Streamlining... - GreenHybrid - Hybrid Cars


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Old 01-13-2008, 06:44 AM
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Default Streamlining...

I stumbled across a website the other day (www.ecomodder.com) some of you may already be familiar with it. I've been cruising it for the last few days. Some of the ideas are rather extreme (moon disks, boat tails and installing shrouds over wheels-ala insight), but others are pretty easy.

One idea they have that has been discussed at length here is an engine block. They're using it to keep wind from entering the grille and producing drag, but the side effect is reduced airflow. One major material they're using is something called Coroplast--it's primary use is for small signs on the side of the road (politicians, real estate, etc...). It's corrugated, light, flexible, and can be pretty much cut to any shape--I think it could be a good engine block for the FEH.

I'm interested to know what, if any, mods some of you high mpg folks have done in regards to streamlining. Somethings I'm considering:

- removing the roof crossbars (I only assume these produce measurable drag--do they?)

- adding a wiper cowl like this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/LUND-...QQcmdZViewItem


- belly pan to smooth underbody airflow from the aerodynamically "dirty" undercarriage. Still thinking about the best material, but this should be fairly straight forward.

- Powerfolding mirrors or more aerodynamic mirrors. My thought is that If I could figure out how to connect a switch/servo to the mirrors, I could fold them in around 50 mph (on the highway) and fold them back out when I get back to the city.

thoughts?

Last edited by dcarp; 01-13-2008 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

Most people already remove the cross rails of the roofrack. That is a common one and I think ford's documentation even spells out the MPG "costs". They even give MPG estimates for running headlights, listening to the radio, etc. Based on that info, it makes sense to drive with no radio, during the day so you don't need headlights or dash lights!

I don't think anyone here has gone to the extremes of building a "tail" though I have seen pics elsewhere. As for the engine block, there are several threads about doing so, but not for the sake of aerodynamics. Rather, in the winter, engine/radiator temps determine if and when the vehicle will be able to operate in EV mode. Therefore, cutting down on cold air flowing through the radiators and engine compartment allows the vehicle to warm up faster and stay warm longer especially at highway speeds. The idea of doing this during warm weather seems like a bad idea. I believe the FEH/MMH actually have THREE radiators up front for cooling the engine, for the AC and for the battery AC. Blocking airflow to these during spring and summer surely would have a negative effect (and could reduce the performance and life of your battery) above and beyond any "fuel savings" that might be realized through reduced drag. Furthermore, with the shape of these vehicles (brick on wheels) I don't think blocking the front of the vehicle will improve airflow around the vehicle reducing drag at all.

As for a belly pan, certainly that is a way to reduce drag, but I would think anything custom like that would be so expensive as not to be worth the fuel savings.

Folding mirrors.....well, I'd say smaller more aerodynamic mirrors might be better only because the idea of driving without ANY side mirrors is certainly more dangerous and in most states probably illegal.

One of the best tips (other than basic hybrid driving techniques of course) is to bump up tire pressure. Ford recommends 35psi. The sidewall on the Conti Eco-pluses says 44psi Max. A number of users here run at 40psi. I usually keep them at about 37.5-38psi.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

Tim, thanks for the input--I've already bumped up the PSI and seen definate gains. Can you point me to the ford documentation you referenced?
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

Dave:

-engine block heater discussion threads exist and can be worthwhile for winter use. I have an engine block heater.

-blockage for the radiator in winter months can be beneifical--again a thread exists on this. Cardboard is cheap (free!) and works. FIA winter guards (look for the photo in the photo section) are custom fitted but do not block the lower grille opening. You must block part of this grille opening to obtain results.

-side mirrors are mandatory in almost every state. Smaller ones might be less wind resistive but good luck in fitting them onto the vehicle--you have to remove the inner door panel and sail panel to access the three bolts/nuts holding the side mirror on. Your statement about folding mirrors--Overseas version of this vehicle do have power folding mirrors and the switch for this is where our coin holder is. There may be a thread on how to install a power side mirror on the Escape in the Escape-Central.com site. Don't expect to fold your side mirrors during highway cruising as this would be illegal.

I agree with the rest of Tim K post.
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

RE: Side Mirrors

These could be eliminated if we had cameras mounted to view both blind spots and monitors to display the views. I would think this will have to be a factory design and install to increase aerodynamic efficiency.

RE: Increasing Tire Pressures

Probably the best thing an individual can do to increase rolling efficiency. Auto manufacturers post a low tire pressure recommendation to achieve the best ride feel. Tire manufacturers post the maximum recommended pressure on the tire sidewalls. Maximum pressure will give the least rolling resistance and best fuel economy but the harshest ride.

For Christmas, I received a tire pressure monitoring system. It uses a tiny battery, pressure sensor, lock, and RF transmitter on each wheel. The Digital monitor is an easy mount on the dash. The readout is in PSI to 1/10 of a pound. At night, it back lights for about a minute, long enough to view the pressure in all four tires. It includes three low pressure warnings alarms. I think the engineering, features, and quality are superb.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

[quote=Timetrvlr;157743]RE: Side Mirrors

These could be eliminated if we had cameras mounted to view both blind spots and monitors to display the views. I would think this will have to be a factory design and install to increase aerodynamic efficiency.

quote]

The use of cameras with side mirrors to view blind spots is currently being utilized by some auto manufactures such as Volvo in some of their models.

However, replacing the side mirrors with just cameras and monitors is unlikely to occur just for aerodynamic efficiency due to cost factors. It is unlikely that the current combination of camera and monitors is cheaper than just a side view mirror. As for aerodynamic efficiency, how much of a mpg hit occurs with side view mirrors?
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billyk View Post
As for aerodynamic efficiency, how much of a mpg hit occurs with side view mirrors?
I would say more than the roof rack, and many people take them off.

I would say you can take off the passenger side mirror and still be legal.
I read in California ( like 15 years ago ) that as long as you had two mirrors you were legal.

You could have driver side and rearview, or both sides and no rear view ( or have rear-view block by cargo ) and still be "legal".

That was years ago though.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

I would check with my insurace company before pulling off any side mirrors as well. They may have their own opinion, law or not. Personally if you did manage to get into an accident and there was an injury lawsuit, I could see the insurance company lawyers saying... "its not our problem, the insured party removed a rearview mirror and therefore is at fault, we won't protect him from liability."

Is it likely... probably not, but lawyers will be lawyers and insurance companies will do the same. I can say that if someone clipped my front quarter panel during a lane change after removing a mirror I'd certainly sue the hell out of them--and I doubt I'd be the only one of that opinion.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

Economy cars used to ( maybe still? ) be sold with only a driver side mirror.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Streamlining...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpsman1 View Post
Economy cars used to ( maybe still? ) be sold with only a driver side mirror.
Yes, and they also used to be sold without airbags. Seriously, though, I don't know what the law is.

I would love to see some way to significantly streamline my Escape, but without uglifying it. I'm certainly not going to put the boat tail on it!

Still, if you find anything that works well, let us know!

BTW, coroplast is just short for corogated plastic. Yes, it is really easy to work with and cut to any shape you want. And you can get a lot of it by pulling campaign signs out of people's yards.
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