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Saturn air deflector...


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Several weeks ago I installed the Saturn air deflector under the front of my '70 Avanti and after two weekends of driving back and forth to car shows I can say it really works.

It was an exceptionally simple install and I think I can highly recommend it to anyone with a Stude framed Avanti...it might just as easily work with Larks as well since they share the frame. Whether it would work on a Hawk I don't know.

My '70, with it's new crate engine (now with 2000 miles on it), would run a pretty consistent 180-190 degrees on the highway, slightly more in higher outside temperatures and humidity. Rarely have I seen it go over 200 degrees other than slow traffic and idling.

Last weekend I took the car on a 45-50 mile each way trip to a car/airplane show at a local regional airport. The outside temps were in the upper 80's in the morning and low 90's later in the afternoon with moderately high humidity for our area. The engine ran 165-175 degrees on the highway at a steady 70-75 mph.

Today I went on a somewhat longer trip to a much bigger car show in Northern Virginia...temps were low 80's at most all day with very moderate humidity, though storms threatened they moved out of the area so no rain. The car stayed within 150-165 degrees at 70-75 mph.

I also noticed it ran a bit cooler at 70-75 mph than it did at 50-55 mph. I attribute that to the additional airflow. Possibly the deflector isn't fully efficient until the car gets to higher speeds.

After that I feel the Saturn air deflector is a very positive addition to the car and I can definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to try it. Of course, the deflector has no value at all at low speeds or stop and go traffic as there's too little airflow for the deflector to direct up into the radiator. The engine temps move up into their previous normal range under those conditions but rapidly cools when back up to faster speeds.

While I'm no engineer by any means, I believe it accomplishes the additional cooling two ways...the more obvious is that it directs additional airflow up into the radiator directly that would otherwise pass under the car. The other and closely related effect is the deflector, while directing more airflow upwards, is at the same time reducing turbulence under the car and decreasing drag to some degree. Whether I'm correct or not in my reasoning, I cannot dispute the results...a consistent reduction in operating temperature...10 to 15 degrees at least.

Possible downsides to that much decrease...running at less than 160-180 degrees doesn't really get some engines to best temps for proper emissions reduction and full fuel burn in the combustion chambers. On my engine with fuel injection, it may be borderline on getting the on-board computer out of open-loop into closed-loop operating, which could possibly increase mpg, but I noticed no change in fuel consumption so it may be an irrelevant concern.

As I said...in my car at least...it's seems to be a big success. For less than $30 in parts (air deflector and flat stock aluminum as a stiffener), and a simple install procedure, it's a great addition and even if it doesn't make a difference on a particular car, it doesn't break the bank finding out.

For those interested, the Saturn part number is 20131161. My local Saturn dealer had it in stock. The flat aluminum stock I picked up at Home Depot.

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