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Old 09-04-2011, 01:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
Truck is hobby.
 
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Turtle Retired, broke and have gas guzzler Nissan truck

New here, looking for ways to get more mileage out of a tank of gas than now, getting around 12 to 14, I know something is wrong, changed plugs and filters, not much different. Will have to wait until next SS check to even think of a scan gauge. I have been reading some first, seems if I should check vacuum lines first then perhaps O2 sensors. What else, any ideas? Truck is driven on short drives, city driving and I do not push it, seems to lack power climbing hills, 4 cyl 1996 short bed pickup. What is next please?
Thank You,
Jim
BTW: Nice forum and I do want to participate and perhaps you vets will be easy on an old guy that use to have the money to have some one else to do his repairs.

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Old 09-04-2011, 03:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome JatMat.

I would start with the tire pressure, go to the maximum listed on the tire.

Try coasting down a hill in neutral, without apply the brakes. If is slows or stays steady there could be a brake shoe/pad dragging or a bad wheel bearing.

Is the a check engine light on? Some of the Auto parts places near me offer to check your engine codes for free.

Just a few low cost suggestions, maybe others on Ecomodder will have more.

Here's a link to the EPA site, shows 19 MPG combined city and highway for your truck. You can do better.Fuel Economy of the 1996 Nissan Truck 2WD
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Look for things that stand out first of course, like uneven tire wear, check engine light, odd sounds.
If I've come to a stop without having to use my brakes hard I'll check to see if the brakes are warmer on one side the the other, you can also check to see if you have a wheel bearing that is getting hot or a tire that is getting hotter then the rest.
I was going to suggest that if you don't need a truck that you might sell it and get a car that can tow a small trailer for those times that you need to haul cargo, but your truck is not worth a whole lot so the pay back would take a while, altho it still might be worth thinking about, or a better deal for you might be to find someone who you already know who needs a truck who has a car that gets decent gas mileage that would be willing to do an even trade.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Broke is one thing, idiot another. Even jesting it isn't deserved when so many find themselves in the same boat. Change it, will ya? And if you do I entreat the moderator to delete this post. Looking for the way out is the right thing. The examples and experiences of others are always valuable to me, as they are to you. I might, or my friends/family might call me a less-than, but they'll do it within arms reach . . . .


Vacuum lines are an excellent and cheaply-repaired source of problems. The local library may well have the vacuum schematic that will be of aid (even if the truck already has one). Factory lines are more expensive and probably better. But with a set of calculations of the length needed of various diameters one can arrange to buy in bulk. Or just ask around and splice chit together.

In the meantime, remove and clean the batt, starter and other primary charging system cable ends. Have the batt tested free at a parts store (remove to take inside; check first). Low electrical can cause problem-multiplication. Alternator too if you're up to it.

And make you a list or two of tools needed for auto work. The pawn shops always have a selection. Pay close attention to wrench ends, etc.

Sears

Welcome, and all the best

.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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a grill block is a cheep and effective mod. after that take a look through the wiki for more ideas.
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Everything slowmover says... also... make yourself a tonneau cover, even to cover just the back half of the bed. It will benefit aero significantly. Fully inflate tires (I over inflate mine by 6-9 psi). Search "lawn edging airdam" on this forum. It works. I run one. Whenever possible drive in daylight when you don't need lights and the air is warmer. Study the hypermile techniques, espeically "driving with load" (DwL), "pulse and glide" (P&G), and "engine off coasting" (EOC). And if you have a tach and a vacuum gauge handy, you might avoid the scangauge for now, but also the UltraGauge is much cheaper and just as good, I think.

Good luck! Welcome! Start a fuel log here at ecomodder, recording what you pay for gas, you might find it encouraging to see savings pile-up.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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First get the mechanical problems out of the way.

Then get a piece of plywood, and stretch it from the top of the cab to the end of the tailgate, with the tailgate down. You may have to screw two pieces of plywood together to get it long enough. You will probably have to make a frame underneath the plywood. Arch the plywood up in the middle just a little bit to make a nice aerodynamic curve. Fill in the sides with plywood or foam or whatever you have.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
Broke is one thing, idiot another. Even jesting it isn't deserved when so many find themselves in the same boat. Change it, will ya? And if you do I entreat the moderator to delete this post. Looking for the way out is the right thing. The examples and experiences of others are always valuable to me, as they are to you. I might, or my friends/family might call me a less-than, but they'll do it within arms reach . . . .


Vacuum lines are an excellent and cheaply-repaired source of problems. (Thanks Jim)The local library may well have the vacuum schematic that will be of aid (even if the truck already has one). Factory lines are more expensive and probably better. But with a set of calculations of the length needed of various diameters one can arrange to buy in bulk. Or just ask around and splice chit together.

In the meantime, remove and clean the batt, starter and other primary charging system cable ends. Have the batt tested free at a parts store (remove to take inside; check first). Low electrical can cause problem-multiplication. Alternator too if you're up to it.

And make you a list or two of tools needed for auto work. The pawn shops always have a selection. Pay close attention to wrench ends, etc.



Welcome, and all the best

.
I have the complete factory service manual on disk, about 1000 pages. All electrical has been checked out and cleaned all connections, Alternator charging fine. I have all the tools needed for any repair. Thanks for your suggestions, I am still listening and learning.

Last edited by JatMat; 09-05-2011 at 09:55 AM..
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyl4rk View Post
First get the mechanical problems out of the way.
Now your talking my goals. What to check next?
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JatMat View Post
What else, any ideas? Truck is driven on short drives, city driving and I do not push it, seems to lack power climbing hills, 4 cyl 1996 short bed pickup. What is next please?
Did it used to get better mileage and power? If so, check compression and timing chain. If not, how short are your short trips?

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