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Old 11-27-2007, 11:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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List of aero mods you can do to your vehicle

Note: This thread has more or less been replaced by the master list of 60+ mods.

---

Feel free to reply with links & examples. I'll update this top post.

Note: some of these mods may make your car less safe and/or illegal (e.g. mirror/wiper deletion). Don't blame us if you do something silly and get caught or crash into a tree in the rain.

Deletions:
-----------
- Roof racks (OEM as well as aftermarket)

- mud flaps

- raised wing type rear spoilers

- Side mirror delete (MetroMPG; Peakster's video test)
(with optional inside convex mirror replacement; or for less extreme, install mirror(s) you can fold back)

- Radio antenna

- shaved excrescences (badges, door handles, rain gutters)

- windshield wiper delete (front & rear)
Replacement parts:
---------------------
- smooth wheel covers

- narrower tires

- upgrade from "bucket" style to aero headlamp assemblies

- swap to a more aerodynamic bumper cover style (Metro)

Modifications/fabrication:
----------------------------
- fabricate lexan/plastic covers over "bucket" style headlight treatments (Coyote X's Metro)

- grill block (Metro, Dodge Caravan, CRX)

- tire spats, or fully contoured deflectors

- boat-tailing behind tires (Aerocivic)

- belly pan / under tray (1st gen Prius)

- rear wheel skirts (Metro, Civic)

- front wheel skirts (Daihatsu Mira)

- if no front wheel skirts: softened/radiused aft edge of front wheel arches (see: VW 1L car, Solectria Sunrise, Honda Insight, GM EV1)

- ... and/or gap fillers to minimize the space between the exposed tire & wheel arch (see Audi A2, Toyota Prius 2 for examples of cars with mimimal tire/arch gaps)

- reduced ride height - 3 inches is often quoted as optimal (CRX)

- taped/sealed panel gaps (or siliconed & razor cut)

- partial kammback (Metro), or,

- fulll boat tail addition (Aerocivic)

- pickup trucks: partial (rear) tonneau cover at a minimum, full tonneau, or complete aero shell (boattailed cap)

- radical frontal area reduction (e.g. tandem greenhouse)

- decreased (or is it "increased" - you know what I mean) windshield angle (e.g. addition of external clear "visor"), and/or increased hood angle

- increased radii at the front-to-hood & front-to-sides of the vehicle

- front air dam (as low as the lowest underbody components, possibly lower depending on the vehicle)

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Old 01-20-2008, 12:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Another idea. Gap seals. Outfits that make aero mods for light planes are big on gap seals. Most aircraft panels are faired or at least fishscaled, but the flaps, ailerons and vertical stabilizer have gaps. They claim increased speed at level power settings.

Those clearly do work on 170 knot (200 MPH) aircraft but they may not be as effective for 70 MPH ground vehicles unless you have egregious gaps. The cab-to-bed gap on some pickups get overly large.
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Another idea. Gap seals. Outfits that make aero mods for light planes are big on gap seals. Most aircraft panels are faired or at least fishscaled, but the flaps, ailerons and vertical stabilizer have gaps. They claim increased speed at level power settings.

Those clearly do work on 170 knot (200 MPH) aircraft but they may not be as effective for 70 MPH ground vehicles unless you have egregious gaps. The cab-to-bed gap on some pickups get overly large.
Hmmm, some blue painters tape and some testing could prove this rather quickly. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to try this out at the moment however, I'm willing to give this a go sometime this coming summer.

I should have some repairs and a good baseline for my car by then.
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Old 01-23-2008, 01:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I know we have good data for some of these techniques, but has anyone measured (a-b-a) the effect for each of them? I am especially interested in rear wheel covers and smooth hubcaps, as these might be something SWMBO might go for.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Stan, you just might be in luck.
I've been thinking that I should go get my testin' on tomorrow or Friday... Some good ol' A-B-A on the test hill, been thinking about throwing in a C-D-E as well.

I just might get motivated enough to do it.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Darn you Californians and your good testing weather.

I've attempted to test rear skirts 3 times on 3 different vehicles: details here

In all cases, the tests were less than perfect, despite 2 of the 3 being A-B-A style (I concluded based on the 2 sets of A data that the drivetrain temps hadn't stablized).

Results were between 0.6% MPG improvement to 2.7%, with the largest impact seen on the Metro (which I think is due to the design & placement of the wheel arch).
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Old 01-23-2008, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Another idea. Gap seals. Outfits that make aero mods for light planes are big on gap seals. Most aircraft panels are faired or at least fishscaled, but the flaps, ailerons and vertical stabilizer have gaps. They claim increased speed at level power settings.

Those clearly do work on 170 knot (200 MPH) aircraft but they may not be as effective for 70 MPH ground vehicles unless you have egregious gaps. The cab-to-bed gap on some pickups get overly large.
Sailplane pilots use gap tape quite a bit too (ailerons, flaps, and wing/fuselage connections). Blue Painters tape would be okay, though you'd want to make sure that it doesn't 'sag' into the gap; and that there are no wrinkles/ripples.
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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MetroMPG - You mentioned an air dam in the original post.

Can you (or trebuchet03 or anyone else for that matter) expand on that some, provide some detail on why it works?

I've seen some posts on non-FE sites, saying that an air dam will increase drag and reduce FE. I say that's likely true if the air dam is designed to create downforce. I'm pretty convinced of the FE value of an air dam that's designed for FE, especially if a belly pan is included to seal off the gap. But it would be good to see some more detailed analysis.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I wonder about a bracket up front with a ball or bulb leading the way, like that bulbuous thing on the hull of a ship that parts water. Make it a sliding-adjustable arrangement with the bulb leading the grille.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi Virg,

I am no expert, but the bow bulb on a ship has to do with the interface between water and air. The bulb lifts the water ahead of the ship, which then falls away from the above water bow. Apparently its takes less work to lift the water than to push it aside (air is more compressible than water, and one is pushing against air when lifting the bow water).

On a car, or submarine, or airplane there is no such interface involved, and hence no bulbs.

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