I've got my car off the road to put in a new engine and am giving serious thoughts to installing an undertray as has been done on several other cars on this site.
My question pertains to air flow through the radiator and engine bay. If I install an undertray, where does this air go? I wish to retain a stock appearance, so don't want to cut holes in the bonnet or guards. How have others got around this problem?? I really don't want to stop too much cooling flow through the engine because I live in tropical Australia (very hot), and have a large engine (304cui... I know, not very fuel efficient ).
Is there an ideal place to vent excess air?? Would I be better off just installing a really big retractable air-dam/spoiler under the car?? Any ideas would be appreciated.
I run most of my cooling air exhaust out through driveshaft openings (front wheel drive) into the front wheel wells and the remainder runs through a tunnel enclosing the exhaust pipe and catalytic converter to exhaust into the right rear wheel well.
With all of the fast air movement within the wheel wells, there is a lower air pressure (Bernoulli's principle) inside the wheel wells. This helps to pull the radiator exhaust air out of the engine compartment, especially in the front wells where I am venting the exhaust near the hub and the air is being spun outward as in a centrifugal (squirrelcage) fan. Since there is already so much air turbulance inside the wheel well, the added turbulence of the exhausted radiator air doesn't add to the turbulence of the car's aerodynamics.
Ideally the best place to exhaust the radiator air is into the low pressure eddy behind the car where it can help to fill that void. If your exhaust pipe runs the length of your car and you plan to install underbody panelling, you could build a tunnel into the panelling following the exhaust pipe to carry the radiator exhaust air from your engine compartment to the back of your car.
Well I got a belly pan on the front of my Saturn today. Here are some before and after pictures. I am not sure how I will change the oil now. It seems to help the mileage a bit but I have not driven too far and don't trust the scan gauge completely since my IAT experiment. The Aluminum heat shield is valley metal. I had to open the grill to about 16 square inches for now.
I also have a Saturn ('98 SL2) and have a great deal of interest in your post. I have thought of doing an undertray as far back as the front swaybar, so that the radiator can exhaust sufficiently. What you have done is far more radical! Have you had a chance to ascertain any differences in stability or mileage yet? Has it affected engine temperatures (maybe not until summer, eh?)? What is the blue material you used? It looks like you are using an aluminum insert (valley metal?) below the exhaust routing.
Great stuff! Thanks for posting!
I also have a Saturn ('98 SL2) and have a great deal of interest in your post.
Before the tray I was running with the grill 100 % blocked and the air dam removed. It was running 195-200. Since installing this the warmest day has been near 70. I opened up the bottom grill slot the width of the license plate. That has been too much but warmer weather is coming. It still runs 195 -200. The low side of thermostat opening. There is lots of outlet area. I think cooling will not be an issue at all. I might be on the shoulder pulling grill block some day though. It did get to 206 one day but I think that was due to an EOC just before the thermostat opened. To put this in perspective it ran 198-200 with the new t-stat before any mods.
Mileage improvement will be confused with warmer weather and heated intake air. I am over half way through my best tank ever. The EOC is better. I might break 50 mpg this tank.
It is just coroplast and valley aluminum. It slips between the bumper cover and supprts. I had to use longer plastic rivets. I may try to find some screws and clip nuts when I chanage the oil. The rest is just tie straps. I hope to go back 4 more feet this weekend if the yardwork will let me.