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Old 01-26-2010, 09:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Putsaround - '96 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

The Commuter - '07 Trek 1000SL
90 day: 617.28 mpg (US)

Zippy - '91 Honda Civic DX
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It was time for a new ride...now I need ideas

I had been driving the '96 Camry for some time and about 2-3 months ago I had start to feel it was some what lacking in what I wanted to drive as my daily commuter. It was an automatic. The engine was a massive 2.2L i4 that got worse gas millage than a 2010 V6 Camaro even when hypermiling. The suspension was terrible and I just all around hated the thing.

Fast forward to mid December 2009. I was browsing Craigslist for a car in my budget when I stumble across a lady selling a 1991 Honda Civic Dx. I have wanted one of these cars for several years for 2 main reasons. They have potential for incredible gas millage due to weighing right around 2000lbs and they have a tiny, 1.5L i4 gasoline engine and this one had a plus, it was a 5spd, not a 4spd and the engine had just been replaced less than a year ago with one of those 30,000 JDM engines you can buy for a few hundred bucks online. They are also great cars to play around with on the weekends for people like myself who are weekend warrior road racers.

Long story short I managed to pick this thing up for $1300 all told and I have dropped just shy of $800 into it so far with general fix-er-up things and I couldn't be happier.

I was having trouble at first passing emissions. Then one day while I was driving it, the distributer cap ripped itself to shreds and after replacing it, the emissions suddenly were fine, so issue number one was resolved by another issue being corrected which was nice.

Next I replaced the CV half shafts for both driver and passenger sides. I replaced the ricer intake that was on it with an OEM box I picked up at pull-a-part. While I was there I also picked up a few other things I needed. I got myself a new gauge cluster with a tachometer on it. I picked up 2 slightly worn, but not destroyed, '97 Integra front seats (stock seats were terribly destroyed). Found new hatch struts to hold up the trunk as well as a few other random odds and ends I was missing.

There are still more things to be done and it's slowly coming together but after sorting out most of the major mechanical issues I've posted my first tank of gas to the log here and I clocked in at right around 36mpg which is is about 5mpg above the EPA est. for highway driving but was only about 40% highway at most.

So here's the big question...without changing anything huge externally, I would like to keep it as clean and stock looking as possible (IE not major aero mods). What kind of things would you all suggest I start doing to improve MPG. Obviously I know the nut behind the wheel is the first thing, I'm working on that, I'm still kind of new to driving a stick, I have enough experience to know the basics, but I'm still not as smooth as I would like to be. I'm talking mechanical things I can do, engine, transmission, weight, etc.

I'm planning on purchasing an mpguino as soon as funds allow because the ironic part in all of this is my parents got me a scan gauge for xmas and now I can't use it since I just got rid of the camry and will need some kind of instrumentation.

And here are some pictures for everyone to enjoy.






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Old 01-26-2010, 09:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
Last 3: 27.29 mpg (US)

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Nice car. If I didn't already have a lifetime supply of cars I'd look for something like that.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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86 Accord LX (carb) - '86 Honda Accord LX
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this week, i just turned down a nice $1000 crx. ):
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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oldscoob - '87 subaru wagon gl/dr
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Quote:
I was having trouble at first passing emissions. Then one day while I was driving it, the distributer cap ripped itself to shreds and after replacing it, the emissions suddenly were fine, so issue number one was resolved by another issue being corrected which was nice.
fire proper is everything. Keep the egr, keep the resonator, hack the exhaust off..it will still pass emmissions. Hurt the fire? no good.

I do not like the FWD inlines, but between the geo and the dx...I would try it. local only, like a go cart to the store. no hot rod statements with fart cans necessary.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Putsaround - '96 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

The Commuter - '07 Trek 1000SL
90 day: 617.28 mpg (US)

Zippy - '91 Honda Civic DX
90 day: 33.29 mpg (US)
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So...maybe it's not quite ready to hyper mile a whole lot yet...

Was driving it yesterday and the alternator died on me while I was on the freeway, made it to within 5 miles of my house when it quit accelerating on me.

Project for the weekend, install new alternator (I know you guys would use this as an opportunity to do an alternator delete, but I just can't function without one.

I also can't remember if I meantioned this but I've already done an A/C delete on the car which has helped quite a bit on removing engine load.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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OK here's what I'd do to improve your mileage.
Run synthetic oil in the engine & trans.
Keep the tires at or slightly above max pressure.
Get a good eng. block heater.
Make sure your t-stat is working good, I run a Canadian spec 205* in my S-10 year round, but I live in Wi.
Remove any wieght that is practical, If you dont use the rear seat ever, remove it. Spare tire & jack? Thats your call.
Are there any parts from the CRX HF that you can use? I thought they had taller gearing, lighter brake rotors, & plastic fenders.
I alway thought about the cv axles as being very heavy, are they solid? If not I wonder if you cound have them machined down.
Might be a good idea to put a alternator kill switch & volt meter too.
Instuments that will help you figure out if your on the right track, at least a vacuum gauge. Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Putsaround - '96 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

The Commuter - '07 Trek 1000SL
90 day: 617.28 mpg (US)

Zippy - '91 Honda Civic DX
90 day: 33.29 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
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ex-x-fire, thanks for the suggestions.

Going on my experience from hypermiling my last car I have already bumped the tire pressure up to 40psi, this seems to be a good point as the sidewall max is 44psi, during normal driving they heat up about enough to hit that number.

I'm getting the MPGuino pre-built as soon as I have some $$ to throw around in gauges, right now it's getting sunk into the mechanical bits.

T-stat is good, that was the first thing I replaced when I got the car. Replaced while diagnosing a rough idle issue.

I just changed the oil. Went from a non-synthetic 10w-30 to a full synthetic 5w-30 which should help out a bit, I'll have to keep an eye on engine temps though as summer comes along.

Engine block heater is not practical where I live, it is only cold enough to snow maybe 1-2 months out of the year. (happened to be when I took the pictures above...)

One of the things I will be doing is removing the rear seat eventually, but right now I need to keep it as it is required for my current weekend racing series class.

As for the HF parts, unfortunatly, unless I swap to the motor from the HF, the answer is no, I don't think so...The motor in it right now is a 95HP D15B2. I plan on doing a few mods to it once I know it's running well at all stock specs including wrapping the header pipes to try to keep the heat in the gases to get a little more power without changing anything that will effect the gas millage and also adjusting the timing a bit to make it burn a bit leaner.

I have also heard that in my engine, since it's only got one O2 sensor, you can wire up something to trick the ECU into thinking you're running rich and lean out the fuel mixture via the computer as well which I will be looking into.

On the side of spending lots of money also, I found a site that makes carbon fiber hoods, doors, trunks and ROOF PANS for my car...overall to install it would be somewhere around $2000 but it would drop my car's weight significantly since the only body panels that would remain metal would be the main frame of the vehicle...but it's unlikely I will do that any time in the foreseeable future...
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Spunky - '90 Honda Civic CX
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Just guessing here but are those 14 inch wheels & tires? They look wide to me too, like a 195 or something, but maybe I am just seeing things. If they are you could find some cheap 13 inch steelies and 175/70/13s, which is what a DX would have come with. There is a difference in my DX when I run my snow tires which are 185/70/13s, so if you have big heavy 14 inch steelies and wider tires they are effecting your FE for sure. I wanted to downsize my car to a 155/80/13 but my tires are still in good shape for now, but it will be the next thing I try out. Nice Civic btw.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Tank - '76 Chevy El Camino Classic
90 day: 25.89 mpg (US)

Sabrina - '91 Mercedes Benz 190 E
90 day: 37.07 mpg (US)

Angel - '88 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL
Last 3: 23.01 mpg (US)

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Love the car man would look great with some tint
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(No actual EPA numbers for car just used F/E numbers when i first got it)
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
Bicycle Junky
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 464

Putsaround - '96 Toyota Camry LE
90 day: 32.74 mpg (US)

The Commuter - '07 Trek 1000SL
90 day: 617.28 mpg (US)

Zippy - '91 Honda Civic DX
90 day: 33.29 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Thanks for the suggestion War Wagon. they are 185/60/14 tires. I'm going to live with these for now. I'm going to be getting some 15" wheels for it soon. I'm getting some light weight ones though that will more than make up for their size. The ones I'm looking at now are 12lbs per wheel which is just as light, if not lighter than the steelies you were suggesting. The only down side is that I will be getting 205/50/15 tires for them because they're going to be the wheels/tires I mainly use when I'm at the track. I was thinking about re-purposing the steelies for FE wheels though. Using the 14" wheels to put on some 155/60/14 wheels (if they exist, or something close) with the LRR compound for use when I'm doing long highway trips or trying to do an FE competition or something. I also have a set of aluminum pie dishes that I got for my Camry that I can put on them as smooth wheels caps to improve even further.

Domman56, thanks man, I really love it. You're going to love it when I'm finish with the appearance stuff. It's going to be a good bit lower than it is now and have some real nice wheels. Window tint is one of the things down at the bottom of the list along with new carpet, but it's on the list of to-dos for sure.

Right now I've being working on PnG and DWL a lot because my commute is about a 50/50 split with highway and city driving. One of the things I want to try to do though is easily removable rear wheel skirts so I can still take it to car shows and keep the stock look but for long highway stints I can get the FE gain of the covers.

When I lower the car with the new suspension system I'm ordering with part of my tax return, I'll also be getting an volvo front lip at pull-a-part for it to help drop the front end even closer to the ground which will help the aero on the highway just a little bit.

When it's done it should look similar to this in the front

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