Is this good of gas mileage "normal"? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Is this good of gas mileage "normal"?

Discussion in 'Engine Tuning' started by volscort, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. volscort

    volscort FEOA Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Hey all!

    Jack here, featuring my grandma hand-me-down special, the 1998 Ford Escort SE wagon with the stock 2.0 SPI and 4-spd F-4EAT auto transaxle.

    I have done a lot of basic work to get this car running again, as it sat for a sizable amount of time in disrepair in my great-grandma's garage before I got it. It had a bad misfire, PCV failure, many of the breather hoses were shot or otherwise had deteriorated, and the starter would get heat soaked in over 85 degree temps, making it hard to start on warm days. Original plugs WERE STILL IN THE CAR! I replaced them and the wires, but then they fouled, too, and the car flashed misfire codes. I fixed that later, as stated in this next paragraph:

    I repaired all of these issues over time with the car, and it's now running almost flawlessly. A/C just stopped working, but I'm sure it just needs a charge. In this mass tune-up, I used: Bosch platinum plugs; NKG plug wires; Motorcraft ignition coil; Motorcraft starter; Motorcraft hoses & PCV hose&valve; Motorcraft EGR hosing & valve; and I replaced the (decisively nasty) air filter with a new Motorcraft filter. I flushed the cooling system, changed the oil (now three times), and flushed the transaxle. Car also has newer belts on it, that were put on when the car sat. I am also planning on ordering an Ebay set of rebuilt heads with hardened valve seats to negate the valve seat #4 problem these SPI's have. I also ran injector cleaner through the system twice over a two month period.

    My question is, is it normal for a basic tune-up like this to net such a HUGE mpg change? For the short time it was driven before I did the ignition work, I was getting between 20-25 MPG on the highway, and around 19-20 in the city, based on rough calculations. I noticed that official MPG stats for the SOHC SPI-equipped 3rd gen Escort wagon were about 28 city, 38 highway. My much more robust testing in the last few months and thousands of miles driven since the first tune-up has given me an average of ~29.8 MPG city, and ~41.5 MPG highway! This calculation was also done with a Thule cargo basket mounted to the roof rack, without anything in it, and only me and my small cargo bay toolbox in the car. With my Sears roof box and Saris 3-bike tailgate mount with a single bike mounted, I started getting the OFFICIAL EPA average. The car is sitting on the stock 14" steel wheels with newer suspension components.

    Is it normal for these cars to go above the EPA MPG average? Were they underrated from the factory? Mine has 114k miles and is steadily going up, as it is driven 50 miles every day. Runs like a top and idles nice and quiet, very little of the typical CVH/SPI vibration is going on with this car.



    Escort in Rain.jpg
    Escort at Sodalis Park 2019.jpg
  2. Greenie

    Greenie FEOA Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    That looks about on-par for Escort 2.0L. I also noticed out-of-spec fuel economy. Pretty cool you got mpg that out of a wagon.

    My 98 SE typically gets about 40mpg hwy when in good shape. The best I ever got out of it was 44. Sounds like you fixed it right. Fuel economy put Escorts apart from most cars. IMO that's their selling point besides price.

    Watch out for those valve seats!:eek:
  3. marclar

    marclar Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,731
    Likes Received:
    443
    Trophy Points:
    383
    Location:
    seabeck WA
    every geographical area will yeild different results.. for example where i live you cant go a mile without going up or down a hill. so the averages don't apply to me. but others drive strictly flat all day. anything you can do to increase the efficiency of combustion will result in higher mpgs
    austin86 likes this.
  4. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

    Messages:
    2,020
    Likes Received:
    885
    Trophy Points:
    363
    Location:
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Some gasolines have more oxygenates (probably especially in California) which will reduce mileage.

    If you drive conservatively you will get excellent mileage in these cars. At what speed do you drive your fifty miles a day?
    austin86 likes this.
  5. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    399
    Trophy Points:
    333
    Location:
    Russellville, Kentucky
    I've also got a 3rd generation wagon (97) with a 5 speed. I've broke 45MPG highway on several occasions. The best I ever got was 49.85MPG one time on a trip when I was trying to see just how good of mileage I could get. I was driving on interstate 40 with the c/c set at 55MPH on a cool summer morning where I didn't need a/c. Driving habits effect mileage a lot. The reason lots of people get poor mileage is because they go straight from the gas pedal to brake pedal, take off WOT every time they take off, race to stop lights just so they have to stop and get 0MPG for several seconds up to a few minutes, etc. I've got a 2016 Nissan Versa with a CVT I bought in Feb. 2019 the worst mileage I've got to date was the first tank I ran through it at 42.3 MPG and the best tank so far is 51.2MPG. The EPA rating on it is 31 city, 39 highway and 34 combined. In 6978.8 miles tracked my average has been 47.464 MPG but most of my driving is rural roads in the 45-55MPH range with approximately 10% city/small town driving. I have an Ultra Gauge in my Versa and on flat sections of highway with the c/c set at 50-55MPH in warm weather it's not uncommon to see instant MPG numbers in 70-90MPG range. The numbers I posted for MPG are actual hand calculated mileage not what the electronic devices shows. The Versa also has a factory built in mileage computer but it's very optimistic usually reading 4-5MPG better than it actually figures by hand calculations. I don't think I've owned a car in at least the last 25 years that I couldn't beat EPA estimates by a considerable margin.
  6. Swift

    Swift FEOA Donator

    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    83
    Trophy Points:
    278
    If you did 55 on the highways here around atlanta you would be killed by the faster traffic. Well until the bumper to bumper traffic started.
  7. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    399
    Trophy Points:
    333
    Location:
    Russellville, Kentucky
    I haven't driven in Atlanta in I guess about 35 years and have no desire too again anytime soon. Back then I was a lot younger. I'd get in there and drive 80 through the heart of Atlanta like everyone else. Until I got hurt and became disabled I drove in Charlotte, NC on a daily basis. It wasn't uncommon on some of the busier roads around the city for the speed limit to be 35 and people driving 65. I also think Charlotte was the worst place I ever saw for people running red lights. When a light would turn red usually 2, 3 or sometimes even 4 cars would go through afterward. Before I left the area they had put up stop light camera's at some intersections but everyone knew where they were so that's basically the only intersections that running red lights got any better. Don't even get me started on rainy days as soon as it started raining the accident ratio went up about 1000%. Instead of slowing down 10MPH and increasing following distance by a couple extra car lengths they'd rather tear their car up and risk getting killed.
  8. focus2000

    focus2000 FEOA Member

    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    103
    Trophy Points:
    293
    If you want better gas mileage all you have to do is lie about it. My 1973 F250 with a 360 2v gets 22mpg on the freeway.
    austin86 likes this.
  9. volscort

    volscort FEOA Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    i drive in and out of Indianapolis, and my average speed tends to be around ~65 mph on the highway, sometimes up to 70; and down to 15-25 on inner city roads. I've tested running the car on the highway at precisely 65 and then down to 60 to see what sort of mileage I was getting, and I somehow was getting the best mileage out of the ~65 mph average.

    Meanwhile, my two Volvo 240's (heavier cars with a slightly larger displacement 2.3L 4-banger) get roughly 20-25 mpg on the highway, with my 244 (the sedan) getting slightly higher. My W250 with a Cummins gets ~25 with a tune, My Merc gets 0 because it has been not driven for roughly a year, and my Avanti gets a pretty rough 8-12 MPGs...so my Escort is definitely out of this world efficient!
  10. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    109
    Trophy Points:
    193
    That's interesting because my wife has an 09 Versa with like 64k on it, and a couple years ago we took a trip with it. Cruise, egg under the gas pedal, etc (not literally of course). We got 32- both ways. Couldn't do any better. My 2nd gen 95 routinely pulls 32-35 at 70-80mph. The best I got from it is 39mpg. Strangely enough my 1999 Buick Lesabre I dreaded taking to work. I couldn't get over 17mpg city- it's a heavy car. My office moved and I have 62 miles each way, I dreaded taking that car. Unbelievably, it's like 30-31mpg hwy. I pulled 550 miles from the last tank.
  11. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    399
    Trophy Points:
    333
    Location:
    Russellville, Kentucky
    I've been on several Nissan forums since I bought the Versa and most people don't get great mileage out of them. Mine has the 1.6L coupled up to a CVT and most of my driving is 45-55 MPH. With the CVT on flat ground at 50MPH I'm only turning about 1500RPM. I was pleasantly surprised with the mileage I've been getting with mine. I just filled up today, the weather was a lot cooler on this tank and I still got 44.75 MPG. My brother used to have a Versa until it got totaled in an accident. If I recall correctly his was an '08 and had a 6 speed manual transmission. I'm thinking he told me one time he only got in the upper 20's and lower 30's in his. It seems like I remember his running at over 3000RPM at about 60MPH. in 6th gear. My mom has a 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis with a 4.6L automatic. A few years ago I took it on about a 275 mile trip and drove with the c/c set at 55 MPH both ways and got 31.5 MPG. It will get about 28MPG at 70-75MPH.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  12. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    109
    Trophy Points:
    193
    My wife's is a 1.8 automatic. My Escort is still quicker off the line though. Surprisingly, it will keep up with the Buick's 3800 v-6. ;)
  13. volscort

    volscort FEOA Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    I've felt that weird Escort peppy power, too...it definitely outspeeds my Volvos to 60, and even gives my tuned Ram a run for its money, too!
  14. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

    Messages:
    361
    Likes Received:
    109
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Drops mic. ;) 110 mph.jpg

Share This Page