I have a situation. I am planning on seeing America. I wanted to do this in a motorhome but their mileage is just too poor. So I bought the smallest thing that I could live out of for months at the time. I have a 2008 Chevrolet Express Van 3500 with a 6.0L V-8. Its a 15 passenger van with the seats removed. In stock clothes she only gets 16 MPG. Where should I start?
I'm curious: Why did you choose the 6.0 powered 3500 instead of a lighter (but equally large) Express with a smaller engine?
GM generally does a good job of providing efficient gears but they offer shorter gears as options for people who do no highway driving or prefer faster acceleration. Read the RPO codes from the label in the glovebox and feed them into an online RPO decoder to see a complete list of equipment, including your rear end. I imagine that the 3.73 ratio would be a good match for that vehicle, but that's just a guess. How does it feel on the highway? Does it need to downshift every time you get a gust of headwind, or does it hold 4th gear even while you accelerate up a hill?
That all said, do you plan to do mostly freeway driving or mostly country/town/city roads?
You can certainly increase tire pressure. The van is almost certainly equipped with load range E tires good for 80psi, but the label on the van may specify 65psi. Take them right up to 80psi.
Are you willing to make it ugly? You could add a nose cone and kammback or boattail (search the site for those terms).
I bet that his inefficiencies are going to be in the drivetrain and engine a lot more than in the aero. I would start with some scan gauge readings and how much juice that thing is sucking down. I will plug Synlube here one more time . . . Just think about NOT CHANGING OIL for the years to come AND getting better gas mileage.
theholycow ...... I bought the van because I found a steal of a deal. It books for $19,950.00 and I was able to buy it for almost half that. And, the 3500 from Chevrolet or GMC is the extra long wheelbase. So, it's what I've got to work with.
I just picked it up Wednesday so I haven't had it on the road yet. But, I'm gonna do both country road and highway / Interstate driving. I'm really trying to get my MPGs up for long haul highway driving.
I don't think I'm ready for a nosecome or boat tail but I was thinking about an air dam and side skirts ...... maybe a belly pan ..... what do you thin about those options?
Air dam, side skirts, and belly pan may help. You could probably find some aero running boards (commonly found on conversion vans) to use as sideskirts that would look decent and install easily. Grill blocking may help too.
JanGoe ...... Synlube? Is that a brand or just any synthetic oil would do?
It's a non-petroleum lubricant which needs changing every 100,000-150,000 miles and is composed of colloidal particles of moly, Teflon and graphite which are the lubricating components. It actually is a solid lubricant suspended in a liquid. Synlube.com sells various types of lube for the engine, power steering, tranny and gear lubes that last a lot longer than conventional lubricants and reduce friction and wear resulting in much greater fuel economy and oil change savings over the life of the vehicle.