Installing and Using an RV Air Deflector on an RV Fifth Wheel Tow Vehicle
In this article Bob explains how he installed his RV wind deflector and how he uses it while RVing with his fifth wheel RV.
OK I'll try to explain how the RV air deflector mounts to the pickup truck and the removing of the air deflector.
1st of all it all came already assembled and painted in two big boxes.
The steel rack that mounts to the pickup box was in one box and the RV air deflector was in another box.
The already assembled air deflector and steel rack with the bolts also already in place where they go when we completely put it on the truck made putting it on a real breeze.
For starting to put the air deflector on; there are 1/4" thick heavy steel angle pieces that fit in and below the top of the pickup box. The steel angle pieces have several 1/2" nuts welded to them on each inside face of each angle piece. The angle pieces are bolted inside the front stake post socket using the stake post side holes already there by Ford.
For mounting the body of the steel rack to the pickup box; there are two 1/4" thick 2" x 4" angle mounting bases one left and one on the right side. Each one of the mounting bases is about 12"s long and has a 1/2"+ hole already drilled into the top of them. Through the holes 1/2" bolts to pass down through and thread into top of the steel angle pieces (from the above) that are bolted inside the stake post sockets.
The RV wind deflector then bolts to a 2" diameter. welded steel rack frame and sets over and above the cab about 3 feet. There is also about a little more than 1 inch of clearance between the bottom of the deflector and the roof of the cab.
The steel rack frame bolts together and bolts to and through 2 1/2" diameter. welded steel collars which are welded to the mounting bases. Yes also, the frame is pitch so it's side angle matches the side angle of the truck cab.
While were out traveling we just leave the air deflectors on. When unhitching from the 5Th wheel I just lay the top one down over the cab; that takes a couple of minutes. Having the top one on while laid down doesn't hurt the gas mileage. This design has the air going right through the top one when it is laid down over the cab. The side wings make the truck air flow think that the truck has a canopy on the box.
We tested the airflow with a airflow kit they sent us and are able to see just where the air was going. We did all tests; one when the air deflectors weren't on and pulling the fifth wheel trailer and one when the air deflectors were. Other tests was with the top air deflector laid down over the cab with and without the side wings. Having the top air deflector laid down to a near horizontal position over the cab made the air acts like it was flowing over the body of a canopy that was at cab height. As the top air deflector lays down over the cab it also rotates back so that about 1/2 of it's height body length is behind the back of the cab. The air deflectors up or laid down seams to keep the air behind the cab from being sucked into the back cab window when it is open.
The top air deflector rotates or lays down real easily over the cab. There are two bolts on each side that hold the air deflector upright when we take out the back ones the air deflector rotates backward. Of course when it's laid down and the way it's built the back removed bolts go back through the braces into the laid down position holes.
One thing about the bolts and fasteners that makes this design special and leaves us feeling a secure, all the bolts are Grade #5 with back up washers and nyloc nuts on every bolt. We don't have to worry that the air deflectors or any part of them will fall off. There are stories of others falling off or coming loose and it isn't pretty.
When were at home for a couple weeks or more then the air deflectors are taken off the steel rack. We just leave the steel rack bolted to the truck box. The steel rack was off once and it does come off quick. We Just had to unthread the 1/2" bolts through the mounting bases.
The air deflector and wings sure helps with the fuel mileage but also we learned to be better fuel mileage conscious sensible drivers. We think that our savings has improved; since we studied, tested and practiced the positive results of the subject. 1st of all we don't do jack rabbit starts, change speeds to often and don't drive at 75 mph. Our driving speeds are in the 55 mph - 65 mph; with most of the time at about 60 mph. The tires are at the correct higher pressure for highway driving. The truck stays tuned up with a regular lubrication checkups or changes.
Also when we get to or make the opportunity; we drop in behind a big semi tractor and trailer and follow them. Now we DON'T tailgate them at all but stay back about 150+ feet to just at the very back edge of the sweet spot. Another added benefit of being behind a semi tractor and trailer is that almost all of them are great drivers. They drive a near constant speed with few lane changes. Other drivers in cars and such also don't very often swerve in or drop in front of us suddenly or for no reason. So the drive down the highway is more peaceful.
Note from Steven & Fran: We offer web space for guest author articles because we believe there is always room for another viewpoint and because we surely don't know everything there is to know about RVs and the RVing lifestyle. in that spirit we invite you to submit your own articles. We're happy to give you credit and provide a link to your website.