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302 gas mileage?

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Old 06-13-2012, 03:47 PM
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302 gas mileage?

Anyone have any suggestions for improving gas mileage on an old 302? I'm thinking all the run of the mill stuff like upgrade the air filter, better flow through the exhaust, tune up with top notch plugs and wires. Then, of course, check all the normal stuff like tire pressure and whatever. Run a carb cleaner and all that jazz.

What if I eliminate as much rolling resistance in the rear differential as I can. I've heard this can help but I am not sure to what degree.

Should I replace the stock carb for something more modern?

Should I use higher grade fuel on an old truck?

I know I ask a lot of questions, I just want to be sure I'm treating this beautiful machine right. It's my first big engine.

Last edited by Herr Geist; 06-13-2012 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Typos. Lots of typos.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:42 PM
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You can replace your mechanical fan for an electric one and that will help. And you can change your gear ratio in the rearend, If you change the ratio you wont be able to pull as much but in return your milage will increase a ton. If the engine dosent have to run as many RPMs you save fuel.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:59 PM
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That could work because this is definitely not going to be a truck for towing or helping friends move. haha. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:03 PM
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No problem
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herr Geist View Post
Anyone have any suggestions for improving gas mileage on an old 302? I'm thinking all the run of the mill stuff like upgrade the air filter, better flow through the exhaust, tune up with top notch plugs and wires. Then, of course, check all the normal stuff like tire pressure and whatever. Run a carb cleaner and all that jazz.

What if I eliminate as much rolling resistance in the rear differential as I can. I've heard this can help but I am not sure to what degree.

Should I replace the stock carb for something more modern?

Should I use higher grade fuel on an old truck?

I know I ask a lot of questions, I just want to be sure I'm treating this beautiful machine right. It's my first big engine.
You can swap in an EFI system for your 302 (rather it be aftermarket or the junkyard [but if you went the junkyard route you might need the engine that the computer is connected to])
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herr Geist View Post
Should I use higher grade fuel on an old truck?
Just as an attempt to straighten out this misconception:

(Taken from one of my posts on another forum)

Quote:
OCTANE is a rating which describes the temperature at which a substance ignites. There are several rating systems, but here in the states, we use the Anti-Knock Index (AKI). The OCTANE rating has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the energy content of the fuel.

If you don't believe me, let's look at an example:

Regular (87) unleaded has an octane rating of 87 on the AKI scale. One gallon of this fuel contains 114,000 BTU.

Pure ethanol has an octane rating of 99.15 on the AKI scale. Although the octane rating is higher, one gallon of ethanol only contains 76,100 BTU.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:23 PM
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I have always wondered about that. Because I've run 89 in a car which specifically instructed me to use 93 and I had absolutely no issues.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herr Geist View Post
I have always wondered about that. Because I've run 89 in a car which specifically instructed me to use 93 and I had absolutely no issues.
Cars that prescribe higher octane fuel typically have higher compression engines. As long as it's not pinging, it's fine for the most part.
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:24 AM
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It's been my experience that cars that call for higher octane fuel eventually start running badly if lower octane fuel is used.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:42 PM
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Well... it "recommended" premium.

I'm thinking this EFI thing might be the way to go. Is there an after market performance EFI that might improve mileage or should I just go with one from another truck?
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Herr Geist View Post
Well... it "recommended" premium.

I'm thinking this EFI thing might be the way to go. Is there an after market performance EFI that might improve mileage or should I just go with one from another truck?
Holley make an EFI system that you can buy "off the shelf". But, it is cheaper to buy the EFI system with the engine that is supposed to stay with it from the junkyard.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:50 PM
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I want to make sure I understand you here. Are you saying it's cheaper to buy an entire engine with the EFI on it than it is to buy a Holley system?
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:21 PM
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HA! Nevermind. I found the answer to that one on my own. $2,000+?! I don't wanna save gas that bad.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:19 AM
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it's hard to spend money to save gas and make it pay off.

it's better to do it because you want to, not as an investment, so to say.

the best thing you can do is a good tune up and make sure all the vacuum lines and emission controls are in good working order.

i know you said it's your first "big engine", but a 302 is pretty small and makes a pretty good compromise between towing power and daily driving.

IF you want EFI, then find a donor vehicle and steal everything from that, but if you just want it as good as you can get it, a good tune up and an upgrade to electronic ignition if you don't already have it (not sure what year you have), is probably the best thing to do.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:24 AM
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Well, I know a 302 is a small block, but it's the first V8 I've ever owned. I'm not really sure I want to invest in an EFI swap, but I would like to make sure I get the best mileage out of the carb if I decide to stick with it. I have considered a distributor upgrade for sure.
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