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Bakari
biodieselhau...
Male
Oakland, CA



 
Posted By Bakari

I have been requested to post something positive.

While I am generally good at pointing out problems and at complaining, I don't generally offer much by way of solutions.
This time I have a very concrete solution, which is within easy reach of ordinary Americans, with no risk, no cost, and a negligible amount of inconvenience.
It is something you, the reader, can do.


But first, a short history lesson:
In October of 1973 a group of nations got sick of the US foreign policy of military intervention, and, knowing we had developed a lifestyle totally dependent on oil, they agreed not to sell us any.
This caused massive and immediate effects throughout the US economy. Buying fuel, at any price, meant waiting in long lines - on those days you were even allowed to buy gas at all (hmm, so maybe Soviet era lines for goods were not caused by the distribution system of communism, but by a plain lack of resources...)

The government took steps to encourage conservation, which (unlike sourcing new oil) could be done immediately, such as banning Christmas lights.

Another major step they took was to enact a national speed limit of 55mph.

The reason for this is that at higher speeds air resistance increases exponentially* relative to speed. Going twice as fast requires 4 times the energy. This is as true of modern vehicles as it was in 1973. All vehicles, small or large, gas or alternative fuel, use more energy at speeds above 60mph. In fact, going from 55 to 70mph typically uses between 20% and 25% more fuel to go the same distance.**

Next, a physics lesson:
Similar to the relationship between wind resistance and speed, momentum varies with the square of speed.
Energy=1/2m*v2***
This means that if you are going twice as fast, it will take 4 times as much force to stop - and 4 times the braking distance in an emergency.
It also means that if you do end up in a crash, at twice the speed you will have 4 times the impact. At 4 times the impact, crumple zones and airbags can't stop your organs from hitting your ribs hard enough to explode.

Most people actually believe they are safe when they are driving a car.
The number one cause of death of youth in the US in car crashes. It causes more deaths among young people than murder, suicide, cancer, and heart disease combined. It is the number one cause of death up until age 40, at which point it is still in the top 3.
We don't hear about it much in the news precisely because it is so common. There are roughly 16,500 accidents significant enough to be reported in the U.S. EVERY DAY. Of these, roughly 1/3 result in permanent injuries. Every 12 minutes, an American dies in a car crash. Every time you get into a car, you may die.

The number one factor in causing all of these deaths and injuries? It isn't alcohol. It isn't teen drivers or cell phones. Its speeding. Speeding is the single largest factor in injury and fatality collisions. Contrary to popular belief, driving slower is safer even when other cars around you are speeding.****

Note a couple studies on the issue:
"risk of involvement in a casualty crash, relative to the risk for a car traveling at 60 km/h, increased at an exponential rate for free traveling speeds above 60 km/h [37mph]"**

“... summarized in a general rule of thumb: When travel speed increases by 1%, the injury crash rate increases by about 2%, the serious injury crash rate increases by about 3%, and the fatal crash rate increases by about 4% ”**

(continued here, due to character limit)


 
Posted By Bakari

Back when I began I set a totally baseless "goal" of 25mpg.

That would make my (CAFE exempt) 2.5-ton full-size commercial truck more fuel efficient than the average passenger car on the road today.

The changes since I last posted:

-Replaced mechanical vacuum pump with an electric one (from the wrecking yard - they don't have a list of cars, and most of the insignias have been pulled off, so I had to check each one.  I found it in the very last row, after having gone through probably 200 or so)  This allowed me to remove the alternator belt altogether.
pump


-Replaced belt driven radiator cooling fan with an electric one.  It has a thermostat, so it only goes on when its actually needed.  It also weighs about 1/10th as much, so it doesn't require as much energy to turn.

fan


-Added an underbelly pan from the front bumper to around 1/2 back to smooth out airflow beneath the vehicle, along with little spoilers in front of the front tires (they were big spoilers at first, but they rubbed the wheels at highway speeds and wore away) 
belly


-Removed the windshield wipers to make it a little more aerodynamic.  They, along with the alternator belt, live inside the cab now just in case I need them unexpectedly.  They de/reattach with no tools in just a couple seconds.

-Replaced the grill tape with a sheet of coroplast (same stuff the belly pan is made from) so it can be removed easily in hot weather. The engine runs better warm in general, but the new fan isn't quite as powerful, and between that, the grill blocking, and driving (faster than usual, 65mph) in the hills during the brief hot weather we had last week, it did overheat once, so I thought it better to make something that could quickly and easily be removed and replaced later.
grill

-Removed power steering pump and replaced steering gear with a manual steering gear.
steer


I've also added a solar panel, changed my aux driving lights to 5w LEDs and moved them to inside the grill.

The average brand new passenger vehicle (inc. cars and light trucks) gets 26.7mpg.

On my last fill up my 1983 commercial (heavy) truck got 26.85mpg
trip


 
Posted By Bakari

I would much appreciate it if you voted for my instructable.

I don't so much want the prize, but I would love the exposure.

Unfortunately you have to sign up, but fortunately it's free, and doesn't take very long.

Thanks in advance.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Vehicle-efficiency-upgrades/


 
Posted By Bakari

My friend/co-worker, upon hearing about my truck project, encouraged me (repeatedly) to do a write up for the do-it-yourself website Instructables.com
As it happened, I was working on consolidating my blog posts on the topic for the hypermiling websites from which I had originally gotten most of the ideas I've been implementing.
So I followed the link he sent, signed up, and reformatted the posts to be appropriate for the popular how-to site.

The site was new to me, so it took basically all day figuring out the features and making changes to the content and pictures and tweaking various things.  Comments started coming in, and I responded to the comments, and then a site administrator must have seen it and liked it because before the first day was over I was promoted to a "featured" item, which meant my post was put on the site's homepage.

And the views took off.  By day two there had been over 4000 views, and it was moved to the "popular" section of the homepage.
Right now (3 and half days since I published) its up to 6415 views and over 50 comments.
One of which was: "I think I might play the aero game on my car now!"

That's the best compliment I could get. If I encourage just one person to drive a little slower, or even do some mods, writing all this up will have all been worth the effort.

It's one thing writing on my own blog, or on a hypermiling website, but introducing these ideas to the general population, that is gratifying.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Vehicle-efficiency-upgrades/


 
Posted By Bakari

If I really wanted to accurately determine how much difference any particular change made, I would make upgrades immediately after filling the tank, and then do only change at a time, going the entire tank and calculating mileage before doing another.
I don't have that kind of patience.

When I wrote last about it (the post with the pictures) I had begun those mods several days into a new tank of gas.

I looked up what was typical for the same model and year of truck online (there are no EPA estimates for it) and found people reporting anywhere from 10mpg to 18mpg.
Myself, loading it to it's max for work, but being a generally gentle driver, before I had ever heard of hypermileing I was getting between 15 and 17mpg.

By changing just my driving habits, driving slow, accelerating gently, coasting when coming to a stop, I raised it to 19.7mpg.

After the first stage of changes to the truck (the tank I was on when I wrote about them March 21) I ended up getting 21.75 miles with a gallon of gas.

Once again, I filled up, and then several trips into the new tank, got around to starting my next series of upgrades.
I still have yet to go to the salvage yard to try to find a manual steering gear and electric vacuum pump (so the brakes work when the engine is off). I was planning to go today, but the rain had me change my mind.

I did make it down to Al Lasher's last week for some switches.

Nobody makes a wiring diagram for this year for the diesel engine.
I spent many hours over several days upside down under the steering wheel, trying to trace and test various wires.

-If you happen to own a 7th generation (80s) Diesel F-250, and you want to wire in a kill switch or remote starter: The thick red wire with a green stripe goes to the injector pump (for a kill). The thin red wire with a blue stripe goes to the ignition relay (for a start).

The switches are dual purpose: wire them one way and they are momentary open, wire them the other and they are momentary closed. I used one each way, so that one stops fuel to the engine, the other triggers the starter. I mounted them side-by-side in a block of scrap wood, attached to the gear shift with a strip cut out of a steel can lid (mandarin oranges, of course).
As I had hoped, they definitely make the pulse and glide (coasting, etc) much faster, simpler, more precise, and safer, then using the key each time (especially since the ignition on this truck has been very finicky as long as I have had it) which encourages me to do it a lot more often.




-The orange wire running from the external voltage regulator to the alternator controls whether the alternator is charging or idle. If you open the circuit the alternator stops charging. Even though it is still being turned, there is no resistance, it just freewheels.
If anyone is inspired to do a similar project (with any vehicle), DO NOT just disconnect the alternator from the battery w/o disconnecting the smaller wires.  It will continue to produce current, but since that charge has nowhere to go, the alternator will self-destruct...

(Due to character limit, click here for the rest)