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thatguitarguy 11-11-2009 09:05 PM

Howdalee doodalee neighborinos
 
I've been lurking, and thought I might as well join.

I recently bought a '97 Chrysler Town & Country LXI with 188,000 miles on it. It has the 3.8 V6 and an auto tranny, with power everything, and largely unused (by me anyway) A/C. Not a typical high MPG kind of car, but I needed something right away and I often need to haul stuff, so this suites those needs. The guy I bought it from said that he usually got 17 mpg according to the trip computer. I figured I could do better than that, and I was excited about having a car with a trip computer. It immediately started having an effect on my driving habits, and I was getting between 23 and 24 mpg right of the bat. I found out that this car adjusts the way it runs to your style of driving, so I disconnected the battery for a while to see if I could reset it. Oddly the radio and clock retained settings, but the trip computer did not, so I think the computer reset.

Anyway, over the last 1000 miles I drove for 20 hrs and 10 mins, so obviously this is mostly highway driving, but it includes many trips over high mountain passes. I travel to Denver frequently at 1 mile high, and I live in Leadville at 2 miles high. Over those 1000 miles I averaged 27.9 mpg with no modifications to anything but my driving habits. I have used the cruise control a lot, and I found it to be advantageous rather than detrimental to my mileage. I have slowed down from driving at the speed limit to trying to stay below 65 for the most part,

I look forward to playing with some aero mods to see how much I can trim.

Mustang Dave 11-11-2009 10:22 PM

Welcome to ecomodder.com!
Aero mods help the most at higher speeds, and as you've discovered, "adjusting the nut behind the wheel" makes a big difference - and it's free. :)

thatguitarguy 11-11-2009 10:38 PM

The nut behind the wheel has gotten a more aerodynamic haircut. I'll report later on if this helps...

MetroMPG 11-11-2009 10:42 PM

Welcome to the site and congrats on the early success, guitarguy.

How close is the computer to your actual (pump) mileage? Not trying to take away from your results, but usually they over-report MPG. (Which if true means the previous guy was extra horrible!)

Mustang Dave 11-11-2009 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 139059)
How close is the computer to your actual (pump) mileage? Not trying to take away from your results, but usually they over-report MPG. (Which if true means the previous guy was extra horrible!)

Good point.

The computer in my pony is "optimistic" by about 3% with stock programming, and 5% with the Hypertech Power Programmer installed.

YMMV.

SentraSE-R 11-11-2009 11:54 PM

I'd say you're doing an excellent job, theguitarguy. I drove my daughter's '05 Grand Caravan, and only got 20 mpg on a 30 mile country road drive where I expected to get 25 mpg. My only suggestion for maximum mileage is to keep your top speed at 55 mph, instead of 65. That speed difference makes a 10 mpg fuel economy difference in my cars.

thatguitarguy 11-12-2009 12:57 AM

At the start I wasn't paying much attention to the average mpg except to see how the current mpg would effect it. Watching the current has really helped me with the habits, but it's disappointing to watch it going down into the single digits when climbing a steep hill, because that comprises so much of the terrain that I have to drive here in CO. But it's fun to see it go to 99 when I have miles of coasting on the other side.

But for the last 3 fillups I've used a calculator, the odometer, and the actual fuel pumped, and it seems dead on with the trip computer. I don't reset the trip computer though till after 1000 miles, because it goes up and down so much till I have quite a few miles entered in to smooth out the average. That's why I was excited to see it so high at the last 1000 miles.

thatguitarguy 11-12-2009 01:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SentraSE-R (Post 139081)
I drove my daughter's '05 Grand Caravan, and only got 20 mpg on a 30 mile country road drive where I expected to get 25 mpg. My only suggestion for maximum mileage is to keep your top speed at 55 mph, instead of 65. That speed difference makes a 10 mpg fuel economy difference in my cars.

A "30 mile country road drive" won't get me to the next town where I do most of my driving. So it is nearly all highway miles at highway speeds. I am trying to slow down more, but on these winding mountain roads with no passing lanes I collect a long line of angry gas hogs on my rear bumper...

SentraSE-R 11-12-2009 10:51 AM

Ja, you're hosed :(. You can pull over on the downhills, but you wouldn't want to lose the momentum on uphills. Nothing much you can do there but maintain a reasonable speed that doesn't inconvenience too many people. CA has a law that requires slow traffic to pull over when there are five or more cars following you. CO may have something similar.

thatguitarguy 11-12-2009 10:53 PM

Most of my long miles are on interstates, so people can pass. It's just getting used to watching them fly by on the left. I did a 50 miler today, and I had to take my battery out so I tried another reset.

I read something somewhere that on a PT Cruiser you disconnect the battery to reinitialize, and then if you drive for a certain distance or amount of time and never exceed 55 mph, that the ECU will reset to an economy mode and you can get good mileage. I did this with a 2002 PT Cruiser with a 5spd and could get around 33 mpg, which is much better than most people get. I figure since Big Red is also a Chrysler product, that maybe the same thing holds. Anyway for my 50 miler the avg mpg fluctuated from 36 with a couple of miles in parking lots and traffic that took it way down to about 26 , but my finishing mpg was 30.6. I know I won't be able to maintain this going back up to 10,200 feet where I live, but it still felt pretty good. But it's also why I don't trust short trips, or even tankful trips. I feel that a 1000 mile avg is a pretty good statement on how the car is performing.

But the next few days are going to be in predicted snow storms with wind, so my ecu reset might go out the window...


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