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Old 10-27-2010, 04:21 PM   #33 (permalink)
skyl4rk
Coasting Down the Peak
 
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Location: M I C H I G A N
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Toyauto Pickup - '94 Toyota Pickup 2WD
90 day: 36.32 mpg (US)

Versa Base - '09 Versa Sedan 1.6 Base
Team Nissan
90 day: 41.69 mpg (US)
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Since you are probably going to be making the tail shorter than the optimum design drawing that you posted, I would suggest putting your taillights at the proper height and sloping the bottom up to meet the aft panel with the taillights.

How high should the taillights be? Either put them at the same height they are at now, or if your hatchback has higher than normal lights, check out a sedan and put them at the same light level as the sedan. You will want to look at it to see what looks good and what looks outrageously odd. Believe me, you will get looks.

I recommend making the aft panel that holds the taillights and license plate as small as possible, both in vertical and horizontal dimensions. I would suggest making the aft panel first, and fitting the rest of the panels using the aft panel, the hatch mounting system and the longest distance back that you think you can get away with, which is probably going to be about 5 feet.

The angles of the top and bottom panels should not have any hard bends in them. I'm sure there is an ideal angle for minimum air resistance (15d?), but your overall length may prevent you from using that angle. A tail is going to provide you with a huge (20% to 30%) improvement in FE, so optimizing it is good but not crucial.

I think you could make this out of coroplast and zip ties as long as it has a good mounting point. The problem I had with my coroplast tail structure was the mounting point that failed. Coroplast would be much lighter than any other construction method, and it goes together quickly. Maybe zip tie and tape a plexiglass section into the top panel.

I am probably using plywood if I ever get around to building the Tail Phase II. But I would rather use coroplast, it is the material of the future.
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