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Old 02-13-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
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Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

Hello everybody. I've been interested in the whole "eco thing" for some time, and have been squeezing every penny I can out of a tank of fuel for my 98 Pontiac Sunfire (2.2L Auto 4 spd).

I've been reading this forum for the past two weeks, and finally became a member the other day. The knowledge on this forum is amazing!

Living here in Eastern Canada we are right in the middle of a cold winter, and my gas mileage is sure letting me know!

The car has quite a few kms on it. 280,000 to be exact, but i've replaced just about every sensor, and filter on the thing since i've owned it (3 years). It's been a great car and runs well!

I've always believed in using synthetic products, and in turn my sunfire has had synthetic 5w30 in it for the three years. Current oil is Royal Purple.
What is everyone's view on Royal Purple? Previously I had been using Lucas 5w30.

In the past two weeks i've done a few things:
Cut a 3 inch hole in the air box and ran a 3 inch flex dryer hose to the exhaust manifold, removed my long antenna and replaced it with a smaller flexible rubber antenna. I have removed the licence plate that was mounted directly in the middle of my "v" shaped nose cone (figured this might have some wind resistance).

The tires on the car are winter studded at the moment and are at 32psi. The sidewall says "MAX 35 PSI". Should i inflate these more?

I've been doing a lot of coasting in Neutral when I can (ie coming to a stop sign, red light, or going down hill).

So far I haven't noticed much of a difference in fuel mileage. Six days ago I put 36 Liters of fuel in the car, and i've gone only about 280kms. So for roughly 3/4 of a tank i've only gone roughly 300kms.

EPA Average for this car is 23 city 25 hwy.

I'd like to get more out of it!

I've ordered a vacuum gauge to install on the dash, and i plan on doing a front end block-out with a front belly pan in the near future.

I know a scangauge would be a good option, but i'm a bit low on extra funds for one at the moment.


Any added tips would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

-winter tires are gonna suck (that's just what they do)

-winter gas yields less MPG and you may want to check and see if you are running E10 gas.

-there is an alternative to the scangauge 2. the ultragauge is around half the cost. google it, it's pretty neat.

-the sunfire is very similar to the cavalier (I think the same). my car is a '97 cavalier. if it works for one, it should for the other.

-grill block should do well for you (especially in canada)

good luck to you and your quest, I have had my car for close to 8 years now. I will say that my car doesn't go nuts but given the EPA estimate, I feel pretty good about it. mine is an auto trans as well. the scansauge was a huge help. I also have an ultragauge (in my other car). my conversion sucks but we may have close to the same mileage. I have 227k miles (not sure in kms)

****edit****

depending on how you feel about looks, I could give you some pointers on the grill block. I have been running with a WAI for a while on mine. my temps don't go that high and yea, it helps a little.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:19 PM   #3
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

I hear ya about the winter killing gas mileage, I was just starting to see some gains in fuel economy of my neon, until slme -15'C weather started coming around lol. I just put a warm air intake on mine, but I only check gas mileage on tank to tank averages so no way to tell if its helping yet.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:48 AM   #4
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

25 mpg highway is awful for a 4 cylinder.
How are you calculating your mpg?
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:13 AM   #5
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

Very cold weather and driving in snow will destroy your gas mileage. Especially if he is doing what I do, and just using tank to tank fill ups to calculate mpg. Running your car for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning to warm it up certainly doesnt help mpgs either, nothing worse than cold motor,high idle and not moving for mpg lol.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #6
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

-trado,

I think those are his EPA numbers. I will admit it seems a little low given the spread of mine but for whatever reason, they rate these cars horribly. I know my car has never done as bad as the EPA combined even before I gave a crap.

they are big motors but they are still small cars. even in winter with snow and warmup times, I think I barely dip back into the 20s (MPG wise).

-to the OP,

you may want to start a gaslog. it will tell you what works and what doesn't at a glance. you can also see the wonderful rollercoaster which is summer and winter gas. mine is very obvious. I really haven't done anything crazy in a few years so the rollercoastering effect is really constant (at least I think so)

-2000neon,

are you a canadian as well? just curious.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:01 PM   #7
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

Yup, sorry I never really introduced myself at all in this forum, I'm canadian too, I live in southern ontario, about an hour west of Toronto. Our winter has sucked here so my gas mileage hasnt taken its usual hit, but definitely still seeing the effect of it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

Quote:
Originally Posted by tradosaurus View Post
25 mpg highway is awful for a 4 cylinder.
How are you calculating your mpg?
Hi there,

I have been keeping my fuel receipts (that show liters purchased) and keeping track of kms with my trip meter. I then take this info and have a found an online MPG calculator, so I enter the information and that's what it's giving me.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

Quote:
Originally Posted by BEEF View Post
-winter tires are gonna suck (that's just what they do)

-winter gas yields less MPG and you may want to check and see if you are running E10 gas.

-there is an alternative to the scangauge 2. the ultragauge is around half the cost. google it, it's pretty neat.

-the sunfire is very similar to the cavalier (I think the same). my car is a '97 cavalier. if it works for one, it should for the other.

-grill block should do well for you (especially in canada)

good luck to you and your quest, I have had my car for close to 8 years now. I will say that my car doesn't go nuts but given the EPA estimate, I feel pretty good about it. mine is an auto trans as well. the scansauge was a huge help. I also have an ultragauge (in my other car). my conversion sucks but we may have close to the same mileage. I have 227k miles (not sure in kms)

****edit****

depending on how you feel about looks, I could give you some pointers on the grill block. I have been running with a WAI for a while on mine. my temps don't go that high and yea, it helps a little.

Beef,

Thanks for the reply. I may look at getting some info from you about a frontal block-off, and lower pan.

I looked around at the gas stations here today, and from what I can tell there isn't any E10 in the fuels around here yet. I normally run shell (bronze) if I can. Our shell gas is infused with nitrogen apparently. Ethanol hasn't really made it to atlantic Canada yet from what I can tell.

What do you think about pumping up my winter tires a bit more? The sidewall max is 35. Would it hurt to put 40 in them? Do I risk a blow out?

Thanks again for your info!
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:19 PM   #10
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Re: Hard time getting more MPG - 98' Sunfire

if you can go to a "hotter" thermostat, that would help. some manufacturers go with something less than 195*F. try a 195 if you dont already have one.

also, amsoil and mobile1 make a 0w30 synthetic. heck you could even go 0w20 in winter. i wouldnt run it in the summer however, but thats just me. your fuel gains will not likely be measurable, but you'll have quicker, better lube in the cold!

also, many credit and gas cards give rewards or cash back...not really fuel savings, but savings none the less.

edit: i just noticed your vintage and miles...you might stay away from 20 weight, unless of course, you're certain of no engine wear.
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