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Airtabs - Do they work?


Yarome

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I could use an education on air tabs and thought I would toss it out to the more learned. Do they really work or is it all hype? What type of MPG increase, if any, have you noticed?

 

Have you noticed a significat improvement in crosswinds or with passing 18 wheelers?

 

For those that are pulling a TT or 5er, do you have them on both your TV and your rig, or just one or the other?

 

TIA

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They work. They work on a class 8 tractor as the vortex wall spans the gap between the truck and trailer. I looked at them but i have too much of a gap between my truck and the trailer.

 

For trailers, the tabs create a virtual cone behind the trailer eliminating a big drag on the trailer. I would have put them on my trailer but for the structure. I have a rear cap bead that would have blocked the vortex generated if the tabs were in front of the bead. The distance behind the bead wasn't wide enough for the tabs.

 

You are starting to see them on fleet tractors. The fleets are doing everything that improves mileage. The trucks come first because there way more trailers than trucks in a fleet. You have noticed that in just a little time ago the under trailer air dams appeared and now they are almost standard fare,

 

For RVers, the main use would be the trailer or motorhome. Not sure if there would be any improvement in cross winds. The maina job of air tabs is streamlining.

 

Some fleets are trying the hard end of trailer fairings that can collapse when the truck is at the dock. They work but appear to be fragile. The air tabs provide the rear of trailer streamlining cone without interfering when the truck is at the dock.

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I remember that there was quite a discussion of them several years ago on several RV forums so went out searching and located one that may be of interest. On the FMCA forums the tabs were discussed rather favorably back in 2010 but what makes this more interesting was that the subject was revived by one of the 2010 contributors in March of this year and several of those who purchased and installed the tabs came back to contribute reports this spring. The reports were not very favorable, so look over FMCA's air tab fuel savings discussions before you decide.

 

Looking at the online purchase of a kit, the cost of $220 plus the effort to install them seems like more than most users are likely to ever recover, but if the handling improvement is what they claim, it might be worth the cost. One that is becoming more and more common in the long haul trucking industry is the "Trailer Tail" which might help a big RV as well??

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There was a fairly long discussion of them on the HDT forum a few years ago when diesel prices skyrocketed. At that time the consensus seemed to be that yes, they do work, but none of us put enough miles on for the savings to offset the cost.

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I too saw many discussions and hype of them 5 or 6 years ago. At that time there wasnt alot of real world testing on them. Many years have past, many people have used them and I dont see them anywhere but in threads, not on the road. If they worked even reasonably well they would be everywhere....JMO

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I too saw many discussions and hype of them 5 or 6 years ago. At that time there wasnt alot of real world testing on them. Many years have past, many people have used them and I dont see them anywhere but in threads, not on the road. If they worked even reasonably well they would be everywhere....JMO

 

Exactly.

They have been available for years and I don't see them on fleets. If they really worked you would see them on most of the fleets. I have met a few gullible fleet maintenance managers but not many - they don't last too long. The bean counters do a pretty good job of tracking things - especially in the last 20 years or so as the cost of diesel has increased so much.

I have never seen any properly designed peer reviewed studies on them either. All I have seen are anecdotal comments and "studies" done by the people selling them.

 

Years ago as chief engineer for a company designing and selling electronic instrumentation products to the trucking companies and manufacturers I was responsible for evaluating products submitted to us as potential products for us to manufacture and market. I can say with great conviction that anecdotal comments are generally worthless.

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