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Old 10-10-2012, 03:09 PM   #221
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i suspect wind speed differences. You barely notice an average 10-20 mph head wind, but from an mpg view, that is similar to adding 10-20 mph to your speed. Wind resistance is a big component to mpg over ~ 45 mph. Double that delta if you had a head wind one way, and a tail wind the other.

-erd50
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:20 PM   #222
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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Good point on ethanol blends. Ethanol provides less energy than "pure" gas so mpg will be less all else being equal. In US EPA testing of flex-fuel capable vehicles, mpg ratings for E85 is ~25-30% less than on gas. This suggests ~5% less mpg using 15% ethanol vs "pure" gas.
Re- reg vs mid/premium, 3.5L 6cyl in my late 2001 300M (loved that car) got same mpg on repeated testing over same 15mi commute using mid (Chrysler rec), reg, or premium. OTOH- my last Chrysler 3.8L minivan consistently got 10+% worse mpg dropping to reg from recommended mid-grade. Prem was no better than mid. Keeping some good mpg stats (actual gals vs mi driven calc, not car's mpg computer) can help track your car's efficiency (and promptly ID/fix prob's like bad O2 sens, lightly dragging brake, etc.).

But best fuel $$ saver over long haul is driving habits.
Gas Mileage Tips - Driving More Efficiently
and
Top 100 Fuel Economy Tips - Hypermiling Forum
I think you're right but also consider the chemistry...ethanol has a higher octane and could therefore benefit from changing some of the engine parameters such as timing.

Most reports I've read said 10% ethanol would result in a 1-2% decrease in fuel economy...which is barely noticeable given all the other conflicting factors. I'm sure odd things can happen in some circumstances, but if you're seeing 10% drop in fuel mileage, there's likely some other factor involved.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:26 PM   #223
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How do you feel about running fuel injector cleaner through your engine every 20K or so?
IMO snake oil
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:28 PM   #224
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11. When you wax your car (If you hire someone to wax your car, that’s fine…but they won’t do this…you’ll have to do it yourself), focus on areas like edges and recesses. Examples include inside the gas cap area, the lips around the trunk lid when you open the trunk, the edges of doors and hoods, etc. You cannot properly wax a car without having the doors, hood, and trunk open. Think about it…how often have you seen a car with a rust hole in the CENTER of a panel? Never…things always rust from the edges….so make sure you wax those areas.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #225
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Wind speed and direction have a significant impact on those of us driving/pulling RV's. On flat roads a strong 20+ mph headwind vs. tailwind can change my fuel mileage by 25% to 35% (10 mpg vs. 13.5 mpg).
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:05 PM   #226
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Of course, in my case, using the same fuel, the variations in MPG are most likely caused by the wind. And a 10-mph wind is enough to have a noticeable effect.

I have absolutely no problem with that; wind drag goes up as the square of airspeed (I have spent quite a few years working on manned and unmanned things that went airborne).

The reason I never thought about this was that the trip was short enough that I never stopped for a rest or for refueling. Yet, the route is over varying terrains in a mountainous area, and the wind along the way may vary greatly from trip to trip. I never thought of it because I did not stop to get outside the car to observe. This is an example of how one can overlook something right under his nose.

And I remember one extreme case that I experienced. In the 80s, we used to make road trips to visit my aunt in the LA area. The one-way distance was a little less than 400 mi. On a 20-gal tank, and with the gas mileage in those days, if I refilled when the tank was 1/8 full, I could almost reach my aunt's place driving non-stop. There was only one time that I did not have to refuel. Most of the time, I did not want to push it, and had to refuel about 30 or 40 miles out.

Then, there was this single time I had to refuel in Indio. That was about 50 miles out from where I usually stopped, for a range of about 290 mi instead of the usual 340 mi. That's a huge difference.

So, I thought to myself, the engine got some real trouble, and I might need to look into it. When I pulled into the gas station, stopped and opened the door, my question was answered. I had to lean 30 deg into the wind to walk. The MPG ratio was a lot worse than the 290/340 = 85%, because that wind was not blowing the entire 290 miles, only over a shorter leg.

Some people here would know how strong the wind can be in Indio or Banning, where they have been erecting electric windmills since the 70s. On some days, it can even be a hell of a lot stronger than it usually is, as I found out, though the wind direction stays fairly constant.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:00 PM   #227
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OK, so let's get back to engine knock or detonation.

Back in the 70s, which means I am talking about cars that were made in the late 60s as well as the early 70s, my family and I had so many problems with engine knock and dieseling on different cars. Yes, remember the engine running-on problem after you shut off the ignition, on a hot day?

Nowadays, with fuel injection instead of carburetors, once one shuts off the ignition, there is no fuel to feed the engine. So dieseling can never happen with FI.

I remember back then that, short of removing the heads and cleaning up the carbon deposits, one could only try different fuel additives to remove that carbon. There was only one brand, a more expensive one, that would work. I cannot remember that now.

What was/is your experience?
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:08 PM   #228
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OK, so let's get back to engine knock or detonation. ...

I remember back then that, short of removing the heads and cleaning up the carbon deposits, one could only try different fuel additives to remove that carbon. There was only one brand, a more expensive one, that would work. I cannot remember that now.

What was/is your experience?
Rev up the engine (grabbing the throttle arm with your hand) while spritzing water into the carb throat with the other hand. Theory was that the water basically 'steam-cleaned' the carbon deposits off. I guess you would not know for sure w/o removing the head to see. But it seemed to work.

The warning was not to get too much water in at once - too much water could cause a flood in a piston, and the non-compressible liquid could damage the engine. But I'd assume the engine would just quit before that could happen.

I recall we had a car that was having a moderate knock problem, it was noticeable under medium/hard acceleration. We drove to Milwaukee one day (~ 80 miles), and on the way back was a steady rain and mist from the highway. About 2/3 of the way home, the knocking stopped. I attributed it to the constant moisture being sucked in and blowing out the carbon, but who knows? Could have just been the sustained highway speeds, with or w/o the added moisture.

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Old 10-10-2012, 08:02 PM   #229
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Love the thought of the old days when we used to floor it to "blow out the carbon" and lay down some rubber, as well.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:34 PM   #230
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Love the thought of the old days when we used to floor it to "blow out the carbon" and lay down some rubber, as well.
Yes - it seems like yesterday - it was - but I don't have the gearing and skinny tires like the old days
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:03 PM   #231
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Theory was that the water basically 'steam-cleaned' the carbon deposits off. I guess you would not know for sure w/o removing the head to see. But it seemed to work.
-ERD50
I never heard of this trick back when I needed it. But now hearing about your method, I am sure that it would work. Here's why.

Some time in the early 80s, I had to pull the head off my 1975 280Z. The head gasket had blown, and coolant got into one cylinder. The cylinder dome and the top of the piston were super clean!

Anyway, I have not worked on as many engines as some people here (I am no car enthusiast, and only did it to save money), but have pulled heads of 5 engines in my life. The first 3 were off older cars in the carburetion days, and the last 2 were on cars with FI. The ones with carburetors were crusted with carbon deposit, and the ones with FI were a lot cleaner. In fact, without pulling the heads, one could guess just by looking at the spark plugs. FI was that much better for clean combustion, I guess.

A sentimental and nostalgic guy like I am, I have no fondness of the old V8s of yesteryear. They leaked like a sieve, ran noisy, and did not last all that long, and needed all kinds of maintenance while they ran.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:11 AM   #232
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Hungry electrons

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Originally Posted by youbet View Post

Help me with this one. Since cold wires have less resistance than warm wires, how would warming the wires get you extra "oomph" from your car battery?

The battery being warmer would help, but not the wires.

Or is there something else going on here?
What is happening is that the electrons that run through the cable for only a short time, become 'hungry' electrons that are anxious to complete the electrical path and get more energy from the battery. Therefore, they move more quickly through the wire than the more satiated electrons. I thought everybody knew this.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:20 AM   #233
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Good point on ethanol blends. Ethanol provides less energy than "pure" gas so mpg will be less all else being equal. In US EPA testing of flex-fuel capable vehicles, mpg ratings for E85 is ~25-30% less than on gas. This suggests ~5% less mpg using 15% ethanol vs "pure" gas.
IMHO, mixing ethanol made from corn into gasoline is one of the biggest scams misunderstandings yet heaped on the American public. I think it will be right up there with the "eat high trans-fat margarine instead of butter because it's better for your heart" nonsense misinformed advice that many of us followed for years.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:39 AM   #234
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Love the thought of the old days when we used to floor it to "blow out the carbon" and lay down some rubber, as well.
That's what I recall folks doing. And giving the carb a good dose of carb cleaner to start. The real mechanics I think would remove the carb and soak it cleaner then reinstall.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:47 AM   #235
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That's what I recall folks doing. And giving the carb a good dose of carb cleaner to start. The real mechanics I think would remove the carb and soak it cleaner then reinstall.
The carbon accumulates in the combustion chambers, not in the carburetor.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:50 AM   #236
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IMHO, mixing ethanol made from corn into gasoline is one of the biggest scams misunderstandings yet heaped on the American public. I think it will be right up there with the "eat high trans-fat margarine instead of butter because it's better for your heart" nonsense misinformed advice that many of us followed for years.
Several problems with corn ethanol. It's made from a primary food stock for humans and animal feeds making everything that uses corn more expensive. It's not very effecient, it takes as much or more energy to produce it as what you get out of it.

Brazil uses a waste grass ( sugar cane ) that is not part of the food chain, it can still be used as cattle feed after processing. and it gets a lot more energy out than you put in.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:22 AM   #237
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.............
Brazil uses a waste grass ( sugar cane ) that is not part of the food chain, it can still be used as cattle feed after processing. and it gets a lot more energy out than you put in.
True but not exactly green as they have been clearing rain forest to plant more cane for ethanol production.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:27 AM   #238
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The critics of corn ethanol for fuel are correct (regarding the environment and cost). And now we have a corn shortage due to the drought in the Midwest. I've never seen such sickly corn, never remember farmers cutting corn grown for grain down to use the plant for feed because the cobs had not formed well enough to harvest (some corn was grown to chop for feed while green, but that was rare, and was the intended use). And it worse in central/southern IL.

There was talk of eliminating the fuel subsidy due to the drought, don't know if anything happened. Even Al Gore admits it was a mistake. Wonder what else he might be wrong about?

Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Ethanol : TreeHugger
Quote:
Al Gore says his support for corn-based ethanol subsidies while serving as vice president was a mistake that had more to do with his desire to cultivate farm votes in the 2000 presidential election than with what was good for the environment.
Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Ethanol : TreeHugger

Quote:
"It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."
It ought to serve as a warning about anything else that gets subsidized and/or has greenies jumping on the bandwagon. It needs to be thought out, not just piled on because something about it 'sounds good'.

-ERD50
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:48 AM   #239
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The critics of corn ethanol for fuel are correct (regarding the environment and cost). And now we have a corn shortage due to the drought in the Midwest. I've never seen such sickly corn, never remember farmers cutting corn grown for grain down to use the plant for feed because the cobs had not formed well enough to harvest (some corn was grown to chop for feed while green, but that was rare, and was the intended use). And it worse in central/southern IL.

There was talk of eliminating the fuel subsidy due to the drought, don't know if anything happened. Even Al Gore admits it was a mistake. Wonder what else he might be wrong about?

Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Ethanol : TreeHugger


Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Ethanol : TreeHugger



It ought to serve as a warning about anything else that gets subsidized and/or has greenies jumping on the bandwagon. It needs to be thought out, not just piled on because something about it 'sounds good'.

-ERD50
That subsidy is somehwere between $6-8 billion a year, I realize that's not going to balance the budget, but the real question is: "If ethanol wasn't cheaper than gas because of federal subsidy, and was the same price as regular gas, who would buy it? The answer is almost nobody!
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:05 AM   #240
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True but not exactly green as they have been clearing rain forest to plant more cane for ethanol production.
I thought their major sugar cane production is away from the amazon region. But I was just stating their source of ethanol not whether it was green.

Sugarcane Ethanol and Amazon Rain Forests — Sugarcane Ethanol, the Sweeter Alternative

http://www.tropen.uni-bonn.de/new_we...Home/Myths.pdf
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