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Old 08-01-2015, 10:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tonneau vs Cap/Topper/shell

I have seen multiple reports on possible efficiency improvements between the tonneau cover vs the cap/topper/shell for pickups. I won't be able to do anything like an aerocap as I just don't have the skills or the time to take on such a project at the moment and I haven't seen anyone selling them yet. But I am interested in efficiency improvements while helping me with securing my truck with my cargo.

I have a topper/shell on my old truck and was interested in doing the same on the new truck until I read the data here that appeared to show mixed results of using a topper. So now I am trying to understand if it is going to be a detriment to put on a shell/toppper/cap or an improvement in my fuel economy over that of a tonneau cover. What are your thoughts or inputs on these two aero mods and what will give me the biggest improvement between these conventional additions to a pickup? I know the half tonneau over the back is a bigger improvement over a full cover, but I don't know anyone selling one, or the ability for me to secure my cargo in such a configuration.

What are your thoughts? Thanks.

Longsnowsm

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Old 08-02-2015, 12:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Frank! My daily driver is a Gen 1 Honda Insight and it bears the brunt of most day to day driving tasks.

The truck only gets pulled out a few times a month to haul mulch, manure, straw, and any larger or messy items that I can't or won't jam into the Insight! LOL Aside from those tasks the truck is largely used for highway loads between my home and some property I own in MO and is generally hauling or towing and doing things I simply cannot with the car.

So that is why the question on the tonneau vs the cap/shell/topper question. I seem to see conflicting info on the effects of the topper so I thought I would ask to see if there is any consensus building on the effect of the topper. The tests done by a topper manufacturer and the video is poor and really can't be used in any meaningful way.

Thanks again for you feedback.

Longsnowsm
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How much time and money do you want to spend on this mod?
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well I am trying to do this on the cheap to be honest. I can get a roll top soft tonneau for a few hundred bucks, and if I am patient I can probably find a topper/shell/cap on Craigslist for about the same. So that is the direction I am leaning since I have too many projects in the hopper already! LOL

I know I need to do what I can to every MPG I can on the long road trips so I definitely want to get this issue addressed along with a simple air dam and grill block setup. I have a goal I would like to see 30 mpg out of this truck on the highway at 65 mph. I was able to get a 27 mpg tank on my way home with the truck at 65 mph with the cruise on so I think I can stretch this out to 30 mpg at those speeds if I make a few changes. So that is the objective. If I can get more than that it would be awesome, but just trying to keep it realistic in my near term goals.

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Old 08-02-2015, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The ultimate MPG thing to get would be a fast back.
But you have to make it your self.
The cheapest quickest mod would be a tonneau and an air dam.
The pickup bed its self is just about the worse profile you can possibly get from an aerodynamic stand point. Just about anything you do would be an improvement.
A camper top that didn't stick out on the side or above the cab would even be an improvement.
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Old 08-06-2015, 02:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input on the topper/shell/camper vs the tonneau cover. I went ahead and ordered a cover and will be playing with that over the next couple of months doing some incremental changes to the truck and doing several test runs, log the differences and then proceed to the next mod. I want to see if I can quantify the fuel economy differences as I change things one thing at a time. First things first I will find a route that I can drive as my test loop and make some baseline runs to get an idea of the current economy with my stock config and the oversized tire that came on the truck and see how that does. Right now I have to get out and mount my oil bypass filter, do an engine flush, and run some injector cleaner through it to get it read for the baseline runs.

Then I will next do a fluids change to synthetics engine, transmission, and rear diff and then run the baseline again. I will log any changes in fuel economy, then finally I will put the cover on the truck and see what that does. Then depending on how that looks I will start looking at the air dam and grill block. That will be going into the fall most likely and will make a great test bed for my next road trip to the midwest from CO. Hopefully we will be creeping up on my 30mpg goal at 65 mph.

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