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Old 01-25-2012, 04:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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81rabbitdiesel's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: East Texas, Hill country North of Tyler Texas
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DaRabbit - '81 Volkswagen Rabbit LS
90 day: 60.03 mpg (US)
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Hi Guys Old Diesel rabbit driver here

Hi Guys,

My name is Don,

I got this car back in June and Love driving it, it is easy to see out of because of all the glass and the MPGs are great. but not great enough : ) i have been reading about hypermiling and have been reading this sight since befor i bought the car.

I got the car because it was rated high on Fuely.com I live in a small fixed income so the better mpgs i get the more i can spend on other stuff that we need.

the car is an 81 vw rabbit LS diesel 4 door with 5 speed tranny. 1.6 na. it also has good working AC that i seldom ever use but since it works i hate to tear it out for the weight loss. I have put about 4k miles on it since i got it and am averaging about 47mpgs. It has new 13 inch tires and i have at 50 psi.

Im starting to do the puls and glide in the car and doing the Key off since it doesnt have power brakes or anything it doesnt scare me to much on the back roads. I am hoping to learn to get 50 or 60 mpgs The more the better.

I took out the back seat for weight loss but thats about all i have done to the car other than try to drive as frugal as i can. I was thinking about trying to run used cooking oil to lower my driving costs more but its really hard to find : ( My best mpg in the car was 56 mpgs and that was almost all hwy driving are 50 to 55 mph.

I love this site, thanks to all of you who have posted so much helpfull info.

Thanks for reading, Don

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Old 01-25-2012, 06:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Diesel_Dave's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Indiana
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White Whale - '07 Dodge Ram 2500 ST Quad Cab 2wd, short bed
Team Cummins
90 day: 37.68 mpg (US)
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Welcome, Don. I kinda wish I had a old diesel Rabbit to play around with. My brother had one (a gasser) when we were teenagers--did a lot a stuff to that thing! Read up on hypermilling and maybe some aero mods, and I think you'll me able to meet your 50-60 mpg goals!
Diesel Dave

My version of energy storage is called "momentum".
My version of regenerative braking is called "bump starting".

1 Year Avg (Every Mile Traveled) = 47.8 mpg

BEST TANK: 2,009.6 mi on 35 gal (57.42 mpg): http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...5-a-26259.html

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Charlotte NC / York SC
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05 DMax - '05 Chevrolet 2500HD
90 day: 18.48 mpg (US)
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Welcome !
The more VW deisels the better.

Some aero mods will help a bunch. Google the VW Rabbit that car and driver dropped a TDI into. The air dam helped a bunch. Wheel skirts and a Kamm back will help more.
Since its an '81 its no big loss adding on parts

I can't understand why my MPG's are so low..........
21,000lb, 41' Toy Haulers are rough on FE!
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Western Wisconsin
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honda cb125 - '74 Honda CB 125 S1
90 day: 79.71 mpg (US)

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I'm sure you already know that you need to make sure that your timing belt is in good shape or it will destroy your engine.
adjusting the injector pump timing is pretty easy but there are also special tools that make it really accurate and easier.
Making sure that your fuel filter is clean is also important, even more so if you use any amount of bio-diesel, as it will loosen the crud up in the fuel system and clog the filter.
pulling the belt on the A/C will help with your mileage, then come summer re-install it.
The brakes and wheel bearings on the VW's are a bit fussy and should be checked for drag.
Make sure you have the narrower wheels for the diesel as they are also lighter weight, if you can find narrow light weight 14" wheels then you could get Honda Insight stock tires that are light and low rolling resistance, but they no longer make any LRR tires in 13" that I have been able to find.
It also might be time to change the transmission gear oil, it's GL-5 if I remember correctly.
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Old 01-26-2012, 05:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: East Texas, Hill country North of Tyler Texas
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DaRabbit - '81 Volkswagen Rabbit LS
90 day: 60.03 mpg (US)
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Hi Guys,

Thanks for the warm welcome.

The guy i bought the car from had a lot of stuff done to it. so the engine is very sound as is the tranny. it has new brakes and wheel bearings. the timeing belt was changed at 155k miles and the car now has 162k miles. The PO had all the work done at a VW shop in Dallas and kept all his reciepts. Heck he gave me a file folder on the car with all the work done to it.

I figure i will probably have the timing belt changed again at about 200k miles ...thats less than 60k miles on the belt but it would take me a very long time to put that many miles on it so i think its probably safer. I changed the alternator belt because it would Squeel sometimes and was annoying. it was hard to change and the belt i took off was nearly new but the VW shop he used put on a belt that looked to me to be about an inch to long.

At that time i planned on deleating the AC belt but then realized that my alternator belt runs off the AC pully so no can due. I got the car because its easy for me to see out of and it is cheap to drive. Im on disability and having some health issues that doesnt allow me to do alot. but i have to say I LOVE driving this thing.

im hoping maybe next year i can afford to get some fiberglass and make a front end cover that bows around the front at an angle so there is no flat surface and with help with the front tires having to buck the air as it is driven or coasts. also i am wanting to do a full belly pan. I read all the project sipster thread and did a bunch of searching online to find more info but there isnt much out there.

what i cant do is the engine swap. but i figure since i dont care to drive fast then maybe doing the areo stuff might help me get some serious mpgs out of this thing. My Wife hates the car cause i cant stop reserching and talking about it LOL.

i found where an 82 ford fiesta diesel 1.6 set a world record of 92.5 mpgs with an average speed of 48 mph. going 888 miles on one tank in 1988. this kind of stuff gets me really excited lol im shooting for 60 so i think i can get there its just gonna take me a while.

I had to put new tires on the car because the ones that we on it looked new but were dry rotted and 11 years old : ( i put skinny 13 inch tires on from walmart. I cant remember the size but they were the skinnyest they had. They have a 44 psi sidewall rating, i keep them at 50 psi.

thanks again for the the site and all the help you guys have given me without even knowing.


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