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Old 06-14-2008, 08:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile 2007 Focus Front Air Dam

OK, time to stop lurking and show what I'm doing.

First, my 07 Focus usually returns about 30 mpg in my commute. The current tank is going a LOT farther (412 miles on it with almost a quarter left) so my EOC'ing and other techniques I learned here are most definitely helping.

Anyway, here's the how the front end air dam is progressing.

The stock front end includes a smallish air dam and partial front end belly pan, as shown here:

Not bad, but it's not as far down as some of the chassis parts farther back, and being that bigger is ALWAYS better (just kidding -- I know -- but easier to start a bit larger and trim than to add on later) I thought it could be improved.

I stopped by a local sign place and ordered a 6' x 2' piece of black coroplast. It's supposed to be available on Monday, so today I mocked up what I had in mind out of cardboard.

The left side was easier for me to reach, and taking a good look at it I thought I could also shield the exposed face of the front tires, too. Anyway, here's the left side.

From the front:


Under:


Detail at the fender where it curves up the tire:


From the back:


Not too bad. I took it off, flipped it over and made a mirror image template for the right side:


This went on:


With both sides on:


I just had to fill in the gap, pull it off carefully and wait for the coroplast:


And for next week:


There we have it. I'll likely screw the coroplast into the face of the existing air dam and under the fender lips (all plastic).

Hopefully I'll have enough left to play with grill blocking, too. Oh, and I'm going to have to figure out some way to put smooth covers over those fog lamp cutouts. Maybe some flexible plastic stuff (suggestions?)

I'll add on to the thread when I get the plastic and start cutting.

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Old 06-14-2008, 08:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good luck with the Focus

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I'll be getting better than that with the mods I have planned
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks good so far, think it'll stay on?
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Looks alright. I'd be concerned with the top of where is is for the wheel wells. I don't think that you want it to stick out that far, at least not a sharp straight edge. To me that looks like it would create more drag. And also make sure you not going too much lower then the lowest suspension/drivetrain part. I'm quite familiar with exteriors of Fords from the past few years and i'm pretty sure the stock air dam is as low as it needs to be across the middle in the front.
I don't know, i mean it is just my 2 cents. Good work and i'd like to see the results
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i think you will have better luck with lawn edging under the front of the bumper. that looks to me like it will hit the dam then get stuck there because of the factory undertray. then it would cause lift, letting more air under the car and you dont want that. i thought the rule was that airdams should be at the front most part of the bumper. if you put a kink in the middle so its like a triangle and pushes the air out from under the car to the sides, i think you might get more out of it then having it flat down like that.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOboy View Post
Looks good so far, think it'll stay on?
When my wife saw it she said, "Uh, is it going to stay that white?"

I only drove as far as the end of the driveway with the cardboard on it to see if it would hit the street if driving out front-first. It doesn't, barely. Mostly I back out so that shouldn't be a problem.

As for the coroplast holding up, I think I'll add some tabs to the dam by folding it and screw it in with the screws vertical, like this:


That will hopefully make it more resilient and the screws won't be as visible from the front of the car. The existing dam will back it up and ought to prevent if from unfolding and acting too much like a scoop funneling air down to the ground. I may have to add some thickness to the 'plast, maybe another layer glued on partially to help make it stand straight. I'll have to wait and see on that, I guess.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ophidia31 View Post
i think you will have better luck with lawn edging under the front of the bumper. that looks to me like it will hit the dam then get stuck there because of the factory undertray. then it would cause lift, letting more air under the car and you dont want that. i thought the rule was that airdams should be at the front most part of the bumper. if you put a kink in the middle so its like a triangle and pushes the air out from under the car to the sides, i think you might get more out of it then having it flat down like that.
I first bought lawn edging but the stuff is so flimsy that I thought a 30 mph ride would just fold it right back. Maybe I should have bought better stuff.

As I mentioned, above, I'm planning on folding the 'plast over and screwing it UP into the tray. That ought to hold on pretty well and keep it vertical.

Interesting thought about the need for a dam to be in the most forward part of the vehicle (leading edge of the bumper). I'll do some more research and get back to the group on that.

As for making it into a VEE shape, I could do that. There's plenty of room on that tray to screw the thing onto, I'd maybe back it up with aluminum angle to keep it straight down. I had thought about doing that but figured I'd follow the factory's original direction.

Oh, and regarding bringing it up in front of the tire, the pics don't make it clear but the front edge of the tire IS exposed to the oncoming airflow. The fender wraps in and leaves the oncoming tread cutting the air. I thought that making the whole thing into a combo. air dam and tire spoiler (running up as high as needed to fully block the tire) could only help.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemooer View Post
Looks alright. I'd be concerned with the top of where is is for the wheel wells. I don't think that you want it to stick out that far, at least not a sharp straight edge. To me that looks like it would create more drag. And also make sure you not going too much lower then the lowest suspension/drivetrain part. I'm quite familiar with exteriors of Fords from the past few years and i'm pretty sure the stock air dam is as low as it needs to be across the middle in the front.
I don't know, i mean it is just my 2 cents. Good work and i'd like to see the results
Yeah, that projection out the side looks a bit crazy but I have to come out that far to shield the tires. I'd originally thought of separate tire spoilers, but seeing as how the front edge of the fender's tire cutout was only a few inches behind the stock air dam I figured I'd just make it one piece. The fender really does wrap that far in, exposing quite a bit of the tread to the oncoming air. I will radius the bottom of the thing, though, once I settle on a height.

As for spoiler height, it's not quite as low as the lowest chassis parts farther back (by at least half an inch). Like I said, I can much more easily make it shorter if I want than add on.

I do want to find out, though, if it makes a big difference on where the air dam is relative to the front edge of the bumper. If it's supposed to be up front, I'll change plans accordingly.
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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ohh ok. I guess it depends on the rims the car comes with, as the 15's or 16's aren't as wide as some of the other ones.
And with the placement of the air dam, i'd say front. Reason being is, it is supposed to keep air from going under the car, with it in place where you have it mocked up you letting air to go back already, and then hit a straight wall. the air can't go up, and if it's straight across the air would struggle deciding which side to exit to
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think those folding tabs are a good idea. If you could install 90deg angle iron brackets along the folds, it should make it pretty sturdy.
I've made some RC airplanes out of the stuff.


Coroplas is like corrugated cardboard and is pretty easy to fold along the lines of the corrugations and folds with great difficulty sideways to the grain of the corrugation tubes.

A lot of people find it so hard to fold, even just to 90 deg, they cut along one side of a corrugation tube. I don't recommend that.
Lay the coro out flat on a hard flood and take a dull screwdriver and use it to
compress a line down one of the corrugated tubes. That will allow you to make a clean fold. Sometimes it takes a few passes with the tool to bend the plastic into the tube enough to get a clean fold.

If the wind load is high, the coro will bend. So, for wings, we install steel rods inside the some of the tubes. (Music wire from a hobby shop).
If you make the L brackets (or angle iron brackets) large enough, they might do the job of keeping the coro from flexing under with the wind.

You could do a small test install and have someone drive in front of you at 65mph take a look (or video) under your bumper.

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