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Old 11-10-2012, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Front Belly Pan: 2007 Dodge Ram

I finally got around to making my front belly pan on my truck. I've been looking into this for a while now, particularly in an effort to help my warm-up times as the weather is getting colder. I know there should be an aero benefit as well. Now that the temperatures here are getting down below freezing, it's really taking my engine an incredibly long time to warm up, especially now that I'm using EOC P&G so much now. One morning a few weeks ago I drove the entire way to work (25 miles) and just barely made it all the way up to 200 deg F. Most days it's been taking 14+ miles. And this is with the entire front grille block, an engine insulating blanket, and the cabin heater off the whole time.

Anyway, here are the construction pics. I used two strips of plywood to give me something to attached the sides and rear of the pan to. I screwed the front of the strips to the plastic air dam and zip-tied the back of the strips to pre-existing holes in the frame.

I then cut out the pan itself. I used a sheeting material called "Thermo-Ply" that I had lying around. It's a wood-based material, about 3/16" thick and semi-flexible. It's about 6 feet x 3.5 feet:


I then attached the pan with drywall screws:


I was going to stop there, but at then I added another smaller section to extend the pan back to the end of the engine compartment--back to where the transmission starts and the rear wheel wells end:


Eventually, I'd like to extend the pan all the way back, but this will have to do for now.

As far as results go, I've run it for a week now. Warm up times may have shortened by a mile or two, but it's kind of difficult to tell. The weather has been kind of wierd recently (temperature, rain, fog, etc), so I have'nt been able to get a good feel for how much it may have helped the FE. Also, I changed my transmission fluid over to some full synthetic at the same time.

Of course, the best part of the belly pan is that I made it entirely of scaps I had lying around. Can't beat a total cost of $0!

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My version of energy storage is called "momentum".
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1 Year Avg (Every Mile Traveled) = 47.8 mpg

BEST TANK: 2,009.6 mi on 35 gal (57.42 mpg): http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...5-a-26259.html


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Old 11-10-2012, 12:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Very clean looking.

I would be a bit worried about the OSB supports (doesn't look like plywood in the pics) rotting from rain/snow/moisture. If the pan proves beneficial, it may be worth a quick trip to the lumber yard to get a 1/2 sheet of treated plywood. also, keep an eye on the zip ties, I've had them break just keeping a grill block in place at highway speeds.

Keep us posted with any results. I have a Ford Expedition myself and it doesn't take an aerodynamics master ninja to see that there is a LOT that can be done to clean up the airflow under the front of a truck. I'm anxious to see if you see any significant increase in mpg's with your Dodge.

As far as warm-up, are you still running a belt fan? Those things circulate a TON of air, even with a clutch. Might be worth looking into an electric setup. Just for a test, try taking it off and running without a fan to see if it warms up any quicker. I know diesels can be a lost cause as far as warm-up (I'm assuming a diesel from your screen name) but surely you can get to temp in less than 25 miles!
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing the project with us DD. I have considered a belly pan for my rig, but don't think it would survive some of the off-roading and snow conditions I subject Big Yeller to. Besides that, I need to lower my headache rack so it isn't sitting up above the cab height, and an aero cap would be next.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAPTAIN CHAOS View Post
As far as warm-up, are you still running a belt fan? Those things circulate a TON of air, even with a clutch. Might be worth looking into an electric setup. Just for a test, try taking it off and running without a fan to see if it warms up any quicker. I know diesels can be a lost cause as far as warm-up (I'm assuming a diesel from your screen name) but surely you can get to temp in less than 25 miles!
My 1998.5 Cummins has a belt driven fan and blows like a tornado when it's supposedly off. I've often thought there were significant savings to be had by going electric, but the ones built for the Dodge are pricey.

You think it's possible to get a junkyard pull that will work? Any suggestions on what type of vehicle to look for? I don't mind that the cooling capacity will be reduced because I am far from having overheating problems in the first place.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
My 1998.5 Cummins has a belt driven fan and blows like a tornado when it's supposedly off. I've often thought there were significant savings to be had by going electric.
Yes those thermo clutch fans do suck down a lot of power.
I calculate it can be from 2 to has high as 4 horsepower, when its off.
I picked up about 2mpg when I tossed my belt fan.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAPTAIN CHAOS View Post
Very clean looking.

I would be a bit worried about the OSB supports (doesn't look like plywood in the pics) rotting from rain/snow/moisture. If the pan proves beneficial, it may be worth a quick trip to the lumber yard to get a 1/2 sheet of treated plywood. also, keep an eye on the zip ties, I've had them break just keeping a grill block in place at highway speeds.

Keep us posted with any results. I have a Ford Expedition myself and it doesn't take an aerodynamics master ninja to see that there is a LOT that can be done to clean up the airflow under the front of a truck. I'm anxious to see if you see any significant increase in mpg's with your Dodge.

As far as warm-up, are you still running a belt fan? Those things circulate a TON of air, even with a clutch. Might be worth looking into an electric setup. Just for a test, try taking it off and running without a fan to see if it warms up any quicker. I know diesels can be a lost cause as far as warm-up (I'm assuming a diesel from your screen name) but surely you can get to temp in less than 25 miles!
Yes, it is OSB. It's technically "exterior" OSB, but it is OSB nonetheless. I'm not really intending this to be "permenant". If it works well, then I'll probably make a nicer-looking one with some better materials. Also, everything I build always comes out better looking the second time. This one is sort of my "trial version".

I do not have a belt fan. I have a clutched, mechanical fan (electrically=actuated clutch). It's almost always off. I've verified that it comes on very briefy on startup (<1 min) and then goes off. Even then, however, I don't think it's on "fulll strength". When it comes on on the highway, I definitely can hear it inside the cab. That hasn't happened in over a year , BTW (even with the grille blocked). One thing I probably should check is whether the fan kicks on every time I bump start during EOC P&G. I might be able to check that with mu ODB scan software. At this point, however, I doubt the fan could do much to hurt warm up with the grille blocked and the belly pan in place.
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Diesel Dave

My version of energy storage is called "momentum".
My version of regenerative braking is called "bump starting".

1 Year Avg (Every Mile Traveled) = 47.8 mpg

BEST TANK: 2,009.6 mi on 35 gal (57.42 mpg): http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...5-a-26259.html


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Old 11-10-2012, 04:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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looks good I made a pretty similar one today. I had to pay for my coroplast though
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
Thanks for sharing the project with us DD. I have considered a belly pan for my rig, but don't think it would survive some of the off-roading and snow conditions I subject Big Yeller to. Besides that, I need to lower my headache rack so it isn't sitting up above the cab height, and an aero cap would be next.



My 1998.5 Cummins has a belt driven fan and blows like a tornado when it's supposedly off. I've often thought there were significant savings to be had by going electric, but the ones built for the Dodge are pricey.

You think it's possible to get a junkyard pull that will work? Any suggestions on what type of vehicle to look for? I don't mind that the cooling capacity will be reduced because I am far from having overheating problems in the first place.
Most of the OEM electric fans are VERY good. Best advice and I give is to measure your radiator and try to find a junkyard that'll let you go through a few vehicles with a tape measure and fine one that'll fit. Look for one with a shroud, if possible, as they will be most effective. If nothing else, a "universal" one will probably do the trick, although 2 may be necessary for summer use if you work your vehicle hard.
I've had great success with the Perma-Cool "high performance" series ( Perma-Cool High Performance Electric Fans - SummitRacing.com ). I have a 14" version and another 14" "generic" electric fan on my Expedition with no shroud and when they kick on the temp will drop in a matter of seconds. You can literally watch the temperature gauge fall like a rock.They have NO problem keeping it cool even when towing my camper in the summer. However, the price on the Perma-Cool's has gotten so outrageous I'm not sure I'd buy another.
I'd look to the salvage yard or a pick-a-part (if you have one local) and go that route.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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HUBER Advantech is an exterior-rated OSB with some impressive reports.

Nice start, DD! I had to move in the other direction with bigger rear-view mirrors and a tire change from closed-shoulder/rib, to an all-season/open-shoulder tire. But I got my bumper-plug block heater cord from GENOS via UPS, and am scouting KIMM Hotstart and ARCTIC FOX for pre-heating devices. The MOPAR winter front is soon to be ordered (The non-air-conditioned season here is about two months, so I'm not holding out great hopes of how long in the year I can use a W-F). Wish I could plug-in at work, but work hours that change daily make all of it a problem (short drive each way).

I would have thought you'd have seen a result, sooner, but it may be that the benefit is limited to a speed at which you aren't traveling very often (say 40-mph +). Time-at-top-speed-dependent, sort of.

I'm betting a full pan (no matter how crude) will show up in your careful data collection as the total length of the truck plus the other factors (height from ground, rake, open area) will have a cover make positive changes.

.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
ron
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nice start on the belly pan, its already on my list of upgrades, what I need is a (round2it)

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