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Old 02-19-2007, 09:39 PM   #11
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Ditch the carb and go FI. Driving like you stole it will help clean out any built up carbon in the heads helping the beast breathe better. Whats the mileage on the engine?
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:25 PM   #12
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IF you are going to convert it to something make it electric although a lighter car would be better electric motors have tons of torque that can handle the weight and also have lots of room for batteries. EVERYONE SHOULD SEE
WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:33 AM   #13
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8-9 Passengers

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Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
Must be a money thing, evidently leaving a small footprint isn't a factor.
The thing is, he needs the capacity for 8-9 passengers and not dump a load of cash on it.

I'd recommend maybe an late 80's/early 90's Ford E-250 (non-turbo Diesel Econoline Van). If 4x4 is needed, the Quigley company converts these into off-roaders. Not sure if you can get it as cheap as the 'Burb.

Also, like other members mentioned, only drive it when you need to haul that many people. It would actually pay you to get a small, fuel-efficient car to haul 1-2 people if it's just you commuting, etc. If 4-wheel drive is needed, the Subaru Justy comes to mind...

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Old 02-20-2007, 06:58 AM   #14
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More likely it needs to get warmed up more to get it moving freely so by driving it hard it gets better mileage. Maybe a lube change in the drive train - them differentials usually have some heavy duty oil in them and some slippery and thinner stuff should help a lot. Also big engines burn fuel to go slow while not producing much output so pushing it harder burns more fuel and also gets you there using a higher percentage of the total burned towards doing useful work. Bet that thing can coast a long way too!
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:46 PM   #15
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My experiences with the suburbs (two of 'em, a 76 Chev and a 78 GMC) had me in a similar sub-10 mpg area. This is back in the early 80's when I was still minimum wage at the restaurant. I found that Arco Graphite oil was able to raise that to an average of 11 mpg, about 15% fuel economy. I bought all of that black oil I could find, but it was all used within a year or two. I haven't seen it since.
btw, the trucks were purchased so I'd 'be safer' after totaling my Dodge Colt. I'm glad I got wise to that bigger is safer fallacy.
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:31 PM   #16
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I'll try to answer as many questions and comments as I can...

budomove: Thanks. This is the kind of site I would have been a member of years ago if I knew it existed! A diesel Suburban sounds great, and I found one locally for $1000 the WEEK after we bought the gas one. Sad, isn't it?!! The plugs are like new. Wires tested ok. Cap/Rotor is HEI and look good to me. But I can smell the exhaust and the vacuum advance has a golf tee in it, so I think timing and carburetor settings will do the most.

rh77: Yes, it is a 350, 4-bolt, Goodwrench 190hp replacement crate motor, fresh carb, new exhaust, no computer controls. It has a cat, but no O2 sensor. It's 8600lbs GVWR, didn't come with a cat new. When the original owner moved from Missouri to Colorado, he was FORCED to make it pass emissions, so the new exhaust was put on and it passed. Passed here in November but it runs really rich now, I wonder if he slipped the nspector some extra cash to pass it. All I know is legally, it only needs to pass one more time December 1st 2007, then as of January 1st 2009, it's 25 years old and no more e-checks in Texas. I'll cheat a little and get 13 months out of each inspection by waiting until the 1st day of the next month to take it in.

95_corolla: I don't think so. The original plan was to keep the Celebrity and Lumina and drive two vehicles everywhere. But consider this...the Celebrity was averaging 22mpg and the Lumina about 18mpg. So combine 20mpg and 20mpg and that's 10mpg. We're getting that with the Moose. So it's about the same. Now if we were talking about two 30mpg cars that would be a combined 15mpg but if I tune this Suburban good enough, we're there, too. Keep in mind that I'm NOT putting my baby, my toddler, my school age children, my pre-teen and teenage daughters, nor my wife in something small. So 15mpg is what we'd get in a variety of large vehicles that seat eight, such as any gas powered SUV, an Astro/Safari van, a full-size van (with the exception of a PSD Econoline), or a used school bus. The only vehicles that could do better are the PSD Econoline vans, diesel Suburbans and Excursions, and maybe a Toyota Sienna (but not by much)

cfg83: We need all the seats. Bench up front for me and my wife, bench in the middle for the teenage girl and the two youngest in car seats, bench in the rear for the school age pair and the preteen. The Moose doesn't have an O2 sensor, nor cylinder deactivation. That's the newer 5.3L Suburbans and Tahoes and such. This is a 23-year old truck. The only vehicles this old with that kind of system are the 80-81 Cadillacs with the 6.0 liter V8 (*also 82 and 83 for commercial chassis/limo/livery models).

white90crxhf: Exactly. Why buy a $36,000 new truck ($28,000 after rebates and discounts) and spend probably double that on full coverage insurance and interest, when a $900 truck does the same amount of work, gets the same mileage, and has no extra computerized stuff to break down? Even if it only lasts a few more months, it's saved us thousands in payments, interest, and collision/comprehensive coverage.

civicduty_: I don't think it would be very cost effective to convert a $900 truck to a TBI unit. The block and heads will take it, sure, but then I have to add a computer and a different dizzy and Lord knows what else to make it run right. By the time I add all that stuff, amortize the gas cost difference (what, 2-3mpg at most?), it would take YEARS to see the savings. Now if I pick up a 1988-1991 Suburban with the 350 TBI motor for parts (since I do need things like a tailgate, some interior pieces, etc), I might swap the fuelie parts over as an experiment. But this particular crate engine was designed for a carburetor, and I think that would be best to keep in there for awhile.

Red: no idea how many miles. Shows 24500 on the odometer, guarantee you that's 224 but it COULD be 124. Engine is date coded 1998, but who knows when it was installed, could have set for years in a dealer's parts department, could have been put in the day it showed up. The previous owner does not speak English, and the original owner has not replyed to phone calls or two letters. I assume he doesn't care to inform me of that kind of information.

JanGeo: the truck DOES run cool. I bet a hotter thermostat would help. But the gauge could be off. I get good heat within 4-5 minutes (1.5-2 miles) from home. By the time I get to the closest gas station to the house, it's fully warmed up and very toasty (we live in the boonies).

I will also say that the carb definitely needs adjusting, and the timing isn't advancing with the vacuum advance disconnected, so fixing those two things may provide the greatest increase in mileage.

The tires are 50-60% and highway rib, so that's the best I can do there. Going to air them up to 80 all around when I get near a truck stop. The Valero near us won't put them above 45 and I'm sick of putting quarters in there trying to get them higher.

The only other thing that might be killing mileage is the tailgate won't close all the way. And it won't open. So fixing that might get rid of the annoying draft in back AND increase mileage. I'm also trying not to exceed 50mph unless I have to. Figure the transmission hits overdrive around 38-40mph and GM's are geared pretty tall so 45-50mph should give the best mileage in top gear.
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lug_Nut View Post
My experiences with the suburbs (two of 'em, a 76 Chev and a 78 GMC) had me in a similar sub-10 mpg area. This is back in the early 80's when I was still minimum wage at the restaurant. I found that Arco Graphite oil was able to raise that to an average of 11 mpg, about 15% fuel economy. I bought all of that black oil I could find, but it was all used within a year or two. I haven't seen it since.
btw, the trucks were purchased so I'd 'be safer' after totaling my Dodge Colt. I'm glad I got wise to that bigger is safer fallacy.
Never heard of graphite oil. Don't think I'd want to use that stuff. But I am considering Fuel Power and Lube Control fluids. They're based out of Addison which isn't far from me, so I could pick up at the warehouse anytime I'm on the north side of Dallas and save the shipping costs for "hazardous" liquid materials.

I haven't added anything to this truck yet except to top off the transmission. Will keep an eye on everything and except for LC20 and FP60, I don't think I'll add anything else to the fluids. Will consider changing the gear oil in the axles, the transfer case oil (which is supposed to be Dexron/Mercon ATF), and switch to 5-30 engine oil come springtime. Also will replace the wheel bearings if needed and make sure they're well greased. Don't want any more friction if I can help it at all.

Wondering if I should remove the running boards after my wife has our last baby here in a month or so. They don't add much weight, but they do stick out a bunch. Then again, it's probably rusted through under there and would suck air through the holes...
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:57 PM   #18
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Welcome to Gassavers.

It sounds to me like given what you are spending, when you need to haul that many people, your not going to probably do much better, cost wise. I would definitely find out what is up with the plugged vacume line for the distributor. If you have a timing light, you can hook it up and watch the timing change, as you open the throttle. Without the vacume advance, it will kill your mileage at driving speed's.

I can appreciate your desire not to fiddle with something which is working, even if it is a gas tank on wheel's. I think you could go to the throttle body injection system without to much trouble, because they basically just replaced the carb with a throttle injection unit which meters the fuel into the intake, instead of using the venturi on the carb. However, I don't think it would be worth messing with, either in terms of cost or hassle, for that vehicle, unless you were just doing it for what for's sake.


Their are a couple of things you can do which would probably help some. First, is to put in as much of a grill block on the radiator as you can get away with. Second, if I recall correctly, that vehicle is spinning a mechanical fan for the radiator. You should be able to pull the fan blade off and just bolt the fan hub on the water pump and get it to work. Then you can put a big electric fan or two smaller electric fans in their, in place of the mechanical fan.

I know the fan for my 94 Chrsler Town & Country is a big unit and it comes with two speed's, so that if the temperature gets above about 2/3, it goes into high speed, to cool the engine.

I wonder if the transmission isn't either a 3 speed with torgue lockup or a 4 speed without torque lockup. If it has the capability for torque lockup, it would be worthwhile making sure that is working properly. If you ever did have to get the transmission rebuilt, you might want to consider going to a 4 speed with lockup. That engine should certainly not have any trouble pulling it down the highway, I would think.

On your tire pressure, I think the quarter robbers only go up to about 45 psi, which is part of why you can't go any higher. A truck stop of some kind is definitely your best bet, their.

Good luck.
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Old 02-21-2007, 04:43 AM   #19
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Actually an old limo may not be so bad I used to love looking at old ones on ebay like mid 80ish they look sweet and are big n safe. chevy, caddie and lincolin made some of the 6 door versions I always thought they were unique and can hold 9 peeps. I wish you best of luck
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:40 PM   #20
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Gary: Thanks! I just filled out the garage gas log thing, I have a long way to go to hit 15mpg. The electric fan sounds like a good idea. There is a clutch fan on it now which works properly but definitely is robbing power and mileage. An electric fan wan't on my list, but it will be now. The 3/4 ton Suburbans that year couldn't have a lockup converter but it shouldn't be too hard to add one, especially if I convert to TBI and have to add a computer anyway. For now, I'll just limit my top speed to 50 or so if possible. I also need a vacuum gauge. Some 70's C/K trucks could have them in the cluster, and there is an open spot in my cluster, supposed to be for a clock but I guess I could put a vacuum gauge in there, it is 2 1/16" size.

95 corolla: That's what *I* wanted. An 80's B-body 3-seat wagon or a 6-door funeral sedan or 24hr limo. 307 V8, 4-barrel, overdrive automatic.
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