Smiles per gallon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DeanMk, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Time for fill-up #5...and another dump run.

    According to the dump, I dropped off 640 lbs. this time around, but I stopped bythe recycling center on the way to the dump and dropped off about half a bed's worth of metal, so I figure I left home with about 800 lbs. in the bed...and if you add my fat @$$ in the driver's seat plus maybe 20 lbs. of fuel and the truck was probably pushing its listed 1260 lb. capacity.
    Back end wasn't sagging and the truck drove just fine.
    ...again, one happy Ranger owner.
    After running this errand, the needle was pretty much on "E", so I filled it up.
    Didn't drive quite so far this time - 406.1 miles, but didn't take quite as much gas either - 14.827 gallons.
    Another stellar average of 27.389222 mpg.
    The tank was filled with regular, so we'll see if there's any change in mileage and/or drivability this time around.

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
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  3. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Quick update...

    Since these comments were posted I've gotten new tires and that made a huge difference.
    Just as always, I keep an eye on the milage. So far, in just general, everyday driving, I'm getting 27mpg, every time.
    Seems to be where she's settled at.
    ...oh, btw, just to answer the question I left you all with, in that last post - running the truck on regular or midgrade doesn't seem to effect gas mileage but it does seem to effect the drivability. It runs and idles rougher and seems a little more hesitant to take off.
    I'm pretty much running the truck on premium all the time now.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  4. OP

    DeanMk Member

    First update of 2014:

    Have discovered the beauty of "104 Octane Boost".
    I don't run the truck on it all the time, but am going to start using it on every other tank.
    Seems to help....a lot.
    I'll run the "pure" tanks on premium, and the "Boosted" tanks on regular (have run "Boosted" tanks on Premium, and the truck REALLY likes that, but it's kinda expensive).
    Gas milage has dropped ever so slightly. Now hovering in the 26 MPG range.
    Driving habits haven't changed, but some parts aren't as new as they were on the last page.
    Swapped in snow tires for the first time, back in November. Didn't seem to change things much, except I can't coast down hills for as long as I did with the regular tires.
    Drivability's been good.

  5. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Ok, so we're a little past half way through the year and I've been sticking to the "pure" / "boosted" fuel routine I outlined in the above post.
    Not much change to report.
    Noticing the "boosted" tank (104+reg) seems to run about the same as the "pure" tank (premium), but I can feel the truck responds a tad better (i.e., accelerates harder) on the "boosted" tank.
    Still stalls when taking off from a stop, but that is becoming an increasingly rare occurrence.
    Could be the truck needed to be driven, after sitting for an extended period of time, or it could be that I'm finally starting to learn how to drive this particular truck.....or maybe a little of both. ;)
    Fuel mileage is still around the 26-27 mpg range, with occasional bumps into the 28-29mpg terriotory.
    One note - am finding it difficult to locate 104 octane boost, in particular (seems to be only at auto parts stores and they don't always have it on-hand either!), and my work carries a couple of different brands of octane booster, so I'm going to experiment and try them.
    So for the next couple of tanks, I'm going to run "boosted fuel" and I will attempt to run them as dry as possible, to ensure I'm testing only that booster.
    We carry 3 boosters - STP, Prestone 0-60 concentrate, and Mag-1 Premium with FMX.
    I've tried the STP on a couple of occasions and found it changes nothing with any aspect of performance of the truck (i.e., acceleration, drivability, mileage), so I feel I can skip that one, but the other two are new to me and a Google search of reviews, or even general info, on them has turned up only very little (although I did find an interesting thread on a guy looking for performance advice for his corvette).
    Right now, I'm running a boosted tank, so I'll have to run that one down. Fortunately, I'm already at a 1/2 tank.
    Payday is early next week, so it looks like I'll have to take advantage of the nice weather and make a few long driving trips this week.
    Stay tuned and I'll report back after the first tank of this two-part series. =)

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  6. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Ok, update #1 for this test...
    Went 388.8 miles on 14.388 gallons for an average of 27.0225187656 mpg.
    A couple of trips "out in the country" did the trick and I refilled with the needle sitting just off the "E" mark, so I'm satisfied that the gas tank is sufficiently "empty".
    A little skew to this test - I forgot to pick up the octane booster yesterday and couldn't locate either of the particular ones I wanted to test (see prior post), buy I did locate "Mag-1 Gas Treatment with FMX" ("Formulated with JET FUEL" :eek:).
    I decided to try it, SO, there's going to be an extra tank on this test, as I've always been curious if "gas treatment" might be a better way to go, compared to "octane booster".
    Anyway, so the Gas Treatment is in there now, and FWIW, the truck seemed a kinda "peppy" on the short drive home.

    ...stay tuned for more! =)
  7. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Mag-1 Gas Treatment with FMX

    Well that took long enough!
    Ok, just refilled the tank.
    407.3 miles on only 13.628 gallons.
    This yields an average fuel mileage of 29.8869973584 MPG.
    That's probably the best mileage I've ever gotten with this truck and one of less than a handful of times I've ventured into the 29 MPG range., very happy with that outcome.
    The overall performance of the truck was less than spectacular and once I put a few miles on this tank, I failed to notice the "peppiness" I normally notice with one of my "boosted" tanks.
    Drivability was good, but not quite as good as a straight tank of Hi-Test.
    As time went on and the tank ran down, I felt any advantages I had noticed in the beginning of this tank had wilted away.
    In the end, I felt the overall performance of the truck was only a shade better than a straight tank of regular (which is what it was filled with).
    Based on this experience, I feel that "Gas Treatment" only helps to even out the uniformity of the gasoline being treated. Although with this particular stuff, I gotta wonder if its not actualy heavier than gasoline and may have sunk to a lower part of the tank, thus my comments about experiencing slightly better performance at the beginning of the tank and lesser improvements towards the end of the tank.
    I feel the excellent gas mileage is partly due to a long trip I took, in which I took my sister-in-law to the airport, then drove north to catch a ferry boat back home.
    The total distance I drove that day was about 140 miles and a little more than 1/2 that trip was a constant 65 mph on multi-lane freeways.
    I guess now I'll have to include at least one long trip with each succeeding tankful.
    Anyway, I'm now running a tank of regular, boosted with Prestone 0-60 Concentrate Octane Booster.
    The short trip home (same as the last one, btw), did not yield any noticeable "seat-of-the-pants" changes in performance.
    See you guys in a couple of weeks.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  8. OP

    DeanMk Member

    I forgot that I had put an extra $5.04 in the tank, because I was afraid I couldn't get home (I was that much into "E").
    So, I actually went 407.3 miles on 14.998 gallons, which means the truck only got 27.156954 MPG.

    ....:( so wanted it to be 30 MPG :(...
  9. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Prestone 0-60 Concentrate Octane Booster

    This time went 311.5 miles on 11.152 gallons for an average of 27.9322094692 MPG.
    I'll keep this one short, as there's not much to report.
    Seat of the pants feel was less than with the prior Gas Treatment.
    Drivability was better than straight regular (seemed to idle a little smoother), but otherwise, couldn't really tell the tank was even boosted.
    As you can see, gas mileage was little better than normal, but frequency of stoplight stalls increased.
    My lasting impression of this one is that Prestone 0-60 concentrate and STP brand Octane Boosters both come in an orange bottle.
    This leaves me to wonder if, in the world of Octane Boosters, Orange isn't the new red flag.....FYI2ya.
    See you guys un a couple of weeks.

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  10. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Mag-1 Octane Booster with FMX

    Well...screw it.
    Lost my job and have hardly driven my truck in the last two weeks.
    At this rate it'll be next year before I drain the tank.
    I'm callin' it at half a tank.
    Gas prices have been coming down a lot lately. A Gasbuddy search showed the cheap gas was on the res @ $3.359/gal (of course, that's regular. I filled with premium, so it was $3.559).
    Anyway. 204.6 miles on 7.899 gallons, which yields - 25.902012913 mpg.
    Pretty drab mileage and I'm not too surprised since I experienced pretty drab performance with the Mag-1.
    Performance was similar to using the Prestone.
    Better than straight regular, but not by much.
    In the end, here's what I've learned from this experiment.
    If you're looking at octane boosters, the original is still the best - Turbo 104+ Octane Boost.
    It's the only one (and I've tried a few outside of this experiment, too) that you can actually feel a difference in performance, seat-of-the-pants.
    But more over, the whole reason for doing this was to try to find a way of running the less expensive regular grade gas, while attempting to enjoy the improved performance one typically sees when running premium grade fuel.
    Considering there's normally a 20 cent/gallon difference in the price of the two fuels and typically refilling at the "3/4 tank" mark, yields 12.1125 gallons (this truck).
    So in order to make this work, a bottle of booster can not cost more than $2.23 + tax.
    ...let me tell ya' folks, a bottle of octane booster, regardless of who makes it, is more than that. Usually MUCH more than that.
    So, after all is said and done, the cheaper route is to actually just run straight premium in the truck and that's what I plan to do from here on out.

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  11. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Wow, this thread still exists.
    Well, 8 months later and still getting around 26 mpg.
    Recently found an octane booster at The Dollar Tree, so I'm trying it now.
    Filled with regular gas, added the booster.
    Not quite the same as running straight hi-test, but better than running straight regular.
    $1.09 / bottle. Only raises the price /gallon by about a dime.
    That makes it cheaper than premium.
    A little less performance, but I might be able to live with this.
    Next tank will run straight mid grade, as a comparison.

  12. OP

    DeanMk Member

    ...hmmm, seems I forgot to make a report.
    Hi everyone! Remember me?
    Yeah, I know, been a while.
    Don't remember what the outcome of that last test was, but suffice to say, it's been a while since I've used octane booster from the dollar store.
    IIRC, succeeding tanks of $Tree octane booster with regular yielded poorer and poorer results.
    These days, I just run premium and the truck does just fine.
    Mileage is hovering between 25 and 26 mpg, but it hasn't had a tune up in about 2 years.
    I'm thinking new plugs and wires will miraculously put me back in the 27 and above mpg range.
    Learned one more driving trick with this truck...when you come across a long, steep hill, notice how much gas you have to give the truck in order to maintain your speed.
    If you're finding that you're almost flooring it, downshift to the next lower gear (presumably, 4th) and you'll find you won't have to bury the pedal quite nearly as much, UNLESS, the speed you need to maintain is so high that you need to bury the pedal just to reach that high of an rpm.
    Case in point; if you recall, I mentioned a couple of posts back that I had lost my job and wasn't driving the truck that much. About 6 months later I picked up another job (essentially the same thing I was doing before) and have been happily driving my truck on a regular basis again, albeit, a slightly shorter commute (5.5 miles, one way, now compared to 8 miles for the old job).
    This commute has me driving at a more steady "highway" speed (50-55 mph) for the entire commute with the exception of a drop to 25 as I pass through a tiny hamlet that sits between me and my job.
    Just before I arrive at the job, I have to climb a fairly long, fairly steep grade (probably about 1/2 mile). I had been just pulling it in 5th and not thinking much of it. The hill is steep enough that I have to absolutely floor it just to crest at 50 (or even to maintain it in the upper half of the hill).
    FYI - 5th is a .79:1 OD and the rear end is stuffed with 7.5" of 3.45 gears. This yields an effective ratio of 2.7255:1.
    With 25" tall tires, the engine is turning almost 2015 rpm at the bottom of the hill (55mph) while only turning 1831+ rpm at the top (50 mph).
    Consequently, my fuel mileage dropped by about 2.5 mpg.
    I started to think about how my dad used to drive. That guy was better than a cruise control at pulling an extra couple of mpg out of any car he drove. I remember him telling me about driving his VW Rabbit pick-up and how 5th in that car really lugged the engine down. As a result, he would never use it unless he was doing at least 55 mph (in those days, the 55 mph speed limit was still enforced).
    I started to think that he'd realized that fuel usage was as much about throttle position as it was about engine rpm.
    As long as engine rpm could remain constant (or within a reasonable variance, anyway), a less aggressive throttle position would yield better mpg (akin to coasting down a hill. Engine rpm and throttle position are at a minimum, but speed remains constant. Less fuel is used for the distance covered, thus mpg goes up).
    So, now, when I encounter that hill, I take it as far as I can at whatever speed I'm pushing (typically 55mph) and just before it hits 50, I downshift to 4th and finish the climb maintaining 50 mph.
    I'm finding I don't have to bury my foot nearly as deep as I did pulling the whole hill in 5th.
    Because of this, fuel mileage has returned to its former average.
    On the flip side, I lose about 1-2 mpg if I perform the entire commute in 4th. This is probably due to the fact that a good 85% of the commute is done on a fairly flat road, so throttle position has to be a bit more aggressive to maintain even 50 mph (as compared to 55 mph in 5th).
    Anyway, most of you have probably already realized this, so I post this for those who may not have realized this phenomena yet.
    Try it and see how your results go.

    Last edited: May 16, 2017
    Nathan likes this.
  13. Nathan

    Nathan Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the update Dean! Welcome back.
    DeanMk likes this.
  14. Jon

    Jon Administrator

    I always assumed a higher gear would lead to a better thanks for the information Dean!
  15. OP

    DeanMk Member

    ...that's what they want you to think....;)
  16. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Two + years later and I guess I'll do another gas mileage update.
    Still running the truck on premium.
    Gas mileage was starting to hover around 25 mpg and I was thinking it might be time for a tune up because its been about 4-5 years since the last one was done.
    Instead, I further modified my driving style. I worked on holding a steadier speed and am trying harder to keep the gas pedal off the floor, more often.
    Seems to be working. Mileage has again climbed back into the 27 mpg range.
    Still running the Hankook tires I put on back around 2012 or 2013 and they still work fine. Got plenty of tread left (I think I've put about 40K miles on them over this time).
    All in all, truck's still running fine and is still getting some pretty good gas mileage.

  17. ZappyBear

    ZappyBear Member

    Hmmm, makes sense since ATF is a detergent oil, or fluid rather. I'll give it a try on my '94 if I ever get it running right. If not I'll use the trick on my '93! Advancing spark is one way to increase gas mileage, and if your truck has a knock sensor, and higher octane gasoline has more "foof" and less "bang" allowing the engine to advance timing further without knocking. I know diesel will destroy a gasoline engine since it's octane is really low. I wonder if you could put an octane booster in diesel and run it in a gas engine? I don't know why one would do that since gasoline is cheaper, but there are certain things I must know. I wonder if any of my vehicles has a high enough compression ratio for such an experiment.
    DeanMk likes this.
  18. OP

    DeanMk Member

    3 ways to clean an engine without rebuilding it....
    Water, ATF or Diesel.
    Actually, what you're cleaning is the carbon out of the combustion chambers.
    If you do a lot of very short trips, like less than 10 minutes running time, your CC's can build up a bit of carbon, because the engine is never allowed to reach operating temperature.
    This results in reduced performance, poorer drivability, dieseling, etc.
    In the old days, what we did was take a small glass of one of those fluids and trickle it directly into the carburetor, holding it wide open as you did that.
    The water is supposed to steam the carbon away.
    The Diesel burns hotter than gasoline, so the carbon is burnt away. one I asked ever knew why it works. It is technically a solvent, so that could be how it works, but to be honest, all I really know is that it does work.
    Anyway, a guy I knew surmised that if those worked by pouring it straight into the carb, why not just pour it into the tank and let the fuel system clean it over one or two tankful's.
    Water and Diesel wouldn't work because neither would mix well with the gas, but the ATF might, so they tried it.
    Worked like gangbusters.
    That person puts it in with every tankful, but I fugured once the chamber is clean, I don't see how re-cleaning it would help much (maybe as a preventative, but that's kind of an expensive preventative).
    Anyway, after several lengthy conversations, I decided this person wasn't BS'ing me, so I tried it too.
    Poured a bottle into a full tank, just like they did.
    It worked and that truck really sprang back to life.
    I ran a couple of more bottles but performance didn't improve any more and that's when I realized the "re-cleaning" thing, so I stopped.
    Haven't done it in a while because all of my trips are long enough to allow the engine to warm up properly these days.
    I did pour in a bottle when I first got Whitey Ford (and maybe one other time, after) but it didn't seem to make any difference.
    That told me that the combustion chambers were clean and everything was working like it should.
    Some people think a whole bottle per tankful is excessive, but its always worked for me.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  19. OP

    DeanMk Member

    Wow, its like every couple of years I update this thread.....I seem to be falling into a rut. ;) :D
    The truck has been down since last spring and I just got it running again.
    Turns out the MAF sensor went south, so I replaced it and it runs just fine now. Still hard to start, but I think using it every day will eventually overcome that issue (fingers crossed).
    Anyway, even though I still run it on premium, it dawned on me this morning that its rather old gas, so maybe I should top off the tank and see if that helps any.
    I put almost 5.6 gallons into it, having only driven it about 68.5 miles at this point (had 25+ miles on the trip odo, when I parked it).
    Granted, while working on it, there were a couple of times I let it just sit there and idle for a long time to see how it acted warmed up. That will affect mileage, as well.
    SO, this tank is a bit of a milestone......12.23 mpg. The WORST gas mileage I've gotten on any vehicle I've owned, since the 1965 GMC 1/2 ton I owned in 1988 (which topped out around 13-14 mpg, but started off at 8).
    Anyway, "report worthy", I suppose.
    Hope everyone's safe and doing well.

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