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Discussion Starter #1
Suffice it to say I have thought about this. I have some ideas....

Has anyone else? Has it been discussed?

Yes, I searched.
 

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What is the thought about the tires going up and down while it is out of the well when the tires are turned e.g. you turn and hit bumps.

The tire goes out by a good amount. No? What is your idea(s)
 

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Once could do a shaped 'bump-out' like covers the rear wheels well tops in those big pick-ups one sees driving over Inights all the time.

It would require shaping of the material, but surely would not be impossible.

Would the permanent bump-out shape cancel out the benefits, since most of the time you are driving straight and there is no bump out all all? Hmm??
 

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The bump would add more frontal surface area, which would like cause a lot more drag than what would be saved from having the wheels covered. You "could" implement a differential steering scheme if you wanted to cover the front tires, but that would likely be a project and a half..
 

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When I think flexible, all I see is:
- Heavy structure to hold and deform the flexible part
- Wear of the flexible material
- Flexible material can not resist to wind turbulance and therefore does about the same job as nothing at all (it deforms withthe air pressures)
Or I am being pesimistic.
 

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Easy to do...

Move the front wheels in so they don't extend outside the body when they turn.

But then, you'd have this:

http://www.bluemoongear.com/ArchCarPics ... litian.jpg

:lol: :D :eek: :x :p :roll: :wink:

All kidding aside, though... an intriguing question. I agree with Foxpaw about greater frontal area, but the "flexible" part is interesting. How about... a front-hinged spring-loaded cover, Holicow? I am nowhere near talented enough to illustrate this, but I'm sure some of you good people can come up with something... elegant...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The wheels are pointed straight ahead, or very nearly so, probably 99+% of the time, so it would be counter-productive to design a "bubble" on the side to accomodate the turning wheel, right?

If something were closer to the wheel, and moved with it (in one way or another), it would "stick out" and increase frontal surface area only when the wheel was turned sharply. This would only happend at low speed when drag ain't a big deal anyway.

OK, here's what I had imagined (actually 2 options):

Option1: Picture a motorcycle front fender. One that extends about 1/2 way down from the top of the wheel. It would be mounted to the wheel spindle behind the wheel, and of course pivot with the wheel. This is probably the easier of the two, but clearance issues inside the wheel well may be an issue.

Option 2: Regarding my "flexible" tease: It consists of 2 parts. Part 1 is a skirt, in the fashion of the rear skirt, except made out of something firm, but rather stretchy if pressed on, such as polyurethane, or some similar polymer. I guess it also could be rigid and spring-loaded, as someone already mentioned.

Part 2 (Option 2) With either rubber or rigid skirt, there would have to be something mounted similarly as the fender in 1. to "push" the skirt out when the wheel is turned sharply. It would not have to be "solid" like the fender, but could be just a small, curved bar. The bar pushes the flexible skirt from the inside, Get it?
 

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Hmmmmmmm...

On the motorcycle wheel front fender... I wonder what (if any) aero advantages occur as a resulkt of having a solid metal piece facing the wind, as opposed to a rotating torus (the naked wheel). Obviously, if the wheel is being turned to such a degree, it would happen at low speeds, where aero would not be such a factor.

The other options also may negate any apparent positive value in aero efficiency by increasing weight and complexity in an exquisitely-designed light vehicle...

It's too early in the morning, I have to ponder this a bit more... thanks for busying up my already busy day... :lol: now, where is that cup of coffee?
 

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Something on a rail that would move out when the wheel is turned left and right:

Here is something that moves out when the wheel is turned out only:



If Image does not show, check the link:
http://www.md92raid.100freemb.com/insightlogo.html
I have added an image at the bottom

You would need the same mechanisim on the bottom part to move out also.
The rail could be a simple alum tube around a rod and a vertical stub to be pushes out.
 

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I don't think that something flexible that the tire could push out would work very well - then the tire is going to be rubbing on that thing and causing a lot of wear, not to mention intense heat build-up. What might work is a skirt with a hinge in the middle somewhere, and a rod (with a pivot of some kind) on the front, which could then be attached to the rod thing that goes to the wheel to make it steer. (Don't know the name of that piece, sorry)

So basically the rod that makes the tire turn would be "extended" (though it would actually have to make a few bends to go around the tire) so when the wheel turns outward, the steering rod thing pushes the front of the wheel, which would also cause the front of the skirt to be pushed, pivoting it on the hinge, and the opposite for turning inward.

Basically picture a wheel well shaped skirt that would be attached to the steering rod thingy (brakes might work too) so it turns with the wheel - and when the wheel is straight, it would be inline with the body.

So anyway,
 

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Discussion Starter #12
boogety: It's actually pretty simple, in my opinion, especially in the overall scheme of things.

The drag in present form comes from having the open area necessary to turn the wheel. The hollow area that results will create a low-pressure area=drag. The wheel fills some of that now, but the depressions in the side are still prominent (or the opposite, i guess).

I don't think I follow the "solid piece facing the wind" part of your post. The flat part would be in line with the airflow.

Yves: that's cool, but I was thinking even simpler. Envision a coat-hanger bent around the wheel just above midline. No moving parts. Just a fat "wire" attached behind the wheel to the spindle.
 

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Hi,

Remember that every thing under the top spring mount plate goes not only turning left/right but also goes up/down with the suspension.
So the coat-hanger will go up and down with the wheel. It will need to be sturdy and light : hard to do. Weigh in the suspension will have a bab effect on driving comfort. And it will not fill the wheel well

The only turning section is the top spring mount plate. This is where you can attach something that will turn only to then push on something.
As Foxpaw wrote, two half covers (cut vertically your coat hanger part in half) with an hinge in the middle could than be hold more securely to prevent rattles (many rattles possible in any front cover scheme)

But all this could prove not very much more aerodynamic than what Honda has done: lesser car width in the rear front tire area (do not know how else to point to the zone)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yves M. said:
Remember that every thing under the top spring mount plate goes not only turning left/right but also goes up/down with the suspension.
So the coat-hanger will go up and down with the wheel.

Hmmm....Had not considered that part. Thanks. Perhaps the "coat hanger" should have little wheels on it, so that it can roll up and down the inside.

Yves M. said:
It will need to be sturdy and light : hard to do.
Hey, the Insight is sturdy and light, right? The "coat hanger" (I need to come up with a better term for that) doesn't need to be thick, and could be aluminum...

Wouldn't it look cool with full front skirt? Like a hovercraft...
 

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Hmmmmm, hovercraft :roll: With all that air rushing into the front of the car through the rad and no place to go but under the car you might just have that. :shock: Calculate the frontal pressure at 110 MPH, multiply it by the surface area of the bottom of the car, subtract from the weight and calculate if lift off is achieved!

The "styling on the side of the Insight aft of the front wheels is there to create an inproved air flow and possibly to promote cooling. Although we Insighters loath using our brakes the slots in the mags are there to promote cooling them. Otherwise we would be better off with smooth rims.

If the Front wheel coves were expandable our cars would look like Chipmunks at high speeds. Mind you chipmunks are fast, compact, intelligent, and plan for the future, so perhaps the analogy is a good one.

The rear covers on the Insight could be larger as they are on the IMAS.
 

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Here is how I see it:

1.) You can have a flexible cover (like has been talked about) but when the wheel turns, the tire would rub against the material and lose energy through friction. The cover also wouldn't last long under those conditions.

2.) Have the Flexible cover but have a bar attached to the wheel so that when you turn the wheel the bar reaches the cover first and moves it out and away from the wheel. You don't rub the tires and there is little friction between the bar and cover. But on the downside the cover would still wear out and I've yet to think of a material to even use for the flexible cover.

3.) Cover the whole wheel area with a body panel like skirt that would rotate out and in with the wheel as it moves back and forth. Depending on how it is designed and attached would provide the best aerodynamic cover and wouldn't wear out fast if at all. Downside is the weight and the complex nature of its design.

4.) When a wheel travels out of its wheelwell it only goes so far and even then its only the front half of the wheel the breaks the plane of the side of the car. The simplest solution to a front wheel cover would be a half skirt that attached to the the back of the wheel well. It could be made just like the back skirt (maybe beefed up on its connection to the body) so it would be light. It wouldn't provide the most coverage but it would be the easiest and most reliable of the current ideas.
 

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OK, Yves, I get it now...

Not on the wheel, but moved by the rotating wheel. Oh, yes. In my sleep-deprived state this morning, I imagined something less worthy of the Insight.

For the extreme mileage aficionado, that would probably be the way to go. I imagine the turbulence caused by the open wheel wells in front is a factor in the coefficient of drag figure of the Insight... .29 if I recall... ?? :roll: which would probably be even lower if the fronts were buttoned up.

Real world: Ice/snow buildup an issue in preventing unimpeded turns? Difficulty of removal in case of flat? Weight of gadget vs. gas mileage benefits? Gap between body and cover? I imagine an engineer or two is putting pencil to paper right now...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
b1shmu63 said:
The "styling on the side of the Insight aft of the front wheels is there to create an inproved air flow and possibly to promote cooling. Although we Insighters loath using our brakes the slots in the mags are there to promote cooling them. Otherwise we would be better off with smooth rims.
I will disagree slightly with this point. I believe that the styling (specifically behind the front wheels) is a compromise to try to lessen the turbulence of the open wheel well. That's also one reason why it gets dirty there so easily: the low pressure region created here.


b1shmu63 said:
If the Front wheel coves were expandable our cars would look like Chipmunks at high speeds. Mind you chipmunks are fast, compact, intelligent, and plan for the future, so perhaps the analogy is a good one.
Ha! :wink: Of course, the material would need to be thick/rigid enough not to deform at speed.

Boogety: I can see that ice/snow could possibly be a problem with the flexible type, but remember: it's flexible so shouldn't be that much of a problem.. The fender version should not have this drawback: that's what fenders are for, right?

BlutStein: Welcome!

I think you described what I'm thinking a little better than I did. As far as wearing the flexible ones out, perhaps they should be replaceable.

OK, who has CAD/CAM skills and can come up with a reasonable sketch so that it can be visualized? I sure don't . Don't make me try to draw something, it won't be pretty.
:wink:
 

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Holicow:

Thanks for the welcome. I don't have an insight of my own just yet but I'd love to get one. I'm held back cause paying for college is a bigger issue for me right now. :( oh well, what are you going to do.

Currently I drive a 96 honda civic lx and get between 38-40mpg. Not Insight good but its pretty good for a gas engine made to get only 30-33 in the city.
 
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