Anyone use those AirTabs to decrease drag?? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:34 PM   #1
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Anyone use those AirTabs to decrease drag??

I get RV Travel newsletter in my inbox every Saturday and they have always got an advertisement for AirTabs. These are purported to decrease drag from the wind as well as increase gas mileage.

Of course, I fully understand that the vast majority of users will be drivers of large to very large RVs and or coaches. But on the testimonial page there is a comment with photo from a Casita owner.

Anyone have any experience with this product?

The one thing I don't "get" is why the Casita owner stuck his on in the middle of his sliding window!! Perhaps he doesn't open them very widely...but for me, there is no way I'd put them there (IF I were to purchase them),
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:02 PM   #2
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Googled it to find out what you were talking about. Consensus on RV forums I checked is what I expected: snake oil.

Best way to decrease wind drag is to slow down.
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:54 PM   #3
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Yes...I think so, too. See the ad each week as I read thru the newsletter...and just wondered about the validity. Most testimonials posted spout increased gas mileage of only less than 1 mpg. Questionable value at best. The concept of decreasing wind drag and/or the push when being passed by a large tractor trailer isn't an issue for our trailer. Being a 13'er we don't often find much push at all.

But...maybe others have different experiences. If so, I'd like to hear them!
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Old 08-19-2017, 02:56 PM   #4
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AirTabs are also mentioned in the Wind Deflectors thread.

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Old 08-19-2017, 06:53 PM   #5
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I don't know that they do a tremendous amount for mileage, but they can improve stability on boxier trucks and trailers.

Part of the issue for me was that I spend limited time towing which makes recovering the up-front cost of the Air Tabs via fuel savings more elusive.

No, I don't have any links to sources to back this up. But I did spend quite a bit of time checking them out a year or two back. For what it might be worth, I spent a lot of time on sites other than RV forums such as hyper-miling forums like EcoModder.

I did a lot of this research back when I was considering converting a rectangular-backed cargo trailer into a travel trailer. (I was also considering asking if they would manufacture a "V-tail" or "Double-V" trailer as that would more aerodynamic than the V-nose configuration commonly sold. So, consider the source here; Mike is certifiably nuts! )

Anyway, our Casita has always been so stable and we tow so few miles overall that in the end I didn't figure it would be worth using Air Tabs in that particular application.
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:50 PM   #6
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Those things came out waaaay back in my truckin' days..they were considered snake oil...there is some possibility of advantage with a large, square/flat back trailer...not so much on a round Casita/Scamp type trailer...as always, YMMV...............
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:12 AM   #7
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Does anybody have any pictures of these things?
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captleemo View Post
Does anybody have any pictures of these things?
All kinds on the website: Airtab | Aerodynamic Fuel Savers | Welcome
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:05 AM   #9
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There may be an application on the TV for turbulator that serve to straighten the flow from the back of the TV to the front of the trailer.
There is probably more to be gained here than elsewhere.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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As a note this would work better with a boxier van than a truck.
I have been tempted to try a set on my T&C and 16 foot Scamp.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:17 AM   #11
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As I read through the adds I'm reminded of the 50s and 60s and the 50 to 100 mpg carborator and the 90s hydrogen extraction from water systems. Now it's Airtabs.
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:19 PM   #12
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Carburetor? What is that?
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:14 PM   #13
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Oh ok, never seen them before but suspect they work about as good as those bug deflectors that mount on the front of the hood.
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:35 PM   #14
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The were designed to be put on the wings of airplanes....They create a small vortex which disrupts the airflow over the large surface area. By a little disruption of the airflow they help create create lift, which without an understanding of aero dynamics seems illogical. But don't worry about how it works for airplanes, just realize what that device is doing is creating lift by a localized disruption of the airstream.

You don't want to create lift on your trailer (not that it would make it actually fly up into the air ). For the best gas mileage you also want to keep the airflow smooth rather than being disrupted by a nonsensical Air Tab product.

People see things being done on airplanes without understanding why they are done and what effect they produce then copy it thinking it will help reduce mileage. This is one of those products where the maker got it all wrong. So forget about it, they are not going to save you gas money. You will be out the purchase price plus a little bit of fuel efficiency. It is indeed a scam put out by people to make a buck off of other people's lack of understanding of aerodyamics. Cheap to make...good profits..does not work as claimed because what it was designed to do makes absolutely no sense for use in a ground based vehicle. You already have enough junk disrupting the airflow without adding a feature that was originally designed for the specific purpose of disrupting airflow.
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:49 PM   #15
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They put then on the wings of airplanes....They create a small vortex which disrupts the airflow over the large surface area. By a little disruption of the airflow they help create create lift which without an understanding of aero dynamics seems illogical. But don't worry about how it works for airplanes, just realize what that device is doing is creating lift as well as disrupting the airstream.

You don't need to create lift on your trailer,not that it would make it actually fly up into the air or even do much in the way of lifting that heavy object as the trailer does not have the proper shape to function as a wing. For the best gas mileage you also want to keep the airflow smooth rather than being disrupted by a product specifically designed to create disruption.

People see things being done on airplanes without understanding why they are done and what effect they produce then copy it thinking it will help reduce mileage. This is one of those products where the maker got it all wrong. So forget about it, they are not going to save you gas money. You will be out the purchase price plus a little bit of fuel efficiency. It is indeed a scam put out by people to make a buck off of other people's lack of understanding of aerodyamics. Cheap to make...good profits..does not work as claimed because what it was designed to do makes absolutely no sense for use in a ground based vehicle.

Why would you put yet another item that causes disruption of airflow onto the surface of your trailer when we already have a lot of junk on the sides and top of the trailer that is already causing a disruption of airflow? We need less disruption of the airstream, not more, if you want to improve gas mileage.

As to sticking it on a window on the side of a trailer?
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Old 08-20-2017, 03:00 PM   #16
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Streamlining ?

I had put up some truck streamlining photos on line, it may have been on the old Yahoo Scamp site. The truck skirts, cab streamlining and flaps on the back of the trailer really do work, esp with trucks doing thousands of miles per week. And as I saw in Canada in July, and Nevada and Utah last week, often at over 75 mph. Certainly keeping your speed under 55 or 60 is the easiest solution. But I just returned from Bonneville Speed week a few days ago and saw many air control fins or blades or wings on cars going 200 to 250 mph, let alone the ones over 400 mph. ( Mickey Thompson and George Poteet ) And specifically, last year I saw the little vortex triangles on a big GMC fiberglas motorhome which was expected to go over 140 mph. ( It did not due to the poor condition of the salt ) These things work, but seem of little use to the casual fiberglas trailer owner.
But I still plan to experiment with some kind of small spoiler or wing on the fiberglas camper shell of my Ford Ranger. It already starts at cab height and gradually raises to almost the height of my Scamp 13'. Whether the possible changes will affect gas mileage enough to measure is uncertain but an interesting challenge. David Gearhart in Fresno and Sonora, CA (Photo (if it shows) is from 2016; a '53 Studebaker with air controls.)
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Old 08-20-2017, 03:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
They put then on the wings of airplanes....They create a small vortex which disrupts the airflow over the large surface area. By a little disruption of the airflow they help create create lift which without an understanding of aero dynamics seems illogical. But don't worry about how it works for airplanes, just realize what that device is doing is creating lift as well as disrupting the airstream.

You don't need to create lift on your trailer,not that it would make it actually fly up into the air or even do much in the way of lifting that heavy object as the trailer does not have the proper shape to function as a wing. For the best gas mileage you also want to keep the airflow smooth rather than being disrupted by a product specifically designed to create disruption.

People see things being done on airplanes without understanding why they are done and what effect they produce then copy it thinking it will help reduce mileage. This is one of those products where the maker got it all wrong. So forget about it, they are not going to save you gas money. You will be out the purchase price plus a little bit of fuel efficiency. It is indeed a scam put out by people to make a buck off of other people's lack of understanding of aerodyamics. Cheap to make...good profits..does not work as claimed because what it was designed to do makes absolutely no sense for use in a ground based vehicle.

Why would you put yet another item that causes disruption of airflow onto the surface of your trailer when we already have a lot of junk on the sides and top of the trailer that is already causing a disruption of airflow? We need less disruption of the airstream, not more, if you want to improve gas mileage.

As to sticking it on a window on the side of a trailer?
So how does one reconcile this with dimples on golf balls?
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Old 08-20-2017, 03:25 PM   #18
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AirTabs ?

AirTabs might be helpful if placed on the back of the camper shell, rather than a wing, to lift the air over the trailer. ( I do get bugs on the front and top of my Scamp, so air is hitting it directly ) I may test that theory, especially since the AirTabs are only $2.75 each, and require only 3 per linear foot. The GMC motorhome I mentioned earlier had tons of AirTabs, but all were donated, so free. I did not get a chance to talk to that owner this year. (last week) David in Fresno, Sonora, Reno, Wendover, Ely . . .
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Old 08-20-2017, 03:30 PM   #19
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GMC 'MOHO'

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidG View Post
AirTabs might be helpful if placed on the back of the camper shell, rather than a wing, to lift the air over the trailer. ( I do get bugs on the front and top of my Scamp, so air is hitting it directly ) I may test that theory, especially since the AirTabs are only $2.75 each, and require only 3 per linear foot. The GMC motorhome I mentioned earlier had tons of AirTabs, but all were donated, so free. I did not get a chance to talk to that owner this year. (last week) David in Fresno, Sonora, Reno, Wendover, Ely . . .
Here is a photo, if it works, and is not upside down : The Motorhome is gutted and has a big roll cage.The biggest change is that it is dropped to the ground. David Gearhart , in Fresno today.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:00 PM   #20
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I wonder if they work as well as magnets on the fuel line?

If you are interested in a small savings on fuel, just slow down a bit. The result is easily measured with your own mileage meter, without any sales reports, cost to purchase anything, installation work, comparisons to airplanes, or debates about wether it works or not.

Even if you do install them, you can still slow down and get measurable results, or are people buying them so they can drive faster with no additional fuel used?
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