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Old 02-15-2017, 08:56 PM   #1
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Ever heard of airtabs?

This is Hubby.
Buddy of mine visited today and I noticed he has some unusual wishbone looking things stuck all over his rig .
They are called airtabs and supposedly they reduce air buffeting and help increase fuel mileage. He says they really help when a large truck passes him and increased his MPG about 1.8 mpg.
I found the website for them and of course it is full of positive testimonials . Airtab | Aerodynamic Fuel Savers | Welcome
Anyone ever heard of them?
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:00 PM   #2
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I saw a video on them a while back, but kinda forgot. Not keen on the look of the, but if they work......
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:03 PM   #3
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Those things have been around for years. I've got screen shots that go back to at least 2006. So.... your MPG increases a smidge. How long does it take to clean the trailer and rewax with those pieces attached? I'm retired, but I still think time is money. Now show me something that increases fuel mileage a bunch... and I'll pay attention. Snake oil... not so much YMMV

In the end, if these were all that great, don't you think big carriers would have these mounted on trailers? They don't... must be a reason.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:39 PM   #4
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I figured the same but hey, you never know.
He has a few add-ons like that, the only one I've ever seen used by anyone were the centramatic wheel balancers. We had them on some of our trucks. It was easy to tell if they were on by the shoop shoop noise as you went slow by a wall.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Those things have been around for years. I've got screen shots that go back to at least 2006. So.... your MPG increases a smidge. How long does it take to clean the trailer and rewax with those pieces attached? I'm retired, but I still think time is money. Now show me something that increases fuel mileage a bunch... and I'll pay attention. Snake oil... not so much YMMV

In the end, if these were all that great, don't you think big carriers would have these mounted on trailers? They don't... must be a reason.
Well .... semi trucks do use foils. In the last few years truckers use big foils between their trailer axels (fore and aft). Not sure of the whole story here as I have never looked them up. No, not the little tabs, but truckers also use fairings both on the front of their cabs and trailers as well as behind the last trailer. Those guys with big surface areas want big results.

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Old 02-16-2017, 01:15 AM   #6
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Those fairings ( if that's what they are called ) along the side of the trailer ahead of the trailer wheels are there for cyclists and pedestrians to bounce off off, instead of getting run over. 'Tis true.
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:45 AM   #7
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I think a great source of drag is the air underneath the vehicle and trailer. It gets compressed against the ground pushing upward and increases drag increasing fuel consumption. I think those fairings along the side of the semi trailers which go a little inboard at the front actually remove a lot of air from underneath and do increase mileage. Something like that on a smaller scale may be more effective than Airtabs.
Still, if mounted in laminar flow near the back of the trailer the Airtabs may help slightly but may also help reduce the splash back of mud and debris on the back of the trailer.
Which brings up some thread drift. Does the solar panel on the roof do anything to decrease the splash back of mud on the rear of the trailer? Back when I had a SUV the rear windows were always getting trashed. I eventually bought an air deflector which directed air downward and it reduced the problem. Now that seems standard on a lot of SUVs.
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:05 AM   #8
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Here is a story about side guards.
After Cyclist Death, Brother Pushes For Truck Side Guards | Here & Now
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:44 AM   #9
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Those fairings ( if that's what they are called ) along the side of the trailer ahead of the trailer wheels are there for cyclists and pedestrians to bounce off off, instead of getting run over. 'Tis true.
Well, they may help with cyclists and pedestrians, but trailer side fairings (or belly fairings) really are for aerodynamic drag reduction - there are lots of online articles about them from suppliers and publications in the trucking industry. Due to the different shape, I can't see them having much potential for use on an Escape.
Green Wing Aerodynamic Side Skirts
TRAILERSKIRT®
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I like the SmartTruck under-tray, mostly because it looks like it shouldn't be effective but works, and partly because the approach may be helpful for travel trailers such as Escapes.

baglo, you may be thinking of side guards, not skirt-style fairings...
From The Toronto Star - Truck side guards may not be safer for cyclists
Quote:
Many people confuse side skirts, which are frequently used on tractor-trailers in Canada, with side guards, which are mandatory in Europe but seldom used here.

Side skirts fit between a trailer’s front and rear wheels to improve aerodynamics and are not intended for pedestrian protection. They’re usually made of fibreglass, aluminum or plastic, and have to be flexible so they don’t break off on snowbanks or other obstacles. They can improve fuel economy by as much as 6 per cent, but only at speeds above 70 km/h. As a result, they’re almost exclusively fitted to long-haul highway trailers, which are seldom used in downtown areas.

Side guards are specifically intended to prevent pedestrians or cyclists from going under the truck and are usually made of steel, placed between the wheels but not over them. They’re generally only found on one-piece straight trucks that are more likely to be used for inner-city deliveries. Skirts and guards are not used together.
That article is referring to rail-style guards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
This is definitely about side guards. Although most side guards are just rails, the flush panel style of side guard shown in the article can be effective aerodynamically as well. I've never seen flush panels like this on a tractor trailer, except in online images.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:01 AM   #10
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True. I photographed the aftermath of an accident where a woman, wearing earbuds and reading a book, walked into a bus turning left. I'm not sure side guards or rails would have helped.
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