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Old 07-16-2010, 04:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wink Help this eco minded girl modify my Highlander Hybrid

I'm not a big car girl but I want to learn as much as I can. I have a 2007 Highlander Hybrid that I love and I'm really interested in making it even more efficient. So many of the mods and ideas are for the Prius. Has anyone done work on a HH that can share ideas with me?

I'm thinking of starting with the moon disc hubcaps (seems like a relatively easy first project!) but please talk to me about things I can do to improve my fuel efficiency and aerodynamics in my HH. Be patient with me, I may have to go google a whole lot of terms and parts to learn what they mean/do. Thanks in advance!

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Old 07-16-2010, 11:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to EM!

I think even easier than the smooth wheel covers, would be an upper grill block? If you try it out with just tape, or some Coroplast (corrugated plastic board that all the lawn signs are made from) and tape/cable ties.

Can you post a couple or three pictures of your vehicle?

Ecodriving is the least expensive thing to do, for sure -- I would suggest starting a fuel log here, and learn as you go. Check the list of tips.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You would be well advised to buy and instal a scanguage II so that you know what is going on with the highlander while you are driving, unless,of course, the highlander already has a full dash display... It also helps you learn what are the consequences of deferent driving styles... knowledge is power!
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Old 07-17-2010, 09:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks, I appreciate the ideas. I've been reading the tips on ecodriving tactics, paid way more attention to my driving today. Kind of amazed at how often we are pressing on the gas when we don't need to be!

I'll look up that scanguage II, I bet that tells me more than the dash readout.

I've uploaded a few pics. Keep the ideas coming. I can't picture how the lawn signs over the grill block would look, I'll see if I can find pics of other people that have done that on here for a reference. Thanks again!
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You can use actual lawn signs (and paint them black), or you can use black Coroplast (often the best source is from a sign shop) -- but your grill looks easy to try out a temporary block with black gaffer's tape, or Gorilla Tape. I'll bet you can block off the top two sections, and maybe all of the upper grill? If the dash doesn't already have a temperature gauge, then the ScanGuage II can provide this.

It's too bad the rear "spoiler" juts up (slightly) above the roof -- it would be much better if it dropped slightly down, instead. What is your tire pressure, and what is the maximum pressure written on the sidewalls?

Have you started keeping fuel records? This is certainly where you be able to tell how you are doing. And yes, ecodriving is a process of learning how to use just enough throttle to get where you need to, and how to avoid using your brakes on a regular basis. Does your Highlander have the 'B' mode on the shifter? You can use that to slow down and get regenerative braking. But coast when you can, and when you can carry speed.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As an interesting sidebar, at Toyota's website,
the base model Highlander's MPG is 20/27,
(other Highlander packages get 18/24)
the Highlander Hybrid's MPG is 27/25.

What's up with the hybrid's lower highway MPG?
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Just curious: Someone was asking me for a recommendation for a hybrid for serious off-roading. Any opinions?
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokeby View Post
As an interesting sidebar, at Toyota's website,
the base model Highlander's MPG is 20/27,
(other Highlander packages get 18/24)
the Highlander Hybrid's MPG is 27/25.

What's up with the hybrid's lower highway MPG?
Well I would say and it makes sense to have higher mileage at lower speeds in the city since it can take advantage of the electric motor/start-stop/regenerative braking and other hybrid technologies for low speeds/short trips thus saving on gas...

The new Prius (T3) is also better rated in city vs. highway cycle fueleconomy.gov ratings

.................................................. ............................................


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Bob View Post
Just curious: Someone was asking me for a recommendation for a hybrid for serious off-roading. Any opinions?
I agree with what's being said in this article : The Truth About 4x4 Hybrids - 4Wheel & Off-Road Magazine
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Last edited by Laurentiu; 07-19-2010 at 05:54 AM..
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokeby View Post
As an interesting sidebar, at Toyota's website,
the base model Highlander's MPG is 20/27,
(other Highlander packages get 18/24)
the Highlander Hybrid's MPG is 27/25.

What's up with the hybrid's lower highway MPG?
Batteries and other hybrid components add weight to the car (they tend to weigh a bit more than the base model). And having more to drag down the freeway where being a hybrid doesn't have any advantages produces worse FE.

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