I am considering fabricating a belly pan for my accord coupe. Firstly, is aluminum sheet metal a suitable material for construction? I have plenty of it, and pretty much work in a machine shop.
How large of a belly pan is ideal? How much of underneath your car do you actually want to cover?
I would be tempted to coat it with roll on truck bed liner, or flexable paint, .032" aluminum should be thick enough, I would be temped to laminate it to something if you are going to have large parts that are not suported, otherwise useing something like coraplast (coragated plastic sheating that is often used for yard signs) as it's light, stiff, and cheap, aluminum, even at wholesale, is exspensive right now, unless it was free, then you could almost sell it as scrap, and pay for the plastic, altho aluminum does hold up to heat rather nicely.
Also keep in mind that if you hit something like a branch in the road or a mud puddle and it grabs that aluminum, you will have little razor sharp pieces of metal shooting back at the car behind you - LAWSUIT !
Since you work at a machine shop, I'm sure you will do it right though.
Well, I think I am going to go with coroplast. I want something discrete, so I will have to paint it black if I can't find it in black already. Since it's just plastic, I'll be able to make any quick modifications that I need with ease, and it won't corrode.
How large of a belly pan should this be though? Should I try and cover the front half of the vehicle? I imagine I would have to cut a slot for the catalytic converter corresponding pipes.
I used coroplast. I just had the pieces interlock with one another.
Cover a small section and just go from there.
Right now, I have covered from the front tire back to the lip of the bumper.
I painted it black using of all things black acrylic paint ( yup it's waterbase )
Would you believe it is still all there after several months of rainy weather ?
Seen from the side the pieces interlock facing the back of the car away from the oncoming wind and water splashes.
It's really held up well, and is super lightweight.
I made sure that there was at least a 2" gap around anything that was hot like the tailpipe.
That sounds great. What kind of FE benefits did you see?
Absolutely none what-so-ever.
Why you ask ?
I only drive to work and back - a 14 mile drive ( 7 miles one way ).
I usually never drive over 50 MPH for more than a mile or so, and almost all of the trip is at the posted 45 or less MPH and in stop and go traffic.
I don't know .... maybe a half MPG at that speed.
It really was quite easy to install, and all the rest of you folks might really see some benefits.
I drove some on the highway on a trip from my folks ( 132 miles ).
I immediately noticed how quiet that the car had become.
It's surprising how much noise that you hear from the wind around the car.
I just slapped the stuff on, thinking I'd redo it better later, but it's been on for several months now with no problems what-so-ever. Ive been through several weeks of heavy rains as well as a daily dip in the road that really slams down your cars suspension - all with no problems.
GO FOR IT ! But you MUST post pictures of your work. We all like to 'steal'each others ideas and compare results !