Nissan Frontier

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Nissan Frontier

Lifetime Fuel Economy: 31.33 MPG(US)
90 Day Running Average: 0 MPG(US)
View this vehicle's gaslog and gas mileage chart
General Description EPA Values
Year: 1998
Make: Nissan
Model: Frontier
Trim: XE
Vehicle Type : Gasoline
Curb Weight: 3173
EPA City: 22
EPA Highway: 26
EPA Combined: 24
5 speed manual
2 wheel drive
2.4 liter 4 cylinder, 143 hp
new EPA mileage - 20/24 city/hwy mpg

Runs like a Swiss watch.

If you're in the market for a used utilitarian truck, I see no reason to pay extra for more power. This will get any reasonable job done and pull almost any trailer.

My "real world" mileage-
around town, rarely during peak traffic hours - lower to middle 20's
highway at 75 with the a/c in the hottest part of the summer - 25-27 mpg
60 with the a/c - 30 mpg
record tank - 35.1 - no a/c, 55 mph, coming down from Raton, NM down about 5000 feet elevation, ~10 miles coasting downhill with the motor off, but with a big camper shell.

I suspect, but don't have the opportunity or patience, that if you poke along at 40 mph, on a flat highway, with no traffic, wind, or hills, you could manage 40 mpg.

Original spec tires are 215 65 R15. I want the tallest tires I can practically use to make 5th gear a little "taller" to slightly improve fuel economy. The tallest readily available tires are 215 70 R15.

Note - I have a source of pretty good used tires, so the brands aren't matching, and 205 75 r15's exist, but when one is economizing and buying tires one at a time, one needs a commonly available size. There is also the possiblity of taller commercial tires, like on Uhaul trucks, but it is unlikely that the cost of new rims would be offset by fuel savings in a reasonable time period.
Planned Modifications
1. When purchased, it had a tall camper shell - worse for aerodynamics than no shell at all.

2. Just installed a homemade tonneau cover made from scrap wood and paint in my garage. While it hides stuff from the elements and theives, I noticed no difference in fuel economy at speeds up to 60. This does not rule out an improvement at 80+ mph, should the opportunity arise for someone else with a newer, quieter, more powerful truck.

3. Here's a modification I won't do again. Some of you have mentioned 50 psi in the tires to improve rolling resistance. When I bought the truck, the tires were about ready to be replaced because of low tread. It was the perfect opportunity to test this theory. Damage to the old tires = I was going to replace them anyway. Result - 3 of the 4 failed in about 3000 miles of daily use + a roadtrip. They sort of split apart. I'd feel a bump bump bump at speed, like a tire had a blister on it. Sure enough, their layers were coming apart from each other, so they would go out of round. I never had a flat. All were replaced before they failed completely, but I won't do 50 psi again. It may work in other tires, or new tires, or low profile tires, but not on a pickup.

4. Pie in the sky - make or buy an aerodynamic, tapering camper shell. I have never worked with fiber glass, and an aluminum or painted wood prototype would look too much like Sanford And Son, so this project remains in planning mode.

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