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Old 05-25-2010, 02:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Illinois
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Oh Deer - '03 Ford Ranger XL
90 day: 33 mpg (US)
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Hmmmm....where to start? '97 Ranger

Hello everyone,

I just found this site and had to sign up. I have always been interested in EV's but want to make my ICE truck as efficient as possible. Not being much of a mechanic (more of a thinker) I can't really give you any technical information unless you can give me a place to find out exactly what I have. I assume there is some place that my VIN would give me that info but not having the owners manual I am at a loss. This truck is going to be my "test platform" as I drive it 120mi round trip to work everyday along the same route at the same speeds. I can vary the route to be a mix of city and highway or 90% highway but the distance won't differ more than 5 miles each way. I think this will give me two different situations to examine but will give me a "constant" to base my results from. The EV site I frequent has "Build Threads" do you have something similar here? I would love to "document" the changes and increases/decreases of this project and have the input of the regulars here as I go along. To give you an idea of where I am starting at here are some general "specs" on my truck.

1997 Ford Ranger short bed/stepside (Splash?)
5 speed manual trans. (seems the original shift knob had overdrive symbol?)
4 cyl. engine (was told it was from a Mazda? Does have 8 spark plugs)
Rear diff. not a clue. Probably whatever it came with from the factory.
225/70R/14 tires on factory alum. rims with domed center cap
Approx. 2750 lb. - 3000 lb. (Someday I'll get it to a scale for a better weight)
171,000 miles

No body mods what-so-ever. Only driver mods. (I drive with a light foot)
Standard fluids (oil,trans,diff) and I usually run 93 octane in it.
No bed cover or truck cap. Standard tailgate usually up.
3/60 air conditioning (3 windows open at 60mph) Has A/C but I don't use it.

Consistantly getting 27-30 MPG depending on how much in town driving I have to do. I set the trip odometer after each fill up and do the math. It's not exact, as I could have 1/4-1/2 gallon in there somewhere, but I don't like running out of gas. The best I have seen was 31-32 MPG but that was driving 90% interstate daily for work with very little wind in the mornings and a good tailwind on the way home. The engine has never been rebuilt as far as I know, but I am the second owner. Doesn't burn a drop of oil.

If there is a "Build Thread" area I would gladly start one and add what ever "before" pictures you all would like to see to start.

I hope this is the beginning of a great adventure.

Thanks to everyone here,
Hat_man

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Old 05-25-2010, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
Last 3: 27.29 mpg (US)

F150 - '94 Ford F150 XLT 4x4
90 day: 18.5 mpg (US)

Sport Coupe - '92 Ford Tempo GL
Last 3: 69.62 mpg (US)

ShWing! - '82 honda gold wing Interstate
90 day: 33.65 mpg (US)

Moon Unit - '98 Mercury Sable LX Wagon
90 day: 21.24 mpg (US)
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Why not move closer?
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Old 05-25-2010, 04:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Live in Tucson AZ, work and car now in Detroit
Posts: 200

Protege - '97 Mazda Protege DX
90 day: 46.42 mpg (US)
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Welcome,

My other vehicle is 95 Toyota PU. I can only get 27mpg out of mine so if your getting close to 30 your already ahead. One day I'm going to get around to removing belt driven fan and replacing with electric. (Only running fan when you need it instead of taking energy from the engine) Good luck with the mods.
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Illinois
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Oh Deer - '03 Ford Ranger XL
90 day: 33 mpg (US)
Thanks: 50
Thanked 59 Times in 47 Posts
I'd love to move closer FrankLee but the house is almost paid for . I like my small town lifestyle anyhow.

One of the things I am looking at is how to "remove" the A/C belt. My Ranger has a serpentine belt so I am not sure how to accomplish this. Has anyone else done this? Also changing all the fluids to synthetic should help. I really don't want the expense of a truck cap right now but if I can find a tonneau cover for this bed I might go that route. At least a tailgate net would be helpful I think. I'm sure there are many other options but I want this to be a slow progression so I can really see the differences. Also if I change too much at one time then it is hard to decide which change made what improvements.

I'm all ears and open to suggestions. Other than moving closer (sorry Frank)

Hat_man
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: up north
Posts: 12,539

Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
Last 3: 27.29 mpg (US)

F150 - '94 Ford F150 XLT 4x4
90 day: 18.5 mpg (US)

Sport Coupe - '92 Ford Tempo GL
Last 3: 69.62 mpg (US)

ShWing! - '82 honda gold wing Interstate
90 day: 33.65 mpg (US)

Moon Unit - '98 Mercury Sable LX Wagon
90 day: 21.24 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1,506
Thanked 3,308 Times in 2,089 Posts
Don't do a gate net. They are a step backwards.

Get a small motorcycle and really make a difference.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would highly recommend getting a Scan Gauge II and a log book. Then use those two together to try moding the throttle pedal actuator.

I know it isn't tinkering much with the vehicle but your already doing so well that I'm sure a SGII and a notebook will get you a new baseline to work from. That 97 isn't going to have many instruments in it so the SGII is going to be an amazing add on.

Almost everything that you do technique wise will increase the range of that EV when you get it or a more commuter friendly vehicle if you don't need the carrying capacity of a pick-up..

Not a pick-up aero expert but I think the bed cover is pretty low hanging fruit.

Welcome.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Live in Tucson AZ, work and car now in Detroit
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Protege - '97 Mazda Protege DX
90 day: 46.42 mpg (US)
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I'm sure the ranger comes without an A/C so the parts guy at Pep Boys can get you a belt for a ranger without an A/C. Now you will pobably have to remove the compressor to route the new belt. You can also probably buy a ranger without power steering. Go ahead and do both at once.
I did this on my 97 Protege. But it had PS, AC on outside belt and Water pump, Alternator on inner belt. So removing the belt and driving it told me I could get by without P/S so then I just started taking everything off to save the weight. Take the Ranger into service station and have them remove refrigerant first. Be green.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Toledo, OH
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2012 Golf TDI - '12 Volkswagen Golf TDI
TEAM VW AUDI Group
90 day: 45.51 mpg (US)
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Quit using 93 octane, its doing nothing for you. Only way it would help you is if you could advance the ignition timing, and you cant.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Utah
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Civic DX (sold) - '97 Honda Civic DX
90 day: 34.15 mpg (US)

GTO (sold) - '04 Pontiac GTO
90 day: 22.62 mpg (US)

Green Brick (sold) - '06 Ford Escape Hybrid
90 day: 31.93 mpg (US)
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Why not build an aerocap like this or this? You could even make one out of cardboard to test it out first.
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Ninja 650R - '06 Kawasaki Ninja 650R
90 day: 52.02 mpg (US)

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90 day: 38.09 mpg (US)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhazard View Post
Quit using 93 octane, its doing nothing for you. Only way it would help you is if you could advance the ignition timing, and you cant.
+1

Unless you have a higher compression or supercharged engine that requires higher octane fuel, you are wasting money here.

I built a grill block and belly pan for my truck, put taller tires on, and increased the tire pressure:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ado-11135.html
Each change helped a small amount, and all taken together, it certainly adds up. It may prove wortwhile for you to do the same. Just don't expect to turn your Ranger into a Metro by slapping on a few bits of plastic.

The suggestion of riding a motorcycle is a good one too. Many cheap motorcycles can exceed 70mpg. They can pay for themselves very quickly.

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