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Truck fuel economy question...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Oregoon, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. Oregoon
    Joined: Oct 17, 2008
    Posts: 33


    Hey all. Been a while since I posted.

    Considering a new (old) pickup. Current DD is a '68 Bug, which gets 26 mpg. However, I commute 50 miles round trip (mostly freeway), and own a home that needs work. Needless to say, the bug is less than safe for hauling the occasional kiddie, useless for yard work, but fun to drive. My last DD was a '66 Suburban, which I loved, but could'nt afford to feed. Aside from parts, it needed fuel--11 mpg sucked, no matter how cool the thing was.

    My question is what are you driving, and how's the economy? Obviously I won't find a full-size that gets near what the bug is getting now, but I've heard of guys wringing 20 mpg out of Ford inliners, small Chevvies, Slant-sixes, etc.

    Maybe bullshit, maybe not.

    I have visions of a short-wide with a 300 six and an overdrive...:)

    Thanks for your help.
  2. 57blueboat
    Joined: Feb 20, 2010
    Posts: 19

    from California

    '57 F100 with a 272 and a 3 speed, gets 15-17 when cruising and some number less around town.
  3. Oregoon
    Joined: Oct 17, 2008
    Posts: 33


    That's closer to something I could live with.

    11 mpg was bad, and when my Suburban started having head troubles, I opted to let it go, bought a house instead of an engine, and now, well, I need a truck.

    Isn't that usually how it goes?
  4. Oregoon
    Joined: Oct 17, 2008
    Posts: 33



    So, I spoke to a guy earlier who claims 21 mpg out of his '66 1/2 ton Ford. He says he's running 3.13 rear-end gears, a 302, a two-barrel and headers with a 4-speed.

    I've bought and sold my fair-share of projects, and obviously, I'm skeptical. Never owned a Ford before.

    This sound reasonable to anyone?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010

  5. terd ferguson
    Joined: Jun 13, 2008
    Posts: 3,718

    terd ferguson

    My '58 261 Stovebolt gets about 14mpg in stock form. It should go up when I install the two carbs and exhaust. Lots of good options for decent gas mileage and still driving something cool.
  6. Oregoon
    Joined: Oct 17, 2008
    Posts: 33


    That's what I'm saying! My Bug's a fun little car, but I miss having a truck.
  7. My DD is a 1970 C-10 with a tired TBI350 and a 700r4. I checked it today mostly 50mph+ country roads got 18.34mpg. I got the motor out of a rollover, I'm running the stock TBI fuel injection with a painless wiring kit, it was easy to install.

    I know a couple other locals that get 16 - 18 with well tuned carbed 283's and of course keeping their foot out of it.
  8. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,604

    steel rebel
    Member Emeritus

    GMC S15 1987 Iron Duke 4, four speed 35mpg. Oversize rear tires. Love it. Enough power, hauls anything.
  9. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 845

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    One of my DD's is my 55.2 Chevy 1/2 ton. 235, granny 4 speed, 3.55 rear, as upgraded by previous owner. Driven with a light foot, it pulls 20 on the highway. Engine is all stock, but tune is very specific. There's considerably more timing in it than factory suggests, compression is so low it likes it. Main jet in carb is about 1/3 smaller than original. It ran about 11:1 air fuel ratio stock. Now it's about 14.8-15.2:1.

    It lives outside year round, so it frequently gets driven in inclement weather.

    I'd still like to get a Ranger overdrive unit for it, but the money's not there yet.

  10. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,311


    1968 Ford F-100 390 4-speed dual 4-barrels

    Highway 22 mpg on gasoline, 18.5 mpg on E-10.

  11. I'm no longer drivinmg it but I did enjoy 20-22 consistantly from the Pusher for about 4 or 5 years.

    SBC no OD 3.08 gear.


    And no Emily my foot isn't on the brake.

  12. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,957

    gas pumper

    I had a 86 full size Bronco til it disapeared in a pile of red dust.

    300 six, stick, OD, 3.55 rears. The best highway I could manage was 19. which I thought wasn't bad. don't know the city mileage but it didn't seem excessive to me.

    Ran an Offy intake with a 2GC, tube headers, Dura Spark dist, and MSD box. No computer carb or dist, still passed emission tests.
  13. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016


    Funny, Rodster and I were discussing this a while back - I think he was a little dissapointed with his mileage in his recently completed AD truck. IIRChis truck has a late GM with TBI and overdirve and was getting 17-18, same as my carbed / overdirve equipped '40 Ford. My present DD is a '55 Chevy pickup, 350/350 with a 2.73 rear - 17-18 MPG. Not bad for a dual purpose 'Hot Rod hauler'.

    My bone stock 6 cylinder, 3 speed '53 F100 got about 15 around town, and 13 on the interstate - it would go 70 but it sure didn't like it. Had a '53 Chevy with a similar setup, and about the same results. These trucks were built and geared to work, not cruise. I think aerodynamics is another limiting factors on trucks, large frontal area and tall, nearly flat windshields make it like pushing a brick down the highway.

    I write down every gallon I put in and mileage for every fillup. Next time someone tells you what mileage they get ask them how they actually calculate it. One guy told me he put $20 dollars worth in and could ride around for a week so he knew he was about 20-25 MPG.
  14. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,307

    from Quincy, IL

  15. I had a 91 Chevy SB p-up w/4.3 and 5-speed with 160K+ on the clock and just cruising at 70 to visit friends and such, I got 25MPG. No, I didn't beat it but shifted it nice and smooth, nor break and land speed records. I would think an S10 similarly equipped would do well for you and haul some stuff on the weekends. Matter of fact, I liked the combo so much, I picked up a running 94 S10 4.3/5-speed setup and it's going in a 40 Ford p-up I'm building.

    Attached Files:

  16. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 988


    I got a 92 Ford Ranger 2.3 four banger 5 speed extended cab 4X2 for a good price (free) that I used for the last 2 years (until gas prices tanked).

    It gets 24 mpg around town and 27-28 on the road if you don't push it.

    Not sure I'd want it as a primary vehicle, but for a run around beater it gets the job done as long as you're not in a hurry.

  17. Not reasonable. My experience with the Ford 289-302 is that the cylinders are too large vs the stroke to get optimal economy. In other words, it takes quite a bit of fuel to properly fill the chambers, but you only get so much stroke to use the energy.

    Note that the early engines (Chevy 235, Ford flathead) are usually getting better mileage. Why?? Longer strokes. This allows more use of the energy produced. Sure, you cannot rev these to the sky, but they usually produce prodigious amounts of torque, with reasonable horsepower.

    Note, too, that the trend is towards engines with longer strokes, even to undersquare engines, again. And always the need for better mileage.

    So, look for an engine with the longest stroke. As any truck will have about the same wind resistance.

  18. Here in the East, with this new formula gas, your millage will be less!!!!
  19. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,307

    from Quincy, IL

    As I think comments indicate, utility AND economy are not incompatible, provided you are willing to consider a smaller (less frontal area), lighter truck with an appropriately smaller engine. That combo should serve you fairly well as economical commuter transportation and still be capable of hauling drywall, lumber, etc.

    Not Hamb friendly?? Maybe a Falcon Ranchero? :)

  20. Oregoon
    Joined: Oct 17, 2008
    Posts: 33


    Wow! Thanks for all the responses!

    I'm leaning toward a 300 Ford, 250 Chevy, or similar motor, likely with a swapped-out rear end and a two-barrel. I've got a light foot, so a torquey six is ideal for my needs. Right lane is where I roll anyway. I'm a trucker by trade, and spend my workday in a great big hurry. When I punch out, I slow down.

    Ideally, I'll find something along the mellow cruiser/daily driver lines you guys are talking about. I had an S10 a few years back, and it got great economy, but lacked a bit in the style department

    Really like the '60s Detroit stuff. And hell yes, a Ranchero would be cool!
  21. dullchrome
    Joined: Jan 15, 2009
    Posts: 987

    from SoCal

    63 F100 with a 292 and a farmer four on the floor and a single two barrell. I am getting around 17mpg right now. Hopping for a bit more after the T5 goes in.

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