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aporigine 08-03-2011 10:56 PM

I had no idea ...
(Nick Riviera voice) Hi everybody!!

...that I was a natural-born hypermiler!
From my dad, who was an engineer, I learned the excellent habit of maintaining a vehicle mileage log.
My first new car was a Honda CRX "regular trim" bought in 1985. I routinely got close to 40mpg from that one. I might have improved on that, but I had to let my blushing bride drive. She was more "cowboy" than I.
My first serious miler was a 1992 Honda Civic VX. I broke that car in lovingly and carefully. I got a high of 61mpg from my best tank in that thing ... and then CA began mandating oxygenates in gasoline. I could tell at once because my average fell from high 50s to low 50s. It recovered as if by magic when summer gas came back to the pumps.
The mileage deficit became permanent when oxygenates became mandatory year-'round. (rant:mad:) What IS it with putting dead weight combustion products in my fuel, lowering its energy content and density, and charging me extra for that?? (/rant:cool:)
I had to sell that car when we needed something that could accommodate kids. I missed that car, but truth told? I did not miss having angry Volvo Diesel pilots pass me in a slo-mo display of comparative hamsterpower.:rolleyes:

Now I have my Mazda B2300. During these hot summer months I routinely exceed 30mpg. For a pickup truck (admittedly the minimal machine to qualify for that status so very desired here in R'stan) that's dang fine! After doing a bit of reading on basic hypermiling techniques here and elsewhere, i realize that I am home here!! I don't do some of the extreme graduate-level techniques, like shutting the engine off at lights or downhill coasting stretches. They are incompatible with Aporigine's Zeroth Commandment of driving: Be inconspicuous. My one systematic violation of that commandment is that I tend to drive at or below the speed limit. I do make a serious effort to pull over when i have traffic behind me. It's CA law and imo a generally good idea.

My principal ecomods are 1) choice of motor oil. I'm a big fan of Redline oils and am using their 5w-20 full-synthetic road vehicle shmeer. A buddy sells Amsoil and I'm thinking of switching ... after tiresomely much online research I am concluding that the two products are about even for tribological excellence. I'm thinking of using 0w-20 ... please tell me if this is a mistake!!
2) tire choice. The truck came on Firestone Wilderness HTs, imo a simply awful tire. I have had to repair seven (7!) punctures from drawing nails and screws into the tread. Compare with zero (0) on all the other cars and motorcycles I have owned over the last 30 years. Finally a month ago the left front tire failed ... the tread unstitched from the carcass, requiring me to become familiar with the general yuckiness of the B2300's tire changing tools and procedures. (The rear tire is under the back of the bed, held on with a cable whose reel is protected by a lock. My key did not fit the lock. The slot for the correct key was smaller than my truck's key!! I needed to use my Universal Spare, size 3/8", cordless. Needles to say that lock is no longer installed or installable.) The tires wore quickly; I am just now approaching 50 kmi. And in rain or snow they are simply UNSAFE. (When there is nobody else on the road, this can be rather amusing.) So now I have Michelin LTXs on order from tire Rack. I haven't been able to find a cecent online comparo of tires by rolling resistance. Did I choose well?

I am also shopping for my next vehicle. I want something that WILL make it up the local grades (I live in the Sierra foothills aka westernmost Rednekistan) in the top gear of a manual tranny. I do not want a hybrid ... I have ethical issues with the conflict minerals being used in the batt packs. While I respect the Prius, I consider it more at home in an urban or suburban setting. I do so wish that we could get a small truck here with a Euro-style economy-minded turbodiesel. Barring that, my frontrunning choice right now is a Honda Fit. Absent a new VX or equivalent from another firm, that's the best i can seem to do. The Mini Cooper is tempting ... great EPA numbers and a sporty stylish design that promises to be fun ... but I am allergic to run-flat tires, and from a bit of poking around online the actual mileage returned is much lower than suggested by EPA figures. The reverse seems true of the Fit. I invite, solicit, verily I entreat opinions.

Or in a fit of mid-life perversity i might just get that slightly-preowned Carrera S... (big cheez-eating grin)

cheers apo

ecomodded 08-03-2011 11:56 PM

Welcome to the forum!

I can offer some advice on good auto choices, Get a pre owned Volkswagen
TDI of some description, say a jetta or a golf. Any 5-speed vw or audi with the TDI 1.9 L is going to give you great fuel mileage and a very long service life, 500K or better is common. I would suggest paying around $5000, as I am a cheap/poor son of a *****. :)

graydonengineering 08-04-2011 01:01 AM


Originally Posted by ecomodded (Post 254048)
Welcome to the forum!

I can offer some advice on good auto choices, Get a pre owned Volkswagen
TDI of some description, say a jetta or a golf. Any 5-speed vw or audi with the TDI 1.9 L is going to give you great fuel mileage and a very long service life, 500K or better is common. I would suggest paying around $5000, as I am a cheap/poor son of a *****. :)

Yes, the jetta TDI is a great car for mpg. It is very hard to find a late model pickup that is small enough to pull good mpg. I like to think my truck is the best of both worlds as I get better mpg than my 2008 Sentra (wife drives that one, that is why lol). New cars with better FE are coming out these days but they are a bit behind.

aporigine 08-04-2011 01:24 AM

In re trucks ... I heartily agree. I bought my Mazduh new after searching for the pickup with best mileage figures. While currently those are quoted at 21/25, back then they were given as 24/28, which in my hands has proven pretty much spot-on.
The current crop of new-model pickups doesn't have any analog to the base-base Ranger/B-truck of yesteryear. I am amazed and a bit peeved that small diesels haven't made it in this country, with the VW TDIs being the great exceptions.
My former sister-in-law (I'm no longer married) owns a VW New Beetle gasser, and while it is entirely subjective, a reflection of my tastes, I don't much like the car in execution or operation (It makes weird noises and has cost a lot in repairs). My parents had a used Rabbit Diesel ~15 years ago ... and that car was a truly frightful paintshaker. Uphill in top gear ... fuhgeddaboudit! (I grew up in the Mid-Lannic region.) I haven't looked hard at the current Golf/Jetta diesels, and maybe I should. It would give me an excuse to putz around smelling up the back 40 converting dead fast food grease to GastroDiesel. Would you like fries with that!! (grin)
cheers apo

dkruitz 08-14-2011 06:32 PM

Hi, I'm new here too - and just got an old '86 B2000 - Mazda in the mid-80s ruled the seas (as it were) with their little pickups. They used to make Fords Courier and Ranger for a while, then it flip floped and Ford made Mazda's B series and Rangers. Not sure why - maybe Mazda wanted out of the truck business?

Too bad there aren't any little trucks like these anymore - Isuzu used to make a nice one too.

aporigine 08-14-2011 11:50 PM

Mazda wanting out of the truck business ... while i don't know, it does make sense. With their "zoom zoom" slogan and such sporty but not super thrifty vehicle line (RX8, Mazdaspeed3) it would seem that the trucks go to business partner Ford. The current rangers all have the V6, so my "F-nothing-50" is a classic in the making ... (big grin)

News!! The Michelin LTXs came in the mail! I had them mounted yesterday for (touches pinky to lip) EIGHTY dollars. Skilled labor is a premium commodity here in Rednekistan, methinks. The new tires are amazingly unbelievably grippier than my old Firestones, and on a small hill near here where I always had to brake before the tight uurn at the bottom, I sailed right through at speed without any distress from the tires. Previously I'd go sideways, and not in the fun way.
The tires feel somewhat gooey though, and their max pressure per sidewall is only 35 psi. I am anticipating a drop in mileage.
It's coming time to change my oil and tranny lube. I am thinking Amsoil. i am a big fan of Redline oils ... like the chemistry, and that brand always served well in my motorcycles. From some online poking around I gather that Amsoil is about as good, and they both share a good base formula, poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) plus some ester. Redline prides itself on the ester base stock, but I have had no success in determining how much ester they use, and whether it's a diester e.g. dialkyl sebacate, or a polyol ester, e.g. the compound of a short fatty acid with dipentaerythritol. (I care because I'm a retired chemist. I don't pretend to know the tribology of these molecules...) On a Ford Ranger forum i found recommendations for using a 0W-20 oil in place of the specified 5W-20. I'd reach for Amsoil's premium formula ... they have three tiers of base quality and price, but their best still would cost me less than Redline. Also the std. fluid for the transmission - I have the manual M5OD unit - is, get this, Mercon ATF. Huh? The Amsoil page lists two kinds of ATF ... "regular" and "fuel efficient". Will the "fuel efficient" work for me without accelerating the already noticable wear of my synchros? Inquiring minds want to know ... amd so does mine! cheers apo

eco_generator 08-15-2011 01:32 AM

Read up on tire pressures. Some little birdies go around saying you can ignore that maximum number... but you didn't hear it from me!!

Synchro wear? Learn to double clutch. It's a very steep learning curve, but you once you start doing it (well), it's hard to stop. And now I have no issues with shifting into first gear rolling in any car... I line everything up myself. :)

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