Jackk None
March 31, 2014 9:43 a.m.

Hey everyone, I was wodering if I could get some information on whether or not trying to shed weight from my vehicle would improve gas and hp, If so would i wanna get Carbon fiber - as much as possible, Anyone know where i could get a cf hood and maybe cf doors for my vehicle ? any help is very appreciated

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 9:47 a.m.

Losing weight is always good for performance and MPG (at least city MPG), but it'll never pay off because CF is so expensive and the MPG gains are tiny, you should know that going in.

FG or molded urethane panels are much cheaper options for lightweight panels.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 9:50 a.m.

do you Know any site that sells fg or molded urethane panels for my vehicle, I've searched all over it seems for CF hoods - but no luck sadly, I am wanting my vehicle to last me forever and be nice on the pocket for the long run - due to gas prices increasing so rapidly.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 9:55 a.m.

I did some quick searching and couldn't find anything...it's very uncommon for whole aftermarket panels to be made for anything but sports cars. When panels are made for trucks, they're always metal because they're aimed at the offroad crowd which is much more concerned with durability than weight.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 9:59 a.m.

What would you guess for a price for a custom made hood panel, $1,000?

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 10:07 a.m.

I'd say you'd be looking at about $700-$1k for the hood itself at this size, and then maybe $150-$250 for a good paint job on the hood that will match the rest of the car.

Again remember the MPG difference will be very small. Maybe not even measurable. You might want to consider losing weight elsewhere - maybe with lightweight seats or an all-aluminum radiator.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 10:10 a.m.

If I'd get carbon fiber I would maybe just leave it black - my vehicle is gold, would you say that would be $1k , I just emailed a custom fabrication service for carbon fiber and so i'm hoping they can tell me a range on price

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 10:11 a.m.

The range I gave was for an FG hood, for a CF hood you could double that. You can leave the CF unpainted but you should still get a UV protectant and sealant put on it.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 10:23 a.m.

what would be a range for weight for fiber glass? 15-30lbs?

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 10:30 a.m.

Depends on the size of the hood, what thickness you use, and how much understructure you want/need.

You should also consider the weight of the original hood. For example the Honda S2000 comes with an aluminum hood that weighs about the same as aftermarket CF hoods.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 10:33 a.m.

Is a thicker hood better and what do you mean by understructure?

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 10:37 a.m.

If you open your hood you'll see the "skeleton" that's welded to the actual hood panel. That's the understructure. Some aftermarket hoods have no understructure and just use a very thick layer of panel material that's strong enough to support itself. This type of construction saves on labor but results in a piece that's much heavier than it has to be.

Thicker is more durable but heavier, thinner is weaker but lighter. A light hood should have an understructure and use a thin layer of material for the actual panel (as in just thick enough to withstand the forces involved in being mounted to the car - aero & shock).

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 10:38 a.m.

a aftermarket replacement hood for my suv weighs about 35 pounds would my factory stock one be different ?

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 10:43 a.m.

No idea, you'd have to take it off and weigh it...but it's possible that it could be that light.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 10:47 a.m.

I wish it would just tell me online or in the manual how much the hood itself weighs...

Swank Force One MegaDork
March 31, 2014 10:49 a.m.

It would be far cheaper to improve gas mileage by just buying a different vehicle to drive most of the time.

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 10:52 a.m.

I do have a cadillac deville - which is even worste on gas mileage haha

Jackk New Reader
March 31, 2014 12:14 p.m.

Found out the weight of my hood is 45lbs, So the weight wouldnt change but at most 20 to 30 pounds, Any ideas where else to loose weight but still have all my seats and emergency stuff?

turboswede UltimaDork
March 31, 2014 12:24 p.m.

No offense, but I would sell the V6 Highlander and get something else. Even just dropping to a 4-cylinder model (the AWD and V6 along with all of the other options they added to the V6 models doesn't help your mileage) Our 01 175hp 4-cylinder does great and gets 30mpg on the highway and maybe 18-20 around town, but it is just a heavy and jacked up Camry station wagon.

Considering the Highlander is unibody construction, you're not going to lose much weight with replacement panels, since only the hood, front quarters, doors and bumpers are replaceable. Bumpers are already urethane and very thin, with a foam core. Cutting the bracing from the hood could make aero worse if the hood flaps around at speed.

Lots of interior padding and sound canceling which could help with weight at the expense of making it less comfortable and noisy.

Ditch the stock wheels and tires for much lighter wheels with more economy minded tires (narrow with less aggressive tread patterns). If you change diameter too much you may need to alter the speedometer programming via the ECU, which the dealer should be able to do.

Remove or replace the seats with lighter versions.

Remove the roof rack and rack bars

Shave the antennae

Lower the car with lowering springs

Add to or extend any underbody trays to smooth air flow under the car. Ensure that hot engine air has a place to go and that the trays don't melt on the exhaust.

Toyota did a decent amount of work in improving the airflow in and around those trucks, so I don't know that there would be much gains in shedding weight at steady state cruise, but I've noted some ideas that I've gathered from looking at our own 01 4-cylinder FWD Highlander.

Good luck.

GameboyRMH MegaDork
March 31, 2014 12:24 p.m.

Depending on how heavy the stock front seats are, lightweight seats could save A LOT. You'll have to give up any power features those seats may have though.

An all-aluminum radiator will save as much weight as that hood would have, and is a good reliability mod too. That would cost you $250-$500.

But we're talking about saving a few dozen pounds. You can see that the MPG of the car doesn't change much with just one passenger's worth of weight difference...you'd get even less with all of this weight reduction. Weight has almost no effect on highway MPG.

You'd likely get more with low rolling resistance tires and carefully tuned tire pressures. Tire type makes a big difference too, switching from toothy MTs to road tires will gain you some mileage, smaller diameter and thinner tires will increase MPG at the expense of grip.

There are mods you can do to the engine that will give you more performance through better efficiency - intake and exhaust mods, and switch to synthetic oil (again probably better than all the weight reduction).

crankwalk HalfDork
March 31, 2014 3:53 p.m.

The best way to save gas is have a light foot and plan ahead. That's free.

Think about resale. After you who wants a Highlander with 2 Sparcos and an ill-fitting fiberglass hood?

Just drive it and get a little sports car to tinker with eventually. The Highlander is what it is.

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