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Old 07-10-2008, 10:54 PM   #1
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Weight Reduction for better FE

I was thinking about some of the things you can do to your car to get better fuel economy and thought weight reduction is a great way to up the MPG. The rule of thumb is for every 100 lbs you shave off you get 1-2 % better MPG.

I have a Civic VX and I am going to weigh my spare tire and other parts when I get a chance. I will update this post accordingly so please checkback.

Weight Reduction:

Spare Tire - Take out (18.6 lbs)
Jack and Tools - Take out (4.9 lbs)
Hood - upgrade to Carbon Fiber or Alloy Hood (appx 15 lbs savings?)
Fenders - upgrade to Carbon Fiber or Alloy Hood (appx 5 lbs savings?)
Passenger Side Seat - Take out (appx 15 lbs savings?)
Battery - Upgrade to Lighter Weight Battery (approx 25 lbs weight savings)
Wheels - What could be lighter than the Civic VX rims?
AC Compressor - Removal ( I will weigh the weight savings, appx 15 lbs)

What other mods can you think of?
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:41 AM   #2
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well, skipping the blah-blah about stripping a car for FE and the ramifications, here's some examples:

1.strip out the sound deadener under the carpet. It's tar based, and very heavy. My car has (had) 45-50lbs in this.
2.The carpet. Mine was 22lbs. It still is, somewhere in a trashpile....
3.Misc. metal parts on the car. I had a few parts that if I crash, aren't going to help structure. Out they go. About 10lbs I lost there.
4.Wiring: holy moly, I stripped mine down, removed 35lbs in copper wiring. Who would have thought?
5.Power steering. Lots get by without it, its worth looking into at the least.
6.Single ply sidewall tires, short tread, etc. Good tire selection can save a lot of weight. Study the tires you want, and compare weights. Makes a difference.
6.Driver. Seriously. Lose weight if you can. I can't, I'm already a twig.
7.Keep it clean inside, don't haul anything more than you need, bare minimum.
8.I went even crazier and took a dremel to any small tabs or weld nuts of metal that weren't needed. All the little plastic tabs holding the wiring in place, all the tape wrap. It adds up.

MT is pretty slack on vehicle laws, so I removed my dash, every bit of it. No heater, no ducting, no big clunky plastic dash. Just the metal support bar, with gauges custom mounted to it. My backup car is the definition of stripped. I don't know if photobucket supports user searching, but if it does search for "almightybeamer" and you'll find some pics of my car in various stages. Search for "almightybmw" on picasa (the google pic thing) as well, a few pics up there.

Mind you, I DO NOT daily drive this car, it is strictly for rally and off road fun. The Grand Prix is for daily driving.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:37 AM   #3
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just remember the pay off for those numbers. 1% of lets say 50 MPG is only 0.5MPG so to get 1 MPG better, you have to take out 200 pounds (and I know it is just a rule of thumb).

the taking stuff out is free though it does take away from the versatility of the vehicle (no seats = no passengers) but what about all that carbon fiber material. it gets expensive. I know this is a site devoted to saving gas but you have to look at overall cost as well. if you spend a couple hundred for the hood and a couple hundred on the fenders maybe a trunk lid. it is going to add up fast. will you ever see enough of a savings to pay for your upgrades? depends on how long you have the car but usually not.

there is a cool factor in this that many people don't even think of. if you want to do this to have a different look or because you think that it is cool to have a really light car, then go for it. if it is just for the FE involved, I would look into other things like grill block or aero mods, maybe even a WAI. those will pay off faster than weight reduction mostly because of the low (if any) initial cost.

*edit* also the safety factor. I don't need my spare or my jack all the time but one time when I get a flat is going to kill all my savings in gas because of the hassle of having to get it taken care of and depending on where I get the flat, it may put my life in danger too.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:29 AM   #4
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Drag racers go off the deep end and do things like cross drill every nut.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suprapsu View Post
weight reduction is a great way to up the MPG. The rule of thumb is for every 100 lbs you shave off you get 1-2 % better MPG.
I know this isn't the question you asked, but I have to put in my two cents worth. I don't think the results will materialize. I don't know where that rule of thumb came from, but in my study and observations it doesn't seem to actually work.

It certainly could work for someone who drive the opposite of the way any hypermiler would drive -- hard acceleration, never coasting, accelerating right up until it's necessary to stop short for a red light. Even then, it will only affect city driving...and even then, the "100lb = 1-2%" numbers would actually vary depending on the existing weight and FE of the car. For heavier cars you'd probably have to remove way more than 100lbs to get 1-2%, even under those driving conditions.

For people who have even very mild hypermiling practices, I believe that merely reducing weight won't help. It seems to me that the only way a lighter car would benefit such a person is if they can get a more efficient, less powerful engine to go with the lighter weight. Basic entry-level hypermiling strategies (coasting to red lights and accelerating at mild to moderate rates) really help to reduce the effect of existing weight.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:57 AM   #6
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Ive driven with my spare tire, jack at home for a few years. its great for the small fuel savings, but you will wind up paying more for

1) calling your friend or family to go to your house, get the stuff, and come to you. it will waste them gas, and in the end you probably have to treat them to dinner or something (20 bucks and up)

2)you will waste more time, since you friend/family member couldnt do it right away, since you cant change the flat within 10 minutes at the side of the road


the other stuff taken out is ok, as long as you do the math. taking out the passenger seat would be good, since its about 35 lbs, seats 1 person. the back seats weigh about the same, but seats 3. so you will still be capable of sitting 4 in a civic
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:07 AM   #7
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ya i highly doubt just taking out the spare tire and jack are goign to help anything but hinder you when you get a flat (most likely be when snowing, snowy road, rainy, bad area, etc... its never bright and sunny on the side of an empty country road...

like someone said up there your going to have to really strip your car of everything that makes it comfy/looks nice/quiet inside and then some...
so if your really ready to be driving around a demo derby car be my guest
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:09 AM   #8
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I always carry a small 12volt compressor and a tire plug kit. I have found that I can plug a hole in my tire and refill it with air faster than I can change to my spare. Everyone tells me that they have heard that the plugs are dangerous, but I have done a dozen of them over the years and they have always lasted the life of the tire.

I still carry the spare in the event of a blow out (that happened once too- no plugs in this one).

If you choose to drive without a spare, a plug kit and a foot operated air pump might cost 2 extra pounds but be a little insurance. Oh- don't forget the pliers to pull out nails/screws, glass etc..
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:25 AM   #9
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yea plug kits work, as logn as its a puncture hole and not a slice or a torn hole. also cant work for sidewall punctures
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:24 AM   #10
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Plugs work fine for me, and are quicker/easier than changing the tire. They're not dangerous, though to be 100% proper you should get the tire patched too; US DOT standard (and law everywhere in the US, AFAIK) is to plug + patch, not just one or the other.

If you roll into the average local tire place with a puncture they're probably just going to plug it and leave it at that, so you might as well save $15 and DIY.

Still carry the spare anyway, there's a lot of non-puncture tire failure modes.
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