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302 gas mileage?

 
  #16  
Old 06-15-2012, 07:57 AM
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someone can correct me if i'm wrong, but a 76 should already have electronic ignition. With that being the case, you'd be better off spending your money elsewhere in your quest for mileage and power.

do a good tune up, a through inspection of all external componets, and if the mileage is crappy after that then start looking at the carb.

the stock carbs are tuned for mileage, so your best bet is to stick with the one it came with unless you are a pro at tuning carbs. If the carb needs attention, just get a good rebuild kit and go through it carefully. Doing all of this should get you back to square #1.

if you are going to spend money in search of power and mileage, then you are looking at exhaust and intake.

a full dual exhaust will sound good, but headers will make more impact on mileage. I have used tube headers with stock exhaust and had very good results. So, if mileage is the goal and you have to choose between exhaust and headers, i'd chose headers and do the exhaust afterwards ... it can be done, it's just that most dont. IMO, a better exhaust won't make a difference until you have headers anyway, so if you don't, then it is just for sound (which is cool, if that's the goal).

after you've done the exhaust, then its probably the intake. Get a good dual plane intake. If you have a 4-barrel carb already, then your stock carb on your good intake will likely get you the best mileage. if you don't have a 4-bbl on there already .... if mileage is the goal, i'd stop here.

but you wont ... by this time you are hooked on the sound and feel of the increase in power .... so then you're throwing mileage out the window, getting the intake and carb, and eventually a cam.

FWIW, a 302 is capable of very good mileage in a big vehicle. i've had a lot of 302's in my short time here and all but one got good mileage.

my 81 crown vic got 15mpg, which was good for a 16year old kid.
my 85 CV only got 11mpg ... but it ran like a raped ape ... and i was 18
my 91 cv will get 21mpg almost every day of the week.
my 2000 exploder got me 18mpg last weekend driving 70mph on the interstate.

you won't likely do that well with yours. all of the above had overdrive. the cars all have highway gears and less frontal area. the explorer has 3.73's with overdrive and weighs about the same, but is a little smaller than a pickup and came with better heads than yours will have.

don't know if all of that helps much, but it should get you started. you should be able to get 15mpg out of that truck if you drive it well. maybe a little better with some upgrades and a light foot.
 
  #17  
Old 06-15-2012, 08:26 AM
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What mileage are you getting now? There is only so much you can do. Description of truck, 2 wheel/4x4, transmission, gearing, tire size? These things play a factor.
Nevermind: I see it now. Still what are you getting now?
 
  #18  
Old 06-15-2012, 08:30 AM
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I agree with meborder.

You're barking up the wrong tree by thinking that replacing the carburetor with an entire EFI system is going to give you better gas mileage. It *may* give you one or two more miles per gallon, but that is about it. Changing the air filter and distributor are also not going to give you any gains, provided they are both working correctly. Your stock air cleaner assembly is a thermostatic unit, which means it supplies warm air to your carburetor for driveability and economy when it needs it and doubles as a cold air intake. Your stock distributor is a Duraspark unit for electronic ignition, so you're good there. If you are still running your stock Motorcraft 2150 carburetor, keep it. It is a very good, reliable carburetor that gives the best gas mileage over anything offered today.

Make sure your thermostatic choke system is hooked up and working correctly, as that will certainly affect fuel economy. Check your spark plugs and wires. Make sure your timing is correct and your emissions components are all working correctly. Check for vacuum leaks.

You have to understand that when these engines were built, the focus at that time was on emissions first, then economy, then power. As a result, what is holding these engines back are the stock big-chambered smog heads, tiny cam, and restrictive exhaust.

For a real improvement in mileage, swap out your transmission for one that has an overdrive gear. Long tube headers will help more than a complete EFI swap would, and it is MUCH cheaper. A better set of heads will give more power and mileage, and is again cheaper than a full EFI swap. The same goes for a cam swap.

I changed out my stock smog heads, cam, and exhaust on my own 1985 5.0/302 and DOUBLED my horsepower and torque output and still gained fuel economy. I went from the stock 2V carburetor that achieved 15 mpg to a 4V carburetor and my gas mileage is now just a hair over 20 mpg, as long as I drive it normally. The 1986 - 1996 truck EFI 5.0/302 didn't get any better than that.
 
  #19  
Old 06-15-2012, 10:55 AM
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I am not sure what the real mileage on the truck is because I don't take delivery on it until tomorrow. This thread was created to get ideas in case I felt the need to improve mileage after the first week or so of driving the truck. That way I'd have a cache of knowledge to refer back to. This has all been extremely helpful. I would have never guessed that engines built to improve emissions had worse gas mileage. That seems counterintuitive. But when I think about how that all works out, it does make sense. The EFI swap definitely doesn't sound worth it. I wanna keep the three on the tree so an overdrive gear won't happen.

In all honesty, I ride a 50cc scooter most days to get around town. I currently spend $5 a week in fuel. I only need the truck for cold weather, wet weather and grocery runs. I won't be taking any road trips with it. Other than that, it's going to be a restoration project. I won't make her a total trailer queen, but I do plan on getting her all customized to my wants and desires.
 
  #20  
Old 06-15-2012, 02:46 PM
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Well, you are going to get 15-18 mpg out of that 302 depending on how you drive it and if it's tuned up. I've had that engine in cars, truck, and vans, and it's always the same--15-18mpg.
 
  #21  
Old 06-15-2012, 03:20 PM
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That's good enough for me. I'm definitely not a master mechanic but I know enough to rebuild a carb and give it a proper tune up. It never made any sense to me to pay for maintenance when I have two hands.
 
 
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