Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by Elixer, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. Elixer

    Elixer Well-Known Member

    Hello Everyone!

    Just joined up, really just want to say hi and tell you about myself. I am 22, a poor college student studying electrical engineering, and I drive an 89 Camry. I get ~33mpg currently on the interstate and ~25 in town. I think there's a lot I can do to improve fuel efficiency on my car, however I doubt there's too much I can do mechanically as it is a $1500 car, and investing much isn't really worth it on such a cheap car. My car has 170,000 miles and I'm sure that the engine isn't running perfectly. It needs a new thermostat currently which I'm going to replace soon, but isn't such a big deal as I live in New Mexico (it barely freezes in the winter where I live and can be in the 60s during the day). I'm open to any tips you could offer, I've read the hypermiling article and am going from there. Look forward to learning a lot from you guys!
  2. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    First off, Welcome! Its good to have you here. I hope you meet your goals and increase your fuel mileage. Just a couple questions, is your car a manual or automatic transmission?

    If you've read the hypermiling article then you've got a good start on the information here. Try out some of the basic techniques and get comfortable with them before moving on to the more advanced stuff (FAS and P&G). Get those tire pressures up if you havn't and we'd love to hear about your progress!
  3. 98CRV

    98CRV Well-Known Member

    Elixer, I am a beginner and have improved a great deal just by doing the basics and then practicing. It clearly takes a while to get really good at this, but by doing the basics, your mpg's will improve significantly. It's great you are here, it's great that you recycled an old car, and it's great that you are young and getting at this.

    Be patient and enjoy the slow ride!
  4. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    Welcome! I fully understand your position, as I just completed my Bachelor's in Computer engineering in '06 and I am about to finish my thesis to get my Master's in Electrical Engineering in May.

    Mechanically, these are the important things to check -

    Tires - hold pressure, no leaks, keep them at the maximum PSI listed on the sidewall.
    Brakes - stop the car, not leaking, rear brakes adjusted properly (not dragging!)
    Engine - a general tune up, spark plugs, plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, and possibly a fuel injector cleaning will get the engine running in just about peak condition assuming it burns relatively little oil.
    Transmission - if the clutch isn't slipping, it's probably fine - may consider changing transmission fluid if it hasn't been done in the last 50-60k.

    Camry has been one of the #1 selling cars in America for a loooong time and the fact you get 33mpg in an 89 with 170k+ in a 4dr sedan explains that fact well! I'm sure with some new techniques and practice you will be pushing mid to upper 30's with ease.
  5. Elixer

    Elixer Well-Known Member

    My car is a manual, there's no way you would ever find me driving an automatic! And yup, it's the 4 door sedan. I looked up the epa numbers for my car and they're the following:

    Old epa rating:
    Highway: 32
    City: 26
    Overall: 28

    New epa rating:
    Highway: 29
    City: 23
    Overall: 25

    So if I'm getting 33 and 25 I'm not doing too bad. You would think that these values would be higher after the whole gas scare in the early 80s, but apparently not. I can definitely push those values, though it will be really hard for me to drive at less than 65 mph on the interstate.

    I recently threw some fuel injector cleaner into the gas tank, so I'm waiting to see if I can get a bit more out if now. The engine is in good shape, has spark plugs and wires that have only a few thousand miles on them, and the previous owner put new fuel injectors in at ~140,000 miles. Not sure about the distributor cap and rotor, it's likely they're not in optimal shape. Like I said, I need a new thermostat, which is keeping the car from getting warm, so there's a beer box taped over 3/4 of the radiator as I'm up in Colorado currently and it's cold up here. That's definitely hurting my numbers right now. I'll definitely put some nice oil in it next time I change it, though where I live it's over 100F most of the summer, so even though the car can take 5w-30 oil, it really should have 10W-40 oil in it, so I'll probably try out some 5w-40 synthetic stuff. I also think I could notch down the warm idle just a nod. It idles at about 950 rpm warm right now and I think I could take that down 100 rpm, which will give me another small boost.
  6. shifty35

    shifty35 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a plan, I forgot the mention how serious the thermostat is. Although failing in the open position is preferable to failing closed. :)

    Read up some of the articles on here, especially Beating the EPA - the Why's and how to Hypermile to get started. Try some of the most basic techniques, especially DWL and DWB.

    Also, having some type of instantaneous feedback as to your fuel economy would be a great help, such as a ScanGuage. Unfortunately these rely on the OBD-2 port present in 1996+ vehicles. If you'd like to put your education to the test, try to build your own! You could go from something as simple as an LED bar that grows in size as the Pulse Width of the injector signal increases (put a capacitor on it to even out the voltage, use an op-amp to scale it to the high and low end of the bar graph's inputs), or even use a microcontroller to measure the pulse width, calculate an approximate mpg value, and display on a 40x2 or such LCD display, or even 7 segment display.

    I'd be willing to assist with such a project if you get stuck.

Share This Page