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Old 03-02-2013, 02:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Hello from New Olreans, LA

Hi all,

So - been lurking around here for awhile figured time to start posting.

I drive a brick. More specifically, a heavily modified 2007 Nissan Xterra.

I know I'm never going to get good mileage out of this thing - which is fine, since I work from home and it's a hobby vehicle. I do tend to do rather long, adventurous road trips though which often involve a lot of freeway driving before getting offroad.

I'm looking for some tips to improve MPG - I know weight is a huge issue, and my Xterra is a chunky-monkey. I've got aftermarket steel front and rear bumpers, and a steel roofrack. These are needed based on the expedition style trips I do. That being said, I try to reduce weight elsewhere.

For example, when on a long trip, I'll remove the rear seats (super easy to do in the Xterra).

My X is also a 6 speed manual transmission which gives me good control of the engine.

I average around 16 MPG in the city (which is what it's rated for) and around 19 MPG highway - I've gotten 23 MPG highway before, and it's EPA rating is 21 MPG highway - So I've got room for improvement there.

I'm thinking first thing I'm going to tackle are aerodynamics - My aftermarket front bumper created a number of big gaps in the front of the vehicle, which I'm going to try sealing up.

I'm also thinking weather stripping around the hood.

Here's a few shots: (forum won't let me post photos yet, here are links, replace hxxp with http. When I hit the 5 post mark I'll fix them)






A couple notes about those photos:

1 - You should be able to pretty clearly see those gaps the front bumper creates. Going to try and tackle those this weekend. I also have leftover black RTV sealant I'm going to use around the headlights.

2 - The antennas - the one on the drivers side is for an amateur radio setup I've got, and it's not there 99% of the time - I was just playing with the radio that day. Also the regular antenna on the passenger side has been replaced with a much shorter "stubby" antenna.

3 - The holes in the back quarter panels - Beer holders! I have to finish them still, and I'm going to put a hinged cap on them so it stays streamlined.


Any and all suggestions are welcome - I know it's like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too, but hey - I just love working on my Xterra (as you can probably tell) and anything I can do to help regain a few of those lost MPG's would be great.

Thanks!!

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Old 03-02-2013, 07:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xterracanuck View Post
I'm looking for some tips to improve MPG - I know weight is a huge issue, and my Xterra is a chunky-monkey. I've got aftermarket steel front and rear bumpers, and a steel roofrack. These are needed based on the expedition style trips I do. That being said, I try to reduce weight elsewhere.
One of the good features regarding a body-on-frame vehicle is the ability to mess with body panels more easily, replacing some with custom ones made out of aluminium or fiberglass. It's not so hard to make a lighter set of doors, rear hatch, front fenders and hood, and even replace some parts of the floor with diamond-plate aluminium


Quote:
I'm thinking first thing I'm going to tackle are aerodynamics - My aftermarket front bumper created a number of big gaps in the front of the vehicle, which I'm going to try sealing up.

I'm also thinking weather stripping around the hood.
You could consider to get a custom single-piece front clip, with integrated hood, fenders and grille. Could even try some aerodynamic designs for the grille, which you could get inspiration from the Volkswagen's Bluemotion range
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks! Haven't seen those Bluemotion VW's before.

Today I put weather stripping all around the hood to seal that nice and tight. Weather isn't co-operating today, otherwise I would have sealed the headlights with RTV as well.

I want to find some of that signage material too, and use it to block off the openings of the front skid plates.

I'm sure it'll make minor differences that I prob won't even notice..but as long as I can do these mods cheap, I figure why not?
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There are many spots to take some ounces off, and combining that with aeromods would lead to the overall improvements you might be wanting to reach. It can be a slow process but does worth to keep it coming.
Take it easy and you'll figure out the best options regarding your driving style, terrain conditions, among other variants
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Im dealing with the same problem, although my vehicle is mostly stock. i to take long road trips and i am planning of trying to make my vehicle more aero dynamic like grill block, belly pan, ect..

im assuming you use your Xterra off road like i use my land rover. One of the first mods im looking into to improve all around gas mileage is an electric fan swap, do Xterra's come stock with those? also good for water crossing, i had one on my 99 jeep and got 2mpg highway from the swap.

Also im going to be making a grill block out of plexiglass that will be easily detachable. Not sure how much i will gain though. I know all terrain tires arent the best thing for mpg, but i have noticed that making sure they are inflated to the highest psi while still wearing evenly helps ALOT! i just keep a small pump to air them up after off road use.

glad to see another suv off road enthusiast on here, i though i was going to seem crazy trying to get more mpg!
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cool! Yeah I dont' do any crazy rock crawling or anything but i get pretty remote in a lot of areas..Last road trip was up to Labrador, Canada and back.

I have Destination A/T's and love them for my tires.

I know weight is a big issue but my steel front and rear bumpers, while heavy, definitely provide peace of mind. It's always a trade off.

I've got basic skid plates on my X and I'd like to turn them into a full underbody pan, I figure that'll help with aerodynamics. Also my front bumper has huge gaps I can seal up.

I don't have an e-fan - but there was a guy on an xterra form who switched to one and said the same thing - he saw an extra 2 MPG on the highway. Then, there was another guy who said he didn't notice anything at all.

If I can find a cheap kit I might try and do such a swap...I figure it can't hurt, ya know?

Weatherstripped the rest of my hood yesterday, and brainstormed about what I can remove to reduce weight. I know it sounds silly having an extra couple hundred pounds worth of steel on the Xterra, and then looking to shave 10-20 pounds here and there...But again, as mentioned, it's always a trade off. If I can remove things that I don't use and shave some weight, why not, right?
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah no crazy crawling here either, just beach runs and occasional trail or mud hole.

I'v got the new toyo at2's they fit my needs so far and i cant imagine them having any crazy amount of rolling resistance. I was actually looking at getting the fire stones, but the toyos were a steal.

Different Efans, mounting styles, and wiring can effect how well the swap will affect your mpg increase. For instance a fan that pulls less amps when running will put less of a strain on the alternator rendering more mpg. having a integrated temp switch helped me achieve the max mpg gain out of my jeep because the fan would only kick on when it had to (not when i assumed it needed to) like in the city,or on the trail. Making sure the fan has a proper sealed shroud covering the ENTIRE radiator helps to reduce the amount of time the fan has to run to cool the engine, thus less strain on the alternator, more mpg.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ehninger12 View Post
One of the first mods im looking into to improve all around gas mileage is an electric fan swap, do Xterra's come stock with those? also good for water crossing, i had one on my 99 jeep and got 2mpg highway from the swap.
It's quite surprisingly for me to figure out that the LR4 isn't available from the factory with an E-fan...
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
It's quite surprisingly for me to figure out that the LR4 isn't available from the factory with an E-fan...
Well mine is an LR3, but i was surprised at the lack of an electric fan as well.
The factory fan is HUGE!

I am diggin the bumpers, and definitely see alot of spaces that can be sealed up. I am looking forward to see it it will help you achieve better gas mileage, as i have a winch sitting on the floor in my garage awaiting a home on my LR
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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