Here are steps to add a travel trailer nose cone. It comes in various shapes and you can add this nose cone to the front or rear of the trailer.
Why Do You Need Travel Trailer Nose Cone? The nose cone in front of the travel trailer acts as a deflector to reduce the wind friction and increases fuel mileage up to 8-12%. It also provides good balance due to improved aerodynamics. Other benefits include sway control, less stress on critical engine systems, including transmission and drivetrain, and fewer carbon emissions due to less fuel consumption.
It is better to use a semi-circular, teardrop, or V-shaped cone made of lighter fiberglass material.
This article will guide travel trailer owners to use a nose cone in front of their vehicles to get rid of problems caused by air friction at high speeds. We will also discuss other aspects, including its shape, construction material, cost, and installation procedure.
What is a travel trailer nose cone?
A nose cone is an extension on the front top of a travel trailer to improve its aerodynamic properties.
It is a simple device that is easy to build and install on large trailers with no electrical, moving, or electronic parts. It finds its applications in high scientific inventions like rockets by NASA to reduce air drag and improve its trajectory in a straight path.
In travel trailers, its U, V, or semi-circular shape provides benefits like improving its balance, making it easier to control, and improving fuel consumption.
Benefits of travel trailer nose cone
Nose cones in travel trailers have several benefits and have been in use since the early 1980s. Due to its potential benefits and large front surface area of a trailer, manufacturers are switching towards V-shaped structures to improve its balance.
It also improves fuel consumption, environmentally friendly operation due to fewer carbon emissions, sway control, and easier driving in hilly areas or high winds.
Moreover, it also provides longevity to the travel trailer engine and is maintenance-free due to no electrical or mechanical parts.
Reduce wind friction
Travel trailers have heavier weights, and their bulkier shapes make them difficult to control due to air drag at high speeds.
Moreover, they are not as maneuverable as other small vehicles with aerodynamic shapes like passenger cars. Therefore, it forces you to slow down, resulting in increased fuel consumption and a waste of time.
It prevents air friction and acts as a deflector. Air turbulence in the space between the trailer and towing vehicle is also a problem.
You can fix it by covering from the top due to its V-shaped design extended at any angle you want to keep.
The nose cone provides the solution by air deflection and less power from the engine to maintain the same speed.
Trailers have an average of 11-13 miles per gallon (mpg). You can get a saving of 8-12% on fuel consumption.
It can improve it from 1-2 mpg by installing a nose cone. Suppose you continuously travel throughout the year, and this mobile home is your primary residence.
In that case, this saving can translate into hundreds of dollars per year with increasing fuel prices.
Less trailer sway
Flat fronted trailers can suffer the unbalance while moving fast, maneuvering at corners and when a fast-moving heavy vehicle like truck passes nearby.
Other factors to cause it are uneven roads and high winds in coastal areas. However, you can minimize it by adopting a round or V-shaped nose cone on the front.
It is also crucial for your safety as a swaying or wobbling travel trailer is the leading cause of several thousands of accidents every year.
Easier to travel in hilly areas
It is challenging to climb in hilly areas with bulky and heavy vehicles. Moreover, wind can play a role in opposing the fast movement of the vehicle.
It can deflect wind from all angles, improving the trailer’s stability. It can also result in faster speeds while climbing hills due to reduced air drag.
Therefore, people going to hilly areas for camping can get the most benefit out of the situation. While climbing, you will also get balanced conditions and less stress on the towing hitch.
Less stress on the engine and other parts
A Tow truck or vehicle will suffer most while pulling flat fronted thousands of pounds of weight of a travel trailer.
Unbalanced air pressure will push the engine beyond its limits to provide the power required for towing. Moreover, trailer swing and bouncing will stress other truck parts like hitch receiver, drivetrain, transmission system, and brakes.
Tires will also wear out quickly due to increased pressure. It will resolve the issue by deflecting air and providing a smooth laminar airflow across the vehicle’s body. As a result, it will improve the engine life and other critical components.
Fewer carbon emissions
With increased global warming and strict measures from the environmental protection agency, it is challenging for travel trailer manufacturers to fulfill EPA regulatory requirements.
By employing a nose cone on your camper, you can reduce fuel consumption. It results in better mileage and reduced carbon emissions.
Nose cones are lightweight pieces of metallic or fiberglass sheet molded into a shape with better aerodynamics. It has no mechanical or complex electronics parts involved to control the air drag.
In addition, with no extra expenses involved, you only have to pay once to purchase and install it on your RV. Then you will get savings in many perspectives throughout the lifetime of the vehicle.
How to install a nose cone on your travel trailer?
Installing nose cones on a trailer varies according to its shape and size. Measure the width and height of the area available on the vehicle.
Put the nose cone in front of the trailer, mark its center point, and cut an exhaust hole of 2-3 cm exhaust hole at the central point.
Next, drill holes on the camper walls according to measurements. In case of lights, trim its corners around light spots without damaging its Gelcoat or cracking on sides.
Reroute the light wires before installing the fiberglass sheet. In the end, use rivets or any suitable quality sealant to fix it on the travel trailer wall. It is good practice to ensure thorough sealing of flanges to prevent seepage problems.
Should we add a nose cone on the front or rear of the trailer?
You can add a nose cone on both the rear and front of the trailer. Both sides have their pros and cons.
Adding it on the front side is the most common way of using it. It controls the aerodynamics and turbulent air trapped between the travel trailer and the towing vehicle gap. It also uniformly deflects the air from all angles and resolves the problem of crosswinds.
According to aerodynamics experts, the rear wall of the RV has the same effect regarding air drag as the front one.
Therefore, changing its shape will produce the same results regarding the vehicle’s improvement of fuel economy and balance control.
What should be the shape of the travel trailer nose cone?
You will find plenty of shapes of the frontal side of a travel trailer from V-shaped, sloped, rounded, U-shaped, and teardrop.
Some are better from an aesthetics point of view to provide a better look with a slight improvement of air deflection. While others like teardrop or semi-circular round shapes provide better wind control from all directions.
The teardrop shape is the best to provide turbulent air deflection. It has a round shape at the top and a wider part pointing outwards from the vehicle’s front.
Does the nose cone cost worth its benefits?
A nose cone for a trailer has a price range from $700 to $1100 depending on its size, material of construction, and shape.
It is a considerable amount, and with savings of 1-2 mpg, you will need to travel thousands of miles to cover the amount.
However, you can also get potential benefits like fewer maintenance issues, reduced tire wear, and better sway control. Overall it is a good investment for the long term. I would recommend going for it if you have that much amount to invest and travel frequently.
According to statistics involving improvement in fuel economy and its initial cost, yes, it is beneficial for long trips and frequent travelers.
However, it has other non-monetary benefits like ease of driving and better sway control.
Moreover, it enables you to move faster with improved aerodynamic control. In this way, you can improve your safety and convenience irrespective of your traveling routine.
What material should be used to make a trailer nose cone?
Manufacturers use lightweight materials with good mechanical strength for the construction of a nose cone.
Material durability is vital to ensure safe operation and withstand wind stresses. Common choices of material are fiberglass, aluminum, and steel sheets of low-thickness gauges.
They modify its shape according to the aerodynamics design to get desired results.