Grumpy is my '97 Astro the I purchased for the sole purpose of entering the 2008 BA/BE Rally, which is a four day road rally from New York to New Orleans in which all vehicles entered must be bought for $250 or less.
Currently with my daily running about it gets about 16 mpg and with a 3000 mile road trip in its future I'd like to increase that. I'm looking into an air dam, blocking off the lower portion of the grill, and either adding Plexiglas over the headlights or switching to composite headlight like on my '99 Astro.
2000 Ford F-350 Super Cab Pickup
4x2, 6 speed manual
Regeared to 3.08:1
4 inch suspension slam
Aero mods: "Fastback" fairing and rugged air dam and side skirts
Stock MPG: 19
Summer MPG: 27.0
Winter MPG: 24
Wow, Big Dave. Your truck is the reason I found this site. Been reading Diesel Power since the 1st issue.
I can't really see doing a boat tail. I really like using my back doors. The fact that the keys I have don't unlock any of the doors and usually enter through an unlocked back door might have something to do with that.
I'd block the upper portion of the grill. It'll reduce drag better than blocking the lower part.
Air up the tires to the max pressure on the tire's sidewall if the tires appear to be in good condition. Check them closely, you never know with a van that cheap?
If you don't plan to carry much weight in it, try lowering it an inch or so. How much travel can the van stand to loose without hurting the ride?
Remove the side mirror. It has plenty of windows and visibility looks good.
Since it's almost the same color as cardboard, just tape on some sideskirts to cover the rear wheels.
Does the bottom of the rear bumper hang down in the airstream? You might want to get a jack and bend it up a little. Don't bend it so high it blocks the rear doors.
Tires are great actually, PO installed them last year. I currently have them set at 35 psi checking pressure every Saturday.
Lowering would probably be a bit cost prohibitive, that and after the rally I'm thinking about giving it a mild lift and going off roading. Need to chase my wife around in her Jeep Liberty, plus I just like the perceived wrongness of it.
I'll fold the mirrors down for interstate running, but I like to have them in urban areas.
I'll try the skirts, but Grumpy will not be brown come rally time.
Hmmm, Plexi skirts maybe, allow the wheels to be seen.
Luckily, the bumper does not hang below the body, rear doors barely clear it stock.
Oh, I should probably mention I'm on a very tight budget.
Grumpy has a weak fuel pump and requires the use of starting fluid to get going. Trying to accelerate in a hurry to merge with interstate traffic can result in the engine being starved for fuel if I hit the gas too hard. Fuel pumps for newer Astros are sold as complete fuel pump assembly units, cost more than the purchase price of the van, and thus are outside of my budget. I found someone on eBay selling generic kits to rebuild it for $30. Placing my order for scary parts today.
Heating it gently should work, but it turns to gloop at 250C so don't overdo it.
I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
There is a thread here comparing belly pans and air dams. The dams work better. You could also put skirt along the running boards along with the dam. I was looking at some large SUV floor mats at a discount store, they should work for the skirts. Probably too flexible for the dam, or try the plastic garden edging. The dam and skirts would give you the benefit of lowering to the air flow.
Maybe you can mount a kamback directly to the rear doors. Otherwise vortex generators.