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This paper considers energy constrained routing protocols and workload balancing techniques for improving MANET routing protocols and energy efficiency. We give new routing protocol that employs adaptive load balancing technique to the MANET routing protocols with node caching enhancement. Also, we show new application of energy efficiency metrics to MANET routing protocols for energy efficiency evaluation of the protocols with limited power supply. Our contributions include: (i) New energy efficient AODV-based node caching routing protocol with adaptive workload balancing (AODV-NC-WLB); (ii) New application of energy efficiency metrics to MANET routing protocols; and (iii) An implementation and simulation study in NS-2 of energy efficient AODV-NC-WLB sustaining considerable improvement in throughput, overhead, delivery ratio and delay over the standard AODV for high work load scenario.