Lifetime Fuel Economy: 39.49 mpg
Monday, June 30, 2008
I decided to run one brace across the wheel well and one at the bottom, attached to the sign. Here's the first brace. I attached it to the inside of the door opening with a sheet metal screw and to the back bumper with a spare interior trim screw.
I then taped two signs together, enough to cover the opening, , set it inside the folded sheetrock brace, taped the bottom up (coroplast is hollow and open at the ends)and ran 4 sheet metal screws through it to lock it in place. It felt pretty rigid after this. Here's what I mean by, "inside the folded brace":
Friday, June 20, 2008
45.5 mpg may be a little inflated due to pump error, but it's indicative of some significant gains from my first tries at control tests. I'm going to run the next tank all the way down because I'm going to run some fuel system cleaner through at 5 gallons and then change the fuel filter. If things go right, and my aero mods (soon) are effective, I could break into the 500 mile/tank club next school year on my commute!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
For my latest run, I hypermiled on 37 psi tires, and did 100% city driving with lots of stop lights and signs. I only used the a/c for about 5-10 miles, and the Gascort came up with 31.35 mpg. Not scientific data, but a good indication of what's in store for this fall!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Either time, the force required to get the car to move was 58 pounds. I know flat tires make a car harder to push (enough to feel the difference), and I also know the top end should be less dramatic. I'm anxious to try pressure out when I'm back to making repeated trips to and from school every day, since there was no effect here.
Maybe there's another way to test this...
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
For now, I'm going to bump tire pressure. I wanted to start hypermiling, but while I'm driving around a very pregnant wife, I don't want to do anything too oddball. The sidewall max on the tires is 35 psi; I'm going to set them at 37 - a nice, even 5 psi above factory settings. I think I'll work on calculating rolling resistance tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I was cleaning out the kitchen today (still waiting for an excuse to drive the 'scort, so I figured I could clean and then take the recycling to our neighborhood drop-off) and I discovered that our "fat jar" had become full. For everyone out there who doesn't know what a fat jar is, allow me to edify. When you're cooking with ground beef and you drain off the fat, it's a bad idea to dump it down the drain. The fat cools and returns to its solid state as it transfers thermal energy to your pipes. You don't want too much in your arteries, and the same can be said for your drains. Some people claim that using hot water while dumping it helps, but that's a huge energy waste as well.
To avoid all this trouble, we keep a fat jar - just an empty glass jar that we dump the fat into. We typically put it in the refrigerator after dinner when it cools down, which keeps it solid and prevents it from smelling or spoiling (don't know if it would anyway).
Anyhow, if you've ever done calorimetry of foods in a chemistry or biology class, you know that the bonds in food store lots of energy, and this can be released by combustion into lots of thermal energy and light. This got me to thinking, my grandmother used to burn oil lanterns in her cabin, and she always reminded us kids that they used to get oil for those from whale blubber. Now, I ask, is cow fat much different from whale fat? After trying it out, I think not!
Fats (lipids) have ~9 calories per gram, while carbohydrates and protein have 4 cal/g and alcohol has 7 calories per gram. My fat should be capable of releasing more energy than an equivalent mass of alcohol, and hopefully it won't end up like a molotov cocktail...
I stuck a birthday cake candle into the top of the fat and it burned like this for 30 minutes, without appreciably dropping the fat level. This is definitely something I'm going to start saving for the "just in case" scenario. ;)
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I worked for a couple days on getting this done; it took longer than expected because I forgot some connectors at school. While hypermiling in my mustang, I noticed some problems; first, the ignition gets extra wear as a result and the steering shaft runs the slight risk of locking in place if you turn the key too far back. Second, it's really annoying to have the radio turn on and off 4-5 times on your way to work, especially if you have a cd player resetting each time. My solution: eliminate the ignition cylinder. The ignition on the Escort was already messed up from years of use - you could pull the key out in any position, and the door chime constantly harassed me because it thought the key was in. Cutting the wire to the chime is by far the best thing I've done to this car. :)
I installed a toggle switch to turn on the radio, a toggle switch to turn on the computer and fuel pump/injection, and a push button starter switch. I used a 40 amp auxillary headlight relay to reduce the current through the computer power switch, the stereo toggle is a 20A switch, and the starter button is a heavy duty one, so no relay was needed there.
For those of you who worry about melting switches, my stereo produces 40W to each of 4 channels. I only have one speaker in the car, so it draws (approximately) 40W/12V = 3.3A plus some to run the tuner and display, so 20A will be plenty.
I did my best to conceal my switches and make them look O.E.M. - I must give credit to my friend Jeremy, who came up with the first starter switch concealment like this in his '89 camaro.
Here they are; the cigarette lighter is actually the start button.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I went ahead and got rid of the license plate bracket that came with the car and mounted my shiny new plate straight on the car; I had to curl the bottom under to avoid having plate dangling below the bumper. Illegal because now it's a smaller target for radar and laser guns, but I think the police won't worry about me speeding in this car!
I gassed up at the local BP station; we're using new credit cards through them that give us 10% off for the first 60 days. Odometer: 246,425.8 miles Purchased 8.98 gallons of 87 octane at 3.86/gallon. Time to begin tests!
I made sure before I left to get gas that I had the full curb weight of the car and nothing else; I even got rid of the antenna and cable that came with the car. I did, however, have some stuff I had to carry around; stuff I already removed but don't want it to affect my tests. I got rid of the sagging and stapled headliner, the torn-up sun visors, the rear speakers and brackets, and the rear washer fluid reservoir. I noticed the washer reservoir had a cracked lid and it looked like it had leaked a few times. Underneath the washer tank I found the scissor jack and lug wrench. It took 5 minutes with a huge wrench to remove the bolt holding the jack down. That would have been a fun surprise on the side of the road. I hosed down the rusted shut jack with penetrant, but I'm not feeling optimistic. Might have to steal one from the mustang.
Ceiling without headliner; note the exposed roof rack bolts.... That will be deleted later. On the right: deletion items! Headliner, visors, washer tank, rear speakers, privacy screen (saving in the garage for shopping trips), and a huge stack of small screws and bolts.
After getting cleaned up, I went and had a leaky tire bead sealed (found bubbles around the rim with the soapy water test) on my way to the gas station. After getting gas, I went to the grocery store on the way home. Later in the evening, I used the car to pick up and drop off some dinner guests. They were dressed up, so I decided to try out the A/C (the previous owner said it worked fine). It worked great - a nice touch to have air available when I have passengers or when I'm driving with the baby in another month, but not something I'll ever use by myself unless I decide to experiment with A/C effect on fuel economy. It's been done by others.
Right now I'm rolling around on 32 psi tires, and trying to do everything a conservative driver would do behind the wheel to figure out what fuel economy this gets with no mods. The next few miles of driving will be the control in my experiment. Today I worked on making sure the alignment was perfect, and then I took to doing some rewiring to prepare for hypermiling. I'm putting in two toggle switches and a push-button switch. I need to pick up a couple of parts, so the install will have to wait a day or two. Luckily, I have time; I need some more miles on this tank to get a baseline of mileage for this car.
One more note: since I removed the rear speakers, I was listening to the Beatles on the radio while doing alignment tests today and I noticed that the left audio was missing. I investigated and found that the left front speaker is trashed. Another weight savings mod! I wired the stereo to play both left and right audio on the right speaker, which is a little blown but nowhere near what the left side was. Good enough; this car is a supplement to my nice car, not a replacement.