Before I get into what this is about, it’s very important that I make it clear that the results I’m presenting here are not final, by any means. The calculations I’m doing are rough and not refined, at all. Consider this more of a “fuzzy” impression rather than an actual result. But these basic calculations still present some interesting findings.
I’ve been waiting a long time to start this post and, originally, I thought it would only be a single post. However, the mathematics to present very specific findings requires some thought and, simply put, I am not proficient in maths.
Consider this a very high-level observation, perhaps more similar to looking at a city from space, as opposed to viewing a house on a specific street.
My final goal, which is not presented here, is to provide calculations that show the amount of fuel, and money, I’ve saved with the savings based on the price of gas at each refueling. That’s not here. Instead, for this post, I’m only working with grand totals and an average for fuel price. And the values that I’ve presented for a couple of “what if my MPG had been lower” scenarios are based on the number of miles that I drove. A true representation of the number of fill-ups would need to account for the fact that I can’t put more than 17 gallons in my car, so if my MPG dropped, I’d actually have more fill-ups.
I’ve added a couple of posts about the fuel economy guage recently but in those posts I left out the fact that I already had one device on the ODB-II port of my 2008 Chevrolet Impala – a Zubie vehicle monitoring device that is cloud-connected via its own celluar connection (the one at this link is slightly different from the ones that we have; they are both white and were also purchased as a two-pack – I don’t know if there is any technical difference between the models).
In order to solve this issue I decided to purchase a iKKEGOL 30cm/12″ ODB2 ODB II Splitter Extension Y J1962 16 Pin Cable Male to Dual Female Cord Adapter. I’m not sure why the item name is written as ODB2 ODB II as it should instead be OBD2 OBD II but it does work properly. I read several reviews before deciding to purchase this devices as I was uncertain whether or not having two devices connected in this way would cause issues. I decided that it was not very likely to be a problem because the fuel economy guage only reads from the system and the Zubie device probably rarely ever sends data, if at all.
I haven’t had a single problem with either device since I connected them to the splitter.
The white fabric is actually an elastic material helping to ensure that the connection to the OBD-II port doesn’t slip loose. Normally, the cables are tucked away better but I had just shifted them before taking this cable to reposition the fuel economy guage.
Update 04/18/2018: Using the splitter with these devices worked great and didn’t seem to cause any problems with my vehicle.
Back in December my commute to work changed from about 15-20 minutes one way to one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. This significant addition of mileage drove me (no pun intended) to make minor modifications to my vehicle and driving habits to improve my fuel economy. In the beginning I used my vehicle’s built-in Instant MPG data to adjust my coasting and acceleration.
This small move did show an improvement in fuel economy but the digital guage isn’t well placed for frequent checks. I decided to purchase something that was much more obvious as it could be mounted directly onto my dash.
I’ve been using an Auto Meter 9105 ecometer Fuel Consumption Gauge, which costs around $100, and connects directly to the OBD-II port of my vehicle. Not only does it present the data in a much easier format to quickly glance at but I’ve also discovered that the referesh of the data is much faster than that of the built-in guage.
I’d prefer that the display could be dimmed significantly but otherwise it’s nearly perfect. If I’m applying several basic hypermiling habits I can indeed improve fuel economy. My vehicle’s highest MPG rating (highway) is 29 MPG but I’ve been able to achieve 30.29 MPG once and most of the time I hit between 26 and 28 MPG unless I’ve had a lot of in-city driving in my car. I have more MPG data from this year that I may share in a later post.
The guage by itself does nothing to improve fuel economy but it provides the ability to make driving decisions quickly, potentially saving fuel.
Updated 04/18/2018: This device worked great the entire time that I used it. The only reason I stopped using it was because I unintentionally allowed the cable to slip behind the parking break, where it became crimped and shorted (fortunately this didn’t damage the car but I was lucky). But despite no longer having the device I’m left with a much better, innate sense of how to drive my vehicle more efficiently.
I used a dashcam, phone charger and bluetooth adapter in the car for a while but I grew tired of having to manually unplug those devices when not in use or when I turned the car off. Unfortunately, in my 2008 Chevrolet Impala the vehicle would continue to provide power to any plugged in accessories even when the engine was off. Most of these devices are low power but even a dashcam, given enough time, could eventually drain the vehicle batter, especially if the car wasn’t being used for several days.
Re-wiring the electrical system and messing with fuses is beyond my experience so I decided to see if I could find an automotive power strip that would have a built-in power switch and sure enough I was able to find the perfect device.
The EUGIZMO Cigarette Lighter Splitter only costs about $16, offers three DC outlets, four USB power ports, a large power switch for the unit and also a very good visual indicator to show whether or not it is on.
I chose to mount this upside-down, just below the vehicle’s built-in DC power ports. This placement moves most of the power adapters and cables out of the way; whenever I turn the car on or off it’s very easy to just reach down and hit the large power button.
At first affixing the unit beneath the dash was a bit of the problem as the first type of velcro that I had used simply wasn’t holding and it would often come loose during the day. Eventually I ended up using some VELCRO Exterme Outdoor Strips and it hasn’t come loose since.
Updated 04/18/2018: The splitter and power button continue to work perfectly. In addition, the VELCRO has held; it hasn’t come loose yet.
My wife recently purchased a new vehicle and so I started thinking about also purchasing a new vehicle. And then I decided that not having a car payment was something that I currently prefer over having a car payment (note – my wife had a very good reason to purchase a new vehicle, I do not).
Instead of purchasing a new vehicle I decided to add some enhancements to my current one. One of those enhancements is a Zubie Key.
The Zubie Key requires a subscription service that costs $99/year. The device works in conjunction with the Zubie Cloud service, which is used to review data via Web browser or from the Zubie App. When connected to a vehicle’s OBD-II port the device automatically connects to the Zubie Cloud via cellular connection. GPS is also built into the device.
As a 2008 Impala owner I’ve become well acquainted with a specific part failure. Typically, it’s not expensive to correct (as long as it’s not one under the dash) but it can be inconvenient and over time I’ve had to replace two of them multiple times each.
For those that have experienced this problem I decided to post some photos that help reveal where the failure occurs.
The first photo included in this post shows an unopened actuator.
The next photo shows the actuator split open:
When I opened the actuator several of the damaged teeth fell out of the casing. A closer photograph reveals that several teeth from a gear are missing:
I suspect that all of these that have failed in my vehicle would show the same problem. Could this problem be solved by using metal gears? Perhaps.
About a month ago my car began showing an engine code, which appeared after I ran out of gas (that is its own story). Using DashCommand on my iPhone, and connecting to my car, I was able pull the following code:
Unfortunately I was unable to permanently clear the code. Every time I cleared it the code then reappeared a second later. So it wasn’t simply a left-over from running out of fuel, though I suppose that perhaps the event itself contributed to the equipment failure.
After doing some “research” via Google I determined that it was a relatively simple part to replace.