Wind deflectors? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-24-2017, 12:29 PM   #1
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Name: Shawn
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Wind deflectors?

Anyone have any experience with wind deflectors? Expensive to purchase, but should be quite easy to build. We're trying to improve fuel economy when towing. We've lightened things as much as possible. We tow a 1980 17' Bigfoot with a Pathfinder.
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Old 07-24-2017, 12:58 PM   #2
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Shaped like a 8 ft. x 8 ft. shoe box, the Bigfoot is never going to be easy to tow with good gas mileage. The only improvement I've found is driving much slower. I once got 14.5 mpg while driving 50 mph on very rural roads; but I'm normally happy to see 12 mpg at 60 mph. Add in a head wind and mileage drops.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:33 PM   #3
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Name: Eddie
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wind deflector

I used a wind deflector while towing a Scamp 5er and other trailers. Really did not help that much with gas mileage but it worked great for keeping bugs off the front of the trailer. That's a big deal during love bug season in the south.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:36 PM   #4
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My wife says I could use a wind deflector. Please let me know what you guys come up with.
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:32 AM   #5
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We often travel with a roof rack mounted bag on our SUV. It acts as our wind deflector, most bugs smash into it before the camper, and we get about 14-15 mpg when fully loaded.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:55 AM   #6
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Got our wind deflector built and mounted. Tried it out yesterday on the way to the campground. This was about a 3 hour trip. It made a huge difference! The trailer now tows a lot easier and driving is much more relaxing now that the transmission isn't always shifting out of overdrive. Engine RPMs are way down and mileage is way up. No bug splatter. Have to brake quite a bit more on the steep downgrades though.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:08 AM   #7
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Can you post pictures?
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:57 AM   #8
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Name: Jack L
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Originally Posted by Shawn B. View Post
Got our wind deflector built and mounted. Tried it out yesterday on the way to the campground. This was about a 3 hour trip. It made a huge difference! The trailer now tows a lot easier and driving is much more relaxing now that the transmission isn't always shifting out of overdrive. Engine RPMs are way down and mileage is way up. No bug splatter. Have to brake quite a bit more on the steep downgrades though.
Everything I have read about towing with my Toyota Tacoma on Tacoma or Toyota forums says do not tow in 5th gear. Too hard on the transmission. I'm not sure about a Pathfinder, but I would probably always use 4th gear in any towing situation like this. Best MPG ever when towing was 14.5 and worst was 7.5 in a very heavy headwind. Usually 12.5 is average. The frontal area on our Bigfoot trailers really catches the wind.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:58 PM   #9
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Prior to installing the wind deflector it was very nerve wracking trying to tow in top gear. First the torque converter would unlock and then the transmission would downshift out of overdrive on the slightest incline or a headwind. Total rpm increase was about 1000. Our top speed at a sane rpm was very limited. Now the downshifting is far less frequent and I can even accelerate up a slight incline without the transmission downshifting or the torque converter unlocking. We've gained speed with reduced engine rpm and much better fuel economy (used to be between 18 and 19 litres/100km. On this week's trip it was 15.2 one way and 15.7 on the way home). This setup should be easier on the transmission.

I'll post some pictures soon.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:21 PM   #10
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The next step will be something to reduce turbulence off the trailing edge of the deflector. Lots of good reviews about a device called an Airtab.
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:12 PM   #11
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What does your manual say about towing in OD?
Best check.
I almost blew up a torque converter towing a tent trailer with a Ford Explorer. Daughter pointed out that the manual said not to tow in OD. She was 17 years old at the time.
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:53 PM   #12
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Just for thought & FWIW -

The feathers at the trailing edge of a bird's wing and tail generally have a scalloped shape/pattern; not a straight line. Similar idea on most butterfly wings.

Because of the pressure differential between top and bottom, a scalloped pattern or a sawtooth on the trailing edge should generate vortices like AirTab suggests.

Maybe nature knows .... 😉

Ray
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
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What does your manual say about towing in OD?
Best check.
I almost blew up a torque converter towing a tent trailer with a Ford Explorer. Daughter pointed out that the manual said not to tow in OD. She was 17 years old at the time.
Glenn, was that the daughter or the Ford who was 17 at the time?

If the transmission is not shifting and the mileage is up, it's indicating that the load on the tow vehicle has been reduced.

Maybe it's working well enough to allow operating in overdrive, maybe not. But it sounds like the signs are positive.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:13 PM   #14
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The daughter was 17 at the time, and I had told her what the manual said. She reminded me of that.
When we pulled into the campground, the Ford was making a loud clicking sound and everybody was turning to look at us.
Next day I took it to a local mechanic and he told me I had almost blow the torque converter. He also torqued the nuts on my aluminum rims and charged me nothing. Said, "I'll get you next time".
Gave the Explorer ( 1994 ) to my daughter and replaced it with a RAV4 V6 Sport. She owned it for two weeks before it blew the head gasket ( known Ford issue ). She sold it to a high school shop teacher who rebuilt it with student labour.
It's probably a classic by now.
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