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Nimrod 07-05-2012 11:11 PM

Hello From Alabama
Hello - new to the EcoModder Forum here.
I am driving a 2012 Ford XLT, which can hardly be considered to be anywhere near a eco-type form of transportation...but I need a truck, and this one does quite nicely...with its 5.0 L engine, I am getting about 20 mpg combined city/highway.

They say that, aerodynamically at least, moving a pickup truck down the road is about like pushing a big brick thru the air at some 60 mph. I am interested in doing some things to this truck to maybe improve its aerodynamic characteristics.

I know that the popular notion of adding a tonneau cover to the open bed of a pickup to improve mpg is way overblown in terms of reality. But one thing I am interested in is the idea of adding some diy grill shutters to this truck (in fact, searching on that "grill shutters" term is how I stumbled across Ecomodder). So I guess I'll be heading over to the aerodynamics forum to ask some questions over there.

Daox 07-05-2012 11:18 PM

Welcome to the site.

What do you do that requires the truck?

Aero is definitely a big deal with the truck. Also make sure to pump the tires up and pickup a scangauge or other device that will give you feedback on your driving. That is where you will see the biggest gains.

Nimrod 07-05-2012 11:43 PM


Originally Posted by Daox (Post 315523)
What do you do that requires the truck?

Hauling & towing...general around-the-farm uses + my daily driver...

I do keep the tires pumped up to spec (+ a psi or two) and I have a UG that tells me a lot about what is going on...and the newer Ford OEM instrumentation displays some useful mpg and related info as well.

Mostly, keeping my right foot off that little skinny pedal does a lot of good towards better mpg! ;)

MetroMPG 07-06-2012 07:23 AM

Welcome to the forum - 20 combined isn't bad. And you're right that a partial grille block (or variable block via shutters if you're up to engineering something like that) will help.

The big aero gains are to be found on the bed though. Search around - there are a number of excellent threads on DIY construction of an "aero shell" or "aero topper".

Have a look at this chart as well..

Nimrod 07-06-2012 08:54 AM


Originally Posted by MetroMPG (Post 315550)
...Have a look at this chart as well...

That's a great chart, I had not seen it before. Do you know the source of it, any maybe some more background data to accompany it?

MPGranger 07-06-2012 10:05 AM

My truck is much smaller than yours, but I know that a work truck might have some problems with truck covers. You might need to design (or buy) your cap or tonneau to be easily taken off. Have you ever seen the underside of your truck? Mine is cavernous. Perhaps making a belly pan will work better for you? I have plans for this election season, politicians make posters out of corrugated plastic (coroplast) that make great belly plans. This stuff is basically cardboard made out of plastic, very sturdy. This mod could help your aero and also provide protection to your trucks components as you actually use it.

MetroMPG 07-06-2012 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by Nimrod (Post 315559)
That's a great chart, I had not seen it before. Do you know the source of it, any maybe some more background data to accompany it?

I grabbed that image from another thread here in the forum (unattributed).

But you can find much of the source information in threads started by Phil (user: aerohead). EG:

Also see:

Flakbadger 07-06-2012 12:21 PM

Welcome to the forums!
Adjustable grille shutters are a lot of work, if you can do it then great. But if not, a solid grille block is a-ok too. You can make them stealthy if you so desire, and you already have an ultragauge to check out temperatures, so you're one step ahead.
Good luck in whatever you do, and again, welcome!


Nimrod 07-06-2012 01:10 PM

Thanks Matt!
On this 2012 F-150 (5.0L engine), there is a center opening, about 100 sq in. area which works out about 1/6 the area of the radiator, below the front bumper which is where Ford puts the turbo intercooler for the 3.5L Ecoboost models.

While we are having these extreme (100*F+) summertime temps here in Alabama, I may first try totally blocking off the grille itself (the actual openings for which are less than 1/2 the total grill area), and watch the UG coolant temp reading to see how running on just the lower opening works out. That should give me some reasonable guidance on how to proceed with adjustable shutters, if at all...

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