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Old 01-02-2013, 10:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Improved Aero by Lowering

So, I've read and heard where people who lower there cars get improved gas mileage...especially bricks like Jeeps and whatnot. And I know this has probably been beat to death...but I'm curious as to whether or not lowering my DD ('02 SVT Focus) would yeild any improvements in gas mileage. I know the Focus isn't exactly a brick like some vehicles, but I figure going a little lower and maybe a rear diffuser (and maybe a belly pan) would help out some. but i'm not sure the cost and amount of effort is worth the ROI. I would say my cutoff for it being worth my time would be a consistant 1.5mpg+ increase. But, I may would accept a little less.

So, anybody done this to their '00-'04 Foci and seen improvements?

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Old 01-02-2013, 11:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I lower all the vehicles I own. Its mainly for performance in regards to cornering, but the mpg is an added bonus.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobb View Post
I lower all the vehicles I own. Its mainly for performance in regards to cornering, but the mpg is an added bonus.
How much do you usually gain with lowering your vehicles?
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Concider a body kit first.
The sacrifice in ride quality is not really worth it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I doubt that lowering a car will have any noticeable effect on the FE. You can do several things to reduce aero drag, but lowering really won't matter.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
I doubt that lowering a car will have any noticeable effect on the FE. You can do several things to reduce aero drag, but lowering really won't matter.
In a past life (college), I was mechanical engineer with a sort of minor in aerodynamics. Unfortunately, all of my days were limited to the theoretical as opposed to actual Hence my original question...since I never really got to do any research on such things. I used the jeep (SRT8 in particualr) as an example because several people reported that getting that floating brick out of the air with a couple inches of drop actually increased FE by as much as 2mpgs. Seems ridiculous, but numbers don't lie.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, theoretically, lowering the car will reduce frontal area and improve the fineness ratio of the vehicle. The resulting effect on fuel economy will depend on the vehicle and its design. An SUV/Pickup will benefit more whereas smaller, more streamlined cars will net lower gains.

A good set of progressive springs coupled with a good set of shocks can also minimize the decrease in ride quality.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'll go out on a limb and say 2mpg from lowering a Jeep (any Jeep) is nonsense. That's a 13% increase in FE (from 15mpg) which would mean you'd need a 26% aero improvement at 55mph. A couple inches of tire are not going to be the difference in frontal area or Cd to pull the FE up that much.

If you want to lower your car, buy some high quality coilovers. It'll be much more fun to drive than stock and it'll look better. But suspension parts are expensive so don't expect a ROI.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I lowered my Corolla, not a lot but by less than 2 inches with TRD factory backed springs. I didn't see any really noticeable improvement in the FE department. Perhaps it did in some small way, but my car has already decent Cd. It did improve highway stability, city handling as well as cross wind manageability which for me increased driver comfort.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, to each his own. You can cut your springs for free to test it out. If you dont like it get some from the bone yard.

The past few vehicles ive lowered it was up to 5 mpg. I lowered my sidekick and also went up 3 tire sizes, luckly I am at the same mpg in the end.

I use either eibach or tanabe springs. The nfs are good for lowering and firmness, df will let the car bottom out and ride the bump stops.

As for best bang for your buck for instant mpg increase, just block off your radiator.

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