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Old 11-21-2008, 07:34 PM   #1
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I hate winter

OK, so winter has set in with a vengeance here in North East Ohio and my MPG has dropped like a stone.

Not only is it cold (we'll drop to 17 tonight! ), dark (both to and from work I have to run headlights and the heater fan, and that won't change for the next 2 months) and snowy (that won't change for at least 3 months), I've had a sharp increase in city driving to haul my two sons back and forth to basketball practice. That, and I think my station has changed to winter blend (how do you find out? )

So with all that, I didn't even make 19 MPG last tank, and I was seeing upwards of 24 just a couple of months ago. That's a 20% drop! This stinks, even with fuel back down to $1.75/gal.

What can I do to help my MPG? I keep my tires at sidewall max, coast in neutral when I can, DWL when I can't, and work hard at timing lights. I'm working with a 12-year old automatic with 200K+ miles, is there anything I can do or is this it? (Cardboard-and-duct-tape mods are not an option, for she-who-must-not-be-denied would not approve. )
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:01 PM   #2
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A grill block will let the car warm up faster, which not only helps FE, but it also warms up the cabin faster too! That's a reason everyone in the household will approve.

A grill block attached to the backside of the grill is just as effective, so you don't have to harm the appearance of the car.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:54 PM   #3
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lol tell me about it, managed 26 in a s-10 driving home from college (4.5 hours at 55-65) headwind/side wind whole way...not to mention was like a high of 32...

last time i went down i got 32 when it was warm sunny and no wind

filled up the chevette today to get 25mpg part of that is due to short trips/my dad driving it while i was away, now the cold isnt gonna help anything

i am very fond of being able to drive 250+ miles and fill up full for $20 lol
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:50 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, there's not much more you can do in the winter that you couldn't have done in the summer.

Grille blocking, as mentioned above, can be done stealth-style behind the grille or directly against the radiator (the latter I described as "radiator blocking" to differentiate since I did it mainly to test cooling in preparation for my grille block). WAI could help too.

Another thing that might help is to pre-heat the interior. I've been thinking of putting a space heater in the car and an extension cord going to the inside of my house. In the morning I'd plug it in and leat it heat the interior so that when I get in I won't need to use the fan and I won't be cold. Of course, that brings up huge fears of causing a fire.

Stealth aero mods include better hubcaps, removing the FM antenna (improves reception with an FM transmitter on your iPod and you can still pull in local or strong stations), and a belly pan.
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:17 AM   #5
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I removed my FM antenna and installed an inline FM modulator on my radio for my MP3 player. The MP3 player works great through the radio, and stations transmitting within ~20 miles are listenable w/o too much objectionable static. There are about 3 or 4 stations that come in perfectly clear, even with no antenna on my truck.

-Jay
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:14 AM   #6
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block heater/ make me love winter
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Old 11-22-2008, 08:56 AM   #7
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Not much you can do. Move to Florida for 3 months. Just get outa there before you have to have the a/c set on full blast all the time.

What I personally noticed is that if I park in the garage it usually doesn't get below 32 in there since I insulated it real good. The vehicle warms up quick. I don't let it sit around ideling as all that does is warm the motor. The rest of the drivetrain is stone cold. I just drive and that way the entire drivetrain warms up together and is more efficient faster thus useing less fuel.

If it is real bitter cold where you live you could get an engine block heater installed. You'll use more power off the grid but less fuel. Kind of a catch 22.

The sooner you can get your vehicle to normal operating temp the less fuel you will consume.

One other thing....don't use your defroster setting for longer than you need it. It runs your a/c to dehumidify. All vehicles do this. So if it's 30 degrees out and you have the defrosters on un-necessarily, you are running your a/c. Once your windows are defrosted switch it to floor or floor/vent. I also installed "in-channel" vent visors ao I can run with the windows cracked and not hamper my aerodynamics.

Just my personal experiences.
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:13 AM   #8
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I thought most vehicles had a defroster cut out temp where if ambient temps are under 38F the compressor doesn't run. Chances are if its 30F outside your compressor isn't running.

-Jay
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GasUser View Post
One other thing....don't use your defroster setting for longer than you need it. It runs your a/c to dehumidify. All vehicles do this.
Most, but not all. My VW doesn't, and that's one of the features I really like. It's great for melting ice off the windshield, or just providing diffused air rather than blowing air at face/feet -- though the VW also has a diffused vent that can be routed instead of the dash vents.

I wonder how hard it is to prevent the A/C from coming on with the defroster on most cars? I'd love to do that in my GMC.
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:37 AM   #10
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A $2 toggle switch from Radio Shack and about 10 feet of 16 gauge wire should do it. Mount the switch to the bottom of your dash. Connect one end of the switch to a good ground. Cut the ground wire to the compressor clutch. Splice in your wire from the dash switch. When the switch is off the clutch will not activate.

-Jay
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