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Do you like the spoiler? And what is its aerodynamic impact?


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46 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 03:39 PM

The purpose of a spoiler on the rear of a car is to create downforce (on the driving wheels) thereby increasing the grip of the drive wheels to the road more for better grip in turns than anywhere else. While generating downforce, spoilers CREATE drag, not reduce it. At the speeds we drive in our FFHs, I can guarantee you they are generating way more drag than downforce. Read this:  http://www.quora.com...e-back-of-a-car.

There may be some downforce created at 140 miles per hour that Waldo referred to, but MY FFH will never see anywhere close to that speed. Spoilers generate downforce in proportion to speed and it takes a lot of speed to generate that force. Read this also:  http://www.physlink....perts/ae496.cfm

 

And finally, "Most car owners add spoilers to their cars to create a sporty look associated with race cars. Many types of spoilers add a sleek and stylish form to the car, but people who drive in the city or in the suburbs under 70 miles per hour may not see any immediate changes. However, people who do serious highway driving can benefit most from adding spoilers." This statement from here:  http://www.ebay.com/...77633228/g.html

 

Have a nice day y'all!  :)

You're thinking from the race car perspective, not the auto OEM perspective.  There are two types of race car spoilers, the ones that are upside down wings, and the ones that are vertical or close to vertical walls that generate a high pressure area in front of them.  The OEM spoilers like the one on the Fusion is neither of those.  Spoilers on sedans reduce drag because they "clean up" the air flow as it falls off the back of the trunk.  Essentially they kick up the air so that it flows over the turbulent zone behind the car, which reduces drag a little bit.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but most often a sharp edge at the rear of a vehicle will reduce drag.  Look at the back of a new Suburban, they have very sharp edges on the D-pillar for the same reason.  

 

If you don't believe they are effective at normal speeds, then you also wouldn't believe that the underbody shields or the tire spoilers or the grill shutters would make any difference either.  All the pieces have small individual contributions, but they all add up.


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#22 OFFLINE   TonyHzNV

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 03:39 PM

Ah, so it seems like most people who have the spoiler like it, and aren't just "living with it 'cos all Titaniums had it". Interesting! 

 

At least in Canada I have rarely seen SEs equipped with spoilers, and have yet to see a single Titanium without a spoiler. This applies to both hybrid and nonhybrid models. 

Yeah. According to the ('15/'16) order guides, only 13% of SE Hybrids are built for retail with the SE Appearance Package (with spoiler) vs. 50% for the Luxury (502A) Package and 12% with the base SE (500A) Package. So, you won't see all t hat many SE's with spoilers. Just a matter of the production mix Ford decided upon. The remaining 25% of vehicles are built to order I would assume. But one thing's for sure. You HAVE TO BUY the Appearance Package (501A) on the SE to get the spoiler.


Edited by TonyHzNV, 09 March 2015 - 03:45 PM.

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#23 OFFLINE   Automate

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 03:53 PM

The PhysLink says "Some cars, like the Ferrari F1 cars, have them front and back; and since they are probably the most scientifically advanced wheeled transportation, I'll use them for the discussion."

 

Obviously there are different types of spoilers and one for a sedan is designed differently than the one on a F1 racer.

 

Wikipedia tells how a properly designed rear spoiler can decrease aerodynamic drag on a sedan or hatchback http://en.wikipedia....er_(automotive)

 

"a spoiler can still be beneficial. This is because many vehicles have a fairly steep downward angle going from the rear edge of the roof down to the trunk or tail of the car which may cause air flow separation. The flow of air becomes turbulent and a low-pressure zone is created, increasing drag and instability (see Bernoulli effect). Adding a rear spoiler could be considered to make the air "see" a longer, gentler slope from the roof to the spoiler, which helps to delay flow separation "

 

 

 

 


Edited by Automate, 09 March 2015 - 04:22 PM.

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#24 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 04:11 PM

All a matter of personal taste. I like the spoiler, I think the car is incomplete, naked, without it. 

I like it too. Before we had a Titanium it didn't matter, but now that we have it I like it.

 

Yeah. According to the ('15/'16) order guides, only 13% of SE Hybrids are built for retail with the SE Appearance Package (with spoiler) vs. 50% for the Luxury (502A) Package and 12% with the base SE (500A) Package. So, you won't see all t hat many SE's with spoilers. Just a matter of the production mix Ford decided upon. The remaining 25% of vehicles are built to order I would assume. But one thing's for sure. You HAVE TO BUY the Appearance Package (501A) on the SE to get the spoiler.

I think the remaining 25% are either the Hybrid S or the HyTi.


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#25 OFFLINE   TonyHzNV

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 04:37 PM

That information was specifically for the SE Hybrid referred to in Machoman's post:

At least in Canada I have rarely seen SEs equipped with spoilers, and have yet to see a single Titanium without a spoiler. This applies to both hybrid and nonhybrid models. 

 The spoiler is standard on the HyTi and has never been available on the S Hybrid. There are totally different numbers for the gas versions of the Fusion, but I'm only talking about the Hybrids. Reference the '15 & '16 order guides. This info is not available on the '13/'14 OGs. I suppose they were still trying to figure out the mix. On those MYs, it just says "TBD".


Edited by TonyHzNV, 09 March 2015 - 04:39 PM.

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#26 OFFLINE   TonyHzNV

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 05:19 PM

The PhysLink says "Some cars, like the Ferrari F1 cars, have them front and back; and since they are probably the most scientifically advanced wheeled transportation, I'll use them for the discussion."

 

Obviously there are different types of spoilers and one for a sedan is designed differently than the one on a F1 racer.

 

Wikipedia tells how a properly designed rear spoiler can decrease aerodynamic drag on a sedan or hatchback http://en.wikipedia....er_(automotive)

 

"a spoiler can still be beneficial. This is because many vehicles have a fairly steep downward angle going from the rear edge of the roof down to the trunk or tail of the car which may cause air flow separation. The flow of air becomes turbulent and a low-pressure zone is created, increasing drag and instability (see Bernoulli effect). Adding a rear spoiler could be considered to make the air "see" a longer, gentler slope from the roof to the spoiler, which helps to delay flow separation "

Wikipedia also says this:  "Some spoilers are added to cars primarily for styling purposes and have either little aerodynamic benefit or even make the aerodynamics worse." Think about it. How much effect do you think it really has at 45-50 MPH? And how fast was that Ferrari going? 200 MPH?

 

You're thinking from the race car perspective, not the auto OEM perspective.  There are two types of race car spoilers, the ones that are upside down wings, and the ones that are vertical or close to vertical walls that generate a high pressure area in front of them.  The OEM spoilers like the one on the Fusion is neither of those.  Spoilers on sedans reduce drag because they "clean up" the air flow as it falls off the back of the trunk.  Essentially they kick up the air so that it flows over the turbulent zone behind the car, which reduces drag a little bit.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but most often a sharp edge at the rear of a vehicle will reduce drag.  Look at the back of a new Suburban, they have very sharp edges on the D-pillar for the same reason.  

 

If you don't believe they are effective at normal speeds, then you also wouldn't believe that the underbody shields or the tire spoilers or the grill shutters would make any difference either.  All the pieces have small individual contributions, but they all add up.

Actually, the things you named in your last paragraph do serve valid aerodynamic purposes in the FRONT of the car. Thinking that a rear spoiler on a FRONT WHEEL Drive car that almost never goes 70 MPH on average has some great effect is just silly. As a former pilot, I can tell you that wings don't care if they're right side up or upside down. They don't know the difference.  What DOES make a difference is the side of the wing that is creating the lower pressure (the top side thinking of an airplane sitting on the ground). The airspeed over the top of the wing is greater than the airspeed on the bottom of the wing creating low pressure on top, creatng lift (with speed - both relative wind speed and ground speed of the vehicle). All the force is generated on the "bottom" side of the wing, with the high pressure on the bottom overcoming the low pressure on the top and the plane flies! The wings themselves as well as the fuselage and other appendages also create drag. We overcome that by increasing the (forward) speed  and pressure (on the bottom of the wing) to lift off and accelerate (retract the gear to reduce drag) while climbing out. My point is that the spoiler creates some amount of drag of its own and at OUR SPEEDS doesn't really do MUCH to "clean up the air" behind the car. Have you ever really looked at OUR spoilers? The underside has a couple of LARGE grooves going across it which disrupt the airflow on the bottom and it doesn't look to me like its designed asymmetrically so as to create high and low pressure areas and,  the rear of the car actually has some pretty "sharp edges" without the spoiler. If it has SUCH an effect, does the Fusion with spoiler get a different EPA estimate than one without?


Edited by TonyHzNV, 09 March 2015 - 05:20 PM.

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#27 OFFLINE   GrySql

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 09:10 PM

This video has been posted on this website before and is valid now.  Near the end of the video watch the wind tunnel smoke as it travels over the top lip of the trunk and listen to what is said.
Ford spent a lot of time getting the rear of the car to be as slippery as possible.
As mentioned, at the speeds we travel there isn't much reason for a spoiler except for styling reasons. They do look nice.


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#28 OFFLINE   Automate

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 09:47 PM

 

"some great effect is just silly"

 

Who said it has a "great effect"?

 

All we said is that a rear spoiler "can" reduce drag on some cars if it is well designed.

 

Only Ford or someone who has put the Fusion in a wind tunnel with and without the spoiler knows for sure.

 

You can see from the video above posted by GrySql that small things do make a difference.  They make enough difference that Ford spends many, many hours on the small details.



#29 OFFLINE   GrySql

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 12:04 AM

Small things make such a difference that putting Splash Guards (mud flaps) behind all four wheels that the rear trunk area of the FFH doesn't collect as much dirt as before. 

They seem to break up the turbulence directly behind the car and the license plate area stays cleaner.


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#30 OFFLINE   TonyHzNV

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 12:17 AM

 

Who said it has a "great effect"?

 

All we said is that a rear spoiler "can" reduce drag on some cars if it is well designed.

 

Only Ford or someone who has put the Fusion in a wind tunnel with and without the spoiler knows for sure.

 

You can see from the video above posted by GrySql that small things do make a difference.  They make enough difference that Ford spends many, many hours on the small details.

I never said that small things don't make a difference or that Ford didn't spend many hours on the small details. What I said, in so many words, is that in OUR CASE, the spoiler is purely aesthetic, not functional. In other words, it's for looks and styling. If it were really functional and made enough difference in fuel economy, don't you think Ford would make it standard on all models? It would be in their best interest to do so because of the better fuel economy numbers. Something about the video you didn't mention is that the car in the video doesn't have a spoiler and the chief aerodynamicist for the Fusion demonstrated how crisply and cleanly the air came off of the decklid minimizing the turbulence at the rear of the car. It was designed to do that WITHOUT the spoiler. If anything, the spoiler would mess up the beautiful airflow shown in the video. I won't argue with you that "a rear spoiler "can" reduce drag on some cars if it is well designed." I would just argue that is not the case with OUR CARS and they are what we are talking about. The fact that Ford is marketing a "Super Fuel Economy Package" on the Focus is just that.....marketing. It's a gimmick to get people to spend more money on the car because it sounds and looks good.


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#31 OFFLINE   machoman1337

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 01:07 AM

Haha I didn't expect this to become a debate about the practicality of a spoiler, though it is getting entertaining and educational!

 

I was just asking about whether the spoiler's appealing or not, but nevertheless, keep the info coming :)


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#32 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 07:23 AM

I went back through the archives and dug up some numbers on the Taurus (I don't have Fusion numbers, so this is just for reference).  On the Taurus the rear spoiler reduces the Cd by 0.005.  Doesn't sound like much, but compare to the active grill shutters that reduce by 0.015, the under engine shield that's worth 0.005, a 10mm ride height drop is worth 0.010 and the underfloor shields that are worth another 0.005.  Each one isn't that big, but add all those up and suddenly you've gone from a Cd of 0.32 down to a 0.28.  That is absolutely a noticeable difference at 70mph and even below. 

 

So why isn't the spoiler standard?  Well that comes down to marketing and the EPA process.  Bottom line is the EPA doesn't give points for decimals.  If you score a 46.8 or a 47.2, you're getting a 47 either way.  Ford obviously figured that the underbody shields and other tricks were enough to get to say 46.8 and the spoiler then didn't make a difference to the window sticker number.  Now they could have deleted the underbody shields and put the spoiler on everything but then they lose the revenue generated by the spoiler.  Basically the extra revenue earned by selling the spoiler on 20% or whatever it is of the Fusions is enough to pay for the underbody shields on all of them.

 

Yes the Focus SFE is a marketing gimick, it's a package designed to get at least one version of the Focus to have "best in class" fuel economy.  Then they can advertise the Focus is "best in class", even though it's only a very small percentage of the cars that are actually "best in class".  So the stuff on the SFE is there for only one purpose - to increase the EPA label, and it does work.  It's not there to make the SFE look good and sell the SFE, it's there to sell more base Focuses.


Edited by Waldo, 10 March 2015 - 07:27 AM.

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#33 OFFLINE   murphy

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 08:00 AM

When I ordered my 2013 Fusion Energi Titanium the spoiler was included.  There was an ordering option to delete it if you didn't want it.  My car was built with the spoiler but they installed the trunk lid torsion bars for a trunk that did not have a spoiler.  The trunk would not stay up.  There was a TSB to get the correct torsion bars installed.


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#34 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 08:08 AM

I went back through the archives and dug up some numbers on the Taurus (I don't have Fusion numbers, so this is just for reference).  On the Taurus the rear spoiler reduces the Cd by 0.005.  Doesn't sound like much, but compare to the active grill shutters that reduce by 0.015, the under engine shield that's worth 0.005, a 10mm ride height drop is worth 0.010 and the underfloor shields that are worth another 0.005.  Each one isn't that big, but add all those up and suddenly you've gone from a Cd of 0.32 down to a 0.28.  That is absolutely a noticeable difference at 70mph and even below. 

 

So why isn't the spoiler standard?  Well that comes down to marketing and the EPA process.  Bottom line is the EPA doesn't give points for decimals.  If you score a 46.8 or a 47.2, you're getting a 47 either way.  Ford obviously figured that the underbody shields and other tricks were enough to get to say 46.8 and the spoiler then didn't make a difference to the window sticker number.  Now they could have deleted the underbody shields and put the spoiler on everything but then they lose the revenue generated by the spoiler.  Basically the extra revenue earned by selling the spoiler on 20% or whatever it is of the Fusions is enough to pay for the underbody shields on all of them.

 

Yes the Focus SFE is a marketing gimick, it's a package designed to get at least one version of the Focus to have "best in class" fuel economy.  Then they can advertise the Focus is "best in class", even though it's only a very small percentage of the cars that are actually "best in class".  So the stuff on the SFE is there for only one purpose - to increase the EPA label, and it does work.  It's not there to make the SFE look good and sell the SFE, it's there to sell more base Focuses.

Great explanation! Thank you for sharing the details of how different components serve to reduce Cd.

 

 

Small things make such a difference that putting Splash Guards (mud flaps) behind all four wheels that the rear trunk area of the FFH doesn't collect as much dirt as before. 

They seem to break up the turbulence directly behind the car and the license plate area stays cleaner.

The mudflaps change the airflow around the wheels. I believe having lot of dirt of the back of the car is a sign of good aerodynamics. We've had a Fusion without the spoiler and now the Energi with the spoiler and I can't see a measureable difference in the pattern of dirt on the back of the car. I would love to see the difference in a wind tunnel between a Fusion with the spoiler and one without.


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#35 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 08:39 AM

This video has been posted on this website before and is valid now.  Near the end of the video watch the wind tunnel smoke as it travels over the top lip of the trunk and listen to what is said.
Ford spent a lot of time getting the rear of the car to be as slippery as possible.
As mentioned, at the speeds we travel there isn't much reason for a spoiler except for styling reasons. They do look nice.

I just watched the video again to refresh my memory of it. There's a portion where the Ford engineer is talking about how the flow sticks close all the way to the back but the camera is only showing the front of the car... Grr... :rant2: :angry22:

 

If you're interested in aerodynamics, check out this thread by a C-Max owner. It's very informative read.


Edited by hybridbear, 10 March 2015 - 08:39 AM.

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#36 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 08:50 AM

Small things make such a difference that putting Splash Guards (mud flaps) behind all four wheels that the rear trunk area of the FFH doesn't collect as much dirt as before. 

They seem to break up the turbulence directly behind the car and the license plate area stays cleaner.

Here are some of the posts about the dirty back end and aerodynamics:

http://fordcmaxhybri...-c-max/?p=39543

 

I think that your mud flaps are actually creating turbulence and increased drag and that's why the trunk stays cleaner on your car.


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#37 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 08:59 AM

I think we should rename this topic since it's really about spoilers and now aerodynamics. There's lots of great information here to refer back to in the future that may get lost with the current title.


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#38 OFFLINE   Automate

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 09:17 AM

Here is a highly theoretical analysis that concludes a rear spoiler on a generic sedan can reduce drag by 1.7%

http://waset.org/pub...ssenger-vehicle

 

But I'm glad we haveTonyHzNV, Ford doesn't need to spend Millions on wind tunnels and thousands of hours testing,  TonyHzNV can tell us by just looking at the spoiler.  ;)  


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#39 OFFLINE   machoman1337

machoman1337

    Fusion Hybrid Enthusiast

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 10:39 AM

I think we should rename this topic since it's really about spoilers and now aerodynamics. There's lots of great information here to refer back to in the future that may get lost with the current title.

 

Good call, I like it!


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My precious: 2013 Fusion Hybrid SE Ice Storm - Luxury Package (Dune), Navigation, Tech Package, Active Park Assist, Moonroof (ugh), 18" premium painted luxury wheels. Built in July 2012, bought CPO (former demonstrator) in May 2014. 6.3L/100 km lifetime fuel economy

 

Current temporary ride: 2003 Lexus LS430 w/navigation and parking sensors. Bought in December 2002, selling when I graduate


#40 OFFLINE   TonyHzNV

TonyHzNV

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 11:54 AM

But I'm glad we haveTonyHzNV, Ford doesn't need to spend Millions on wind tunnels and thousands of hours testing,  TonyHzNV can tell us by just looking at the spoiler.  ;)

You should also be thankful for Waldo since he gives us so much "real", "inside" information being the Ford engineer that he is!  Oh, and I'm glad you said "highly theoretical" up there on your link cuz it surely was!  :)


Edited by TonyHzNV, 10 March 2015 - 12:52 PM.

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340661.png

2013 F-150 XLT Super Cab Ingot Silver Metallic/Gray Cloth, 302A, 5.0L V8, 7100# GVWR Pkg, Tailgate Step, Cloth Bucket Seats. Build Date: 01/25/13

2014 Fusion SE Hybrid, Ruby Red Tinted Clearcoat/Charcoal Black Cloth, SE Appearance Pkg, Rear Spoiler, 18" Premium Sport Wheels, Tech/MFT Pkg, Rear View Camera, Reverse Sensing Sys, Adaptive Cruise Control, Nav System. Build Date: 11/25/13, Sync Version: 3.8 (w/nav)

Previous (Ford) Vehicles: 1995 Contour, 1999 Explorer Sport, 2002 Explorer XLS 4x4, 2003 Expedition XLT 4x4, 2007 F-150 XLT 4x4, 2007 Fusion SEL, 2012 Fusion SEL

 

"Do What You Can, For Who You Can, With What You Have, and What You Know"





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