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Old 04-13-2008, 01:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi from the high country

Hi to everyone, I am very glad I found this forum! I've been lurking here for a few months, but had to join the fray on a couple of cycling threads.

My whole experience with "reducing my carbon footprint" started by cycling to work as a way to lose weight. As I did more riding, I realized that I am in a wonderful location to ride all year. Even though I'm in Colorado, I live in the Front Range region where we get over 300 sunny days a year on average. When it snows here, it is usually off the roads within 2 days, so I rarely had to drive. I purchased some winter riding clothes, and improved my wardrobe as time went on. I added lights to my bike and my helmet so I could see and others would notice me (amazing how quickly an SUV will brake when a little flashing LED is pointed at them), and basically got myself setup for riding everywhere I went. In the spring of '06 my wife and I decided to sell our second car since it had been sitting in the driveway with two flat tires for 3 months. At that point I rode everywhere I had to go unless the roads were icy, or it was actively snowing, or below 0 degrees (f).

This all ended on March 1st '07, when a young driver rear ended me at 50mph! I "woke up" in the ICU wing of the local hospital 6 hours later with a broken ankle (read: broken off!), and a brain injury. I give kudos to my Gyro Pneumo helmet for saving my life! Happily my ankle was fixed by an excellent surgeon and two 3" stainless steel screws, so I am walking, running, mountain biking, and enjoy a full range of motion again. My brain injury is also healing, but I still have a ways to go before I'm back to normal there. I am working with a wonderful occupational therapist and we are making good progress.

Which all brings me to EcoModder! Since commuting by bike was pretty much out of the question, I went looking for a car. My most important criteria was that it had to get over 30mpg at its worst. I also couldn't afford a hybrid, so I went looking at little cars. I was reducing my list of cars and had almost given up on finding one that could get 30mpg and wasn't too old when a co-worker told me he was selling a Mazda MX-3 RS. As soon as I saw it, I knew that if the mileage was right, I would own it. He let me test drive it for a weekend, and never got it back.

I am now looking at ways to get even better mileage by some aero mods and probably switching the transmission to one with a taller final drive ratio. I think with a little work, I can get my combined mileage over 40mpg which would make me very happy. I'm also very glad to have found this forum and look forward to learning even more!

Cheers!
Vol

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Old 04-13-2008, 02:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Glad to see you here among the living!

Regarding the car -- bottom line is FUN. A V-6 version used to be in my autocross class and would routinely post very quick times (3-wheel action when cornered correctly)...but I digress...

I assume the RS is the 4-cylinder non-turbo (and a 5-speed manual)? If so, there's some potential for good numbers. Further, it's a hatchback, which I'm partial You'll love the utility.

What year is it? (96+ is ScanGauge compliant for feedback)...

Enjoy the site, and Best FE to ya...

RH77
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome aboard. Great intro and nice work on the garage set up. It's a excellent tool to track your progress with different mods. What kind of commute do you have and have you mapped out a FE game plan yet?
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Volones -

Welcome to EM! I always like to think that the MX-3 is the "Mazda CRX". Very nice little car to work with.

Wiki has a cool engine swap chart on the MX-3 :

Comparison chart of typical MX-3 engine swaps


It looks like you could even downgrade the engine if you wanted to, but the ECU/PCM might get upset with that.

CarloSW2
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Volones! Good to have you here. The Mazda 3 is a great car to experiment with.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Y'all!

I have a '95, so the scangauge isn't an option for me. I even had to check that it was OBD1 as a few of the '95s are actually OBD2, but mine isn't.

I have the B6-DE DOHC 1.6L, so I already have the littlest engine they came with, but I am 96%+ sure that I can take the transmission out of a 90-92 Protege with the 1.8L SOHC and change my final drive ratio from 4.105:1 to 3.649:1 which should improve my mileage (I've looked at both transmission at a "treasure" yard and by swapping the bell-housing it looks like it'll bolt right on).

I'm pretty lucky that the Miata used the same engine from 90-92 so there are some bolt-ons I can get for my engine. One that I'm really interested in is the turbo from a Mercury Capri XR2 (or Protege GTX) as it brings the max torque down to 3k from 5.5k rpm. I think with more torque at that rpm, the different transmission, a few aero mods (believe it or not, adding the spoiler from the GS version reduced the CD by .01), and I can get over 40mpg combined. I'm also looking at lightweight wheels, rear wheel skirts, a belly pan (with or without a body kit to serve as an air dam) and narrower tires.

Of course all these plans depend on having time AND money together, which is the tough part when I'm working full time, and finishing my degree, so I have started doing more EOC during my commute and turning off my engine at long stop lights.

Great FE all,
Vol
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Glad you're not dead! Welcome to the site....I can't say I have any good car advice right now though, so tired,
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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me either, but welcome anyways! I don't know many people that gets hit on a bike with someone doing 50 and lives to tell about it. Good thing you wore a helmet!
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone!

I'm sure glad to be around and also glad I found EM. Now I just have to find time to do a little "work" on my car.

Vol

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