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Old 06-04-2008, 07:05 PM   #11
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Agreed. If you look at both the Honda Ridgeline and the Chevy Avalanche, it seems that the side wings are more than just a style statement.
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:58 AM   #12
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You mean the sail panels? On the Avalanche, they're structural, as it's a chopped-off Suburban rather than a pickup.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:24 AM   #13
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Not to dispute the notion that they add structure, but consider that the Suburban rides on a pickup style chassis and really doesn't need reinforcement from the body.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:08 AM   #14
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I know, and that's the first thing I thought of too when I found out that they are structural. Apparently, to keep the body properly stiff with modern thin sheet metal and all the openings, additional superstructure is required.

http://www.google.com/search?q=avala...ail+structural
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...13/ai_82065815
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The Convert-a-Cab system meets that market demand, but it also creates an engineering problem: how to restore the body's structural integrity lost when the SUT's rear wall became a door. The answer is the addition of boxed steel reinforcements throughout the rear section of the vehicle tied to the solid member of the C-pillar structure by the sail panel. Gjestvang says that the engineers came up with the sail panel's 45[degrees] angle to "tie everything together as a structural system." From there they worked with the designers to achieve a part that was both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing, and ended up creating the signature design cue for the vehicle.
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