1989 Ford E 350 Class C Motorhome - Fuelly Forums

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Old 11-20-2007, 11:19 PM   #1
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1989 Ford E 350 Class C Motorhome

Hi all,
Yes, as odd as it may sound - a 1989 TransVan is my daily driver. Thankfully, I don't drive daily.
The simple fact of the matter is I drive less than 100 miles a month, but with gas prices escalating and a good chance I will be increasing my traveling this next summer, (Vacationing) I thought perhaps I could glean a little something to increase my current 12 MPG.
Thus far I have read strings about the use of synthetic oils (engine, tranny and rear end), changing out the side mirrors to a more aerodynamically designed styling, belly pans? (The question mark here is only to denote that I am unsure what the specific shape I am shooting for and which areas of the undercarraige should be enclosed for greatest effect.) swaping out the headlights to the new sealed beams for better aerodynamics, and disconnecting the air conditioner.
Disconnecting the alternator is not an option I would even consider.
The vehicle has a 460 C.I. with fuel injection, there is less that 1000 miles on it since a complete rebuild. The chasis has 60,000 miles. The vehicle is in Tip-Top condition in and out.
I did consider converting it to bi-fuel (LP gas), but have read many horror stories of early engine failure due to excessive heat related problems.
Lastly, I keep seeing ScanGauges mentioned - please tell me where to buy these, approximate costs and connecting issues (How tos).
Why would I have this as my daily driver - thats a little tricky - but suffice it to say that I am pensioned and my pension stipulates I may only own 1 vehicle - and since I often must travel to medical facilities away from home - the motorhome offers me a place to stay while on those extended visits.

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Old 11-21-2007, 04:16 AM   #2
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you may want to look at a (partial) grillblock, and other aeromods. go over the vehicle and see if there are any (big)things sticking out that could desturb the airflow... things like doorhandles, rooftracks, hatches.... some of these things might not be needed and could be removed, or made more aerodynamic by fairings etc. it seems that bulky vehicles and especially motorhomes wich are not very earodynamic to begin with are often outfitted with a lot of stuff further spoiling the airflow... also depending on the design it might not be to difficult to fabricate some (partial) rear wheel skirts that will actually improve the looks of the vehicles as well as the FE


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Old 11-21-2007, 06:20 AM   #3
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Oooo, I've always wanted one of those. Nice pad on wheels, and unlike the gargantuan POSs I see around here probably decent mileage too. If ya do a lot of highway I'd look into fabing a boat tail and underbody panels if they aren't there already. Maybe some tires w/ a high sidewall pressure, although it'll be a while before ya need to replace the tires given your driving. Just go slow in town and try to stay off the brakes.
Originally Posted by FormulaTwo
I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:40 AM   #4
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Scangauge won't work on an 89. If it is fuel injected you can use a supermid $170ish, or if you happen to have installed a computer in your car you might assemble a DIY MPG Gauge.

Otherwise a simple vacuum guage in the dash can be used to help you optimize your cruise mpg, but it'll still leave you in the dark on acceleration techniques. Better than nothing and certainly affordable.
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Old 11-23-2007, 05:46 PM   #5
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A partial grillblock - is this exactly what it sounds like - a flat surface that covers and blocks the grille? Won't this cause the operating temperature rise substantially?
As for stuff hanging off the sides or top - there is little - the roof top AC airconditioner has a streamlined cowling - and the roof vent also has a rounded dome that seals tightly to the roof surface when closed - the proper adjustment when in transport.
Not sure how I would add a boat tail as the cabin entrance is in the rear, but perhaps some sort of detachable cone might be possible.
Perhaps I could add an overdrive to the tranny.
Or how about adding a computerized system that controls how many cylinders actually operate during driving - I know Cadillac ran a system that could run on 8 - 6 or 4? Is this fisiable?
Oh perhaps I should also note: I also carry a recumbant trike with me that I use as my main source of travel once I have reached my location. Love them PPVs!
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:33 AM   #6
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TRANSVAN! Nice! I was looking at those when I got my Toyota. In hind site, I almost should of gotten one of those instead. 12MPG is pretty good. I run about 14 - 15 in my Toy. All I can say is jack up the air in the tires a bit more if you're comfortable with that and ditto on the vacuum gauge. OD tranny is a bit of work but feasible since they were around that year but if you were going to that trouble you might as well find a 7.3 diesel and drop it in there.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #7
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Might be a candidate for AirTabs...high pressure tires...FIA Grill Skirt (Adjustable so you can control temps)...Electric fan and maybe water pump? since you drive so few miles...

A pic might help
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD...Founder of L.O.S.T.
OME 2.25" Lift w/ Toyo Open Country HTs 235/75/16s
ASFIR Alum Eng/Tranny/Transfercase/Fuel Skids
2002 Air Box Mod...Air Tabs (5) on Roof...(3)each behind rear windows
Partial Grill Block with Custom Air Scoop and 3" Open Catback Exhaust
Lambretta UNO150cc 4 Stroke Scooter

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Old 12-01-2007, 01:14 AM   #8
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ClassCTransVaner -

Welcome to GS! Is this what your Transvan looks like? :

Attachment 1117

Looks like there's lots of opportunity to improve the aerodynamics.

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Old School SW2 EPA ... New School Civic EPA :

What's your EPA MPG? https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorSelectYear.jsp
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:10 AM   #9
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Yes, thats it!

Yes, that picture is accurate except the color - mine is green and gold. and doesn't have the antenae over cab or the fog lights. I think some other vehicles roof accesories are in the shot you present - on mine only the rear AC unit is visible from that angle.

On another subject: Has anyone used the Fitch Catalyst - they claim that the addition of one of these in the fuel line will increase mileage by 1 - 2.2 MPG plus add HP. They have several respectable companies reviewing and giving the 2 thumbs up.


Oh I should mention - for simply getting around town or at other locations - I ride a 21 speed recumbant trike. (At least during Spring, Summer and Fall)

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