Ultimate guide to vehicle modification for fuel efficiency - second part
There are three different types of changes that you can make in your drivetrain mods.
First type is mechanical changes on your engine:
Usage of lowest viscosity recommended engine oil- thinner oil decreases internal resistance that the engine must overcome. For this you will need practically non mechanical skills and little money.
Engine swap- smaller engines get better fuel economy. This will cost lot of money and require lot of mechanical skills.
Economy camshaft swap- these aim to increase high RMP performance. Economy cams are cut to enhance efficiency at lower engine speeds where ecodrivers tend to drive. This will require medium amount of money, and also medium mechanical skills.
Advanced ignition timing- advancing this time can increase low rpm power which is where most ecodrivers spend their time driving. This will not cost you lot of money, but it you need to have little bit more of the mechanical skills.
Synthetic oil-they generally have more stabile viscosity. This decreases resistance that the engine must overcome, especially after cold start. This will not require high mechanical skills, but it will cost more money.
Increased compression ratio-with this, efficiency increases with all else being equal. This requires a head gasket swap, head shaving, block shaving or new pistons. But, it will take you lot of skills and lot of money to pull this up.
Second type is engine accessory changes:
Block heater-block heaters pre-war the engine before starting. The reduce warm-up time can dramatically improve fuel economy, particularly for short trips. Put the heater on a timer that starts to heat the engine no more than about 3 hours before departure to avoid wasting electricity. This will require more of your money than mechanical skills.
Power steering rack swap-Hydraulic power steering systems continually pump fluid even when steering assist is not needed. The pump uses power from the engine to run and reduce mileage. Manual racks have no power assist and electric racks only use electricity when you actually turn the steering wheel. This will require little bit more of your mechanical skills and money.
Mechanical to electric radiator fan swap-some trucks still have belt-driven radiator fans rather than the more highly efficient ones used in cars. Aftermarket kits are available for various models. Or you can retrofit a junkyard electric cooling fan from another vehicle. This will also require little bit more of your money and your mechanical skills.
A/C removal-Remove A/C and you easily remove 50 pounds of weight from car, reduce belt and pulley losses when the system isn’t being used and free up some space in the engine bay for work. This will take more of your mechanical skills and also certain amount of money.
Third type is transmission and differential changes:
Regear from lower cruising RPM-lower engine RPM at a set speed means lower friction losses and increased engine load to maintain a given power output. This alteration will ask for lot of money and very high mechanical skills.
Synthetic axle and wheel bearing lube- this will reduce internal bearing friction which means less energy being absorbed as heat. It is the most effective for vehicles driven in cold climates. This will not require lot of money, but it will take some mechanical skills.
Automatic transmission manual gear control- if you have automatic transmission, you can make you care more efficient by manually controlling the gear the car is in, so the car shifts earlier when accelerating. It will take more mechanical skills than money.
Change from automatic to manual transmission- this transmission provide more efficient acceleration and give greater control of the car to its driver. It will cost you lot of money and lot of mechanical skills.
Wheel and tyre mods
Things that you can change on your wheel and tyres are:
Increase tyre pressure- this reduces rolling resistance which lowers the amount of power your car needs to move. This will cost practically no money and you need none of mechanical skills.
Use skinny tyres- narrow tyres present a smaller frontal area and reduce wind resistance. It will take little bit more money and little bit more mechanical skills.
Use tyres with low rolling resistance- this will decrease amount of energy your tyres absorb when they roll, but it will cost you lot of money.
Aftermarket cruise control- if you are the type of driver who has trouble with a lead foot on the open road, aftermarket cruise control will save you fuel. Installing a cruise unit also allows you to test vehicle mods more rigorously by removing the experimenter’s right foot from the equation. It will cost lot of money and you should have lot of mechanical skills.
Hybrid conversion- adding electric assist or EV mode to an internal combustion vehicle is a popular discussion. Some companies sell kits to retrofit an electric motor in line with the drive shaft of a larger rear wheel drive vehicle. This could cost you lot of money, and for sure it takes lot of mechanical skills.
Electric conversion- this is ultimate engine mod: take the ICE out and do a 100% battery electric conversion. It will take lot of your money and lot of mechanical skills.