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Old 04-27-2013, 03:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thoughts and Questions About New Ultragauge

So I received my Ultragauge on Monday night and installed it on Tuesday. For the past 4 days, I have been using it and with that, I had some thoughts to share and some questions to ask. I figured I would start a new thread, because I'm sure I will have more questions as time goes on, sorry if these have been asked and answered in the past. First the thoughts:

1. The gauges are really jumpy. For example, the RPMs will jump all over the place, so at idle, it will be 750, then 780 then 765, so on and so on. I don't know if the engine is really changing that quickly or if it is the UG or the OBDII protocol like the UG instructions claim. It's not just RPM, but pretty much every other gauge as well (RPM, MPH, instant MPG, instant GPH, etc.).
2. The overall size of the UG is small! That's not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation. The website makes it look big, but when I ordered it, I stumbled upon the size and sure enough it is small like the measurements say, but the website photo kinda doesn't do it justice.
3. I realized during the week, of the people who change their habits using any gauge (UG/SG), I will probably be one who will benefit the least, at least in terms of MPG increase. I already drive pretty conservatively, rarely slamming the accelerator, using cruise control almost every chance I get (yes, even to go a few hundred feet! ), rarely speed over 65 on the highway, etc. All this (I think) is stuff people realize they need to do after they install a gauge, but since I already do it, I won't see much gain. Only time will tell...
3. I love when I am at highway speed, if I see I have to slow down, I put the trans in neutral and my MPG jumps up to 300+MPG! I've got no problem cruising in neutral at 60 MPH, getting 300+MPG! If only I could always get that kind of performance!

Questions:
1. What is causing the jumpiness of the gauges? It makes it really hard to determine what speed is most efficient for this vehicle, because I can't get the gauge to stay at one number for long enough. I can use some intuition that if I see the same # or similar multiple times, that it's a pretty good idea of what I am getting, but that is not accurate enough to know if 40 MPH or 45 MPH is better (or any other speed).
2. At idle, my throttle position is at ~10%. Is that pretty standard? What do you guys have at idle? I've never known what the throttle position is at before, so now I just want to know if it is in the "acceptable" range.
3. When idling at a light, if I put the trans in neutral, the RPMs go up, so I would imagine gas usage would go up with it, but using the GPH gauge, the gas usage goes down about .01-.02 GPH. It's not a whole lot, but I am just confused about that, because according to *my* theory, gas usage should go up with an increase in RPM. What is better, higher RPM and lower GPH or lower RPM and slightly higher GPH?
4. If I set the cruise control right at the 65 line, my UG will show my speed as 63.4 MPH. I don't know which one I should use. I would think they would be the same since they are both running off of the ECM (I think?) What's causing the difference? If they are indeed different and the UG is correct, I wonder if taller tires would make up the 1.5-2 MPH difference?
5. My GPH at idle is ~.20 and ~.18 at idle in neutral. I would like to get this down to .1 someday. I wonder what I could do to make that happen. Maybe one day I will take off the A/C belt and see how much vampire energy that takes and if it alone could get me down to that threshold (I would like to know that just for knowledge's sake, too!). Any other ideas on how to lower that number? I assume fixing that number at idle will also translate into gas savings at a given speed. I know that it's a small fish to fry, but it is now on my bucket list, so just thinking about it and trying to come up with some ideas...
6. Is there a gauge option to know the engine temp.? I see the option for coolant temp., but I would like to know what the temp. of the engine block is, so I know how long it takes to get to operating temp. If not, I can rig up a thermometer sensor to know the temp of the engine (which would lead me to ask where I should install the sensor...).

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for the help!

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Old 04-27-2013, 07:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Exciting, nobody else has posted yet, so I need to try to be useful.

Well, "need" is relative…

Your post is over a full page in Word. I copied and pasted in order to handle it better. Please understand, I have only been on the site for several months, and I have only used the Ultragauge, so I cannot compare it to anything, but I will give you the best information that I can.

1. 750-780 is a 4% increase, so I would not call that "all over the place." My car does that, too. As I understand it, the car constantly changes the air\fuel ratio a small amount to make sure that it is where it wants to be
2. There are smartphone apps if you would rather have something larger.
3. I immediately changed one habit, but that was it for a while. I had stayed in gear for DFCO, but I never saw it happen, so I coasted in neutral whenever possible. I also realized that my mileage while accelerating was lousy regardless of how hard I accelerated, so I started getting to speed faster. I have always coasted as much as possible.
3#2 It is always entertaining to watch your mileage while coasting in neutral, but it seems to make a small difference overall. If you could get DFCO to work, your gauge would show 999.9 MPG, but you would be in-gear, so you would slow down faster. There are debates on here regarding which is better. Be careful!

3#3 I believe that in neutral, your engine is spinning less weight, so while it might spin slightly faster, it would be spinning less overall.
4. Have you calibrated your gauge yet? You can get the manual from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...f1dvxrALTHgv5Q . You want to calibrate both the odometer and fuel. Once you calibrate the odometer, they will read differently, but I do not have any idea why they would be different before then.
5. According to http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...-use-2737.html , your alternator requires one to two horsepower, yet you can increase your mileage ten percent if you disable your alternator. That sounds very complicated, which they discuss in that thread. Some on here do AC deletes and others do power steering deletes. According to Turning off the air conditioning helps save fuel, Swiss study finds , your air conditioning decreases your mileage by up to 30%, even though Mythbusters stated otherwise.
Another warning: Please do not ever use television to back up an argument on this site, especially g*lfball d*mples!
I am very surprised by the thirty percent figures. Maybe if you install a Febreeze dispenser and delete your air conditioning, power steering, and alternator you could be closer to one half, although it seems overly optimistic. My first thought is that there is a minimum idle RPM and if you tried to go below that, your call would stall.
However, you could install a kill switch: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...-how-4356.html and http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...our-24263.html . Then you could coast in neutral and not use any gas. I believe that if you turn the key it shuts off your Ultragauge. Will someone please clarify?

Good luck!
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
3#2 It is always entertaining to watch your mileage while coasting in neutral, but it seems to make a small difference overall. If you could get DFCO to work, your gauge would show 999.9 MPG, but you would be in-gear, so you would slow down faster. There are debates on here regarding which is better. Be careful!

3#3 I believe that in neutral, your engine is spinning less weight, so while it might spin slightly faster, it would be spinning less overall.

5. Then you could coast in neutral and not use any gas. I believe that if you turn the key it shuts off your Ultragauge. Will someone please clarify?

Good luck!
3 #2 as far as the neutral vs in gear i thought this debate was determined to be to broad on which is better for the reason cars are different. For example my auto trans grand am shifts into neutral automatically when in drive and coasting this allows me to glide the same distance in drive as in neutral which if left the motor running in gear would be better for dfco.

3 #3 rpms do not always determine mpg, being in Neutral at a stop light means that the car (if auto trans) is not always trying to move forward wasting energy, so yes it would be spinning less weight in Neutral.

5 You can change the settings on the ultragauge where it wont shut off with the key or have a delayed action to shutting off
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure every vehicle I've used my UG in showed 9-12% throttle at idle. There may be another gauge option that you can select that will start at zero, but you should be able to get the same results with either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gealii View Post
3 #3 rpms do not always determine mpg, being in Neutral at a stop light means that the car (if auto trans) is not always trying to move forward wasting energy, so yes it would be spinning less weight in Neutral.
This. When not moving, GPH is your only way of measuring fuel consumption, RPM is just how fast the engine is spinning. Putting the trans in neutral reduces the load on the engine, so it will usually spin slightly faster but use less fuel.

Your UG speed vs speedometer speed is pretty much universal. Car manufacturers set up the speedometer to show a couple MPH high (probably so you can't sue them for you getting a speeding ticket). The UG shows the real speed that the computer uses. I've used a GPS to verify that the UG speed is more accurate than speedometer speed. Another test you can do is comparing a trip odometer on the UG to your car's trip odometer, they should be closer than the speeds because the odometer goes off the real speed as well.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys!

@Xist: Does the the air/fuel mixture constantly changing mean the RPMs will constantly change, even 4%? I usually shift into neutral, long before the UG. I have no idea if I have DFCO, but I haven't seen the 999.9 number, so I'm guessing I don't have it. I would like to know if accelerating hard or soft is better for my vehicle, but again gauge jumps all over the place, so it is difficult (sometimes only a few MPG jump, sometimes from 30's to mid 100's). I'll look into calibrating it properly tomorrow. I very rarely use the A/C, so at this point it is only vampire energy from the belt, so a 30% increase probably won't happen. Maybe one day, I'll just lose the belt for the A/C, PS, alt, etc. and see where it gets me. I'll try it for a tank and see what happens. I just want to lower GPH, not the actual RPMs of the engine. I would like to do a kill switch, but for an automatic? Wouldn't that be hard on the starter, having to restart the car constantly?
On a side note, when I first joined this site, I had all the time in the world, so I've definitely seen the arguments and I know exactly which buttons to *not* press!

@gealii: I like the idea for the UG not going off, but I would prefer it to just be a delayed off, so when I park I can still look at it and make any necessary changes.

@vskid3: Thanks, good to know my idle throttle is in "range". I definitely don't want it to start at 0. Do you think taller tires (like 70 vs. 65) would help make the speedometer and UG more similar or is that a different issue?

Ahhh, another long post! Just so many questions!...
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help guys!

@Xist: Does the the air/fuel mixture constantly changing mean the RPMs will constantly change, even 4%? I usually shift into neutral, long before the UG. I have no idea if I have DFCO, but I haven't seen the 999.9 number, so I'm guessing I don't have it. I would like to know if accelerating hard or soft is better for my vehicle, but again gauge jumps all over the place, so it is difficult (sometimes only a few MPG jump, sometimes from 30's to mid 100's). I'll look into calibrating it properly tomorrow. I very rarely use the A/C, so at this point it is only vampire energy from the belt, so a 30% increase probably won't happen. Maybe one day, I'll just lose the belt for the A/C, PS, alt, etc. and see where it gets me. I'll try it for a tank and see what happens. I just want to lower GPH, not the actual RPMs of the engine. I would like to do a kill switch, but for an automatic? Wouldn't that be hard on the starter, having to restart the car constantly?
On a side note, when I first joined this site, I had all the time in the world, so I've definitely seen the arguments and I know exactly which buttons to *not* press!
I would think that the speed would vary slightly based on how much power is derived from the mixture, but that is just a guess.

If you have an Ultragauge, you officially have DFCO, but you may never figure out how to engage it. In theory, you just remove your foot from the accelerator. The axle would actually turn the engine, so you would not notice any difference. I believe that the DFCO and OBD-II, which is what your Ultragauge uses, went into effect in 1995, so all 1996-model cars and later should be compatible with both, but again, DFCO depends on the car. I rarely coast in gear long enough. I cannot imagine any "normal" driver coasting for more than a few seconds! It seems like they either have their foot on the accelerator or the brake at all times.

I do not remember the discussion too much, but someone had two gauges and he watched his MPG and percent throttle. He actually figured out that 95% throttle was the most efficient. There was a discussion, I think that it was in http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...eage-7358.html, where someone explained that in order to reach highway speeds, we need access to way more power than we would use most of the time, so then our engines run under-capacity. In that thread they talked about EGR and from what they said, it seemed to help partially in the same way that a warm air intake would--warmer air takes up more space, effectively reducing the size of the engine, and requiring more throttle.

All that I can say is to try accelerating differently and see what your gauge shows you.

Regarding an engine kill switch, will someone please clarify if you can still do that with an automatic? I believe that people usually bump-start the car, which requires a manual transmission, but it just seems like people with automatics do not install kill switches. I have further limitations because I have AWD, so I confuse them sometimes.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Strange, the UltraGauge in my 1996 Grand Am manual shows ~9% throttle at 50 mph.
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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So after a few weeks of owning my UG, calibrating it to the right gas tank size and whatnot, a few fill-ups, etc. I am still having an issue with the display figures. My gas tank is 13.2 gallons and when I reset my fuel tank on the UG it displays 13.2 gallons.

Here's the issue: When I calculate my MPG using the miles driven on my dash display and the gallons used on the gas pump, I average right around 32MPG, but my UG is consistently (like the entire 350+ mile tank) around 40MPG. Because of this, the Miles to Empty is always off along with the AVG. MPG.

Another issue is the 'jumpiness' of the gauges. When I am on CC at 65 (on the dash), the MPH on the UG will usually be 63.4, but sometimes it will jump around to 62.X or up to 64.X. I know it's not a large difference, but what is causing this issue? The same happens for the RPMs as well. Not a large difference, but it is constantly changing, even during idle or cruise. The instant MPG jumps the most, making it difficult for me to determine what speed is the most efficient.

Any ideas on how to fix these little blips? Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff88 View Post

Here's the issue: When I calculate my MPG using the miles driven on my dash display and the gallons used on the gas pump, I average right around 32MPG, but my UG is consistently (like the entire 350+ mile tank) around 40MPG. Because of this, the Miles to Empty is always off along with the AVG. MPG.
Try using multiple tank calibration. Calibrate the gauge as normal at the end of the first tank at the end of the second tank add the gallons used from both tanks and enter, do this for three or four tanks. This should improve the accuracy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff88 View Post
Another issue is the 'jumpiness' of the gauges. When I am on CC at 65 (on the dash), the MPH on the UG will usually be 63.4, but sometimes it will jump around to 62.X or up to 64.X. I know it's not a large difference, but what is causing this issue? The same happens for the RPMs as well. Not a large difference, but it is constantly changing, even during idle or cruise. The instant MPG jumps the most, making it difficult for me to determine what speed is the most efficient.

Any ideas on how to fix these little blips? Thanks!
Cruse control will not hold the car at a steady state speed. The actual speed will rise or slow depending on the road, once the predetermine threshold has been exceed the vehicle will be slowed or speed up to compensate, this is normal. The UG is just showing it, you may not have been able to notice the difference depending on the type of speedometer. If you for example electric to analog it may average the change in speed so the needle remains more constant.


It might be beneficial to post the vehicle specifics to assist others in answering your questions. Good idea to start a garage entry. Sorry if I missed the information.

As for number 6 you want to know the block temperature. Coolant temperature is used as the indication of block temperature, but if you want more information an oil temp gauge would be the way to go.
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When I am cruising at 65 and I put the trans in neutral the UG shoots up to some crazy MPG # like 300. But at lower speeds, the MPG in neutral is lower (like 250, 200, sometimes less than 100 at lower speeds). At first this made sense to me, because I have more momentum from the higher speed, but after thinking about it and verifying today, the engine revs at ~1,000 RPM no matter what speed once I put it in neutral. So my question is why I get higher mileage at higher speed (in neutral) compared to lower mileage at a lower speed (in neutral)?

Thanks!

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