Monday, May 10, 2010

Tercel Aero Mods: Front Grill Block and Under Belly Pan

So I'm planning on entering a MPG challenge this summer (the one at Green Drive Expo) which is my motivation behind these two mods.

All winter long I had some pink insulation foam blocking the front grill on my 98 tercel, and some plexiglass blocking the lower grill on the front bumper. Since its getting warmer out, I decided to remove the pink foam...plus I heard the radiator fan turn on one day when I pulled in my garage for the first time since I've owned the car.. While asking some of the guys at out local EV group, one guy mentioned a different way of improving frontal aerodynamics while still allowing for some air to get into the radiator for cooling. It sounded fairly simple, and along the lines of what I wanted; aerodynamics, and some more air for the summer months.



Front View:



Side View:



You can still see one line of the pink foam, left it in there because it was the only full piece that had not fallen out/cracked in the winter months...so I figured it wouldnt hurt any.

What I really want to accomplish is eliminate as much aerodynamic drag from underneath the car as possible...with out going crazy. From my reading, it is apparently a bad zone for any car.

I'm planning on making it out of corrogated plastic/corroplast. It seems like it would be durable enough, light, and cheap. Plus, I've seen several others use it to make grill blocks/under belly covers. My only concerns at this point are how close to the exhaust I can get without melting the plastic; I'm NOT planning on covering the exhaust, but rather cutting around it. Also, I'm concerned on where the best mounting points are going to be, since there are not a whole lot of them once you get past the front wheels.

Heres some photos I took of the cardboard mock-up I was working on this past weekend:

Current plastic panels covering some of the engine bay:



Current plastic sitting on top of cardboard mock-up:



Current plastic sitting on top of what is currently done being mocked-up:


Photos of the mock-up "mounted" under the car; note they are very close shots because there was not a lot of room between the floor and the car.

Driver side wheel well (Left is rear, Right is towards the front):



Clearance of Control Arm:



Exhaust Clearance; on the bottom is where it starts dropping down from the engine (top, is rear):



Exhaust, close to the catalytic converter:



Exhaust, at catalytic converter:



Front Sway Bar: