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Corey Bechtold

Increasing Fuel Mileage...

38 posts in this topic

Airjer or any other Mechanical wizards,

I recently bought a 1998 Chev 1500 with the Vortec motor. I have been trying to get it in tip top condition. First I replaced the brake pads and one rotor. Next I scanned the "Service Enging Soon" light and the code lists the EGR valve as a possible culprit. I don't know what that means but I'm sure it's nothing major (according to the dealer the compuer can reset the perameters to turn off the light). The truck has had a lot of warranty work from the original owner and it's in great shape.

That being said I have ran 3 tanks of gas through the truck and the fuel economy has been right around 15mpg. That is a mix of highway and stop and go driving. Is there anything I can do to improve the gas mileage? Also, should I worry about the "S.E.S" light? Lastly, are there any maintanence issues I should look out for with that engine?

Thanks,

Corey Bechtold

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I think you should keep doing what you're doing and get everything up to date as far as filters and basic tune-up stuff. Air filter and fuel filter might not be a bad idea if not done already. I don't think there is a silver bullet to getting a remarkable increase over what you have now as they don't get much more than that on average. Someone will tell you they get 20mpg with the same truck, but there is always one in the crowd that will claim that. Average is just that, and you're probably close to the ballpark.

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This may sound way too simple and kind of stupid but since you didn't mention anything about it I will ask. Have you checked the pressure in your tires? If your tires are under-inflated that can affect your mileage.

How about your air filter? If that is really dirty that can make it harder for the engine to breathe and as a result you would get bad mileage.

Those are two issues I have had experience in the past that are easily remedied.

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i would say to make sure to change your fuel filter. I usually do it every fall, but this year i forgot, and i had to replace a fuel pump, luckily i have two tanks on my '95 Ford F150. Note- I replaced both fuel pumps two summers ago, and had to replace one already. I also went out when it was -25 on Lake winnie

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I have a fuel filter on my tool box right now. The tires are set perfect and the original owner had done the air filter recently.

I thought about trying the K+N air filter and see what happens. I'm not hoping for miracles or anything, just a few extra miles per gallon.

Thanks,

Corey Bechtold

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Don't waste your money on a K&N Air Filter that's not going to help with the Gas mileage.

I'm happy when I get 15 MPG for a tank of Gas in my Chevy Tahoe with 5.7 Vortec I know others that get a little better mileage.

An EGR code would be a concern.

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So no K+N filter huh?

What about Computer chips? Do they do anything?

Later,

Corey Bechtold

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do you have a topper or tonneau cover? when i added the tonneau cover to mine i got an extra 1-2 mpg. also when was the last time the plugs and plug wires were done? i noticed a slight increase on my mileage after i did this. This november i got an honest 22 mpg from bemidji to bigfork (filled up before i left and when i got to bigfork) but this is in a 1990 1500 with a 305

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15 sounds like it’s in the neighborhood. There really isn't a whole lot you can do that you haven't already done. Improper tire pressure can account for around 12% of fuel economy depending on how low and the vehicle. How many miles are on the vehicle? Maybe a fresh set of plugs but again the mileage gain may not be noticeable.

One thing you can try is changing your driving habits for a tank. Coasting to stops and light acceleration can have a noticeable affect on fuel economy.

As far as I know the only thing that the "chips" do is change shift points. There isn't a whole lot, if anything, a "chip" manufacturer can do to change the way a vehicle runs because of federal emissions laws.

I have heard some positives (I have not done any research on this myself) with aftermarket ignition systems. However your looking at some hefty up front money that will take a long time to recover in fuel savings.

Another idea I hear a lot of conversation about is changing gear ratio's. Once again a LOT of up front money that will take a long time to break even.

Quite frankly we drive trucks out of convenience and need. A bigger vehicle gives us a sense of confidence (sometimes false and sometimes to much) on the road. It’s nice to know that it will handle a drive down a muddy trail and make it to the hunting shack. It’s nice to be able to tow the boat and/or haul what needs to be hauled knowing that the vehicle will handle the extra load. The draw back is the mileage but if I had to choose between better fuel economy and the convenience of owning a truck, I'll take the truck every time!

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Quote:

Airjer or any other Mechanical wizards,

I recently bought a 1998 Chev 1500 with the Vortec motor. I have been trying to get it in tip top condition. First I replaced the brake pads and one rotor. Next I scanned the "Service Enging Soon" light and the code lists the EGR valve as a possible culprit. I don't know what that means but I'm sure it's nothing major (according to the dealer the compuer can reset the perameters to turn off the light). The truck has had a lot of warranty work from the original owner and it's in great shape.

That being said I have ran 3 tanks of gas through the truck and the fuel economy has been right around 15mpg. That is a mix of highway and stop and go driving. Is there anything I can do to improve the gas mileage? Also, should I worry about the "S.E.S" light? Lastly, are there any maintanence issues I should look out for with that engine?

Thanks,

Corey Bechtold


I know this one is fairly obvious too... goes along with an earlier post, but....

If you can, keep your foot out of the gas pedal.

In our diesels (I know, not apples to apples) but if we keep them around 65, mpg is around 20. If we run at 75, mpg is around 15, 80 mpg is around 13.

If you've got an overhead computer in it, it's pretty easy to set the cruise, reset the computer, and get an instant response on the mpg.

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Quote:

I have a fuel filter on my tool box right now. The tires are set perfect and the original owner had done the air filter recently.

I thought about trying the K+N air filter and see what happens. I'm not hoping for miracles or anything, just a few extra miles per gallon.

Thanks,

Corey Bechtold


A few extra MPG on 15 is a miracle of sorts. That would be 20% which is a big improvement.

Most of the tweaks being discussed (except perhaps tire pressure) are not going to add up to anywhere near 20% improvement, IMO.

If the SES light is on, I'd have the culprit fixed just to rule out the possibility of that being a factor.

Just off the top of my head, 15 MPG average is a fair bit better than I'm getting with my 94 non-Vortec 5.7L - although I have not checked MPG on it for quite some time.

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THE K&N AIR FILTER WILL GIVE YOU ABOUT ONE OR TWO MILES PER GALLON AND IT WILL SAVE YOU FROM BUYING AIR FILTERS YOU JUST HAVE TO CLEAN YOUR FILTER AND OIL IT. IT WILL PAY FOR ITSELF. IT SEEMS THAT I GET ONE TO TWO MILES PER GALLON IN MY DODGE AND IN MY FORD. MY FRIENDS CHEVY 1500 AND ANOTHERS JETTA. ALL ONE TO TWO MILES PER GALLON.

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Some things I would do:

1. fix the check engine light

2. do the tune up

3. tire pressure

4. drive better (slower, dont accel fast)

5. tonneau cover

6. flush fuel injectors

7. minimum idle time

8. check to make sure no brakes are sticking, wheels spin freely

9. if there is visors, or big tires get rid of them

10. power chips, and k&n filters can help some, but the rest of this list will help more!

If you do all this, it should pick you up a couple miles per gallon!

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A different pickup with different results. A K & N filter in my Toyota pu did increase mileage by 8-10% plus a similar increase in power.

My son did some research however and found that vehicles using K & N filters driven in dusty conditions had a significant increase in engine repairs. So I do use a conventional filter from April through October.

I just talked to a co-worker who put a "Tornado" device in a Chrysler and it increased his mileage by at least 10% and I tried the same gadget in the Toy with 0 results.

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Pour a full can of Sea-foam in the gas tank with your next fill-up. It will clean your injectors. I do it every 3 months with my 87 Chevy and it seems to work. I used to get 12 mpg then I started using the foam and it raised to to 15 mpg. Try running a tank of Super Premium gas and compare it to regular. I know ethanol burns hotter and is not as efficient as 92 octane. If there is a difference then you can always throw a tank of Super Premium on trips. The cost might not be to your liking but your truck might run better. Also, you might want to crawl underneath and grease everything real well.

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One thing not exactly touched on, but find a good cruising speed. Vehicles with a Driver Info Center or with an instant MPG gauge this is pretty easy to do. I have found that 62-63 is a good number, just play with the cruise at different speeds and watch the gauge or your TACH. If you find the optimum speed try to stay with that. I had my wife do it in her small SUV and she went from 18.5 mpg to 23.6 in one trip. For intersate driving 75 is a killer for any vehicle on the road, if a person cuts back to 72-73 you should see huge results.

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When I first got my Silverado, I was averaging between 16-17 mpg. I put a Tonneau cover on thinking it would increase my mileage and to keep things out of sight. My mileage actually decreased to 15 mpg. Last week, Mythbusters TV show actually did an experiment with two trucks - one with the tailgate closed and one with the tailgate down. The closed tailgate actually got 1 mpg more because they determine that a circulating air pocket formed between the tail gate and the cab. This air pocket forced the air current to flow over the truck and past the tailgate with less drag. It was interesting and opposite of what I thought occurred.

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in addition to a tonneau cover on my dakota- my rule of thumb is to drive "like there is an open cup of coffee balancing on the dashboard"

this has done well for me, and when I commute 55 miles one way, it really adds up!

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Quote:

I just talked to a co-worker who put a "Tornado" device in a Chrysler and it increased his mileage by at least 10%


Please don't waste your money on this thing!!

I forgot to talk about the check engine light. Do you know what code specically it was? If the egr was not working than there could potentially be a mileage drop. Heres my theory (it could be totally wrong) The EGR system recirculates exhaust gas back into the cylinders accomplishing two things. Reducing emissions and Cooling combustion temperatures which helps control ping or predetination. It the knock sensors start to pick up on ping it will send a signal back to the PCM and the PCM will retard timing. Retarded timing will cause a drop in performance wich will cause you to push harder on the gas and the fuel economy goes down.

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I know nothing about the Tornado, but I do know from first hand experience that my '05 Silverado experienced an instant 1 mpg increase as soon as I put my K&N filter in it (just be careful not to over oil it at cleaning time so it screws up your sensors). Do the little tune ups to keep it as good as you can, but otherwise just realize that the reality is its a truck and you won't get good gas mileage with it...

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Quote:

Don't waste your money on a K&N Air Filter that's not going to help with the Gas mileage.


I beg to differ with you there. I put a K & N in my truck, and picked up ~1-2MPG. After that I (whisper)removed my cat con, and put a flowmaster muffler on, and got another 1-2mpg. Those mods brought my mileage up to 17 from 14. No major improvement by any means, but worth it in the long run.

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I wouldnt recomend removing your converter, they put them on there for polution control, it may increase milage but at what cost to the enviroment?

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Quote:

Quote:


I beg to differ with you there. I put a K & N in my truck, and picked up ~1-2MPG.


I always do my gas mileage in a little note book so my mileage before adding MY K&N filter was from a 6 month sampling I had illusions of grandeur also initially but after 3 months it was plain as day that the filter had no improvement in my MPG from a stock one.

But if it makes you feel better waste the money instead of a clean stock one that will do the same oh! have fun buying the K&N Recharger kit thats been real fun also. grin.gif

Marketing and what people want to believe go a long way.

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I agree with some others. If you seem to be getting 1-2MPG better by merely changing the air filter I submit the other one was partially clogged.

There is enough variance in driving that to prove a 1-2MPH increase is attributable strictly to the filter is a real stretch. However, if it makes you happy, that IS what counts.

BTW - I do use K&N in my motorcycle and Camaro for "performance" reasons, but I cannot prove they do anything for more power.

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Code reads P0404. This is what "The Book" says: Exhaust Gas Recirculation Circuit Range/Performance. I haven't noticed any change if performance, just a light on the dash. I don't have a heavy foot and the truck has a Topper which I believe is just extra weight and removing it would probably help the fuel mileage. I know that the previous owner just had the fuel pump replaced and the new one humms quite a bit. I am going to replace the fuel pump becasue I have heard that they can cause problems for the fuel pump as the Chevy's need lots of PSI in their fuel system.

As far as plugs, wires, air filters and other simple checks getting better fuel economy doesn't seem to be an easy thing to do.

Thanks for all the help so far. I'll let everyone know what happens.

airjer, what do you think the SES light is actually for?

Thanks,

Corey Bechtold

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