I always admired the technology behind the Eco trim and wanted one, but the goodies on the LTZ won out over Eco (particularly leather). After a recent discussion with obermd about Eco shutters being closed in the winter, I decided to try a little experiment- if the Eco can have the lower grill closed off in the winter, why can't an RS bumper?
I knew just the material sitting around the garage to accomplish my goal. It already had a few holes in it, and it was the perfect width. It was mudflap material, from a full width mudflap on a motorhome that had to be trimmed to avoid it touching the ground. I cut a piece off that's the width of the grill opening.
Short of dropping the entire bumper, there's no easy way to get up behind the grill area. There's a trim panel that screws to the bottom of the bumper in multiple places that completely covers the area. So, air can go into the grill area and can only go through/around the radiators. I did find a small gap off on the right side that allowed me to fish the stuff up there.
I don't have many pictures because most I had to do just by feeling and out of clear view. Three holes were in view of the grill, which was perfect to secure the cover in place, so I didn't have to drill any new.
Through working with a few tools to hold it up in place, I put some large lag bolts through the grill and into the holes in the plastic piece. I had a bunch of plastic washers that I put on the bolts to prevent rust/scratches to the grill. They are actually doubled up since they are quite thin. I painted the bolts with some leftover black touch up paint from the old Excursion so that they won't rust so bad. This should be more durable and much thicker than paint marker paint.
I went for a drive (and got on it) once I finished. It seemed to come up to 130 or so in about the same time/distance as normal. I never reached 200 though, but I did get to 197.
I have the Scangauge and will watch the temps tomorrow morning like usual. I can always take this off/let it lay down in there if I have to. But with a 15 degree morning expected, I doubt that'll happen.
My goal with this? Fuel economy would be great, but I'm not really expecting much if anything. If it helps the Cruze maintain engine temp in the cold temps, then that's a plus. I'm just interested to see what will happen with it, but I don't have high expectations.
Yes, it will probably come off when spring/warmer weather arrives, assuming all goes well now.
A little blurry, but this is how well it is sealed underneath:
Overall look- quite subtle, only the bolts show. It's only bolted at the top, so I suppose air could push it out of the way on the bottom. It's open a little on top of the cover too. The screws should blend in when the Cruze is dirty with road salt: