that we put 4-5x more miles on this car than the Paseo since me and the wife carpool in the Matrix most of the time. So, it would make sense to start here, wouldn't it? So, here it is, my 2003 base model Toyota Matrix.

So, lets recap real quick what has already been done to the Matrix.

Daox 04-17-2008 02:18 PM

The Matrix is the wife's work car for the most part and also our trip car. She drives it most of the time and it therefore sits right around the EPA rating. I'm still working on teaching her to drive differently, and its working slowly but surely. Anyway, she makes a lot of trips from company to company throughout the day, many of them are short trips in the city. So, anything I can do to reduce warm-up time should be of benefit not only to fuel economy and emissions, but also to her comfort (yes, bonus points for the husband.) So, I very recently made two grill blocks for it. They've been on the car for almost two weeks now. I haven't pulled her milage book out of the car to see if its helped at all yet. Something to do this weekend.


After. Upper grill block.

After. Upper and lower grill block. I ran out of fasteners so I used the upper ones on the bottom until I ran to get more.

The block did work quite well to warm up the engine faster. I'd say it warmed up 20-30% faster than normal. It also increased intake air temp a few degrees (3-5F) since the intake is behind the driver side headlight. The mileage gain is pretty impossible to tell. I have not done any A-B-A testing with it, and in normal driving it is not possible to notice. The material (foam board) did hold up, but not that well. It used to be black and is now whiteish-brown. I'll be looking to remake new blocks out of coroplast or something similar in the future. However, the foam board is still hanging in there. Its just not pretty.

I have removed the lower block now that its getting warm out because I noticed the radiator fan kicking in quite often when doing city driving.

Daox 04-17-2008 02:24 PM

Well, I just got the block heater installed. It wasn't too bad. There was just a hole in the block on the driver's side above the transmission. The heater slides in with some grease over it and clips into the hole. Unfortunately, the hole is very burried and I wasn't able to take any real good pictures. Here are the ones I do have though.

I still have to see what of timer/remote I can find exactly for it though. But, that can wait a little bit at least.

Kit contents.

Heater installed.

Heater wiring. I routed the wire around the batter following the main wire harness to make it look clean. It then goes through the front of the car through the headlight hole along with a few other wires.

The plug. It is held in place roughly by the grill block. You can kind of tuck it up under it while it is not in use.

The block heater worked very well and greatly reduced warm up times. It also got me through the winter with a weak battery since it never had many real cold startups. Unfortuantely, late in the winter season the cord was pulled far enough out of the bumper to drag along the ground. There is about half of the metal pins on the plugs left, but enough to work. So, I'll be looking into doing something to repair that.

Daox 04-17-2008 02:44 PM

So, what on the table for the Matrix next? Well, I really want to work on the underside of this thing.

The front of the vehicle will probably get attention first. I don't have any good pictures of it, but as with most cars, it only has a front skirt that extends back a little ways. I'd like to do a full belly pan under the engine bay.

Here is a shot from another one of our Matrix owners on the board (sorry, forgot your name). As you can see, there are two support members on either side of the exhaust. There is a fairly large step there. I'm thinking of using some aluminum flashing to cover the whole middle section between the support members.

That leads us to the back. I'll have to see what can be done with it. The muffler sits sideways in the very back of the car. Definitly going to need some aluminum there.

Other than the underside aero mods, I'll be looking at a WAI to increase load while cruising. The wife doesn't P&G, so this is probably one of the cheapest ways to increase mileage. I'll just have to experiment with different temps. I have a feeling the engine may be sensitive to warmer intake temps as it already has a 10.5:1 compression ratio and still runs on 87 octane.

Daox 04-17-2008 03:24 PM

Any recommendations or other ideas would be great too. :)

Daox 04-21-2008 08:33 AM

Alright, here is the rest of what I have to work with. I hiked up the Matrix this weekend to snap some pics of the bottom.

Even with the two front grill blocks, there was still the area between the bumper cover and main support that was open. This will need to be closed up.

This is the area I'd like to go over with aluminum flashing between the two support members. The only thing I don't like about it is the aluminum flashing may rub the exhaust as it hangs down a bit below the support member's lowest level.

This is the large drop off between the engine bay and passenger compartment. Definitly not good for keeping airflow attached.

Moving backwards you can see that the floor of the car actually tapers down towards the back of the car.

In these next three pictures you can see Toyota did seem to try to use some underbody panels for one reason or another.

However, once you get beyond the rear axle, all bets are off. There is nothing here to help airflow. Thankfully, the bumper cover doesn't hang down real low. So, there isn't much parachute effect going on.

SVOboy 04-21-2008 01:45 PM

I think we have the same jack, :p

Looking forward to some more updates.

Arminius 04-21-2008 02:07 PM

Those grill blocks look really good. At least you don't have the rear bumper problem that the Civic has. After calculating gas and materials, I decided it would be cheaper to buy a manufactured grill block, so I had someone make it for me. It looks something like the pics in this link (scroll down):

edbso 04-30-2008 01:56 PM

That would be my photo above. I have covered the under engine area from the front bumper to about 4" beyond the front wheels.

See more here

edbso 04-30-2008 02:12 PM

PS: 37.87 mpg Canadian
EPA mpg Highway 28 mpg

Recently observed on the highway with cruise set at 70 mph 31.5 miles per American gallon.

37.87 miles per Canadian gallon.

ac was off.

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