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Old 09-27-2009, 10:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New member, intersted in modding my '98 Contour

Hi, I have a 1998 Contour (2.0L, MT), as well as a 1972 Honda CB350. As the MC is my short haul/good weather vehicle, I'm looking to mod my Contour for its new role as a predominantly interstate vehicle.

So far, I've only done a passenger-side wiper delete. I'm interested in the following mods:

1. Grille clean-up/front air dam
2. Side mirror replacement with back-up cameras
3. VGs ahead of rear window
4. Rear fender skirts
5. Belly pan.

Since one of the ways I intend to save gas is via "gliding" the downhills on the interstates, I need to clean-up enough to maintain the 55min that I'm comfortable with at zero throttle.

I'm seeing a SGII in my immediate future...half the fun (for me) is quantifying the results!

So far, I'm averaging between 25(full city) and 40(full hwy) in my 'Tour, really without any hypermiling techniques (though I've always been conscious of red light timing..."hurry up 'n' wait" just seems stupid!) I am also averaging $0.34/mi ownership cost. My goal is to bring both down. (For the bike, I'm getting 46MPG, with insufficient sample size for ownership costs.)

Off to register at the garage...

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Old 09-27-2009, 11:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wiper delete isn't going to help much, just throwing that out there. I would go smooth wheel covers, belly pan, grill block. That should be a pretty big jump.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to EM! Here are some of my recommendations...

My Mom-in-Law has a '95 Mystique Zetec Auto (likely similar to yours, except the auto and Mercury badges). I've worked on it quite a bit --

It you haven't performed a tune-up recently, these cars respond well to a good tune. Carbon build-up is usually a big problem and could effect mileage, driveability, and cause a rough idle. First, getting the mechanicals clean (if it's an issue) might be where to start. Using "Seafoam" or "AutoRX" through the brake booster line can clean out lots of gunk.

Otherwise, the usual recommendation of a feedback device, like a Scangauge, can train you to drive more efficiently. Then, perhaps look into some aero-mods and perhaps mechanical mods.

Best FE to ya...

RH77
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Big Blue - '94 Ford F-150 shortbed
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Thanks for the welcome!

MadisonMPG, I didn't expect too much from the passenger wiper delete, but--at $0.00 and 10 seconds with a socket wrench--it doesn't need to do much to justify its existance.

Priced a automotive back-up camera and I think I can rule that out! (Perhaps I'll try to salvage a webcam from a junked computer or outdated digital camera...?)

Oh, and a cool goal would be to "out-MPG" my ma's Fusion Hybrid! (That would require 39-ish MPG, based on what she's getting...though I think my best chance will be during the winter...)
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to EcoModder!

I think the Contours are very sleek looking cars right from the OEM, and there are plenty of mods that would easily complement the styling of the car while making it more aerodynamically efficient.

If it's mostly highway, the next time you change your tires, go with something that has a high sidewall pressure, like 44 or 51 PSI, and keep them there. You won't notice too much, because on the highway, ride isn't always so important.

Rear wheel skirts, followed up with the OEM aero kit from the SVT Contour will help out a good bit, and give you a great starting point for even better aero mods later on, as you have the time. For instance, the side skirts from that kit have lips on the insides that make a nice mount point for a belly pan with full side to side coverage.

A full grille block can be made to look like it's not there by using some thin plastic, like that used in blister packaging (Remember that when you buy your kids toys.)

If you're concerned about the look of wheel covers, you can check out MetroMPG's smoothies - they look like the OEM hubcaps on his Firefly, and IMO, they're pretty damned nice.

I wouldn't worry too awful much about the wipers, since they're probably locked in a bubble.

Insulate your exhaust manifold and piping/cat. This will aide with scavenging, reducing pumping losses in your engine, making it more efficient at sucking in air, which is what it has to do to create movement. This will also allow you to run a full belly pan with less worry about whether or not you'll melt Coroplast or overheat aluminum paneling.

It would be in your best interests to check out 65+ Efficiency Mods and 100+ Hypermiling Tips for more information on aero modding and eco-driving.
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Last edited by Christ; 09-28-2009 at 01:58 AM.. Reason: Psychological effect of wording.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd shy away from insulating exhaust stuff as it is known to rot the system out quickly.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
Moderate your Moderation.
 
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Only when you allow it to get wet. And that applies to the actual exhaust header wrap, originally made from asbestos, now partially made from fiberglass and other substrates. It soaks up water from the humid air around it, and the water begets corrosion as the tubes cool. It's not too hard to insulate in a way that doesn't allow the moisture in, and if you're replacing the exhaust (for whatever reason) you can exchange with either aluminum pipe or stainless pipe, and use hi-temp paint on the exhaust before insulating it, and it won't rot any more quickly than normal exhausts do.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Who's done it right?
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
Moderate your Moderation.
 
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I've done it my way, and I don't know to this day if it's still intact or not, but as of the time I sold it, it was fine. I even unwrapped it to show the guy that bought the car, because he said the same thing. I'd already had the pipes wrapped front to mid section (including the cat) for about a year, and the hi-temp coating was still on them when I pulled the panels off. I put aluminum backed fiberglass up against the body in the exhaust tunnel, then put the exhaust back on, tucked into the tunnel as far as I could get it, and made shields with some pieces of metal to hold more aluminum backed 'glass up against the pipe, so it made a mostly air-tight shroud of insulation around the pipe. It's a lot of work, granted, but it's cheap.

I've never tested the effects scientifically, but I felt as though I was getting more grunt out of the Buick 350 (198? Delta 88 swapped from a 307 C.I. Diesel before I bought it.) on the low end. It also seemed quieter in the cabin area, and had a stronger exhaust note from the rear of the car, it seemed.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am tearing one of these apart right now for headgasket.
I did notice that the exhaust manifold comes to an oval opening that connects to the cat converter. The opening on the converter is larger then the manifold, so the exhaust along the walls of the manifold is slamming into a lip on the converter.

Other then a gasket kit and some time, you could pull the manifold, port the opening for no restriction, and check out your converter at the same time.

The intake is a bit funky with baffles, and a monster housing above the throttle body, some ingenuity could clean that up?

The throttle body on this car was FILTHY.

I have not looked at the exhaust configuration. Any obvious restrictions? Perhaps a low restriction muffler with stock tubing diameter?

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