Mirage Hyper-Miler

SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
edited January 2021 in Non-Volvo

As my next step in trying to minimise my contribution to destroying the planet, I am trying to use less fuel going to and from work.

A few years ago, I downsized my road car to try to “neutralise” the amount of fuel I used going dirt bike riding. Basically, I aimed for the total fuel usage over a given time period to be:

Work Car + Dirt Bike + Tow Car = Old Car.

This proved to be surprisingly easy and effective, so my next step is to try to do the same with the race cars:

Work Car + Dirt Bike + Tow Car for Dirt Bike + Race Cars = Old Car. (Tow car for race cars will be the next step).

I mean, I could race less, but sod that!

In rough numbers, this means that my work car needs to drop from 7.5 litres/100km, to around 5.

So the goals are:

Less than 5l/100km (but ideally better);

Cheap to buy;

Not totally insufferable;

A car that I want to own;

As not-unsafe as possible- all of the options are terrible in the absolute sense, but things like early 121s are REALLY scary bad.

After a bunch of looking around, I concluded that a CE Mirage or Lancer coupe was the best compromise between cost, fuel usage, safety and my ability to live with it. I would have preferred a WP/WQ 1.6 Fiesta, but my work boot doesn’t fit under the clutch pedal, and that annoys the crap out of me.

Of course, econo cars have been hit particularly hard by Covid Tax, so the cheapies have been shitboxes and the good ones are advertised for way too much money.

A mate had previously offered me her old Mirage that had been sitting in a paddock. It was retired after the motor ingested a bunch of dust - unfortunately she discovered messing with cars and got involved in rallying at the same time - so the obligatory cheap pod filter went on at the same time she started doing lots of miles on dirt roads... The engine is now badly worn and belches smoke.

But the price was right and her significant other delivered it to me a few days ago. 🥰

It is a factory non-power-steered car, which is a bonus for what I want to do.

Meanwhile, I’d left a note on a white one that’s been sitting under a tree for months.

I dragged it home a couple of nights ago.

The white one is the one to use for a couple of reasons:

  1. White paint and tinted windows means less need to use the air conditioning.
  2. It has the better body/paintwork (although neither of them are perfect). I have a white replacement driver’s door.

So far, I have cleaned the leaves, twigs, dirt and most of the black mold off the paint. It has been attacked with truck wash twice already, and needs at least one more go before I begin to polish off the remainder.

The roof racks had to go. They were pop-riveted on, which left 12 holes in the roof...

Once I have cleaned up the holes, I will simply stick some white adhesive vinyl over the top to reseal the roof.

I have also cleaned out the interior, which was predictably gross.

It will now be ignored again until I have finished the silver race Mirage, or am stuck waiting for parts for the silver one...



  • So when do we ev swap something to get you to 0L/100 ?

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited January 2021

    The plan is...

    Fit replacement motor. I have found a motor reasonably local with 55,000km on it. The seller and I are close to agreeing on a price, just not yet.

    Register it.

    Begin “Hyper Miling” mods. Because Australia, I can’t go too far down this path - the big aerodynamic mods they do in the USA would see it defected off the road virtually instantly. And things like removing the rear brakes would make re-registration difficult...

    Similarly, adopting the more extreme driving styles they use would see me either un over or involved in a road rage incident within a week, so that will limit me a bit too. Not to mention the police attention that I do not want.

    As such, I don’t think that it will properly count as a hypermiler, but I should be able to do enough to achieve my goal.

    Breaking the planned mods down into three basic groups:

    A) Driveline/suspension/brakes.

    1.8 Lancer gearbox. These have a taller diff ratio and a taller 5th gear. I am a little worried that they might be too tall, but am hoping that smaller (lighter) tyres will be able to get it back to where I need. Worst case is that I will use the 1.5 diff ratio with the 1.8 gearset or vice-versa.

    Extractors & 2” exhaust to try to improve efficiency.

    Running low viscosity oils in both the motor and box.

    Wheel size is TBA due to the gearing, but skinny tyres are a given. 155s or 165s . If it ends up with 15s, then I will fit S40 front brakes .

    Koni yellows, because I own them.

    It will stay this low for aerodynamics, if the rego inspector allows it.

    Power steering delete for less drag on the motor.

    B ) Weight loss.

    Not going to go crazy here, for the sake of comfort and legality. Plus most of my commute is at 100kph so weight loss doesn’t help much there.

    The spare tyre will be replaced with a can of puncture sealant, rear wiper will be binned, rear speakers will go to god, etc.

    I have a suspicion that the plastic fuel tank from a CH Lancer might fit. If it does and I find one cheap then it can go in too.

    C) Aerodynamics.

    I am out of my depth here, so the following list is a mix of guesses and ideas that I have found from reading. If anyone knows better, then I am all ears!

    Smaller rear view mirrors.

    Remove the gutter moulds and stick vinyl over the join between the windscreen and A-pillar, and over the join in the roof.

    Tape over the gaps around the headlights and indicators.

    Remove the mudflaps.

    Make 0.6mm aluminium covers for the fog light indents in the front bumper.

    I am also considering (but not ready to commit to):

    Flat underfloor. Flat floors definitely work, but are a lot of work and create heat management issues.

    Work out a way to cover the gap between the roof and the top of the hatch.

    Wheel covers (aka Moon Eyes). This will partly depend on what wheel size I end up with. Aerodynamic wheels from one of the factory cars is the preferred option, as they stand out less.

    if I can find a front lip that actually helps stop air getting under the car, then I will fit that. There’s been a plethora of body kits made for these cars, but they were all exercises in bad taste - I haven’t seen anything that even hints at actual aerodynamic improvement.

    Make 0.6 aluminium covers to partially block the lower air intake to the radiator. I am comfortable that this will work fine for the radiator/engine, but am not sure if it will hamper the AC.

    “Keels” in front of each tyre/wheel.

    D ) Other Economy Stuff.

    I will fit the largest windscreen banner that is legal, to help keep the sunlight out of the interior and reduce AC use.

    LED globes everywhere.

    Solar charger for the battery.

    I know that these last two sound a bit esoteric, but apparently they make a small-but-noticeable difference in the long term.

    E) No Eco-Modding stuff that the car needs/I want to do.

    New bushes in the front wishbones.

    Better seats. Awful/awkward shaped Mirage floor makes this a mission.

    New carpet. Old stuff is just worn out.

    Sports steering wheel from the green car.

  • Hmmm, strokes chin... my old V50 D5 did 5l/100 at 100 and my current Gen 5 Liberty does 6 with 2 people plus luggage on board, sometimes better. I'm thinking (and hoping) you'll do a fair bit better than 5.

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    But the diesel pollutes and the new car had to be built using fossil fuels that will probably never be accounted for by driving it.

    Old cars are therefore better for the environment.

  • The Liberty's 11 years old Les, I'm thinking it's old enough :) Just sayin if I can get those numbers without trying I reckon Nathan can do better with a modded Mirage. I've never measured my wife's 2013 Mirage (yes, Forg, one of those!) but I'd guarantee it gets easily better than 5 at highway speeds. On the flat the tach sits at about 2,200 rpm at 100. And yes, for those who mock, it easily sits on 100; had it on the freeway yesterday as it happens...

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.
    edited January 2021

    TBH, I am hoping to better 5 litres, and fully expect that no matter how good it is at the end of the first round of mods, I will be try to improve it!

    They’re rated at 5.7l/100km, so figured that aiming to beat that by about 15% was an attainable goal.

  • Sounds doable I'd have thought, and you seem to have lots of good ideas.

    You may be better off not looking for aero mods, the 'aesthetically challenged' ones may actually harm the CD, and if you fluked a kit that worked to increase downforce that would actually increase consumption too.

    The other stuff you mentioned like a belly pan could help but would be a PITA to do I imagine. Still, I admire your spirit and look forward to the results!

  • Weren't a bunch of these caught up with the airbag recall, and won't be fixed by Mitsubishi?

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    Mirages were spared. I think the only Mitsubishis that copped the recall were Pajeros.

    Of the five Mirages we have, only the kids’ one has an airbag at all. And it has to be disabled because they both sit too close to the steering wheel...


  • This will get you to 0L fuel consumption in no time...

  • PaddlerEdPaddler Ed @PaddlerEd New England Region, NSW

    Space can you do offsets for all of OzVolvo?

    FZJ80 is averaging 16L/100

    HJ45 about 12

    Commodore about 15

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    Paint is going to come up ok. Note white vinyl over the roof rack holes.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    Lol, no. Well, not unless you drive 2km/year.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    The aero stuff that I am planning is well proven.

    Stuff like taping the gaps makes only a tiny difference but is also easy and non-intrusive. On the other hand, a flat under-floor will give much better gains, but for a lot more work.

  • I was getting near 5 on my commute in when I was driving a mirage so you should easily go sub 5 I reckon

  • RoinikIan @Roinik Mount Gambier, SA.

    Leave it outside during a Canberra storm and you'll have that fresh golf-ball aero profile in no time.

    Seriously, get more air to the back. Diffuse it from underneath, bring it in from the sides, whatever.

  • Ex850RSnoopy @Ex850R Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.

    I can see a big fan being purchased for an impromptu wind tunnel and smoke tracers.....

  • Youd be better off focusing on weight reduction. Poly windows. Remove sound deadening. Lithium battery. Remove air-con. Strip interior. Drive with no more than the fuel you need for the trip.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    Nah, weight reduction works for stop-and-go but does hardly anything at constant speed.

    Averaged out, I stop 2~3 times on my way to work, and 5~6 times on the way home (more traffic and more right turns onto/across busy roads on the way home).

    This is in 55km each way, so it is a pretty clear run.

  • SpacSpac @Spac Canberra-ish.

    I have been trying to figure out if I can justify calling it a Kamm back or not... leaning towards “not”, mostly due to the rounded edges on the back corner.

    The Lancer coupe looks like a better shape to my untrained eye - tapered turret, longer boot with square edges.

    But I really don’t know, and couldn’t find a viable coupe to start with - seems like Mirages were sold new to mums and P-platers in about equal numbers, but the coupes went exclusively to P-platers and were variously flogged to death, attacked by ricer mods and/or badly neglected.

    @Ex850R, there’s a definite chance of some wool-tuft testing.

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