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Old 01-03-2013, 03:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Collapsible & Portable shelter / cover for front of car

Inspired to start a concept thread, based on some other talk of a small-ish garage / shelter, lean to, etc, to put around front of car to keep it warm overnight or while it is parked.

Must be effective, portable, durable, affordable.

My inital thoughts: 1/2" extruded polystyrene (foundation insulation), cut in small, articulating sections, sandwiched between a waterproof outer fabric and a soft inner fabric. Heat shield where needed instead of soft inside.

So think like the old car bra, but all the way up to the windshield, and covering sides, and as much as bottom as practical.

Using 4 points of attacment: straps to the mirrors, or cowling edge of hood, and to the front tires.

So a sock / snuggie, but about 1" thick total, to keep heat in. Perhaps tarp material outside, flannel inside, mylar tarp as heat sheid.

Would have to be easy off and on for practical sake, otherwise, why bother?

In my mind I can think of ways of doing this fairly easily and unsophisticated.

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I like the rigid foam idea, but wonder of it would stand up to the outdoors.

My idea is to make a lean to shaped approximately like the front of the car, but about a foot bigger on all sides. I would frame it out of whatever is kicking around. Got a bunch of old PT 2x4s from an old deck which would work fine.

Anyhoo, frame it up, then put the tarp inside, suspended in place using light rope. Hang the tarp so that it creates an opening a little smaller than the car. Then lay as much fiberglass batt insulation as it takes to fill the space between the tarp and the frame. Then sheath the outside in painted plywood/rigid foam/what ever you have kicking about. Use galvanized wood screws so the sheathing could be easily removed. I would put insulation on the ground as well. I suspect rigid might work best as fiberglass batts would likely get wet. Cut out the insulation where the tires are.

The tricky part is making it air tight underneath. An inflatable plastic tube spread across the floor of the opening might do the trick. Or maybe just fiberglass batt insulation which would collapse as the tires ran over it, then expand behind them.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I was even thinking magnets inside on the hood slipper concept.

Sticks to hood, drapes down half way to ground on front and sides. Then, second piece goes under engine, push it under car with a small push broom handle and it would have flaps to come up and meet the flaps draping down. At that point, bungees, Velcro, hooks, whatever, can cinch the 2 halves tight.

Almost like 2 soft sided insulated clamshells to cover it as tight as practical from the windshield forward.

The top piece would be tarp material one side, flannel on the other. The bottom piece would be aluminized tarp, since it would be up against hot car and dirty ground while installing.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Here's a thought for the underside.

Take an inflatable matress, on top of it put a layer of the white fiberglass batts. Maybe use some high temp resistant duct tape to hold them together/to the matress. Drive car over, inflate. This should do a pretty decent job of closing off all the air gaps.

Also insulate the firewall as best possible as this would be the one area that heat could still escape from.

It would seem to me that a properly designed front clip sleeping bag would do a very good job of keeping things toasty.
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WesternStarSCR (01-04-2013)
Old 01-04-2013, 09:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
Busting Knuckles Often
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: SE Michigan
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Blue Maxx - '04 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx LT
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Must be easy to deploy to be portable & useful for more than home use

I mocked up some cardboard over a Fisher - Price minivan. Will have to take some pics of it.

Sounds a bit silly, but hey, why not.

Basicially I came to the conclusion that putting it on and removing it, in cold weather, with gloves on, would have to be as quick as possible.

The top shell, with magnets, would attach to hood, then has 2 side flaps and a front that flap down and hook to the bottom shell. Using bungies would snug those connections tight.

Top shell picture concept. Yellow and blue areas are over hood. 2 sides drape down, so does a front bumper section:






The bottom shell am thinking about would be aluminized tarp for the engine facing side, and abrasion resistant material for the ground facing side.

There would be 5 straps: one on each corner, and one strap in the center front.

Basically, you would push the bottom shell under the car from the front, so that the back corners are just under the exterior mirrors. The 2 back corner straps come up and attach to mirrors. The 2 front corners come up near the headlights and magnet to the hood. And one strap in the center brings the front of the shell up to cover the lower half of the bumper. It would magnet to hood.

Welding blanket tarps - bottom material facing engine:




This should snug it all together, and be portable and foldable. I think using a max of 1/2" to 1" extruded foam, cut in strips or sections, so that it can bend and fold like a gym mat, would be ample insulation.

Having the top go on after the bottom means snow and rain would shed off and not get trapped in the sections of folds and seams.

I am not so sure it needs to "air tight" along the bottom. Having aluminized tarp material should reflect the heat up back into engine.

So anyway, all just theory, but I agree, a front clip insulated bag / cover / snuggie would keep it toasty.

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Last edited by WesternStarSCR; 01-04-2013 at 01:23 PM.. Reason: added pics
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