Computer program, fuel mileage, and altitude. | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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Computer program, fuel mileage, and altitude.


New Member
June 2, 2005
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City, State
Western N.C.
Year, Model & Trim Level
Need some help figuring what's up with a friend's 2002 Explorer, all stock except for a drop-in K&N filter.

About 2-3 months ago he took it in to be serviced. Dealer reprogrammed the computer, an 'update' of sorts. Ever since then his fuel mileage has been worse than before the service. He was getting about 18-19 mpg with stop & go, in town type driving. Afterwards in only averages 15-17 mpg at best. This in in the mountains of NC

Last week he and I took a trip to the NC coast. The entire time down that way he managed to get around 20-22 mpg, both on the highway and in town/stop & go.

I think that the difference in altitude and the density of the air may have had some effect on the mileage. However, he was discussing the matter with some other folks and they mentioned that Ford may possibly program the engine computers differently depending on where the vehicle is going. That is, a vehicle destined for flat, low-lying areas may be programed differently than one going to a higher altitude, mountainous region.

Is that even a possibility? We're just trying to figure out if there may be something up with the programming in the computer that caused the difference in mileage; related to the change in climate/altitude.

It's a bit difficult to explain my thinking/reasoning on this and I hope I have made it clear enought to understand. Anyone have any ideas, thoughts, etc?

Thanks for the help,