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Old 07-10-2007, 05:29 PM   #1
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Newby needs advice

I want to post what I've been doing, and please tell me if you think my engine or tranny or anything else will blow up from these hypermiling aspects I've been trying with my Subaru Legacy:

If there's a big hill, I shift N, key off ICE, wait a second, then turn the key one notch so electronics come back on. I loose power steering which isn't a problem at speed, and power brakes which gets annoying when after a few pumps of power are used up. Where I drive there is sometimes big hills (I've been over 8 miles on a single coast, several over 3 miles is normal). When the speed goes too low I key on the ICE, rev a tiny bit (1-2k) and shift back into D. Without the rev it jumps a bit. So far this seems to help FE very well. I just jumped from 23mpg to 33mpg since I can coast for over 15% of my drive with the engine completely off. Is much gas saved by keying off the ICE? Would I be better to just stay in N?

An accident that occurs occassionally from this is that I key off but forgot to shift to nuetral and it jumps back on. That seems not good, but I think I've read that some people here were doing that to start their cars instead of using the key.

One annoying bit is that I hate turning the engine off at night because on my car the lights completely go out until I turn the key back for them. So if a car is coming and I want to power down, I have to flash them. [Edit: By that, I mean the lights are only out for a second] I don't think there's a way around that other than making some switch on the dash route power to the lights regardless of the engine on/off. I think that's fairly unique to Suby's. Anyone try that?

Any tips of hints or "holy-crap don't do that!"s will be accepted! Thanks.

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Old 07-10-2007, 06:50 PM   #2
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Welcome to GS, I really envy your coasting, around here I can get maybe 1 mile tops. But that is rare. You seem to be doing well so far, don't think coasting will harm anything.
Thats is weird with your lights, I have never owned a vehicle that turned out the lights when you key off.
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:44 PM   #3
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wow, 8 mile glide, that would simplify things. Sort out them lights!! My DRLs used to turn off on my metro when the engine stopped, but not the main lights.

FYI, you might want to consider a modification to make it rv towable (to keep the tranny bearings lubed). 8 miles is a long way on atf and no circulation. You will definately see better mpg results with the engine off, but you have to consider the design limitations of your transmission.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:49 AM   #4
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ELF, I've never driven another car that had the lights go out. It's great since I can never run the battery by leaving lights on when the car is off, but it also means I can't shut off the engine without blinking them off.

Skewbe, maybe if I restart every few miles when there's a huge glide it would lube it up again enough to safely coast more.

I read through my manual, and it recommends for towing on all wheels not to exceed 20mph and 31 miles. Can I extrapolate that to 50mph for 12.5 miles?

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Old 07-11-2007, 09:59 AM   #5
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i think you will be fine. you wont be doing 31 mile costs so your tranny will be ok
also i just checked your garage and i saw that you took off AWD how did you do that?
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:11 AM   #6
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Hockey4mnhs, Something about my AWD was close to broken so the mechanic told me to shut it off or pay $1100 to fix. Under the hood there's a cover labeled AWD that I put a spare fuse connector in, and on my dash it now says FWD. When I get stuck in snow or driving offroad I can take the connector out and it goes back to AWD (and hopefully doesn't brake!)
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:36 PM   #7
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Subarus.....ahh, the glory!!

While I love the cars, and you have some very good ideas.....I would try a tank or two leaving your engine idle in N while you're coasting down those hills. Think of it like leaving the clutch pushed in on a standard transmission. Working an auto tranny without lubrication (coasting engine off) is a recipe for disaster!

Think of it this way: Your manual says that you can tow at 20 MPH for 30 miles. That's kind of like saying you could put your hand on the stove for 3 sec. before burning it. Would you still do it?? Transmissions are expensive...I just don't see saving $.75 per fill worth the risk of grenading a transmission.

I guess this would be the "Holy crap!! What are you doing!?!?!" post.....but keep up the good work!!
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Old 07-11-2007, 03:30 PM   #8
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I'm glad that someone is finely reading their manual! it's there to be read, and you alwas learn something.
if it says not to tow the vehicle over 20mph, then I would say the same goes for coasting, but it is up to you to deside what works, and there is a differnce between towing, and coasting, mostly that in towing you are not in the vehicle to hear and see what is going on.
most of us who engine off coast have manual transmitions, not automatics, so alot of the expearince in this area will not apply.

I've gotten in the habbit of killing my engine on a few hills, one with a speed limit of 25mph, and to stay under that speed I use my hand brake, setting it lightly about 4 clicks up gives me just enough resistance that my car will not run away, and leaves me enough vaccum to use the normal brake pedal 3-4 times.
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Old 07-11-2007, 05:16 PM   #9
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goodella -

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Originally Posted by goodella@hartwick.edu View Post
Hockey4mnhs, Something about my AWD was close to broken so the mechanic told me to shut it off or pay $1100 to fix. Under the hood there's a cover labeled AWD that I put a spare fuse connector in, and on my dash it now says FWD. When I get stuck in snow or driving offroad I can take the connector out and it goes back to AWD (and hopefully doesn't brake!)
Wow, the AWD drive is one of the reasons I have not seriously considered Subaru's in the past. I have always been LA urban, so I can't justify AWD. Even though you would still be carrying the extra drivetrain weight, I wonder if this is a "Subaru Mod" for FE.

Would this mod work with Manual transmission Subarus?

I second what Raccoonjoe says. Other people's auto transmissions have worked fine with (i.e. repete86), but it's hard to know if your transmission is "compatible" with this strategy without alot more research.

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Old 07-11-2007, 06:21 PM   #10
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Ryland -

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I'm glad that someone is finely reading their manual! it's there to be read, and you alwas learn something.
if it says not to tow the vehicle over 20mph, then I would say the same goes for coasting, but it is up to you to deside what works, and there is a differnce between towing, and coasting, mostly that in towing you are not in the vehicle to hear and see what is going on.
most of us who engine off coast have manual transmitions, not automatics, so alot of the expearince in this area will not apply.

I've gotten in the habbit of killing my engine on a few hills, one with a speed limit of 25mph, and to stay under that speed I use my hand brake, setting it lightly about 4 clicks up gives me just enough resistance that my car will not run away, and leaves me enough vaccum to use the normal brake pedal 3-4 times.
What is the wear and tear factor on the (rear drum?) brakes in that circumstance?

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