I'm currently driving a 1997 Dodge Intrepid, 3.3/auto. I'm going to add a vacuum gauge to it at some point and wonder if it would really be neccessary. As it is, I drive the car as such that the rpm's stay right around 1500 during acceleration and cruise. Only in first gear do I need to go up to 1800-2000 to get it to shift to second, and only on level or uphill grades. At 1500rpm with minimal throttle input, once it hits fourth gear and goes into lockup, I can go 50mph. I don't need to go much faster but on the interstate I do get 2000rpm at 65mph which is at the bottom end of the torque peak for this engine.
I am just curious to know if this is the ideal driving style for this car or if I should try the vacuum gauge out and see if it allows for more efficient driving with higher rpms during acceleration? Or am I doing fine as is? I have yet to fill the tank twice to calculate mileage (too broke to afford it).
With the auto the best way is to get up to speed quickly. at least up to the speed where your tranny will shift into OD. once the tc is locked then slower acceleration is better. Watching a vacuum gauge may help, watching my instant mpg on the scan gauge really helps with my mpg.
I drive a 1993 Eagle Vision, which is in the same mold as your Intrepid. It is essentially the same for me. Too broke to afford to fill it up. I'd take ELF's advice. Run it at about 2,000 rpms once you get up to 4th gear (i believe it's around 40 - 45?) and then accelerate slowly from there. With my car it has enough power that it still accelerates pretty quickly even though I'm 'taking it easy' in 4th gear.
I wouldn't suggest the 'creep and crawl' method at all. I did that and kept it at about 1,500 RPMs and saw below EPA FE.