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Old 06-23-2008, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cool Hypermiling an Iconic Gas Guzzler: Help!

It's easy to get good mileage out of a prius, but what about big utility vehicles? Can an Explorer be economical, or is one better off buying a Corolla? My target for this project is 22 mpg.

The Truck
2000 Ford Explorer Sport 4x4 (2 Dr)
4.0L OHV V6
4spd w/ OD manual transmission
4.10 gears
15.85 gallon tank
Stock rims/tires
EPA RATED: 15mpg city 19mpg highway

Tank Number One - 100% city driving - 15.2 mpg
This was my control tank. Normal driving, no mods. It confirms that my truck can meet the EPA estimate and there are no major defects affecting mileage.

Tank Number Two - 100% city driving - 17.2 mpg
Driving behavior: Relaxed speed, coasting to lights, using highest possible gear, no idling.
Physical modifications: Changed oil and filter, changed air filter, cleaned mass airflow sensor, cleaned injectors, removed roof rack, removed excess cargo weight, inflated tires from 30lbs to 35lbs.

What can I do from here guys? 2 mpg is a reasonable increase, but I'm not sure what else I can do for a truck like this. I really appreciate all comments and suggestions!


Last edited by st8ic; 06-23-2008 at 06:59 PM..
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You could try a grill block, belly pan, smooth wheel covers, etc. What kind of driving constraints do you have in the city?

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Old 06-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Theres a dude on one of the explorer forums that pulls 30MPGs from his rig. So its totally possible.

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Old 06-23-2008, 06:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Red,
I've seen that thread on the explorer forum. That guy however, has an advantage in that his truck is 2wd, better gearing, SOHC engine, lowered, custom chipped, etc. I am just hoping I can hit 22 mpg without spending a whole pile of cash!

By the way, that guy is incredible and here is his truck:

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Old 06-23-2008, 07:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well at least your Manual ...

I would consider raising your tires up to sidewall max psi. I am currently running my V8 4-runner @ 50psi and the vehicle glides better than my Vibe. I'm sure its because of the added weight. Anyhow, once you have better rolling you'll see you can coast longer distance in neutral. Also, consider shutting the car off so you have no idle time while sitting still. I cry as I watch the mpg meter plunge every time my wife sits at a light with this beast.

That also means cutting out drive thrus, bank tellers etc, get into the habit of walking in. The grille block should help, especially if you hit hwy ever. I am currently sitting at 23mpg with the 4-runner with this tank, so your numbers are not to far from possible.

And last but not least if your tank is larger than 15 gallon consider running with 1/2 a tank or less if possible for weight reduction there too ...that however messes with your mileage tracking, so pick your poison.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I like the grill block idea. I went ahead and did that on mine first. Warms up faster and seems to push more air over the car. Another quick and easy thing you can do is take off the roof rack. If you want to be lazy like me taking off the cross bars makes a decent difference. Your side channels look like there pretty low anyway.

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Old 06-23-2008, 09:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Anything can be hypermiled. Since it mostly city Aero won't help that much. I agree with the grill block. Any chance of a getting a scan gauge? That alone could probably hit the target. Route selection is key. Might want to back into the drive way for the quick get a way when the engine is cold. Take a look at the 100+ driving tips. That's where you will get your biggest bank for the buck.

As far as car comparison you'll need to run the numbers to see if getting the Corolla will pay off.

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Old 06-23-2008, 09:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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LRR tires will get you better mileage, when you're ready for tires.
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Old 06-24-2008, 06:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If I were you I'd go with the basic cheap mods and technique. Mods and technique will only get you so far though.

You didn't tell us how much you drive and why you need a SUV. Over the lifetime of a vehicle, the single biggest expense related to a vehicle is often gas. If you drive a lot, and don't haul stuff around all the time, I would consider buying a metro or the like and keeping the truck only for when you really need it.

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Old 06-24-2008, 08:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Besides just changing the oil, you should switch to synthetic. Changing the tranny, transfer case, and both differentials to synthetic fluids will also help with efficiency.

Do you ever actually use the running boards to get in/out? Would not having them cause issues in access? If not, remove them.


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