Civic Hatchback Aerodynamics part deux - Fuelly Forums

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Old 11-07-2007, 10:01 PM   #1
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Civic Hatchback Aerodynamics part deux

So in following the footsteps of the pioneer Basjoos before me, I too am setting out on the road of improving the aerodynamics of a 5th generation Honda Civic hatchback.

Goals are as follows:
1.) Improve aerodynamics from Cd: 0.32 to Cd: 0.26 or better (Honda Insight equivalent)
2.) Materials must be Weather, impact and wear resistant with a (projected) life of 5+ years of normal use.
3.) Overall design of components must be removable, with no permanent changes to the structure of the automobile.
4.) Aesthetic considerations play a role, notably in the S.W.M.B.O. test. (She Who Must Be Obeyed cannot object *too* strenuously to the aesthetics of the modifications).

In pursuit of these goals I plan to implement the following modifications, in roughly this order:
1.) Rear wheel fairings (not the most effective, I know, but the easiest, and most forgiving)
2.)Front wheel fairings
3.)Partial front belly pan
4.)Fiberglas front nose/splitter
5.)Boat-tail

And now for a quickly photochopped picture of phases 1-4




Now, to kick-off my little project I acquired a full sheet of 4-5mm (?) thick peice of white one-sided-grained ABS plastic. This actually took about a solid month of trying to track down my local plastics supplier. But today I actually found him and for a mere $75 took home a sheet of awesome white ABS.



ABS seems to me to be the ideal material for making fairings and such because of it's malleability under heat and because it can be "welded" with the right equipment. Luckily my local Harbor Freight store has the welding kit if I ever feel spendy, and they had a heat-gun on sale for $9.99 last week which I fortuitously saw fit to pick up even though I had no ABS at the time.

Stay tuned for the next episode: "Templates Galore!!!"
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:44 PM   #2
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Your plans are looking good. Might I suggest one difference though, fill in the "valley" where the OEM trim would be.
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Old 11-08-2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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ajohnmeyer -

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajohnmeyer View Post
So in following the footsteps of the pioneer Basjoos before me, I too am setting out on the road of improving the aerodynamics of a 5th generation Honda Civic hatchback.

Goals are as follows:
1.) Improve aerodynamics from Cd: 0.32 to Cd: 0.26 or better (Honda Insight equivalent)
2.) Materials must be Weather, impact and wear resistant with a (projected) life of 5+ years of normal use.
3.) Overall design of components must be removable, with no permanent changes to the structure of the automobile.
4.) Aesthetic considerations play a role, notably in the S.W.M.B.O. test. (She Who Must Be Obeyed cannot object *too* strenuously to the aesthetics of the modifications).

...
For the nose, I would do the following :

1 - Remove the bumper cover and set it aside.
2 - Go to a junkyard and find another same-gen Civic bumper cover.
3 - Do anything you want to the junkyard bumper cover. Here's a good thread with an example idea on that :

Have you used dope?
http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=5584
Quote:
I was wondering if anyone has tried making an aero mod in the same fashion as an early aeroplane? This is, make a frame, stretch a sheet over it, and then paint it with lacquer or urethane. Hunting down coroplast is surely easier, but I'm curious as to whether this would work?
That way, you could do anything you want to the nose and have it be 100% reversible. I think this would satisfy your S.W.M.B.O. requirements.

That's one of my many many many long term plans, if I ever get the time.

CarloSW2
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:03 PM   #4
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I'll be interesting to see your results. I am curious why you decided to go with only a partial belly pan when full coverage would give better FE results? Also wheel spoilers and side skirts are cheap and easy to do, but aren't on your list.

Foamed PVC is considerably lighter and cheaper than ABS and can also be welded (I've done it using PVC welding rod and a heat gun) and can be heated to create permanant bends. I flush-covered the OEM trim groove on the sides of my car.
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:51 PM   #5
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I think the ABS Plastic would work great for the underbelly pan pieces...very sturdy! It would also be great for the side skirts mentioned above. Then I would work on the wheel skirts with a lighter material. Sounds like you have some pretty ambitious plans...we won't recognize it by the beginning of next year probably. Seems like spun wheel covers would be a bit easier than skirts for now...
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:12 PM   #6
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It's awsome someone else is starting to transform a Civic hatchback now. If my money situation ever allows it this is something I am going to do as well. What garage tinkering could be more fun? And she-who-needs-answered-to can be told that this is a hobby that saves money instead of buring it

I'll follow this thread for sure and please keep those photos coming!
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:24 PM   #7
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I think the ABS Plastic would work great for the underbelly pan pieces...very sturdy! It would also be great for the side skirts mentioned above. Then I would work on the wheel skirts with a lighter material. Sounds like you have some pretty ambitious plans...we won't recognize it by the beginning of next year probably. Seems like spun wheel covers would be a bit easier than skirts for now...
I think CO ZX2 got 1/16" thick 8'*4' sheet of ABS plastic from Home Depot in the "wall stuff" department. Less than $30, I think.

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Old 11-08-2007, 08:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basjoos View Post
I am curious why you decided to go with only a partial belly pan when full coverage would give better FE results? Also wheel spoilers and side skirts are cheap and easy to do, but aren't on your list.
I am wanting to do a full belly pan, though I am planning an EV conversion. If I do a belly pan now I may well have to make another one after I take replace the gas tank with a battery box during the EV conversion process. Wheel spoilers (especially on the front) are hopefully going to be incorporated into the belly pan.

As for the nosepeice, my plans right now are to make the lowest front extension out of a U-shaped piece of aluminum. Then, stretch out a few yards of white "sweatshirt" fabric from the aluminum bar to the top seam of the bumper. Once the sweatshirt fabric is thoroughly covered with fiberglass resin the "real" bumper can be removed. The sweatshirt fabric thing is a trick from my car-audio days, it's a lot better to work with over a stretch-mold than regular fiberglass mat. It cures a lot thicker, stretches better, and ends up needing a lot less bondo if you paint it.
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:08 PM   #9
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Rear wheel fairings in progress...

So I got the first of my aluminum supports for the rear wheel fairings attached to the car tonight. It got dark before I could get the second side on though. Oh well, I have a little time tomorrow. So here's some lovely crappy pics.

Here's the horizontal support brace installed; it's pretty sturdy.




On the back side I've attached it with an "extruded U-clip" to the rear bumper.
In the front I basically attached it with a larger, stainless-steel version of your standard drywall anchor. I unknowingly chose to drill into the body where I can't get behind the sheet metal to get a nut on the bolt. So that's where the big drywall anchors come in.
After having it on the car, I've decided that I'm going to try to find a hinge to put on the front part of it tomorrow. A hinge will greatly facilitate tire removal if (when) I get a flat.




The only other thing I need is a much smaller bracket above the tire to hold up the top of the fairing.

So far, I have spent about $8 on the 1"x 1/8" aluminum bar stock and about $15 on various stainless steel hardware, that seems like a lot for hardware, but it is stainless steel, and I have changed my mind about fasteners about 3-4 times now...
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:32 PM   #10
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ok, I got all the brackets for the rear fairings installed. There is one horizontal bar running the length of the wheel well opening on the bottom and a small tab on the top of the wheel well opening approximately between the 11o'clock and 12 o'clock position (from the drivers side)
[/IMG]


Now I just have some template-finessing to do. The initial templates I made for the rear fairings are a little off. I made them before I had the aluminum brackets made or installed, so they're a bit off.
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