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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! New to the forums but I have been looking for a while.

I obtained a 2001 about two months ago and it currently has 78,000, just about to cross over into 79,000. I do DoorDash with it which might seem foolish to some but it pays pretty good and I make sure to keep up with maintenance since I typically drive about 130 miles a day.

That being said, I have a lot of time to play around with the shifting and I’m curious where other people shift and what their MPG is. I do mostly city driving and I have noticed that if I shift around 2000 to 2500 I can get about 29 to 30 maximum with mostly city. However if I shift around 3000 to 4000 I seem to get about 25. A lot of people on the forum have said before they get 30 miles per gallon so I’m wondering if there is something wrong with mine.

It was sitting up for about six years before I got it and I’ve done some casual maintenance to it, mainly just blown rubber seals going out of stuff like the struts and the slave cylinder. Nothing big. I was considering replacing the fuel pump when I first got it but if it worked I didn’t think much of it.

I mostly get smooth shifts but I’m still searching for that RPM that seems to give me pretty consistently shifts regardless of what I’m doing. Of course I shift a little bit higher on hills but yes.

So far I have found that about 2750 seems to give you a pretty smooth consistent shift but I don’t know. It doesn’t really feel like it has that much power when you keep it lower in the power band but I don’t want to just inhale gas with these gas prices. Granted it’s still pretty cheap to fill it up but yeah. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Welcome!

You are fine with the pattern you are using. You probably won't get over 30 with city driving. Shifting at 3,000 and 4,000 gives better performance, but does hurt mileage a bit.

You are only going to get over 30 on highway or other open roads where you can run a relatively constant speed. We normally get 31-33 MPG on open roads (no stop and go). The best mileage we ever saw on a 2003 was driving very easy on open roads keeping the RPM mostly below 2,500 RPM with a Euro 6 speed that has taller gearing. We managed to get 37 MPG
 

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I used to get 33mpg mixed & 35 - 36 mpg highway with my 1zz, now I get 33mpg mixed & 38 highway. If you're shifting by 3k I'm sure you're basically maximizing fuel economy. The 1zz/2zz are very efficient in these cars...you need to really try to get your mpgs to drop significantly IME.
 
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MR-2 ZZW30 2001 RHD
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Toyota did publish a BSFC chart for the 1ZZ-FE and it shows it being most efficient between 2500-4000 rpm at full load. Unfortunately, there are no charts at lower load, but general trend is BSFC shifting to lower RPM at lower load. So if you stay between 1750 rpm - 3000 rpm at part load, the engine should stay efficient.
Best mileage I ever archieved on my Spyder was 42 MPG. This was cruising at 50mph in summer heat with the long Euro gearbox.

But driving economically is much more than shifting at the right time. Urban traffic does not lend itself well to economical driving.
One thing which really helps increasing mileage is not using your brake pedal. Try to coast as much as you can, because you are not using fuel when coasting. Also make sure to check your tyre pressure and drive with top up and windows closed.

But to be honest, my spyder is my second car and all I care about is smiles per gallon. So usually I end up at your 30 MPG number as well.
 

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But driving economically is much more than shifting at the right time. Urban traffic does not lend itself well to economical driving.
One thing which really helps increasing mileage is not using your brake pedal. Try to coast as much as you can, because you are not using fuel when coasting. Also make sure to check your tyre pressure and drive with top up and windows closed.

Spot on.
Anticipating is the key.
Maintaining the lowest possible/acceptable constant speed is the most frugal.

...and the airco off ;)

Also spot on with the fun point.
Why buy a sporting cabrio if you potter about with the top closed? There are plenty of more frugal urban options for the money.
I recently bought a 20th C. Kei car for it.
Thus I can shift as it makes the engine feel running nicest when I hop in the Spyder with the top and widows down.
 

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A lot of folks have asked this, so I wrote this up a while ago:

How to shift a manual transmission for both performance and economy – Roth Automotive Science

The basic concept is to recognize that most driving is done at power levels that are a very small percentage of full-load, and so to operate at low power levels with best efficiency, you want to operate at relatively low engine speed and high throttle opening, but not lugging the engine. You really want to avoid light-loads at high rpm because that is a part of the engine operating range that has terrible specific fuel consumption.

Also, you want to be thinking ahead, and partly base your gear selection on the road ahead, not just your current power needs.

Dave
 

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Thanks Dave.

Hence smaller, lower power engines tend to work more efficiently.
Also perfectly illustrating why a throttle-less engine (p.e. diesel) has an efficiency advantage under part load.

For a gíven engine though and the urban world mostly dictating your movement we end up with as you observe; anticipating.

Back to the OP I think 25 - 28 mph nothing bad depending on the traffic density and speeds. Lots of traffic lights and queueing for those and :oops:

just the other day I was stuck for an accident on the way back up into the mountains. Over an hour stop and go in 1st for 8 kms up a 7 - 8% incline. The gauge fell about as far down as normally all the 60 kms from Málaga to the farm.
 

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MR-2 ZZW30 2001 RHD
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Also perfectly illustrating why a throttle-less engine (p.e. diesel) has an efficiency advantage under part load.
Higher throttle openings and engines without throttle have less pumping losses.
It is one of the advantages of a diesel engine, but diesels also run leaner, diesel fuel has higher energy density and diesel engines have higher compression ratios. So diesels are in a league of their own.
 

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Higher throttle openings and engines without throttle have less pumping losses.
It is one of the advantages of a diesel engine, but diesels also run leaner, diesel fuel has higher energy density and diesel engines have higher compression ratios. So diesels are in a league of their own.
The pumping loss thing of the ´throttle´ is a big thing though which is what makes sparkies operate relatively less efficient at part/low load then at larger load (opening).

The catch 22 is that more load also equals more fuel so the efficiency sum applies only to a small engine operating at that at low speeds already. Preferably with cvt.

Anyway, none of which applies to the MR2 save for the 1ZZ-FE operating at higher efficiency not necessarily being more frugal ;)
 

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The pumping loss thing of the ´throttle´ is a big thing though which is what makes sparkies operate relatively less efficient at part/low load then at larger load (opening).

The catch 22 is that more load also equals more fuel so the efficiency sum applies only to a small engine operating at that at low speeds already. Preferably with cvt.

Anyway, none of which applies to the MR2 save for the 1ZZ-FE operating at higher efficiency not necessarily being more frugal ;)
The point at which a gasoline efficiency starts to stop increasing with throttle opening depends on the point at which the spark advance has be be retarded significantly to eliminate knock (either by calibration or the knock-detection system), and the point at which the calibration starts to go richer than stoichiometric. All of this varies greatly engine-to-engine, and is generally better for modern engines than older engines. You can get the big picture by finding some engine speed vs load BSFC graphs.

Dave
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Welcome!

You are fine with the pattern you are using. You probably won't get over 30 with city driving. Shifting at 3,000 and 4,000 gives better performance, but does hurt mileage a bit.

You are only going to get over 30 on highway or other open roads where you can run a relatively constant speed. We normally get 31-33 MPG on open roads (no stop and go). The best mileage we ever saw on a 2003 was driving very easy on open roads keeping the RPM mostly below 2,500 RPM with a Euro 6 speed that has taller gearing. We managed to get 37 MPG
OK thank you for letting me know! I definitely like shifting at 4000 but I suppose I was worried about the MPG haha or or potentially hurting the car shifting it like that all the time. And yeah, the 30 mpg I got in the city was mostly a fluke it appears. I haven’t been able to achieve it again. The highest I’ve ever gotten was like 29 ever since that. I really want to six speed swap mine as I figure that it will get me better gas economy and it will allow me to go faster without having the engine so high! Any thoughts on this?

also thank you for the welcome, this is a very nice forum and I do love it!
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I used to get 33mpg mixed & 35 - 36 mpg highway with my 1zz, now I get 33mpg mixed & 38 highway. If you're shifting by 3k I'm sure you're basically maximizing fuel economy. The 1zz/2zz are very efficient in these cars...you need to really try to get your mpgs to drop significantly IME.
Thank you for letting me know! I have noticed that shifting at 2300 gives me the smoothest shifts but my last fill up was about 23 mpg. Sounds way too low. I’m thinking the fuel pump might be going bad or something like that. I also did do the exhaust manifold gasket and didn’t reset the computer so maybe it’s reading things wrong. And I see, shifting at 3000 definitely isn’t bad in my opinion. I was just curious to see what other people were getting. By the way, I have noticed that this engine does seem to be particularly high geared. Do you guys recommend synthetic or conventional? I change every 5000 and I put conventional in here this time around since I change it often but I don’t know if I should put synthetic.
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Toyota did publish a BSFC chart for the 1ZZ-FE and it shows it being most efficient between 2500-4000 rpm at full load. Unfortunately, there are no charts at lower load, but general trend is BSFC shifting to lower RPM at lower load. So if you stay between 1750 rpm - 3000 rpm at part load, the engine should stay efficient.
Best mileage I ever archieved on my Spyder was 42 MPG. This was cruising at 50mph in summer heat with the long Euro gearbox.

But driving economically is much more than shifting at the right time. Urban traffic does not lend itself well to economical driving.
One thing which really helps increasing mileage is not using your brake pedal. Try to coast as much as you can, because you are not using fuel when coasting. Also make sure to check your tyre pressure and drive with top up and windows closed.

But to be honest, my spyder is my second car and all I care about is smiles per gallon. So usually I end up at your 30 MPG number as well.
Wow that’s really cool to know! Thank you for telling me. And yeah you are right, fuel mileage probably is gonna be the best in the city just because of how it works. I did one day just spend 3h playing around with the shifting and I noticed it seem to be pretty consistent around 3000 RPM as far as a good mix of power and smooth. I tried to only upshift when it gets to about 1500 or so. But I’m going to try upshifting a little bit earlier now that you say this. Also, this is something peculiar I have noticed. My MPG seems to go down when I upshift and used engine braking. I got like 15 which is way wrong! Maybe I did something wrong. Does it cut fuel whenever you stop using the gas pedal?
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Toyota did publish a BSFC chart for the 1ZZ-FE and it shows it being most efficient between 2500-4000 rpm at full load. Unfortunately, there are no charts at lower load, but general trend is BSFC shifting to lower RPM at lower load. So if you stay between 1750 rpm - 3000 rpm at part load, the engine should stay efficient.
Best mileage I ever archieved on my Spyder was 42 MPG. This was cruising at 50mph in summer heat with the long Euro gearbox.

But driving economically is much more than shifting at the right time. Urban traffic does not lend itself well to economical driving.
One thing which really helps increasing mileage is not using your brake pedal. Try to coast as much as you can, because you are not using fuel when coasting. Also make sure to check your tyre pressure and drive with top up and windows closed.

But to be honest, my spyder is my second car and all I care about is smiles per gallon. So usually I end up at your 30 MPG number as well.
I also want to add, yeah I agree. I like just driving the Spyder so I guess I shouldn’t be too worried about gas mileage. Even getting terrible mpg it still only cost like 40 bucks to fill up.
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Spot on.
Anticipating is the key.
Maintaining the lowest possible/acceptable constant speed is the most frugal.

...and the airco off ;)

Also spot on with the fun point.
Why buy a sporting cabrio if you potter about with the top closed? There are plenty of more frugal urban options for the money.
I recently bought a 20th C. Kei car for it.
Thus I can shift as it makes the engine feel running nicest when I hop in the Spyder with the top and widows down.
Good point. What’s a C. Kei car though? Also I live in the middle of Mississippi, driving with no air-conditioning in 110 heat index is NOT an option. LOL
 

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A 20th C.(entury) Kei car is a small car made to meet pre 2000 Japanese Kei car criteria. These are criteria for lower taxed city cars.

I live in the Andalucian heartland. Andalucia being the southernmost part of Spain, Europe and took the perfectly working compressor out of my cabrio.

Here petrol is currently 2.20 €/l. for regular and 2,35 for super. Not funny but it is what it is so I try to enjoy the expense to the max.
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A lot of folks have asked this, so I wrote this up a while ago:

How to shift a manual transmission for both performance and economy – Roth Automotive Science

The basic concept is to recognize that most driving is done at power levels that are a very small percentage of full-load, and so to operate at low power levels with best efficiency, you want to operate at relatively low engine speed and high throttle opening, but not lugging the engine. You really want to avoid light-loads at high rpm because that is a part of the engine operating range that has terrible specific fuel consumption.

Also, you want to be thinking ahead, and partly base your gear selection on the road ahead, not just your current power needs.

Dave
Excellent advice. Thank you very much!
 

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2001 Red MR2 Spyder, Stock 1ZZ w/5-Speed
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A 20th C.(entury) Kei car is a small car made to meet pre 2000 Japanese Kei car criteria. These are criteria for lower taxed city cars.

I live in the Andalucian heartland. Andalucia being the southernmost part of Spain, Europe and took the perfectly working compressor out of my cabrio.

Here petrol is currently 2.20 €/l. for regular and 2,35 for super. Not funny but it is what it is so I try to enjoy the expense to the max.
Wow it’s super cool a car is able to unite people from all over world!
 
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