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Old 09-30-2012, 12:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pickup topper is 3 inches higher than cab top - ideas?

I have, yes, a gas guzzler truck. It's a 2009 Ford Ranger SuperCab 4X4 V6, with a manual transmission, 32 inch off road tires, skid plates, topper and front bumper winch. This I intend to use for my geological explorations in the Black Hills near where I live in South Dakota. The truck gets 16mpg. I haven't done anything as yet to try to improve that, but I don't drive it much especially this summer with no rain.

My question for you experts is this; the topper is not the same height as the truck cab. It is about 3 inches taller. Would it make much difference if I were to make a small spoiler in front of the topper to help the air pass more efficiently while on the highway. I had thought of either an aluminum band going from side to side in an arc so that it would be about three inches away in the center and taper to the sides. I thought of also covering the open space between the top of the band and the topper with some flat aluminum sheet or not. Another idea I have had is to use a piece of right angle aluminum stock and mount it so the intersection of its sides pointed toward the front and mount it from sided to side on the front of the topper.

Any help or opinions on the spoiler thingy for my pickup would be greatly appreciated.

Tom Beno

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Aerohead (use search) has a pickup with aero mods, you may be able to see what he has done and get inspiration for your truck there.

Good luck.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hello from ND, and welcome to Ecomodder.

As far as your truck, with those tires and that ride height, I don't think there's much that can be done to drastically improve your mileage. Not exactly the greatest base vehicle for ecomodding lol. My ex's father is a dinosaur hunter, travels all over the Dakotas digging up fossils and whatnot, and for years he just used his early-90s Grand Prix two door. Beat the hell outta that car, but he dug up a couple-million-dollar near complete fossil with it lol.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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(Note from admin: I split this aero question off from Tom's introductory thread, which is here: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ota-23502.html )

Hi Tom -

Hope you don't mind I split your introductory post into two parts. More eyeballs in the aero sub-forum to address this question.

But I think the answer depends on the design of the topper. Is the exposed area flat with sharp edges (bad), or are the corners radiused?
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Instead of a spoiler, I'd suggest making a foam pod that fairs from the front of the cab back to the topper.

Of course, if you read further on the related threads here, you'll discover (if you don't already know) that the front end isn't where you incur most of the shape-related losses. So can you swap the topper for one that's just cab-high? And then work on the rear end?
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Spoiler's not going to do much. You'll probably need to do a full aero topper to see much over 1 or 2 mpg.

Try an air dam and grille block first. The tires are probably killing your mileage too.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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With big wheels the best thing you can do for milage is make sure your wheel alignment is spot on and keep a consistent speed on the highway.

16 isn't too bad for a truck like that so I am guessing that you are taking care of it pretty well.

For the high topper I would think about building up the top of the cab starting at the front following the line of the windshield, sort of like an Xterra. If you used foam construction and went all the way back to the topper it could also help keep the cab a bit cooler in the sun.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks to all who answered my post. I'm going to have to take a few pictures and post them and watch as the groans issue from you all. I have looked at Aeroheads site and photos. I thought that I might put on some 15" inch full moon hubcaps, maybe fender skirts on the rear wheels and a partial fill on the front wheel wells.

The story behind this truck is a somewhat long and tortured one. To make a story short, I needed a replacement for a 1984 S-10 V6 5spd. with a 7 foot bed. This Ranger is the only under full size I could find in four states. It's not exactly what I want but usable. I needed at least a V6 and a manual transmission and small and light enough to get into places a full size truck won't go. Anyway, it will be paid off next month and I can doing some things I wouldn't have done when the bank owned it.

The topper is a standard height Proline aluminum model. If I had bought a fiberglass one it would have been exactly the same height as the cab. The dealer didn't mention that and the brochure didn't show a Ranger. Any way, the corners are rounded but as I have mentioned, the top edge is about three inches taller than the cab. When I take a break from 'modding my car", I'll get some pictures of the truck and let you folks tell me how wrong everything is and have some real fun. For now I've got a couple of things I want to try on my car. The weather is getting better and we are supposed to finally get some rain. I am way overdue for some trips to the Black Hills before they close the roads for the season so the truck will have to do as is for now. Believe it or not the truck was bought new in September of 2009 and it has only 2800 miles on it. The most work it does is a couple of trips to the "Hills" and hauling pellets for my heating stove in the winter. So, it really hasn't been too expensive to have so far.

Well, enough hot air from me for now. I'll get some photos when I can and we can go from there. Thanks again to all for replying .

Tom Beno
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks to all who answered my post. I'm going to have to take a few pictures and post them and watch as the groans issue from you all. I have looked at Aeroheads site and photos. I thought that I might put on some 15" inch full moon hubcaps, maybe fender skirts on the rear wheels and a partial fill on the front wheel wells.

The story behind this truck is a somewhat long and tortured one. To make a story short, I needed a replacement for a 1984 S-10 V6 5spd. with a 7 foot bed. This Ranger is the only under full size I could find in four states. It's not exactly what I want but usable. I needed at least a V6 and a manual transmission and small and light enough to get into places a full size truck won't go. Anyway, it will be paid off next month and I can doing some things I wouldn't have done when the bank owned it.

The topper is a standard height Proline aluminum model. If I had bought a fiberglass one it would have been exactly the same height as the cab. The dealer didn't mention that and the brochure didn't show a Ranger. Any way, the corners are rounded but as I have mentioned, the top edge is about three inches taller than the cab. When I take a break from 'modding my car", I'll get some pictures of the truck and let you folks tell me how wrong everything is and have some real fun. For now I've got a couple of things I want to try on my car. The weather is getting better and we are supposed to finally get some rain. I am way overdue for some trips to the Black Hills before they close the roads for the season so the truck will have to do as is for now. Believe it or not the truck was bought new in September of 2009 and it has only 2800 miles on it. The most work it does is a couple of trips to the "Hills" and hauling pellets for my heating stove in the winter. So, it really hasn't been too expensive to have so far.

Well, enough hot air from me for now. I'll get some photos when I can and we can go from there. Thanks again to all for replying .

Tom Beno
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskwatchian View Post
With big wheels the best thing you can do for milage is make sure your wheel alignment is spot on and keep a consistent speed on the highway.

16 isn't too bad for a truck like that so I am guessing that you are taking care of it pretty well.

For the high topper I would think about building up the top of the cab starting at the front following the line of the windshield, sort of like an Xterra. If you used foam construction and went all the way back to the topper it could also help keep the cab a bit cooler in the sun.
If an F150 V8 4x4 used only for hauling and/or towing gets better than 16, then I'd say it is too bad.

Then you suggest a wedge on top of the cab is a potential fix. Read the other posts; that ain't where it's at. That cab/topper spot should react much like the hood/windshield junction, and that isn't the evil thing many think it is unless, as Metro alluded to, it has a square leading edge not a radiused one. If that's the case there are simpler ways to correct it, namely adding a 1/4 round segment to the leading edge of the topper.

The alignment and speed things are good tho', so you scored 2 outta 4.

FWIW 3.0 V6 Ranger 2wd a/t = 30 mpg highway. Not exactly the same but still...

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Last edited by Frank Lee; 10-02-2012 at 05:21 AM..
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