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Old 03-27-2014, 03:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Suggestions for modifying a Station Wagon?

Supposing I have such a car (And I do have the idea for one, This is idea-talk that may blossom) what could I do to it for MPG over 35? Pictured is a 1990s Roadmaster. I'm thinking of doing mods to a 1996 model.



I was thinking of replacing the motor with a Diesel, Running it on Biodiesel and putting a Manual transmission in it and some LRR tires for summer and maybe a larger fuel tank. Combined with adjustments to the nut behind the wheel and engine tunings, What would you say I can get out of this? I think I can get 33 MPG HWY easily in such a car, Knowing that the Diesels from 1978-1985 (With the body shape of the car pictured below) are rated by the EPA to get 26 HWY and I've heard of people getting 29 MPG HWY in them.



The Roadmaster is already more aerodynamic than the previous-generation Boxy-Body wagons so that already helps. I think were I to swap an engine I'd already be seeing 30 MPG HWY, And if it has a manual transmission does another 3 MPG higher sound right? Adding some LRR tires and other various mods (Roof-rack delete, Boat-tail or partial kammback attached to roof-rack holes, Rear wheel-well skirts and power steering on/off switch, Weight reduction without removing seats or the spare tire) I think I'd be seeing 36 HWY at least. How does that sound to you? I have already seen 28.5ish MPG HWY in a 2000 Dodge Caravan 3-Litre, And that's mostly going over 60 MPH and sometimes upwards of 70 on on Ohio trip.

Thoughts? Other than "Get a different car" that is. I'm asking for suggestions to modify a Station Wagon, Not a Mini Cooper.

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Old 03-27-2014, 03:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1st Gen EPA ratings were far too optimistic.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The 6.2L diesel might be the obvious choice, but if you don't mind it being even more underpowered, try a VW 1.9L TDI engine. My friend and I towed a 1999 Forester with his 2002 Jetta TDI. The total weight must've been close to 7000 lbs. The TDI (stock other than nozzles) pulled the weight just fine. Hills were a bit slow. With the reduction in drivetrain weight, the Caprice/Roadmaster won't weight much more than a Jetta or Passat.

Other options are the Cummins 4BT and Mercedes OM617a.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You could drop in an S-10 2.2L vortec I4 and 5 speed, 4200 lb gvrw. Whats the axle ratio in the wagon, 2.93?

1995*Chevrolet*S-10 Specifications

1995*Buick*Roadmaster Specifications/?acode=USA50BUC062D0
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
1st Gen EPA ratings were far too optimistic.
I posted 27 and the current reading reads 26:

Fuel Economy of the 1985 Chevrolet Caprice Wagon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasoline Fumes View Post
The 6.2L diesel might be the obvious choice, but if you don't mind it being even more underpowered, try a VW 1.9L TDI engine. My friend and I towed a 1999 Forester with his 2002 Jetta TDI. The total weight must've been close to 7000 lbs. The TDI (stock other than nozzles) pulled the weight just fine. Hills were a bit slow. With the reduction in drivetrain weight, the Caprice/Roadmaster won't weight much more than a Jetta or Passat.

Other options are the Cummins 4BT and Mercedes OM617a.
Thanks. I think I'll go with something powered higher though. And I didn't mention it in the topic but I am playing with the thought of using the car as a towing vehicle too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arcosine View Post
You could drop in an S-10 2.2L vortec I4 and 5 speed, 4200 lb gvrw. Whats the axle ratio in the wagon, 2.93?

1995*Chevrolet*S-10 Specifications

1995*Buick*Roadmaster Specifications/?acode=USA50BUC062D0
I'm talking about a 1996 model although I didn't specify that in the topic at first. Are there specs here relating to the ratio? (Also, I'd like something at least the size of a 5.0.)

SHAFT. Rear Axle Drive. 1996 Buick Estate # 26018080
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Slant top-chop. Lay the windshield back and make the back window 1/2 as high.

Plus all the other non-mechanical stuff— bellypan, wheel spats, Moon disks and airflow management inside the engine compartment.

All that will approximately equal what you can get from the engine swap, and if it's not enough there's still boat-tails and single-wheel trailers.

[nice hubcaps on that diesel wagon]
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasoline Fumes View Post
The 6.2L diesel might be the obvious choice, but if you don't mind it being even more underpowered, try a VW 1.9L TDI engine.
With all the tuning options available, the 1.9TDI is not to be disconsidered. And it's not so underpowered at all, have been used even in some European vans slotted in a size between the Chevy Astro and the full-size ones.


Quote:
Other options are the Cummins 4BT and Mercedes OM617a.
Trying to keep a 4BT under that hood wouldn't be the easiest job, but not impossible at all, and with lots of aftermarket support nowadays. If you would rather get a Mercedes-Benz engine, the OM603 might be a better option than the 617.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
Slant top-chop. Lay the windshield back and make the back window 1/2 as high.

Plus all the other non-mechanical stuff— bellypan, wheel spats, Moon disks and airflow management inside the engine compartment.

All that will approximately equal what you can get from the engine swap, and if it's not enough there's still boat-tails and single-wheel trailers.

[nice hubcaps on that diesel wagon]
That may not be a Diesel wagon so I edited the topic. The hubcaps do look aerodynamic though.

And I admit I don't know a thing about the power a 1.9 or 2.2 Diesel engine would have in a Station Wagon like this that is at about 4,400 or 4,500 pounds curb weight. I have to ask first. At first I thought a 6.2 would be necessary, Now perhaps not?
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Guys that swap 4BTs into Jeeps generally get around 30MPG highway, even with lifts and tires. I've also read a thread about a guy swapping a VW TDI (I believe it was a 1.9) into a Jeep Liberty with a small lift and aggressive tires. He had some power mods and it sounded like it did pretty well, still got around 30MPG. Your aerodynamics are likely better, but weight is probably higher than most of the little 4x4s. I would say 30MPG would be pretty easy to get with the right swap.

Why not a Duramax? I saw a video of a Mustang that had one that put out 800hp, got over 30MPG highway driving it to the drag strip. :P
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Its actually kinda hard to get fuel economy out of the 6.2. My friend has a c20 long bed that got pretty much the same mpg from the 305 to the 6.2 it could just pull more. Eventually it ended up with a 6 speed and a 4.3 vortec and i think he's hitting 23 avg with it. 17 best with the 305 and the diesel.

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