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Old 11-21-2015, 08:06 PM   #1
Commeatus
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Default Excessive fuel consumption when cold

I have a 97 sw2 with not quite 200k on the odometer. When I start it with the engine cold, it uses quite a lot of fuel getting warm. In mixed driving where the engine warms up and stays warm I get about 27mpg, but add in 2 or 3 cold starts and it drops into the high teens.
Is this normal?
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Old 11-21-2015, 08:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Yes, completely normal for any car engine to use a good share more fuel when it's cold.

Carry on.
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Old 11-21-2015, 08:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Was the original coolant sensor replaced with the flat nosed brass one? The faulty original ones runs the engine rich all the time with higher than normal idle, around 1k rpm when normal idle is between 800-900 rpm. A tell tale is the temperature gauge needle never going above the 1/4 mark and less than adequate heat in winter weather. In addition, the original thermostat may have worn out its sealing ring and contributing to cold engine running with more fuel use. The combination of both never being replaced is a major problem with almost every S-series engine. Normal temperature gauge position is between 3/8 and 1/2. The picture below is an actual damaged seal from a recent post.
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Old 11-21-2015, 08:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

My 2000 SC1 drops 15 to 20 percent during winter. That comes from 15 minute warm-ups and much longer time till it's up to full temperature. If you do a lot of 10 minute hops, you are never getting up to full temp.
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Old 11-21-2015, 09:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Cold temps and short drives kill MPG in these, moreso with SOHC's than DOHCs (less fuel burned = less heat). Idling is 0mpg no matter the temp, but it's also a poor way of warming up the engine/car. Let it idle a minute or two to get the oil warmed a bit and circulating if it's sub 0 and then go easy on it until it's up to temp.
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Old 11-21-2015, 10:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Thanks for the reassurance, all of your replies are really good to hear! I've done the ects but not the thermostat on account of two stripped bolt heads. I get good heat after just a few minutes with the temp gage at 1/8. It won't rise above 1/4 unless I'm in traffic, though.
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Old 11-21-2015, 10:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

^^^ Even just idling you should be above 1/4, more like 7/16ths.
Granted, it gets down to +5 to +10F rarely in this part of Virginia, but even so, my mileage never got below 30mpg. Methinks you still have an ECTS issue.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commeatus View Post
Thanks for the reassurance, all of your replies are really good to hear! I've done the ects but not the thermostat on account of two stripped bolt heads. I get good heat after just a few minutes with the temp gage at 1/8. It won't rise above 1/4 unless I'm in traffic, though.
Depending on what your local temps are, warm ups can be delayed some even with the proper thermostat and ECTS. But if you use the recirculate function with your heat, the car will come up to temp quicker and possibly improve your MPG some.

I live were it doesn't get very cold, but my car has never come even close to the teens in MPG even in the coldest months with short trips involved.
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commeatus View Post
Thanks for the reassurance, all of your replies are really good to hear! I've done the ects but not the thermostat on account of two stripped bolt heads. I get good heat after just a few minutes with the temp gage at 1/8. It won't rise above 1/4 unless I'm in traffic, though.
My ultra-well tuned 2000 SL2 tanks down to 24 MPG in the Winter, so some is normal, but you thankfully gave us new information, so:

In a normal 15+ minute drive, does it get to at least 7/16ths? If not, you should try to get that thermostat replaced. It should run 7/16ths (exactly halfway between 1/4 & 1/2, or slightly more towards 1/2...).

Just curious, how's the coolant & how old?
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

add in winter blend fuel, short trips high teens to low 20's is totally normal especially if you just run short errands with it
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commeatus View Post
Thanks for the reassurance, all of your replies are really good to hear! I've done the ects but not the thermostat on account of two stripped bolt heads. I get good heat after just a few minutes with the temp gage at 1/8. It won't rise above 1/4 unless I'm in traffic, though.
Sounds like your Thermostat is worn out and causing the engine to run cold and rich. I assume you tried using a 12 point socket on those 10 mm bolts and rounded them?
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Excessive fuel consumption when cold

Your t-stat is causing more fuel consumption. Stripped bolt heads can be removed with special tools like bolt extractors, possibly on loan by Autozone or other auto parts store. Google for images so you'll see them. Most mangled bolts that won't fit into sockets are removed with extractors built for these situations.
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