Which is more fuel efficient, driving with a pickup's tailgate up or down? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-27-2014, 09:53 PM   #1
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Which is more fuel efficient, driving with a pickup's tailgate up or down?

Another interesting read and video.

To solve this tailgate debate, we went inside the wind tunnel at Ford to test the aerodynamics of the 2015 Ford F-150.

Which is more fuel efficient, driving with a pickup's tailgate up or down?
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:33 PM   #2
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I knew they were gonna say that.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:15 PM   #3
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I didn't read the results but being a retired engineer and able to think things out I have always left my tail gate up. Reason: The air flow comes over the top of the cab and into the bed. It creates a bubble making the following air to think it's loaded and skims across the top with no restriction. Where as if the tail gate was down, the the air flow would dump into the bed and out (gate down) and create a drag. Is that what they said?
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:37 PM   #4
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Gage that is pretty well what most of the studies I have read prior on the topic say - the Ford link Donna gave doesn't actually come out and say that though - they want you to think its all about the little lip they added to the tailgate of their new trucks ;-)

An article that suggests as you do its the bubble effect you described can be found at Truck Test Digest - Tailgate Up or Down.

Most of the studies I have read on the topic also suggest that a tonneau cover will also improve the MPG and a hard one more so than a soft one.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:17 AM   #5
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Most of the studies I have read on the topic also suggest that a tonneau cover will also improve the MPG and a hard one more so than a soft one.
That's because a tonneau cover takes the place of the bubble efect.
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:21 AM   #6
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Myth busters did an episode on this and it was hands down tailgate up
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:29 AM   #7
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I have had aero people at both Ford and Chrysler tell me "up" is better.

Worst: tailgate down (actually, those web-type tailgates are thought to be worst.)
Better: tailgate up
Better still: full width tool box behind the cab
Best: full bed cover.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:37 AM   #8
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I figured I picked up about .5mpg with my tonneau on.


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Old 08-28-2014, 08:35 AM   #9
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I'm going shopping for a tonneau cover today for my F-150. I plan on leaving the 5th wheel hitch in the bed all the time. I'm getting a tonneau cover just to protect it from all the winter WET. Right now the BacFlip G2 is the front runner.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:55 AM   #10
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The new pickups are so tall that the air going over the top is slightly thinner than at ground level. This altitude difference means that the tailgate effect is reduced. You still have to lower the tailgate to look inside the box though.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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The new pickups are so tall that the air going over the top is slightly thinner than a ground level. This altitude difference means that the tailgate effect is reduced. You still have to lower the tailgate to look inside the box though.
I don't know why the manufacturers jacked the bed sides up so high. I have a pickup so I can reach in the bed and get stuff. I will not buy a new truck until I can reach over the side rails to access the bed, and I am dead average height for an American Male.
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:32 PM   #12
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Tailgate up and watch the dead leaves circle in the back without flying out. The wind current just flows over the rear with or without the tonneau.


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