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Old Gens and the long haul: Road trip discussion


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49 replies to this topic

#1 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:02 AM

I'm neck deep in the rust repair on my `84 wagon right now, but its getting closer every weekend. I can't wait to get it back on the road. I plan on loading up a ton of miles this summer, cruising, and camping.

So what I'm wondering is, who has bragging rights for longest road trip in one of these old ea cars? How many hours or miles driven at one time? Any big success stories or horror stories?

Maybe we can add in some discussion about what to keep as spare parts? I keep a small tool box with me, along with an extra alternator, cap/rotor, extra spark plugs, duct tape, fan belt, and jumper cables. I also like a small first aid kit, blankets, fire extinguisher, and little extra food and water in case of emergency.

#2 1982gl4

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

I have driven all 3 of my ea81's to the Carlisle import car show in PA. Which is about 500 miles each way, not that far really, considering the 9200 mile road trip I did in a $300 volvo last summer...

All three of mine have made it there and back. Both my wagons did fine, and I wouldn't hesitate to take them on a longer trip. The brat however, I found to be very prone to vapor lock. Luckily I had another person with me so I could hold my hand over the carb to suck the fuel back into it. Otherwise I would have been stranded quite a few times with that one, about a mile after getting fuel, It would die, every time..... Other than that I use my wagon as a daily driver in the summer and take it to Mass, Connecticut, NH, and anywhere else I can.

I bring a box full of tools with me, a jumper pack, screwdrivers, typical wrenches and sockets, and a few spare parts including a fuel pump, some wire, a disty, and an alternator (mine has had changing issues in the past) , but I'm hoping my FI swap will even limit the amount of those I will need! I usually bring some oil, and coolant to be safe.

Edited by 1982gl4, 02 February 2013 - 11:07 AM.


#3 Idasho

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 11:22 AM

Great idea for a thread I think :clap:


My take:

The good thing is that these cars are old.

Thats the bad thing too. :-\


Being older they are MUCH more simple. In theory this makes them more reliable, or at least less likely to actually lave you stranded.

But being older also brings maintenance into the picture in a big way.

IMO as long as the car is properly maintained, it is LESS likely in every way from a new car to leave you stranded.

Though since picking up my '84 GL I have been on a mission to modify it in a way that not only makes it more driveable by todays standards, but also makes it more reliable.

* Maxima alternator upgrade (OE alternators have a nasty habit of failing in a BAD way)
* Weber carb (toss that overcomplicated hitachi in the dumpster)
* 5-speed swap (much better trans, no 3rd gear issues)
* full-size spare

IMO those 4 items are big ones, everything else is simple maintenance as the car ages and racks up miles. Only additional one Id like to add to that list some day is a mod to eliminate the damn ignition module setup in the distributor.

As far as spares go:

*ignition module
*upper and lower radiator hoses
*cap + rotor
*coil wire + one plug wire
*radiator car

See a trend there? LOTS of ignition crap. Hence the interest for an upgrade/retrofit there.

Thats it. But as old as the car is, I still roll with a small tool kit. A basic end wrench kit from 8-16mm, jumpers, zip ties, electrical tape, small cheapo multimeter, 2 qts of oil, and a few other odds and ends.

I have a fire extinguisher in every vehicle I own. Always have.
Small road-side firstaid kits too.

Edited by Idasho, 02 February 2013 - 11:42 AM.


#4 Gloyale

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:32 PM

One trip from California to Pennsylvania in an EA71 (78 4wd wagon).....But that was when I was 2 years old:grin:


Dozens of trips from Oregon to S.E. Wisconsin in various EA82's


Only time I had problems was in North Dakota in February. 4 am, -14 degrees, slept for an hour at a rest area. Wake up, turn key...no power...no lights...nothing :-\:eek:

Moisture had frozen between my battery cable and the post...efectively disconnecting my battery. Fixed that....now turns over...won;t start. Coil lead end cap had shrunk and hardened so much, it pushed the wire out of the coil socket (you'd think it would arc??) once I reseated that wire she fired right up.

No other issues over dozens of trips in EA82s (oh yeah...front axle snapped once in Montana, clicked into 4wd and drove the rest of the way home)

It's totally dependent on the condition of the car. If everythings in good order, you should be fine. Carry emergency supplies.

#5 MilesFox

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:19 PM

I drove an 83 gl from indiana to seattle. It was a rather ill-fated trip. The car came back under its own power a year later. Let's just say the car wasn't put together enough to begin with. The completion of the build required the trip itself to accumulate the parts to finish it along the way and when it returned.

Tis could be the worst example to think of going out with welded tie rods, a ruptured gas tank, and bad tires..

I don't blame any mishaps on the car itself, but instead poor judgement on my part.

If i were to do it again, i would only do so with my perfectly built 3door.

outside of this, i have put 20,000 miles on a bad axle with no boot through mud, sand pits and daily driving and state-to-state travel

If you make sure to not rn out of oil or coolant, the car can go anywhere

#6 maozebong

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:24 PM

i drove my EA82 a total of 8k miles this year on road trips... one across the country, moving from ohio to seattle. one from ohio to NH. last one was all over the southeast.

i also have a 2" lift and 215/75/15s, so it can totally be done with a lift and oversized tires, and fully loaded down. i have driven it though some steep passes in the rockies, cascades, and the Appalachians (in NY/PA/VA/WV/NC/TN).

i wouldnt recommend doing what i did though if your car isnt healthy... but mine is, and has a few mods to boot.

#7 l75eya

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:18 PM

Sorry for a book of a response but I call bragging rights. Over 10,000 miles. On trip A 5,000 + miles. Trip B 8,000 +

As you know from your comments on the GL's thread in the my rides section, my GL has taken me on some epic journeys. Across the country from New Jersey to the west coast (Reno, NV) and back. Twice.

The first time was literally right after I bought the car. Didn't do a damn thing to it. She sat for YEARS barely used, 1987 GL that I got 2 years ago with only 46k on the ODO. So she sat for years until I got her, and I literally just drove it across the country. Didn't do a damn thing to it. Bought it, tagged it, loaded it, and set off.
Was hauling a good amount of stuff too.
Two bikes, a trunk so full of luggage it had to be slammed shut, a luggage rack with more luggage tied to it, a car with four grown adults in it and the rest of our stuff that wouldn't fit in the trunk/on the trunk we carried in the car. + a toolset. Over 1,000 pounds (200+ pounds over the weight limit of the car)
Posted Image
Way too much weight. The rear struts were fully compressed for the entire trip. Even small bumps made a bone crunching noise through the body of the car. Big bumps sounded like explosions. This car endured 5,000 + miles of this and only suffered a nearly ruptured tire, and a bent rim. Front tires were barely touching the ground.
Posted Image

Long story short she made the drive out to NV going non-stop without incident. Averaged about 23 mpg with a high of 31 and a low of 15 in Wyoming over the mountains (could barely hold 35 in 3rd gear.)

Then she did it again for me last year, to Burning Man in Nevada. This time it was just 3 people and a lot less stuff in the car. I'd also given her a full tune-up and new water-pump and had a lot of spare parts with me for this trip.
It was even longer this time starting in NJ non-stop to Colorado. Hit the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, saw some sights in Wyoming, hit our destination in NV. After the event brought her down to RT. 66 in Arizona through to NM back north up to Colorado and then back out east home to Jersey.
This time she did close to 9,000 miles on this trip, bested the mpg at 36 IIRC and still struggled over the mountains but not as bad.

Salt Flats;

Posted Image

After Burning Man in NV.
Posted Image

After two epic journeys across the country I'm still only up to 71,000 miles ;) haha

And back to the original reason for this thread, anything I've learned over these two trips allow me to share

If you're road-tripping on a budget, keep your payload to a MINIMUM.
Your car does not have any ponies to spare under that hood. If you want the best bang for your buck MPG-wise, keep it light and keep it around 70. I'm sure if I had less people in the car for my trips I'd have saved over $300-400 in gas. 40 mpg is possible if you drive right and the conditions are right.

As mentioned in previous posts (and just a basic duh)
Carry spare parts
Highly recommended is a full sized spare, which I had for the second trip. Jumper cables, an alternator, a decent tool-set, belts, timing belts, dist-cap, rotor, wires, I even had a spare oil pump with me. JUST IN CASE.

Make sure your radio works well
The head-unit that came with my car was an aftermarket JVC. It conked out somewhere after Colorado and I was stuck with hundreds upon hundreds of tuneless miles. That was until I coincidentally happened upon a GL wagon at a tourist stop in Arizona half sunk into weeds picked to pieces. Got a radio :)

Check your cooling system BEFORE you leave
I made this mistake and discovered my radiator was clogged while highway driving in ambient temps of 95 + As a result I had to keep it around 65 - 70 mpg during the day to maintain proper temps.

Quick after-thought: On the mountains, don't be scared to keep your car in 3rd gear. Our little boxer engines won't bat an eye at holding 5,000 RPM all day long, so 5 minutes to maintain speed over a big hill won't harm anything except your fuel economy a bit

I guess my post is long enough as is so I'll leave it off here, but one more thing

Take pictures of your ride at various cool spots along your trip
We all like pictures of our EA's doing what they do; taking us places and keeping us smiling all the while.

Looking forward to seeing the DF in some nice places!! :headbang:

Edited by l75eya, 02 February 2013 - 04:20 PM.


#8 Gloyale

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:37 PM

Sorry for a book of a response but I call bragging rights. Over 10,000 miles. On trip A 5,000 + miles. Trip B 8,000 +


Uh.... Hello...

Dozens of trips from Wisconsin to Oregon and back. 2000 miles each time. That's 24k at least right there.

In 2010, I went from Oregon, to Pennsylvania, and back......towing a trailer

In a lifted GL. That one trip was 8500 miles.

I commend you trips. But I don't think you can really declare "bragging rights"

I don't even think I can. There was a thread around here along time ago about a 88 touring wagon with an MPFI engine in it that went deep into mexico and back.

#9 l75eya

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:58 PM

I kinda meant like bragging rights for the longest haul on a single trip. Pretty much matched your 8,500 haul last year across the country and back. And your 24,000 miles in dozens of trips, I've done almost that many miles in just 2 trips. But I was never really trying to be all like I WIN in any serious sense anyway so sorry if anybody took it that way. I was kinda just joking around, but it's always hard to discern somebody's context when reading something online so for that, my bad.

I'm sure there's plenty of people who've logged many more miles than I have in one shot. There was somebody in the my rides section that had just bought a hatchback and had to take it on quite a journey just to get it home. He didn't haul too far but sometimes it's more interesting about the story than the distance.

And the Mexico thing reminded me! I forgot to mention that our 3AT Loyale brought us to Toronto and back 2 years ago too. That was a cool 1,000 miles at 65 mph! haha

#10 MR_Loyale

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:03 PM

Sorry for a book of a response but I call bragging rights. Over 10,000 miles. On trip A 5,000 + miles. Trip B 8,000 +

As you know from your comments on the GL's thread in the my rides section, my GL has taken me on some epic journeys. Across the country from New Jersey to the west coast (Reno, NV) and back. Twice.

The first time was literally right after I bought the car. Didn't do a damn thing to it. She sat for YEARS barely used, 1987 GL that I got 2 years ago with only 46k on the ODO. So she sat for years until I got her, and I literally just drove it across the country. Didn't do a damn thing to it. Bought it, tagged it, loaded it, and set off.
Was hauling a good amount of stuff too.
Two bikes, a trunk so full of luggage it had to be slammed shut, a luggage rack with more luggage tied to it, a car with four grown adults in it and the rest of our stuff that wouldn't fit in the trunk/on the trunk we carried in the car. + a toolset. Over 1,000 pounds (200+ pounds over the weight limit of the car)
Posted Image
Way too much weight. The rear struts were fully compressed for the entire trip. Even small bumps made a bone crunching noise through the body of the car. Big bumps sounded like explosions. This car endured 5,000 + miles of this and only suffered a nearly ruptured tire, and a bent rim. Front tires were barely touching the ground.
Posted Image

Long story short she made the drive out to NV going non-stop without incident. Averaged about 23 mpg with a high of 31 and a low of 15 in Wyoming over the mountains (could barely hold 35 in 3rd gear.)

Then she did it again for me last year, to Burning Man in Nevada. This time it was just 3 people and a lot less stuff in the car. I'd also given her a full tune-up and new water-pump and had a lot of spare parts with me for this trip.
It was even longer this time starting in NJ non-stop to Colorado. Hit the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, saw some sights in Wyoming, hit our destination in NV. After the event brought her down to RT. 66 in Arizona through to NM back north up to Colorado and then back out east home to Jersey.
This time she did close to 9,000 miles on this trip, bested the mpg at 36 IIRC and still struggled over the mountains but not as bad.

Salt Flats;

Posted Image

After Burning Man in NV.
Posted Image

After two epic journeys across the country I'm still only up to 71,000 miles ;) haha

And back to the original reason for this thread, anything I've learned over these two trips allow me to share

If you're road-tripping on a budget, keep your payload to a MINIMUM.
Your car does not have any ponies to spare under that hood. If you want the best bang for your buck MPG-wise, keep it light and keep it around 70. I'm sure if I had less people in the car for my trips I'd have saved over $300-400 in gas. 40 mpg is possible if you drive right and the conditions are right.

As mentioned in previous posts (and just a basic duh)
Carry spare parts
Highly recommended is a full sized spare, which I had for the second trip. Jumper cables, an alternator, a decent tool-set, belts, timing belts, dist-cap, rotor, wires, I even had a spare oil pump with me. JUST IN CASE.

Make sure your radio works well
The head-unit that came with my car was an aftermarket JVC. It conked out somewhere after Colorado and I was stuck with hundreds upon hundreds of tuneless miles. That was until I coincidentally happened upon a GL wagon at a tourist stop in Arizona half sunk into weeds picked to pieces. Got a radio :)

Check your cooling system BEFORE you leave
I made this mistake and discovered my radiator was clogged while highway driving in ambient temps of 95 + As a result I had to keep it around 65 - 70 mpg during the day to maintain proper temps.

Quick after-thought: On the mountains, don't be scared to keep your car in 3rd gear. Our little boxer engines won't bat an eye at holding 5,000 RPM all day long, so 5 minutes to maintain speed over a big hill won't harm anything except your fuel economy a bit

I guess my post is long enough as is so I'll leave it off here, but one more thing

Take pictures of your ride at various cool spots along your trip
We all like pictures of our EA's doing what they do; taking us places and keeping us smiling all the while.

Looking forward to seeing the DF in some nice places!! :headbang:


Excellent post. You have inspired me to get out and do more driving.

#11 l75eya

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

:drunk: Good to hear! I honestly and absolutely *love* driving. All those miles I logged across the country, I never once didn't want to be driving anymore.

Could use some more comfortable seats though hahaha.

Our cars are exploration vehicles, they're reliable, cheap to run, and with 4wd will take us basically anywhere (so long as we don't high center them..:rolleyes:)

I envy you guys on the west coast with the lifted rigs, I'd be ALL over the place lol

#12 maozebong

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:18 PM

i supplemented my drivers seat butt section with extra foam from a lazyboy. it made the seat 5x more plush, and now i truly love driving in it.

wiring a wideband o2 sensor to the ecu in place of the stock o2 is a great mileage mod. i noticed nearly 5mpg difference over the stock unheated narrowband. the wideband gauge also helps you to see if you are wasting fuel and a bit too heavy into the throttle.

also, i might add that i moved all my mechanics tools and toolbox, along with other essentials for moving somewhere, guaranteed well over 1000lbs... and still got 23mpg WITH 215/75/15s. i dont know about you guys, but that is pretty decent mileage.

#13 Subruise

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:23 PM

i supplemented my drivers seat butt section with extra foam from a lazyboy. it made the seat 5x more plush, and now i truly love driving in it.

wiring a wideband o2 sensor to the ecu in place of the stock o2 is a great mileage mod. i noticed nearly 5mpg difference over the stock unheated narrowband. the wideband gauge also helps you to see if you are wasting fuel and a bit too heavy into the throttle.

also, i might add that i moved all my mechanics tools and toolbox, along with other essentials for moving somewhere, guaranteed well over 1000lbs... and still got 23mpg WITH 215/75/15s. i dont know about you guys, but that is pretty decent mileage.


i recently rebuilt the bottom section of my loyale drivers seat. the left side was completely collapsed from catching air a couple times. i took apart a spare seat and used the springs from it. i also bent the "tray" upwards on the sides for more butt hugging. im 225+ and it supports me great now. we'll be heading to MT this summer, not sure what car yet though. prolly the loyale, (lifted+cruise control)

#14 old sub freak

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:47 AM

I replaced the drivers seat of my brat with 5"foam rubber.I'm 6'3" and I think its great. Good for long drives as well.i was changing out the drivers seat and something came up and I needed to drive to the store quick.Being compulsive as I am I grabed some old sofa cushions and threw them in and away I went.Hmmm not to bad.i like sittin low and it made me feel like a little kid or some kind of Low Rider..haha So i went home and got out the electric carving knife and cut them all to fit and covered it with a wool blankit and I like it, very comfortable.....Tommorow i'll show how I made a heater for the bed of the brat.My road rig...I have a canopy I sleep in (so wish i had a tall one) and I was trying to figure how to warm it up back there.I concidered everything from a small radiator,water and electric, to removing the back wall and just open up the whole show...But what i decieded on was I made a adapter from a 4" 90degree elbow that I hooked up to the heater. On the passenger side down by your left foot I removed the black plastic thing that goes from the heater to the bottom of the windshield.The defrost tube.i guess. With some tin snips I made the elbow fit the air exit on the heater.From there I used some 4 inch aluminum tubeing and snaked it in between the seats and through the back wall...Function before fashion !! It works great and when It not needed ,no big deal.All can go back as is ,other than covering the hole in the back..My plan is too ,say 1/2 before i stop for the night, just turn on the fan and just BLAST it out...should be nice n toasty for awhile.Enough to bed down and hope it sunny in the morning.haha.C ya tommorow with some pic's.Oh and by the way I too have put soooooo many miles on my subarus and vote them the best road car made as for as reliabily and just plane tuff and overall COOL !!!.They do look kind of puzzled when you walk into a parts store in Southern Calif and say you want parts for my"Brat"haha ,Just don't be in a hurry,They might have to order parts..C ya,Todd

#15 Responsible Jon

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:26 PM

When I bought my Brat we got a long trip to get to know each other. I flew down from Seattle to Tuscon Arizona and bought it. I changed the oil in the driveway of the previous owner, removed the AC belt since I wasn't going to be using it, and away I went. The car was kind of a mess, starting with a dangling ignition, using the left feet on the brakes so I could always be using the gas pedal to keep it from dying out at idle, using both hands to operate the loose on the column turn signals. But I had a great time, took 3 days to drive up to Seattle spending some time on the PCH and stopping at Mount Shasta and anywhere that looked interesting. Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#16 l75eya

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:42 PM

That's an awesome story and some pretty cool pictures as well. Also a very nice BRAT. Do you have any threads for it on here?

#17 old sub freak

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:47 PM

Very nice brat .I like the canopy.Very sporty..and I mean that in a good way..Were you wondering if it was "Hot" ,being the ing. was all messed up?.Anyway Yesterday i was talking about heating the back end of my brat.Well to look at it might seem extream but I do believe in "Fuction before Fashion" I should start a new show"Extream Warmth" and what men will do to achieve it !!! So here it is.What i like is when its not needed it will take 5 minutes to put everything back "as is".Well except for the hole in the back wall,but thats easy to cover.. So I am happy with it.nothing worse than a damp sleeping area....I even thought with some string and some "thinking outside the box" I should probley be able to start it in the am from the back..HaHaha.so thats my on the road with my Subaru idea....Happy trails,todd hmmm thought I had the picture Posted Imagething down...well not yet,[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/bO2sOpU.jpg[/IMG] so i thought you might need a close up haha.hey i'm trying ok?Posted Image

Edited by old sub freak, 07 February 2013 - 12:57 AM.
add pictures


#18 Responsible Jon

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:26 PM

I made sure to give the title a good look over, inspecting the vin, but the sellers name was on the title and his state issued ID, and the bank notarized it to me, so I was confident it was not stolen.

I started a blog, but haven't updated it much, working on some new projects, so updates will be coming in the next few weeks.

http://bratitude.blogspot.com

#19 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 07:45 AM

Bumping this topic again to try to include some opinions on tires.

I am planing a trip out West to go to the WCSS. I have always ran what ever used 13" tires I could find, but I'm thinking a set of four brand new meats is in order. Does anyone have good/bad experiences with certain brands or sizes? I'm fairly certain I will be keeping my stock rims, so the 13" s are relevant to me, but perhaps you guys with pugs or redrills can chime in as well.

#20 MR_Loyale

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:24 AM

Bumping this topic again to try to include some opinions on tires.

I am planing a trip out West to go to the WCSS. I have always ran what ever used 13" tires I could find, but I'm thinking a set of four brand new meats is in order. Does anyone have good/bad experiences with certain brands or sizes? I'm fairly certain I will be keeping my stock rims, so the 13" s are relevant to me, but perhaps you guys with pugs or redrills can chime in as well.

 

When is it this year?



#21 belacane

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:06 AM

My first ride in my little '86 Brat  was about 1500 miles from Salt Lake City to Chicago. She drove like a champ... and she's about to head from Chicago to New Orleans in about a week (another 1300 miles).



#22 Mechanical_misfit

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:06 AM

When is it this year?


I have not heard or seen any posts yet. I'm assuming August?

It's roughly 2500 miles from my door to where last year's show was. I'm looking at this ending up being a 5-6000 mile round trip.

#23 l75eya

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:27 AM

Bridgestones. Any Bridgestones. My tires have gone across the country four times now and they still have decent tread on them. And I'm pretty sure they are the original tires. (What the cars came with OEM)



#24 Skylar

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:51 AM

i supplemented my drivers seat butt section with extra foam from a lazyboy. it made the seat 5x more plush, and now i truly love driving in it.wiring a wideband o2 sensor to the ecu in place of the stock o2 is a great mileage mod. i noticed nearly 5mpg difference over the stock unheated narrowband. the wideband gauge also helps you to see if you are wasting fuel and a bit too heavy into the throttle.also, i might add that i moved all my mechanics tools and toolbox, along with other essentials for moving somewhere, guaranteed well over 1000lbs... and still got 23mpg WITH 215/75/15s. i dont know about you guys, but that is pretty decent mileage.


Sorry to get off topic for a sec here, but you should do a write up for that wideband o2 setup. Or at least pm me some details :P lol I've got a 6" lifted ea82 that's somewhat of a DD that could use some better mpg ... Especially for my road trips this summer .

#25 opus

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  • Trout Creek

Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:54 PM

I did MT to NV last year, 1500 round trip.  Of course, mountains all over the place.  Who needs hp when you have 3rd gear!  Whoa, seat is tough on the back to say the least!  I'd drive either one of them anywhere.....after I do something about the ea82 seat.  






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