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Old 03-28-2018, 03:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ecomodder powered VX Success story

Hi Everyone,
I wanted to say THANKS!
I've recently purchased a 1994 VX in good order with 180K. Initial Fuel Economy was 41, and through reading your ideas, a few repairs, and a few mods, I've now hit over 60 on a similar drive. Here's what it took, in chronological order:

Adjust timing- previous owner installed distributor, but left timing15 degrees off- adjustment got the power back down low in the rpms
Adjust valves
Repair speedometer-weak point on these cars is the solder joints on the back of the speedometer. Found some cold joints, soldered, got the speedo back.

new plugs- ngk4f-11 (previously some bosche ones)
Install MpGuino- Best mod ever. Knowing is half the battle, no? I have 175 tires to live with- so I'm going 2.6% more miles than the speedo says. MPGuino calibration number for VSS is thus 8001, not the typical 8208 for a VX
Tires to 50 psi
Build rear wheel covers and grill block using alupanel. Perfect for the job, sturdy like real body panels. Holds a curve. Get it used in scrap form from your local sign maker.
Front air dam- pretty aggressive, about 5" below original. This car is a bit saggy in the back, and I think was pushing a lot of air over that underbody.

At this point, I was feeling like I was at an impass-I was stuck around 50mpgs, and it was REALLY hard to stay in lean burn. I pulled compression just out of curiosity-I got 195-215-210-215. Pretty nice numbers... not that...
Finally, a break through- found a big issue- front brake drag-
my front pads had worn down into the rotors, so new rotors and pads there really helped in the front. I tried to make springs (Drag reducer clips) to push the pads back out, but the access is poor on the VX, and I couldn't come up with something I really liked and thought would help. I guess I'll do new hoses next, unless any other ideas here?
In the rear, I found more drag-
Fix e brake drag- I disengaged auto adjusters- this made the most difference.
Post brake drag fix it got a lot easier to keep the car in lean burn. Previously even a slight grade at 50 mph would put me out of it. Now I can drive "almost" normally and stay in lean burn...
Future mods: Hot air intake, kill switch, and side skirts

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Old 03-28-2018, 04:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo-Gaucho View Post
front brake drag-
my front pads had worn down into the rotors, so new rotors and pads there really helped in the front. I tried to make springs (Drag reducer clips) to push the pads back out, but the access is poor on the VX, and I couldn't come up with something I really liked and thought would help. I guess I'll do new hoses next, unless any other ideas here?
Caliper pistons and pins in good shape?
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had the same issue with my Civic - was getting 25%-35% lower gas mileage due to brake calipers sticking badly - so bad in fact that after driving only 10 or so miles my wheels were burning hot to the touch.
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Old 03-29-2018, 10:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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welcome!!

Fantastic first post! Welcome to the forum, Gringo-Gaucho!

What gave you the efficiency bug? What were you driving before?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo-Gaucho View Post
Install MpGuino- Best mod ever. Knowing is half the battle, no?
Feedback is a real eye-opener, eh? You can't manage what you don't measure.

Reminds me I need to re-solder mine to try to cure the random MPGuino resets I was getting last fall in the MPGiata.

Quote:
Future mods: Hot air intake, kill switch, and side skirts
The kill switch is another biggie. Are you using the key now?

I'm sure you've seen there are a couple of great VX and Civic builds here for further inspiration.
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
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Repair before mod. Always good to see. Great writeup. Thanks.

Was that the wet or dry compression test. I guess the wet test since the numbers are so high. Something like 185 is more stock. What oil are you running?
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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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Old 03-29-2018, 11:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The biggest breakthrough was actually the destruction of the misnomer that these cars come from the factory as efficient as they can realistically get- Ecomodder shattered that facade for me.
As a lifelong efficiency nut- a sailor, kayaker, and long distance cyclist, I live in remote Alaska- fuel is extra expensive in dollars and ecologically, so it makes sense. Also, we hike in to our home around 3/8 mile, so no way to charge an electric car. Next best thing with four seats? VX !
Right now for EOC, I am using the key. Not fun and passengers don't like it, gotta get to that kill switch. I did put in a crappy hot air intake a few days ago, and I now have a partial/full seasonally switchable grill block option. I need some material for side skirts like the ones Gasoline Fumes has- I will check the dump!
BTW, Those compression numbers were dry, engine warm, crank till it stops climbing, mac tools gauge... Interesting that they would be above stock... how is that possible? I'm using 5-20 oil.
I plan to revisit the break pad issue- read some more posts tonight, and other VX's have installed the clips. I think one dragging break is worth about 10 aero-mods.

Other vehicles: 1937 Gaff Ketch(infinate mpg, sometimes!) Cedar Kayak- Miles per... Taco? Trek 500 With over 20K estimated miles(soon to be e-biked I hope), 1998 Tacoma(next ecomod subject) and a 1991 Civic DX that I plan to let go, The VX will be taking it's spot, since it has proven that it does get 20 mpg above the (admittedly UN-modified) dx
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Old 03-29-2018, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
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Wow! Hiking 3/8 mile to reach your house. What a different world than my coastal Southern Cali home. I searched the 1992-1995 Civic FSM, which includes your engine. Your compression ratio was slightly higher than other Civics of that generation at 9.3 (instead of 9.2 or 9.1 for other trims). But a document search turned up no results for compression test. I might search again. But I think 184 is the more precise number and you are more than 10% over that. High compression can be associated with pre ignition.

EDIT: I found a compression reference in the service limits section. 184 +/- 28 is considered within limits. See attached screen shot.

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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.




Last edited by California98Civic; 03-30-2018 at 12:05 AM..
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Compression

Well, from those numbers(thanks!) It looks like I'm 3 psi above spec on two cylinders. I'd guess that the individual doing the test made sufficient inconsistencies to account for that... Still, seems high after 185K!
Carbon buildup could cause that, no?
BTW, California98Civic, I've just been reading your WAI thread- I have a hunch it will prove very helpful to me in AK. I consistently note 10% loss or worse on my work truck in winter vs. summer- same tires. I suppose There is an increase in idle time for car warm ups though, and rarely extra rolling resistance from snow. Also, In the VX, I've noted warm days make it seem easier to stay in lean burn... but then... less air density could be a factor there... I'll throw out my conjecture and just say I can count on 1.15mpg...
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
Team Honda
90 day: 66.42 mpg (US)

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I have become a little less enthusiastic about WAI builds. Mine is not currently installed. I am sure it reduces pumping losses, but not sure how the change in power affects FE and not sure the ECU does not adjust in ways that negate gains. Lots of debate about WAI builds here. I still have mine and might experiement again. Basically, I took it off for an emissions inspection and then was not sure I saw any penalty.

BTW, I have the Honda FSM that covers your car in PDF. I share it with EM members. PM me or post here if you want a copy and we can trade emails.
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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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Old 03-30-2018, 01:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
Cyborg ECU
 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Coastal Southern California
Posts: 6,266

Black and Green - '98 Honda Civic DX Coupe
Team Honda
90 day: 66.42 mpg (US)

Black and Red - '00 Nashbar Custom built eBike
90 day: 3671.43 mpg (US)
Thanks: 2,363
Thanked 2,139 Times in 1,450 Posts
I have become a little less enthusiastic about WAI builds. Mine is not currently installed. I am sure it reduces pumping losses, but not sure how the change in power affects FE and not sure the ECU does not adjust in ways that negate gains. Lots of debate about WAI builds here. I still have mine and might experiement again. Basically, I took it off for an emissions inspection and then was not sure I saw any penalty.

BTW, I have the Honda FSM that covers your car in PDF. I share it with EM members. PM me or post here if you want a copy and we can trade emails.

__________________
See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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brake drag, civic vx, d15z1, leanburn, speedometer

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