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Old 01-08-2014, 11:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Baja - '03 Subaru Baja Base
90 day: 25.16 mpg (US)
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Hi people! Ive been lurking around these forums for a couple of months, hoping to improve my mileage for my new-to-me 03 subaru baja. I drive over 100 miles daily for my commute, so this has surely been a fascinating site to look through.

I started changing my driving habits back in september, when it was still warm, and I was able to get about 28 mpg. Now, in the middle of the polar vortex, I'm below 23 mpg. I guess it makes sense, since its about 70 degrees cooler outside but i just took the plunge of buying a obd2 adaptor so i can use torque, which I am very excited about! I also just cut out some lexan fog light covers (waiting to install, want to silicone them in and its too cold), as well as making a temporary upper grille block using packing tape.

I already raised my tire pressure to ~40 psi in september, but im starting to notice some excessive wear in the center of my tires While i like an additional 1 mpg or so, I dont think it is worth it if Ill be needing new tires sooner rather than later.

I'm glad to be here and finally begin the quest for better mileage!

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Old 01-10-2014, 01:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Subaru Baja!!



Every single time I see one of these (OK, about 3 times, total ) I think: "what a perfect platform for an aero shell / topper!"

You must make one! Or you will be banned.

(Kidding.)

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Old 01-10-2014, 01:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 52.8 mpg (US)

Winter beater Metro - '00 Chevrolet Metro
90 day: 73.57 mpg (US)

Fancy Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3,088
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Re: your aero shell:

Just find out what this guy did with the back of his Prius. That's the shape you want anyway.

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Old 01-10-2014, 01:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Josie - '87 Toyota Pickup
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My younger son has an irrational love for the Baja, even more than the Forester which we already have. I guess he likes the idea of its pickupiness combined with four doors.

I understand the mileage on those isn't great. I'm with Metro, an aerocap would work wonders on your car. If nothing else, it would keep your bags of driveway salt out of the weather until you need them.
[edit]
^^ HOLY CARP.

Now that's a hybrid. Give it a new name:

Platypus
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Baja - '03 Subaru Baja Base
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elhigh, I happen to also fall into the 'irrational love' category for the Baja. For my uses, where I occasionally need to haul something, but still need room for car seats, it fits the bill quite nicely. It is definitely called a 'utility' for a reason!

MetroMPG, ever since I discovered this site that is exactly what I've been thinking. It really is an incredible platform for an aeroshell, and I want to make one! I will probably start with something easy to make - like a tonneau - and then work on building around that. I don't mind bi-level storage if it's less work. I've seen that picture a couple of times... Every time I see it I think photoshopped? But maybe not. I'll try to find the hind end of that Prius though... it would save a LOT of work! lol

Anyway, besides the aeroshell, I want to tackle a few simpler things, like a more permanent grille block, maybe experiment with the lower grille (I've seen mixed results), tire spats, an air dam, etc. I've also considered some tuning, like advancing the cam timing. Has anyone had any success with adjusting their cams or adjusting their tune? I love the torque this vehicle already has at lower rpms, but I could move my torque curve back juuuuuust a bit.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think it's an Outback or Impreza owner who posted a thread talking about adjusting how his car's ECU "sees" the throttle inputs delivering an improvement of about 3+ mpg. I'd have to hunt around for it. Interesting read.

I don't know if it would apply to your engine though. I have the first-gen EJ25, and so have had new head gaskets and the persistent oil drip. In some ways I seriously hate Subaru for these issues. But those things aside it is a brilliant, highly capable car.

I think yours is one-and-a-half generations removed from mine, so you may have dodged the head gasket problem. I'm fairly certain they stopped using the terrible plastic separator plate at the back of the engine that is the cause of my oil leak.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Baja - '03 Subaru Baja Base
90 day: 25.16 mpg (US)
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I did see that article about the throttle wire tuning. while that particular piece of technology wasnt so good for fuel economy, subaru has done quite a few new things to get better fuel economy, like variable timing... I wish I had that one. Id settle for doing it manually though.

Yeah, seems like the ej25 early on had lots of problems... im running the sohc ej25, and unfortunately this engine is prone to head gasket problems too... and Im at 105k right now... I hope the previous owner needed to replace it, or I will be screwed shortly, lol. Havent heard anything about an oil leak though, thats news to me!
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I fit into this category of irrational love. All wheel drive, five speed standard, nice four cylinder turbo, off road capability, hauling capability, seating five, low center of gravity-jack of all trades! (I know, mastering none).

There is a woman with one near me who I strangely often see outside the local wal mart, and I may be getting creepy in complimenting her car each time lol.

If I were you, rather than a cover, I would buy a used/old shell from a pick up. Searching a bit on google is showing 749.99 for a Baja tonneau cover, I see a few A.R.E. caps, but no prices. The Z cap is what fits.

I would search craigs list, and make your own.watertown all for sale / wanted classifieds "truck cap" - craigslist

You can always find one, and build it into what you want. If it were me, I would have to drop the tailgate, and make it into a boat tail, or as close as you can. Building it just to the edge, or what you feel right with. I often see truck caps for $50 on the side of the road, might be an option for you. Definitely the cheapest way to go.


This site had a nice build for a flat one, do it yourself: scoobytruck.com • View topic - 2006 Hard Tonneau cover from Factory
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Baja - '03 Subaru Baja Base
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Thanks, Ultarc! I never thought of converting a shell into a tonneau! With the size of the bed, pretty much any shell could be converted... Most shells are fiberglass, arent they? I could even recycle the windows, and make smaller mods using the scraps... Im definitely going to start looking!

That tonneau build also looks awesome, Ill try translating some of that article, but I got the jist from the pictures. Very creative!
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That's a nice one. Too bad Subaru didn't keep it for the current generation of the Outback, it would be great with that new Boxer Diesel.

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