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  • Fuel Economy Post

    Posted this on the 1GR Facebook group - copying here in case it's of value.

    ***********************


    OK, long Fuel Economy post, in case this can help someone else. I don't care anywhere near as much as some of you do, BUT I will always support active groups with any info I have in the interest of giving back (y) and after seeing so many posts (not just here), I have paid some attention to it. This is not for those seeing 20L per hundred on your normal commute, that's a different issue.

    ***************
    Car is 2010 Prado GXL Auto with 70ks, it has the following economy affecting mods (either weight or performance related impact on economy IMO).
    - ARB Steel Winch Bar
    - Winch
    - Dual Battery
    - Onboard Compressor
    - Safari Snorkel
    - 2" Lift
    - Side steps
    - KO2s in 265/70 - Speedo is almost dead on GPS speed so I trust distance travelled as it's bang on GPS distances. Run at 40psi.
    - Throttle controller.
    - Airbox restrictor removed.
    - aFe Dry filter.
    - OBD2 Dongle + Torque Pro to help me see some extra parameters.
    - Runs on Apco 95, economy is simply worse on 91 and it's even more gutless, and it's hardly fast now. Have not tested Shell/BP, economy could be even better for all I know but I highly doubt it - when switching fuels you must give the car a few tanks to adjust, you can also reset the ECU if you like.

    ***************
    I live in hilly terrain and do about 50ks a day round trip to work and back/pickup kids from school etc, until recently have been seeing close to 14L-14.2/100 for that loop, and usually mid 13s on the higway. I am now seeing low 13s on the work commute and on my recent trip to Bathurst it was 12.5L.

    Bathurst was a 1009ks trip going from Vic up through Young/Coota etc. Rear cargo full to the seat line, just slabs/camping gear etc.

    Here's my thoughts on why that's changed, but also what I've actively done to help. Some you may know/do already but in the interest of trying to prevent some of the fuel economy posts from new members, I'll include it all. Some of this may only be relevant to Prados, I don't know because I don't own a Hilux or FJ. This is also far more relevant to driving in hilly and undulating terrain, I don't do a big stints on long flat roads.

    ***************
    ** Toyota cruise control is terrible, do not use it on anything other than flat roads. The car constantly unlocks the converter (bad for trans temps and fuel burn). It's got terrible speed management and will drop to 4th on an incline and overshoot the set speed by as much as 7-8km/h I have seen. Useless. I am having much better results driving the car without cruise in hilly terrain, which seems stupid for a modern car

    ***************
    ** Conservation of momentum within the realm of legal speeds. Depending on traffic, I will allow the car to wash off some speed on inclines and gain some extra speed on declines if there's another incline following it.

    On an incline I will attempt to modulate throttle to keep the convertor locked up, but if that's not possible due to grade or length of the incline or traffic behind, will try to minimise throttle input to the lowest numbers on the instant econ gauge required to maintain a reasonable speed vs distance to the top of the incline.

    Conserving momentum is critical though, if you let the car instantly wash off 20km/h at the very start of a long incline and just sit at 80km/h for the rest you will have gained nothing. You want to hit the bottom of the climb at the speed limit (maybe even a little more if you just come off a decline but stay safe and legal *cough*) and simply let it slowly bleed off a little speed as you climb rather than maintaining a flat 100 all the way. The goal is to keep the convertor locked as long as possible, and out of 4th if possible. Lock up kits can also help this and I'm told Raptor tunes will also assist here (do your own research here).

    ***************
    ** Throttle control seems like an obvious one, but I have found that with the throttle controller set on Sport (Kings basic controller) I have much better and more timely control of the convertor lock up when climbing. I am fully aware how these things work and they are simply a ratio change of pedal vs throttle body, that is exactly what I wanted, smaller pedal input for greater throttle input. This give you no EXTRA power at all. Nothing that wasn't already there.

    I've also found that on a longer climb, with the stock throttle, it's very easy to accidentally be slowly gaining a little speed as the pedal feel is so dead. This shows up as instant econ figures of 25-28L while climbing. The throttle controller makes this more pronounced so you get much better at feathering the throttle and I now climb those same hills at say 21-22, and in some sections where the grade backs off a little, can get the convertor to lock up again and econ will drop to 18L for that section of the climb.

    ***************
    ** Trans Temp is harder to "control" but appears to have an impact also. When the pan temp is too low, fluid pressures are higher and the convertor will not lock up as early, meaning we're seeing those 21-22 or more instant figures on a climb vs 18-19L for that same climb when locked. As the ambient temps have gone up, econ for me has gotten better as a result, I leave early for work and do 2-3ks before I'm into a climb. I do let the car idle for a short period, but not excessively.

    ***************
    So there's my 2 cents in an attempt to help anyone who might benefit from the info. This is only relevant to my car, your results may vary considerably. This also ignores big things like removing weight (roof racks, roof tents, big bullbars etc), smaller tyres, lowering the ride height etc, all of which can have considerable impact on economy if you're chasing it.

    By all means share your conflicting findings as our usage/cars all vary so what has helped me may very well hinder someone else and vice versa. Please remember though, I've got no personal stake in the outcomes so have no interest in arguing about any of it, but will happily answer questions though.

    ***************
    Also important, saving 1L per hundred k's doesnt save you that much money so weigh up if you think it's worth the effort and drive how you like. I will only keep this car for 3-5yrs I'd say so my view of the world may be different to yours.

    Compare 13 to 14L per hundred, travel 20,000ks a year and spend on average 1.45 per litre and it looks like this.

    - 20ks @ 13L per hundred = 2600L of fuel, @ $1.45L = $3770
    - 20ks @ 14L per hundred = 2800L of fuel, @ $1.45L = $4060
    - $290 saved.

    That $290 will buy you 200L of fuel at $1.45, so at 13L you could go another 1538ks for the year for the same money if you wanted to.

    Thats for a year though, for a single tank it looks like this (assuming a usage of 140L from the 150L tank as a guide). 140L will cost us $203 at $1.45L

    - 140L @ 13L per hundred is approx 1077ks for your $203, or $18.85 per 100ks.

    - 140L @ 14L per hundred is approx 1000ks for your $203, or $20.30 per 100ks.

    Not a huge difference per tank, but it can add up over many years or huge k's.

  • #2
    Dan, i have a similar mindset as you in that I bought a v6 Prado (rather than a diesel) to tow my 2400kg enclosed car trailer once a month cos fuel economy to me is secondary and of much more interest to me is to be able to drive at a reasonable pace up and downhills, so a sluggish diesel was never going to cut it.
    anyway, I usually tow in 4th as recommended.
    ive now fitted a scan gauge and so can monitor trans temps and so have started using 5th dropping it back to 4th when the convertor starts slipping, and temps start to rise.

    last trip to Winton towing the trailer was ~20l/100 average in 4th all the way, mostly on cruise at 110k.
    This time using 5th and using similar method to what you described was 18l/100, with it sitting on 17.8 after the first 200km of trip which isn’t as hilly.

    This 700km round trip worked out about $25 saving ($230 vs $205) so In less than a year the scan gauge will have paid for itself in fuel savings alone..

    Comment


    • #3
      Some great tips mate thank you. Suprised the cruise control has not got better, my 95 cruise control is the same, thinks nothing of dropping 2 gears and going WOT for even the slightest incline. Good enough for flat motorways but not otherwise.

      When I towed my camper with my car it ran much better and more powerful on 98 but only ever used 91 in the Prado. I'll try 95 and see if that has a difference.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rascal View Post
        Dan, i have a similar mindset as you in that I bought a v6 Prado (rather than a diesel) to tow my 2400kg enclosed car trailer once a month cos fuel economy to me is secondary and of much more interest to me is to be able to drive at a reasonable pace up and downhills, so a sluggish diesel was never going to cut it.
        anyway, I usually tow in 4th as recommended.
        ive now fitted a scan gauge and so can monitor trans temps and so have started using 5th dropping it back to 4th when the convertor starts slipping, and temps start to rise.

        last trip to Winton towing the trailer was ~20l/100 average in 4th all the way, mostly on cruise at 110k.
        This time using 5th and using similar method to what you described was 18l/100, with it sitting on 17.8 after the first 200km of trip which isn’t as hilly.

        This 700km round trip worked out about $25 saving ($230 vs $205) so In less than a year the scan gauge will have paid for itself in fuel savings alone..
        Winton is my home track too (well Logic is closer, but Winton is full size) but I'm yet to tow the car there as I'm building a new engine. I used to tow with a territory which did it easily left in drive and used about 18L per hundred also. I can't see me getting that in the Prado given the hills in and out of my place, but good to know that it can be done on the flats.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RedAdventureWagon View Post
          Some great tips mate thank you. Suprised the cruise control has not got better, my 95 cruise control is the same, thinks nothing of dropping 2 gears and going WOT for even the slightest incline. Good enough for flat motorways but not otherwise.

          When I towed my camper with my car it ran much better and more powerful on 98 but only ever used 91 in the Prado. I'll try 95 and see if that has a difference.
          My 80 series did the same, but it was worse as it had 1 less gear and much less power lol so it would drop to second and go to redline on cruise, what the hell lol

          Running on 98 would have given you the best the car had to offer, which is what it will do on 95 as they are tuned for it.

          When you switch fuels it does take some time for the ECU to slowly wind back in the timing it has removed due ot knock detection when using lower grade fuels. The L per hundred saving vs the cost of 95 comes out about the same, but the car has more power and to my foot/ear runs smoother. As above, Here I can buy Apco 95 for the same price as Shell/BP 91 so to me that balances it out well enough.

          Comment


          • #6
            a faster way for the ECU to relearn your change of fuel type is to disconnect the battery for a few minutes. Make sure you've filled up with the higher octane fuel first before resetting the ECU

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 'Dan' View Post

              My 80 series did the same, but it was worse as it had 1 less gear and much less power lol so it would drop to second and go to redline on cruise, what the hell lol

              Running on 98 would have given you the best the car had to offer, which is what it will do on 95 as they are tuned for it.

              When you switch fuels it does take some time for the ECU to slowly wind back in the timing it has removed due ot knock detection when using lower grade fuels. The L per hundred saving vs the cost of 95 comes out about the same, but the car has more power and to my foot/ear runs smoother. As above, Here I can buy Apco 95 for the same price as Shell/BP 91 so to me that balances it out well enough.
              Interesting I will try 98 a month or so before I next have to tow the camper and see what happens. When towing (according to the handbook) you should have Overdrive off which reduces you to three gears. This works OK but I am sure it's probably in 20+ l/100km territory especially on the motorway - 100km/h usually translates to about 3000rpm. It does lockup the TC when doing this though, as long as you have your foot on the accelerator pedal. If you move off the TC unlocks.

              Have not used the Cruise Control when towing like this though, technically 2nd is overspeeding the engine at 100km/h, and going to 1st would be a disaster, I think so would not like the CC to do it's usual trick then.

              When I towed with my car (manual 5 speed, 2 litre atmo) using 4th on the motorway I used to get 12-14l/100km which I thought was reasonable.

              All this is with my 1000kg camper trailer.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 'Dan' View Post
                I used to tow with a territory which did it easily left in drive and used about 18L per hundred also. I can't see me getting that in the Prado given the hills in and out of my place, but good to know that it can be done on the flats.
                Snap. I also used to tow with a territory turbo, and it barely knew the trailer was there, except at bowser time.
                sold it to get the Prado as wanted 7seats and to get back into 4wding now kids are big enough to take out again.
                prado is actually similar in fuel to the territory though without the push in the back, though gets driven a lot more sedately.

                raptor tune is going in this week so will see the difference it makes

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by blw View Post
                  a faster way for the ECU to relearn your change of fuel type is to disconnect the battery for a few minutes. Make sure you've filled up with the higher octane fuel first before resetting the ECU
                  Yep, hence my comment "when switching fuels you must give the car a few tanks to adjust, you can also reset the ECU if you like".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RedAdventureWagon View Post

                    Interesting I will try 98 a month or so before I next have to tow the camper and see what happens. When towing (according to the handbook) you should have Overdrive off which reduces you to three gears. This works OK but I am sure it's probably in 20+ l/100km territory especially on the motorway - 100km/h usually translates to about 3000rpm. It does lockup the TC when doing this though, as long as you have your foot on the accelerator pedal. If you move off the TC unlocks.

                    Have not used the Cruise Control when towing like this though, technically 2nd is overspeeding the engine at 100km/h, and going to 1st would be a disaster, I think so would not like the CC to do it's usual trick then.

                    When I towed with my car (manual 5 speed, 2 litre atmo) using 4th on the motorway I used to get 12-14l/100km which I thought was reasonable.

                    All this is with my 1000kg camper trailer.
                    3 gears for the old 80 yes, 4 gears for the Prado when OD is locked out.

                    2L atmo was doing well, that's definitely reasonable.

                    95 is enough, 98 not needed and costs more for no gain. Unless you can't get 95 as some places just don't have it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rascal View Post

                      Snap. I also used to tow with a territory turbo, and it barely knew the trailer was there, except at bowser time.
                      sold it to get the Prado as wanted 7seats and to get back into 4wding now kids are big enough to take out again.
                      prado is actually similar in fuel to the territory though without the push in the back, though gets driven a lot more sedately.

                      raptor tune is going in this week so will see the difference it makes
                      I still rate Territory as the best family car I had, I just had an SZ MK II, did have an SY prior, both company cars. I only bought Prado as I needed ground clearance and genuine 4wd for my property (steep) and getting wood etc. I do sometimes wonder if I could have gotten away with some bigger tyres, those 25mm higher springs you can get (nothing else was available I could see) and the Territories AWD as I'm not out to go bush for the huge climbs/bog holes etc, I only get out into the forest to get wood or go exploring for nice lunch spots with the kids.

                      Do you have an exhaust? I was looking at Raptor as well, those charts they have are no exhaust and they told me there's more to be had with one as well. I was a bit dubious that the run was done in 3rd though as it skews the results so I didn't expect as much power as they claim.

                      When chatting with them, they mentioned that the gearbox calibration basically does what I was trying to acheive above, keeps it in 5th and locked longer, which it can do once it's tuned as it has more low down torque.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 'Dan' View Post

                        3 gears for the old 80 yes, 4 gears for the Prado when OD is locked out.

                        2L atmo was doing well, that's definitely reasonable.

                        95 is enough, 98 not needed and costs more for no gain. Unless you can't get 95 as some places just don't have it.
                        No worries thank you will try the 95 and see how I go next time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Red,

                          From my experience I doubt you will find any real benefit running 98 octane as the ignition system on the 3.4L is not a learning system. The knock sensors do not come into play until you exceed 3000 rpm so any timing advance/retard does not happen under that rpm point. I ran 98 in my 95 series because I had the supercharger on it and it was tuned (Unichip) to suit. Yes 98 has addatives that clean your system but not really running it all the time in my opinion.
                          With the supercharger fitted I returned 20L-22L/100kms towing a 2.5 tonne off road van and 15L - 18L/100kms towing my boat which comes in around the 1750 kg mark.

                          Lee
                          02 VX, Toyota Alloy Bar, IPF 900XS with 50 watt HID, 50 mm Lift- Lovell Shocks n Springs, Safari Snorkel, large Pioneer tray, Pioneer In-dash, Alpine roof mount DVD screen -handled the Simpson and Innaminka roads, now with a little TRD blower & Unichip

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 'Dan' View Post

                            I still rate Territory as the best family car I had,

                            Do you have an exhaust? I was looking at Raptor as well, those charts they have are no exhaust and they told me there's more to be had with one as well. I was a bit dubious that the run was done in 3rd though as it skews the results so I didn't expect as much power as they claim.

                            When chatting with them, they mentioned that the gearbox calibration basically does what I was trying to acheive above, keeps it in 5th and locked longer, which it can do once it's tuned as it has more low down torque.
                            I agree wholeheartedly on the territory. Had mine for 9 years as couldn’t find anything that was better, and only changed as per prev mentioned.


                            i don’t have an exhaust.
                            I spoke to Tim from raptor directly on this and he said they aren’t seeing massive gains with exhaust, and prob wouldn’t bother.
                            i have done the gutted air box, and this made a lot of difference.

                            I got the new tune last night and put it in. Only been around the block as was late, but initial thoughts are the gearbox remap is 100% worth it alone. Makes it feel like a proper auto rather than a CVT that it used to feel like. Doesn’t drop out of lock all the time as before, and kicks down one gear and goes when you boot it, not down three gears after a fair hesitation like before.
                            if there was no performance bonus and just the auto remap, I’d still do it.
                            Too early to tell true performance gains, but feels peppier in the gears, and off the mark. I’ll run it to work for a few days which will give me a better idea of changes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Good feedback.

                              I didn't notice any gain from the airbox gut, I also put a aFe dry filter in, but I have snorkel which apparently hampers gains. Are you snorkel also?

                              Interesting feedback from Tim, here's what he told me. 28hp is a decent gain given what the tune offers and what's on offer in NA land in general. He also told me the stock system is very restrictive, which I can screen shot also if needed.

                              Let me know if this doesn't scale properly so you cna read it.

                              Last edited by 'Dan'; 20-10-2019, 07:20 AM.

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