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Old 07-06-2008, 11:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tips for 2001 Honda Odyssey?

Hello again. Besides Lil'Red, we also have a 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan, mostly driven by my wife. Despite my resent MPG success with our Protege, she is dubious that she can gain much FE in the van. She says "I don't usually have time to go slower!" when shuttling kids around town. And she has a point, since getting anywhere on time is a struggle with kids.

Anyhow, has anyone been able to significantly improve their mileage in an Odyssey? What techniques were especially helpful? Does anyone know the FE hit the A/C system takes? (My wife tends to throw on the A/C anytime the inside temperature is elevated from being parked in the sun, even if the ambient temperature is comfortable). I'm not saying my wife is stubborn , but she might be more willing to try some different driving techniques if real-world data shows a big payback.

Most of the van trips are short (5 to 15 mile round-trips) and mostly on surface streets < 50 mph.

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Old 07-07-2008, 09:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Truck - '02 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Sport
90 day: 15.15 mpg (US)

The Van 2 - '06 Honda Odyssey EX
90 day: 22.63 mpg (US)

GoKart - '14 Hyundai Elantra GT base 6MT
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We have a 2000 Odyssey that my wife typically drives and since she doesn't record her fillups I have a hard time tracking it's actual mileage. All I know is that it got about 19 two fills ago, and about 6 months ago it was doing between 17-18.5 when I filled it. I gave her a hard time about doing worse in it than I do in my truck so I think she started paying attention to how she drives.

Our particular van has a strange accelerator that is very stiff and requires high initial force to depress, often leading to greater than intended initial acceleration. This is hard to get used to and kills fuel economy since it tries to keep 1st past 3500 rpm. I think this is peculiar to our van as neither my parents' 99 or their 2003(4? last of the previous style) do this. I attribute it to my grandfather's inner-city driving style of PWM accelerating to maintain an average speed just wearing out the accelerator bushings (van was my grandparent's since new, I inherited it).

Gotta keep the engine at or below 2k rpms. This is hard since the torque converter seems to stall around 1800 or so. Keeping it below 2500 helps but if you can be extra-gentle the lower the better. Try to make sure that you stay out of the hill control mode or whatever Honda calls it where they engine-brake to control descent speed. Tapping the gas momentarily on downhills cancels it and lets the van coast. These vans coast pretty well if the ECU lets it. Oh, and remove your roof rack cross bars. I don't even know where mine are since my dad removed them when the van was new and they weren't in the van when I took possession of it.

I don't know about the A/C loading. We keep ours on full auto thermostat control. In the summer the rear A/C is usually manually set to low, sometimes pumped up when it's extra hot to cool it down quicker and then backed down. It's got a pretty large greenhouse and interior air volume to even think about dealing with minimal A/C in the hot months.
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for starting this thread. I hope we can learn from each other.

Wifeys 02 Ody is averaging about 21. She is very diligent about grouping trips. She goes to town (15 mins away) twice a week and groups as many errands in as possible during the day.

She is always late and trying to make up time wherever possible. Despite this she has accepted me coaching her on hypermile or ecodriving technique. As her spouse I go easy on her and try to find the easy things for her to adopt and practice. She is slowly improving her technique so it is sinking in. Adopting good driving technique is a learning process for us all. Having a coach helps.

As for mods: I switched to 215/65 tires. A little skinnier and just about the same diameter as stock tires. Pressure is 45 psi. If we didn't have a long, steep gravel drive I'd use 50 psi. Fewer punctures and better traction at 45 psi though.

Full grille block except for about 8 sq in under the license plate.

Good tip on the coasting feature, I'll practice tapping the pedal to enable coast consistently. Also, great idea on using 2500 rpm (or less) as a technique. That should be easy for her to practice with.

We have a 1200 mile road trip coming up this weekend, shooting for 28 mpg average.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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MechEngVT & beatr911: Thanks for the suggestions. I had not heard of the "tap to coast" before. How difficult is it to remove the roof rack? Would it leave bolt holes that need to be plugged?

I'm trying to keep the tires at 39 to 40 psi., I kind of want to go higher, but some of the roads around here have bad potholes and cracks with sharp edges.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think he's talking about the horizontal part of the rack. The adjustable part that spans between the two fixed, bolted down rails. Ours doesn't have them iether, bought it used. For removing the rails, don't know. There may be factory plugs available but I haven't looked into it.

Run the tires as hard as you can reasonably stand for the roads in your area. If it gets way too harsh it's better to save your kidneys as well as your suspension. By the way have you replaced your rear shocks yet? Ours are about dead after only 75K miles.
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Richmond, VA
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The Truck - '02 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Sport
90 day: 15.15 mpg (US)

The Van 2 - '06 Honda Odyssey EX
90 day: 22.63 mpg (US)

GoKart - '14 Hyundai Elantra GT base 6MT
90 day: 28.43 mpg (US)
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sohl, I was referring to the cross-bars from the roof rack, not the bars that run along the length of the roof on either side. I haven't removed them and not sure if I ever will get around to looking at it. I'm sure there will likely be some holes to plug which is another reason I may not try.

Honda calls their engine-braking feature Hill Descent Control and it doesn't always engage. You can manually engage it if you're going downhill and use the brake to reduce your speed by a couple MPH, and then release the brake the ECU will use HDC to hold a lower gear in lockup to stop the vehicle from coasting up to a higher speed. You can cancel this by accelerating briefly. I haven't read it, but the owner's manual should describe it in detail. It was one of the geeky features my dad was excited about when they bought their 99 (back when there was a ~6 month waiting list for them).

I find that the HDC only kicks in to stop a downhill coast if you have had to slow down for a vehicle ahead or for a sharp bend in the road. If you lift off the accelerator and crest a hill in a straight line you should freely coast downhill.

beatr911: have any pics of that grille block? What brand tires did you use in the narrower size? Our van still has stock size tires, but they're Michelin...whatever they called their "efficiency" tire before X-radial (MXV4?) I think.

I don't think any of the shocks have been replaced but I've noticed it's a bit roll-happy in the rear on rapid cornering. It sags a little in the rear too but I don't expect that shocks would do anything for it.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm doing an experiment with the tires. We have a good used tire dealer here that sells "inspected" near-new tires for $35 each mounted and balanced. 2 BFG Traction TA, OEM spec tire probably for a GM car, and 2 Delta Vista off-brand generic replacement tire. Especially a year ago, the difference of $35 and well over $100 for a brand new tire would buy alot of gas. These days I'd have to do a cost analysis to see if a new LRR tire would pay off.

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner about the grille block, but we're leaving on our trip tomorrow and time is short (still need to install the EFIE after the softball game tonight).

The upper grille block is black painted white ex-election sign coroplast. Open the hood, remove cover over the radiator, upper grille. Cut to fit and zip tied to the back of the upper grille - looking at it one can hardly tell it is installed.

The lower covers are a little tacky. Same black painted white ex-election sign coroplast cut to fit on the outside of the openings. Attached with zip ties penetrating the covers and looping around the center grill bar. It ends directly underneath the license plate mount, so the only opening is directly under the license plate. Going to hot Calfornia so I may open one side to get more cooling. I really should hook up an LED to indicate fan operation and adjust the opening size so the fan doesn't operate much.
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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MechEngVT: I did it. Removed my van's rack crossbars, that is! Pics here.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a 2001 Honda Odyssey .... and i was wondering is there any way to run the heater without have the air conditioning compressor coming on every time you lower the temp. Its like it is in auto all the time. I'm not sure if it's suppose to be like that or it is just stuck in auto mode. The display say's auto is on every time i turn the heat on. I have noticed i get better gas mileage when i leave the heater off. I think i could get way better gas mileage if it would just work like every other car i have ever owned, i'm not sure why they would want the air conditioning to come on every time i wanted to lower the heat.

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Old 05-09-2011, 12:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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hondas tend to automatically kick on the a/c any time the defroster comes on. are you in a mode where it would be sending air to the windshield?

on elements and cr-vs, there is a hack where you can allow yourself to manually turn off the a/c when using defrost not sure if it exists on odys.

odyclub has some reasonably technical people. maybe you could ask over there, too.

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