Choosing EPA Ratings for Highly Modified Automobiles
Anyway, this idea has come up before. What EPA should we compare against when we modify our cars? I'll state two situations, what I think should be done, and why, and we can have a vote with reasoned responses as to our votes, and if we can come to consensus, we'll institute a policy. Good stuff, right?
I modify my CRX DX Auto by converting to MFPI and a manual HF transmission. FE soars 11MPG to ~50MPG. Should I have really awesome X over EPA by comparing to what my car began as, have medium response as I make some hybrid DX/HF EPA rating, or get my % over (under) trashed by picking the closest set-up? I feel that I should be able to keep my original EPA ratings because I worked hard to take what I had and make something more of it, and that should be shown in some way. If I made a hybrid it would more closely resemble driving ability, and if I just picked the HF (which is what I did) it would make some sense but ultimately not work out very well in any sense. I liken my transmission swap to basjoos's aerodynamic modifications; do we force him to change his EPA because he car is fundamentally different that the CX it began life as? The answer is no, he earned that % over EPA by making his car into a caulked up, aerodynamical machine.
Jared puts a D16Z6 into his CX. Same possiblities as with my case. I forget what he chose as EPA, but what should we do with him? I say he uses the CX EPA figures, because much like people who drive their CX very hard and get lower than EPA mileage he chose to use a more powerful engine and more shortly geared tranmission in order to achieve greater acceleration. Why punish the fast driver or the driver with some aerodynamics killing body kit and not the person who thoughtfully chose to lower their FE in search for acceleration?
I assume you know how I feel about the situation. If I can work to put a new transmission in and benefit from it in terms of FE I should also benefit from it in terms of bettering what I began with, which shows as % over EPA. Just like adding an undertray or engine block heater, a transmission or engine should be no different. We do not adjust for route, temperature, or any other factors.
The main conflict I find here is the concern over people who switch cars to better FE. This is ultimately the greatest sacrafice, and should be treated so. That's why people like Dan and Compaq still post their retired cars' statistics in order to show that they are progressing, which I think is rather fair.
It may end up being an individual decision, but my feeling is as follows:
The car I purchased was a 1989 Civic LX. So far I have put lightweight wheels on it, a d15z1 (civic VX) engine, and a CRX HF transmission. There is no car that even closely resembles my car. The Civic VX (from which the engine and wheels came) is a hatchback and is much lighter than my car. The CRX HF (From which my transmission came) is not only lighter but much smaller than my car.
I have a four door sedan.
We are creating frankenstein vehicles. Some of us add engines, transmissions, wheels, undertrays, or even caulk. Some of us change driving habits, or even remove our seats to have a lighter weight vehicle.
In the end the best measure of our improvement is to compare against the original EPA estimates. A modification is a modification. The only way to really measure progress is to see what the starting point was, so I vote for that.
The people who try to earn that extra mpg here should be rewarded with their improved figures. After all, some of the mods here were not easy. Even though the car has changed it should still have its factory EPA numbers.
__________________ Current Stable
GasSaver: 2000 Honda Insight Silverstone w/AC 65+mpg
Track Terror: 2002 Honda S2000 Gran Prix White- lots of mods - 28mpg
Beater: 1988 Honda Civic DX Hatback - Stripped - 30mpg
RIP: 1996 Honda Civic LX 42mpg - you will be missed
I may be missing the point, it is 3:45am here, but isn't this gassavers.org. It isn't about adding acceleration or being the fastest.
MetroMPG could decide tomorrow he wants a turbo Suzuki Swift GT engine and setup, his mpg would reflect that, and negatively, I might add.
I think you're missing the point of the question.
Let me rephrase it.
You start with a bone stock 1991 CRX DX Automatic (like SVOBoy did).
You change the transmission to a CRX HF transmission, making it a manual transmission. You also swap in a new engine, which forces you to switch to obd1 (previously you were pre-obd).
SVOBoy's question is this: When entering your EPA numbers into the garage (www.gassavers.org/garage) for your vehicle, should you use your original EPA estimates (what you started out with) or should you somehow construct a new EPA estimate derived from the cars you took the parts from.
In SVOBoy's case he started with a 1991 CRX DX Automatic. He put in a CRX HF transmission, which gave him around a 11mpg improvement. In his garage should his EPA value (city/highway/combined) be that for a CRX DX Automatic, or a CRX HF, since mechanically his vehicle now resembles a CRX HF more than a CRX DX Automatic.
I started with a Del Sol DX. I modified my body style from a 2 door targa to a three door hatch which changed the Cd from 0.38 to 0.31 and reduced weight by 100 lbs. I added a rear seat. I swapped the D15B7 for a D15Z1. I swapped the DX tranny 4.06 FD to a ZX tranny, 3.25 FD. I also applied rust to my rear wheel wells along with various dents and dings but retained the original color. My Del Sol DX is now a HB VX and my cost was negative $1500. So what do I use? 34/36/38 or 48/51/55? I chose to use the EPV figures for the car that mine most closely resembles. As a result, I have increased my FE but decreased my % over from 84% to only 36%. Quite a severe penalty for seeking to improve one's FE.
I understand the arguements, and that modding your car for better FE should be rewarded. But what about those who make what Matt referred to as the ultimate sacrifice and switch cars?
Modding the vX will have much less dramatic effect than the Del Sol because the Honda engineers have already added the mods as stock features which are already reflected in the EPA numbers. For example, the VX already has the grille blocked off and already has a partial undertray and a rear diffuser. It already has a 192F thermostat and it warms up super quick so an EBH would have little effect. It came with lightweight wheels and skinny tires so what I have today will make a much smaller difference. The car has nothing left to do for weight or drag reduction except for a full bellypan and removing the drivers side mirror.
So we have quite a dilemma here..... One sticky issue being that some cars' EPA figures include very little in terms of FE mods while other cars' EPA figures include factory installed FE mods, what I have referred to as built in FE. The playing field isn't level to begin with so why should we expect to end up with something level?
Anything, I chose the worst case scenario for me which is the 48/51/55. As such, I went from #1 on %over EPA to not even in the top 10.
Dan, i was the one who referred to it is the ultimate sacrafice, actually. The way I think that should be adressed it by doing exactly what you have done: showing both cars in your garage and signature. This way it is obvious that you have the skills to thrash EPA and that you're willing to go above and beyond to getting better FE.
I thought about this last night as I was sleeping, and realized that I would've been so much happier just starting out with an HF and getting 10% over EPA than I am with having had to endure a ton of 3X MPG tanks.
I took what I had and improved upon it, and that doesn't show currently. Dracofelis, our newest member, PM'd me last night asking my my EPA rating was so crappy, because there's no way to tell. It would be the same situation if you weren't allowed to display your del Sol, no one would know you'd given up a pristine, low-mileage pimp wagon for a busted on VX, and you wouldn't get that credit.
Iono peoples, just think we ought to do something out of mostest fairness, but if we can't all agree then it'll just stay like it is.
I don't think we'll ever get "fairness" in vehicle comparisons since the EPA numbers are not consistent between vehicles to begin with. Using EPA as the basis of any top ten list is flawed from the start.
Dan and I have already concluded (if you don't mind me speaking for you, Dan) that it's harder to beat the EPA rating in our purpose-designed "efficient" cars which have been optimized (some more than others) by the manufacturers to perform close to their maximum efficiency in the EPA test cycles, with the result that they "peak" sooner than other cars in % over EPA comparisons.
% over EPA is really fairly meaningless when the Flea achieves its EPA highway rating at 59 mph (when tested in May in its configuration at that time), yet my mom's Camry does it at 72 mph. Guess which car would make me look like a hypermiler star? I think we would somehow have to account for that kind of fundamental difference to be able to make things "fair".
As for vehicle mods, if you take a CX hatch and put a VX drivetrain in it, I think you should use VX figures in the gaslog. You haven't done anything the Honda engineers haven't tried already.
But if you create a combination of drivetrain/body components that simply doesn't exist, or improve the vehicle in ways that the engineers didn't originally attempt, then stick with the original EPA figs, and get points for trying harder than the manufacturer.