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Old 10-02-2012, 03:01 PM   #31
PWGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IH84DZ View Post
I see a lot of variables in here that don't make your mileage figures a shocker. Unless you are calculating fuel economy by filling your tank, logging mileage and filling the tank at the same pump again while dividing the miles driven by gallons used - your fuel usage figures are terribly inaccurate. This may sound unacceptable given you are using the fuel gauge but if you understood how a fuel gauge worked it would make more sense. They are accurate estimations of fuel level, not accurate measurents of fuel level.

A drive of less than 3 miles (especially in cool temps) is likely not enough time for the engine to reach closed loop. In open loop it fuels the engine based on a programmed table that is certainly rich of stoich and thus it will consume more fuel in open loop than it will in closed loop. This is aside from all the other problems you can expect with such a short run cycle.

Your tire compound will negatively affect fuel economy as well because they have more drag compared to a street tire - regardless of how much air you put in them

It is a good idea to check for dragging brakes - especially if you've had brake issues in the past

How much extra weight is in the car?

What is the ethanol content of the fuel being used?

Your woman may have poor driving habits. I can make a motorcycle get 10mpg if I try hard enough........

Get rid of the K&N filter. MAF based Fords are notorious for aftermarket filters (especially "performance" filters that use oil to trap FOD) messing with the air turbulence across the MAF sensor and/or contaminating the sensor with oil. Comparing what mileage you get with a go-fast air filter to what others get with paper filters isn't a very valid comparison.
0 extra weight in the car - back seats and trunk are EMPTY.

Regarding the short trip to work - should I let the car warm up? And for the record, I drive my Mazda Miata about the same mileage to the health club every other day and that is IT (I work from home). And I STILL GET 24-25 MPG! What the hell gives here with the Focus!? And the Miata is older - 1997!

You've summarized things well and I will take your advice tonight and get a new air filter, and sell the stupid K&N. I've been wondering if I simply drank the kool-aid on that one without thinking it through/researching.

The gasoline I purchase is local Mobil or BP - so whatever their standard is for ethanol content?
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:45 PM   #32
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Ok, had to recheck ALL the postings on this thread just to see what I may have missed...

When doing so I noticed a comment on idle speed problems with the air conditioner on and the note that IAC might need cleaning. how's that been working overall?

FYI, so you don't feel insulted, we see a LOT of non-problems with this type of issue due to manner of figuring mileage or type of use - so we have to start with the "stupid questions" first just to make sure we aren't chasing our tails here while trying to help...

Actual history of mpg over time can be diagnostic of developing problems, in this case it really doesn't seem to be available...

With the age of the car, and the service items you've needed to replace already, I'm wondering what the total mileage is on the car and whether the timing belt has been replaced yet?

It MIGHT be time to "start with the basics", and check the mechanical condition of the engine with a compression check, then check the cam timing/replace the belt if that hasn't been done yet.

The real underlying question here is whether the mpg has been going down over time, or whether this is a sudden change in the "norm" for this car.

The 23 to 25 highway # from before you got it is already a bit low, so there may have been some issues at that time that you still haven't found & addressed.

From what you mentioned in your last post, possibly the easiest first diagnostic would be to drive the car yourself for a bit as you have the Miata, keeping track of actual miles & gallons at each fill to get a good set of mpg numbers for reference.

keep in touch here, and the members will keep throwing out Ideas as you go through the research process to find any issues with the car.

The best function of the forum is to throw out possibilities you can check when you're already out of ideas yourself. It's the thing I miss most working by myself instead of in a shop with other mechanics. The only substitute available is to talk with other friends that work on their vehicles, or for the Focus ask questions here...

luck!
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:14 AM   #33
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Does warming up the car 7-10 minutes before my wife leaves for work get us any benefit with MPG?
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:34 AM   #34
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Quote:
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Ok, had to recheck ALL the postings on this thread just to see what I may have missed...

When doing so I noticed a comment on idle speed problems with the air conditioner on and the note that IAC might need cleaning. how's that been working overall?
I haven't done the IAC yet since we are moving and busy - it will probably (hopefully) be cleaned in November.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
FYI, so you don't feel insulted, we see a LOT of non-problems with this type of issue due to manner of figuring mileage or type of use - so we have to start with the "stupid questions" first just to make sure we aren't chasing our tails here while trying to help...
I understand completely. And my MPG calculation was bunk, apologies. I'm working on getting an accurate reading this week and next week to report back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
Actual history of mpg over time can be diagnostic of developing problems, in this case it really doesn't seem to be available...

With the age of the car, and the service items you've needed to replace already, I'm wondering what the total mileage is on the car and whether the timing belt has been replaced yet?
The car just rolled over 130,000 miles - I took possession of it November 2011 with 122,016 miles from my father-in-law. He took possession of it a few years back from the original owner when the vehicle had 92,000 miles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
It MIGHT be time to "start with the basics", and check the mechanical condition of the engine with a compression check, then check the cam timing/replace the belt if that hasn't been done yet.
How do I perform a compression check? Do I rent a tool from local O'Reillys and use it? I've never used one before, so I don't have a clue...YouTube, maybe?

Regarding timing belt replacement, will be next Spring before I can get to that - just too busy right now with our move and holidays coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
The real underlying question here is whether the mpg has been going down over time, or whether this is a sudden change in the "norm" for this car.

The 23 to 25 highway # from before you got it is already a bit low, so there may have been some issues at that time that you still haven't found & addressed.
Apologies but it was about 23 city before this change occurred to less than 20 city. This car rarely gets on the highway. And after I installed the new Motorcraft Fuel Filter in November 2011, I put in some Lucas Fuel Injector cleaner - FYI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
From what you mentioned in your last post, possibly the easiest first diagnostic would be to drive the car yourself for a bit as you have the Miata, keeping track of actual miles & gallons at each fill to get a good set of mpg numbers for reference.

keep in touch here, and the members will keep throwing out Ideas as you go through the research process to find any issues with the car.

The best function of the forum is to throw out possibilities you can check when you're already out of ideas yourself. It's the thing I miss most working by myself instead of in a shop with other mechanics. The only substitute available is to talk with other friends that work on their vehicles, or for the Focus ask questions here...

luck!
Yep, will do that
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:00 AM   #35
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Warm up vs. mpg

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Does warming up the car 7-10 minutes before my wife leaves for work get us any benefit with MPG?
Nope, best "warm up" for mpg & vehicle longevity is still to fire it up, then drive away "normally" - while trying to avoid any "extremes" in acceleration, braking etc. until the car has a chance to warm up.

The current crop of vehicles generally drives quite well, even when "cold" - yet ALL the systems are happier once they get some exercise & warm up to normal operating temperatures. Over the years I've seen some extremes of damage done when the operator didn't understand the importance of this. It's QUITE uncommon & any damage is usually cumulative over time instead of catastrophic. There are exceptions of course, and for automobiles winter weather is the worst. In Northern climes almost anything can break from the cold, & treating machines more gently when cold is a partial defense.

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:04 AM   #36
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Nope, best "warm up" for mpg & vehicle longevity is still to fire it up, then drive away "normally" - while trying to avoid any "extremes" in acceleration, braking etc. until the car has a chance to warm up.

The current crop of vehicles generally drives quite well, even when "cold" - yet ALL the systems are happier once they get some exercise & warm up to normal operating temperatures. Over the years I've seen some extremes of damage done when the operator didn't understand the importance of this. It's QUITE uncommon & any damage is usually cumulative over time instead of catastrophic. There are exceptions of course, and for automobiles winter weather is the worst. In Northern climes almost anything can break from the cold, & treating machines more gently when cold is a partial defense.

Wow, I'm surprised by this to say the least. Ok so let me ask a different way - is it better for the engine internals, etc to warm-up the engine while parked in my driveway 10 minutes before a super short trip, like my wife driving to work? (Putting MPG aside)..
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:16 AM   #37
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Wow, I'm surprised by this to say the least. Ok so let me ask a different way - is it better for the engine internals, etc to warm-up the engine while parked in my driveway 10 minutes before a super short trip, like my wife driving to work? (Putting MPG aside)..
Yes. With your short trips which are not long enough for everything to reach nominal operating temperature, a best practice would be to let it idle at least 10 minutes before driving especially in temps below 50*F. Granted, you are burning fuel that isn't moving the odometer so fuel economy will go down...but....you aren't really going to be impressed with your mileage if the car never gets warm enough for closed loop either.

Thermostat, hoses, moisture in the oil, the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, fuel vaporization, transmission - all are systems that REQUIRE a certain temperature in order to operate properly. Systems designed to be heat cycled should be expected to fail early if not properly heat cycled. My professional opinion is that the extra $ spent on wasted gas as it idles (marginal amounts, really) will more than offset the cost and hassle that may result from inadequate heat cycling.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by IH84DZ View Post
Yes. With your short trips which are not long enough for everything to reach nominal operating temperature, a best practice would be to let it idle at least 10 minutes before driving especially in temps below 50*F. Granted, you are burning fuel that isn't moving the odometer so fuel economy will go down...but....you aren't really going to be impressed with your mileage if the car never gets warm enough for closed loop either.

Thermostat, hoses, moisture in the oil, the catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, fuel vaporization, transmission - all are systems that REQUIRE a certain temperature in order to operate properly. Systems designed to be heat cycled should be expected to fail early if not properly heat cycled. My professional opinion is that the extra $ spent on wasted gas as it idles (marginal amounts, really) will more than offset the cost and hassle that may result from inadequate heat cycling.
Noted - thank you so much for the info
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:02 PM   #39
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Rental compression gauge will work, key is to do the test in a manner that'll give useable results.

Got a battery charger?

The best way to get good numbers that I know, is to:

1. remove all spark plugs

2. reinsert plugs into their wire & ground to engine (laying them on a metal engine part that's NOT insulated from the block works) this gives the spark somewhere safe to go when you crank the engine

3. Screw adapter/gauge into the first plug hole (which end you start with doesn't matter, but #1 is by the belt end)

4. crank over engine with gas pedal to the floor until the gauge needle stops going up, then record that number - release the pressure to remove the gauge - and go to the second cyl.

5. after doing the same procedure on the second cyl., charge up the battery before doing the third & fourth (how essential this is depends on your battery condition, a good battery could do all 4, while a poor one might need charging between each to get consistent cranking speed)

6. Now you can check the results

Exact numbers can vary between gauges, the first check is to look for variation between the cylinders - this should be within 10% for an engine in good condition. For example, if you see 140 psi on 3, and one is at 125 psi - that one is JUST out of the "normal" range and bears watching in the future. If you saw one at 75 psi, the engine may have a problem and is likely running rough - time to recheck by redoing the test to confirm your results.

As a rule of thumb, 5 to 10 psi variation falls within the normal range for a good engine, while more than that should be rechecked & watched for changes (it's good practice to check compression at each engine maintenance time to get base line numbers & note any changes).

Unusually high or low numbers across the board CAN be indicative of certain issues (engine wear or carbon build up at two extremes) but it's not time to panic when you aren't sure of the particular gauge's accuracy. There are other signs & tests we can describe, besides trying a different gauge, to determine exactly what's going on if the initial results don't look good!

Luck!
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:16 PM   #40
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Warm up in general

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Originally Posted by PWGuy View Post
Wow, I'm surprised by this to say the least. Ok so let me ask a different way - is it better for the engine internals, etc to warm-up the engine while parked in my driveway 10 minutes before a super short trip, like my wife driving to work? (Putting MPG aside)..
Believe it or not (grin), it's actually better for the engine to warm up under light loads than to idle until warm.

Best way I can describe this, is that without any "load" on the engine, the moving parts tend to "flop around" more - creating stresses that aren't there in normal use.

Long times spent "idling" actually wear an engine MORE than normal highway driving for example, one of the many reasons "idle reduction technology" is a major issue regarding "Big Rigs" these days (Saving fuel & reducing emissions are the items in the news, but it does reduce maintenance & result in better longevity as well)
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