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Howdy all, I've searched some threads and found nothing on this topic. Does anyone know of a change in fuel economy when a topper/ camper shell is installed. Theres an obvious increase in weight but is there an aerodynamic advantage?
Thanks...
 

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I think I may have lost a little. Very hard to tell. I need the shell, so to me it doesn't matter. $.02
 

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Ha just saw a thread on this topic here somewhere. It seems the general concensus is that the camper shell helps reduce drag, but the weight negates the gain.
 

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Mostly city driving with short hwy trips (less than 15 miles) I will get 280~290 average out of a tank. I can get over 300 on long trips but because I am usually not in a familar area I will stop and get gas before the needle drops below the E line.

I drive 65~75 on the hwy and the speed limit on surface streets. I pull away slow from stops and glide up to them.

2001 PreRunner Stock.

 

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Heh I do everything wrong. I gun it from a stoplight at times, I speed 5mph or higher over the limit, accelerate until I start braking, etc. I also run the engine hard on cold mornings as I shoot onto the highway while the temp needle is still unmoved. Thus is life when you live 5 miles from work - you leave at the last minute. Oh and I have 33s lol, and a rack on top, which I'm sure isn't helping.

That's why I got a toyota to begin with, nothing else will put up with my shit ;)

With this shitty winter gas I get about 14 miles to the gallon.
 

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I drive with it on until I get tired of the look and then I take it off. Usually on for about a month, and then I remove it and put it in my storage for 2-3 months. I notice no change when it when its on. I still get the same mpg.
 

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txbarkingspider said:
So it's pretty much a wash, thats what I was hoping for.
Thanks!
yup. i see very little (no) difference in MPG with my top on or off. mine just kinda stays on my truck because of storage issues - lack of storage @ my house for my camper.... and lack of storage space in my truck without my camper on. the only thing that frustrates me is the inability to clean my cab's back window. it's pretty dirty and water-spotty back there.
 

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With a shell, you have a lot more parasitic drag. There is a large turbulated airflow mass behind the verticle shell. You will see the old custom vans that have a inverted spoiler that directs airflow down the back of the van to decrease the drag. The shells actually will decrease MPG due to increased weight and drag.
 

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7wt said:
With a shell, you have a lot more parasitic drag. There is a large turbulated airflow mass behind the verticle shell. You will see the old custom vans that have a inverted spoiler that directs airflow down the back of the van to decrease the drag. The shells actually will decrease MPG due to increased weight and drag.
In theory, but most people will attest to not seeing much difference.

Someone call mythbusters....
 

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Mythbusters has done a show on this, if i remember correctly you get pretty much the same mpg with a camper shell, bed cover or nothing. The worst is driving with the tailgate down.
 

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wnnarce said:
Mythbusters has done a show on this, if i remember correctly you get pretty much the same mpg with a camper shell, bed cover or nothing. The worst is driving with the tailgate down.
From what I recall the Mythbusters looked at the tailgate up/tailgate down, the flow-through canvas tailgate, and the tonneau cover, they never looked at the shell. The results were: Best mileage was with the canvas tailgate, second best was with the tonneau cover/tailgate up (the same mpg both times) and worst was tailgate down.

Now here's something interesting: I've only had my Tacoma for a month. When I got it, it had an over-the-rail bedliner and a crossover-type toolbox in the bed. The first 3 tanks I filled up at around 300-310 miles when the "low fuel" light came on.

Last Thursday I sold the bedliner, and Friday I sold the toolbox. On Saturday I bought a used Leer topper (the kind that is cab-high and fits very close to the cab.) That day I drove about 130 miles on the highway, to and from Colorado Springs to get the topper. Incidentally, the topper is missing the back liftgate (which is why I only paid $150 for it ;) ) so that messes up airflow just a bit.

Other than that 130 mile trip, my driving has been my typical stop-and-go city driving with occasional 4wd use due to ice and snow. On Sunday I spent 4 hours driving around 30 miles (!) because the girlfriend and I were house shopping.

Now, with all that, I am currently sitting at 315 miles, with the fuel gauge still at 3/4! Assuming I can make it to at least 340 miles and figuring that it will take approximately 17 gallons to fill the tank (my experience is that the low-fuel light comes on at about 16.8) that will work out to 20mpg or just a little over! Is it the shell? Or is it that 130 mile highway trip I took? If anything, I would have thought that any gains I got by making that long highway trip would have been offset by the losses of driving 5-10mph for over 30 miles on Sunday. I don't know. But if the gain is due to the shell, then WOW! :eek:

I'll fill the tank again this week, as gas prices seem to be rising slightly. However, GF and I are going out of town to Glenwood Springs this weekend, so I won't have a direct comparison with my city driving until after the weekend. I'll post the results here. And when I finally get the back glass replaced on the shell (once my tax refund comes in) I'll check it again.

All I'm saying is that the early results are very positive for me. Of course, I should point out that (1) I'm 45 years old, so I'm not some kid hot rodding around at every stoplight, (2) I drive very conservatively, and (3) I have not made any mods to my vehicle - it has the stock air cleaner, stock tires (265/70 16's on stamped steel wheels) and no lift kit.

I know some people have said that any gains you get from a shell will be offset by the additional weight. In my case, though, the shell replaced the crossover toolbox and the bedliner. I didn't weigh them, but I'd guess the toolbox was at least 50-60 lb (I could pick it up by myself but not easily) and the liner was probably at least another 5-10. The shell weighs probably no more than 120 lb (the previous owner and I could easily lift it together) so it may be that the weight cancelled out and the reduction in drag is what is helping me.
 
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