Airtab (vortex tabs) review

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lckign

New member
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Posts
3
Here's my experience in 2015 on a 35 ft Fleetwood Motorhome on a F53 Ford gas powered chassis:

Gas Use Improvement: Marginal at best.  But the verdict is still out.  After a trip from the east coast to Phoenix Az. I measured NO improvement. Trouble is there are so many variables changing all the time I did not get a 100% confidence in my conclusion. I'll do this after my next 1000 mile plus trip.

Truck Blow By: Generally a significant improvement. My rig suffers from this tremendously so this was a BIG thing for me. I think it's a gas rig / F53 chassis problem more than a diesal pusher one due to all the numerous chassis differences (you can find these on line).

Wind Sway: Depends on the amount of wind and direction. Moderate to low winds from front and back- not bad, some improvement. Strong cross and head winds-- forget it.  No help but I doubt anything solves this. Its just the nature of a "refrigerator on a skate board" as they say. A big wind sail isnt going to be solved by some itsy  pieces of plastic.

For anyone interested in more of the story:

I decided to add  vortex tabs to my  RV after viewing a Youtub video and reading some on line reviews. Like all of us who drive a longer motorhome, especially a gas powered one on the notorious F 53 chassis, my wife and I have suffered for years from the driver fatigue, and jangled nerves caused by truck blow by, cross winds, and general bad drag/ bad air dynamics. Six miles to a gallon of gas tops off the problem and speaks for itself. At anyrate Airtabs and their customers claimed to help.  I gave it as much careful thought as I could and had a more than small amount of skepticism. The experience and 'opinions' on this product were all over the place, good and bad. Plus if they were any good why didn't all the big trucks out there use them? Last of all Outfitting my RV would cost nearly $300 without the time and effort involved to paint, prep and put them on. Although not a huge investment by any means if they were just another online scam, or at best a marginal , throwing $300 away was not something I do gladly.
 
My decision to take a chance was based on these conclusions:

The driving stability problem was so troublesome as to warrant almost any improvement.
The cost of the Airtabs was significantly less than other chassis/suspension upgrades such as heavier sway bars and better shocks/springs. So they were the natural first best attempt.
The negative online information seemed to come from people who had never actually used the things. These people were just suspicious and cynical (here I don't blame them at all but talk is easy).
There were a couple of solid positive reviews by people who had applied the tabs fully on their RV's or trailers.
Although the verdict on gas improvement was marginal at best, gas was not my main concern. Important yes, but reducing the stress on my old age nerves was the big item.
Supposedly truckers went in the direction of those under and behind trailer air baffles (or what ever they're called). These are supposedly more significant solutions but not something us RVers can do at least easily.

The bottom line is gas savings NO, truck blow by YES, wind yes and no.

 

Back2PA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2015
Posts
5,766
Seen the ads, understand the theory of vortex generators and have wondered if they were just a bunch of hoo ha. Thanks for posting and glad they've proven worthwhile for you.
 

BruceinFL

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Posts
3,205
lckign said:
Here's my experience in 2015 on a 35 ft Fleetwood Motorhome on a F53 Ford gas powered chassis:

Gas Use Improvement: Marginal at best.  But the verdict is still out.  After a trip from the east coast to Phoenix Az. I measured NO improvement. Trouble is there are so many variables changing all the time I did not get a 100% confidence in my conclusion. I'll do this after my next 1000 mile plus trip.

Ah, but on that trip you were generally going uphill and upwind (against the prevailing winds). If you could reverse that trip and look at the total mpg for both legs, you might have a better indicator of the mpg with the tabs.
 

SargeW

Site Team
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Posts
7,976
Location
Where ever we park it!
Your experiences are pretty much in line with mine when I used them on a previous 5ver I owned. The one other benefit you didn't mention was that the back of the rig stayed cleaner from less negative air swirl behind the rig.  Other than that, the fuel savings was not as much as I had hoped. 
 

tom lacouture

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2015
Posts
18
I have added air tabs to my 2008 Fleetwood Tioga with similar results. I could not find and objective review from any one that had used them so I gambled and bought them and I am glad I did.

tom
 
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