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Old 09-09-2010, 09:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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help ecomodding a saturn ion

the car: a 2007 saturn ion. currently, with some engine mods and a tune, I get 37-44 MPG highway as opposed to the EPA estimate of 34. I do drive on the slower side of things as long as I am not fighting a deadline, but am looking for more MPG for my buck. this car cannot be drilled into for any of my mods, as most of it is polymer, and I do not want to accelerate chassis rust (I lived in the rust belt, and plan on doing so again in the future). the car is relatively clean underneath, and has an air dam, but was wondering if anyone sees the need for a belly pan/deflector anywhere. I am also looking for ideas to keep the rear bumper from being a sail. as far as the rest of it goes, I was thinking of fairing the headlights, somehow filling the grills to make them aerodynamically clean (at least except summer), fairing the rear wheels (and front wheel gap a little?), and somehow filling the large body gaps. I am looking for ideas on how to cheaply and effectively accomplish all of this, what materials to use and what might make a difference and what most likely will not. if it is cheap/ easy to do, but might or might not make a difference, I would still like to try it and receive suggestions.

I have included pictures for reference.

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Old 09-09-2010, 09:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just judging by the number of slats on that grill, a piece of coroplast and some zip ties would work. With the size of that upper grill, it should be an improvement right there.
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Future: Aero rim covers, air dam, grill block, full synthetic oil, synthetic transmission oil, reas wheel skirts, partial camback
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I do not just want to patch over the upper grill, I want to drive this without it being too obvious at a glance (except the wheel fairings, of coarse). I would like to simply fill in the holes of the upper grill. also, the way I want to do it, it will block blowing snow from packing my engine compartment so much as it did last year. any ho;e it can find, it will pack in. where do I get corrugated plastic?
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you don't want it to be too obvious from a distance you can always try using plexiglass instead. Just cut it to fit the grill, and poke holes for the zip ties to hold it on. It will have the same effect as coroplast, but will be clear.

You can find coroplast at most home improvement stores, and if that fails a quick google search can find you just about anything that you can get shipped to your home.
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A front undertray would be a big help, and allow your radiator to work more efficiently.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2007 ion2 View Post
I do not just want to patch over the upper grill,
Patch it from behind - that's wat the car manufacturers do.
Use whatever will withstand the rain, and paint it black.

When the upper grille is done, block part of the lower grille.
If summers are hot, make the blocking removable.
Always keep an eye on coolant temp when doing this sort of mods.

Remove the mudflaps.
(Replacing them with a boattail will be better, but that's very obvious.)

If the gaps between the front parts (hood, lights) are big and are letting air slip into the engine compartment, use some self-adhesive rubberised draught strip to seal them.

Extend the air dam sideways to also cover part of the wheels.
You can make it a bit lower in front of the wheels.
If possible, you could also curve the air dam to match the bumper's curve.


When tyres need replacing: buy low rolling resistance tyres.


Fairing in the lights wouldn't help much I'm afraid.
They're already curved and angled.

Contrary to popular belief, bluntness on the front is not that much of an aerodynamic problem.
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Last edited by euromodder; 09-13-2010 at 07:25 AM..
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you're not coasting yet, look it up and try it

#44 on the hypermiling tips in the "Braking" department, but it really deserves a better place higher up.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would do a belly pan (at least from the front bumper to the front axle).

A grill block is also a good idea, an upper one helps more with aerodynamics than the lower one. A lower one will reduce the snow packed into the front. If you make it the same color as the OEM grill it will by less noticeable. YOu could also make it on the inside side of the grill. This will reduce the aero benefits somewhat but will be stealthy.

Wiki links for mods:
Car Modifications Main - EcoModder
Belly pan - EcoModder
Grill block partial or full - EcoModder
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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no one in st. louis knows what I am talking about. I would hate to have to use all sheet aluminum. I guess I will have to get it from the internet (I can't even find a decent vendor online)...

thanks, I do coast , my car has a Cd of about .32-.33, I reckon (coupe is .31, I have mud flaps and a different nose), and coasts like a dream. it also shuts off the engine while coasting in gear, and has engine braking (manual trans, and saves further gas).

I like/kinda need the mud flaps (see: snow and rain), but actually plan to let them help me fair over the rear wheels down to the rocker panels (the only challenge will be attaching/detaching them for tire changes). the belly pan (to the air dam) is in my plans, but if I go to the axles, I fear lack of cooling airflow for my particular car. I plan on testing blocking the lower grill both completely and half way, while watching my intake and coolant temps (as I said, these are concerns, especially in conjunction with the belly pan). tire fairings and airflow managing devices in front of the front tires is on my list. all this just requires some creative thinking not to void any part of my warranty and facilitate safety/emissions testing.

I have plastic rivets and bolts around my wheel well liners at the fender line, but I need to figure out how to do all this the right way, and have it all be easily and quickly reversible. the first step will be (once I have the time), find some corrugated plastic and cardboard (have this part), then mock all this up. testing will likely take up a whole day, and I can only see making the wheel fairings out of aluminum (even the mock ups) the way they need to attach/detach (this aught to be fun). there doesn't happen to be anyone in the area who has done this before, is there? I would love to have a gas only car beating out a stock prius on the highway with only a couple visible mods.

right now I am looking for additional ideas, suppliers of materials, and ideas to attach the wheel fairings to the rear. also, anyone in the area, please speak up, I can't wait to get started on this project.

also on my list of must dos is filling the body gaps, they are large on this car to facilitate the polymer expansion ratio. I need an idea that will allow for constantly changing gaps...

and, food for thought, my mud flaps are actually in an interesting position, I would think they would aid in transitioning the air on the tail end of the tires (assuming the side profile was aerodynamically smoothed out).

Last edited by 2007 ion2; 09-09-2010 at 03:45 PM..
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2007 ion2 View Post
(manual trans, ). ..
I think that you can do a "gear swap" and get a much taller fifth gear. I have a tall fifth gear as the XFE package on my Cobalt, which is also a GM Delta-platform car.

Labor is a factor: if your car had high mileage already, perhaps 90,000 miles, the car would be due for a new clutch anyway, so the labor expense is somewhat accounted for. There is a thread about a Saturn S-series gear swap on Ecomodder.com. I don't know if it is the same transmission as the Ion, but it is worth a look.

Is your engine a -LAP? Can you find the transmission part number??

Saturn S-Series 5th Gear Swap


Last edited by Ecobalt; 09-09-2010 at 04:12 PM..
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