The Spirit of Ecomodder
Phil Knox spent his summer trying to get his 1995 Toyota T-100 ready for aerodynamic testing in the Darko Wind Tunnel in Ogden, Utah.Phil also had a 4K miles trip planned to visit friends and relatives while he was at it. As a contributing member to the ecomodder.com website Phils friends there raised the money needed to help pay for the testing.
Phil left Denton, TX on the 1st of September and was in Ogden, Utah with a friend on the 4th ready for the testing. His friend Gary was driving a Generation III Prius. The wind tunnel testing at Darko took less time then expected so the operator at the tunnel threw a free test of Gary's Gen III Prius.
Not only did Phil get the truck tested but also while Gary shot camcorder footage, Phil was able to take a smoke wand over the whole vehicle to show how the air was behaving. This smoke testing was only done at 25 MPH wind speed. This footage will be posted at the ecomodder.com website soon so we will have a link for it when it gets posted.
Long story short, Phil's modified T-100 PU truck posted a Cd of 0.267. The Gen III Prius posted a Cd of 0.285. One unexpected result was the mirrors on the truck. With the mirrors folded in the vehicle posted a Cd of 0.251. The operator said they were costing one horsepower at speed. A camera system for rear view side mirrors would be a significant improvement in vehicle design.
Phil also went to Bonneville Salt Flats where he damaged his under body paneling driving through standing water because of a hidden obstacle. His highest 65 MPH ( 37.567 MPG ) tank was achieved between Battle Mountain,NV and Fernley, NV without the under belly paneling, mysteriously enough.
We are still scratching our heads at the different results that can be had at different wind tunnels. The Darko wind tunnel test 9.61% higher then the results for the same vehicles at the A2 or GM wind tunnels. The Spirit of Ecomodder would have a Cd of 0.244 if it were normalized for these wind tunnels. With the mirrors replaced with cameras the truck would then post a Cd of 0.219.
Phil then traveled on to visit an aunt on Southern California then came back the southern route through Arizona and New Mexico to visit us in Radium Springs, NM. It was while traveling through the remnants of Hurricane Odile that the T-100 posted it's lowest 65 MPH tank of 28.864 MPG. Rain and wind are just not conducive to good gas mileage.
Phil had to wait an extra day at our house for it to stop raining before he could continue his trip home via Colorado. Phil finally arrived home on the 23rd of September after having traveled 4,873 miles averaging 31.96 MPG's over the whole trip. Not bad for a vehicle rated at 25 MPG from the manufacturer when the truck was new. That is almost a 28% improvement in real world driving mileage over a stock truck.
While Phil was with us we bought a new 2014 Ford F-150 pick up truck. Our truck is a XLT with a crew cab and a 3.5 L EcoBoost engine mated to a six speed automatic transmission. We got it with a 6.5 foot bed so we can install a fifth wheel sliding hitch in the bed for towing a fifth wheel trailer we are planning to buy. The truck is rated for 21 MPG's on the highway, but only 17 MPG's City/Hwy.
While Phil was here we called a friend of his who has manufactured aero shells for Ford F-150 trucks. I bought one and I am headed out on a trip to Arkansas in November to pick it up. It has been wind tunnel tested and should offer me a Delta Cd of 0.062.
My truck is rated to have a Cd of 0.402 and with my new aero shell it should be able to achieve a Cd of 0.34. The claim is for a 22% improvement in highway mileage. We shall see, as I will have a new blog for you on my truck in late November. Regardless of the vehicle, it does not matter if we are talking about gallons of gas, or KWH's, a lower coefficient of drag is the key to much improved performance.
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