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Old 06-05-2008, 11:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Yikes! I've become a fuel saving nerd!

Ok, so becoming a fuel saving nerd just sort of happened out of necessity... just don't tell any of my racing buddies

I just wound up with a 70 mile one-way daily commute (don't ask, but yes, there's a woman involved ) Increased fuel prices promted me to make some choices... so buy a Metro I did!

I have been tinkering with cars since I was 12, helping my neighbor transform a couple of VW's into fiberglass dune buggies. For me, first it was mini-bikes and motorcycles (first drag race at age 16 on my Kawasaki 400cc 2-stroke streetbike at age 16) then building a 327cu in V8 powered Vega project that I drove to high school and part of college. As you can see, I'm a bit of a gearhead.

One of my first cool jobs (early 1980's) was to get this hybrid car to work under inventor extraordiaire William Brobeck in Berkeley, CA. side note: for the EV guys here, Bill also founded Pacific Motor Controller PMC, with Steve Post. Anyhow, although not a financial or social sucess, Bill's creation was way, WAY ahead of it's time, and I was proud to be a small part of it... but that's another story in and of itself.

I've raced bicycles, sprint karts, then went back to drag racing in '96 with some VW friends of mine. In fact, I later founded the NASA VW Drag Racing Series that I ran for 7 years at Sacramento Raceway (fun times). I built a couple vw powered drag cars, one of which won it's class at the famed Grand National Roadster show and was later featured on the cover of hotVW's magazine, kind of a big deal if your a VW guy. When not running my own car, running the series, or spending time with my family, I crewed on an NHRA top alcohol dragster team, the same team's injected nitro dragster, even crewed on a Top Fuel Dragster at a national event in 2004.

I've stepped back from all of that, parked the racecar (for now at least), gave up racing and running the NASA VW series (a good friend is running it today), and all but stopped working on other people's cars to focus on some other things.

So, beside working in the laser optics field for a living, I am sort of taking a 'life's time out'. Ummmm.... well I am already tinkering on the new GEO Metro

my car: '96 2 door HB, 3-cyl 5spd, 83k miles, California car in fair/good shape. It needs a CV joint and front brakes, but other than that she's not bad. I have been reading a lot about these little fuel mizers and am really intrigued. Can I get to 50mpg average over 52/week/year while commuting through the SF Bay area? I think so... but I'll need the help of some very experienced guys on this and other like forums to succeed

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Old 06-06-2008, 12:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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yarii - '07 Toyota Yaris 4dr (auto)
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Welcome to ecomodder!

Metro right on! you'll be gettin an easy 50 in no time
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to ecomodder! I'm most interested in the bike racing...does that make me a bad admin?
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Those 3cyl Metros get 50 out of the box. You should aim higher than that. Check the EM Garage and see what other ppl are getting and try to beat 'em.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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maybe the 50mpg bar is easy to hit for some of you, but 3 tanks of fuel after my purchase, I'm not there yet. I'm averaging 45mpg, all freeway driving, Livermore to Paso Robles and back at about 75 deg F and 65-70 mph.

Let's see... new air filter, cap, rotor, platinum plugs, O2 sensor... check. 40psi in the tires, check. Compression 210, 200, 210 within the magic 5%, check. I'm doing the front axle/cv joint and brakes tomorrow, then back to chasing mpg. Timing? TB pre heat hose?
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Try going 55-60 instead of 65-70

Welcome aboard!
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yea, those little metros aren't exactly designed to go that fast, last I checked the speedo topped a whopping 80mph at the far right side, so 70 is pushing that little bugger kind of hard. The best part, however, of owning such a small (excuse the term) "junkie" looking car, is that most people will excuse you for going 55mph in the right lane because they're like "awww, poor guy, his car is trying so hard just to do that" when in reality, it can do better, you just want to save gas .

But anyway, enough rambling, welcome to the site, look forward to seeing your improvements.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When I had my 97 3-cyl, I didn't see mpg numbers in the 50s until I had the timing dialed in (about 4-6 degrees advanced from stock) and I replaced the stock ignition coil, but I think my stock one was duff to begin with. Also check your alignment and tire condition.. I gained a few mpg back after an alignment in mine, my toe was out. If you really want to wring the miles out of it, drop some of the weight, the rear seat comes right out as well as the plastic side panels and particle board, and I found that made a noticeable difference. Replacing them with a light flat panel also increased the utility of the car for me. I also got mileage benefits from 1.5" drop Intrax springs, newer LRR tires, and underdrive pulleys. Add a grill block and side skirts and I bet you'll work your way towards 70mpg. Two hints from a former Metro owner and fan.. If it pops out of 5th, sometimes its not transmission wear, there is an adjustment that can be made. The other tip is to be careful if you switch to synthetic oil, my car was one of those rare but real cases where the synth, even after a few flushes, loosened sludge, clogged a journal, and starved a main bearing. I also broke the steering rack from pushing the car too hard (Intrax springs+Swift GT sway bar upgrades+all poly bushings+bilstein struts=highly efficient go-kart!) so be nice to it and remember to thank CAMI for all the extra cash in your pocket not spent on gas!
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That's quite an intro - lots of back stories. Hope you'll share some of them... (I'd love to hear about the hybrid project.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by metromizer View Post
I'm averaging 45mpg, all freeway driving, Livermore to Paso Robles and back at about 75 deg F and 65-70 mph.
Despite their reputation, these cars aren't as easy to exceed the EPA ratings as some others. Particularly at what the average person considers "normal" highway speeds.

Have you seen this yet?



http://metrompg.com/posts/speed-vs-mpg.htm

Look at that... about 45 mpg @ 65 mph (But that was plotted in cooler temperatures - you can squeeze out a little bit better at 75F)

I'm sure you've seen the driving tips by now (got a ScanGauge yet?). A bit more timing advance would be good, and since you're primarily highway driving, you definitely want to check out the aero forum. A partial grille block is mod #1 there.

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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A little pulse and glide (see the 100+ hypermiling tips) will have you above 50 in no time. Although slowing down would really help out. Good luck with the Metro, its one heck of a fuel miser.

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