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Old 05-21-2009, 06:09 AM   #1
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gas mileage build

I have decided to post all of the mods I have done to my tacoma in an effort to get the best gas mileage possible. Any ideas on other aftermarket products are encouraged. I drive about 5000 miles in a month so every mpg counts. Here is how I ended up with a taco.
I bought my 2004 taco in July of '08. I had an s10 that had serious engine trouble. I had rebuilt the top end of the motor (everything was brand new). I spent over 4 grand in the stupid thing ( I only paid 2300 for it) It was a 2.2L 2wd. I figured it a waste to get 4wd as I did not need it (until I started getting stuck and had zero traction) with my small 4cyl I was limited to what I could tow. I did manage to get 28mpg highway out of it though.
I started reving at stoplights though and I decided to get rid of it. I am self employed and was on the brink of loosing all my accounts if I did not have a reliable vehicle. I vowed to never buy another american junker. I did a bunch of research on tacos and frontiers up till 2004. the frontiers V6 was a huge gas hog and their 4cyl did not have a 4wd option. I decided to go with a taco. My father-in-law had owned one till the frame rusted out. Best truck he ever owned. I was haveing trouble finding one though. I needed an extended cab but not a 4 door. It had to be a standard and had to have 4wd. and it couldn't be white. I drove over 100 miles to look at one and eventually bought it. '04 xtra cab sr5 TRD package. 3.4L 4x4 103000 miles. I had to finance 15000 for it. Best decision I ever made. Over 30k miles put on it and I have done nothing but maintenance to it.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:24 AM   #2
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Good choice, a little high on price but overall what mods have you done to improve MPG?

Deck plate mod would be the first one I'd suggest. do a search on here..
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:24 AM   #3
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I averaged about 16-17mpg stock and could get 20 highway (about 60mph)

First thing to go in it was a K&N cold air intake. Got one used with 10000 miles on it off of ebay. The guy totaled his truck. He had all the original boxes instructions and window stickers even. Saved me over 100 bucks

I also change all of the fluids. Royal Purple in all diffs and tranny, also in transfer case. I run mobile one fully synthetic in the motor (their 15000 mile kind). I change it every 10k with a wix filter.

I put NGK platinum plugs in and bought magnecore 8.5mm wires. Next time I think I'll put denso instead and I believe that the wires were a waste of 85 bucks.

I put in a throttle body spoacer from airaid. It whistles; that may be all it does. I had already installed my K&N so it was hard to notice any minute hp gains.

I had heard about a hyperground system that works by grounding out your electrical system a lot better usings almost 100% thinck sopper wires. It was like 100 bucks and I had actual mechanics tell me that the installed it on a honda accord (that was the only mod) and could feel the difference in power. It supposedy is less of a strain on your alternator. I could tell no difference with mine. Possibly another 100 bucks wasted.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:47 AM   #4
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After the last set of mods I did a strickly highway trip (around 60mph with cruise control) 22mpg. 2 better than stock. Also noted that highways out in western PA where i'm from are nothing but hills so this hurts my gas mileage I'm sure. I now average around 17-18mpg at every fill up. As with my chevy though Shell gasoline always yields a 1-2mpg difference(positive). They really do have a better gasoline than everyone else.
I had read on another forum site about someone with the same truck as mine. He claimed that he got 22city/30hwy with these mods: royal purple for all gear lube, fully synthetic motor oil, jba headers, a cat back exhaust, k&N CAI, airaid throttle body spacer, NGK performance wires (which I could not find anywhere includig from NGK), and platinum plugs.
I new that headers would be a big gain but didn't have 600 bucks for them ( I wanted ceramic coated ones as my plain stainless ones in my s10 had heated the engine compartment so much that the spark plugs always got seized up in the head) I looked into getting a cat back system (slightly cheaper. I priced them and then went to a local exhaust shop ( a mom and pop place that was very reputable) and go quoted for a custom one with a flowmaseter 40 series. (flowmaster did not offer an entire catback exhaust for my truck and after I had reshearched different mufflers I like the flowmaster's sound the best on the 3.4L tacos. The shop owner pointed out that replacing all of my pipes with 2.5" aluminized was going to be of no help because there was relatively no size difference in the pipes. He told me that it would mostly be jsut for looks. I just had him weld a flowmaster in place of my stock muffler instead. And now my neighbor hates me. This did nothing to gain me power or mpg which I later found out why.
I was researching superchargers to find if they were strickly hp gains or I could use one to my benefit. A man over in california Has a website about his tacoma build <http://www.samsonfab.com/> He took his supercharger off because of the hp it had to use from the crankshaft to generate all its extra power. He built himself a custom turbo instead. It was really interesting to read. While buildin his custom turbo he noted that the 3.4L exhaust system has 2 cats. Both of them have a 2" inlet and outlet, greatly reducing exhaust flow. I knew that to gain any power from my exhaust I was going to have to remove them. I also found on his website a thread about an electric fan. He has instructions for a universal fan to be installed on a 1st gen taco. It save about $150 over buying a direct fit (the only difference being the brackets).
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:12 AM   #5
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The clutch started going a few months ago so I made plans to change it out. Instead of paying the dealer to do the work I saved my $600 bucks and instead bought a set of doug thorley headers for them. I read up on other brands and it turns out that OBX and JBA had some occurences of leaky manifolds and I don't even think OBX had ceramic coated ones. Everyone had good things to say about doug thorleys and the are for sale for around 600 bucks on this website <http://www.bjsoffroad.com/> I would call them. They only have parts for jeeps but for some reason had headers for the tacoma.
When I got the headers in I of course ripped them open like a kid on christmas morning. After readin the instructions I realized that they required cutting part of the old exhaust off and welding a new flange on just above the 1st cat. I instead completely removed the cat and had a shop bend a 2.5" pipe to fill the gap.

WOW! the difference was amazing. the flowmaster droned less in the cab but sounded nicer outside. I got up to 23mpg on the highway which was disapointing considering I now had everything plus extra of what the one tacoma owner had installed when he claimed to get his 30hwy. I began thinking that my grille guard that I installed may have been effecting air flow more than I thougth. Also I'm do for some new tires. I had the original ones on there from when I bought the truck. They were all terrains. The only off-roading that I do I threw someones yard or driving over curbs. I think that with my 4wd and chains that I bough I should be able to go anywhere I need to without having all terreain tires. When I buy new ones in a few weeks here I'm going to go with highway tires instead. cooper discoverers LT265/75R16 $150/tire mounted and balanced. Any input on anyone who has these is appreciated.

Anyway I put my old cat on ebay and someone bought it. I told them I was also planning on removing my 2nd cat as well. So he bought that one too. I'll use the $125 from both cats to get a high flow 2.5" inlet outlet to put in so that I can pass emmisions and also not kill myself if I ever get stuck in traffic. I will post a new gas mileage update after I buy new tires and remove my grille guard.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:19 AM   #6
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Mods I plan on putting on in the future include an electric fan and also a water injection system <http://www.snowperformance.net/product.php?pk=76>

I thought about lowering the truck about 3/4" I don't know if that would help much. I hate the look of a com,pletely lowered truck. Plus I occasionally put 2000lbs in the bed.

Anyone with any additional ideas please post them. It helps if you have them installed on your truck or know someone who does.

I am open to the idea of a chip but I don't know much about the computer end of my vehicle. I would love to learn about it though. I'm sure there is a whole lot more power and better fuel economy i can unlock if I would learn that stuff. Anyone with a good computer mod for beginers would be a big help.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:25 AM   #7
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some more pics
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:29 AM   #8
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and a few more

also if anyone is interested in my old manifolds and y-pipe make me an offer. They are currently laying around waiting for scrap prices to go up.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:15 AM   #9
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Nice writeups...but anyone getting 30mpg with a tacoma has the 4cylinder

Air the tires to the max for better MPG is about all I can suggest that you haven't done.

Taking off the mirrors, and antenna to reduce drag, skinny little tires, would also be the way to go before lowering the truck to get real extreme
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiscdave View Post
Nice writeups...but anyone getting 30mpg with a tacoma has the 4cylinder

Air the tires to the max for better MPG is about all I can suggest that you haven't done.

Taking off the mirrors, and antenna to reduce drag, skinny little tires, would also be the way to go before lowering the truck to get real extreme
the 30mpg claimed was from a 3.4L although he may have cheated and done 35mph in 5th gear for the whole tank. I run 50psi already. I just removed the grille guard today I put in my high flow cat next week along with some new highway tires. I'm expecting 26mpg highway with shell gas in it.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:54 AM   #11
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To help with your gas mileage you might want to go with a P-rated tire vs the LT. The LT tires are heavier and will rob from your mileage.
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FL Forester View Post
To help with your gas mileage you might want to go with a P-rated tire vs the LT. The LT tires are heavier and will rob from your mileage.
I would but I occasionally put about 1800lbs in the bed. not including myself and anything else in the cab.
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthew5olson View Post
the 30mpg claimed was from a 3.4L although he may have cheated and done 35mph in 5th gear for the whole tank. I run 50psi already. I just removed the grille guard today I put in my high flow cat next week along with some new highway tires. I'm expecting 26mpg highway with shell gas in it.

If he saw 30 mpg with the 3.4, it must have been while he was hitt'en the crack pipe, in 5th gear, downhill in the mountains, on the scanguage for a split second.
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:50 AM   #14
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That truck is rated at 15 city and 18 hwy. Those mods you did are awesome and will probably increase the horsepower, but I doubt you will gain 8 mpg, JMO. I could be wrong.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:16 PM   #15
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I have been all over the internet today and have made up my mind to do something with my front bumper and also to make a belly pan to improve aerodynamics. I think that is ussually the biggest mpg stopper with trucks. I thought about lowering it (4x4 tacos have a lot of lift) but I don't know anything about suspension and I need to use it like a truck. I think a custom made bumper that sits lower to the ground will help however. If I can direct more of the air out from under the truck it should be a decent help.
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthew5olson View Post
I have been all over the internet today and have made up my mind to do something with my front bumper and also to make a belly pan to improve aerodynamics. I think that is ussually the biggest mpg stopper with trucks. I thought about lowering it (4x4 tacos have a lot of lift) but I don't know anything about suspension and I need to use it like a truck. I think a custom made bumper that sits lower to the ground will help however. If I can direct more of the air out from under the truck it should be a decent help.
That might help. Bad aerodynamics and too much weight are two of the killers of gas mileage. You do have to weigh the cost per mpg gained to see if it's worth it. If the bumper costs $700.00 and you only gain 1/10 mpg, it probably isn't worth it.
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:59 PM   #17
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Cool build and nice taco.. However I gotta say haven't you spent well more on mods to 'improve gas millage' than you'll ever actually recover from saving the few mpg's?
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Cool build and nice taco.. However I gotta say haven't you spent well more on mods to 'improve gas millage' than you'll ever actually recover from saving the few mpg's?
I've spent about $1000 on mods I went from averaging 16 to averaging 19mpg. At 5000 miles a month that saves me 50 gallons a month. at $2 a gallon it'll be well paid for in 10 months. And if it goes back to $4 a gallon...

I agree some though. I think that the throttle body spacer, ignition wires and hyperground system were probably a waste. (about $250)

The K&N and headers were definitely not however.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:37 PM   #19
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I removed my grill guard and it definitely helped with gas mileage. I never would've guessed that it would have quite so big an effect. about a mile a gallon highway.
On monday I gett my new tires. I'm going with 6 ply dunlop's I decided to go back to the suggested tire size as the previous owner had one size bigger on. I'm getting LT245/75R16. My other option was cooper discoverers for about $20 more a tire. Unless anyone speaks up and has had bad experiences with dunlop's I'll prolly go with them. Also on monday I'll install my electric fan. If anybody is wanting to get a flex-a-lite 210 better do it now. They already stopped production of them. I might have to get a red one if I can't find any black ones. I think a big red shroud would look real stupid.

I'm heading on a trip cross country to phoenix next week pulling a big 16 foot trailer. I need all the help I can get with my mileage.
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Old 06-12-2009, 01:17 PM   #20
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Which dunlops?
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