1999 Ford Escort ZX2 AT 4 & Commute

Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by EspElement, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Dear all,

    I am new to these forums and the idea of hypermiling. I am so excited about it and did a little test run this morning. The details of this forum told me to post my commute to help with techniques and what not to save! I feel a fun hobby coming along!

    I have a 1999 Ford Escort ZX2 AT 4 which is the car I will be driving to work to wear it down (its not in the best shape but is why I want to put work miles on it). I just purchased my Scanguage II from the site here and it is on its way.

    I wanted to make sure of a few things. One is my AT okay to FAS with? I will also be airing my tires up soon to reduce rolling friction. Any other tips to start?

    My commute is from St. Charles MO at the 94/364 interchange to Olive Blvd and 170. I attached a link to a photo of this from Google Maps.


    There is some good size hills after the 364 bridge, just before Bennington on 364, Just before 364 turns into page, the exit ramp onto Lindbergh, I can also do some coasting on Olive if you guys advise (45-35 mph).

    Is there a place I can go to get grades and hills of roads to determine a possible better commute?

    Thanks for all your help. I can't wait to get going with this!
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    St Louis has no shortage of hills , as I recall. They can help you , and they can damage you.

    If you have the owner's manual for your car, it should tell you if the3 car is "flat-towable". They may have speed and distance limits for towing in neutral with wheels rolling.

    I choose not to do EOC ( engine-off-coasting) with my automatic , but some other folks here have had very good results doing so. Look at what Wayne Gerdes did with his 2005 Accord automatic.
  3. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Looking at the manual it does confirm I am not allowed to flat tow. Question is it is a little different because I am not towing for long at all (1-2 miles?). So if it was okay to do so they wouldn't tell you because it wouldn't make sense to tow it that long unless you are doing a FAS. Its just the risk you take without knowing what the implications are I suppose. I have stopped doing it right now I just glide in idle.

    Waiting for my Scangauge!! I have been doing well keeping it under 2k RPM if possible. Got the tires up to 40 PSI. You think this is enough? They are rated for 44 PSI.

    We had snow today so I had to run some of the heat to clear the windows. Do you think a little radio will hurt? Someone suggested it being off however I believe this is mostly the case if you are FASing with the AT. You agree?

    Thanks for your reply!
  4. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    The radio affects my concentration.

    I run my tires at sidewall (44 psi ) in summer , maybe about 4-5 psi less in snow.
  5. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    I set my Prius 44 psi max tires at 44 to 60 depending on who's driving it. Cannot recommend you exceed 44. The ride gets harsher as you go up, and the mpg returns diminish. Just find your preferred trade-off. If your streets/roads are bad, 40 may be it. But when driving slower than most, I like higher psi.

    Radio is fine if engine is on.
  6. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    ETM - I can see what you mean by concentration. This stuff requires all your attention to do it right.

    kss - Thanks again you have been commenting on a lot of my posts. I appreciate the suggestions and help.

    Would hills be better if you could FAS? Or does it tend to wash out? Should I try to take less hilly ways since I am only able to put in neutral with ignition on. (is there an acronym for this?)
  7. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    NICE-ON (Neutral, ICE ON)

    Hills like yours bring DWL into play. Let your speed lag on climbs keeping constant throttle/load, recovering speed on descents via same throttle (or gravity if steep enough).

    FAS would bury NICE-ON, but you can only do what your car allows.
  8. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Yes yes I will need to continue to work on DWL. I will get my scangauge soon which should assist me with this holding MPG constant on the hills (iFCD). Is this correct?
  9. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    EspElement, I had very good luck using DWL ( Driving With Load) on a 3600 miles trip.

    This was before I had a Scangauge , so I just cruised at 65-70 on all the flats , then let the speed sag down to 65, 62 , even 55 on the bigger hills. Doing this gave me a 45MPG average for the entire trip.

    Always try to USE gravity , not FIGHT it.
  10. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Wow. That's great. Trying to stay under 2k RPM I can hardly get up to 60MPH up hills... Haha

    I also was curious if the rear spoiler was hurting me as well... What implications would there be if I removed it? Handling?

    Thanks guys!!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  11. lxmike

    lxmike Well-Known Member

    Esp: I have the same exact car!

    I used to do EOC and was hitting almost 45 mpg mpg around town. I stopped and a good number for me is 37-39 range depending on weather. I only commute 5 miles so not much time/distance to do much. I keep my tires aired at more than 44 psi but i also am the other one that drives this car and RARELY have anyone inside.

    The trans is a 4 speed auto with lockup torque converter and It locks up at 42 mph. you don't feel it like a shift but you see your rpm's drop. :D I can usualy bleed it off to about 38 but if you take your foot of the gas or touch the brake it unlocks and rpm's jump up.

    I do alot of coasting In N. when going back into gear don't touch the gas till you see the rpms settle. sometime the trans doesn't find the right gear and it feel like engine braking.

    what is the speed limit where you commute?? How steep are those hills. if there not very steep then you can make up the speed you lost climbing them. If the are steep the keep trans in gear and foot off gas and you will get fuel cut engine sound will change and scanguage will show 9999 :D :D

    I'd most likely suggest when you get your scanguage to drive as you normaly do at first and see what you get then pick a technique and work on it and watch your results.
  12. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Ixmike - Thank you so much for your reply. I have a few questions.

    You used to EOC and do not now. Is this because of the lock up torque you claim? Do you EOC at lower speeds (under 40?). When I was EOCing I did not notice a lock up at highway speeds. I was rolling down hills faster than some of the cars on the highway... How long did you EOC before you stopped?

    I work as a mechanical engineer and some of the guys here (and myself) thought this car even though it cannot be flat towed thought if you EOC for only a mile at a time or so that the grease in the case would be fine. Since I start and stop you get the circulation of the grease as normal. Again it is just a risk. My logic makes me believe this as well however I am not an expert on grease and breakdowns. So it is hard to say. I will end up doing more research on this.

    Speed limits are from 60 to 45 to 35.. Mostly 60. I end up going about 55 because in OD I cant go much faster without pulling over 2k RPM.

    I can't wait for my Scangauge. Keep in touch. I hope we can learn the best ways to do this!

    Thanks so much
  13. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Just an update. My wife has a Kia Spectra 08 AT which I tried an EOC on just to a stop light and it did not like it at all! This Escort does not miss a beat when I do it. I imagine short EOCs will not be a problem. What is it that happens if the grease isnt cycled for 1000 rotations? Does it get hot? Isnt the heat what causes the grease to fail? Could I look up the grease they use and the break down temps to determine what my be allowed? Just some thoughts. :)
  14. lxmike

    lxmike Well-Known Member

    Did you get your Scanguage yet??
  15. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Temp is part of it, but also it seems to me that the friction of moving parts will move the grease off the rubbing parts, and then you have the absence of grease, just because there is no circulation back over those parts. Metal on metal = bad. I'd expect high temps, but more due to a lack of oil than a failure of the oil.
  16. EspElement

    EspElement Well-Known Member

    Yes I did get my scangauge and love it!! That is where I am getting my numbers. Losing about 5 mpg without EOC.

    So I have read up a lot about this so far and have a few questions.

    Some guys suggest the Pro Racer Package to tune the computer to turn off the injectors in certian situations. I am not really ready to fork over 350 for that to make these changes...

    I have looked into a kill switch option. If I installed a kill switch to shut off the injectors manually this will allow me to leave the key in IGIII and keep the electric pump on for the transmission. Then when I am ready to restart I would flip the switch back on drop into IGII or IGI if needed and restart. This way the pump is not off for long at all. Would something like this work?

    I have gotten better at coaxing the transmission to shift early which helps. However I looked into installing a resistor to bring the transmission pressure up some. Hoping this will cause earlier shifts. (This could be done tuning the engine to create earlier shift points too, again cost 350...)

    Pulled the KS and have the IAT mod done. Using 2 stroke oil as well on my last tank. :)

    What do you guys think of the kill switch idea?


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