Monday, January 31, 2011

Improve RV fuel efficiency--for real

Getting better RV fuel economy almost sounds like a pipe dream. There are so many gadgets, notions, and fuel tank potions that all claim to improve your gas mileage, but so many of them turn out to be no more than gimmicks and do nothing to improve fuel tank economy, unless lightening your wallet gets you better mileage. We've finally found something that does work: Better driving habits, courtesy of Fuel Efficiency Adviser.

Fuel Efficiency Adviser is a computerized gauge system that plugs into your RV (or tow vehicle, or toad) engine computer through it's OBD-2 port. Simply put, slip this gauge system plug into a slot under your dash board and you'll soon have access to information that can help you get better fuel economy--plus a whole lot of other useful information. "Adviser" gives real time feedback as to how many miles-per-gallon your rig is "doing," and puts it in real terms: How much money are you paying to drive at this moment?

Here's how it helps in the "less pain at the pump" department: With the "Adviser" set to give instant feedback on miles-per-gallon, we set out in our "round town" car for a trip over the flat, up hill, down hill, and into mixed city driving. As soon as we started the engine, a digital readout not only tells us how many miles-per-gallon we're getting, it also gives us information on our "average miles per gallon" for the trip, and how much in dollars and cents we're spent. Heading out of town on the freeway, we're working on an upgrade. Will cutting back on the throttle and taking a few minutes more to reach our destination help? Absolutely. By trying to keep our "instant" miles-per-gallon numbers higher than our "trip average miles-per-gallon" the "Adviser" begins to help us develop new driving habits that really do save fuel.

But "Adviser" is more than just a trip computer. A full gauge system can tell you your engine coolant temperature, RPM, battery voltage, ignition timing, throttle position, and for some rigs, manifold pressure, plus a few other things we haven't mentioned. If you're a "gauge geek" "Adviser is a gift from heaven.

Troubled by a "check engine" light? "Adviser" also acts as a scan tool, allowing you to find out just what trouble code has been recorded by your car computer. With a few clicks of your mouse on the Internet, you'll know what the problem is, and if you want, you can clear the trouble code and turn off the check engine light. We've used it on our vehicles, and it can quickly be unplugged and used to check out any other OBD2 equipped vehicle.

Fuel Efficiency Centers (the maker of this device) provided us an evaluation unit. We first installed it in our 1996 Ford tow vehicle, equipped with the PowerStroke diesel. Alas! The 1996 model was the last year before the Feds required diesel pickups to be OB2 compliant. We weren't able to take advantage of the great fuel tracking data, but we did find one of the functions, "Average Speed," quite useful when making long RV road trips. By using our average speed figures, we could quickly estimate time/distance figures and plan for our 'set down point' for the day. The other engine gauge features like coolant temperature were a whole lot more useful than the "dumb gauge" system that Ford set us up with.

Installing the "Adviser' is easy. For us, the hardest part was finding the OBD2 receptacle. In our truck, not a problem--it was under the dash and in relatively clear sight. In our auto, it took considerable grunting and poking to find--until we noticed it just to the right of the driver's knee. Plug in the "Adviser's" plug, route the cable over or under the dash to a convenient point for reading the unit, and the install is done. "Adviser" takes its operating power from the OBD2 system--not batteries to fiddle with. A step-by-step guide allows you to configure in your vehicle's specifics. The first couple of trips to the gas station you'll have zoned in "Adviser" to give you on the mark specifics on fuel economy.

The company will set you up with one from their Internet site for $160. It may take a while to recoup the savings in fuel, but with the prices headed up, it'll soon be less time than ever. Add the other gauge capacity and the scan tool function, you may find Fuel Efficiency Adviser your next RV gadget.

Visit Fuel Efficiency Centers on the Internet at


Anonymous said...

The best way to save fuel,is drive
55 m.p.h.Put the $160.00 in fuel!
Why buy something to get better m.p.h. when you can control your

Lee said...

Your right on with your comment about $160.00 in the tank. But I had one of these before (sold it with our old MH) and found it provided A LOT of great information..

Anonymous said...

Ok, for us novices, what's an OBD2 port? And would it be on a 1985 Toyota pickup (chasis for Sunrader motorhome).

Anonymous said...

My pick-up has a built-in Digital Information Center, that gives me instant fuel mileage, plus accumulated, etc. Does a great job of making you realize how costly putting your foot down can be. At 60 mph, I burn almost half of the fuel that I did at 70. So driving a little slower, with fewer pit stops, I actually get there sooner, and save money.

Anonymous said...

OBD 2 is a type of connection port to your cars computer. I think the Scangauge 2 wil only work on 1996 cars and newer. I love the one I have, it lets you monitor all different things including tranny temp, which is pretty important for towing.

Charles said...

I have gone 55 and 65 and it has never made a difference that I could see..

Anonymous said...

The car I drive has a read out similar to this device. It teaches one how to drive economically. Like lifting off the accelerator when going down hill, driving with a gentle touch, accelerate before starting up the hill, etc. There are many ways to improve mileage other than driving slowly. Also driving 55 on I-10 in west Texas where the speed limit is 80 is dangerous. If you must, please use your flashers.

M J Booker said...

I used to let my cruise control dictate my steady speed and when encountering an uphill grade the cruise would kick down the throttle and maintain my speed. I now have found with driving 60 and monitoring my foot pressure on the gas pedal I have increased my gas mileage considerably. Even on an uphill climb monitoring a light touch the truck will still climb steadily. I pull a 28 foot 5th wheel with a Chevy Silverado and a 5.0 engine, automatic and it does an excellent job. I do monitor my mileage with the old fashioned pen and pencil. I can imagine the useful info from having this monitor my overall system.