improving efficiency of your existing car?

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  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    matt,
    sometimes the conservation efforts you go through aren't worth it. if you are holding up traffic on a highway so that you could stay in and about that 35-45mph sweet spot then you may find yourself on the receiving end of some road rage. i even went so far in my efforts about 30yrs ago that i would bring my car up in speed some prior to going up a hill in the area as i figure it could save me a bit of gas. it cost me a ticket for speeding as the cop was sitting concealed at the very beginning of the hill.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?
    niel wrote:
    if you only put 2000 miles on it per year they want you to change the oil. I've heard elsewhere that no matter what you use that it should be twice per year, once before winter and once before summer. who knows, but it should do better for you.

    Greetings all. The problem with only putting on 2000 miles a year is (most likely?) they are short trips where the vehicle doesn't fully heat up long enough to burn off the condensation that develops in the oil/pan/other internal parts on cool or cold days.  The water in the oil degrades it.  Of course a few longer trips that heat it up good would help take care of that.  Those that use their vehicles more often have the problem of the oil breaking down which is where the synthetic comes in nicely.
    Tim
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    If your car has a Mass Air Flow (MAF) meter, it might help to clean the element on it. If it's dirty, it can cause the computer to miscalculate the Air/Fuel ratio (rich) and cause you to waste fuel. This is more of an issue during acceleration, when your car is out of closed-loop mode (where it relies on the oxygen sensor for feedback).

    Also, make sure your coolant is not low. When it gets too low, the coolant temperature sensor can get a false reading, which may also cause the engine to run rich.

    And if the Check Engine light ever comes on while driving, don't ignore it. The codes will tell you what is wrong, for the most part, and anything that causes this light will almost certainly affect mileage. Learn to pull the codes yourself, or take it to a mechanic.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    Here's what my neighbour is doing to help his mileage.
    Somewhere, he came up with plans for an oxygen/hydrogen generator, which produces the gasses through electrolysis, using electricity from the car's alternator, then feeding the explosive mixture into the engine air intake. He's quite taken with the whole idea, as the seller of the plans promises BIG improvements in mileage.
    It consists of a 2' piece of 4" ABS pipe, capped on both ends, with a "T" in the middle to collect and take off the gasses, mixed together in one hose. Inside, will be two coils of stainless steel screening, one inside the other and most of the time, not touching. One screen will be connected to the battery positive, the other to ground and the whole device filled with battery acid.
    I don't think he has it operational yet, as I haven't heard of the local Fire Department being called out lately and he's still not in the Hospital.
    So there you have it.
    Cheers for now. By the way, this is NOT a joke, but indeed a TRUE story. I just looked at what he was building and listened to him, saying nothing, as it was obvious he had seen the face of God.
    Wayne
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    Praise be! :-D Thatnks for helping me start my day with a real REAL good laugh :)
    I just looked at what he was building and listened to him, saying nothing, as it was obvious he had seen the face of God.
    Wayne
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    WOW! Although separating out hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis is about 40% efficient (comapre that to 90+% for lead acid batteries). So any power that he uses to separate them out takes at least twice that from the battery and assuming the alternator is about 60% efficient it is now consuming 4 times the added power from burning the gasses in the first place. {Shaking head}
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?
    Brock wrote:
    I did get a trip computer
    http://www.scangauge.com/ (works on any OBD2 vehicle)
    last summer and it has helped me know what is good and bad, almost fun to see how high I can get a trip to or from work. 

    That ScanGauge is an excellent investment for anyone who has a fairly recent vehicle and "who cares" about economy. Though we all should maintain our vehicles, the best gain is made by daily driving. I purchased a 2003 Toyota Corolla new and dumped the oil at 3k for synthetic Amsoil 5w30. My mileage went up significantly just doing that. I use the Amsoil filter exclusively, and have changed it every 10k miles since. Oil is changed at 20k miles, or every other filter change. My best mileage doing just that was around 40. I got a ScanGauge early this year and have taken advantage of some driving techniques. The mileage is now averaging in the mid 40's.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    im using the mobile 1 and just put in my second filling at 3000 miles. i read somewhere (mobile site, or here??) that when you switch you should do your 1st oil change after only 3-4k miles due to particulates and leftover oil still mixing in. i did that and i am quite sure ive noticed an improvement in mileage after this 2ND change, might also have been in combination with the pressure adjustment. i am making a 30 mile trip tomorrow i can measure with tomorrow . i finally figured out that my mileage meter in the car (used audi) actually shows average mpg/mph/speed AS WELL AS the current real time values. this, as people point out, has really helped my driving habits. i seem to be able to get about 30-35mpg highway (carefully watching my habits) on this small wagon, which is good as its a heavy piece of metal.
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    Matt which one is it? My VW wagon is the same body as the Audi A4, I bet yours is an A5?

    For the record my last tank was 60.03 mpg, I would also recommend synthetic oil and keeping the tires up to or above recommended pressure listed on the car, but not above the max listed on the tire.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    02' a4 its got the quattro (all wheel drive) which i am sure makes the mileage suck. too bad cant turn it off.
    yea i gotta get a little air compressor so i can stay on top of tire pressure a little better.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    I noticed that Costco was selling soybean oil for $3/gal and the gas stations were selling diesel fuel for $3.30/gal.

    It looks like biodiesel should be a viable alternative now. Where is it?
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    Ya we can get it here in Wisconsin for about $2.50 while diesel is stil hovering around $3.00 I run at least B5 or 5% bio diesel, typically it is soy around here. My last couple of tanks each ahd 5 gallons of soy mixed in so I ahve been running about 25% bio diesel.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?
    It looks like biodiesel should be a viable alternative now. Where is it?

    It's alive and well in Las Vegas. The CAT buses (Clark County Area Transit) gets
    waste cooking oil from the casino's for free and converts it to run in the buses,
    even after paying for the equipment to convert it, it is rumored to only be costing
    the city 38 cents a gallon to make. And yes it smells like french fries when your
    at the bus stop.

    brad





  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    I don't know if this has been brought up yet, forgive me if I'm repeating a previous post, but there is a kit for burning straight veggie oil.

    It has a tank with heating coils in it to thin the veggie oil.

    You start on petroleum diesel and switch to bean oil when it heats up. Then before shutting down you switch back to your diesel fuel tank and run awhile to clean the veggie oil out of your fuel lines and injector pump.

    Too bad that in California the only diesels you can buy are the huge ones in 3/4 ton and larger pickups. I don't think their mpg is much better than the gas engines.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,697 admin
    Re: improving efficiency of your existing car?

    The reasons diesel cars are not sold in California is because they are currently something like 10-30x dirtier than current gasoline powered cars. The newer engines are supposed to be cleaner and with low sulphur diesel fuel, they are supposed to be able to use particle traps to catch the small black smoke particles that diesels tend to emit.

    From another site, I have read that one guy with a big 3/4 or 1 ton pickup style truck (loaded with tools for work) gets something like 18-20 mph--not bad.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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