Been gone a long time

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by Blake, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Well hello everyone! I know its been ages since I've been around here and I wanted to check in and post up some news of my own. I log in to these forums from time to time to see whats new in the fuel economy world but since I got rid of the insight I've just been chugging away using all the normal techniques on the replacement for the Insight.

    For the back story, Several years ago, when I was much more active on these forums, Wayne was generous enough to invite me to Detroit with him for the auto show. I had a wonderful experience there and during several conversations with Wayne we talked about how do we get more people interested into fuel economy? The problem is that many people don't want to give up their sports cars or pickup trucks, but wouldn't mind getting better fuel mileage. Certainly it would help if we could somehow teach everyone proper high mileage driving techniques, but in the end, there are just some cars that "can't" get good mileage... or can they?

    While I was in Michigan with Wayne I reconnected with the love of my life the week after the auto show was over. She moved back down to NC with me and we got married. We've been happily married for just over 5 years now! Shortly after we got married I ended up selling the Insight because I wanted something a bit more practical to haul around our dogs and any future children. I purchased a 2000 Saturn SL1 manual everything and continued to drive using all the techniques I had learned on the Insight. It got great fuel mileage and I still have it to this day. I only averaged mid 40's with it in mostly urban (a far cry from what I used to get in the Insight) but I was happy with that seeing how the revised EPA figures were 29 combined.

    Now I'm not sure if Wayne remembers the stories of my past involvement with racing and the sports car world. I can remember seeing the Fiskar Karma at the show and being all excited about it. I'm sure Wayne just rolled his eyes and my excitement but he at least could see where I was going with this. To get people to truly buy into the whole fuel economy idea, you need to build a halo car that is exciting. Get motorsports involved in fuel economy and you'll start seeing a change. Once people realize that you can have a “fast” or “fun to drive” car and still be eco friendly... which brings us to where I'm at now.

    Its been many years since I was involved in racing. The draw of track driving was just to irresistible so I set out to buy a new car that could accomplish everything I wanted in a fun car. I've always been a huge Subaru fan and have owned several. The last was a pretty heavily tuned 05 Sti that I tracked on an occasional basis. That thing was horrendous on gas but man was it fast. Now obviously now that I'm several years older and my priorities have changed quite a bit, but I still wanted something sporty. If I could afford a Tesla Model S, that would be my first choice, but sadly that is far far far out of my price range. Enter my new car...


    Its a 2013 Subaru BRZ. Yep, I know what you're thinking. Why is this guy on here showing pictures of a sports car on a fuel economy forum? Well, I'll tell you! Just because its a sports car doesn't mean it can't get great fuel economy! The EPA combined rating for the manual BRZ is 25mpg's. That's not terrible for a sports car, but in the fuel economy world that's abysmal! Well I'm here to tell you that this car is surprisingly amazing on fuel economy if driven like a hypermiler.

    I've already got my ECU re-programmer and working on a custom tune for fuel economy as well as tunes for my track days. Who says you can't have it all?! Just normal day to day driving (with admittedly a few gratuitous spurts of performance thrown in from time to time) My first couple of tanks have been averaging in the low to mid 30's. So I decided to see last tank what exactly I could do with this car. I wasn't let down :D I averaged a 40.1 mpg tank in this fairly sporty car.

    I know there are some pretty differing opinion's on E85 around here, and admittedly I've gone back and forth on my opinion on the subject, but I'm currently running a tune based around E85. This is accomplishing several things for me: Its letting me advance my timing quite a bit to get more horsepower safely and use a fuel that is considerably cheaper than 93 octane. Automatically you are going to say I'm going to get terrible fuel mileage with E85 but my first impressions are that I should end up averaging in the mid to low 30's!

    Hopefully I can work out a tune specifically for mileage to see exactly what I can get with this car soon, but I'm guessing something in the 50's isn't out of the realm of possibilities.

    Hope everyone is doing well and I'll be checking in from time to time to update this post with my progress.
  2. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Welcome back! I've missed your little bulldog avatar.

    I've wondered how that car would perform in the right hands. Praised for great handling, criticized for not being fast enough. Sounds PERFECT to me! :D
  3. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty excited to see what I can accomplish on this side of the car spectrum. Its pretty amazing how similar the racing world is to the hypermiling world when it comes to some of the modifications that you can do to increase the performance in both. On the way home during steady state cruising on a fairly flat road at 45mph with the cruise control on I was averaging 48mpg's with E85. That was with using absolutely no hypermiling techniques. I'm positive that this car can double the EPA's average quite easily with a little work.

    For instance:


    Users that have installed this diffuser have reported MPG improvements on the highway on the order of 3-4mpgs, yet its intended purpose is to reduce drag and increase downforce while driving on the track. Just look at how flat the bottom side of this car is! Lightweight battery kits, weight reduction, lower rotational mass parts, lowering the vehicle, etc... all of these things done in the racing world in the name of going faster also increases the vehicles overall performance in mpg's. Those amazing headers and full cat back exhaust that give horsepower? Yep, those also weight 20-30lbs less than the stock parts.

    One of the things I liked about the new Insight was pushing the eco button changed the throttle sensitivity. The racing community has that too :D except this one is completely programmable so I have control over how sensitive my drive by wire is.

    The number of modifications and tweaks available in the "performance" community is, for better or worse, much higher. Being able to reprogram my ECU however I like is going to be a huge boon going into this. Not sure exactly what the results will be but the journey is sure to be fun.

    I just hope the community on this side of the automotive world can put down their pitchforks and appreciate what I'm trying to accomplish here. A car that can be the best of both worlds! :Banane47:
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  4. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Very nice car, Blake. I've also read on Ecomodder about someone else re-mapping his DWB for a more linear response. I really need something like that for my car.
  5. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Looking at the picture of the rear diffuser above you can see what the underside of the US market BRZ looks like. When I had my Insight I hand made several underbody panels out of thin gauge sheet aluminum to try and smooth up the air flow underneath. Now for some reason the JDM version of this car actually does come with full aero panels underneath the car but the US version doesn't. I'll use factory engineered parts all day long over my rigged up stuff since they have been wind tunnel tested.


    The only issue is they are shipped directly from japan and the shipping is more than the price of the panels. :( Oh well, I'll just have to suck it up ;)

    The front of the car is basically a metal aero panel/skid plate. Behind it is a fiberglass type panel with vents in the middle to let out high pressure air from the engine compartment.


    These panels essentially pick up and smooth out the rest of the body up to where a rear diffuser would go. I wonder how hard it would be to mock up some panels to close up that gap from the driveshaft/exhaust tunnel. It certainly would have to be made of metal or fiberglass because the exhaust does get pretty hot. Once I get these on I'll check for the feasibility of it. I just might have to rig something up :D

    EDIT: so further research is saying that these underbody panels lower the Cd from 0.29 to 0.27. Attached below is a better picture.

    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  6. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Aero testing on that rear diffuser listed above showed a 0.036 reduction in Cd.


    So with underbody panels and the rear diffuser Cd changes from 0.29 Cd to .234 Cd. That's an impressive improvement in Cd. I'm in talks with the manufacter of that diffuser atm and seeing if I can go pick one up since he's local. I'm very curious as to what the improvements will be in fuel economy!
  7. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    So my JDM underbody panels got here yesterday and I got them put on this morning. Huge change in the underside of the car! The rear diffuser is out getting powder coated and I'll have it next week. :D


  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Welcome back
    and the bulldog-so ugly they are cute-and sooo good natured you don't mind the slobber

    Still selling the GTO??- keeping an old Triumph-did he mean Triumph TR6- or a motorcycle?
    I would have kept the GTO- but the quirky TR8 might have made it a near thing.
  9. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    FRS and BRZ's are quite the frisky little ones. I think they hit all the right points - relatively light, good balance of revviness and decent real-world torque, rear drive, well-sorted chassis, quality cars. From the 1/4 angle shot you posted, it sure seems to ape some of Aston's sleek and muscular styling. I am actually shocked I don't see more of them.

    It's not the sharp and focused handler the RX8 is (one of the best-balanced chassis EVER, IMHO), but comes close and is arguably more livable if only for its better FE. It's not front-drive, wannabe posh like the Accord Coupe or late Solara. Yet has the creds to back up its image, unlike the Eclipse. And it seems much more dynamic and focused than the Genesis coupe. It wouldn't even take too much, I don't think, for it to be handed off to Lexus as some sort of Z4/1-or 3-series coupe competitor.

    Nice choice :)
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  10. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    AND these cars present a very small frontal area , due to their low height.

    Sometimes HOW you drive matters more than WHAT you drive. While these cars may not be the hypermiler's first choice , I'm sure they can give decent results when driven correctly.
  11. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    I'll always be a hypermiler at heart, but I was a racer first ;) I waited for a long time for just the right car for me and while I'm not actively using every single trick in the book at the moment for fuel economy, its nice to know that as far as sports cars goes, this one has the potential to get great mileage. I'm still trying to get my E85 tune working like I want it, Cold start issues :mad: but once thats done I'll be working on a fuel economy tune to see exactly what I can tweak to increase it over the stock factory tune.

    I got my rear diffuser today and installed it.

    Next will probably be some coilovers to improve the handling and lower it by 1" to 1.5". That coupled with Some Enkei RFP1's wheels in 17*8 so I can have wheels that will clear the big brake kit I want. Those Enkei wheels weight just a touch over 5lbs LESS than the stock wheels. 20lbs in rotational weight reduction should be pretty significant. The big brake kit I want is another 20lbs dropped.
  12. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Wow- 5 lbs per wheel??

    Back when I had a Nissan Titan I wanted lighter wheels.
    The Forged aluminum Centerline 17 x8" wheels I got were 5 lbs lighter than OEM 17" cast aluminum wheels and 10.5 lbs less than the cheapo stock steel wheels
    20 LBS vs 25lbs vs 30.5 lbs.
    I'm a bit surprised a lighter vehicle will get s full 5 lb loss per wheel.
    Safe bet those aftermarket Enkei are pricier than the Centerlines which were just $600(on sale regular was $800)

    My brother has a 2006 or so Infinity 350 something or other sporty car.It came with FACTORY forged aluminum wheels-18 or 19"-no sidewall to speak of.Neat RWD car-but unforgiving ride for a plus 60 yo.
    You are still youngish Blake??

    Your car is beautiful-is it RWD-AWD ? HP? 0-60?

    Will the diffuser improve FE ? Cleaner air??
  13. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    I guess that depends on your definition of youngish :) 33 is still considered young I guess. Yeah, 5.1 pounds per wheel to be exact, and that's going with a 1 inch wider wheel. They are around $1200 for four. This is the first rwd Subaru made in quite a while. It has 200hp from the factory and I'm not sure on the 0-60 times but I'm guessing it is in the mid to high six second range. Honestly that statistic is a bit overused and not a very good indication of any cars performance other than drag racing, which I'm not really intrested in.

    A rear diffuser is one if those types of modifications that has no downsides. It reduces drag which not only improves acceleration, but also improves fuel economy. It also reduces rear end lift which has the same effect as adding downforce but without the added drag. All of that for only increasing the vehicle weight by 5 pounds. Early testing by the guy that first bought this diffuser was actively tracking his fuel mileage and he noticed a 4 mpg improvement. Yep... 4 mpgs on a car that the epa rated at 30 mpgs. That's a huge improvement for something that was originally designed and intend for making a race car go around the track faster. Makes me wonder why people scoff when I say the way to increase fuel economy is to look at motorsports and see what they are doing.

  14. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Ah, Enkei RP-F1's are one of the popular wheels for the Fit as well. A bit pricey for my taste, but certainly a quality wheel.
  15. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Ahh the triangle of wheel choice.
    The saying goes, there are three qualities to wheels: Light, Strong, and Cheap.

    You can only have 2 of the three. ;)
  16. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    $1200 for a 5lb a piece drop-not really that expensive for name brand forged wheels.

    Weight loss is win win win faster accel. better FE better handling
    Almost a free lunch-except for the $1200.
  17. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member

    Coilovers ordered today: :Banane47:

    Got some nice RCE Tarmac 2 clubsport double adjustable coilovers. Essentially KW Clubsport coils but sold under the racecomp engineering name. Comes with the same lifetime warranty! Should allow me to drop my ride height by 1" (or more, but 1" is sufficient for my needs) for the optimal improvement in handling as well as a nice reduction in frontal area for that reduction in drag. :D Best part is they are double adjustable so I can tune them really soft for the street for that comfortable ride, and ramp up the rebound and compression for the track days.

    This spring when the weather warms up I'll snag the wheels and tires. No sense in getting the wheels now when the weather isn't really ideal for the tires I want to run on them.
  18. Blake

    Blake Well-Known Member


    and.... they are here! Sprung for some caster/camber plates as well :D

    They will go on this weeked. Planning on a 1" drop for some nice reduction in frontal area ;)

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