Author Topic: My new ecomodding / hypermiling video is up! Interview by Faircompanies.com  (Read 10381 times)

Bakari

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The same people who shot the movie about living in an RV a few years ago came back to the US and did a follow up.

In this one I show off the mods I made to my truck and driving style to increase my fuel mileage from around 15 to 25-30mpg, saving me a couple grand a year:

http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/mad-max-hypermiler-hacks-2-ton-truck-doubles-fuel-economy/


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBo7k_9zxBs

And my blog commenting on that video is now also up:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-green-living-projects.html

I mention you guys (the MMM forum) in it!
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 07:01:24 AM by Bakari »

Mrs MM

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WOW!!  I am watching it right now (only at about 4 mins).  That is amazing!  I don't even understand half the stuff you're talking about.  Hehe.

velocistar237

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Definitely some more advanced techniques here.

How do you keep the steering wheel from locking? Is that related to the key position or to the engine status?

Bakari

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Definitely some more advanced techniques here.

How do you keep the steering wheel from locking? Is that related to the key position or to the engine status?

Most steering wheels have an accessory position in between "run" and "off" where the wheel doesn't lock and the stero and lights stay on. 

However, since I put a kill switch on the steering column, I don't even touch the key in the first place, so it is irrelevant.

adam

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I used some hypermiling techniques back when I had an Accord and an S2000 (both manual transmissions), but when I got married and started driving an automatic it didn't work nearly as well and I just sorta stopped.

My best all city tank in the S2000 was 33.79mpg.  EPA figures were 18/24.  Keep in mind this was a 240hp 2.0l 4cyl sports car (I didn't always drive it as nicely)

The highest in the accord was just over 38, with a lot less HP (probably the same weight).  I was always disappointed I couldn't break 40 in this one.

Anyways, I never saw the kind of gains in efficiency in the automatics I drove, so I stopped trying so hard.  Maybe it requires a different technique?

adam

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Having watched the video I guess you can't give as much advice on hypermiling an auto (I assumed your truck was automatic).

I will say I'm a little concerned with your under body modification.  Looks like you really need to tighten that up a bit, you don't want the liability of it coming off on the highway and causing an accident.  Also, I assume you haven't had any issues with the exhaust melting it?

MountainMan

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I routinely got 40-42 in my 1991 Olds Cutlass Calais (4-cyl engine, automatic) in town.  It was just tame driving, staying strictly at speed limit, getting up to speed slowly, etc.  I didn't turn off the engine while in transit or anything like that.  It's frustrating newer automatics can't seem to do as well.

The videos are very interesting Bakari! The mods you made are unbelievable! The result of a lot of thought and work, I'm sure.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 03:32:09 PM by MountainMan »

Bakari

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Having watched the video I guess you can't give as much advice on hypermiling an auto (I assumed your truck was automatic).

I will say I'm a little concerned with your under body modification.  Looks like you really need to tighten that up a bit, you don't want the liability of it coming off on the highway and causing an accident.  Also, I assume you haven't had any issues with the exhaust melting it?

There is less you can do with an automatic, but there are still some things you can do.  My girlfriend has an automatic (Matrix).  She took out the power steering in hers too, and we added a grill block and wheel well covers.  And we put in a scanguage which gives instant feedback on mpg.
She doesn't get as big a increase as one can with a manual, but she gets around 35-40, when its EPA rated for 25-30.

You can find all sorts of tips at ecomodder.com

The underbody panel is pretty secure as far as potentially falling off, but I do definitely need to shore it up in some places to reduce the air gaps.  There is a cut out where the exhaust comes close to it, which also allows for oil changes.

The Money Monk

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I love the engine kill switch on the shifter. Good idea.

Have you calculated the difference between using the 'pulse' method vs maintaining a steady 55mph? It would seem to me that accelerating that big truck at all, even from 45 to 55 would use more gas than what you saved from coasting, but who knows.

I carpool now, but when I drove to my last job I used hypermiling techniques. It gets a lot easier with a commute that is the same every time vs the type of driving you are doing. I figured out exactly when and where I could cut the engine to coast, which lights were long, etc. Instead of 'pulsing' I just drafted semi trucks at 55-60 mph.

I got my 350ci V8 from 15-17mph to 25 with no mods of any kind. It's a camaro so its already more aerodynamic than a truck, so that helped I'm sure.

The Money Monk

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Definitely some more advanced techniques here.

How do you keep the steering wheel from locking? Is that related to the key position or to the engine status?

Most steering wheels have an accessory position in between "run" and "off" where the wheel doesn't lock and the stero and lights stay on. 

However, since I put a kill switch on the steering column, I don't even touch the key in the first place, so it is irrelevant.

yeah, that's how I used to do it. Just that first click kills the engine but doesn't lock the steering. Just be ready to deal with lack of power steering. It can be surprising if you aren't used to it.

adam

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Having watched the video I guess you can't give as much advice on hypermiling an auto (I assumed your truck was automatic).

I will say I'm a little concerned with your under body modification.  Looks like you really need to tighten that up a bit, you don't want the liability of it coming off on the highway and causing an accident.  Also, I assume you haven't had any issues with the exhaust melting it?

There is less you can do with an automatic, but there are still some things you can do.  My girlfriend has an automatic (Matrix).  She took out the power steering in hers too, and we added a grill block and wheel well covers.  And we put in a scanguage which gives instant feedback on mpg.
She doesn't get as big a increase as one can with a manual, but she gets around 35-40, when its EPA rated for 25-30.

You can find all sorts of tips at ecomodder.com

The underbody panel is pretty secure as far as potentially falling off, but I do definitely need to shore it up in some places to reduce the air gaps.  There is a cut out where the exhaust comes close to it, which also allows for oil changes.

I looked at getting a scangauge a while back but couldn't quite justify the price.  Turns out the wife's car (fusion) has an avg mpg calculation option.  Once I start a new tank I reset and get instant read results for a while that slowly avg out to about 32mpg.  Not exactly the same but it reminds me every time I fill up that I should drive carefully.

fwiw the pulse and glide method is what got me 33mpg in the S2000 vs 29-30 for steady (slower) driving when I was actively trying to maximize mpg.

I really want to get back into a manual transmission, but that would mean buying a new (to us) car, and we're trying not to spend any money.

Bakari

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I love the engine kill switch on the shifter. Good idea.

Have you calculated the difference between using the 'pulse' method vs maintaining a steady 55mph? It would seem to me that accelerating that big truck at all, even from 45 to 55 would use more gas than what you saved from coasting, but who knows.

I haven't calculated it precisely, but I do keep a mileage log and track trends.  P&G is what put me in the 30 range, and when I got lazy and stopped doing it (plus had to temporarily reinstall the alternator when my external charger died) it dropped back down into to around 25:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/em-fuel-log.php?vehicleid=2486

It was hard for me to believe that accelerating wouldn't use more fuel than it saved by coasting too (and I didn't try P&G for a long time), until I realized that the key factor is engine efficiency.  Best case-scenario, 45% efficiency.  Real world, at least 65% of the fuel energy gets wasted before the power even reaches the wheels.  That is mostly just energy being used to turn the engine itself.  It takes more fuel to actually just turn the engine itself then it takes to move the car!!!!!  Having the engine off 3/4 of the time uses about half the fuel of steady speed.  Accelerating does take more fuel than steady driving, but it doesn't take twice as much.

Google "pulse glide site:Ecomodder.com" for much more detailed discussion

Mike Key

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Dude, I knew you where a BEAST! I don't think I've ever seen anything more ingenius!


Is there a previous video about living in the RV? I tried to find it, but couldn't. {edit I found it!}


I love the silly youtube commentors about you should get a new car. As someone who just did that math, they clearly have no clue that your savings goes out the door.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 12:01:50 PM by Mike Key »

The Money Monk

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I love the engine kill switch on the shifter. Good idea.

Have you calculated the difference between using the 'pulse' method vs maintaining a steady 55mph? It would seem to me that accelerating that big truck at all, even from 45 to 55 would use more gas than what you saved from coasting, but who knows.

I haven't calculated it precisely, but I do keep a mileage log and track trends.  P&G is what put me in the 30 range, and when I got lazy and stopped doing it (plus had to temporarily reinstall the alternator when my external charger died) it dropped back down into to around 25:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/em-fuel-log.php?vehicleid=2486

It was hard for me to believe that accelerating wouldn't use more fuel than it saved by coasting too (and I didn't try P&G for a long time), until I realized that the key factor is engine efficiency.  Best case-scenario, 45% efficiency.  Real world, at least 65% of the fuel energy gets wasted before the power even reaches the wheels.  That is mostly just energy being used to turn the engine itself.  It takes more fuel to actually just turn the engine itself then it takes to move the car!!!!!  Having the engine off 3/4 of the time uses about half the fuel of steady speed.  Accelerating does take more fuel than steady driving, but it doesn't take twice as much.

Google "pulse glide site:Ecomodder.com" for much more detailed discussion

Interesting, but makes sense. So I guess the ideal situation (if there were no other cars on the road, would be to slowly accelerate to about 55 MPH and then coast until the car was almost stopped moving, then start it up again.

The Money Monk

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I love the engine kill switch on the shifter. Good idea.

Have you calculated the difference between using the 'pulse' method vs maintaining a steady 55mph? It would seem to me that accelerating that big truck at all, even from 45 to 55 would use more gas than what you saved from coasting, but who knows.

I haven't calculated it precisely, but I do keep a mileage log and track trends.  P&G is what put me in the 30 range, and when I got lazy and stopped doing it (plus had to temporarily reinstall the alternator when my external charger died) it dropped back down into to around 25:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/em-fuel-log.php?vehicleid=2486

It was hard for me to believe that accelerating wouldn't use more fuel than it saved by coasting too (and I didn't try P&G for a long time), until I realized that the key factor is engine efficiency.  Best case-scenario, 45% efficiency.  Real world, at least 65% of the fuel energy gets wasted before the power even reaches the wheels.  That is mostly just energy being used to turn the engine itself.  It takes more fuel to actually just turn the engine itself then it takes to move the car!!!!!  Having the engine off 3/4 of the time uses about half the fuel of steady speed.  Accelerating does take more fuel than steady driving, but it doesn't take twice as much.

Google "pulse glide site:Ecomodder.com" for much more detailed discussion

Oh, another thing I meant to ask, have you been taking your hauling loads into account with your calculations? If you are empty one way, and laden on the return trip, that is sure to impact your numbers.

Bakari

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Oh, another thing I meant to ask, have you been taking your hauling loads into account with your calculations? If you are empty one way, and laden on the return trip, that is sure to impact your numbers.

My truck is so old that it doesn't have an engine computer.  No engine computer, no way to monitor real time mpg.
All I can do is check the overall tank average when I fill up.  So my numbers automatically are averaging all the trips, empty, full, uphill, downhill, everything.

I have a detailed fuel log online with notes about each change, so I could monitor what changes had what effect:
http://ecomodder.com/forum/em-fuel-log.php?vehicleid=2486

kudy

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Very cool video, thanks for sharing.

Bakari

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My newest blog post answers the most common
Dude, I knew you where a BEAST! I don't think I've ever seen anything more ingenius!


Is there a previous video about living in the RV? I tried to find it, but couldn't. {edit I found it!}


I love the silly youtube commentors about you should get a new car. As someone who just did that math, they clearly have no clue that your savings goes out the door.

Ha! thanks Mike.

In case anyone else is curious about RV life, the prequel to the hypermile video is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJc8973GURk

I wrote a blog post answering the most common questions, comments, and criticisms I got, both on youtube and the several other places that repeated the story:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/03/mad-max-hypermiler-questions-and.html

The Money Monk

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I'd like to see what you can do with a vehicle that starts with good gas mileage!

Bakari

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I'd like to see what you can do with a vehicle that starts with good gas mileage!

Check out aerocivic: http://www.aerocivic.com/
Way more hardcore than me!







As much as 90mpg (avg of 65mpg) in a (non-hybrid) civic hatchback.


BTW, I wrote up something addressing the most common questions comments and criticisms I've been getting: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/03/mad-max-hypermiler-questions-and.html

The Money Monk

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I'd like to see what you can do with a vehicle that starts with good gas mileage!

Check out aerocivic: http://www.aerocivic.com/
Way more hardcore than me!







As much as 90mpg (avg of 65mpg) in a (non-hybrid) civic hatchback.


BTW, I wrote up something addressing the most common questions comments and criticisms I've been getting: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/03/mad-max-hypermiler-questions-and.html

Wow that civic is extreme. Not sure if that guy is even using extreme hypermiling methods like P&G or has removed any components contributing to engine drag like you have. Very interesting stuff.

BTW, your article was great. I will be forwarding it to anyone interested in hypermiling. You need to make a youtube channel.

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Have you had any trouble with overheating?

Bakari

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Have you had any trouble with overheating?

not normally, but I did last night!  I think I may have a coolant leak, I filled it not too long ago, but its low...


I assume you mean because of the grill block?
In normal weather, with normal loads, on normal grades, the engine gets warmer than it did before, but not excessively hot (needle in the center of the gauge, instead of the far left-side like it always used to be).
This, and the fact that the engine heats up faster, makes the engine run a little more efficiently.

In hot weather, or with very heavy loads, or on very steep hills, it does sometimes overheat.
The grill block is held in place by being tucked under the bumper and then attached to the grill with velcro.
When it gets above the center of the temp gauge, I just pull over and take it off.

HumanAfterAll

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Great video Bakari!  That big orange truck of yours is drawing attention for all the right reasons :)

I'm encouraged to see new cars like the 2013 Focus offering auto start-stop and adjustable grill shutters.  They're finally incorporating features we've hacked onto our cars with coroplast and radio-shack kill switches!  Mostly I'm excited about the radio not cutting out when I hit the starter 4 times on my commute, but I have ideas on a power circuit to fix that problem without giving up and buying a new car :)

frugalman

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Well I have been hypermiling my 2003 Honda Accord L4 Automatic for three tankfuls now.  Averaging about 32 mpg, that's about 50/50 mix of highway and stop/go driving (commuting).  The main things I do are drive the speed limit, accelerate modestly, and coast (if I can avoid disrupting traffic) when I anticipate traffic slowing or lights changing.

This morning I was in the right lane as usual on my first stretch of road doing the speed limit, 65MPH. As everyone was passing me, I had these thoughts. 

Very few people drive at or under the speed limit.
Rude people will camp out right on your bumper, even in the right lane of a multilane highway, if you are driving the speed limit.  It's like they are messaging me come on, let's go, what's wrong with you?
I connect these thoughts and realize that not many people are conserving the gas they use.  Furthermore, most of these people are not conserving the money they use.  They are the ones who have the new cars with payments, fancy cell phones with data package plans, heavily mortgaged big houses, fancy dinners and frequent eating out, expensive vacations that they "deserve" etc. etc.  That post MMM did yesterday, the case study of the elementary school principal, is a complete summary of what is wrong with average American thinking.  I'm guessing we won't have to worry about MMM's blog being overrun.  How small a minority ARE the fiscally sane in this country?

Bakari

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I often turn on my hazard flashers in those situations, to let them know I won't be speeding up.
If they get really (dangerously)close, and won't take a hint, I gradually start slowing down more and more - that gets them to wake up and go around, and it isn't dangerous and obnoxious like "brake checking".  Plus, this way, if they do end up rear-ending me, we will both be going as slow as possible, which will reduce the severity of the crash.

As to how small a minority are we, that is an excellent question!  I agree, we don't need to worry about being overrun anytime soon, but I wonder how we would even begin going about finding out the exact percentage...

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Dipping my toe in hypermiling now that I am selling my Mazdaspeed6 (2.3L turbo, gulp!) and bought an 02 Accord manual v4. I haven't used a full tank yet since I bought it (I'd say about 40% on the gauge, and 320ish on the odometer so far, not bad!) so I don't know how successful I have been. I've been driving the speed limit (50-55 on my commute) and shifting at 2k rpms and coasting when I can. My drive is a 15 mile trek through a country road with 3 stop signs, so the cruise control works very well, especially as the only traffic is at the stop signs. I have the option of taking a highway that doesn't change my drive time much, but would be travelling around 65-70mph (provided there isn't traffic) instead of the 50-55. My question is, will I use less gas taking the highway without having to stop at the three stop signs with 2 minute backups at times, or the country road at a lower speed?

I DO prefer the country road, from a stress standpoint, so will likely stick with it regardless but I wanted to get a pulse on the science a bit.

Thanks for all of the great info!

Bakari

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Too many variables to answer that.
Only way to say would be if you have a scanguage, using the trip avg feature on consecutive days, and if not, filling up completely, going one route for a couple weeks, filling up, doing the calculations, and then repeat for the other route.

You can improve either route though:
For the road with the stop signs, if there is a backup of cars at the same time every day, start slowing down well before the sign.  If you time it right, all the cars ahead of you should have gone by the time you get there.  (There will probably be not-especially-bright people behind you who want you to hurry up and stop, but take comfort in knowing that you and they are getting to your destination exactly as fast, and you are saving both yourself and them some fuel.)

For the highway - the speed limit is an upper LIMIT, not a recommended speed.  You can go lower than the upper limit, you just can't go above it.  I drive as slow as 45mph on highways with an upper limit of 65.  Going 10 under puts you at the same speed you drive on the country road, while being both legal and safe.

frugalman

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Stavros - if it's a 2 lane highway, I would not drive say 50-55 on it if it's posted at 65.  Therefore I would choose the country road with 3 stop signs.  I think you would save gas with 3 stops at 55 mph, versus 65 mph straight shot.  But as Bakari says, to be sure you would have to measure it.

velocistar237

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For those of you with an obdII gauge, what data do you actually use?

If the car has an instantaneous and average mpg display, does that make the gauge irrelevant?

I like how compact the ScanGaugeE is (less likely to be mistaken for a GPS), but is the extra cost over an Ultragauge worth it ($94 vs $79)?