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Old 09-06-2010, 11:27 PM   #1
Anjey
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Default 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

I'd like to share some gas mileage experience I gathered owning 2007 Aura XE. I suppose many of you visited dealerships with no success over the issue whatsoever.

It happened to me, dealers always say - it's normal, don't worry, 23MPG is great, just drive it, engine shakes a little? No problem, that's how it's supposed to be - come back for oil change and stop worrying.
I went to 3 dealerships local to me and they were all the same.
Clueless, incompetent, unqualified, careless morons.
My car did 19 per gallon occasionally and it was unacceptable.
So I started to work on it myself and guess what?
Now my car makes 26 MPG city/FWY and OVER 30 miles per gallon when driven on a freeway only @ ~70 Miles per hour. My car has 47,000 miles.

How did I achieve it?
Simply in 3 steps: Spark plug gap, spark plug wires and ... air filter!
Long time ago I figured my Aura is sensitive to spark plug gaping.
I wrote about it here:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...20#post1481020
I truly believe my Aura is no different than yours.
I believe it's a common problem and now I KNOW this issue is responsible for most of the gas loss during driving.
As I described there I bought Iridium plugs and had them gaped to 0.040.
It is extremely important, don't make the gap bigger than that.
40 thau is maximum, believe me. Going bigger makes your MPG drop like a dead horse. If you make your gap 45 thau - your gas mileage will drop at least 15%. It is not a number pulled out of my ass - I tested it.
My test result was 23MPG @ 40 thau and 19.4 MPG @ 45 thau over the same distance.
Remember - plugs wear out over time and the gap increases!
Regap them! Make sure the gap is tight within 40 thau. ALWAYS.

Now the spark plug wires.
These are important as well.
The difference is not as huge as the gap but still you can save 5-7% of gas by having good wires.
You might ask here - what are good wires?
Well, there are none. That's right! All wires are bad.
Actually I tested few sets of different wires and I observed such weird results I am gonna tell you to get only one specific type and that's it.
Get a solid core wire made by Belden.
These are sold by NAPA parts stores.
But don't expect miracles, these wires are also bad.
I am only gonna tell you what the difference is and the decision is yours.
Ultimately it is your car and it is your sole responsibility to make things right.

So going back to the subject - most wires are made with silicone insulating jacket and silicone conductive core.
This type is "served" with your car as DELCO makes your wires this way.
This is bad. Don't get me wrong, the wires work and that's industry standard.
But I am sure you already know there is something wrong with your car, it takes too much gas, and no one seems to know why.

But I am not here to go into lengthy explanations why GM engineers designed the car like that. After all we know what happened with GM, right?
If they did a good job I wouldn't need to spend my time fixing my car instead of qualified team of clueless mechanics.

So forget that type of cables.
Don't use silicon core type of wires. Just don't.

Belden wires are a little different, because they use wire inside the silicone jacket. That type of core looks like a tiny spring wrapped around ... silicon core.

But don't get comfortable with the idea of just buying these wires.
I did. That was a mistake. They have horrible QC department at their plant
and it took me weeks to figure out.

As I said in my other thread I had a problem with 2 spark plugs being burned black. I replaced them and ... the new ones got black withing 2 days.
I found it was a complementary pair working of 1 coil so there was something wrong with either the coil or the wires. Therefore I replaced them with Belden set and the plugs still got burned. I thought it must be the coil then, but it was the wire set. I had a brand new bad wire in that wire set. So I bought a second set, and found that to have 2 bad wires in it. No problem, I just needed one and I returned the other set back to the store.

How to figure if the belden wires are good or bad?
Well, they are made with wire core, so you just measure their resistance.
They should have less than 800 oHms in every wire.
There is no specific chart or data stating their resistance but all my wires are in that range, so I think it is good enough.

The wire I found bad was 2.4 Kohms.
Two wires in the second set were over 1.2 Kohms.
Both didn't work correctly - the engine was shaking at iddle.

You need to understand the idle must be perfect to get good MPG.
If your engine shakes - something's wrong.
I got good MPG after the idle became perfect.

But that's not all - the final puzzle piece is air filter.
I never thought the filter is THAT important, because I always shuffled between genuine Saturn filters, FRAM filters, STP filters and one that starts with Micro something, I just don't remember that name.
Until I found WIX filter. That's right, a little no name I never heard of.
WIX 46902 is a direct replacement of Aura Air filter.

Guess what? 12% more MPG!

I bought mine for $20 at O'Reilly parts but you can get 2 pieces for 25 at eBay!

Now let me tell you how I did my testing after I had all above in place.
(40 thau iridium plugs with Belden wires and WIX filter).

I jumped in my car with my wifey 120 pounds, myself 180 pounds, a friend of mine 175 pounds and 80 pounds of luggage).
That was in Ridgway, CO. I filled up with 87 grade gas and went off to Beaver UT where I filled up my tank again. That was 395 miles between two gas stations and it took 13.819 gallons of 87 gas @ cruise control set to 70 MPH. The average speed was duh, 70 Mph through high elevation mountains.
That is 28.58 MPG.

Remember - that is after my dealer said everything is normal when my car originally made 23 MPG on a FWY.

But then it get's even better. I filled up the tank again with 87 and went to Hesperia, CA which is relatively flat terrain all the way. Refilled again with 14.003 gallons of 87 after 420.1 miles between stations and 69 miles per hour average speed (cruise control again). It is exactly 30 MPG!

But that's not all. Going empty ads 1 more mile to that result.
Problem is I still need to measure it and I rarely drive alone.

I hope it helps someone out there in the gas mileage struggle.
Don't listen to morons at your local dealerships. Aura is capable of doing good on gas. It is just a bad design sensitive to all these little things.
Fix them and enjoy driving.

Last edited by Anjey; 09-06-2010 at 11:41 PM..

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Old 09-07-2010, 01:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

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Old 09-07-2010, 02:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

tl;dr

Cliff notes?

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Old 09-07-2010, 03:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

sorry for the length. I tried correcting it but the "edit" button wasn't available.
Today I'd just say rough idle is caused by incorrect plug gap, bad wires and air filter. This is because Aura engine is sensitive to these parameters by design.
Gap all plugs accurately to 0.040, make sure the gap is the same in each of the plugs. Double check. Buy and test non-silicon wires like Belden. Buy two sets if required and select wires with lowest resistance. Buy WIX 46902 on Ebay and after all that FWY gas mileage should be ~30MPG.

Good enough?

Just do it all and if your mileage improves, come back here and tell me.
Post it. Tell everyone if it worked for you. I want to know.
Any questions?

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Old 09-07-2010, 04:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Good info. 4-banger or V-6?

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Old 09-07-2010, 04:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

V-6, 3.5 XE 2007. 47000 miles. 5W30 oil. No additives. Still under warranty.
One more thing, the mentioned tune up helped me reach the speed limit.
Now the car is very responsive and it will easily go up to 108 Mph. Prior to adjustments it was kind of sluggish. It is also important to note, that prior to having the gap right the car would be sensitive to gas type. It would have different gas mileage depending on the gas station used. But after the gap adjustment to "tight 0.040" - it takes any gas and the gas mileage is very dependable.

Last edited by Anjey; 09-07-2010 at 05:06 PM..

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Old 09-07-2010, 08:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

No offense but I just don't believe ANY air filter is going to add 12% to your fuel economy unless your current air filter was extremely dirty.

You could literally remove your air filter completely and you still wouldn't see a 5% increase... much less 12%.

Similarly if replacing your plug wires increased your mileage any measurable percentage, then your OEM wires must have been defective.

Spark plug gap being way off could definitely cause issues but it seems strange to me that GM with all their engineering prowess would be so far off on the ideal plug gap.

Don't get me wrong... I completely believe that you did all of the above and saw a big improvement, but I suspect you ended up replacing something that was broke, not re-engineering something that was working as GM intended.

Most people here with 3.5s are getting 30 on the highway already.

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Old 09-07-2010, 09:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

I doubt I'll ever see 30mpg highway unless it's downhill. The 3.6 at 85+mph just can't do it.

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Old 09-08-2010, 12:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threxx View Post
No offense but I just don't believe ANY air filter is going to add 12% to your fuel economy unless your current air filter was extremely dirty.

You could literally remove your air filter completely and you still wouldn't see a 5% increase... much less 12%.

Similarly if replacing your plug wires increased your mileage any measurable percentage, then your OEM wires must have been defective.

Spark plug gap being way off could definitely cause issues but it seems strange to me that GM with all their engineering prowess would be so far off on the ideal plug gap.

Don't get me wrong... I completely believe that you did all of the above and saw a big improvement, but I suspect you ended up replacing something that was broke, not re-engineering something that was working as GM intended.

Most people here with 3.5s are getting 30 on the highway already.


1) 12% gas mileage improvement was indeed observed by comparing used filter made in Korea and sold by Napa stores. Hard to say which brand it was.
That comparison is not very fair, indeed. But I must say I never had such a good result even with a new FRAM or STP or original OEM. Never.
And the filter wasn't very dirty. It wasn't new, but it wasn't used much.
Also the gas mileage didn't deteriorate on the previous filter like it would when plugged with dirt.
I kept the filter so I can show pictures later and I think the test is valid after all.

2) I changed the plugs and wires long time ago. It was over a year ago and since then I used 3 filters - one original, genuine OEM from Saturn then FRAM, and finally that Korean Napa type. I made 18,000 miles since then without doing anything except the air filter change and oil changes. Therefore it is logical the filter made a significant difference.

3) That WIX 46902 is truly special. I compared it with FRAM and this third Micro something sold by Napa and WIX is made with a different material. It feels different.

4) I agree my wires were defective.

but here I'd like to make three important points:

a) If my wires were defective, how come dealership mechanics couldn't figure it out? I left my car at the dealership for 1 day and there were no misfire codes and the car wasn't fixed and I was told not to worry.

b) if my wires were bad, why the designers at GM didn't make the system say there is a problem? Like misfire code?

c) This design is bad and many drivers have problems with gas mileage.
I met many drivers that couldn't reach 24 MPG on a FWY.
So here I will strongly disagree that "most people are getting 30 on the highway already."
I'd strongly disagree with the statement that GM designed it good.
It is a bad design, because it is sensitive to gap on the plug.
My wires are perfect, my idle is perfect and the gap increase makes the gas mileage to decrease. It should not be happening in a good design.
Yeah I might be kind of stubborn.
I had 18,000 miles and 1 year of driving to test it. I did test that.
I re-gaped plugs few times. I know exactly what happened.
I am absolutely sure about all that I wrote above.

If your car gets 30MPG FWY driving, then you do not need my advice.
I wrote that for those who have unresolved issues with gas mileage.
I hope it cleared things out. Thank you.

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Old 09-08-2010, 12:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99SL2_Modder View Post
I doubt I'll ever see 30mpg highway unless it's downhill. The 3.6 at 85+mph just can't do it.
I don't like when someone doubts my sincerity.
I gave exact details of my trip. Look it up.
I did not made it up.
My 3.5 V6 Aura makes 30 MPG when driven on a highway in flat terrain with cruise control set at 70 mph with 3 people on board. Period.

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Old 09-08-2010, 02:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjey View Post
I don't like when someone doubts my sincerity.
I gave exact details of my trip. Look it up.
I did not made it up.
My 3.5 V6 Aura makes 30 MPG when driven on a highway in flat terrain with cruise control set at 70 mph with 3 people on board. Period.
I said 3.6, not 3.5. Totally different engines. The 3.5 is nowhere near the performance of the 3.6

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Old 09-08-2010, 07:46 AM   #12
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Since I bought my Aura XR in July 2007 here in North Carolina, I've made two trips to Dallas, Texas... around 2,500 miles for each round trip.

On each trip, I was Interstate all the way and kept cruise control between 70 and 75. I averaged 31 mpg on both trips. Both trips were in the summer, so I kept the A/C at 74 degrees.

Here around town, I average 18-20 mpg depending on how heavy my foot is. But my trip mileage is outstanding. I could not be more pleased. I got the same mileage out of the Honda Accord V6 I traded in!

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Old 09-08-2010, 03:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
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Since I bought my Aura XR in July 2007 here in North Carolina, I've made two trips to Dallas, Texas... around 2,500 miles for each round trip.

On each trip, I was Interstate all the way and kept cruise control between 70 and 75. I averaged 31 mpg on both trips. Both trips were in the summer, so I kept the A/C at 74 degrees.

Here around town, I average 18-20 mpg depending on how heavy my foot is. But my trip mileage is outstanding. I could not be more pleased. I got the same mileage out of the Honda Accord V6 I traded in!
Lucky you! I'm averaging about 17/18mpg overall.

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Old 09-08-2010, 04:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99SL2_Modder View Post
Lucky you! I'm averaging about 17/18mpg overall.
So why don't you want to try my method? Don't believe me?
It will work for XR if that's your concern. It's the same design.

I never explained why and no one asked - but there are reasons for every of the three steps I described.

Even if you don't believe me - just try and see.
The total cost is like 100 bucks in parts and maybe 3 hours of work tops.
It's worth it.

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Old 09-08-2010, 07:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjey View Post
It will work for XR if that's your concern. It's the same design.
The 3.6 and 3.5 are not even somewhat related in their overall design.

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Old 09-08-2010, 09:15 PM   #16
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threxx View Post
The 3.6 and 3.5 are not even somewhat related in their overall design.
Oh, you mean coils and wiring are different too?
Let's see - PCM also different?
Different knock sensors?
Are you sure?

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Old 09-09-2010, 12:14 AM   #17
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjey View Post
Oh, you mean coils and wiring are different too?
Let's see - PCM also different?
Different knock sensors?
Are you sure?
Actually, the answer is YES to all of these questions.

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Old 09-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

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Actually, the answer is YES to all of these questions.
You right, damn, I didn't realize. It's completely different!
Well, that means my fix applies only to XE then not XR.
XR owners - sorry. -

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Old 09-10-2010, 01:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

I have an 08 XE with the 3.5. I get 31+ on the highway with cruise and stick pretty close to 26 on surface streets. Mileage has been pretty consistent since it was new.

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Old 09-10-2010, 09:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: 30 MPG on 2007 Aura XE? Gas mileage issues

Anjay- I can belive you on your quest for mileage and can understand the frustration.

In the defense of the GM dealership, the 07' XE had the 3.5 Pushrod V-6. I think the official power rating was 224hp.

The 3.6L is a more modern Dual Overhead Cam 24 valve design with VVT. It makes 252hp.

From what I am used to, 23mpg from a 200+hp V-6 engine with a 4 speed automatic "ain't bad".

However, 30+MPG from the same engine is phenomenal in IMHO.

For example: On my Thunderbird I had issues with big spark gap actually "blowing out" under boost (I have a 3.8L Supercharged V6). I found that reducing gap to under 0.040" was the only way to go. It was very sensitive to gap. That engine has a 5-speed manual and I could barely get 25-26mpg when everything was tuned up with it.

On my 09 AURA XE with the 4-cylinder, I recently took a trip down to Atlantic City NJ from Albany NY on 1 tank of gas round trip. I averaged 34.2mpg going a steady 65mph with the A/C running about half the time. There was even a 1.5 hour traffic Jam that I got into on the Garden State parkway to take into account on that trip too. If not for the traffic jam I believe my mileage would have been higher. There are now 5700miles on my AURA.

I also recently took my LS1 Down to see my parents and going down the hilly taconic parkway I averaged 36.8mpg on that trip. That car has 242,000miles on it. I did recently replace it's tires with the Goodyear fuel assurance tires, I made sure to replace with iridium plugs, replaced both O2 sensors and air filer/fuel filter. I did however average my speed out to 63mph with the cruise and I didn't need the A/C at all.

Also keep in mind that the 4 cylinders have coil on plug ignition and therefore no spark plug wires to replace.

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