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Best tips for better gas mileage

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by mhallack, June 27, 2011.

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    1. mhallack

      mhallack Active Member

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      I'm figuring this subject has been beaten into the ground and then some, but what is the best mileage anyone here has gotten out of their 1st gen.? I got a 94 XLT, a little over 172,000 on it, currently it runs great, I check the tire pressures as supposed to, has 3 new tires with less than 2000 on them, air filter replaced recently, always checking fluids, but will be getting oil change soon (last done in March) I will also be doing soon getting new plugs and plug wires.

      Basically asking this because the Explorer is our only vehicle. We drive our son to school 45 miles each way (he's autistic and goes to a special school in Bath) so it winds up being 180 miles a day, 5 days a week, year round. Though we get compensated from the school district (50 cents a mile) it's still hard on the wallet with all the other expenses we have. It's about $40 a day in gas (based on $3.69 a gal) We have looked at something more economical that we can afford, (no more than $1500 car) with little luck so far, even though we don't really want to part with the Explorer.

      I guess I had to vent also, sorry I was so long winded. Also want to say this forum is awesome and educational. I have to thank everyone here who run and contribute here.
       
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    3. Iron Weasel

      Iron Weasel Active Member

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      There really isn't a lot that you can do to a brick to make it more aerodynamic. You've done pretty much everything you can reasonably do. Your driving habits have a bigger effect on fuel economy than anything, but if you're looking to squeeze every 1/10th of a mile out of each gallon, the next area is weight reduction which means remove the spare tire, take the roof rack off, get rid of any non-essential cargo, take out one of the rear seats, etc.

      It's not very practical to do all that if you're hauling around the family, but again, you can only do so much to make a brick get better mileage. Hondas and Toyotas and other small cars are of course good on fuel, but I can't imagine you'd find many in your price range that aren't rusted to pieces.
       
    4. DR_APLET

      DR_APLET Member

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      well the best i've seen in first gen is 14 mpg. you know i would take that 1500 and scrounge as much as you can and buy a better car anything that is a car you will make money. when you figure it out you spend $500 a month in fuel. and $6000 a year if you spent $3000 on a car that got 26 mpg you would have paid off the car in a year, now everything is profit. i bought a Toyota corolla for $3200 getting 37-40 mpg its a no-brainer. especially with a $.50/mile reimbursement you will be making money every month! the X will never deliver for you, just keep it and use it to have fun with or you want something comfortable. hope it helps
       
    5. DR_APLET

      DR_APLET Member

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      drive west a few states and pick up a non salty used one.
       
    6. Roadrunner777

      Roadrunner777 Well-Known Member

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      I have recorded 15 mpg on a few tanks. The problem is, you end up spending more and more to get those last few mpgs. If you are doing highway driving, you could look at your gearing, but say it costs $750 to swap gears, and it gets you +3mpg.

      I keep making plans to change my o2 sensors hoping for a few more miles, but I do the math on $100+ of parts, and it's just not worth doing until they actually fail.
       
    7. 94Eddie

      94Eddie Active Member

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      My old '94 Explorer got between 18 and 19 mpg and it didn't matter if I was highway or city driving. I never saw over 20 mpg. I think the 1st gens are so unaerodynamic that wind resistance at highway speed kills any possibility of fuel economy. After good maintenance, keeping your highway speed as low as practical and driving as unaggressively as possible are you best bets for good mileage.

      I live in the Washington, DC area and $1,500 can buy a decent, fuel efficient car here. A Taurus might be a good option. They can be bought for a song and get 28-30 mpg on the highway. They are also reliable, inexpensive to repair and can haul five people comfortably.
       
    8. Jason94sport

      Jason94sport Well-Known Member

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      I don't keep track. But I did recently on a road trip just to see. I got 18.5 & change. 70-75 all HW with the AC on, 5 speed.
      Best way to in crease mileage is drive at 55. A steady approach to 55. No hard acceleration.
       
    9. cogs

      cogs Active Member

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      i agree... starting from a dead stop, let the truck do the work getting up to speed, instead of forcing it.
       
    10. something9000

      something9000 Active Member

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      i actually get worse fuel econ using the cruise control at any speed and i dont think fuel economy was a concern at ford at the time because we all know its like driving a loaf of bread. Keeping the tach under 2k and having a steady foot i get around 17+ city i rarely get up to 55 to use overdrive. Thats with about 150 extra pounds in the cargo area.
       
    11. alakers

      alakers Active Member

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      dr aplet said it pretty good.
      i understand totally your want to save some cash, im in highschool lol.
      but possibly if you put some money into it you may get a little better mpg. for example, and electric fan helps a bit. cool air intake, or just a cone filter for that matter may also help a tad. get the new plugs and wires, and jsut watch your driving habits.
      goodluck with your ex !
       
    12. LONO100

      LONO100 Well-Known Member

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      i dont know what car prices look like where you live, but i know in sunny, always expensive california, ive seen early 90's to mid 90's honda civic lx sedans and hatchbacks that run for about 1500 bucks. they will surely have well over 100k miles on them, but those things run forever. i know guys that have 300k miles on their little civics. the best part is, anyone can fix them, parts are plentiful and cheap and they are super dependable. you wont look as cool driving your X, but you can squeeze close to 40 miles per gallon out of them.

      if driving your X is your only option, check this post i did on hypermiling. i drive a 2003 sport trac 4.0L V6. the best ive done so far is 27.5 miles per gallon! i usually can get around 23-25 miles per gallon out of my ST, just by following some simple tips, most of which are free. even if you do get your hands on a good commuter car, these tips will only save more money. good luck!
       
    13. safn1949

      safn1949 Active Member

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      It is fairly easy to get 19+ hwy with a stock 94,just drive it easy and no more then 65.Tires at 35 psi.I get 14-16 mpg around town with mine and I don't drive it easy.:D
       
    14. X~FACTOR

      X~FACTOR Name is Ray

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      I agree here. Weight reduction. I did this to mine and by the time I was done with it, the truck felt 'light' to drive. I get 22 mpg on mostly highway driving. Keep in mind, this is a 14 year old truck. For it to get that much mileage per gallon after all these years is incredible.

      The heaviest part I removed from it is the front axle to make it a 2wd instead of 4wd. Second is the spare tire and everything associated with it. Third is the rear bumper, that I replaced with a light weight rollpan. If you have a rear tow hook or front bar grill, remove those too, those are heavy!
       
    15. colintrax

      colintrax Elite Explorer

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      Go get the new popular mechanics magazine. They did some testing and has some good info. Besides the basic crap everyone says
       
    16. mr cribb

      mr cribb US Army Retired Elite Explorer

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      The best I've seen is 21.5 all highway going 65-70, no hard accel.

      I would prob do like it was previously mentioned. Save and get the more efficient car. In the long run it will pay for itself. Then you could keep your X for those long winters in Maine.
       
    17. mhallack

      mhallack Active Member

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      Thank you everyone!! :cool:

      I rarely go over 60mph, and then it's usually to pass some idiot who thinks Rt.1 (the road I travel 99% of the time) is 35mph the whole length of it (usually people over 85 years old) I already have no spare tire (truck came that way) I do like the idea of replacing the rear bumper with a light rollpan, since I have nothing to tow. Me and the wife talked about it and we really want to keep the truck, so we are going to find a 2nd car more economical for around $1500 that will pass inspection (best I can do until a better job rolls around) The Ex is certainly needed for winter.
       
    18. FIND

      FIND Well-Known Member

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      I get 22 mpg at 65-75 in a 4wd explorer..... when it was stock, with the wind behind me on a cold day on winter gas. On the trip up against the wind, I got 19 or 20
       
    19. Anime

      Anime EF YEAH!! Elite Explorer

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      Even with aerodynamic mods and very conservative driving, the best I've seen is ~25 mpg. I get about the 17 city/21 highway that was on the EPA sticker with regular driving, and get down to 14/15 mpg or less with a heavier foot.

      The 4.0L OHV doesn't seem to get big mileage gains, no matter what you do, but it will get lower mileage with lower gears, bigger tires, and hauling more weight, so the best thing to do for the highest mileage seems to be keeping it stock, monitoring tire pressure, and keeping the engine well maintained. Keeping the fuel system clean with good gas probably helps too.

      If you want good mileage, you'd be better off with a vehicle that has a smaller 4 cylinder engine, or even a minivan with a smaller 6 cylinder. A later model Explorer with the SOHC motor will get better mileage, too. In the Northeast, an Explorer makes a pretty good all-around vehicle though, especially in the winter months and in poor weather, so while the mileage isn't the best, it's part of the price of having the capability to drive when other vehicles can't move.
       
    20. paullyphunn

      paullyphunn New Member

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      gas milage

      i have a 92 sport 2 dr with a manual trans and if i keep it 2500 rpms or less on the highway i get 24 or 25 mpg. my 91 with an auto trans woud get about 16 mpg. i run 2500 rpm at 75 mph with my 5 spd standard.
       
    21. rustbucketMI

      rustbucketMI Active Member

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      Tire pressure is the easiest thing to change and its free. Check the max inflation your tires can handle. There are two main ways you drive, one is accelerating, and the other is cruising. The way to get better gas millage accelerating is to lower weight, and have less rolling resistance/internal losses. When cruising the only thing effecting your gas millage is aerodynamic drag, and rolling resistance.

      Not going to beat to death the weight thing, thats already been done. Internal losses you can't really do anything about, unless you remove the front axle (which you don't want for snow) or take off some of the load on the engine. that can be done by electric fans, AC delete, and freeing up exhaust/intake. Aerodynamic drag you can actualy change quite a bit (despite everyone's prior opinions) Clean your car extremely well, and put on a couple coats of really good wax.

      Getting a little technical the smoother the surface less aerodynamic drag you will have. This is because size of the compressed region of air directly above the surface. The smaller this size the better the air flow. Obviously the shape of your vehicle effects your aerodynamic drag more than anything and you can't really do anything about that. An extreme way would be to fab up some kind of smooth underbody shield (Like race cars).

      Like I said before inflating the tires is the simplest, and free thing to do. This will reduce rolling resistance dramitically. From the factory the tires were supposed to be at 27psi, and after the Firestone thing they said bump it up to 32 psi. Be aware that as your tires roll they will heat up and the pressure will rise. I would say to inflate your tires to at least 35, in the cold you can probably go even higher. Be careful not to overflate because that can cause a blow out too.

      All in all I'd buy a smaller car, but there is a lot you can do to your X
       
    22. Nedwreck

      Nedwreck Active Member

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      the areo drag comments are good ones.

      I've been told numerous times that front lower air dams can be a big deal for MPG. all that air crashing around under the truck hurts MPG, so have a front air dam just blocks air from going under it.

      Granted factory air dams on explorers aint much.. but if it is missing having it back for the summer may help a tad.
       
    23. huntman58

      huntman58 Active Member

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      Older post I know but here is my take and what I have done as I can not replace my 93 nor do I want to but living on a fixed SSDI income is not easy so I did
      1) changed to a K & N filter cost $40.00 now that was paid for in one about 1400 mile trip as I from that change alone got 2 mpg better it was the only change at the time and I had driven the same rout many times before over the years so it was an apple to apple comparison.

      2) Check alignment and now do it yearly. Yield about 1/4 to 1/2 MPG per year. It may be a 4x4 but it’s also still easy to knock a front end out,

      3) may sound nuts but any big dents fix them and keep it washed and waxed gain is small (never measured it) but the slicker the finish and smother it is believe it or not the easy for the air stream to flow over it .

      4) If running 225 x 75 x15 tires change to 235 x75 x 15 tires it will lower the effected gearing a bit but still keep you in the power band.

      5) Do not drive over 55! ( This was hard for me at first as I always did at lest 5 over now even if its posted 70mph I do 55 to maybe 60 tops and MPG has increased by 3 at lest.

      6) Many have said it already Maintenance, Maintenance repeat Maintenance and change all oils and gear lubes to synthetics some thing I am slowly doing my self right now.

      I get now about a steady 18.5 HWY at 55 to 60 MPH this is with a 93 that has over 230,000 miles on it and the motor has never had any real work beside a water pump and things like that but any major motor work at all. It has the lower 373 gears and I am not always the easiest on the gas when coming off a stop light or sign. O ya one other thing always slow down way before a light as its easier to get back to speed when already rolling then stopped so try to keep from stopping when ever you can legally that is . I started at only about 16 MPG when I bout the truck as 60,000 miles about 15 years ago now. The MPG never went down that much over time but then did drop some it just never was that good. The way it was set up it was only rated at 18 HWY and about 14 cities. That is for the gearing and tire combo it has. Any way that my two cents worth and what I have done to try to get a bit better out of it at one time or other some I still do some I no longer do like the wash and wax as that would be an every day chore were I live now. I can not say you will see what I did but its worth a try I believe and gas prices may drop some but lets face it in the long run there only going to get higher so we all need all the extra help we can get with that but short of a redo on the body and running gear there is not a lot we can do. A brick is strong when used for what its made for but it never will make a good kite, streamlines race car or a floating high speed boat but it never was made to be any thing but a brick and our trucks well they were made to run for a long time and go lots of places even if the black top ends but they were never meant to be a gas sipper hybrid LOL!
       

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