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Old 06-21-2013, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile Hypermiling/EcoModding n00b checking in...

Hi all!

I am new to the hypermiling and eco-modding scene. Found many useful tips on here already as a lurker, but now I have some more specific questions I hope to find answers to amongst this community.

A little background:

I'm an aerospace systems engineer. Have my BS in Aerospace Engineering. Have been tinkering on motorized vehicles since I was a kid. Learned to ride motorcycles as a teen. First car at 16, been messing with it ever since (yes, I still own it, many years later).

What got me into researching hypermiling and ecomodding is my commute. I live in a house built by my father-in-law. It's nice to not pay rent or a mortgage. There are a couple caveats, though. I live 33 miles from work. 5 miles of that is gravel. Obviously, maximizing fuel economy is a priority for me. Some of the tips and tricks work wonders... I already get 6 mpg better than the EPA "combined" number for our Subaru, and 1 mpg better than the "highway" value. The car is hardly broken in, with 4500 miles on it. I'm looking to eek a little more out of it, if possible.

The challenge is that only some of the hypermiling techniques seem to apply. Avoiding gravel/dirt is not an option, as it's five miles from the house to the paved highway. I can go around another way and only drive 1 mile on gravel... but it adds a 10-mile loop to my commute, so obviously that just burns more gas. The Subaru and the truck are automatics... because the Subaru H-6 and Limited packages only come as an auto, and the Duramax diesel is only paired with the Allison 1000 automatic. My project car is a stick shift, and I am a manual gearbox aficionado, but sadly many manufacturers do not cater to my vehicular needs. On the upside... for real fuel savings, I ride a Cagiva Gran Canyon that gets me roughly 41mpg on average. It's a big dual-sport powered by a Ducati 900 desmodue twin. I've ordered the chain and sprockets to change it to more highway-oriented gearing, so that should nudge it a little further up.

Another challenge is elevation. Home is 1700 feet above work, and there is a 2000 ft hill in between. No matter which way I go... the trip home involves climbing a steep mountain grade.

There are some pluses: There are some rolling hills on which I use P&G. It's rewarding to watch the average MPG indicator creep up when I'm driving through those sections. Also, I live east of work, which is great in The Columbia River Gorge... I typically have light headwinds in the morning, with a stiff tailwind in the afternoon/evening. I used to live west of work, and I was almost always opposite the favorable winds. The tailwinds are really nice on the high grasslands near home. I can scoot along at 50-60 with very little throttle. Traffic is also really light, so some of the more annoying hypermiling practices can be used without making other drivers mad.

Anyway... I look forward to learning here!

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Old 06-22-2013, 08:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum.

There are a few other Subie owners on here trying to get the most out of their cars, too. FatCharlie seems to be at or near the top. You might want to check out some of his posts or check in with him.

Good luck, and remember to air up those tires.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome!

Thinking of your two routes across the gravel near your house. Have you monitored how much gas it takes you do each route? If MPG is just (random guess) 5 on the gravel but maybe 35mpg on the paved roads where you can do EOC, then perhaps you'll burn less gas across more miles. Of course, I'm just guessing at the conditions, speeds, your MPG.... everything. But route planning around total fuel usage is a good technique sometimes.

Good luck.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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P&G on the gravel, even with a cold engine it can make a big difference. While the climb up the big elevation hill will cost you, engine braking downhill will use practically no fuel. If you can coast down that hill in neutral then do so, possible using tranny reengagement and DFCO to slow down if your speed gets higher than desired.

regards
Mech
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the useful input all! I have learned quite a bit on here already. This is a really cool forum.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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W00t! With the input from this forum, we've bumped the last two tanks on the Subaru up to 26 mpg! EPA estimates for the 3.6R are 18/25 with an average of 20.

Those tanks are also mixed between my driving and my wife's driving, and I don't have her on the hypermiling kick yet. I also haven't aired the tires up yet. And there is still a bunch of experimenting to do to find peak FE on certain stretches of my commute. Basically, we're already ahead of EPA, and there is a lot of headroom for further improvement. This is kinda fun. Of course, this is coming from an aero engineer with a love of physics, so my idea of "fun" may be a little warped... ;-)
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Congrats on the early success, and welcome to the forum!
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome fellow Subaru owner, get a scanguage or equivalent MPG monitoring equipment, that will help boost your mpg since you get realtime MPG readings.

For the downhill sections...if you are REALLY BRAVE and there are NO CARS AT ALL..why not just EOC all the way down the hill. The momentum will probably be enough so you can coast all the way home.

*WARNING, do not engine off coast in situations where you will risk your life and the life of others**

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