Using a classic car as a daily driver is great fun but my 1987 VW Scirocco cannot be described as being the most frugal car on the road!.
I decided recently that I should make an attempt to optimize the MPG for the old girl by implementing a series of measures aimed at making her 24 year old 1.8 Litre Carb engine as economical as is reasonably possible.
My first action was to replace all of the "consumable" ignition and filtration parts, so I replaced the following items:
4 new Bosch Spark Plugs
full set of ignition leads (including coil lead)
Air and fuel filters
A new rotor arm and distributor cap
After these items where replaced I then made a call to a chap named Lester who owns a mobile Crypton tuning business in Mansfield. Lester came over the the Hospital on Wednesday morning and spent around 1 and a half hours "tweeking" the idle speed,the mixture and the timing. Afterwards there was a noticeable increase in power, the engine started more easily and the idle speed was set down to approx 900 RPM, down from it's original 1200 RPM which it had run at previously.
Once Lester had done his stuff I then unloaded any unnecessary "cargo" from the boot/car and checked the tyre pressures to ensure the correct inflation pressure was present.
The next action was that from now on I will only fill the fuel tank up to 1/4 full. This is to avoid carrying around any "dead weight" in the form of excess petrol which yet again would effect the overall MPG figures.
Just to give you an idea of the effect carrying a full fuel load has upon the cars "all up weight", let me explain the figures.
My Scirocco has a 12 gallon fuel tank.
Each Gallon of fuel weighs approx 3KG
If I fuel up with 1/4 tank of unleaded (3 gallons) it weighs approx 9KG.
If I fill up the fuel tank that is 12 x 3 which equals 36KG.
My journey to work in Mansfield (which has a petrol station close by) is 86 miles
The Scirocco will (before the tune up!) do approx 33-35 MPG which is 33+ x 3 (gallons) = 100+ mile range so I have a 13+ mile "emergency" reserve of fuel.
If I fill up the fuel tank on Monday I will be carrying 27KG of "dead" fuel for that first return trip! The second day I will be carrying 18KG of "dead" fuel.......you get the idea?
Just so you can "visualize" how much weight that is, next time you go to the supermarket stick 27 bags of sugar in your trolley and notice how much effort you need to then push it!.
It's a tried and tested principle that pilots use to maximise their flying range.They calculate the amount of fuel they require for the flight + a little extra for "unforeseen" diversions. I imagine though that they would have a larger margin of "reserve" fuel in their calculations as they can't just pop into the local Texaco if they run out!.
I will let you know how I get on over the next few weeks :-)