I'm new.... Saturn and 4Runner w/ less than stellar economy! - Fuelly Forums

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Old 06-24-2007, 02:10 PM   #1
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I'm new.... Saturn and 4Runner w/ less than stellar economy!

I've been tracking my vehicle's fuel economy of fueleconomy.gov for almost 3 years now, surprisingly I always seem to have lower economy than the EPA rating AND the user community. I'm hoping to find ways to increase the economy, I'd like to see 32 MPG out of the Saturn and 20MPG out of my 4Runner. Below is a real chart of my fuel economy since 2004.

The vehicles:

1996 Saturn SL2 1.9l DOHC (Commuter):



2000 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4WD (Recreation):

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Old 06-24-2007, 02:32 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site rearviewmirror. Nice graphs. You seem to be pretty close to the EPA numbers for your vehicles. Off by one isn't that bad. A few driving techniques could get you over.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:37 PM   #3
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Welcome to GasSavers ! Yes indeed, those are nice graphs - Yes indeed, your goal mpg's are achievable (and then some?! ) .
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:29 PM   #4
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You'll probably want to hit me with a wooden spoon but I'll ask anyway. Have you changed the ETCS?
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Old 06-24-2007, 04:02 PM   #5
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You'll probably want to hit me with a wooden spoon but I'll ask anyway. Have you changed the ETCS?
Yep.. Changed all three (Trans/Air/Coolant) at ~100k miles. I'd like to see the Saturn hit 32, I can get 30 out of it on highway trips, but since it's a short distance commuter I imagine that's why I am just getting the minimum, plus I'm not very easy on the gas pedal. I wish it was a manual trans, I know I'd be able to achieve more in that case.

The graphs come straight from the fueleconomy.gov website, I've been tracking my fuel there for 3 years, I also track fuel prices in the comments section just to see how it changes over the years. I can also tell when something is going wrong with one of the cars because the economy starts suffering.
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Old 06-24-2007, 04:23 PM   #6
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Welcome to GasSavers! As a Saturn owner I can say that your goals are definitely reachable. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that I think 40 is even possible. Can you tell us a bit more about where you are from so we can get an idea of the traffic/terrain you are dealing with? The first thing you can do, and probably the most cost effective(it's basically free ) is to increase your tire pressure to max sidewall. I would suggest maybe doing it a few psi every few days to get used to the stiffer ride. Again, welcome.
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Old 06-24-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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Welcome to GasSavers! As a Saturn owner I can say that your goals are definitely reachable. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that I think 40 is even possible. Can you tell us a bit more about where you are from so we can get an idea of the traffic/terrain you are dealing with? The first thing you can do, and probably the most cost effective(it's basically free ) is to increase your tire pressure to max sidewall. I would suggest maybe doing it a few psi every few days to get used to the stiffer ride. Again, welcome.
Thanks for the info... The Saturn shows a MAX of 44PSI, the 4Runner shows 65PSI MAX Cold. Currently I am running 35 PSI is both vehicles. With the ambient temperature pushing 95-100 in TX soon is it really OK to run closer to max pressure, I can see that generating some serious heat. My commute ranges from flat to mild hills.

Lastly, I can't imagine running 65PSI in the 4Runner, the manufacturer recommendation is 32PSI! I thought running them @ 40 might even be extreme, but now it sounds as if this might be OK.
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Old 06-24-2007, 07:12 PM   #8
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Well you may be due for an upper o2 sensor. But I'd wait a bit before I changed it. The best thing you can do is work on your technique. Try to keep the car cruising in 4th gear with the convertor locked up. The more its locked the more improvement you'll see.
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Old 06-24-2007, 07:53 PM   #9
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Lastly, I can't imagine running 65PSI in the 4Runner, the manufacturer recommendation is 32PSI! I thought running them @ 40 might even be extreme, but now it sounds as if this might be OK.
Rearviewmirror, I'd think 20mpg is doable for your 4 runner. I have a 2002 2wd 3.4L 4Runner and before using a scangague I was getting 23.xxmpg and with the scangauge I'm seeing 26.xx. Sure mines a bit lighter and has less moving parts but the EPA combined for mine is 18. I get 14.5mpg pulling a 3300lb boat on level ground so there just has to be room for improvement for you.

Things I have done:
-Mobile 1 synthetic in engine, transmission and differential.
-Michelin tires to 35psi
-Removed restrictive engine air intake snorkel since I don't go into deep mud and water.
-Disabled daytime running lights.
-NGK Iridium plugs
-Optima battery
-Removed the 3 rooftop runners of the roof rack. Still have the two elevated bits yet since its going to take a bit more effort to get them off.

Thinking of rigging an electric fan for the radiator but I'm not yet convinced its worth he trouble just yet.
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:41 PM   #10
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rearviewmirror -

Welcome to GS! Since you have a 96 Saturn, it is not likely, but possible, that you have the "plastic" coolant sensor. The plastic one cracks. If it was replaced at 100K, then I am positive that it would have been upgraded to the brass version of the sensor. Did you do the replacement?

Anyway, *if* it was plastic, I think it would still be good at 110K+ miles.

I went and looked at the transmission specs for the 1997 Saturn :

http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=3122
(OK, I just saw that you posted on this thread ...)

The SL2 DOHC Automatic has a final 4th gear ratio of 0.700, which is closer to a "performance" gear. The SOHC automatic transmission has an "economy" 4th gear ratio of 0.595. I have the same problem with my DOHC "performance" final gear, but I have a stickshift and a much larger commute, so I can squeeze more out of it.

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