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Old 02-13-2012, 06:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Silver Slug - '02 Volkswagen Lupo TDI Sport
90 day: 61.65 mpg (US)
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The Silver Slug, Three cylinders of TDI goodness

Hey all

Iíve been a bit of a lurker for a while now but I feel itís time I broke cover . Sorry if this ends up being a bit long winded; I tend to waffle a little but here is my story of getting into eco tuning.

My previous car was a Honda Del Sol DOHC which I had for a couple of years. It was a great car to own in most respects especially in summer and was very reliable but it demanded to be driven hard and drank premium fuel. With gas prices in England costing twice the price-per-litre as you guys in the US are paying; it was starting to make my eyes water with my weekly 350mile commute.

I found this site when looking for ways to save fuel and using your hyper-miling techniques I got my Sol up to 33mpg US [40 UK] before I realised driving it that way was a waste of a good sports car so decided to switch to something a bit more efficient.

I did my research. A fair few of you seem to favour the Geos and VXís, badged Suzuki Swifts and Civic VEIís over here but fancied something a little more modern and sturdy yet still be able to carry my Giant Stiletto Chopper about inside which ruled out the Smart Car option straight away.

What I needed was comfortable highway cruiser as I live close to it and spend 90% of my 50-mile-round commute on it. Last May í11 I decided that despite the extra cost-per-litre compared to regular gas; diesel was my choice as it wouldnít be seen as much of a step-up compared to previously running on 99-RON gas.

VW offer the TDi in smaller capacities in Europe and so decided on acquiring a Lupo 1.4 TDi with a 5-speed manual. It shares many common parts to the common 1.9 but has one-less cylinder and is therefore more forgiving on maintenance should things go wrong and need scrapyard replacements.

I would have loved a Lupo 3L but the downside of living in the UK is we are RHD which the 3L didnít come in. The upside to my 1.4 variant is that it wonít require any of the potential expensive fixes the 3L can need and I much prefer the control of a true manual gearbox.

I found a 2001 Silver Lupo for a pretty good deal at 2700 US money. No major problems besides it coming with some scabby alloys and a grubby interior which steam cleaned up ok. It also came with a remap which claimed to have upped the power by 25% and improve economy slightly but it was meant for a 4-cylinder 1.9TDi so currently runs a bit rough at idle but this will be replaced soon with a custom re-map for the car tuned specifically for economy.

Since I bought it Iíve cleaned it out, replaced a couple of faulty interior switches, fitted & calibrated a Scangauge-E, removed the tiny back seats and replaced the wheels with some super-lightweight alloys from a base-spec BMW Mini One.

I'm currently averaging 56-64mpg US on my daily commute. My last tank fill-up averaged bang-on 60mpg US from my 35 litre tank. On a couple of 140mile trips Iíve managed to get that trip average up to 72 on my Scangauge. Considering that those are winter miles and that I currently have front winter tyres fitted and car-sharing to work with another person on-board, Iím pretty pleased with that though Iím only doing between 55-60mph but Iíve got the addiction now and want more!

Mods this year will include:
- removing and replacing to low-profile mirrors
- fitting LRR tyres
- low friction engine and transmission oil
- an ECO remap
- removing the roof aerial & relocating inside
- upper & lower grill blocks
- cable-tied pizza-tray wheel covers
- rear wheel skirts
- Some under-body aluminium panelling.

Any other recommendations?

Iíve noticed it takes quite a while before my temperature gauge even starts to move. It takes about 10-15 miles before it starts to heat up. I know the sub-zero temps and having the cabin heater on doesnít help things. Would it be of big consequence to remove my intercooler?

I'll try and scatter some photos and edit this post tomorrow to try and remove the wall of text effect .

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Old 02-13-2012, 07:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like you certainly have been reading around here for a while. Glad to have another potential Team VW person on board. One thing, diesels like to breath cool air, so you might want to keep the fresh air duct open on the grill blocks.

I sure would like to have on of those Little Lupos on this side of the Pond. Looking forward to checking out your fuel logs.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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May I suggest adding a "frost heater" to help the warm up.
Don't forget to clean the turbo actuator and the intake regularly.
I wouldn't recomend changing the tune. If its a Rocketchip or Malone, they usually improve the MPG as welll as power. Kerma, it depends on if its the regular or the Q tune.
Only good synthetic oil. Shell is the preferred over here.
Be religious about timing belt changes.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You are off to a great start!

I wish we could get the smaller engines here!

Though I love my 1st gen. CRX, I'm drooling to get a diesel swap into a '84 Quantum wagon. ( a previous one I had netted 55-57mpg on trips, and 1 record run in the low '70's, not bad for a 2,600# station wagon)
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to ecomodder.

If you haven't seen it already, have a look at what Vekke is doing with his 3L Lupo
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...-2l-18235.html

You could steal some Lupo-specific ideas from him.

I suppose the tyres are already at a higher pressure ?
An air dam may also be a good and simple addition to your mods.

With so much of its time spent on the motorway, aerodynamic mods will give you the most benefit - weight isn't as much of an issue on the motorway.


Though not very civilized, that 1.4L VW TDi Triple is a great engine.
My sister has one in her Skoda Fabia, and it gets great fuel economy despite how it's being driven.
I have no trouble getting it under 4L/100 km or better than 59mpg US / 71 mpg UK.
I've had it at a sustained 105 mpg US @ 45 mph, totally unmodded, so you're not near the limit yet
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The Silver Slug - '02 Volkswagen Lupo TDI Sport
90 day: 61.65 mpg (US)
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Thanks, I've kept an eye on Vekke and his threads. His driving Videos have been of great help amongst which I've picked and choosed various planned mods that would work on my version of diesel Lupo.

My tyres are currently pumped to 5psi below their max side wall and I monitor them weekly. I had a time over winter where I had to release some pressure to get some grip when the snow came down and I could really feel the car drag and hated the feeling.

The car already has a partial under-tray already fitted by VW covering the engines underside so I think I will just extend this back to the rear of the car along with using a set of 30mm lowering springs over the option of an air dam but that is still a point I'm undecided on.

The 3-cylinder is indeed rough at idle. It might not be the remap and might just be it's nature even with the balancer shafts to sound like a bucket of nails but every indication shows the car is healthy.

Pics will follow when my post count allows me to but I hope to get a fuel log going soon. Stay tuned.
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The Silver Slug - '02 Volkswagen Lupo TDI Sport
90 day: 61.65 mpg (US)
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First fuel log and the detailed car stats have been uploaded but I've already reached a dilemma.

Diesel as it stands costs 5% more than petrol (baring in mind per-liter we pay over twice the price than in the US though the fuel is better) though diesel is still worth having with the mpg gain if the car can be got at a low price, you buy lucky in terms of nothing expensive going wrong and do adequate miles.

LPG however I've noticed is just over half the cost (57%) of petrol! Whilst it's not really worth getting a car and installing a LPG conversion kit nowadays due to the grants no-longer being given out; I've noticed a number of highly petrol efficient LPG converted Toyota 1.0 Aygo (& Citroen C1/107) sub-compact cars passing through ebay & autotrader which would offer well over 100mpg equivalent before you even start to consider eco/aero mods.

The question now is do I proceed down the current path and potentially do some more extreme mods to a less valuable/older car or start on a stronger base with an LPG Aygo baring in mind it would be simpler and cheaper to maintain than a TDI or would the diesel offer more potential, possibly in conjunction with a SVO/WVO conversion?

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