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The verdict is in.......

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  #1  
Old 08-22-2004
John Moorehead's Avatar
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Just read a very informative article today in Road&Track magazine.

The article was about aerodynamics of trucks, and it answered the age-old question: tailgate up or down?

I see this debate pop up on here about once a month, so I paid special attention and "took notes"....

It presented several values of Coefficient of Drag (CD) based on the different scenarios. The results were as follows:

Test Vehicle: 2002 F-150

CD with tailgate up: ~51.2

CD with tailgate down: ~52.5

CD with net style tailgate: ~55.5

CD with partial tonneau: ~50.7

CD with full-sized hard tonneau: ~49.7


Basically, the higher the number, the more drag the vehicle produces through the airstream. A relatively small CD will also yield better gas mileage given an identical test vehicle and similar testing situations. So a tonneau DOES help with mileage and aerodynamic efficiency after all. And leaving the gate up is the best "free" thing you can do to improve CD of your truck.

Aside from the main slipstream being affected, the gate being down was also proven to decrease efficeny of air flowing under the truck, as well as making the box less rigid and more prone to major damage during a wreck, should it occur.

If anyone want's to see for themselves, look for this month's issue of Road&Track magazine.....it is in the back 1/4 of the book.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2004
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This study was done a long time ago and I have been saying this for years. Everytime however, someone insists that I am full of ______ and refuses to believe it.
 
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2004
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Yeah, you and I both. :D

I knew it was "old news" to a few of us, but this was the first time lately I had seen it in a magazine and plainly said.
 
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2004
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Well, maybe that will help the people who refuse to believe a scientific study with controls and variables.
 
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2004
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good study! nice to see the numbers
 
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2004
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what is a partial tonneau? do they mean soft??
 
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2004
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yep soft, cause i know my soft sometimes flaps up like air gets inside, i need a hard tonno..
 
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  #8  
Old 08-22-2004
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what if I take off my tailgate and put on a soft tonno? JK!
 
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  #9  
Old 08-22-2004
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Re: Should I trust Jiffy Lube with my transmission?

Any statistics covering a hard body camper top? Such as mine?
 
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2004
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Well, they didn't have the numbers on the camper present, but I would assume the numbers to be the same if not slightly less than the hard tonneau. The most aerodynamic shape in existence is a ball, so the fewer planar changes you have, the better off you are. A camper would immediately create a smooth surface for the air to flow over. The open bad/tailgate up is the best combo w/o mods because an air bubble is formed and thus makes a clean exit route for the air coming over the cab. A hard tonneau still utilizes an air pocket to complete the airflow path to the back, but the bubble is assisted in formation by the smooth surface and thus is created sooner. This is why most people notice a difference (read, decrease) in drag around 45-60 mph.
 
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