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Old 09-04-2016, 08:00 AM   #1
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Do Air Tabs really work?

I have recently heard about a product called Air Tabs which are supposed to improve the handling of your RV on windy days and reduce the push effect of big trucks passing you? Has anyone installed this product that can offer some end user feedback?

Thx,
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:02 AM   #2
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Here's a link to some previous threads which may assist.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Air+...com&gws_rd=ssl
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMiller View Post
I have recently heard about a product called Air Tabs which are supposed to improve the handling of your RV on windy days and reduce the push effect of big trucks passing you? Has anyone installed this product that can offer some end user feedback?
Thx,
Although I've not used Air Tabs, (and I could be wrong), my opinion is that they do more for the seller than they do for the buyer...(like most other gizmos and gadgets).
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:39 AM   #4
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People that buy these type of gizmos, gadgets and snake oil are going to tell you they work wonders and they can't believe they ever got along without them.

The reason for this is they do not want to admit, or even believe, they were taken advantage of and wasted their money.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:49 AM   #5
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If they actually worked and produced the fuels savings that they claim why is it that the commercial trucking industry is NOT using them who stands to benefit from them the most?

BTW, in my extensive travels I happen to park next to one commercial trucker at a rest stop who had Air Tabs installed on his cab. Asked how he liked them and found out that it wasn't his truck and he was only delivering it to another location and had no idea what they were.

I think you now know the answer.....snake oil in its truest form.

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Old 09-04-2016, 11:29 AM   #6
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Yes... They work great on aircraft when they are placed at very specific points on an airfoil to trigger boundry layer..>>

Yes, They improve the economic picture of the person that sells them.
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:27 PM   #7
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When I saw these installed a Motorhome, the aviation part of me was standing there scratching my head
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:46 PM   #8
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The trucking industry does use air tabs. The issue is that there are many more trailers than tractors. Applied to the tractors, it helps on the vacuum gap between the tractor cab and the trailer. There is more benefit to having air tabs on trailers because the large disturbance of air flow behind the trailer. There have been other attempts like wings applied to the back of trailers but they are cumbersome and subject to damage when the trailers are backed into loading docks.

Why not more air tabs? The trucking industry is interested in 1/4 mile per gallon mileage increases but the capital costs are being applied to the biggest gains. Right not it is eliminating the vacuum gap under the trailers with the air dams.

You saw the tractors getting the first airflow improvements, cab extensions to raise the flow up to the trailers, cab fairings to reduce the gap between tractor and trailer and then the fairings under the cab. Again, the ratio of tractors to trailers is large so tractor improvement had the first application.

Now to motorhome, no need for wheel fairings, nor is the front going to get a streamline profile. The one thing that can be solved is the vacuum drag at the end of the motorhome. The air tabs would help that a lot. Also reducing the whirlwind behind the motorhome would keep it cleaner.

Not snake oil, just uninformed people.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:06 PM   #9
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I believe they do work, but in limited fashion.

They are designed to manage air at an edge of an airfoil of one sort or another. If your motor home or truck was aerodynamically designed in such a way that the affect it has will be enhanced, then they do indeed work.

Unfortunately, most motor homes (and trucks for that matter) are so poorly designed from an aerodynamic perspective, the small effect they have will most likely be lost in the waste and slop of other aerodynamic failures...

If you have 2 air conditioners, two covered ceiling vents (fantastic fan types), a couple plumbing vents and my Refer vent, my TV antenna (yes, it is still there) as well as an ornamental 3 inch tall rail along my roof, all of that will cause far more air 'ripple' than any of these products could possibly repair. Mine also has a flat back, with 90 degree edges all around. That leaves a terrible void behind my MH.

I am pretty sure that if you cleaned up those, possibly with a cowell not unlike those found under some large trucks, it would have a far greater impact than this item.

Also, I have the louvered windows (jalousie) over my bathroom and kitchen sink. If I leave these open a bit, while driving, which I frequently do, the aerodynamic damage is likely more than these devices. The rear view mirror design may be more than the devices. The very fact that the MH itself has flat sides, and has a 90 degree corner, or thereabouts, at the upper corners may be enough that anything you do with these devices is overwhelmed by the design before you start.

I am an engineer, but not in this type of discipline, but that is my opinion on these items.


Seems Dale or Mark was posting as I was typing.

I am glad I mentioned the flat back of my motorhome as an issue. Seems we agree there. Unfortunately, a motorhome, unlike a truck trailer, has a great many protuberances that will adversely affect air flow, potentially more than these devices could impact.

I think a lot of these issues can boil down to cost. I believe they do have at least a potential to help. If they were cheap or free, or nearly that, and you drove a great deal, they may help over time. If they are expensive, they may never recover their cost.

My point, however, was that there are most likely other things you can do that would have a greater impact on air drag and fuel mileage per gallon than these. However, if your roof stuff causes a 10% loss over having a flat roof, and these wings cause a 1/2 % improvement, that could or should be considered.

If you fix the roof issues, you may easily gain more than the 1/2 %, but if you are not going to do that, then sticking these tabs to the back of the MH is a pretty easy improvement.

Again, I believe it all comes down to cost.
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:14 PM   #10
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I have seen significantly more commercial trailers that have been retrofitted with the Duck Tail than I have ever seen with Air Tabs. In fact I haven't seen ONE trailer with Air Tabs, only one cab as stated in one of my previous posts and the driver had no idea what they were. I had to tell him.

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Old 09-04-2016, 01:46 PM   #11
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Dale,

Even if they worked as well as advertised on trucks, there is not a comparison to RVs. Trucks may run 700,000 miles /year, so a payout would be much quicker. An average RV that is driven 15000 miles/year extends the payout time to a point where the RV likely be will past a useful age. The .3 to .5 mile/gallon increase that seems to be most common, if an increase is even listed, and a $250-500 cost might be justified.

But, I was informed that this is an RV that we are discussing. But, I might be poorly informed.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:00 PM   #12
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Reducing your speed by 1-2 mph will have more effect on your mpg than these air tabs will ever have. It won't cost you a dime, no installation and almost no difference in your arrival time. If you are not happy with the results you can easily increase your speed back to that speed you were previously traveling at. Take the savings that you just saved and spend a few more nights RVing and pat yourself on the back for not wasting your money.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:14 PM   #13
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Class C's and Pickup Campers have a problem with air/wind getting trapped between cab and cab over. This causes a lot of noise inside cab. With info from a pickup camper thread. I installed a line of them to bottom of my cab over. Big difference in cab noise. Plus it took wind noise away from cab windows.
I picked up over 130 air tabs off Ebay for less than $.50 each. Have installed them at rear of MH and on the cab over. I have seen some improvement in handing when trucks overtake me on the freeway. But MH handled well before the air tabs. Besides cab over improvement, there may be some improvement in handling when side winds are hitting MH. But when you have a MH that handles well already it's hard to tell.
No fuel mileage improvement that I can tell.
Toad and rear of MH are just as dirty as they have always been after a day of driving in the rain.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:19 PM   #14
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The vacuum drag at the end of a motorhome/commercial trailer is great. Ideally, the end of end of the trailer should end in a taper of about 14 degrees which would result in a tailcone of several feet. The vanes on commercial trailer do not even start to really create that cone.

People tend to think of a truck as not being aerodynamic but most do not understand the ration of length to frontal area. A semi, and a motorhome, is actually pretty dynamic as there is a long length to the frontal area. Trucks have the advantage of a better frontal profile over a motorhome.

The air tabs cause a swirling virtual wall the makes that tailcone eliminating the drag. And in the terminal, there is nothing in the way of parking the trailer.

I have not seen as many trailers with air tabs as with the tail wings but I have many many more than one and the same for tractors. Fleets make these buying decisions, not drivers. Drivers would never buy super-single tires and yet the fleet are because of improved mileage. Drivers don't paid on mileage, on miles.

Again for a motorhome, air tabs represent a cleaner back end and that might be just as important as the mileage increase.
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