Automatic Transmission "best speed" test... - Fuelly Forums

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Old 04-04-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
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Post Automatic Transmission "best speed" test...

Well, been lurking and adding gaslog entries for a while now, and finally have something that is possibly worth posting... possibly. Wife had a late work night, so took the opportunity to do a little "optimum speed" testing. I've theorized about it (at least, for my car), but finally had a moment to test it out. I drive a 2002 Ford ZX2 with the 4-speed automatic (I think it is a kind of CVT-ish thing, but the shifter shows 4 speeds. I have a small air dam, Amsoil 0-20w and a K&N filter. Anyway, here you go:

I've wanted to know what the best speed was for this car, mileage-wise. To that end, I went up and down a 1.5 mile stretch of road near my home, resetting the Scanguage trip MPG after I got up to the testing speed. The road is two-lane with some straights and some curves, with a fair amount of ups and downs. I'm not sure what the overall elevation change is, but one end of the test section is higher than the other, making "uphill" and a "downhill" runs. I used cruise control for the testing.

OK, on to the results...

Remember, 1.5 miles, uphill and downhill...

55 MPH Up = 36.2 MPG
55 MPH Dn = 39.0 MPG
Avg. = 37.6 MPG

50 MPH Up = 38.8 MPG
50 MPH Dn = 42.1 MPG
Avg. = 40.45 MPG

45 MPH Up = 41.6 MPG
45 MPH Dn = 46.2 MPG
Avg. = 43.9 MPG

40 MPH Up = 38.7 MPG
40 MPH Dn = 41.1 MPG
Avg. = 39.9 MPG

I've always speculated that somewhere around 43-45 MPH was the best speed for this automatic car. I think that at 40 MPH, the torque converter wasn't fully locking up (that's a guess). If I had attempted 35 MPH, I'm prettty sure the transmission would have bounced between 3rd and 4th. Plus, I probably would have been run over.

Anyway, I'm happy to have finally tested this out, even on this short section of road. I'm wondering if other owners of automatic cars are experiencing the same things. I won't double post it, but maybe this should go in the automatic section...

I love coming to the site and seeing what the latest information is. What a great place to learn and exchange ideas on what is a very important topic!

-John
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:47 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure that nobody was selling CVT-equipped cars in 2002, your ZX2 almost certainly has a regular 4 speed automatic with a torque converter. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/FEG/noframes/17420.shtml says it's a 4 speed automatic.

Anyway, good research.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
I'm pretty sure that nobody was selling CVT-equipped cars in 2002, your ZX2 almost certainly has a regular 4 speed automatic with a torque converter. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/FEG/noframes/17420.shtml says it's a 4 speed automatic.

Anyway, good research.
Audi FWD application was. only on the A4 I believe. Only with the 1.8T.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:55 PM   #4
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Hmmm... I'm sure you're right. It's probably a 4-speed with a very active TC. Really the only reason I put that was information from a website that I can't find anymore that said something to that effect. It really is an odd transmission... sometimes you can accelerate from 10 or 15 MPH to 55 or so, without the tachometer moving more than a couple hundred RPM. Anybody know for sure if this is even a lockup TC? And a speed?
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:21 PM   #5
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It's most definately a lockup converter. As for the speed, you're probably right. Most automatics will lock the TC around 40-45 at part throttle but it doesn't take much to get it out of lock that low. 45 sounds about right for a speed that goes in to and keeps tc lock.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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I have a 99 zx2 and i have found that it locksup at 42 mph. I too sometime think is a cvt cause the engine rpm's don't seem to vary much while accelerating I can keep at 2100-2200 and watch my speedo rise and rpm's stay the same. i'm using the rpm readout on the scanguage not the indash tach.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:55 PM   #7
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Most automatics act like that at light throttle. My 88 cressida, the 90, both the family buicks, most of the cars I've driven at work (I work in a shop so that's quite a few) usually 1st is noticeable but others just sorta slide by.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:21 PM   #8
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MMMMMMM, my Insight is a CVT, so was the Honda Civic Hybrid, as well as the HX. Nissan Murano started as a 03 Model in the latter half of 02.

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gary
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