Monday, April 20, 2009

fuel suckage

I reinsured my truck this weekend gone by and went for a drive down to Bellingham. I got a nasty surprise in my trucks fuel consumption. The Low Fuel indicator went off while driving on the I-5, I was cruising at an average of about 110Km. In my past experience I normally get at least a good half hour of driving after the Low Fuel warning goes on, and even then I have never ran out of fuel. I don’t think we drove for even ten minutes before I lost power. Surprised, I pulled into the slow lane and let her coast. It wasn’t long before the engine cut out after I shifted into neutral. I thought we would be stranded on the I-5, but we happened to be on a long gradual gradient so we coasted for about 5 kilometers, and at the end of that grade low and behold we had an exit with a gas station. With my hazards on I blew through a stop sign breaking only slightly in an effort to preserve as much kinetic energy as possible. I even cut off the road and cut a corner through a gravel patch to get to the gas station. We came to a stop about 25 meters shy of the pump and had to resort to pushing the old beast the last bit of the way. I must say I have been close before, but this was the luckiest out of gas experience I have had.

After I filled up, I kept an eye on the gauge. The consumption is horrendous. Unfortunately I didn’t track mileage but I could practically see the gauge move downwards while driving. I remembered a little later that I had dropped my tire pressure for extra snow traction last winter when Vancouver got pummeled with snow. I’m hoping that this is the root cause of my dismal km/L’s. I have decided that I’m going to optimize the truck for fuel consumption, starting with putting the correct pressure in my tires. Other ideas include installing a real-time fuel consumption gauge, K&N air in take, electric radiator fans and possibly an after market exhaust. I want to do these optimizations incrementally so that I can see how much value each change gives me.

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