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Old 07-23-2008, 01:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 49

Bucket - '94 Ford Escort Wagon
90 day: 36.46 mpg (US)
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New ecodriver in DC area

Hi all, I've been a member here for a few months, but wanted to get my new eco car worked out before I introduced myself: (I'm not sure if the picture is going to show up for you, I'm experimenting with Google Picasa).



It's a '94 Escort Wagon 1.9L 5-speed that represents the latest phase of my fuel economy plan. Phase 0 was a V8 Lincoln that got 16 mpg, with wife driving a V6 Explorer that also gets 16 mpg.

In phase 1, I sold the 80K mile Lincoln over a year ago for exactly enough to buy a 30K mile PT Cruiser with a stick. FE went from 16 in mostly city driving to about 25. Then I found Ecomodder, and by modifying my driving style, got the average up to almost 29, with a number of tanks over 30. Still not good enough, and the wife's Explorer was still killing us.

So, on to phase 2. Purchase a "s***-bucket" for my commute, an old used car that gets great mileage. Let wife drive the PT. Park (and possibly sell) the Explorer. Requirements: stick shift, low acquisition cost, parts are available cheap, easy to work on. Like-to-haves: station wagon and air conditioning. I was zeroing in on an early Saturn, a Neon, or an Escort, circa 1995ish. They get great gas mileage, and are CHEAP compared to other MPG kings like the Civic (good luck finding one unmodified in this area) and Corolla.

I found this Escort about a mile from my house. It had 95K miles on it, ran a little rough, but the body & interior are great. Blue book value was $1800, Craigslist ad asked $1000. I drove it and offered asking price on the spot. It needed a tune-up. I ended up replacing filters, plugs, coil pack and plug wires, for a total cost of $70, and it now runs PERFECTLY.

The Escort "hypermiles" much better than the PT. To begin with, it weighs 600 lbs less. It runs on 175/65-14 tires instead of 205/55-16's (which will make them also cost much less to replace). The power delivery of the engine is better suited to eco-driving -- all low end. Short shifting and EOC are dead simple, and it turns and stops just fine without the power assist. I haven't done a head-to-head comparison yet, but it just feels like it coasts better.

One important lesson I learned from this car: You can't overstate the importance of the engine running properly, to economy. Before I tuned up the engine, it would miss-fire under moderate load at low RPM. This meant I couldn't run the car the way I wanted to, short shifting and large throttle openings. I just did the work last weekend, with the desired result. I hope I'll be seeing even better results now.

Now if I can just get my wife to pay more attention to traffic, coast more, and maybe she could get close to the mileage I was getting, instead of just 25 mpg.

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Old 07-23-2008, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hanover, NH
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Vegan Powa! - '91 Honda CRX DX
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90 day: 66.52 mpg (US)
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Welcome to EM, looks like you're already putting some impressive numbers together,
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 49

Bucket - '94 Ford Escort Wagon
90 day: 36.46 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanks, it's all due to the resources I've found here. I'm very interested in the MPGuino, but as a dad to 3-year-old twins, my spare time is at a premium. I've been thinking about asking my wife for a long weekend vacation - where she takes the kids to her parents, and I get to stay home and do geeky stuff. If she were to grant me that wish, here's my ecomodder-related to-do list:
  • Build and install an MPGuino
  • PVC Vacuum Can
  • Momentary kill switch on gearshift
  • Test running with power steering pump unbelted
  • Limo window tint (on back windows) to cut down solar heat gain

Looking forward to exchanging more ideas with like-minded folks (and being challenged by some not-so-like-minded folks?) (Recent forum trolls excepted)
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Keep the Explorer and get rid of the wife.

Seriously, good intro! I am glad you found the perfect ride for ecomodding!
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 49

Bucket - '94 Ford Escort Wagon
90 day: 36.46 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
heh heh, i know i would be in significantly better financial shape if i took that advice. the things we do for love, right?

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