(okay, so the headline was a stretch but I’ve not used alliteration on a regular basis since Big Brother so cut me some slack!)
So, it’s been a fun couple of weeks with the Mustang. Apart from the weather not really being ideal for the open top lifestyle there is something nice about rugging up warm and having the wind in your hair (must be something about living in QLD and moving to the PNW that makes the Mustang attractive!)
Mats (and Wheel bling!)
The first little things the ‘stang is now sporting are new mats (gotta try and keep the dog hair under control) and Pony logos on the wheels (to match the dust cap covers).
Both the mats and the center caps came from a great eBay seller Bullitt03722 – it’s great to find someone who’s selling because they understand the emotion behind personalizing your ride (was the only place I could find the right color mats, and one of the only places that list a price for the center caps as a 4 pack rather than make you order individually). If you’re in the market for Mustang parts give him a go.
MPG (and more)
I knew when I got it that the ‘stang didn’t have the usual collection to gauges and computers that modern car owners have come to expect. Even the Jeep tells me the miles per gallon and has a bunch of other gauges I don’t ever look at… but with the current economic environment and gas prices it’s certainly been more topical.
Something I didn’t know is that pretty much every car since 1996 in North America (and Europe and Australia) has a connector for On Board Diagnostics (ODB-II)… while the usual use for this is to let a mechanic find out what’s wrong when the “check” light comes on it also provides a whole lot of real-time data about that’s going on in the car – from oil pressure to water temperature, selected gear and accelerator position, speed and quantity of fuel consumed.
There are a bunch of options including the very sophisticated DashDaq and Trinity (which allows you to tune your engine parameters) but I went for a simple but flexible ScanGaugeII which has a great set of features out of the box and also allows you to select vehicle specific gauges to display as well (the Mustang, for instance, reports Fuel Tank Level via ODB-II. Sadly I can’t find pressures from the Tire Pressure Monitoring System – that would be very neat).
As expected I’ve discovered that top down motoring costs a little more in fuel (though windows up and top down is better) – it’s not been very scientific but it’s shown me some things that have worked…
MAFS (and zMax)
In the quest to try and improve MPG and low end pickup and general smoothness (it’s a V6 not the more muscle-bound 4.6 V8 GT after all) a couple of folks suggested I replace the Mass Air Flow Sensor with an aftermarket option… and as the job was well within my mechanical capabilities (two screws, 10 minutes including time to read the instructions!) I thought I’d give it a go. While it’s probably going to take a long time to pay for itself in gas savings it does seem to have had a difference around the 1-2mpg mark and it’s certainly happier at low revs on these cold mornings.
Because I didn’t know how the car had been treated before I got it I’ve added zMax to both oil and fuel to give it a clean out and smooth over. The results in both the Jeep and the Pony have been noticable – they’re both quieter and feel smoother accelerating. We’ll see over the next couple of weeks as we watch MPG in both cars if it actually makes a difference.
and that leads me to Environmental iMpact
Over the years I’ve been concerned about the carbon footprint of some of the cars I’ve driven so have tried to find ways to offset where I can’t reduce. I try to reduce by taking public transport or telecommuting as often as I can, but here in the US we now subscribe to TerraPass to offset both cars and some of our household emissions. TerraPass offer both carbon balancing credit schemes but also have an online retail store where you can purchase cool power saving, monitoring and generating gadgets (including the ScanGauge)
In Australia we subscribed to Greenfleet and in the UK CarbonZero. We are also saving for a tree in the Carbon Grove thanks to the Internet Explorer team :)
I’ve got some more things planned in the next couple of weeks (not least working out how to fix the ScanGauge to the dash in a more user friendly way!)