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Increase MPG on a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by ornithology, January 27, 2009.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. ornithology

    ornithology Active Member

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    Hi everyone!
    I'm new to this forum but I've been creeping around for a while reading most of the posts in regard to 91-01 explorers. I just recently used my scholarship money to purchase a 2003 Ford Explorer sport 4WD 2dr. However, as I'm a student, I'm realizing my gas mileages are killing my wallet. I just pumped recently 45L for 275,000km, which works out to about 14.7mpg. I know the average should be 15mpg (correct me if I'm wrong, I got this off consumerreports or something). Anyways, are there any tips to increase my mileage? Air intake? Muffler? New plugs? Etc.

    Another question, maybe off topic but my gas guage is also acting funny. Reading from the specs, I should have a 66L capacity in my tank, but when pumping from empty (according to the gauge) I only got 45L. I also noticed that as I accelerate on the highway, sometimes the gas gauge will RISE. Sometimes, when I start the truck, the gas needle will be off the TOP of the gauge, so it will be pointing at a blank dash, only after I re-start the car (turn off, then restart) will it reset back into it's normal position. Is this normal? What do you think is the cause of this inaccuracy of my gas gauge? Thanks in advance, I know it's two questions in one. If this is against the rules of the forum then please advise me and I will post as separate. THANKS!

    Edit:
    I forgot to add some information to determine what can help my MPG.
    I am a safe driver and rarely do Jackrabbit starts (speed from a stop). I maintain my speed on highways without much fluctuations (I try to cruise control when it's safe) and I rarely weave around traffic. I warm my car up before I start my day (2min untill it goes under 1k RPM in P). I do not have any roof carriers except the stock rail (no crossbars) and I carry maybe about on average 5-30lbs of cargo. I use 87 gas and premium oils. My air filter and muffler is stock, not sure when it has been changed as I bought the vehicle used. Hope this helps. Thanks in advance

    Edit #2:
    I also forgot to mention that I use the 2WD most of the time (RWD) unless I encounter difficult terrain such as snow.
     
    Last edited: January 27, 2009
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  3. XLT

    XLT Active Member

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    I am not sure if it applies but i have a sport as well but mine is a 98. I think i have a 17 gallon tank in it. I believe for 2nd gens the sports had a smaller tank and looks like it applies to your 3rd gen as well. Use the search function and you should find a lot on increasing mpg. Also look up "my quest for 30" by adlive becuase he has alot of great info as well.
     
  4. ornithology

    ornithology Active Member

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    Based on my research, I should have a 17 Gallon tank as well, which is about 66L (I'm located in BC, Canada). Will do the search now, thanks!
     
  5. Joey P

    Joey P Well-Known Member

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    Not against the rules to post two questions in one thread. At least that I'm aware of. Click here and read aldives, my quest for 30....... Not the same year truck but a lot can be applied to your vehicle. I've read and reread this thread and It's helped me immensely! I get 16-17 mpg in the city, lifted with 33" tires. That may not seem a lot but when other people are getting 12-14, that's a big gain in my book. Start with your air filter. You may be surprised after changing the filter out. It may be dirty and you may gain that .3 mpg to get to 15 mpg. Then go from there. keeping the heavy foot off the skinny peddle helps too. Good Luck!


    And my gas gauge does the same thing. 4th explorer for me and they all did this. :)
     
  6. ornithology

    ornithology Active Member

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    Alright looking at filters now then....I read your post on the 30mpg, not sure if those mods are available for my 03 sport. Any tips on filters? I'm gonna click on the search now haha.;)
     
  7. ornithology

    ornithology Active Member

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    So how do you know when to actually gas up? Just use the temp Odo? (that's what I'm doing now...the fuel gauge is totally unreliable)
     
  8. ornithology

    ornithology Active Member

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    I also forgot to mention that I use the 2WD most of the time (RWD) unless I encounter difficult terrain such as snow.
     
  9. ramren16

    ramren16 Active Member

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    joey p- what id you end up doing to your sport trac to get to that mileage
     
  10. Joey P

    Joey P Well-Known Member

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    I park in a garage at home and when I start my truck up in the morning to work, I always read it then. If its lower than I want, like 1/8 a tank or lower, then I fill up.

    Some of those mods will be available for you sport, and some won't. I would try his driving tips first. They are scattered throughout that thread. For filter, I think something freer flowing will be your friend. If your truck can breath better, then your going to up the mpg some. Go with a k&n or similar, I think.

    Best thing to do. No need to go 4x4 unless you need to. Better for mpg.
     
  11. XLT

    XLT Active Member

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    I believe too what people usually recommend doing for best mpg improvements would be
    1. Underdrive pullies
    2. Electric Fan

    thought i would throw that out there as well.
     
  12. eXcali

    eXcali Active Member

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    Everyone has their own favorite filter, I stick with K&N. It gives you a noticable gain in power plus increased fuel economy. The trick is to keep yourself from enjoying the power to much.

    Some tips for increasing mileage:
    *Keep your tires aired up, low tires use more energy to turn, also A/T tires have thicker sidewalls making it hard to see/feel if your tires are fine. Rule of thumb is to check them once a week or if there is a +/-10 degree change in weather.

    *coast to stop lights/signs, then easy on the gas, try to keep your RPM under 2,500. If no traffic or not worried about getting passed and "the finger" keep it around 1,500. My explorer 98 AWD 5.0 will eventually get to 65mph holding it at 2,000 RPM.

    *speed up going down hills, hold constant RPM rather than speed going up hills.
     
  13. Joey P

    Joey P Well-Known Member

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    Here is what I did. Changed plugs, wires, new filter(Regular purolator air filter from Pepboys, I don't have money now for k&n) and keep my MPH constant. I always try to keep my rpm below or around 2000 if I can. If I get pissed at someone on the highway, I just let it go. No need to hit the gas to the floor and pass them for no big deal. When I'm downtown, which 2/5's of my driving occurs, I don't speed between stop lights. I don't race Marty Mcfly in his Delorean from stop light to next stop light to only slam on the brakes at the next stop light. I use a constant speed when I'm leaving a stop light. I don't try and beat yellows at the stop lights.

    Basic laws for better MPG are to keep things constant. I call it boring driving. :p: But keeps more money in my pocket.
     
  14. eXcali

    eXcali Active Member

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    This is much easier said than done, but after some practice you will laugh when people pass you 30mph faster than you only to see them sitting at the stop light when you pull up, or in some cases wave at them when you drive by them stoped by the Police.
     
  15. ornithology

    ornithology Active Member

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    Wow, that's why I love this forum, within a few hours I already have a good idea of what to do.

    Firstly, the RPM's, I'll try to keep under 2500

    Secondly, K&N filter

    Thirdly, inflate my tires, temp just dropped and I'm wouldn't be surprised if the air inside my tires compressed...

    Keep it coming guys! I'll post results as soon as I do enough research and purchase and install the filter and work on the truck! I LOVE THIS FORUM!
     
  16. Joey P

    Joey P Well-Known Member

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    True dat! I get a big grin on my face when that happens. And yes it does take some practice and some self discipline but it is achievable. I just remember that I have a 2 year old daughter, my angel ,that any given time could be ridin' with me and I don't need to be driving like an a-hole with part of America's future in the back seat. That right there helps me immensely whether she is with me or not, with my driving techniques. :p: (Not that I'm saying to start having kids, but it helped me!)
     
    Last edited: January 27, 2009
  17. Joey P

    Joey P Well-Known Member

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    I need to do that. Good tip and reminder for me!:thumbsup:
     
  18. eXcali

    eXcali Active Member

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    Yes temp changes make a HUGE difference. Colder weather also makes the rubber and tire seal harder and allows air to escape between the rubber and the rim so it compounds the effects. I believe at one time I read a 10 degree change could cause a 10lbs drop in air pressure in just a day or two. We have been hit with single and neg digit weather lately and I have been checking my air pressure daily. Grab one of those key chain air pressure guages and hook it to your keys, they are GREAT!

    2,500 RPM will be VERY easy to do, you will keep pace with just about most traffic leaving lights, ideally get it down to 2,000 or even 1,500. But do it in steps so you don't blow a blood vessel in your head. These days I watch my RPM gauge more so than my Speedometer. After a little practice you will know what RPMs will creep you up to your desired speed.
     
  19. eXcali

    eXcali Active Member

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    Yep, if you keep it in a heated Garage, check it before leaving work etc. This way you get the pressure after it has adjusted to the outside temp.
     
  20. Joey P

    Joey P Well-Known Member

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    And don't get upset if you don't get much more than what you are getting and don't give up on the forum or your truck if it doesn't. Some vehicle are just like that. (I think you'll be fine with your "quest" I just want to say that it's possible) every vehicle is different, even same makes and models and years can be different on gas usage, maintenance and what not. I feel lucky to have a vehicle that gets decent mileage. Past vehicle of mine didn't. My 97 blazer was only getting 14 mpg on the highway where as others were getting 20-21 mpg. (glad to got rid of that pos though.)
     
  21. eXcali

    eXcali Active Member

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    Joey P is right about same vehicles getting different mpg. Those economy ratings are based on a vehicle fresh off the assembly line with every part on it in 100% perfect condition. Carbon buildup will gum up an engine the same as it does a rifle. (sorry I have cleaned 34 rifles this week so I had to say it) Then there are differences in suspension wear, worn engine parts etc and those can all add up to 5mpg difference easily.
     

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