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Old 01-25-2009, 09:12 PM   This thread is in the EcoModder Project Library | #1 (permalink)
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the jeep - '02 nissan kingcab
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nissan kingcab aerocap

here is the WIP of the aerocap im making for my nissan pick up.

it is made out of a solid wooden frame and covered with thin 3mm mdf panels.
i designed the plans by making a 3d model using google sketchup, it really helps alot when you have plans of wich you know they are 100% correct, as it is rounded from every side it would be impossible to draw accurate plans by hand.

as the surface is not 100% smooth i decided to smooth it out using plaster, time will tell if that was a good idea.

next is to sand the surface smooth and then cover it with something to make it solid and watertight. i was thinking of fiberglass sheets covered with epoxy resin. the problem is that i have lots of fiberglass, but can't find any epoxy or polyester resins over here in belgium.
all i could find was 1.5 liter of epoxy resin for making walls watertight, not sure if that will work and i doubt it is enough (ive done a small test today on a peice of mdf, will see tomorrow if it works)
any suggestions are welcome!

another problem is that i had to leave the vehicle outside for 1 night with the wooden frame on it, i had covered it with a plastic seal anchored with heavy stuff, but there was a heavy storm that night and in the morning the wood was soked. the result is that the wood has expanded and i cannot lift the cap off the bed anymore as long as it's wet, because it is fixed with 4 long bolts and the wood has expanded so they are impossible to remove atm.

since i took those pics this moring, i have already filled all the holes in the front of the vehicle with metal sheets, except for the grill.

by removing the mud flaps, the roof lights and by adding an aluminium bed cover, i have already gone from 10 to 8.7 liter/100 km

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Old 01-25-2009, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice work!
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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very sweet.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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done!



after 3 weeks of hard spare-time work, frustration and sweat, i can finally say it is done!
im verry happy with the result, even though up to the last second before putting it on the pick-up i was almost sure it would fail.

construction:

-first i measured the the whole rear of the truck and made a model of it in the 3d program "sketchup". then drawing a perfectly rounded shape on it was relatively easy. then i made some sort of wireframe and turned those into 3d wooden beams. then all i had to do was draw down and measure each part and just make it for real with wood.
each day i made the plans for some of the parts and built them, all this was relatively easy and fun and took about 3 days with a few hours a day.

-then i assembled all the parts and found out i miscalculated 6 small beams, that i rapidly remade. the structure is quite large and assembly was tricky at some points but it all went fine in the end.

-then i placed the whole on the bed and started sanding it smooth, a verry effective tool was my electric "planer"?

- then i cut out thin MDF wood sheets to fit each part and screwed them on, the bending ability of these sheets was stressed to the absolute maximum in some parts, but they held.

-then i realised that especially the sides were verry un-even, as the panels would bump inward at some points. so i filled those bumps up with regular plaster.

-then i sanded sanded and sanded again for a smooth result, and then i brush painted it with a primer for the polyester. result:



-inmediately after that i began mixing the polyester resin and cutting out the fiberglass sheets. i did square meter by square meter, but i tell you it was a nightmare, all the fibers kept clogging onto the brush as soon as i touched the surface. it was only at the last two square M's that i found a technique that sort of worked. i swored never again to use polyester in my life.



-once that was dry i started smoothing it out and sanding it, i used pretty much every tool one can immagine. the most effective for cleaing up the fibergladd gloggs was to scrape the surface with a handsaw, and the smooth it up with the metal grinder and a special sanding disk.

-the result was truly horrible, with craters, bumps, airbells everywhere where there had not been enough resin. so i filled all that up with universal filler. the result of that was acceptable, but not smooth enough to my taste so i repainted over that the polyester primer that was left, and made the huge mistake of painting over some epoxy resin i had bought by mistake. probabaly because it was freezing, it did not dry even after 24 hours, so i had to wash it off with water (wich went realtively easy though)

-then i could finally start painting, first sprayed 2 layers of white primer after each layer i sanded the surface softly again. and then 3 thin layers of black glossy paint.

even then i was sure it would look to bad to be used and i was certain it would fail because it was not 100% even and there were lots of bad spots. but to my big surprise it looks really good once on the vehicle!




edit FYI, the total cost was under 150, the most expensive part was the polyester resin, fiberglass, primer and hardener for 5 sq meters. that alone costed 70.
then come all the paints, filler, plaster and wood. altough i bought way to much of those and now i have lots of left overs for future projects.
the price is still acceptable i think in regards to the fact that this is probabaly the most viewable and effective eco-mod to do for a pick-up
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Last edited by sepp; 02-08-2009 at 06:07 AM..
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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first findings: the first noticable results were kind of unexpected

-the first is the priceless looks on the faces of most men and mostly other 4x4 drivers that i pass by. and i admit that i really love the looks the aerocap gives to my vehicle. instead of being another bland pick-up, it now looks like a classy sports vehicle (even though these pics don't really do it justice.)

-the second more serious result was also somewhat of a surprise, i never thought before that my pick up was noisy or shaky on the highway. but it now feels like driving a car, you really notice after the first KM how silent and stable it now is.

-and the most serious finding is that i can now coast down 8-10 times longer than before. the highway exit i take to go home is at the bottom of a valley, after a 2-3 km downward slope. before i could only coast down in 200-300 meter jumps and had to accelerate again to keep speed. but with the cap i can coast down for the full 2000 meters, take the exit and arrive at the national road with enough speed that i need to brake quite hard on the engine!

i will report the fuel economy as soon as i can give reliable numbers


btw, i have also shut down all the gaps in the front (the grill one is just for testing now) without any effect on engine temp, though it is cold outside.

i also started making a wheel cover prototype, it is just set in place by hand and is not really attached. but it is made of metal and is quite heavy, so im too scared that if these came loose they could kill, so i abandone the idea for now untill maybe i can make plastic ones.



next on my list was making a front airdam, but i had an accident last week (i rammed i VW fox in the side after it ignored a stop and threw itself in front of me. the car is damaged to the side, and my left front bumper is pushed back 2 centimeters. so ill wait for what the insurances will do before touching the front) a good example of how hypermiling can save money in other ways as i was respecting the speed limit on a road where most cars go over. thats how i nearly have any damage. btw, the lady driving the vw, had her license since january 09 ...

so i think i will now start making covers over the gaps around the wheel well
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Great work!!
One question though.. Does the loss of visibility through the rear screen bother you?
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That looks great!

It almost looks like a canvas cover, like a military vehicle would have over the back of a truck, except black.

Good luck on the insurance stuff, maybe you can get some extra money out of it to help cover the cost of the cap
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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the jeep - '02 nissan kingcab
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thank you guys!

i feared the reduced visibility would be a problem, especially since 2-seated pick-ups have the best all round visibility you can get.
and before finishing it i was already thinking of buying a rear view camera or at least parking sensors. but im not sure anymore if i really need that. i can still back it up at night through the gate as fast as i could before.

i even thought of making some sort of rear-view periscope through the roof, it is techincally possible

with the insurance stuff, who knows they will buy me a new bumper, the chrome one has light dents on it and is pushed back somewhat, it's hardly noticable on the pictures. but if i also get a new black plastic one, i could use the old one to experiment with an airdam/splitter
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Old 02-08-2009, 12:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That looks really good on the truck. Good Job!

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Old 02-08-2009, 03:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Nice work!

I wouldn't put too much hope in the air-dam idea however. Since your truck is so high, it's not really going to do much to prevent air from going underneath without a significant increase in frontal area. I think you would see cleaner airflow with belly-panning.

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