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Old 01-20-2013, 12:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Annette - '04 Ford F150 FX4

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Long time lurker with F150

Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd take a few minutes to introduce myself.

I have an F150. Granted, it's not an economical vehicle, was never designed to be, but I need it for towing, hauling, usually of the format of a long freeway drive empty to tow something elsewhere - I'm an RVer.

Knowing this, I'm a bit unhappy with the harm my F150 does. It's an FX4 with the factory 4x4 and lift, and it's as heavy as the exit lane at Buffet Palace!

I'm a bit of an environmentalist, working in solar PV and water/air heating so I decided it would be a smart move to do something about the truck, given that a 2mpg gain on a low mpg vehicle is a much bigger difference than on a Prius!

So far, all I have done is the fan/clutch delete, replacing them with efans - which works great and has gotten me a little over 2mpg on average - more in town and less at freeway speeds. I have noticed a large decrease in fan noise, and a small increase in acceleration. I have modified my driving so that I get improved MPG rather than better performance.

I have found tire pressures make a large difference, but soon I will be changing tires from on-off road to some other, more economical and quieter D or E range tire. I keep my tires at 50 PSI, and air them up if they drop to 45 PSI.

I also cut a length of 2" pipe insulation in half and wedged the halves between the cab and truck bed to prevent airflow getting pushed into that gap and under the truck. It doesn't *show* a difference, but it reduces wind noise quite a lot, and is conveniently the same gray color as my truck, so it's an invisible $2 mod.

Right now, I am working on an aerocap. I'm building a wood frame, which I'll skin with 1/4" ply, then bondo and fiberglass, then seal and paint. It is generally inspired by Bondo's design, but almost everything is different! The thread for that is in the aerodynamics section (only 3 posts, can't post links yet!)

Mine will have a hatch, like Bondo's. Hey, if I can be comfortable in the back, it'll save me a lot of motel bills! However, the curve is different, and so is the way the tail will end - I am maintaining the curve of the roof down to the gate, which allows me to continue the slope down just a little further past the gate without interfering with it. I'll post photos when I get to that stage.

Upcoming ultra-low-budget projects include converting the existing intake into a cold air intake, retaining the existing plastic. I chose to do this because I like the filter to be in a weather protected location, and also because, although it won't improve economy directly, any performance improvement can result in a change of driving style. My plan is simply to remove the first foot of the intake and replace it with an insulated shiny box to reject heat, and draw air from only through the original hole and from behind the headlight, excluding the radiator. I also plan to make an aluminum shield for the underside of the intake, so it does not absorb as much radiant heat from the engine.

Following that, I intend to do some other small, cheap changes. Replacing all the running lights and dash lights with LEDs should save around 50 watts (though I haven't worked a way around the load resistor conundrum yet). I figure 40 watts is 4 amps of load on the alternator I can remove. That's as much as a headlight.

Next would be possibly a front grille louvre mod. I could get an arduino to compare ambient and engine temperatures and work out strategies to keep it closed during warm-up, or partially closed during freeway driving, if not towing. Or, maybe a simpler manual system: a set of pre-cut carbon panels that clip onto the front grille, blocking off the side portions that I can install during cooler weather, and remove as needed. The same can be used to cover the lower tow loop holes and etc.

After that, I plan to skin the underside. This would involve putting small fans on the transmission and oil coolers, thermostatically controlled of course.

The main tragedy of the FX4 is that it has a factory lift that is difficult to remove - I would love it if the truck were 4" or even 2" lower.

So, that's what I'm working on and planning.

I look forward to chatting with all of you, and it's nice to be de-lurking after 18 months

Have a great day!

Dave

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Old 01-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Keep us posted, sounds like you have a good plan!!
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Outasight - '00 Honda Insight
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Originally Posted by DieselX View Post
Keep us posted, sounds like you have a good plan!!
Yup.

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