How effective is the air dam/shield behind the front bumper (below the radiator)
Just curious - how effective is the large lower air dam/shield (below the radiator) behind the front bumper (96TB). I wonder how many of these large shields are still attached to our TBs after all these years. Is the purpose for improved air flow, heat extraction - does it affect gas mileage. Any information would be helpful.
1996 TB LX, 4.6, 120,000 miles, black with tan interior.
Dark tint and OEM "Sport" spoiler.
That adds a lot of stability to the bumper cover, and to the wheelwell splash shields. Without that, they are flapping in the wind.
97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles 94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car 04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords: 95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles 96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles 88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
I didn't realize you were talking about THAT, I thought you were talking about the one underneath the front of the K member. I have never seen a 96-97 Thunderbird with the part you're talking about missing, unless it's been wrecked. Yes it is necessary, both for the reasons Al described and for cooling.
That reminds me, I've got to take my front end completely apart again. Too much else going on lately. I have brand new OEM headlight assemblies which I'll install once I finally dig into it.
My pet peeve with body parts is that it's not always easy to find proper fasteners for the various pieces, and I often seem to mangle or outright ruin the chintzy things. The xmas tree ones in particular have me cursing out the engineers when I do an oil change, as they're designed to fail/be destroyed in short order. Why in the world they couldn't have used some kind of locking screw fastener that has like a 10,000 cycle rating I'll never understand. I don't think they'd have cost much more per unit.
I ended up ordering a 50-pack of the blasted things, to keep me going for a while.
Many moons ago, when I had my Bird in the body shop for an insurance repair, they didn't even bother trying to replace the fasteners with OEM or anything resembling OEM. I gave them a good piece of my mind over it, and I can't believe they can stay in business and keep two large shops going for so many years if they treat everyone's car like they did mine. Ever seen a drywall screw used to attach the front bumper fascia to the frame?!? Neither had I! That's just a minor example.
Keep in mind the universal southern business motto 'That's good enough'.
When I put my 95 in the shop my hope is usually that they will fix more than they break.
Plastic interior trim? I've spent days on the internet trying to replace the bits that the local dealership trashed.
I know it's off thread, but you touched one of my hot buttons.
It's important -- at least on the track (road course). without it, a lot of the air coming through the front of the car will take the path of least resistance down instead of through the radiator.
I sold that valence on TCCOA years ago for a few bucks. During sustained high speed driving on our first track day, we found our coolant temps (on an autometer gauge) would climb beyond 235F after several laps). We could basically do 3-4 laps at speed before fear/caution would set in and we'd do a cool down lap... bringing the coolant temps down to 210F. I think if you go into my thread history you can probably find a thread about it (~2011).
We found some coroplast sheeting (basically the stuff election signs were made of) and made a new valence (attached with zipties) so air coming through the bumper/nose had to go through the rad instead of spilling out before the radiator and coolant temps never climbed above 210F.
it should also be noted that our front bumper/nose is opened up a bit to allow for maximal airflow (the center part where the tbird emblem used to sit is cut out). I also made sure that the rubbery bits that funnel the air on each side of the radiator are also intact.
We have since upgraded to a much beefier griffin rad and coolant temps are never above 180F even after hours of on-track time.
PS. For daily driving, you'll probably never notice it's gone. We didn't and I commuted in that car 100mi/day to shake the car down before our first track day.