Improving Gas Mileage with the ScanGaugeII (pt 1)

The secret to improving your gas mileage can be found right in the mirror. If you want to cut your fuel costs, your vehicle doesn’t just need to be in tune … you need to be in tune with your vehicle.

The key to that quest is knowing how much fuel your engine is using in real-time. But here lies the dilemma … While some vehicles provide real-time fuel economy data via digital display, a great many do not. If your car lacks a real-time fuel economy gauge, all is not lost.

You just need to look to the after market.

My wife’s five year old Honda Pilot has 130,000 miles on the odometer, but it lacks a real-time fuel economy gauge. Now I’m not a hypermiler by any means, nor do I aspire to be, but I’ve been able to improve my gas mileage to the point where I can consistently score results of over 30 miles per gallon (MPG) on the highway (in an 8-passenger SUV) by using an after market real-time display.

Linear-Logic’s ScanGaugeII is a simple plug-and-place device that provides a one-stop solution for drivers looking to uncork fuel economy data, as well as the stream of other valuable information hidden in a car’s computer (commonly referred to as the Engine Control Unit [or ECU]).

While the ScanGaugeII is a snap to use, you need to pay attention to the details. The inside cover of the device’s manual provides a strong proviso regarding the safe operation of the ScanGaugeII. In particular, you must take caution as where and how you mount the device. It’s imperative that the display is fastened safely in a spot within the line of sight yet free of obstruction, while routing the cable in a secure manner.

Installing the ScanGaugeII is a straightforward affair. Once you’ve located the vehicle’s OBDII (On Board Diagnostics) port beneath the steering wheel, you’ll need to find the optimum placement for the ScanGaugeII display unit. You can secure it with the supplied sticky-back velcro (or with rigging of your own design) before plugging the cable into the unit and routing the cable to the OBDII port.

Then, with the ignition switch in the On position, plug the cable into the OBDII port. The system will automatically start its connection mode.

The unit uses a simple menu system to provide access to system scan, real-time gauges, trip data, and other features.

Gauges include:

  • Fuel system loop status (CLSD LP, OPEN LP)
  • Cost per mile (CPM)
  • Intake air temperature (FIA, CIA)
  • Water temperature (FWT, CWT)
  • Fuel pressure (FPR)
  • Gallons/liters per hour (GPH, LPH)
  • Ignition Timing (IGN)
  • Engine loading (LOD)
  • Fuel economy (MPG, KPG, MPL, LHK)
  • Miles per hour (MPH)
  • Kilometers per hour (KPH)
  • Manifold absolute pressure (MAP)
  • Revolutions per minute (RPM)
  • Throttle position setting (TPS), and
  • Battery Voltage (VLT)

The Trip function provides data on:

  • Average fuel economy
  • Average speed
  • Maximum speed
  • Maximum coolant temperature
  • Maximum engine RPM
  • Trip elapsed time
  • Trip fuel cost
  • Trip fuel used
  • Trip miles

The Tank-specific data includes:

  • Distance driven since last fill-up
  • Distance remaining before tank is empty
  • Fuel remaining
  • Fuel used since last fill-up
  • Time driven since last fill-up
  • Time remaining before tank is empty

Proper setup will ensure the most accurate results.

You must set up the tank size (MORE>SETUP>FUEL>TANK SIZE) and manually enter fill-up info (HOME>MORE>FILLUP>DONE) in order for any fuel in the tank data to be relevant. (All is not foolproof, of course … you don’t want to end up stranded at the side of the road. Linear-Logic recommends refilling the tank before you eclipse the 50 miles/kilometers remaining mark.)

Setup criteria include:

  • Engine size (in liters)
  • Fuel type (Gas, Diesela, Dieselb, Hybrid, and Propane)
  • Speed (when necessary to compensate for oversized tires)

In the next segment, we’ll look at how the ScanGaugeII can be used to improve your gas mileage results …

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5 thoughts on “Improving Gas Mileage with the ScanGaugeII (pt 1)”

  1. i have a 1981 honda accord the most advanced computer in there is the clock… anything i can use for a really old car like that to gauge fuel economy?

  2. K-DUB:
    It will not be easy to get a MPG specific gauge, but you can get and fairly easily install a vacuum gauge which will give you similar feedback about when you are leaning too heard on the gas … the principle is the same: try to maintain as a low pressure as is possible to maintain your speed. See for more details on how to use the vacuum gauge effectively.

  3. Using a good engine oil, preferably a synthetic or standard oil treated with a friction reducing oil additive has been known to improve fuel economy. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under inflated tires cause more resistance to travel.

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