Better Fuel Economy = Better Performance!


Introduction: Better Fuel Economy = Better Performance!

Originally penned in 2012, then I forgot about it for a while!!

I wrote this only because it took me several attempts to figure it out. I installed everything I could find (That made sense!) on my truck to get better fuel economy. Opened the diameter of the air filter inlet, changed to a K&N Air Filter, installed after market muffler and Catalytic Converters (2 Catalytic Converters, Flow Master ALL!), installed a Super Tuner Chip (I later tossed that piece of junk!) and try as I could the best my 2003 S10 got was 28.9 MPG. Then I thought about the OBD2 Computer and realized that the ECM was still running like I had run it the last 89,000 miles. THIS Trick is so easy! My Lady parks her car behind my truck all weekend, Friday night I came home and disconnected the battery and left it that way for 24 hours plus. Sunday Morning I connected the battery and I have been driving like an old man ever since! Barely touch the Go Pedal, let the transmission get you there. It DOES piss-off the Alpha Types but that is just to bad. Gasoline is damned expensive. Also, it is important to clean the intake system. There are products that do specifically this, they come in spray cans and you just blow out the Kaka and your vehicle runs better.

Update, 07/13/2014

I have 113,000 miles on the odometer, now, and on the freeway, my truck clicks off 30.3 MPG. I use the cruise control exclusively, unless it is raining, and the fuel savings are very nice indeed! My City Average went from 18.9 to 21.4 and that, I am told, is huge! Getting my Smog Certificate, for reregistration, was a breeze. It's funny to me how I can leave at the same time as a friend who is driving to the same destination, as I, and we get there no more than four minutes difference! He says I drive too slow and yet I spend 30% less on fuel than he and he owns the same truck with the same Mods. His mileage never breaks 25 mpg. Makes you think I might be doing it right! I am now saving my Pennies, Nickels, dimes, quarters and old Moldy Money to buy a Hybrid Conversion for my Pick-up! THEN I need to rebuild the motor to get rid of this damned MISS, that happens every time I try to accelerate faster than normal, you know, like in an EMERGENCY! I MIGHT even consider a V8. There's not THAT much difference between my Vortec 4.3 V6 and a 4.8 LS Motor, only two cylinders and half a liter. That and a set of Edlebrock Heads and I'll probably get the same, or better, fuel economy!


Changed my mind, a stock, 5.3, motor is more than double the horse power of the V6, if I can find a reasonably priced pair of, fully blue printed, heads I'll use them instead. It is important to not lose sight of a very real fact. The cost recovery to cost pay-out ratio. Am I going to own the truck a full 20 years? Do I really expect to put up with the Old Truck Hassle? I'm going to retire in seven years, ie this truck going to take care of me after I retire?

My next Instructable is going to be a Raspberry Pi B+ Computer installed in this truck. At the same time I will be replacing the heater core, installing a better entertainment system, repairing the park brake pedal mechanism and replacing a door handle that does not secure the truck correctly.



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    Yeah the performance chips usually just wire into the air or fuel sensor and most often are just a resistor to trick the computer into getting a different reading off the sensore

    A great article it makes question why my 99' S10 2.2L will get 21 mpg on the freeway and 19 in town. I may as well drive a 1 ton diesel.

    4 replies

    OUCH! I have a one ton Cummins Powered Dodge and it regularly hits 25 MPG. I have a BlueTec Mercedes in a Sprinter that gets 28, not real fast, but efficient!

    Well I have a 95 thunderbird 4.6 v8 gets 19 in town and 27 on the highway, So how is it efficient to be stuck with a small engine that consumers more fuel than a larger engine. For example I drive a truck that has a gross weight of 40 tons loaded and a 500 horse cat diesel engine and it averages 7 mpg. My s10 couldn't carry the cat engine. But poor fuel economy must be EPA approved since it passes the scam test. Another government anomaly.

    Okay, I think I can do this! My 95 had the, 110 horse, 2.2 and the 5 speed manual tranny! I live in the SFBA, south! Land of the overpass and bridges! In 5th, the motor lugs when you hit ANY hill and you lose 5mph right off the top, the cruise pulls on the throttle and nothing happens unless you count the exhaust getting slightly louder! Then you go downhill and the throttle is full on and the computer over compensates and has to suddenly slow the motor and was-off three mph too much! All this indicates that the motor does not have enough power to keep the, too heavy, truck moving, the computer cannot compensate correctly and as soon as you shift the transmission, the cruise cancels and you have to manually reinstate it. The 4.3 V6, 4L60E transmission is exactly that, a computer controlled master piece that works in concert to maintain a beautiful song. On the same over pass the V6 has 185 horsepower and a transmission that first unlocks the Torque Convertor and allows the motor to raise RPMs enough to glide effortlessly over the pass. If instead you start to climb a hill, the computer first unlocks the typrque convertor, then downsifts the transmission to direct (3rd Gear!) and the cruise control never shuts off. And no matter what, the ECM (Computer) does a much more accurate job of controlling your vehicle than your brain and foot can. Does this help? The 2.2 with automatic gets slightly better fuel economy than the manual, but just doesn't have the Torque (4 cylinders not 6) or the horsepower (120 in YOUR 2.2 185 in the 4.3!) to take advantage of the computer program! I am willing to bet the 4.8 V8 will get the same or slightly better fuel economy than the 4.3 V6 and I KNOW it will get better fuel economy when I tow my 2100 pound teardrop trailer!

    In the case of an 80,000 pound transport truck. You have a spinning mass of almost 1.5 tons between, the crank, rods, pistons, flywheel, clutch and Harmonic Balancer. your comment about your engine not weighing as much?? Well your entire motor AND transmission does not weigh as much as the parts what spins INSIDE the large diesel motor. Your entire truck almost weighs as much as the entire diesel motor, so imagine your entire truck keeping 80,000 pounds moving down the road. NOT the 120 horse power, 380 pound gasoline 'Putt Putt!' ALSO, the Diesel is 666 cubic inches of displacement that weighs (Moving Parts!) 1.5 TONS and puts out 360 horsepower AND 1200 POUNDS PER FOOT OF TORQUE while accelerating. The spinning mass of a 666 cubic inch GASOLINE motor will not weigh 300 pounds. As a result, the 666 cubic inch gasoline motor would have to create 1300 horsepower to do what the diesel motor does best, MAKE TORQUE. The gasoline motor MUST make 1300 Horsepower to produce 1200 pounds of torque! The problem is the gasoline motor will move 'point eight' (.8) miles for every gallon of gasoline just moving the truck EMPTY. The diesel will move 6 to 8 miles from every gallon of diesel FULLY LOADED. You have heard the saying, there's no substitute for cubic inches?? Well that is HALF true. The heavy mass spinning as a result of the large cubic inches is what REALLY moves the load. Which is why they make top fuel dragsters so incredibly light weight and their motors create 7000 horsepower! A top fuel gets about 13 gallons to the mile. The Garbage Trucks, I repair, get 13 miles to the gallon diesel and 2.26 gallons to the mile CNG (Compressed Natural Gas!) But the CNG does not pollute!