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Thread: new guy, 93 apv, 3.1

  1. #1
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    Default new guy, 93 apv, 3.1

    hi, y'all.

    i've read pretty much the entire forum and the yahoo list too, lots of good information here.

    last month i bought an apv, 93, 3.1, gold, 140k. this van has had regular maintenance and is in pretty good shape, no rust.
    spent $1500 on it, then another 100 on hatch supports and brake shoes.so far, so good. still needs rear shocks.
    i'm very interested in maximizing fuel economy. apart from keeping the tune-ups and fluids fresh, any suggestions?

    i'm a reasonably competent shade-tree mechanic, and worked in the auto parts business for 5 years. i have the haynes manual. my other cars are a 93 geo metro and a 90 jeep cherokee.

    looking forward to learning, and maybe even contributing.

    mark



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    Welcome to the site! I myself had a 1992 Pontiac Trans Sport which would be very similar to yours. At only 140k that baby is just being broken in!

  3. #3
    Senior Member RIPBARNBURNER's Avatar
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    Welcome! If that van was, indeed, well cared for, she has much more life to give. Be sure to share a pic or two!

    I'd rather drive a cobbled together rustbucket Ford than a brand new Chrysler anyday.

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    thanks for the welcome!

    i suspect that this van had lots of life left in it, as i've read several accounts of them going well over 300k. the frame is rust-free, and the engine was dusty, not oily, so i knew it wasn't leaking. this van was bought new about 20 miles from here, and i stumbled on it at a shop, one of the best 3 or 4 best in town. fringe benefit of working in the parts business. he was replacing the motor mounts, and had done regular maintenance for the last couple of years. i'd looked at a couple of others in worse condition for more money, so knew this was a good van for a good price. i've put maybe 500 miles on it, even a trip across the border, into the nation of kentucky.

    i'll put up pictures just as soon as i figure out how. i gather there's no photo server here, and need to upload them to photobucket or some such?
    Last edited by lurker; 05-05-2012 at 02:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RIPBARNBURNER's Avatar
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    Yup. Photobucket.

    I'd rather drive a cobbled together rustbucket Ford than a brand new Chrysler anyday.

  6. #6

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    Sounds Nice for the $$$ Welcome!
    Daily Driver- 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

    Weekend Driver- 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 4x4 Ext. Cab

    Family Hauler- 2011 Chevrolet Malibu All Star Edition LT

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    have replaced the air filter and after a mostly highway 350 miles, my gas mileage is 24.5 mpg. i think it can do better, and considering how dirty the air filter was, it's probably overdue for a tuneup, plugs, rotor, cap, wires, pcv. not looking forward to the rear bank of plugs, will replace with platinum so i dont need to go back in there for 60k. but first, i want to talk with the mechanic who worked on it last and see what i can find about its' maintenance history.

    it has no problem on the interstate doing 70 or 75.

    also bought a bottle of mother's headlight polish and am very pleased with the result, just a little elbow grease and the lenses are clear and pretty.

    haven't decided where to put pictures yet, but they're coming eventually.

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    on the agenda:

    tune up. have plugs, wires, cap, rotor. already did the air cleaner, pcv valve looks new, will make sure it's clean. is there an easy(easier?0 way to get at the rear plugs? i'm vaguely aware of the "pull the front dogbone" method, and have heard that some fwd vehicles can be done from underneath. anyone got any horror or success stories to share?

    driver's seat. sags to the left. normal wear and tear, i assume, but it's bad for my back and exacerbates the apparent misalignment of seat and steering wheel (which was also a problem on my fiero.). i could just slap a foam pad in there, but so ugly. can it be fixed from underneath? i'm kinda not expecting to find anything better at a junkyard. is there anything on the aftermarket?

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    boy, is this thing a pain to work on. i've been doing tuneups for 40 years, and never had so much trouble. broke a spark plug, and the dipstick handle, and messed up the plug wire order at the distributor because of the close quarters. haven't even attempted the rear bank of plugs yet, expecting it to be painful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lurker View Post
    boy, is this thing a pain to work on. i've been doing tuneups for 40 years, and never had so much trouble. broke a spark plug, and the dipstick handle, and messed up the plug wire order at the distributor because of the close quarters. haven't even attempted the rear bank of plugs yet, expecting it to be painful.
    It's FWD. It's gonna suck I should know. The first time (before I learned of the shortcut) I did plugs on my Taurus, it took me almot 2 frickin' hours. Front plugs took me 5 minutes...

    I'd rather drive a cobbled together rustbucket Ford than a brand new Chrysler anyday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RIPBARNBURNER View Post
    It's FWD. It's gonna suck I should know. The first time (before I learned of the shortcut) I did plugs on my Taurus, it took me almost 2 frickin' hours. Front plugs took me 5 minutes...
    tell me more of this "shortcut". i used to have a pontiac fiero, and at least i could get over the top of the engine. and of course my 3 cylinder geo metro is a piece of cake. i actually considered removing the front motor mount and brackets to get at plug #4. i'm thinking of reaching up from underneath to get at the back.

  12. #12
    Senior Member RIPBARNBURNER's Avatar
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    Well the shortcut on my Taurus was to remove the cowling. Before that I had taken off the intake plenum. By taking the cowling off, I cut over an hour off my time.

    But this is a Taurus. Your mileage may vary.

    I'd rather drive a cobbled together rustbucket Ford than a brand new Chrysler anyday.

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    I'm pretty dead set on using CarDomain for my images, I just go to my page, right click new tab on the image I want, copy the url, put the img tags around it, done.

    Anyhow, was the 3.1L still TBI in 1993? That with the overdrive automatic would provide the best possible mileage. Other things you can do is run slightly oversize tires. You should have 205/70R15 on there if they're stock, and you can go 205/75 or 215/70 to gain a little bit. This will throw the speedometer off a bit but if you correct that when figuring the mileage you can see the difference. The speedometer in my Suburban has either already been flashed for the LT265/75R16 tires on it now (it's supposed to be P245/70R16 stock), or the original speedometer programming for the stock tire size was set at the factory to be too high (the more likely scenario). GPS over a 200 mile trip had me showing 200.2mi on the trip odometer so it's all of 0.1% fast.

    OK, I'm rambling again. Other things you'll want to do, one also deals with the tires, keep them inflated to the max on the sidewall of the tire. Ignore the tire placard on the door jamb or wherever it is. If it says 35 on the tires, run that. If it says 44 on the tire itself, those I usually run at 40. If it says 51, I usually go 42 or 44. This may be different depending on the tire you choose. Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires may have higher or lower pressures than non-LRR. If the load index is higher, it may take higher pressures. Most 205/70R15 tires seem to have a 95 or 96 load index with 44psi as the max inflation rate. If you go with the 205/75R15 tire, the load index will probably be 97 and the inflation either 44 or 51psi, but those tires aren't as easy to find in that size. 215/75R15 is more common and will be 97 or 100 load index. They also sell a Goodyear Wrangler AT/S in that size (for, you guessed it, Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees) and that is a 106 load index and takes 65psi! But it's an all-terrain off-road tire and won't improve mileage, just load carrying capacity (if you have the springs for it) and dirt/gravel driving abilities.

    There I go again. I would choose a good quality Touring or Grand Touring tire in LRR in one of the sizes above. Kumho Solus KR21 and KH16 come to mind as well as Hankook Optimo H727. They run in the $80's as far as price per tire and they are great for minivans. The KH16 Kumho tire is H speed rated. I'm not sure where I read about it, but the H and above speed ratings require a different sort of construction that makes for a stronger and more durable tire. S and T speed ratings are easy for any tire to achieve, but the H ratings and above are serious and need a good quality tire to get them. Whenever possible, if you're down to a few tire choices, and one of them is H rated, go for that one.

    Other things you can do are to keep the van clean, waxed, and flushed underneath. That will prevent air turbulence. I know I sound like I'm wearing a tinfoil hat here but it's true. A dirty car will not get the mileage of a clean car over time. It's all the little things you can do that will make the concrete changes in mileage. Another thing about this is that as you're cleaning and waxing the car and rinsing off the underbody, you can see problems before they happen. A loose wire to the fuel pump caught early can be taped up in place or repaired and rewrapped before it leaves you stranded, costing you money in towing fees, diagnostics and labor, cab fares, hotel rooms, and more. A chunk of dirt in a spring can cause that tire to wear funny until it's broken loose, but if you knock it out of there, you won't see the bad wear patterns. A loose deflector or splash shield can trap air and water and dirt and make all sorts of mess under the hood, but if you get it clipped into place correctly, it will be beneficial.

    I could go on and on, but the more attention you pay to the vehicle the better. Another thing is your driving habits. You've got a van there than can achieve 20-24mpg easily with good driving habits, but with excellent driving habits you can see upwards of 26, 28, maybe even 30mpg. You don't have to go all the way and hypermile and shut your engine off every half a mile, but the less you have to touch your brakes, the better. See a green light up ahead? Sure, maybe you can make it. You press down on the gas pedal and the engine winds up a bit and then it changes to yellow. How did it know? NO. Why didn't YOU know? Look at the crosswalk signal. You could have seen the red hand flashing, giving you fair warning that light was about to change. You see the white light of the walking person, fine, go ahead, cruise on through. But that red hand means take your foot off the gas and coast to the intersection. You do it right, you might still be moving at 20-25mph by the time it changes to green, and you can ease on back up to 30-35-40 or whatever you were driving at before.

    I like to say I drive in a manner that does not require other drivers to slam on their brakes around me. This also allows ME to drive in a manner where I'm not always hitting my brakes to slow down or avoid another driver, or worse, a collision!
    Alan Moore - TOAD Roadside - Worthington, OH

    08 Cobalt LT sedan, black, 209K, Doordash and UberEATS beater

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    this weekend we did a roadtrip to east tennessee, maybe 650 miles round trip. haven't topped up, so don't have real numbers, but probably 26mpg.

    and we had an adventure. cruising west into knoxville on westbound I-40, i was surprised to see a tire with rim sail over the concrete dividing wall, maybe 10' in the air. bounced in the middle lane (hubcap departed here), hit the wall on the right, bounced back into traffic. hit us on right front corner, damaged my bumper cover, smashed turn signal, produced a footlong tear in the fender. i next saw it in the rearview mirror in the left lane, hitting a white pickup where the tire came off the rim. pulled over, no critical damage, returned home to middle tennessee without incident.

    yes, the 93 has the tbi 3.1, but not the OD trans. i drive with a light foot, coast when possible, get full use of lifetime brake pads. often sell my vehicles before i need to replace brakes. haven't tried messing with tire pressure or belly pans, but will consider. now i get to look into repairing/replacing body panels.

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    I wasn't going to go so far as to recommend covering the underside with metal sheets, but you could. I was just suggesting rinse out any sticks, twigs, leaves, dirt, gravel, rocks, and caked on road grime.
    Alan Moore - TOAD Roadside - Worthington, OH

    08 Cobalt LT sedan, black, 209K, Doordash and UberEATS beater

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