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Old 04-29-2008, 12:07 PM   #1
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Do Body Kits improve Aerodynamic FE?

Hello to the group!

I have $2500 left from an insurance claim and I thought I might use some of it to add some style and aerodynamics to my little coupe. I already need to replace the hood due to extensive hail damage and I am thinking about adding a full body kit from www.andysautosport.com for $380. I also would like to add a somewhat conventional spoiler for added looks, etc. for under $200. Of course all of these parts would need to be painted to match the car.

My question to the group is what is the impact of a full body kit to the aerodynamic efficiency of a vehicle. I know the spoiler won't help aerodynamics from a FE standpoint but am curious about the body kit. I thought it would not only make my car look different than everyone elses but also reduce the amount of air flowing underneath the car and help reduce overall drag.

Can anyone provide any insight into this for me? I did a search for similar threads but didn't find anything along these lines.

Let me know.
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Old 04-29-2008, 12:58 PM   #2
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Depends on the design. Most kits due to their design would hurt gas mileage.
We have discussed rear spoilers here and most agree they add drag to the car. Are there kits out there that would help your gas mileage? Probably, but they would be generally only available from a racing supplier. These are not $300 add on kits. These kits run upwards of $2,000-$3,000 due to the work put into them in the wind tunnel. Down side to most of these Racing Kits is in most cases they are designed to add down force to a car at speed. More down force equals less gas mileage.
If your looking for add on panels for that sporty look then go for it. In my opinion they will do nothing for increasing your gas mileage.

Fuel prices have been heading north over the last two years. If there was a magic ground effects kit out there, that would help with gas mileage, the major auto manufactures would be adding them on their cars.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:10 PM   #3
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I looked through some of the parts for my car,but didn't see anything that helped anything I was trying to do. The front bumpers look like they are made to catch air instead of push it away.. Fender flares might be good for over-sized ( wide) tires; but for me they don't close the wheel well enough.
I do like the weigh reduction of the carbon or fiberglass hoods,trunks and fenders,but still a bit more than I want to spend.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:24 PM   #4
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Hateful,

I know what you mean. I have poured through countless websites and magazines looking at various front bumper design. It seems like 90% of them are full of giant openings for grills or lights. I have come across a few that would look OK on my car and should provide some aerodynamic results.

I am more looking into this to add to the looks for my car more than anything but don't want to damage the FE that I am getting lately (around 40 mpg).

I am wondering if a front bumper lip would make more sense than an entire new bumber.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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if you're going to replace the hood you might look for a lighter replacement and maybe one with air extraction vents.... this wil aid airflow trough the radiator and allow for more grillblocking. sideskirts might help but most add on front bumpers are desasters, all for downforce warped around a huge grillopening, and some agressive cavities thrown in for looks.
as for the spoiler, what about a lip spoiler that extends the trunk, or a subtle yurney flap (like on some bmw's) that might just strape of the boundty layer, adding some downforce but also makeing a clean separation witout adding to much drag...
that money would also get you some decent materials to build an undertray perhaps, but of course that does nothing for your cars looks.

it all depends on what you want. if you have a speciffic race car look in mind just get the parts and the car will look cool and use a little more gas.

if you want effective mods for a roadcar, and drive for FE, downforce wont be a big concearn, your car was set up from the factory to keep the power it came with on the road and will do so at sensible speeds. but the aerodynamics can be improved by reduceing drag, and if you spend a little extra cash on the materials and finish of your custom mods your car will look different and quite cool, but things will be more subtle that a big spoiler. (wich will likely reduce your top speed, so more subtle aeromods are more of a performance mod than all these agressive stying gadgets)

anyway, each his own of course
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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please do not do that to your civic. i bought my civic with a complete kit, and half the time im bottoming out my kit, getting scrapes, and having the fiberglass bumper break apart. you will either have people laugh at your car or have someone trying to race you at a light


having a car that looks fast and isnt, is not a good idea. i learned it the hard way and went back to stock
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by civic94 View Post
please do not do that to your civic. i bought my civic with a complete kit, and half the time im bottoming out my kit, getting scrapes, and having the fiberglass bumper break apart. you will either have people laugh at your car or have someone trying to race you at a light

having a car that looks fast and isnt, is not a good idea. i learned it the hard way and went back to stock

I had thought of that too. I am concerned about reducing the clearance for the front of my car. I am looking at both fiberglass and urethane models. I am told the urethane is more flexible and handles bumps, dings, etc. better than the fiberglass will.

I am finding that most of these body kits are very aggressive. I am looking more for something that will compliment the overall lines of the vehicle, reduce air going under the car without catching a lot of air with the front bumper.

I am most interested in this for adding to the "fun" factor for driving the car without looking like a "Tokyo Drift Wannabe". I work in a marketing office and will get a lot of ribbing if I take this too far. I will probably get accused of having a low-budget, midlife crisis.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:39 PM   #8
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I'm not going for looks, but I sure get a lot of them. Anyway my duck tape/coke bottle mods are easy to fix when damaged. I'm getting laughed at a lot.Since gas average nation wide did make it to $3.60 I'm waiting for laughs to become questions.
I was worried about ribbing but once they started I just went for more.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:23 AM   #9
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I am very curious if anyone in the group has any experience with adding one of these after market bumpers or front bumper spoilers (rather than making your own) and what impact it has on fuel efficiency.

I know we have one vote against these custom bumpers primarily due to the increased ability to tear them up.

Any additional first hand experiences whether good or bad would be helpful.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:06 PM   #10
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Yes and no...

I would have to say most commercially-made body kits were made for looks and certain effects and what have you... It is unfortunate but I don't think anyone in the commercial body kit industry ever had FE in mind during the design stages.
But, they look good.

DIY body kits otoh, such as the ones made by some members here, for the most part yes.
Unfortunately the looks, well we're not made of money, you see...

You might check into an OEM fiberglass hood.
If painted to matching color and you do it right it shouldn't attract looks or racers.
It saves about 70 pounds, the cost is roughly the same as a new steel OEM hood.
That is, unless it's cheaper to body work your current hood...
As far as I know fiberglass hoods... $3-4-500...
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