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Old 03-07-2011, 11:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Newbie with a gas guzzling SUV (R50 Pathfinder)! Breaking the 20 MPG barrier...

Hey guys,

I was handed a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder (R50 series) and never gave too much thought about hypermiling until I got this beast! I intend on getting a smaller vehicle that would be better suited for me in the fall when there are better deals to be had...but until then I am stuck with this monster and would love to hear your guys' opinions.

Although I hate the fact that this Pathfinder is a gas guzzler, it is a very smooth drive and the engine/drivetrain is nearly bulletproof. It's rated for 14/17 city/hwy but by driving smoothly I actually get about 17-18 MPG city in RWD mode and this is in the winter. I've topped out at about 19 MPG and Im working to try to exceed 20 MPG. Hopefully this will be do-able when the weather warms up. Unfortunately this vehicle also takes premium fuel and when switching to regular, I notice my MPG drops to about 15.

So far the current modifications Ive made to the vehicle after getting it was:
1. Removing roof racks
2. Removing spare tire (it's a full size and heavy!)
3. Overinflating tires by 5 psi.
4. Changed transmission, differential, and transfer case fluid. Currently running 10W30 motor oil as recommended. Should I switch to 5W30 on the next change?)
5. Ran a bottle of fuel system cleaner through the system
6. Cleaned air filter and MAF

I'd love to hear your guys' comments on if there are other improvements I could try to make? Would also love to hear anyone else's experience with squeezing that extra MPG from their gas guzzlers

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Old 03-08-2011, 03:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Get an Ultra-Gauge.
Grill Block.
Slow down a little more.
Coast in neutral (assuming automatic, otherwise EOC).

2001 Civic HX Mods

Past Cars:

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Old 02-02-2013, 07:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i would love to know your results on any future mods i've got a friend with one.
the first number in oil (5w)-30 is only for when the oil is cold, so if you have very short drives then the lower first number may help, the second number is the thickness at operating temperature so the lower it is if you have normal or long drives it'll help more, either way my personal opinion is to just test 5-20 or even 0w-20 and if you don't notice any improvement, go back to your recommended oil. also witch to synthetic oils and lubricants they will help more in the trans and dif than you may think, results can vary but for most diesel trucks it's proven for better mileage i'm not sure how it works but it has always worked in my case except for my 86 Chevy blazer 350,
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He doesn't care.

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Old 03-14-2013, 12:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey Guys, I bought a 2002 Infiniti QX4 last year which also gets terrible fuel economy. Despite what people say, choosing to run premium fuel DOES make a big difference. In the winter, I was getting 12MPG with 87 octane but no less than 15MPG with 91.

Without realizing it, I was "hypermiling" to save fuel since I just learned the term a few days ago. Got about 23MPG on the last tank just with common sense stuff like coasting, preserving momentum everywhere possible, and turning the engine off at stop lights.

I just bought the "Torque Pro" app for my android phone, and along with a $20 OBD2 bluetooth adapter, it's a great alternative to a Scangauge device. No wires, and Torque is completely customizable. The app was $4.72 and is absolutely amazing. I'm going to try for 30MPG, but hopefully not have to resort to extreme measures to achieve it.

Using the Torque app to save fuel is a fun game but is distracting. There are easily one hundred different engine data points that can be monitored in real time but engine load & real time MPG are the ones I typically monitor. I need to find a good windshield mount for my phone to keep my eyes on the road.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
It's all about Diesel
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Have you never considered a Diesel engine swap? It's easier to get into the 30 MPG barrier with that

There are even some plug n' play Diesels available for the Pathfinder.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My QX4 is 11 years old; I'll be making the "swap" for a VW TDI wagon soon. I'm just having fun trying to squeeze a little extra MPG out of it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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To go from 17 MPG to 20 MPG means that you're changing your fuel consumption from 5.88 G/100 miles to 5 G/100 miles. Consuming 0.88 gallons less over 100 miles might be doable but it is going to be tricky on an automatic. I would run the cruise control as much as possible.

Always coast up to red lights, and try to learn the timing of the lights on your frequent routes. On the way to my supermarket, no matter how hard I try, I will always get stuck by a light down the road after I make a left turn. I just keep it 5 under the limit and by the time I arrive at the 2nd light, it is turning green, and I never had to hit my breaks as I just coast to the light. Keeps my fuel consumption low.

Once I get a few more tanks to have a better collection of data points, I'm going to start a thread about how I've taken my 4.6L Mustang from a 20.5 MPG lifetime average (4.88 G/100M) to 23 MPG (4.35 G/100M) on my last tank (and 23.9 half way through this current tank, in winter). That is a savings of about half a gallon of gas per 100 miles. Short of turning the engine off while moving, I don't see what else I could do other than to drive 95% of the time on highways where I can get 28-30 MPG depending speed my speed and the grade of the road.

I am running an ultraguage, tires at 10% over max PSI, and keeping only 5-7 over the limit on the highways. You have to in my area as 70% of the traffic moves at 10 over the limit, even in the slow lanes. Someone in my are just got a ticket for going TWO mph ___UNDER___ the limit a couple days ago. I also took out the cold air intake (CAI), and put in the stock airbox.

Last edited by ciderbarrel; 03-15-2013 at 06:41 AM.. Reason: Math fail -- thanks Claritin!
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm doing all of the common hypermiling techniques - short of harming others, myself, or my vehicle. I have to admit that hypermiling is a fun game, and now that I can quickly glance at a number of engine data points relative to MPG, I'm able to learn the vehicle's MPG "sweet spots" so to speak. In many ways, hypermiling does make you more alert and aware of others on the road, but I cringe when I read about a few other hypermilers - how proud they are drafting a few feet behind a semi, taking sharp turns at 50MPH, blowing through stop signs, turning off their ingitions every 10 seconds, or generally being a nuisance in traffic.

When anyone becomes more obsessed about MPG than public (or their own) safety - Houston, we have a problem.

It's actually a little funny how I used to blame the vehicle for it's terrible gas mileage (like most others tend to do) instead of look in the mirror. I was one of those impatient drivers, zipping in and out of lanes and accelerating to be first in line at a stop light. I used to get angry at people just doing the speed limit. Now I'm one of them, and have to admit that there's a certain calmness about it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Has anyone here disconnected their alternator? I saw a video where a guy did that and installed an independent boat / marine battery to run the starter, A/C and power all the electronics. Is this really worth the trouble?

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