I'm a soon-to-be sophomore in college and I've just stumbled upon ecomodder. I've been reading the forum and blog postings for about five hours now and I am completely obsessed. I have already ordered my ScanGaugeII and I'm going to see what I can do.
Current estimate is about 30 mpg (based on about 300 miles to a 10gal tank). I have tentatively set my goal for 45 mpg. I don't know if this is reasonable because I have not been practicing any of the 100+ driving tips before tonight and I don't know how much improvement those will yield before any modifications. I can really feel (and hear) the drag on the car when I approach 70 mph though.
I mentioned my new obsession to my mother in passing and she is adamantly opposed to my altering anything that will in any way hinder my safety (namely, removing mirrors), so I've decided to stick to the bottom of my car. Also, (and saying this as a newb), the '98 Corolla's profile looks like it will gain little from anything up top short of a complete boat tail.
Here's what I want to do:
Rear wheel skirts
Front and rear wheel deflectors
Front and rear wheel boat tailing
All of my mods have to be easily removable so my mother will approve. I plan on using coroplas for the belly cover and perhaps the rear wheel skirts if I reinforce it with some sort of metal skeleton. As a slightly less removable option, I really like the painted screen method used here. Belly pan or vortex generators?
This is certainly an easy method, but will it perform as well as coroplas?
The deflectors and boat tailing I want to do with some kind of plastic perhaps reinforced with a metal frame. I see a lot of people mentioning using lexan or other plastics that can be shaped easily with heat. Does anyone have any good sources of info on how to obtain/work with these materials?
Here are some paint mockups of what I'm planning. (note the night time atmosphere. It's 2AM and I'm so excited I can't sleep).
I plan on having the deflectors and boat tails on the back connected by the skirt. This will cover the wheel on three sides. I could maybe connect the underbelly to the enclosure on the inside if the suspension doesn't interfere.
I'm fairly certain that the openings on the bottom do nothing for the engine, so I opted to cover all of them.
Being a college student, I can't see myself spending more than $200 on this project (especially because I just bought a $150 ScanGauge). I do have plenty of time though.
If you could offer any suggestions about what kind of materials to use or modifications to make, I am all ears. I will conduct a test on the unmodified car as soon as I get my computer.