Yeah. All good ideas.
Cowl over the windshield wipers
I’ve seen wind tunnel pictures of trucks and this is not an area where there is a lot of air flow. Dead bugs will sit there for miles and miles until I slow down. Low priority.
On my winter “To do” list. My current grille is a 05 sport grille with the two blanked out side faux grilles. Nothing but air traps. I’m planning an adventure in plywood and fiberglass that cuts the intake area by about 20% and rounds off, throwing the air flow to the sides.
Pans over wheel wells
On my winter “To do” list. Rear skirts for sure. Fronts – the jury is still out. To allow clearance for the steering wheels, I have to allow it an inside clearance of 6 inches. Figure adding 6.75” to either side. I’m having to balance a small added amount of frontal area vs considerable reduction in coefficient of drag. I need to do something. My front tires are small 225-75x16 and leave huge gaps. I’m leaning toward doing it because it won’t be hard and the truck dimensions lend themselves to it.
full belly pan
I’m thinking partial belly pan. The Super duty does not lend itself to a full pan very well. What I’m thinking is a pan over the spare tire carrier faired into a roll pan at the rear, replacing the rear bumper. If I do a good enough job with front air dam and side skirts, the air flow under the truck will be low enough that a belly pan would be perfume on a dog. The spare tire area does need a friend though.
Absolutely. Mooneyes. I’m thinking of getting some steel XL wheels and welding on the bosses for Dzus fastener Mooneyes. I like the Bonneville look.
kill the cab lights
A possibility. I could blank them off OK, but I drive a lot at night and like having people see me in the dark. Cab marker lights makes me look like a bigger truck and people stay away and that’s the way I like it. But they do exact a drag penalty.
remove stereo antenna
Already gone. Must not show up in the pix I have posted. It didn’t measurably improve MPG
, but I don’t miss it.
mirrors replaced with cameras
This is big but will be a bit of a project. With any sort of bed fairing (more later) I am blind as a bat to my six o’clock. The big Ford TT mirrors help lot. I cannot replace them with just little 2x2 mirrors. What I envision is a six camera array. Two side long range cameras, two side wide angle close-up cameras. A single long range centerline rear view and a backup camera. All displayed on a monitor located where my rearview mirror is. Cameras have one problem in common with mirrors. Optics dictate a flat rear surface, so they are draggy. Mercifully, cameras are much smaller. I need to find someone in the Naptown area who is more hip to CCTV than I am.
My front air dam worked well, but did nothing about air getting in from the sides. Actually, this is easy. I cut a piece of 12 ga. Aluminum and punch holes using the running board (I still have them) brackets as a pattern. I cover about half the distance with the aluminum and attach conveyor belting to cover nearest the road.
This also gives me another place to mount chicken light strips.
What makes my air dam so ugly is that it looks like what it is – a piece of conveyor belt tacked to a stock bumper. What’s worse is that about half of the width is falt and perpendicular to my path of travel. The air stagnates there and makes the air dam quiver like a clarinet reed. What I’m thinking is to make a stainless bumper similar to what a lot of big trucks now use, but where theirs are low clearance, they rely on the fact the metal is thick to blast road-kill and debris to bits. Their bumpers are also flat to the wind. What I have in mind is more like a NexTel Cup car’s rounded air dam but made of stainless. Protrude the nose of it about 6” or so and provide a nice long radius to deflect the air around the side of the truck. The SS bumper would sit about 8” above grade and the conveyor belt would extend down to within 1.5” of grade. (My current air dam has worn to about 1.5” above grade) this setup will look a lot nicer and will more efficiently divert air around the truck and the side skirts will keep it from getting under the truck. In the next few weeks I may pull the bumper and start mocking up one out of plywood. Later, I see about getting someone to fab up a SS version. Add some conveyor belt. Should be killer.
The big enchilada
My “fastback” fairing does improve my MPG
a lot but because it is a fixed cheap-and-dirty setup, it restricts my use of the bed unless I want to squirm up under it and take the C-clamps off (a no doubt hilarious spectacle). What I need is a lid that will flip up but retain the nice slick shape I have. The working lid would also carry my “long range” rear view cam and a brake signal light. But if I’m gonna go to all this trouble, why not go whole hog? Ever see a Cobra Daytona Coupe? One of the slickest shapes to come out of the 1960s. These cars were so aerodynamically slick that the cobras could beat the Ferraris down the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans with 289 engines. Look at the rear end of these cars – aerodynamically the most important. They have a Kamm truncated cone. The Kamm truncation very closely approximates a fully extended tail cone. Now imagine this crossed with a pickup. If I lower the height of the tail gate but 8-10” and taper the sides into about 50” (two inches outside the wheel wells) I will reduce my apparently rear area to about 40% of stock and greatly reduce my coefficient of drag, but still be able to carry 4x8s in he bed. I am developing some AutoCAD drawings of this thing and may start looking for somebody in the Indy area who can make such a critter. I’ll start looking for a junkyard bed to build this mod on. I hate to cut up a perfectly good pickup bed.
If I can pull all this of, this will be hands-down the most aerodynamic road-going practical (as opposed to racing or show-only) pickup truck ever built. There is a guy named Phil Knox driving around a little Toyota pickup that by aerodynamics alone he got from 23 to 38 MPG
. I’m stealing a lot of his details but even he never did the redesigned bed. His is merely a stock Toymotor bed with a fastback lid that has a rear view window.
If I can pull this off, there will be nothing like it. I go to shows and I think to myself: “I think I’ve seen every possible permutation of the lifted 4x4
truck with big wheels.” If I can get a nice paint job on it, I’ll blow everyone away with sheer uniqueness.