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-   -   Lean and Mean - 1998 Honda Civic HX Project Log (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/lean-mean-1998-honda-civic-hx-project-log-26647.html)

cbaber 08-11-2013 05:13 PM

Lean and Mean - 1998 Honda Civic HX Project Log
 
Introduction
From now on this thread will be used to document the ecomodding journey of my 1998 Honda Civic HX. I've owned the car since 2010 and it has served me well so far. The journey started about in 2011 when I got a new job 50 miles away. I went searching for ways to improve my fuel economy and found this forum. The goal for this car is to keep a low-profile appearance (no crazy aero mods) yet achieve good fuel economy without diving too deep into advanced hypermiling techniques.

Overview: 1998 Honda Civic HX
1998 Honda Civic HX. 220,000 miles and counting. I bought the car with 125,000 miles. The car is mostly stock besides aftermarket wheels that were on the car when I bought it. I had to replace the engine due to low compression at the 163,000 mile mark. Since then I've completed some major repairs like a faulty headgasket, snapped timing belt, and some other general maintenance tasks. It's been quite a journey, but I've learned so much about the car in the process.

Click here for full vehicle specs & more pictures!

http://ecomodder.com/forum/emgarage-...dd3786d737.jpg

The Goal
As I already mentioned in the introduction I want this car to appear stock but achieve fuel mileage well in excess of the EPA rating.

1. 50 MPG - Goal Achieved 4/11/2014 50.53 MPG
2. 60 MPG - In progress

Current Modifications
Tires at max sidewall pressure +3 MPG
ScanGauge II
Power steering delete
VX/CX transmission swap
Upper Grill Block

Planned Modifications
Alternator delete/externally charged battery (Cancelled)
Lower grill block
OEM spoiler removal
OEM antenna removal
Restore wheels to factory HX with LRR tires

Fuel Log
http://ecomodder.com/forum/fe-graphs/graph5944.gif

cbaber 08-11-2013 05:38 PM

Alternator Delete Project
 
Alternator Delete Project

As many of you have found out, deleting parasitic accessories reduces the load on the engine, which can increase fuel economy. The alternator is another one of those parasitic systems that can be replaced with an alternative power system.

With the guidance of California98Civic and his DIY thread, I wanted to be able to switch off the alternator when I didn't need it and on when I needed a charge.

I decided to replace my starting battery with a marine deep cycle battery. This would allow the car to run without alternator assistance. Doing the same with a car starting battery would kill it very quickly. Marine deep cycles are meant to cycle many times, and a group 24 can provide about 100 Ah. Due to the size of these batteries I had to relocate the battery to the trunk. I'll need to see what kind of distance I can get out of a full charge to see if one battery will be sufficient. I'm hoping to only use 50% capacity in 100 miles of driving. If I can do that, I only need to charge the battery overnight at home.

Charging the battery will occur overnight with a battery charger. I haven't decided to permanently install it in the car or not. For now I will just use my regular battery charger on the lowest setting that will allow it to fully charge in about 9 hours.

Parts and Accessories Used
- Marine Battery Box (fits group 24-31) - $8 @ Menards
- 15' 2-gauge welding cable - $30 @ eBay
- Inline fuse holder - $7 @ eBay
- Misc. connectors and parts - $10
- Fuses - $14 @ Best Buy
- Group 27 marine deep cycle battery - $70 @ Wal Mart

Inline fuse holder with 150 A anl fuse. 2 gauge welding cable is routed through the passenger compartment up through the firewall to the distribution box.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-o...810_162804.jpg


Ground is connected to the mounting bolt on the shock tower. 4 gauge ground cable.
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-l...810_194448.jpg


*Updated* Instead of previous distribution block, I simply bolted together the positive leads for the starter, fuse box, and battery together with copper lugs and a bolt. The bolt is connected to a plastic mounting tab, which is secured with double sided tape to the fuse box.


I don't actually have the deep cycle battery yet. I'm waiting on this 7 year old car battery to finally die!!! But it still fits nicely with the included spacer.
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-9...811_120905.jpg


This thing takes up quite a bit of room...
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-i...810_163138.jpg


Here is my alternator switch. Just a simple toggle switch that I mounted in a spare pop-out plug on the left side of the dash. Labels were made with a label maker.
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-m...810_163614.jpg


So far I have tested the switch and it works. You can't turn the alternator off while the car is running. The switch does nothing. I have to turn the motor off and then I can switch the alternator off. However I can turn the alternator on while the car is running.

Just waiting for the new battery. This mod would not make financial sense unless you needed a new battery anyway (like I do). I figure that despite the cost of relocating the battery, my cost is still going to come out at about the price of a nice quality battery. I'm not sure what to expect to gain in fuel economy. Some have reported as much as 10%, another 2%. I'm hoping for at least 7% but only time and gas will tell. Stay tuned.

cbaber 08-12-2013 06:12 PM

Well I think it might be finally time for the new battery. After I got the battery relocation project finished I made sure everything worked by starting the car. It ran fine, no fires, battery was charging, etc. So I called it a night. I woke up and went out to get coffee. It started right up and we made it to Dunkin Donuts. When we go to leave I try to start the car and... Nothing! Just a loud click and everything dies. No scangauge, nothing. I hop out to make sure I hadn't blow my fuses. All fuses were good, all connections good. I come back inside to see the scangauge is now back online and I at least have power to the car. Me and my girlfriend proceed to push the car so I can push start it. Starts right up and runs fine on the way home. I get home and it try to start it again. Same thing. Everything dies when I try to start it. No voltage to the scangauge or anything for awhile after I start it.

At this point I am suspecting the battery is finally toast. I had to drive my truck to work today and didn't have time to tinker anymore. When I get home tonight I'm going to jump the battery to make sure it's a voltage/battery problem and not the starter or my wiring.

What I assume is happening is that the starter drains the battery so low when I try to start it, that there isn't enough voltage to run the scangauge or any other accessories. After awhile the voltage climbs back up enough to turn the car accessories on and bump start the engine.

Just my luck!

jedi_sol 08-12-2013 08:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cbaber (Post 384677)
This thing takes up quite a bit of room...
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Y...811_150445.jpg

You might as well do a spare tire delete too:)

cbaber 08-12-2013 10:22 PM

I actually like to keep a spare tire in there just in case. You won't need it until you need it, but I would rather be able to limp to the nearest tire place than call a tow truck or leave the car to go repair the tire.

After some more research it looks like my battery is not the problem. I might be facing a bad starter or simply some corrosion issues. I'll know for sure after tonight. I'm also replacing the distribution box. I don't like the one I have because it has fuses and is too big. Instead I am just going to bolt 3 copper lugs together and mount then on a plastic tab somewhere in the engine bay.

jedi_sol 08-12-2013 10:28 PM

it could also be a bad battery ground....my old del sol had a similar problem...tried to start the car, loud pop noise...all fuses good...get out, get back in...everything works again.

2000mc 08-12-2013 10:34 PM

A seven year old Walmart starter battery being used like a deep cycle... Have you had the battery tested?

wolydotmatrix 08-12-2013 10:36 PM

Some of the honda starters are rebuildable. Usually just the contacts on the solenoid.

California98Civic 08-12-2013 10:37 PM

Impressive set up. I hope the troubles get cleared soon and easily.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cbaber (Post 384677)
You can't turn the alternator off while the car is running. The switch does nothing. I have to turn the motor off and then I can switch the alternator off. However I can turn the alternator on while the car is running.

That's exactly how mine works in my 1998 Civic DX.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cbaber (Post 384835)
I actually like to keep a spare tire in there just in case. You won't need it until you need it, but I would rather be able to limp to the nearest tire place than call a tow truck or leave the car to go repair the tire.

I have that emergency flat-tire-filler-spray-stuff-in-a-can. Lighter and smaller than the tire.

-james

wolydotmatrix 08-12-2013 10:38 PM

Where is your battery grounded?? pic?


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