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Old 09-07-2012, 02:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rusty - '88 Chevrolet S10 base
90 day: 23.72 mpg (US)

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Time for a change!

Hi everyone, like most people joining this forum I have been a longtime lurker for quite a while but I decided enough is enough and I need to get involved. I am going to start with my back story so sit back relax and grab some popcorn cause this might take a minute....

My story starts with my old S10 which up until about a year and a half ago was my daily driver. I drove that truck as my Daily driver for about 5 years and I'll be honest back them I knew much less about aerodynamics and driving efficiently but I did have some style! So I modified my truck for looks and despite the fact that I didn't know it I was also drastically improving its aero. With that truck I lowered it installed smaller mirrors a tonneau cover a different grill and headlights, different hood etc... which with all of that added up and my odd driving style it netted me an average of about 27 ~28 mpg per tank and that is with a good mix of city, highway and heavy stop and go traffic. When on longer road trips even while traveling at a less than ideal 70+ mph I would still usually get around 30~31 mpg. Oh and the EPA numbers for that truck were 20 city 26 highway and 22 combined.

Long story short I frickin loved that truck... and then it died. It languished in my garage for almost a year before I finally accepted the fact that I was not going to be able to repair it because of time/budgetary reasons. So I stripped off all the good stuff and sold it really cheap "as-is" and started daily driving our "extra" car the Bravada...

My Bravada which some of you might now is closely related to an S10. It is basically an upscale version of a Chevy S10 Blazer. Leather interior, power everything, heated seats and mirrors, sunroof, AWD (which was unique to the Bravada), and so on. Needless to say it is a luxury truck. This truck was originally bought for my wife when we had our first child... mainly because his car seat and stroller and assorted baby gear would not fit into her old Accord. The stroller we bought literally did not fit inside the car in any way shape or form. Yes we could have gotten a smaller stroller but my wife at the time really really wanted an SUV. Personally I really really wanted to keep the Accord which to this day it is still the best car I have ever owned... But I digress. That is an argument for another day and fairly similar to the one we had when she wanted to get a Minivan...

But anyway, when we bought that truck I was foolish enough that I did not research it's fuel economy at all, I figured "hey it's a fairly small SUV it can't be that bad can it." And honestly since it was originally my wife's ride I didn't have any idea just how bad it was until I started driving it every day. My wife didn't track her mileage or fuel usage and since at the time she worked much closer to home it was not really a big deal. Then as I briefly alluded to earlier earlier we did end up buying a minivan when we were expecting our second child. So at that point the Bravada was just an "extra" vehicle that we had for inclimate weather (thank you AWD) or when I wanted to take the family somewhere and not drive the Van. After a few month of the Bravada just sitting around I tried to sell it for about a month and almost succeeded a couple of times but then the S10 broke down.

Which brings me full circle to where I am now. Driving this absolute pig of a truck around 30 miles a day round trip. I have been driving it daily for about a year and a half now and initially my average fuel mileage was around 14mpg which for something so small with a v6 is just abysmal. I have made a few minor changes to the truck and to my driving style and currently I am able to squeeze an average of about 15.5mpg out of it now. But I am done with this truck. I mean I have no doubt in my mind that I could probably do some more aero mods and other stuff and maybe drastically improve the mileage to oh I don't know 18mpg. But the time, effort, cost etc are just not worth it to me. Regardless of what I do to it, it is still going to be a 4,400lb awd gas sucking pig. So I got another S10. unfortunately (or possibly fortunately time will tell) I could not afford another newer 2nd generation S10 and ended up buying a fairly well worn out 1988 s10. But the thing I love about this truck is that it is bare bones, a clean slate if you will, which also means that it is light... like crazy light compared to other S10s. It is a 2.5L 4 cyl with a 5 speed. From the factory it had no A/C, no power steering, no power locks, no power windows, no power brakes, no radio, no speakers, no cig lighter, etc... It is by definition a stripper model. It has everything it needs to drive, be street legal, be a truck, plus a heater, and pretty much nothing else.

I have not started commuting with this truck yet and it has been mainly use for basic work truck tasks like hauling stuff to the dump, moving furniture, and rusting slowly in the driveway. Mainly this is because 1) it doesn't have a/c and it gets hot and humid as crap here in the summer and 2) I need to have a state inspection done before I can get a base sticker and start driving it to work. For what it's worth it came with a valid state inspection sticker when I bought and was therefore legal to drive but it did not come with the supporting paperwork that I am required to show to receive a base sticker. Well now that the old inspection has expired and the weather has started to cool down I am going to go ahead and get the inspection done so I can start driving it and saving some gas.

My plan is to drive it for a while to get a good baseline mpg and sell the Bravada... I may have skipped a step in there, but I am really tired of this Bravada. But once I get a good baseline mpg for the truck I am going to go ahead and start doing some more mods in the hopes of reaching at least a 30mpg average. I say more because I'm not going to lie I have already done quite a bit to this truck. Once again it was all mainly done in the name of style but some of it should be applicable to improving fuel efficiency , adding a tonneau, lowering it taller tires and so forth. What I will do to the truck in the future I have no idea. But any time I mod something on any of my cars I never make it permanent I always like having the option to restore my cars back to stock. So while I am not against doing some more advanced aero modding I am not going to be doing anything that would require extensive bodywork to remove... like installing dozens of self drilling screws in the sheet metal.. just as an example. Honestly one of the things that I have already considered doing is an aero shell. I already have a hard flat tonneau cover but I could definitely deal with an aero shell. But honestly I want to try and keep the aero mods to a minimum though. I know they help exponentially more, the more you drive at high speeds and honestly probably less than 30% of my daily commutes are driven at those speeds. So I feel that the ROI would be fairly small. Now if I was driving more like 100+ miles a day with more than 70% interstate driving I would probably be outside measuring my truck for a boat tail right now.

In any case I am here to learn and mod and get more involved. And if you actually managed to read all of that God bless you. If not I'll sum it up...

TL;DR I used to have an S10 that got fairly decent gas mileage with little effort until it broke down. Now I am driving a Bravada that gets awful gas mileage but I plan on switching back to another s10.. and older, lighter, squarer S10 and once again trying to get good fuel economy.. but hopefully even better than the previous truck, even if it takes some effort this time.

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Old 09-07-2012, 02:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Rusty - '88 Chevrolet S10 base
90 day: 23.72 mpg (US)

Doc - '08 Honda Civic EX-L
90 day: 29.6 mpg (US)
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Oh and for anyone who is curious here is my old S10 when I first bought it. Just ignore the tonneau cover and LED taillights which were the first things that I installed on it, I just don't have any older pictures.


Another before picture, sorry neither are great but they are the only ones I have of it. Oh and I only had that camper for like a month. it was just too heavy.


And here is how it looked right before it broke down on me.


Here is the Bravada stock...


And how it looks today


My "new" S10
When I bought it...


and today...
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very nice write up - thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure you'll do well with the S-10.

I'd say, start with the basics. You probably already fixed any basic issues like tuneup, brakes, tires etc. Then under the EcoModding Central subforum see the sticky thread "Master list of 65+ proven mods" and take your pick.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Rusty - '88 Chevrolet S10 base
90 day: 23.72 mpg (US)

Doc - '08 Honda Civic EX-L
90 day: 29.6 mpg (US)
Thanks: 4
Thanked 14 Times in 11 Posts
Bruce thanks for the warm welcome. Yes I have already done a lot of basic maintence items on the truck to get it running a little more efficently. I just went and looked at the list that you reccomended and it seems that quite a few of the things are ones that I was already planning on doing or are already done.

Including planning on:

Installing a Vacuum gauge
Removing the passenger side mirror
Removing and shaving the antennas. I assume at some point in the past the truck had a radio and a CB but currently it has neither.
installing an electric fan
Installing engine kill and start switches

And already I have going for me:

No AC
No power steering
Lowered suspension
Tonneau cover
Manual transmission
Weight reduction - In a sense it weighs about 700lbs less than my old S10. Around 2600lbs Vs 3300lbs

But like I said before I start changing too much around I want to first drive it for a while as is to get a good baseline mpg average. But I might still go ahead and install some gauges in the near future like coolant temp, vac, and a tach since it does not have any of those from the factory... and maybe a radio. It gets pretty boring in there on long drives.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Has it got fuel injection - throttle body?

I'd strongly recommend getting a digital MPG display. A MPGuino would work if you've got FI.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry I have a real short attention span, so I skipped to the pics. But always glad to see someone that appreciates stance in a vehicle for appearance as well as aero. If it's too low you're too old ha ha. The black S10 looks super clean, I like the Bravada grill update on it. And I dig old boxy S10s too. Welcome!
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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War_Wagon: Yeah I loved that Black S10 but unofrtunately that is the one that died on me and I ended up letting it go. But yeah you got to have a little style with your ride. Like the Bravada most of the changes are so subtle I doubt most people would realize that it's not stock. And the little 88 S10 is just a work/beater truck that I picked up for $600 but that doesn't mean I can't make it look a little nicer.

Metro: I would love to get some kind of fuel mileage display for the truck, and yes it is fuel injected, but the speedo is cable driven so I have no idea how I would be able to set something like that up or if it is even possible. I was really spoiled with my other trucks Both were OBDII so all I had to do was plug in my Bluetooth adapter and fire up Torque Pro. Shoot the Bravada even has a built in Trip/Instant MPG display. The 88 doesn't even have a resettable trip mileage counter. But for now I guess I will just have to track miles and gallons the old fashoned way.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

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90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow_s10 View Post
Metro: I would love to get some kind of fuel mileage display for the truck, and yes it is fuel injected, but the speedo is cable driven so I have no idea how I would be able to set something like that up
The good news is you can mount a magnet & pickup on the driveshaft. It's been done - check the MPGuino subforum. MPG feedback is within your grasp!
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Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
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Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown



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www.MetroMPG.com - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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90 day: 23.72 mpg (US)

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Thanks: 4
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Sweet! I was actually just looking at the MPGuino subforum and I saw a couple of methods of adding in the VSS signal. I am definitely going to keep looking into this. I'm glad to know that it is definitely possible, it's just going to take a little elbow grease to get it done.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Rusty - '88 Chevrolet S10 base
90 day: 23.72 mpg (US)

Doc - '08 Honda Civic EX-L
90 day: 29.6 mpg (US)
Thanks: 4
Thanked 14 Times in 11 Posts
Well shoot. I was reading up some more on the MPGuino and apparently the type of injector that my truck uses is going to make it even more difficult to install one of these. I'm not counting out ever getting one, but this is a project that is probably not going to happen for a while.

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