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Aluminum Ford F150
Old 01-13-2014, 08:22 AM   #1
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Aluminum Ford F150

In the Wall street Journal is an short article about Ford switching to Aluminum bodies for their F150 pickup. There is a video, but it looks like an ad on steroids, so not including a link.

Sounds really good for for fuel economy, with reduced weight. They also plan to do away with the V8 engine in that model.

I know there are cars out there made of aluminum, don't know how well they hold up in winter driving in northern regions with heavily salted roads? Anyone knows? Also wonder about the chemical interaction of road salt and aluminum. Will this be end of rusted out pickup trucks, or just a different form erosion?
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:29 AM   #2
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Aluminum body panels are harder to fab, and harder to repair IIRC, unless Ford has developed alloys that minimize those issues. Interesting development,

...Ford seems to be more innovative than GM or Fiat Chrysler lately (hybrids & EVs for example), or better at promoting same anyway.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
I know there are cars out there made of aluminum, don't know how well they hold up in winter driving in northern regions with heavily salted roads? Anyone knows? Also wonder about the chemical interaction of road salt and aluminum. Will this be end of rusted out pickup trucks, or just a different form erosion?
A properly-selected alloy should be more resistant to corrosion from water/salt than even galvanized steel. The challenge with aluminum is to prevent dissimilar metal corrosion wherever an aluminum piece has to be connected to a steel piece. It can be done, but it requires the right coatings/barriers, and those barriers need to remain intact for a long time.

It takes a lot of energy to make aluminum: it has about 5 times the embodied energy, by weight, as steel. It would be interesting to know how long it will take, in average vehicle use, to "pay back" that energy used to build the truck through the slightly better mileage it will get.

Ford's newer V6s are supposed to be terrific engines, and they match the power of many V8s. Still, a V8 has such an entrenched aura among the big truck crowd I'm surprised Ford's marketing department doesn't make the engineers slap two additional mock-up cylinders on the end of the block.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:29 AM   #4
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This seems to be driven by fuel economy requirements more than anything else. Hopefully it will not mean that the price will climb by too much. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the fact that most body shops are not used to dealing with aluminum when it comes to repairs.

I have a '11 F150 with the twin turbo V6 and it is the mutt's nuts, IMO. Zero loss of power even at stupidly high altitudes and does everything i could want.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:01 PM   #5
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Aluminum body? Genius! Especially in climates with salt and sand in winter. Think they don't hold up, Land Rovers were aluminum and they lasted forever, the frames would rust out then you'd buy a galvanized frame and it's out last that VW in Sleeper!
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:58 PM   #6
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I read some on this ...they're estimating with the 2.7 v6 it will get approx. 30 mpg highway...there has to be a premium for the aluminum body though ... owww muuuchhhh?
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:02 AM   #7
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Besides the whole body shop repair discontinuity, like SamClem I wonder how they are handling the galvanic action issue.

Some 1980s cars had aluminum bumper(s), and had a metal isolator sheet between the aluminum bumper's mounts, and the steel end plates for the energy-absorbing cylinders that were part of the steel frame. The sheet stuck out in all directions beyond the area of contact. It was flexible, almost like a thick lead foil, but as it never turned green, I assumed it was tin or something. I expect a much fancier solution on the F-150

And I agree, it's all Federal MPG-requirement driven.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:07 AM   #8
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I knew some expensive cars have been built with some/all aluminum body panels for many years (our Audi TT had an alum hood), but there are more downmarket cars than I realized already, including Fords. Obviously driven by CAFE as noted earlier.

http://www.autonews.com/article/2013...#axzz2qNiN0Nyf
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:21 AM   #9
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The Cadillac hood is fragile in a slight hail storm or higway road trips on the front header. Steel panels unafected but hood gets pepered like a golf ball. For panels that dont bolt on - i would be cautious.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:56 AM   #10
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The Cadillac hood is fragile in a slight hail storm or higway road trips on the front header. Steel panels unafected but hood gets pepered like a golf ball. For panels that dont bolt on - i would be cautious.
This is a good point. I suspect more trucks are sold in Texas than any other state, and Texas tends to be the hail capital of the US.

Me thinks the body shop cost in dealing with collisions and hail damage may not be trivial vs steel.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:03 AM   #11
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Interesting comments re body repairs and hail. Could there eventually be a premium on your insurance for added vulnerability/repair expense? Especially in hail heavy states? Guess I'll stick with my 2 y.o. Silverado. I put about $30 in the tank a week, don't think there'd be any payback there!
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:26 AM   #12
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I put about $30 in the tank a week, don't think there'd be any payback there!
I believe these kinds of changes are being made to satisfy the US Government, not customer demands. This would be nothing new, of course. We've had crash tolerant bumpers for how many years and they haven't saved me a dime in direct costs (no accidents) although I suppose there could be some insurance savings.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:33 AM   #13
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I think I have said this before.....but I wish they had kept small pickups. Not what they call small now.....but late 70's small. Really useful vehicles.....and my old Datsun got about 30mpg way back then. They just kept making the pickups bigger and bigger (and less and less mpg). Granted.....those old pickups where pretty light weight.....but they were great vehicles. I still see plenty of small ones around that people keep fixing up to keep them running.
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:00 PM   #14
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You may get your wish -another article discussed GM's decision to re-enter the small truck market. Hope they do better than the old S-10......
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:48 PM   #15
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You may get your wish -another article discussed GM's decision to re-enter the small truck market. Hope they do better than the old S-10......
Yeah. it looks like Chevy is getting ready to reintroduce the Colorado next year. I guess they noticed that this market appears to be underserved now, especially since Ford discontinued the Ranger.
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Old 01-14-2014, 02:53 PM   #16
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You may get your wish -another article discussed GM's decision to re-enter the small truck market. Hope they do better than the old S-10......
HEY! I liked my '96 S-10. I don't have it anymore, but it still runs great, says the current owner.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:13 PM   #17
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A properly-selected alloy should be more resistant to corrosion from water/salt than even galvanized steel. The challenge with aluminum is to prevent dissimilar metal corrosion wherever an aluminum piece has to be connected to a steel piece. It can be done, but it requires the right coatings/barriers, and those barriers need to remain intact for a long time.

It takes a lot of energy to make aluminum: it has about 5 times the embodied energy, by weight, as steel. It would be interesting to know how long it will take, in average vehicle use, to "pay back" that energy used to build the truck through the slightly better mileage it will get.
I am awfully happy with my all aluminum body car. Fortunately I have not had the an occasion to test the strength of the body, but watching the videos of the crashed Tesla show they are very tough.

Evidently Alcoa has been expanding production to meet the demand for aluminum intensive vehicles. I'd sure be tempted to open an aluminum factory in the Dakota's near all that natural gas which is dirt cheap.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:32 PM   #18
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Yeah. it looks like Chevy is getting ready to reintroduce the Colorado next year. I guess they noticed that this market appears to be underserved now, especially since Ford discontinued the Ranger.
But even the Ranger got bigger and bigger over the years. Those old Datsun(and then Nissan...I had one of each) pickups were cheap cheap cheap to buy and lasted forever. I think my Nissan was a 1980 and they were already starting to get a little bigger. Good gas mileage and as long as you didn't want to do some really heavy work with them they were great. I thought I read somewhere a year or so ago that India was putting out a small pickup.....maybe not for here though.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:34 PM   #19
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Now here's an idea for a fuel efficient truck:

Bob Lutz: Chevrolet Volt Should Have Been a Truck
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:43 PM   #20
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Now here's an idea for a fuel efficient truck:

Bob Lutz: Chevrolet Volt Should Have Been a Truck
Makes sense to me. Even if the elec motor just helped get it up to 10 miles an hour....that's where those big vehicles really suck fuel.
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