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Old 01-01-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
dave.sl
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Default Front air dam/gas mileage question

The other day the front air dam fell off and was dragging by one spring on my 98SL with 195k. Luckily, I was able to get the 4 new springs at the dealer and hook it back up. I noticed no change in engine temp with the air dam off. Of course it is winter. Has anyone ever checked the gas mileage with the air dam off to see if there is an increase? My guess is there would be less wind resistance with the air dam off but I don't know if it is enough to make a difference.

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Old 01-01-2010, 03:52 PM   #2
MikeNW
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1997 SL
Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

Gas mileage will probably be a LITTLE higher with the air dam. I think it pushes air to the sides of the car instead of letting air flow under the car. Air flowing under the car is flowing through a tunnel, dragging on the road and the car. And is turbulent.
Look at sports racing cars, they have huge air dams on the front. No doubt for a purpose.
The air dam probably helps cooling a little, to direct air over the radiator.

Just my guesses.

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Old 01-01-2010, 06:16 PM   #3
Zero_DgZ
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Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

I can tell you it won't make much difference. Mine fell off a couple of weeks ago and I haven't bothered to crawl under there to put it back on. I haven't noticed any tangible difference. Maybe I will in the warmer summer months, when both mileage and temperatures are a bit higher... But I haven't seen anything now.

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Old 01-04-2010, 12:39 AM   #4
Ghettoracer
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1996 SC1
Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

My front air dam is off the car and I noticed a drop in temp as I get past 65 mph. Around 50mph it would stay a little below half and when I get on it it drops to the second mark at 65mph.

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Old 01-04-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
wishihadacamaro
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Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

I think I might make a custom air dam. I slightly damaged my air dam when I crashed my car, and I lost the clips to hold it in, and some other plastic pieces. Never bothered trying to put it back on. If I could find a good material to use, I'd attempt to make an undertray and see if it gets me better fuel economy.

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Old 01-04-2010, 10:05 AM   #6
manualman
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Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

On my first Saturn, a 95 SL, I lost the air dam when the car was only about 3 years old with about 55k on it. I never replaced it and the car had about 130k on it when it left the family. It never ran hotter and kept getting 40 mpg highway until I put slightly wider tires on it at 100k, when it dropped to 38 or so. Never seemed to affect the temp gage either.

The car did get a cracked head at 109k miles and clogged an EGR at 116k. Fluids, filters, belts, plugs, brakes, muffler strap, a TAM and an O2 sensor were the only other things I ever had to do to that car.

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:17 AM   #7
mjoekingz28
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Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

I was at a track drag racing a Z28 with an airdam. Well, it was perpendicular to the car so it just had to increase drag. So we removed it and didn't even notice a hundreth. On the way back from the track, while it was in the hatch, temps rose quite a bit. Stopped and put it back on=normal temps.

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Old 01-05-2010, 09:31 AM   #8
alordofchaos
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Default Re: Front air dam/gas mileage question

a lot of the F-bodies were 'bottom breathers' - most of the airflow came up from below and the air dam was needed to bring air up to the radiator. You see that on cars like the cavaliers/sunfires and such - the air dam is fixed and mounted right under the radiator.

On the s-series (at least the 2nd gen, not familiar with 1st but suspect 2nd was the same), the air dam is mounted on hinges. At speed, it deflects backwards so it would do a poor job of pushing air up to the radiator.

It might also be mounted too far back and with no opening directly above it - been a while since I looked. I suspect on the S-series, it serves to direct air below the engine compartment to reduce drag, and doesnt affect cooling all that much

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