Welcome to the fourth entry in May’s Medium Mod Contest. One Medium Mod will be published in every Email Alert in May. At the end of the month, we’ll hold a reader vote to determine May’s winner. Click here for information about the 2022 Mod Contest, including how to enter.
Greg Gabert, Seminole, Florida
Aerofoil Wind Deflector
2019 Ram 3500
2017 Palomino SS-1200 Backpack Edition
As a retired Aerospace Design Engineer, I always marvel at the aerodynamically inefficient blunt leading edge of some truck campers. Even on my new Palomino pop-up, there is still 12-inches of leading-edge flat. I have found that at speeds above 60, my fuel mileage is severely compromised.
Time permitting, I avoid this issue by traveling mostly back roads and poking around small towns to savor the local amenities and maybe that BBQ on the corner. Ah, I digress.
My Palomino sits really high, so it also has quite a gap at the truck’s roofline.
I added the front foil to direct the air above the camper and a V above the truck’s roof to channel the air away from that flat dead wall behind the pickup cab.
We have an ALRO metals supplier in my area. I dug through their aluminum remnant racks for my materials. A 30-degree bend was formed in the top edge and stainless screws (6-inch spacing) were utilized to attach the upper edge to the camper. I used Loctite polyseal to seal all joints.
The curved bend in the wing was formed on the driveway using a piece of 1-inch electrical conduit clamped to the aluminum sheet. Even though the aluminum sheet was only .030 of an inch, it required the assistance of my visiting brother-in-law and sister to accomplish the bend. I suspect it was 6061 and not 5052 aluminum.
I used 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch by 1/16-inch aluminum 90-degree angle iron for support and reinforcement (to eliminate any resonance and the potential for oil canning due to air pressure) which was pop-riveted to the upper flat portions of the foil using 1/8-inch aluminum rivets.
Underneath, I attached the two-foot long section of the foil to the bottom of the camper with stainless screws. I did not caulk this lower area. Next, I closed the sides of the foil using the angle aluminum, rivets, and caulk.
For the V, I once again used the angle aluminum screwed to the bottom of the camper and flat sheet aluminum. There is a 3/4-inch gap between this sheet of aluminum and the top of the truck. I filled this gap using rubber 1/2-inch hot water pipe insulation. I ran out of time last spring and did not finish the final pieces of sheet stock to close in the rear of the truck cab.
Well, I know it has to improve fuel economy. How much, I’m not sure. I upgraded my truck and camper. This mod occurred right at that transition point.
I am currently getting 16-miles per gallon at 69 miles per hour. I have a 2019 Ram 3500, diesel, crew cab, single rear wheel, four wheel drive truck with the 3.73 gear ratio with this mod. It would be nice to have access to a wind tunnel to really dial it in!
8′ x 48″ .030″ aluminum sheet. Remnant pile at $3.50/pound
30 feet 1/2-inch by 1/16-inch aluminum angle. Remnant pile at $3.50/pound
Rubber pipe insulation $6.00 each at Home Depot
It took me 12 hours to complete this modification and cost me $100. In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is medium.
Disclaimer: The modifications above are submitted by Truck Camper Magazine readers. It is your responsibility to make sure that any do-it-yourself modification project you undertake is safe, effective, and legal for your situation.
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