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Old 08-23-2015, 08:22 PM   #1
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Swapping 5th gear

I have a bone stock 05 ZX3 5 speed. Love the car, but wish it has longer legs in 5th gear. I would rather not mess with the final drive ratio. Is it possible/economically feasible to go to a considerably taller 5th? As it is, the duratec can pull a fair grade at 35 mph, so I think I could go a good bit taller.


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Old 08-23-2015, 09:11 PM   #2
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There isn't an alternative trans. with a different 5th (you DID post in engine/trans swap) so no choices either way there.

5th at 35 is only good for idling along on the flat BTW, not great to lug it that low with more throttle IMHO.


Here's the latest discussion:Freeway RPM

You'd need to dig deeper to find what ratios were used when for final drive. You might have the lowest already.
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Old 08-25-2015, 06:30 AM   #3
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Interesting thread. I like the guy saying his mileage is down because of his exhaust.

Your mileage is down because you like listening to that exhaust.

As for my statement earlier about "pulling a fair grade" at 35 in 5th, "fair grade" may be be a bit of an overstatement, but, I can definitely pull slight grades at that speed without getting into the throttle much at all. I really need to get a scanguage to see realtime fuel consumption in these cases. It might be that these situations would be handled better in 4th.
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Old 08-25-2015, 07:02 PM   #4
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Factory shift light on mine doesn't ask for 5th until closer to 40, I know I can idle along in 5th at 35 but the RPM is low - IIRC in the 1,200 area at the most.

It'll pull reasonably at 40 for easy grades, but 35 feels like abusing it - only go that slow in 5th idling on the flat.

If a higher gear needs more throttle than a lower one to maintain speed, IMHO it's time to use the lower one.
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:44 AM   #5
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Sounds like you may have a higher 5th gear. I am right at about 1500, maybe a touch below it, at 35mph. This could explain why I can pull slight hills in 5th at that speed.

As for my shift light, it appears to be stuck in race mode! Comes on without fail....at 5 grand. Light throttle, heavy throttle, it doesn't care. Every now and then I make sure it still works. :)
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
If a higher gear needs more throttle than a lower one to maintain speed, IMHO it's time to use the lower one.
I might argue this point.

Engines are actually more efficient at higher loads. Not saying that putting it to the boards is efficient, as it is not, but if the higher gear, with a bit more throttle is pulling smoothly, it is likely more efficient. This is particularly true with modern FI.

I really do need a scanguage so I can know for sure.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:08 AM   #7
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just noticed you have the 2.3 That may explain the taller gears.
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:06 AM   #8
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Short comments seldom give the full story, and yes your fuel economy results can only be proven with instruments.

I'm used to using lower RPM's to pull with a H.D. Diesel, well defined range there to use.

Lugging down a light gas engine at low RPM without a defined minimum for full throttle use - tend to avoid that, a preference to avoid putting more load on it than it's happy with. If it starts bucking you know you've gone too far, by then some damage may be done. (might be minor, just hate to do it at all)

I was trying to put a "feel" for when it's running well into a single sentence. At low RPM you can feel when a lot of throttle input won't make a difference in pulling power, and one gear lower lets it run easy & pull a hill/accelerate/ whatever needs more power than it's happy with at that low speed in a higher gear.

Relatively "short" shifting and low throttle is the classic fuel economy routine, I've never tested the theoretical savings from reduced pumping losses of WOT at low RPM in the same scenario. I know it'll dump extra fuel in to avoid a stumble when you whack the throttle open, and that could easily eliminate the advantage.

I'd have to test it over at least a tank full to get a result, haven't had the interest in trying to date. (doesn't often fit well for driving in traffic)
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Old 08-27-2015, 05:30 AM   #9
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Well, said. I think we are pretty much on the same page.

I checked again the rev/mph thing.

Just a touch under 1500/35mph. About 2900/70mph.

Are your numbers the same? I suspect that you just might have a higher differential gearing. My ear/seat of the pants meter tells me that all is well on slight up grades with very modest throttle inputs at 35. I can idle along on flats at 30.

At least the tach/speedo seem well synchronized. I have had cars in the past where the above math just didn't jive.

Concerning my "race shift light", I wonder of this may be an indication of a sensor input being out of whack. Not going to worry about it as the car runs perfectly.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:22 PM   #10
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I'd have to look again to know the RPM's accurately, too long since I checked precisely.

IIRC 4th is close to the old double the tach to get mph, 3k for 60/1.5k for 30 (OD fifth, 1:1 fourth).

Odd to have the shift light only at 5k, mine was impressively accurate for reasonable shift points at various throttle inputs. Seldom see it, usually shift just short of it's coming on.
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