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2002 Ford Explorer Sport - MY quest for 30 mpg!!!

Todd82TA

Well-Known Member
Joined
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Messages
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City, State
South Florida
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer Sport 4x2
FUEL ECONOMY - UPDATE / LIST

7/11/2009 - 20.71mpg - Just bought, 36k miles

7/25/2009 - 23.01mpg - Oil (RoyalPurple 5W30), K&N Air Filter, Motorcraft Oil Filter, Seafoam in tank

11/03/2009 - 34.57mpg - Coolant Flush



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ORIGINAL POST:


Hey guys,

I just bought an 02 Explorer Sport w/ 36k miles on it Saturday afternoon. I've been reading the past few days all the good threads from many of the experts on here. Since the Sport of my generation 01-03 is kind of an orphan, I figured I would begin my OWN question for 01-03 Sport owners and attempt to improve fuel economy as BEST as I can. I would do this keeping with the idea of making the engine more efficient (producing more power).

I've been reading the thread from alDive, and there are some things that I can use from his thread and apply to my own vehicle.


I've taken a similar "quest" on my 2002 Ford Crown Victoria and the results so far have been pretty spectacular. I inhereted a 2002 Ford Crown Victoria LX from my grandfather back in 2004 w/ 14k miles on it. It has 46k miles on it (only due to the fact that it becomes my daily driver in between buying / selling cars, and whatever).

I started off getting something like 23mpg on the highway with the Crown Victoria, and really poor mileage in the city. After a number of upgrades:

80mm MAF, all synthetic fluids, Mercury Marauder Air Box, Police air intake tube, Steeda intake spacer, Mercury Grand Marquis LSE Dual Exhaust w/ factory resonators (to keep it quiet), ported intake plenum (that elbow thing), 65 to 70mm Ford Racing Performance Parts throttle body, ECM reflash by Lonnie at Blue Oval Chips, I've managed a BEST highway mileage of about 28.2 mpg. This was in my Crown Victoria, driving about 75 from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando. I still have underdrive pulleys, the set of Magnaflow header pipes / cats to install, and a few other odds and ends. The car is still totally quiet, accelerates VERY smoothly, maintains it's factory ride and feel, but has TONS more horsepower. Guys on the CrownVic.Net forum (with my same upgrades) are running a flat 15 in the quarter (some breaking into the high 14s).


My goal is to read as much as I can from the threads that exist here, and progress from this point on, on my own vehicle.


I bought my car in Tampa this weekend (only place I could find a low mileage one was from a retirement area). It was 80% highway miles, but I was stuck in stop and go traffic about 20% of the time.

Mostly Highway Driving - I achieved 20.7mpg

I calculated my mileage this way:

  1. Filled up as SOON as I left the dealer
  2. Reset my trip Odometer
  3. Drove home and immediately went to the gas station and filled up completey.
  4. Divided the number of miles driven on the trip odometer, by the exact number of gallons used to refil the tank AFTER my trip.


This is a pretty reliable way to calculate your mileage, with the least amount of error, and this is how I'm going to do it moving forward.



My first step will be a complete tune-up:

1 - Seafoam in the gas tank.
2 - Switch to Castrol Synthetic 5W-30 (maybe Redline if I can get it)
3 - Flush the radiator (coolant is brown right now)
4 - Change the transmission fluid (fairly clean already)
5 - K&N Air Filter in stock air box.



The next step will be an ECM Reflash from Lonnie at Blue Oval Chips. I will get an 87 Octane Reflash, and whatever else he recommends I do now WITH the chip (larger MAF, if needed, etc...)


I'll let everyone know how it goes. I'll be heading up next weekend to Lake Worth, so I'll get a good 100 mile highway trip in.




Thanks,

Todd,
2008 Jeep Patriot Limited 4x2
2002 Ford Explorer Sport
2002 Ford Crown Victoria LX-P74
1987 Pontiac Fiero SE / V6
1973 Volkswagen Type-2 Transporter
 
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I have an 02 X sport I bought in the fall with 135K, I don't know the condition of your PCV valve but I found a 2-3mpg CDN jump after changing it. I have a scanguage hooked up and on the same road at the same speed could see the difference. Best $50 I ever spent. I plan to switch my fram air filter back to the K&N it came with when I can find some oil for it.

Scott
 






Crown Vics are great, and so are the Explorers. :) Glad to see you've found us and CVN, they are great resources.

The latest thing some people have been doing is building hydrogen generators. A little too over the top for me and there's much debate over whether or not they work, but interesting enough.
 






I have an 02 X sport I bought in the fall with 135K, I don't know the condition of your PCV valve but I found a 2-3mpg CDN jump after changing it. I have a scanguage hooked up and on the same road at the same speed could see the difference. Best $50 I ever spent. I plan to switch my fram air filter back to the K&N it came with when I can find some oil for it.

Scott

Man, your Sport sounds awesome. It's loaded!!! Sunroof AND 4x4. That's what I really wanted, but there was just no way I was going to be able to find one soon, with the mileage I wanted.

My car has pretty low miles, so I assume most everything (but the fluids) are still newish. I'll check the PCV. Did you just replace it with another stock one? I'll check it out.


Crown Vics are great, and so are the Explorers. :) Glad to see you've found us and CVN, they are great resources.

The latest thing some people have been doing is building hydrogen generators. A little too over the top for me and there's much debate over whether or not they work, but interesting enough.


I have a friend who has been doing that. He built a whole hydrogen kit for his X/11 Citation which he dropped a 4.9 Cadillac V8 in it. He said he was getting upwards of 40 miles to the gallon. He even made a pentometer for the gas pedal which alters the amount of hydrogen gas that's produced. The side benefit of course is that his engine gets a steam bath so it's immaculate (valves, combustion chamber, etc).

Yeah, that's a bit much for me... it does work, but it's too much maintenance I think. He was using baking soda, but then switched to something else... not sure.


I've been getting pretty decent mileage just by cruising around slowly, but the SECOND I lay into it... I can see the needle go down.
 






Just changed my air filter during lunch... I don't think it had ever been changed. it was so dirty that the majority of the filter was pitch black. The car had ~35k easy miles on it...

I'm shocked.


I put a K&N air filter on it. I'll change the oil this weekend as well as the fuel filter, and flush the radiator (it's dirty, needs to be changed) and see what I get on my trip next weekend.
 






Ok, I'm going to take a highway trip tomorrow.

What I will have done so far as of tonight (just prior to the trip):

1 - Changed oil, Royal Purple 5W-30
2 - Motorcraft Oil Filter
3 - K&N Air Filter
4 - Can of Seafoam in the gas tank.


This will be an improvement over regular oil that was in there, and a really dirty air filter.

Since my car has 36k miles, WITH the can of seafoam, I figure that my car will be running basically what a totally stock (brand new) Ford Explorer Sport would run. The only improvements are the oil and air filter, so any gains likely will be because of that (over and above stock numbers).

I didn't have time to change the fuel filter or change the other fluids (like the radiator fluid, etc. But I'll take care of that this Sunday after the trip. I'll post my results at the top when I get back Saturday afternoon.
 






I also have an '02 sport to subscribe to the thread.

Having similar mods that you do (at 59k) I recently got 19.2mpg on a combined city/highway fill up.

Just one question though, did you put the entire can of seafoam in the tank and none in the vacuum line or oil?
 






Ok, just go back from my highway trip.

I drove the entire way with 3 people in the car (which includes myself), about 100 pounds of stuff in the back area.

I drove ~70 average on the highway with the A/C on the entire trip.

I drove a total of 99.1 miles, and about 5 of them were in bumper to bumper traffic because of an accident on the highway. About 85% of the drive was highway driving, and the rest was on suburb streets.

The conditions were identical to the first reading, about 83-85 degrees, and rainy / overcast.

I averaged 23.01 miles to the gallon on this trip.

The ONLY thing I did was change the oil, oil filter, installed a new air filter *K&N" and a can of seafoam in the tank.
 






I also have an '02 sport to subscribe to the thread.

Having similar mods that you do (at 59k) I recently got 19.2mpg on a combined city/highway fill up.

Just one question though, did you put the entire can of seafoam in the tank and none in the vacuum line or oil?


With teh miles my car has, it wouldn't make sense to put it in the tank. Many people do that, but I only have 36k miles. You wouldn't need to put it in the oil either, and frankly, you probably wouldn't need to put it in the vacuum line either.

You can put a single can in the fuel tank, and it runs through the injectors instead of the vacuum port at the throttle body. It's just as good, just as safe (safer actually) and will clean the piston tops and valves just as good.
 






Nice work on the great mpg.

Once my driving shifted from sitting in traffic to going against traffic I've gotten in the 20+ range for my 02 sport 4.0 V6 SOHC

The seafoam does wonders and so does the air filter change and synthetic. i used to get about 14mpg on a good week. my only complaint is the small tank.... usually can only go 250mi at the most.
 






You can put a single can in the fuel tank, and it runs through the injectors instead of the vacuum port at the throttle body. It's just as good, just as safe (safer actually) and will clean the piston tops and valves just as good.

I disagree completely.

I do use Seafoam in the tank fairly regularly, but nothing gives me better results than running it through a vacuum line. I base this comment over several years and two different engines (SOHC V6 and 5.0 V8 on 2nd gen Explorers).

I did learn the hard way recently that Seafoam can foul your plugs when you do it through the PCV on a 5.0 so not a good idea to do a treatment with newer plugs like I did.
 






I disagree completely.

I do use Seafoam in the tank fairly regularly, but nothing gives me better results than running it through a vacuum line. I base this comment over several years and two different engines (SOHC V6 and 5.0 V8 on 2nd gen Explorers).

I did learn the hard way recently that Seafoam can foul your plugs when you do it through the PCV on a 5.0 so not a good idea to do a treatment with newer plugs like I did.


Understand that the only reason why you would run it through the vacuum line would be to clean out either the throttle body, or parts of the intake that would otherwise not be reached by the Seafoam.

This is really only beneficial for some of the older style vehicles that have EGR systems which really dirty up the intake (where the exhaust gasses get recirculated further up through the beginning of the intake).

Otherwise, there's no difference. It'll work faster by running it through the vacuum since you go through the whole can immediately in a minute or so... but it's safer, and performs the same job by simply dumping it in your tank.

Not to argue for the sake of arguing... but I've run it on at least a dozen different engines, 2.4 VVT GM, 2.4 TwinCAM GM, 4.6 SOHC Ford, 4.0 SOHC Ford, 2.8 GM V6/60, 1800cc VW Bus motor, 350 Oldsmobile Rocket V8, 2.4 VVT Chrysler motor, 2.0 VW motor, 1.9 Volvo Motor, 3.0 V6 Ford motor, etc, etc...

It'll work well either way, but it's REALLY harsh on your motor to run it through like that. It's certainly not good for the rubber vacuum line, (brake booster line) and it certainly is not good for your catalytic converters or spark plugs.
 






Well, after seeing how screwed my plugs were, you may be on to something. I'll give it a go. I have done two solid PCV treatments in the past and I only have 65,000 miles so it can't hurt to go in the gas more often. I did score several cans of cheap Seafoam at Wally World during a recent visit to the US (it's 2X as expensive up here) so that'll keep me going for a while.
 






Well, after seeing how screwed my plugs were, you may be on to something. I'll give it a go. I have done two solid PCV treatments in the past and I only have 65,000 miles so it can't hurt to go in the gas more often. I did score several cans of cheap Seafoam at Wally World during a recent visit to the US (it's 2X as expensive up here) so that'll keep me going for a while.

I think the problem most often associated with pouring it in through a vacuum line is that depending on the design of the motor (haven't really looked at my 4.0 SOHC), the liquid can often get sucked into whichever pistons are closer, and don't get evenly distributed to all the cyls. It depends of course on where the vacuum port is connected on the intake.

Normally, the liquid would be sent through a special contraption which would turn the liquid ino foam just prior to entering the vacuum line.

But by pouring it in your gas tank, you get equal distribution to all of your cyls through the fuel injectors.

The only thing REALLY that the Seafoam is supposed to resolve is carbon buildup on the valves, seats, piston tops and combustion chambers. Any soot buildup in the intake passages from the EGR can be better cleaned using simply throttle body cleaner spray.

BG44 is also another brand that is equivelant to Seafoam.

Anyway, by the end of the fill-up, the results are the same VS putting it in the vacuum line. One is just less harsh, but still has the exact same result.
 






I think the problem most often associated with pouring it in through a vacuum line is that depending on the design of the motor (haven't really looked at my 4.0 SOHC), the liquid can often get sucked into whichever pistons are closer, and don't get evenly distributed to all the cyls. It depends of course on where the vacuum port is connected on the intake.

Normally, the liquid would be sent through a special contraption which would turn the liquid ino foam just prior to entering the vacuum line.

But by pouring it in your gas tank, you get equal distribution to all of your cyls through the fuel injectors.

The only thing REALLY that the Seafoam is supposed to resolve is carbon buildup on the valves, seats, piston tops and combustion chambers. Any soot buildup in the intake passages from the EGR can be better cleaned using simply throttle body cleaner spray.

BG44 is also another brand that is equivelant to Seafoam.

Anyway, by the end of the fill-up, the results are the same VS putting it in the vacuum line. One is just less harsh, but still has the exact same result.

You had me thinking last night so I spent some time on Seafoam's website and they pretty much say what you did about putting it in the gas. In their view, you get the fastest treatment by using the "induction method", but that you'd get the same effect over time by using it in the gas. The say to use the induction method of your system is really gunked up.

It's less hassle too to go through the gas. The PCV method is the only real method on the 5.0 (the brake booster method only gives partial coverage). The PCV method is a bit of a hassle too because the PCV is so buried. Took me a few years to figure the method out and I still get people sending me PMs asking for advice on how to get at it despite the fact I figured it out via a very extensive thread on this site.

Thanks for giving me new perspective. I had an issue this summer whereby my truck was misfiring real bad and just before I had a 700 mile trip. We pulled my plugs as soon as I got there ans sure enough all of my one year old Motorcraft Double Platinum plugs were fouled. Seafoam was definitely the culprit. The Seafoam had definitely done its job by freeing up a lot of crap, but that crap ended up trashing my plugs!

Any way you slice it, Seafoam is great stuff. I like using Deep Creep for a variety of tasks as well.
 
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Thanks for giving me new perspective. I had an issue this summer whereby my truck was misfiring real bad and just before I had a 700 mile trip. We pulled my plugs as soon as I got there ans sure enough all of my one year old Motorcraft Double Platinum plugs were filed. Seafoam was definitely the culprit. The Seafoam had definitely done its job by freeing up a lot of crap, but that crap ended up trashing my plugs!

Any way you slice it, Seafoam is great stuff. I like using Deep Creep for a variety of tasks as well.


I think you may need to take that back. Hell will freeze over the day someone actually learns something from me.


Todd
 






I think you may need to take that back. Hell will freeze over the day someone actually learns something from me.


Todd

LOL

How often do you use Seafoam in the gas? I may as well get on a schedule. :D
 






I thought the K&N air filter was a waste of $40.00. I didnt notice a change. I would go all out and get the Cold Air intake.
 






I am going to watch this topic carefully. Best I have gotten on my 07 Sport Trac with 4.0v6, 5 speed auto, 27,000 miles, is 18mpg, combined city and highway. Most of the time it averages 15... AND THAT SUCKS!
 



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LOL

How often do you use Seafoam in the gas? I may as well get on a schedule. :D

I usually use it in my cars every 30 thousand miles. Anything more I think might be a bit overkill, but I suppose it depends on the car, and the kind of gas that gets used...


I thought the K&N air filter was a waste of $40.00. I didnt notice a change. I would go all out and get the Cold Air intake.


The problem with most factory Ford air cleaners (as has been my experience and what I've read on some other forums) is not necessarily the intake tube SIZE, but the ability for the engine to flow the air through the available surface area of the filter. They make the filter much bigger than the inlet / outlet of the air cleaner assembly for two reasons obviously, to reduce restriction (more availbale surface area) and to provide a longer lasting, greater area for the particulates to get trapped (so you don't have to replace it as often).

Going with a filter that flows easier, will improve the restriction. The factory air intake system really is already a "Cold Air Intake". The aftermarket cold air intake kits get their air from the same location as the factory does, and that's through the firewall opening where the factory inlet tube protrudes into. It allows a little bit more air to come in from under the hood opening.

YOu just want to make sure that if you get one, you get one of the kits that has the panel that isolates it (or tries at least) from the rest of the engine compartment.

I've never been a big fan of them. I had one in my Pontiac Solstice and it made it sound like a riced out Honda Civic. A 4 liter is a bit bigger, but this engine isn't exactly known for it's mean growl...

I am going to watch this topic carefully. Best I have gotten on my 07 Sport Trac with 4.0v6, 5 speed auto, 27,000 miles, is 18mpg, combined city and highway. Most of the time it averages 15... AND THAT SUCKS!

Tires have a lot to do with it too... but I wonder if the truck bed doesn't also add some additional restriction. Our cars are prety similar in design, so you should benefit from the same things I have.

I'll be making another highway trip in 2 weeks, so I'll do the rest of the service as well as a few other things, maybe even an ECM reflash.
 






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