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Old 11-24-2012, 10:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Quest for better MPG

So after my wife got a new Ford Escape 1.6 turbo and 28mpg I have desided I will now have to modify my 05 FWD V6 Vue to try to match her. I drive 70 miles each day to work about 90 % on the highway at highway speeds during rush hour on I-95, Alexandria Va to Quantico Va, so 70 to 80 mph when traffic is good and 25 mph when bad. Today I can get high 23 to low 24 mpg and for this quest we will say I get an average of 23.7 mpg.

Step one I will lower the Vue next week 2 inches using Megan springs and new KYB shocks and struts and then post my new mpg average, higher would be nice.

Step two I will extend my front air dam a few inches post new numbers.

Step three I will add side skirts and then post new numbers.

Step four I will add a rear diffuser and post numbers.

I dont see underside mods since I dont have a lift.

I would love to hear from anyone who has done anything like this or has any good ideas on other realistic ways to gain mpg.

I do have two rules 1 truck can't look hoop tee and 2 can't cost alot.

BTW I know I will not get 28 but I do hope for 26. With this truck on pure gas I have gotten 29 before but with the crap gas here in Northern Va 26 is all I can hope for.

In my research popular mechanics did everything Im doing except they did not lower the car and no rear diffuser and gained 2.6 mpg.

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Old 11-25-2012, 01:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like you've a fun set of vehicles to play with. My approach is to make dead-honest-certain that all mechanical issues are "perfect" on a vehicle (worthy of study of details on how to accomplish that; things aren't always easy to dial in), and then using "trip planning" to combine all normal errands and/or commuting into the most fuel-efficient routing possible.

Fewer miles, better driven to accomplish the same work = high-percentage gains to an established mpg baseline.

Records are where one starts and ends. Fuel logs here, or smartphone apps, or pen & paper + solar calc.

I like to bring it down to a fuel cpm number (cents-per-mile) as it then dovetails with all other ownership/operational costs.

When I bring this up to other pickup owners I advocate that daily savings will more than pay for recreational travel (pulling trailers, etc).

Maybe there is an approach which combines work & play as a reward which you and the wife would both enjoy.


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Old 11-26-2012, 02:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What about roof racks (deletion - if it has 'em).

Don't forget other simple & effective aero mods like partial grille blocking.

Slowmover is absolutely right about feedback - both long term (tank by tank logging) and instant/trip average (MPG display - does your Vue have instrumentation?) are invaluable in motivating & helping you reach your target.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Springs are on and ready for two weeks of testing. For this test its just lowering springs with 2 inch drop. Speeds will be 70 or below.

Last edited by jbadamo; 01-17-2013 at 06:59 PM..
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So here is my findings:

Stock 23.9 mpg

2 inch drop 24.7 mpg = .8 mpg improvement

Larger air dam 25.1 mpg = .4 mpg improvement

Skirts 25.6 = .5 mpg improvement

Total improvement was 1.7 mpg

I know this was not done in a lab but I tried to make everything constant as possible. I used same gas from same pump every tank, except one tank, and drove with cruise on 70 mph. I checked air in tires every Saturday and washed truck every two weeks. Everything I could control I did, I did drive in the rain a few times but it could not be helped. I know I will not get a return on my money all $150.00 I spent on upgrades but it was fun doing everything. I'm looking at doing maybe a front under tray and rear diffuser and will update this when I can get them done. Those will wait to spring when it warms up to work outside. I'm going to plasti dip wheels which should not effect mpg but if it does I will let you know.
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Last edited by jbadamo; 01-17-2013 at 07:04 PM..
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used to live right at Tysons Corner and drive to 585 North Glebe road in Arlington to work at the Benz dealer there. I found route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) at 35 MPH to be the best choice. The lights were timed perfectly if you averaged the speed limit and on many days the Interstate traffic (66?)was a parking lot or crawling along. Not sure of the time when you make your commute, but I wonder if US 1 would not be better than I 95, which can get real disgusting real fast.
That being said the HOV lanes are being reworked as well as the merge point where they end.
Sometimes when I left the Chantilly area on Friday nights I would just stay on Route 28 until it merged with 17, then head east to Fredericksburg. When I got to the Interstate and it was still crawling south over 30 miles wouth of DC. I just got on 1 the went through Fredericksburg (downtown) and took Route 17 down to my home near Yorktown.

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Old 01-17-2013, 09:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You may get even more gains by doing a grille block. I picked up 1.4 MPG on my '00 Jimmy with that mod alone. Mine was on the outside, and VERY obvious (and pretty ugly, too).

I know you don't want it to look goofy, but they say you can still get gains by putting it BEHIND the grille & painting it black so it doesn't really show.

Be sure to carefully watch your engine temperature, though.... I blocked my grille so well it overheated & I had to cut a hole in it to let some air in. I eventually found a really good compromise, though - had to enlarge the hole once.

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