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Thread: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

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    Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    I was sitting in traffic on the way to work today, when I saw a 2004 Nissan Maxima, another of the myriad of front-wheel drive cars with an optional rear decklid spoiler. I began to think of not only how ridiculous this trend is but also how dangerous. The whole reason rear decklid spoilers were put on performance cars was because they were rear-wheel drive and at high speeds the rear spoiler created enough down force to keep the rear wheels stuck to the pavement. Now on a front-wheel drive car, a rear spoiler at high speeds causes force on rear wheels which I would imagine could possibly cause the front wheels to lift. This to me seems just plain dangerous.

    Anyway what are your thoughts?

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    I don't think that the rear decklid spoilers add appreciable downforce at normal highway speeds.

    Now, the guy a friend & I saw on I-77 south of Charlotte a few months ago, it may have had some effect on his handling, because he was doing 110mph or so. But the aerodynamics of his Maxima (an older model) were that the nose of his car was pointing way up in the air. Whether that was because the spoiler was adding too much downforce to the back of the car, or the lack of aerodynamic aids on the front of the car, I don't know.

    He wrecked out a few miles later, btw. I don't know precisely why -- I suspect that someone pulled into his lane, not expecting autobahn-like speeds.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    That's good to know, I've een under the impression that those things were oversize trunk handles for the inept.

    An exception would be the retractable thing on some Porsches which alerts the cops that one is speeding.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete
    I was sitting in traffic on the way to work today, when I saw a 2004 Nissan Maxima, another of the myriad of front-wheel drive cars with an optional rear decklid spoiler. I began to think of not only how ridiculous this trend is but also how dangerous. The whole reason rear decklid spoilers were put on performance cars was because they were rear-wheel drive and at high speeds the rear spoiler created enough down force to keep the rear wheels stuck to the pavement. Now on a front-wheel drive car, a rear spoiler at high speeds causes force on rear wheels which I would imagine could possibly cause the front wheels to lift. This to me seems just plain dangerous.

    Anyway what are your thoughts?
    Adding a rear spoiler, purely for aesthetic reasons, can upset the handling of a car. To do the job properly a rear spoiler needs to be integrated in conjunction with a matching front air dam. My Carina SE has a rear spoiler ex factory and also has a front air dam, ex factory. The balance between the two has no detrimental effect and, if the car could do 180mph, might even do some good. : Having said that, I must admit that pushing the car hard (not difficult in a Carina) in the wet I have never managed to provoke a front or rear end slide so maybe they do work at lower (80 - 90) speeds.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Rear wings on front wheel drive cars do serve a useful purpose!

    After a few fatal crashes, Audi recalled the original TT to fit a rear spoiler to reduce rear end lift, thus curing a tendency for high-speed oversteer. FWD racing cars use very large rear wings to produce the required downforce, in conjunction with a front splitter which reduces front-end lift.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    That's good to know, I've een under the impression that those things were oversize trunk handles for the inept.

    An exception would be the retractable thing on some Porsches which alerts the cops that one is speeding.
    It's not relevant to speeds under about 60mph., as you know but are too poite to say.

    And even up to 100mph is mostly to do with things which can be alterered with suspension.

    Complete tossing. Fashion.

    Unless you drive regularly on curving roads at around 100mph., like James Bond and other men...
    The LS1 continues to run well.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg

    Unless you drive regularly on curving roads at around 100mph., like James Bond and other men...
    The LS1 continues to run well.
    I have no need to do 100mph on the straight, let alone around curves. And, i don't like being tossed about by lateral forces.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    to run well.
    I have no need to do 100mph on the straight, let alone around curves. And, i don't like being tossed about by lateral forces.
    [/quote]

    And I thought you were a young man, on a fast bike, ...

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg

    Unless you drive regularly on curving roads at around 100mph., like James Bond and other men...
    The LS1 continues to run well.
    I have no need to do 100mph on the straight, let alone around curves. And, i don't like being tossed about by lateral forces.
    Hell, 100 is slow.

    My pulse doesn't get going until over 140....

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    to run well.
    I have no need to do 100mph on the straight, let alone around curves. And, i don't like being tossed about by lateral forces.
    And I thought you were a young man, on a fast bike, ...

    [/quote]

    As far as lateral forces are concerned, if you're pulling lateral Gs on a bike, you won't do it long.

    I did fly a single seat airplane mildly in excess of Mach 1 over 50 years ago, will that count as a substitute?

    'Young' is something I did a long time ago, too.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    "I did fly a single seat airplane mildly in excess of Mach 1 over 50 years ago, will that count as a substitute? "

    Ok, you are my hero as of right now!

    Damn... I envy that....

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    Damn... I envy that....
    Don't waste your time, it's a non-event which requires no skill and no real effort. The only way one could tell was by looking at the Mach meter. In that sense it's much the same as taking your bike to 101 mph from 99 mph. The only thing that is of interest is the serious amount of power it takes to make that step.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    Damn... I envy that....
    Don't waste your time, it's a non-event which requires no skill and no real effort. The only way one could tell was by looking at the Mach meter. In that sense it's much the same as taking your bike to 101 mph from 99 mph. The only thing that is of interest is the serious amount of power it takes to make that step.
    You're modest.

    Flying an airplane (any airplane) takes no small amount of skill. Flying a military jet a helleva lot more. Really, I am impressed (and jealous). If I have any regrets in life it's that I decided not to go down that road back when I was 19....

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    I meant doing Mach 1 or so, when I said 'no skill.'

    Why not go down to a medium sized local airport and take a lesson or two? The first one is typically very cheap in an effort to get you hooked - something like the corner 'pharmacist.'


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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    As far as lateral forces are concerned, if you're pulling lateral Gs on a bike, you won't do it long.

    I did fly a single seat airplane mildly in excess of Mach 1 over 50 years ago, will that count as a substitute?

    'Young' is something I did a long time ago, too.
    My dear JDM.

    You clearly do not understand the riding of a fast road bike a la 1970 era, parallel twin, frame flexing and tyres on the limit in 2nd-3rd gear frame flexing, Isle of Man style, but going with speed only young men can do; sliding front and rear, never in my best rides needing full throttle exept in late night.

    It was a dance with the road the surfaces the rubber the two fingers on the brake two feathering the throttle, the rear jumping a bit but on public roads you just saw shocked faces in cars; I was very fast downhill.
    I looked at a 900cc Triumph yesterday and while I was looking I met a senior nurse from the Spinal Injury Unit... another story... the ride is two-lane marked for 25mph in places and over 90mph is silly.
    At first we didn't use helmets. but this old 1961 AJS shows me in 1972. I couldn't afford boots and leathers. Two jerseys. Gumboots. 12:1 c/r

    I dunno why but there were a lot of females around.

    Sorry picture unavailable

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg


    My dear JDM.

    You clearly do not understand the riding of a fast road bike a la 1970 era, parallel twin, frame flexing and tyres on the limit in 2nd-3rd gear frame flexing, Isle of Man style, but going with speed only young men can do; sliding front and rear, never in my best rides needing full throttle exept in late night.
    I do not, but I do belong to the Caterpillar Club, does that count? And for a couple of summers as a youngster, I regularly scared the hell out of myself racing small outboard boats.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg


    My dear JDM.

    You clearly do not understand the riding of a fast road bike a la 1970 era, parallel twin, frame flexing and tyres on the limit in 2nd-3rd gear frame flexing, Isle of Man style, but going with speed only young men can do; sliding front and rear, never in my best rides needing full throttle exept in late night.
    I do not, but I do belong to the Caterpillar Club, does that count? And for a couple of summers as a youngster, I regularly scared the hell out of myself racing small outboard boats.
    I suppose that counts, but you would have to buy a pint before I gave you any credence.

    And if you started saying how your 450cc Honda could do 114mph, I would smile at Kerry or Stephanie and they would come down and sit and agree, ...
    then we slowly dismantled the guy. Far too cruel.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    I meant doing Mach 1 or so, when I said 'no skill.'

    Why not go down to a medium sized local airport and take a lesson or two? The first one is typically very cheap in an effort to get you hooked - something like the corner 'pharmacist.'

    It's something I've wanted to do for several years - but between work and projects and home upkeep and so on I already feel overbooked. I've hardly even ridden my motorcycles this year, so far. And that really concerns me!

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    So? The next nice day get on your bike and go to the local airport.

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    Re: Rear Decklid Spoilers on Front-Wheel Drive Cars - Dangerous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    So? The next nice day get on your bike and go to the local airport.
    Yeah.. you're right... I need to make the effort...

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