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Old 08-09-2009, 03:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New guy, and I only get 8 mpg

Hello, Name is Ron. Live outside of Harrisburg Pa. Just stumbled on this site and I am very intrigued by it. I'm in the process of rebuilding a 93 Ford Tempo 2.3 auto to take over the daily driver duties of my customized pick up truck (which only averages 8 mpg). And I've been looking into some little things here and there to improve overall efficiency, performance (as in HP and TQ figures) and mileage. Now I know a Tempo is no race car, but I'd like a lil more power for when I need it driving in heavy traffic each day. I know thats not what you all do here so I'll keep away from that. But I'm here to try and learn ways to improve the MPG of the car. The best thing I can think of which would net me nearly 10 mpg on this car would to be swap out the 3 speed auto trans in favor of a 5 speed manual. Plus the manual improves acceleration too. But unfortunately a manual trans would render the car useless to my wife should she ever need to drive it.

I'll never get rid of my truck though. It's been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned, plus I take it to shows, and work it hard too. Just don't want to drive it every day anymore. And I plan to take it even more extreme, more lift, bigger tires, maybe even a bigger built HiPo V8.

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1996 F150 4x4, My Daily Driver, 8 MPG
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For economy and performance, taking out some weight is great. If you only need high power for a few seconds per day, you might enjoy using nitrous, with economy settings the rest of the time. Aero improvements and better tires are good too. See the "stickies" for lists of best practices.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to ecomodder

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Old 08-09-2009, 04:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You were on the right track with the 5sp!!! The 5sp transforms it. More power and econo, if you can believe that. Maybe the wife could be persuaded to learn? If she has anywhere near normal levels of hand/eye coordination and a strong enough clutch leg, she can do it.

Failing that, I've found that my a/t Tempo likes 185/75R14s- one size taller than stock. Perhaps even taller than that would be better yet but I haven't tried it.

You can adjust the TV linkage for earlier upshifts.

Air the tires up to at least 35, if not 40. One can go higher yet, but I haven't seen benefit to that.

There ain't a whole lotta weight to strip out unless you get serious and gut it all. I don't see the wife going along with that. I just make sure I don't have extra junk in the car. I tried it for a while with no pass. seat, no spare and tools, etc., but eh, I don't have much city component to my driving so it didn't really help.

As you can see my a/t Tempo is just under 28mpg. It can do 30 or a bit better on a good day. If you visited my gaslog you will also see it hasn't been updated for a long, long time. It's parked and I run my 5sp. If you are getting 28-30, I think you are pretty much doing it right. If you get more... tell me how!!!

Speed kills econo especially on the a/t Tempo. No OD ratio, it's like trying to cruise the 5sp in 4th gear. Seems like you can watch the fuel gauge drop at speeds above 60.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ya, her learning stick just isn't going to happen. She pretty much refuses to. With out even trying she says she can't. so oh well.

I'm not going to gut it, as I have to pick up my 3 y/o daughter daily. and I'll actually have a little bit of added weight in the form of a stereo system, nothing major, prolly 30 lbs total.

For tire size, I bought some aftermarket aluminum 15" wheels from a fox body pony with some 205/60/15s on them from craigslist. They are about a 1/2 inch overall diameter bigger. But they are a bit wider which will increase rolling resistance a little. They are a lil less than half tread so when I replace them, I'll go a different size. I'm also installing a tach, to help monitor engine speed. Every vehicle I've had has had one, be it either factory or added in. and I know it sounds like that thing is screaming 3k rpms going down the highway, which it prolly is.

I've also modded the intake hose from the air box to the fender, the stock one is really choked down, so I opened it up with a straight tube, that should help a little bit. I didn't want to put a filter right on the end of the mass air meter since then I'd be sucking in all hot air and that makes it worse. at some point I may go with an open filter element like that, but it will be enclosed in a sealed and insulated box that is fed fresh outside air.

And I know speed is killer on the mileage on these cars. I noticed that before I parked it in Dec when it ran out of inspection. Plus the old motor was so tired and wore out, had 220k miles on it, it was just bad on gas all around. it was down to around 16 MPG. The motor and trans I just swapped in was from a 90k mile car, it's much more powerful, and runs much smoother. So it should do a good bit better on fuel too.

Here is a pic from today of the car. Should be legal and road ready in the next few weeks.



I guess I'm mostly interest in the aeromods. But then also some engine, exhaust mods too that could help mileage also. But this whole car is a budget build. I have around $550 in the rebuilding of it, which includes the tow dolly rental for bringing the parts car home that I got the engine/trans/suspension from. And grand total invested is less than $1k since wifey bought it in Y2K including the purchase price of $326 which included tax and tags too.

so overall it's been a really good, cheep lil car. We wouldn't ahve gotten anything for it to sell it, and I couldn't have bought a car as nice as what this is turning out to be for what I've got into it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Offroadford4x4 -

Welcome to EM! My wife has a bum left knee, so she doesn't drive manual trannies. Sooooo, my car is pretty much a me-only car. In return her car is her domain. Why not two Tempos, one for her and one for you, .

When you got the space and the skillzz to do at least some of your own car maintenance, multiple cars for multiple tasks can make a lot of sense.

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Old 08-09-2009, 09:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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well her Escape is just fine most of the time. She only works about 5 miles from home, so the mileage on it isn't much of a concern. and its our primary family vehicle. The sole purpose of this tempo is to take place of my truck for may daily driving duties since it's so bad, even being stick, and I work father from home, about 11 miles but deal with heavy traffic. it would also be a back up if for some reason she wouldn't be able to drive the escape, like if it were down for service, or in for state inspection and emissions testing.

Though I would love to get a hold of a 2 door Tempo GLS 5spd, I don't really need another car. I have a 98 SVT Contour also that will be a project next year. so that will probably end up being my primary drive once it's finished. But it needs a fair amount of work and $$$ thrown at it. Plus I still have not found out if I can get the title transferred into my name from the prior owner since he's supposedly in jail and I have no contact info for him.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome to EM! I have a truck that gets really crappy gas mileage too, but it spends most of it's time playing in the mud instead of being my daily driver...........



Once I got a fuel efficient car, I started saving tons of money even when I had to do major repairs to it. The fuel savings were astronomical and over time has really saved me some cash..............



I used to have a Tempo! I loved that car! It had A/C and an automatic transmission. The car would get me about 22 MPG because I drove on the highway with it. If I kept the speeds at 55 MPH or less, it would get me 25 MPG. My friend had a manual Tempo that would get 43 MPG as he claimed.

I wish I never hit that damn deer with my Tempo.................



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Old 08-09-2009, 10:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I remember the tempos. there is a means to approach hypermile and gain power. ford did somethng slob with it. I learned this in high school when they were new..several of us wondered how 2.3 liters in a lightweight car could suck down that much and not even be powerful.

I cannot remember the exacts, but EGR removal was step one, do away with it entirely (if it even has it), then after that the cold air intake games we all play, top end heat rising, etc, etc..and I believe it has a crazy resonator tryin to battle convertor chemistry. you may have blown apart your exhaust already. This is all a generational think, I have a japanese subaru from the same time realm that got the same treatment as mentioned...and doubled fuel mileage, no surprise. have fun with it after simplifying.
I also remember this car for amazing longevity, for the engine anyway.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Johnny, that tempo looks just like my parts car did, only mine was smashed in the back. And yours appears to have been a 2 door. Am I right? My truck used to spend just as much time in the mud and on the trails as it did on the street but I got bored with doing that so now it's just a street/show/work truck.

bgd73, the 2.3 was only really meant to be a low reving high torque engine. and it served it's purpose. Alot of the reason it's lacking much power comparred to jap engines is the fack that the 2.3 is a pushrod engine compared to the japs overhead cam engines. I have not done anything with the exhaust as of yet, since I'm kind of on a crunch here to get the car done, I stuck the OEM back on (yes its' all original OEM Ford exhaust from the 90k parts car and in good condition at that). I need to get it going so I can get the truck in the garage and get the front axle rebuild before winter hits. after the truck is done, than I will pull the exhaust, gut the cat out and find a better flowing muffler (not a fart cannon from some ricer). I will also look into the EGR delete, along with making my own highflow cold air intake which will probably require turning or relocating the battery so I can put a larger intake into the fender. I'm also going to look into insulating the intake manifold somehow since it's on top of the exhaust manifold. I'm sure that heat transfer does nothing to help economy or performance. I'll also be tearing down the original motor and looking over things like the cyl head to see where improvements could be made such as the bowls behind the valves and how well the ports match the manifolds. if I can increase the flow, I can increase the overall volumetric efficiency of the engine gaining both more power, and better economy (so long as I keep my foot outa it).

I'm not really shooting for major gains, but I would like to see an average of around 30-35 mpg combined driving while retaining the auto trans.

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1996 F150 4x4, My Daily Driver, 8 MPG
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