May 11, 2006
After seeing Dan's (krousdb) handy work with Coroplast on his Del Sol, I started playing around with a sheet of it. I added a aero belly cover to the rear of the Insight and added a engine pan to the Acura TL. That worked well.
I still have a 4 X 8 sheet of black Coroplast left, so I started brainstorming about where to use it.
2005 Honda Insight
1.)See if Coroplast will work as a front wheel skirt
2.)Is the aerodynamic gain measureable in FE?
1.) Coroplast rubbing on tire and melting
2.) Retraction system failure and wheel skirt gets ripped off in the airstream
To address concern #1, I glued thin sheets of white Teflon to the rub areas.
The retraction system is simply a latex glove cut into strips and doubled up to give some tension.
Also installed a small block at the front of the wheel well to prevent the skirt from being pulled in too far. Acts like a stop.
Tomorrow's commute to work will be the first test run. Speeds of 45-55 MPH, lots of turns, some high speed. It's a known course, with a years worth of fuel economy info. I'll see if it's measurable. I'm guessing it won't amount to much.
I'm bringing a few tools just in case they fail during the drive and have to be removed.
The drive to work this morning was the first chance to test the wheel skirts.
If this works, I may take the Insight to Bonneville and show those guys a thing or two!
At first I could hear the skirt flapping and slapping the wheel well stop. Speed was 38-40 MPH.
Then it got quiet after I picked up the speed to 48MPH. That was strange...humm?
Arrived in the parking lot at work, got out to see how it looked.
Oops! No front wheel skirts. They sheared off at top folded hinge.
A single sheet of Coroplast won't hold up to the forces and the retraction bands need to be much tighter.
Lesson learned. Back to the drawing board (cafeteria napkin).