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Old 08-11-2008, 05:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern California
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1999 Saturn SW2 - '99 Saturn SW2 Wagon
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Rear Wheel Skirt using water heater drain pan

Hello -

(Subsequent edits in red)

After working with blackjackel on his rear wheel skirt, I decided to work on mine. I was also influenced by the positive feedback of Xringer's Short Skirt's thread.

My philosophy is to try to find a "ready-made" part I can re-use for mods. I have been looking for a "pie-pan" with a big enough circumference to fit on my car for over a year. I found this 26" diameter plastic drain pan at Home Depot for $10 (you can also get this pan in metal) :

I did a test fit on my car and it was "close enough" for me :

These are three Paint-Shop-Pro mockups of the plastic pan in different configurations :

I settled on drain pan cut in half with a 10 degree angle. I like it because it is angled to match the "upsweep" of the rear bumper, and one drain pan will be enough for both rear wheels :

Here it is in reality on my car :

Front/Back detail views (the front could have front wheel spoilers, i.e. mudflaps, extend down) :

Connection Description :

Benefits :

0 - 99% reversible. If I take them off, there are only little holes I drilled where I connected them, and in places that are not viewable.

1 - Solid ready-made shape that already "wraps around" the tire.

2 - Relatively easy to remove. Unscrew three bolts and cut the Zipties.

3 - All plastic. If the connections fail, I think it would do less damage to the wheel (or someone else).

4 - Close tolerances. I can put my hand under it, so that's about 1/2" clearance.

Problems :

1 - It's a PITA to install.

2 - Still not the right size (kind of fixed in post #13). The metal pan would have been more "malleable", but I am leery of attaching metal if I don't absolutely have to (see benefit #3 above).

3 - The gaps are bad for aero. I intend to address this with stick-on spongy insulation tape (fixed in post #12).

4 - The front-most Ziptie is lame aesthetically. This was the fastest secure way to install it. I have an idea how to perfect that, but I need to do more research on connections (fixed in post #14).

5 - Hard corner angles are not aero-friendly. But, for a more ambitiuous builder, the heater drain pan could be the "foundation" for a more aero-clean implementation.

At this point I have one skirt on. I will test drive it tomorrow on the freeway and see how it holds up.



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Last edited by cfg83; 09-04-2008 at 06:38 PM..
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