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MazdaMatt 07-23-2008 01:03 PM

how to drive my cube van
I have a 94 Ford F350 chassis with a 20' (that's big) box on it. I use it for hauling my race car to the track because I can sleep in it and the car is out of the elements.

This thing is HORRIBLE on gas. Not only is it a rolling brick (it has a bubble on the box over the cab, but still). It has a 7.3L non-turbo deisel V8 and a 3-speed transmission that shifts by RPM, not by engine load (so i can cruise at redline in city traffic for some reason). Redline in 3rd gear is about 115km/h.

I learned that I can get about 30-50% improvement by going 90 instead of 115.

How the heck else can i sqeeze mpg out of this thing? I try to only stop once at stop signs and I try to time lights. If i try to coast it slows down SO fast that it isn't worth coasting.

HELP ME! It costs me about 100 dollars in gas to go to a race track, then back to the shop.

dann_04 07-23-2008 01:34 PM

hmmm... it sounds like there are some mechanical limits to your fuel economy there. I would say see about aeromodding it as a cinderblock on wheels isn't a good desing. The slower you go the better. If you let off the pedal it doesn't shift up? If that is the case i would say just go slow and accelerate gently. What kind of fuel economy are you getting out of it currently? Also is your engine tuned well, air filter clean, tires inflated higher than reccomended, a/c off(if equipped), fuel filter not gummed up(sometime a problem on diesels) that's all i can think of at the moment.

MazdaMatt 07-23-2008 01:41 PM

I only drive the van 3 times per year. I chose to do 3 double-headers for my required 6 events so I could save on travel costs. I understand that racing uses gas. I'm here to learn how to use LESS gas while still enjoying life. Can't drive the car there, it would recieve so many infractions if i drove it on pulic roads that the police would just shoot me to save paper.

I was thinking about undertray and side skirts, but that may be hundreds of dollars in sheet alum. Thinking about a narrowing rear (since my door is fold-down, it would attach to the door), but that would have to wait since i don't have much chance to work on the truck. As for mechanical state... its decent, but could be better. Current mileage, i'm not sure. I don't use the AC in the truck, but i'm sure it wouldn't matter with the big deisel.

Letting off the gas does not shift up. I could be going 1mph below the "shift point" for an hour and it will not shift regardless of throttle position. That does mean, however, that i don't have to worry about silly down-shifts.

lovemysan 07-23-2008 01:57 PM

I'm going to guess that you use 60-80% throttle to get to cruising speed. Stay under 50mph. 35mph would be near optimum.

MazdaMatt 07-23-2008 02:03 PM

my next trip would take me 6 hours in my car at "regular" driving pace. Doing 35, i may need to slot in time for a couple birthdays.

Do you think I'm better off doing 90km/h on the freeway, steady-speed? or doing 70km/h on country roads that go through towns where I'll be hitting stopsigns now and then?

dann_04 07-23-2008 02:45 PM

I'd say do 80km/h on the freeway and stay right if at all possible. With a car in the back of that heavy monster inertia is your friend. Adding extra stop and go is the worst you can do. try 85-90 with easy steady acceleration. how are your tires inflated compared to the max allowable psi?

MazdaMatt 07-23-2008 02:58 PM

I believe they are a little under max, but before that trip i will top them up to the max. I wouldn't go higher because trucks are more likely than cars to be stopped and checked for safety stuff, and from what I see in the media, they are thorough in this province.

justpassntime 07-23-2008 03:51 PM

I know this is a lot of work but here it goes anyway.

You could change the top of the van. Chop the top and tapper it towards the back. It could even be so drastic that you would need to raise the roof to get your car in. Kinda like a super size pop up tent trailer. It could even be done with hydraulics like a car carriers upper level. I know it's crazy but I always seem to have extreme ideas. It would be cool no doubt, all the other racers would want one. You could even post your mpg on the side of it. LOL

Put a deflector at the front to help guide the airflow over the blunt nosed front.

Have we talked about Airtabs?

MazdaMatt 07-23-2008 03:59 PM

havn't talked about airtabs because nobody seems to be able to prove their worth in other threads. They seem to be expensive too.

Yeah... i think that sort of structural change is a little more costly than my 1.44/L deisel! If i was a little less sane, it would be worth it. I could shape the whole truck like an aerofoil.

Maybe if I later sold the truck and bought a regular pickup and trailer, i could build up walls/roof on the trailer in that fashion, but that's just extreme.

skyl4rk 07-23-2008 05:26 PM

How much traffic is there on the streets you will be driving on?

Can you put the vehicle in neutral while rolling?

Do you have the ability to shift at all? What does your shifter look like: P - R - N - D - 2 - L ?

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