TOPIC: 1988 Ford Aerostar XL, Window Van, V6 3L Engine
1988 Ford Aerostar XL, Window Van, V6 3L Engine
19 Oct 2013 15:07 #1
Mods Through The Mail by Ron Hatton.
Ron grooved my combo (one piece) throttle body/upper intake manifold for me. It was installed by a local auto mechanics shop along with some other repairs. When I called the shop, prior to picking up the car, I asked if there was anything I should know? The mechanic that I talked to said that the mechanic who worked on it said that it had 'a high idle' after installing the throttle body/intake manifold. No other 'problems' were mentioned. It was understood that the customer (me) would takes care of it, which I did by turning down the idle screw.
Note: the van had sat for 4 years 'Non-oped' in Calif. Before the throttle body was installed it was 'checked out' by them and sent out to be 'Smogged' which it passed with no problems and low emissions (24 years old and well over 100,000+ miles! maybe 200,000!). Which seems to indicate that the van was in 'relatively google tune'. Then two u-joints, a thermostat cover and radiator were replaced and the 'Grooved' throttle body was then installed.
I had purchased 'The MAPster' from Ron and installed it after the installation, It seemed to cause the engine to almost dump raw gas to the exhaust. That is, after sitting in the and car running the engine it smelled very 'exhausty' or 'gassy', something that I had not smelled before. My nose is very bad but even I smelled this. Also the tail pipe was black and there were a few large drops of liquid sitting in the tailpipe and what looked like a 'wet patch' on the asphalt below the muffler. I uninstalled it and returned the car to 'factory'!
Ron contends that it was installed wrong, which may very well be true! I tend to agree that something was wrong! I was an electronics technician for a number of years before this. I had gone over the MAPsters supplied documentation and the cars mechanical and electrical manuals numerous times to match up the proper colored wires, which included cleaning the vans wires to make sure that the color of the wires matched what the van's manuals) (Chiltons, Haynes, OEM Truck Maunels & Electrical) said that they should be. I installed it per the instructions and saw that I could indeed vary the Vref voltage by a adjusting the internal (10 turn?) Potentiometer inside the MAPster that was wired as a variable resistor instead of a voltage divider. The 'check engine' light came on after the installation though. I think that it was because of the 'floating' Vref into the vans ECA or 'computer', which monitors this voltage for a 'correct' or 'within range' voltage... It's instructed to cut this wire and to let it 'hang' on the 'ECU' side of the cut in the MAPster's documentation. After returning the van 'to factory' the check engine light went off.
Also the first time that I started the van with the MAPster installed, I had not connected the Red and Black (Power (12v) and Ground) to see if the van would actually start because between all of the manuals, MAPster and van's, I got the idea that the car should not start if the MAP sensor was not properly connected too the van's 'Electrical Controller Assembly', this vans first generation "Computer". It did start and run 'fine', which bothered me. I also check that I could adjust the Vref voltage coming out of the MAPster which I could, at first. Later on I could not. I was using an old Radio Shack small analog meter which was not a problem except the leads did not have the proper connections to the meter so I had to 'jury rig' them, which made for some intermittent connections sometimes, but not bad enough that I could not be sure of my readings, except at the end when I could read 12 volts with it still, but then I could not read Vref anymore. I could not lay my hands on my digital meter so I used the analog one instead. When I have a chance again I'll hook up the MAPster outside of the car with a power supply and grounds and see if I can adjust Vref to see if the MAPster is still good (I assume it was when I first hooked it up of course).
After returning the van 'to factory' I took a trip of about 1,300 miles of which I averaged about 25 mpg to 23.5 mpg going from 55-60 mph on the way up and 70-75,-(80-85) mph on the way back almost all of the way, thus the lower mileage on the return trip.
Before returning back down, I went to Radio Shack and bought two 1 Ohm five or ten watt resisters and 'paralleled' them for 1/2 Ohm, and put them inline with the vans single O2 sensor. I had read that you could do this some where in 'GadgetManLand' for better mileage I think... Afterwards the exhaust seemed to smell worse so I again put it back 'to factory' before the return trip.
According to Ford when new the van should have gotten 20 mpg highway. As Ron has pointed out, those figures seem to be inflated from what you get 'real world'. I Calculated my mileage on different legs of the trip by filling up to the top of the fill neck (about 15.5 gallons) where full normally is 13 gallons and divided that into the mileage traveled.
On many previous, to the groove, trips to this same destination, with this van, I would not go below a quarter tank in order to not run out of gas during the long stretches where there are no gas stations. Typically I would "fill up" five or six times (3/4 of a tank) on the way up. This time how ever I started up with a full tank of about 15-15.5 gallons, refilled once to totally full, and arrived with about half a tank. From SB to well above SF on one tank, about 380 miles, I may have been able to push it to 400... I was very happy with that!
(In the Bay Area I got stuck for 1-2 hours in traffic so that took a hit on my gas mileage too!)
To recap after the groove: high idle, cooler running, cleaner smelling exhaust, better gas mileage. Also subjectively I've never seen the gas gauge go down slower than after the groove!
Over all I'm happy with the groove, but I wanted 50% or 100% improvement in mileage and I've got about 25% instead which is inline, if maybe on 'the low side', of many 'groove installations' as reported on the GadgetManGroove site and in videos.
This is not the "fault" of the groove (25%) more mileage for the van(!), however, with more work and 'getting things right' I'm sure that the gas mileage can be much much higher.
The Groove HAS improved the van's gas mileage At Least(!) 25% better than New! Just as Ron promised, that your vehicle would perform better!
I have some avenues to try for even more performance besides those already mentioned here, if anyone else has some thoughts on 'my trials and tribulations' that would be greatly appreciated! And ANY further suggestions.
Thanks for explaining your story so well. I do have a suggestion for your Aerostar. This van is a big box. There's an inexpensive mod available to reduce aero. drag esp. on boxy vehicles--
It was developed as an offshoot of the design of the original "NACA duct" develpoed for aircraft back in the late 50's. the Aerostar is a perfect candidate to use these small stick on tabs that go on the rear sides and roofline. These were designed for big rig trucks/trailers, but would fit your Ford fine. I have 'em on my Subaru wagon. Virtually nobody knows about 'em, but here ya go!
congrats on your gains so far--Ron is Da Man, eh?
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