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Old 04-12-2015, 05:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Toyota Tacoma Active Aerodynamics

Hey guys,

I've been reading through this forum religiously for quite a while and decided it was time to include my projects on the forum!

I drive a 2005 2.7L Toyota Tacoma single cab (5-lug).

I've been interested in the topic of cab spoilers and bed covers for quite some time and I'm impressed with how much effort has gone into them. BUT, I also noticed that there are very few people interested in active cab spoilers. So here is my summer project I plan to start in May:

1. Install a Scangauge to monitor my exact MPG's.
2. Make and Install a simple half tonneau for testing using some angle iron and coroplast (which I've successfully done before).
3. Make a light bar for the bed, and install an adjustable spoiler on it.
(Note: To make it adjustable I plan to use an actuator)
4. Test the truck at various speeds while adjusting the cab spoiler to determine the optimal angles of the spoiler at each speed.
5. If the spoiler proves to be helpful, I'll have my computer science buddies set up an Arduino to adjust the spoiler to the optimal height as I drive.

To answer a few questions that I'm sure will come up:

-I plan to use the Scanguage to determine optimal angles as improved aerodynamics should result in improved MPG's

-I'm also expecting to make the spoiler rather small. About 12" in length, and 40ish" wide to match the cab (I have the exact measurements written down somewhere) unlike the full 20+" used in the Texas Tech experiment.

-I will devise a plan to bridge the gap between the spoiler and the cab, taking into account that it must be flexible.


I wanted to throw this on here and see if anyone has any recommendations on materials for the spoiler, spoiler shapes, etc. or if anyone has any input at all on how to make this experiment successful. I have just over a month to plan.

Let loose

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Old 04-12-2015, 05:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like a neat project!

For the spoiler, is it going to be flat, or are you going to have any curve? Don't forget you will need another third brake light if you block visibility of the one on the cab.

Not trying to overly complicate your project, but to me the neatest thing about an adjustable spoiler/wing would be if you could not only have the angle adjustable within the typical low drag angles but if you could also angle the spoiler up to deflect air over a tall item in the bed and/or adjust the spoiler all the way straight down against the cab/ front of bed where you regained use of the majority of the bed space for large items.

If possible, as you build your adjusting mechanism I would try to leave the ability to use a larger wing section in the future if you want.

Oh, and the Tacomas are taking over ecomodder! (Just kidding.)
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A spoiler that could collapse completely would be very cool!

To do that I would keep the spoiler only mildly curved to match the profile of the cab. And use a stepper motor to turn an axle that had the spoiler mounted on it. Unlike an actuator that would physically lift the spoiler on hinges, the stepper motor would spin the spoiler like a rotisserie chicken, allowing me to fully collapse it when needed.

I like it!

I'm still unsure how I would like to construct the spoiler itself.
If I use sheet metal, I can match the curve of the cab, but it will remain flat, it will block the brake light and it will be quite heavy.

If I use plastic, I can opt for some clear plastic, and it will match the curve of the cab, but it will remain flat, and be rather expensive.

If I use fiberglass, I'm going to have to learn how to use fiberglass. I've only helped with a fiberglass job once. Plus, it leaves you itchy for days if it gets around your protective equipment.

Im also unsure if a flat spoiler or one with a gentle curve down like this would be better:


Any ideas?
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Old 04-14-2015, 04:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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'flat' spoiler

Quote:
Originally Posted by tacotuesday View Post
A spoiler that could collapse completely would be very cool!

To do that I would keep the spoiler only mildly curved to match the profile of the cab. And use a stepper motor to turn an axle that had the spoiler mounted on it. Unlike an actuator that would physically lift the spoiler on hinges, the stepper motor would spin the spoiler like a rotisserie chicken, allowing me to fully collapse it when needed.

I like it!

I'm still unsure how I would like to construct the spoiler itself.
If I use sheet metal, I can match the curve of the cab, but it will remain flat, it will block the brake light and it will be quite heavy.

If I use plastic, I can opt for some clear plastic, and it will match the curve of the cab, but it will remain flat, and be rather expensive.

If I use fiberglass, I'm going to have to learn how to use fiberglass. I've only helped with a fiberglass job once. Plus, it leaves you itchy for days if it gets around your protective equipment.

Im also unsure if a flat spoiler or one with a gentle curve down like this would be better:


Any ideas?
A simple,stepped, 'flat' wing incorporated into a sail panel extension has worked well,and is below the 3rd brake light.
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Do you think there would be any substantial benefit to curving the wing to match the profile of the cab? I like that your setup doesn't block the brake light, but some optix clear acrylic for the wing could possibly negate that problem. Although, it is much easier constructing a flat spoiler rather than trying to curve it to match the cab. I'm just wondering aerodynamically if it would be optimal to 'profile match' the cab so to speak
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Old 04-16-2015, 06:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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curving

Quote:
Originally Posted by tacotuesday View Post
Do you think there would be any substantial benefit to curving the wing to match the profile of the cab? I like that your setup doesn't block the brake light, but some optix clear acrylic for the wing could possibly negate that problem. Although, it is much easier constructing a flat spoiler rather than trying to curve it to match the cab. I'm just wondering aerodynamically if it would be optimal to 'profile match' the cab so to speak
The curve would be preferred as far as the air is concerned.You could 'do' a flat to begin with and then later glom onto it with something more exotic as time permits.
As to the difference in possible performance,we may not have a large enough database yet with which to say.It would be kind a like a notchback vs fastback,but over just 12-inches of span,maybe not a big deal.

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