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My 3.3 in my '97 gets around that number (high 14s with dips into the 15s mostly around town) with 166,000 on the clock and it's been very well maintained. The easiest way I've been able to increase gas mileage in mine is to install a "motor minder" type vacuum gauge. Really. I had one of those older ones hanging around that I used for doing diagnostics. I installed it on a temporary basis and it really helped increase my mileage. Try and keep that reasonably in the "green" range (10 to 17 Hg), not tough to do and still keep up with traffic (I don't like being a moving chicane to other drivers) and you can pick up an easy 2 mpg.
 

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Your pissing in the wind. Take the van out for a nice long drive and see what you come up with. With your description of your wives driving and doing only city trips, you may be on the mark around 15.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Well, I finally got around to replacing the PCV. Haven't noticed any change really, averaging high 14's and low 15' but again, she's an in town driver. Next step I suppose would be to clean the throttle body. It's just disappointing that it gets such crap town mileage. I know when I drive it's a little better.
 

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I know that when my wife drives, off the line she'll routinely get it up to 4k between the first couple shifts. So I'm sure she's got something to do with it.
Lead-foot, probably the major cause of lower mpg :)

Take it on a straight hwy run sometime, when the car is warmed up. Reset the MPG calculator, and see if the car shows mid-20s mpg at 70 mph on a flat road with little/no head or tailwind.

If you have a mechanical issue reducing your mpg (bad EGR, clogged cat, etc), it should show up in hwy driving, too

Otherwise, you are throwing parts and money at a problem that might not exist. If the issue is the way it is driven, only a change in driving habits will change that.
 

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Well, I finally got around to replacing the PCV. Haven't noticed any change really, averaging high 14's and low 15' but again, she's an in town driver. Next step I suppose would be to clean the throttle body. It's just disappointing that it gets such crap town mileage. I know when I drive it's a little better.
I don't recall your mileage on the car but if it has over 100K on it, the oxygen sensors might be due. A bad or slow responding upstream sensor(s) could effect mileage (downstream checks up on the upstream so doesn't really need to be replaced). I have a '97 3.3 and I get high 14s to low 15s mixed, mostly town and over 20 on the highway @ 70+. I'm sure others have said the same things but your MPG doesn't sound that bad really. If you haven't already, catch up on your "tune-up" stuff (plugs, wires) and your maintenance stuff (throttle body service, PCV) and if you have over 100K on the van than you may be due for a fuel injector service (off and cleaned or replace). Particularly if you use cheap-o gas. The reason I say "may" is because the injectors for the vans in these years are supposed to be pretty robust. I had mine out and cleaned at 150K and they picked up some flow but weren't that bad actually.
 

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My 3.3 in my '97 gets around that number (high 14s with dips into the 15s mostly around town) with 166,000 on the clock and it's been very well maintained. The easiest way I've been able to increase gas mileage in mine is to install a "motor minder" type vacuum gauge. Really. I had one of those older ones hanging around that I used for doing diagnostics. I installed it on a temporary basis and it really helped increase my mileage. Try and keep that reasonably in the "green" range (10 to 17 Hg), not tough to do and still keep up with traffic (I don't like being a moving chicane to other drivers) and you can pick up an easy 2 mpg.
It's VERY COMMON that the rear wheel bearings are worn enough to affect poor MPG. If never changed when the last time the rotors/drums were changed, then they have 22 years of mileage on them. Rockauto carriers such a boat load of brands, you'll have to research them out for BEST materials and free rolling to gain back the MPG lost. The MOOG, AC Delco and Mopar would be the more OE reliable ones. BUT, it all depends on wheel size. Your year has 14, 15, 16 & 17 inch rim size options!
 

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It's VERY COMMON that the rear wheel bearings are worn enough to affect poor MPG. If never changed when the last time the rotors/drums were changed, then they have 22 years of mileage on them. Rockauto carriers such a boat load of brands, you'll have to research them out for BEST materials and free rolling to gain back the MPG lost. The MOOG, AC Delco and Mopar would be the more OE reliable ones. BUT, it all depends on wheel size. Your year has 14, 15, 16 & 17 inch rim size options!
I'll say one thing. If you have bad rear wheel bearings, that big open space in the back makes them pretty easy to hear! At least it did for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Lead-foot, probably the major cause of lower mpg :)

Take it on a straight hwy run sometime, when the car is warmed up. Reset the MPG calculator, and see if the car shows mid-20s mpg at 70 mph on a flat road with little/no head or tailwind.

If you have a mechanical issue reducing your mpg (bad EGR, clogged cat, etc), it should show up in hwy driving, too

Otherwise, you are throwing parts and money at a problem that might not exist. If the issue is the way it is driven, only a change in driving habits will change that.
I did a reset and managed to eek out about 21 mpg at 65mph in about a 15 mile stretch, mostly highway. Seems like it could do a little better though.
 

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I did a reset and managed to eek out about 21 mpg at 65mph in about a 15 mile stretch, mostly highway. Seems like it could do a little better though.
21 mpg for a 3900lb box with a V-6 seems about right. Put more air in the tires and drive using a vacuum gauge and you might be able to best that 12mpg by 2..
 

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I did a reset and managed to eek out about 21 mpg at 65mph in about a 15 mile stretch, mostly highway. Seems like it could do a little better though.
I agree, at 65 mph, all of our vans have been easily capable of hitting into the 25-28 mpg range.
 

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Kinda suggests to me that it is how your wife drives, not the car.

My wife still uses her left foot to brake (it's how she learned). I suspect a lot of people who do this sometimes get tired or something and slightly depress the brake. I've seen cars on the hwy whose brake lights come on and off, where I suspect that is what is happening.

She also stays on the gas until right before braking, whereas a normal driver may lift off the gas and coast down to a red light.

She has a lot of bad driving habits but I did get her to stop shifting out of R in to D while the car was still rolling backwards, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

I think my wife gets 15~16 mpg in city driving (2002 3.3 and 2009 4.0)
Just curious. I'm a custodial dad dropping off and picking kids up from school too. Since you say your wife takes the kids to school, I'm just curious.....As she waits in line to drop them off and waits in line to pick them up, is the van running while in Park? I used to have a 40MPG car but in the winter my results were under 16MPG as #1, a temperamental 4 cylinder only gets optimal MPG in optimal conditions. I would remote start my car and let the defroster melt the ice on the windows. I also kept my car running for heat while I waited almost 25-30 minutes to get the kids from school. I noticed your post is in the Summer and the fuel quality of Summer blend should yield better results, but I am amazed at the parents in line everyday that run their cars to enjoy A/C for half an hour. I put my window down and deal with the weather with my car OFF. If your wife is in line to pickup and drop off your kids, that could be the reason why your MPG is low especially if she is leaving the car run to enjoy A/C or listen to the radio. I am currently getting 13MPG in the city and I drive like a Grandma due to it's temperamental 6 speed transmission in my 08 with 3.8L. I have a new EGR valve as well. I occasionally smell burning oil and I just had a new oil pan and gasket installed. I rarely get a check engine light that comes on but then it goes off and I can't scan it! I scanned it once and it said cylinder #6 misfire. I think oil is leaking into cylinder #6. My van, while not shaking or idling erratically, does not idle smooth. It kind of surges with sharp quick little drops on my tachometer. It's not enough to set off a check engine light though.
 

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I agree, at 65 mph, all of our vans have been easily capable of hitting into the 25-28 mpg range.
How soon does your van show that on the instrument panel, though?

We recently drove to NY from MI. Wife was showing around 20mpg on IP, and I reset it a couple of times on the hwy. Even so, it only crept up very slowly. I don't think I saw much over 23 mpg on the way to NY (probably weather played a part) and it took a while to get that high - unfortunately, did not time it. On the way back, was seeing 24~25 mpg (sunny, less wind), all hwy.
 

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How soon does your van show that on the instrument panel, though?

We recently drove to NY from MI. Wife was showing around 20mpg on IP, and I reset it a couple of times on the hwy. Even so, it only crept up very slowly. I don't think I saw much over 23 mpg on the way to NY (probably weather played a part) and it took a while to get that high - unfortunately, did not time it. On the way back, was seeing 24~25 mpg (sunny, less wind), all hwy.
While living in the south, the van was doing 29+MPG hwy. The best I've gotten to date up north is 27.4MPG hwy. States regulate what the fuel mixtures and blend percentages are to be. So, it's not ease comparing any of our MPG to one another. I'm using a direct OBD-2 live reading from the PCM and doing the math every fill-up.

Friction is the worse to kill MPG. It can be rear wheel bearings, belt tensioner is worn, belt is bad, water pump is going, brake pad dragging, ebrake gripping a tad when it's released, bad tire choice for side wall with too much bulge, not the right plug type to burn cleanly, no crankcase breather filter on these engines (puts gunk into the intake plenum), etc... The 3.8L TB on 3.3L engine reduses hard tranny shifting, engine breathes way better, and rpms at hwy speeds is 200 or so less than before giving a tad savings.

Good to see the 25MPG on your trip.
 

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How soon does your van show that on the instrument panel, though?

We recently drove to NY from MI. Wife was showing around 20mpg on IP, and I reset it a couple of times on the hwy. Even so, it only crept up very slowly. I don't think I saw much over 23 mpg on the way to NY (probably weather played a part) and it took a while to get that high - unfortunately, did not time it. On the way back, was seeing 24~25 mpg (sunny, less wind), all hwy.
Almost immediately.
 

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Had an interesting experience with the Avg Eco meter recently

We had recently filled the van about 40 miles from home. Avg Eco was showing about 23 mpg from that trip back from NY.

Saturday, we drove out to the Detroit area. Shortly after getting on the hwy, I set the cruise for 65 mph and hit the reset. The Avg Eco slowly climbed, 23.2, 23.3, etc., and in roughly a minute or so, settled in at about 24.2 or something and stayed there.

About an hour into the trip, I decided to hit Reset again. And . . Avg Eco started climbing again, very slowly this time. I did not track how long it took, unfortunately (lots of traffic to pay attention to and I was going slower than most cars) . But end result was this (pic taken after I got off of hwy, and had stopped for the first red light. Light had just turned green)

56449
 
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