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Ford's Trade-In: Truck to Use Aluminum in Place of Steel
WSJ ^ | 07/26/2012 | MIKE RAMSEY

Posted on 07/27/2012 2:33:00 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd

Edited on 07/27/2012 2:39:50 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]

ALLEN PARK, Mich.—In this suburb just west of Detroit, Ford Motor Co. is working on one of the biggest gambles in its 108-year history: a pickup truck with a largely aluminum body.

The radical redesign will help meet tougher federal fuel-economy targets now starting to have wide-ranging effects on Detroit's auto makers. But Ford will have to overcome a host of manufacturing obstacles, plus convince die-hard pickup buyers that aluminum is as tough as steel.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: aluminum; automakers; cafe; energy; energypolicy; ford; fordmotor; fordtrucks; greenreligion; manufacturing; physics
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This is a very good article. It's long, but it outlines the risks Ford is taking with their best seller - the F150.

And just why are they taking this chance? The answer is given in the excerpt.

1 posted on 07/27/2012 2:33:03 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd
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To: Responsibility2nd
A mock-up of the new aluminum lightweight-by-700 lb car...


2 posted on 07/27/2012 2:39:42 PM PDT by C210N ("ask not what the candidate can do for you, ask what you can do for the candidate" (Breitbart, 2012))
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To: Responsibility2nd
Along with the aluminum makeover, the new F-150 also is getting a more muscular look, according to one Ford designer.

If you can't actually make it Ford Tough, make it look Ford Tough...

3 posted on 07/27/2012 2:41:05 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1284 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Heroes aren't made Frank, they're cornered...)
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To: Springman; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; madison10; ...
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
4 posted on 07/27/2012 2:41:20 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Stopping time?? Huge loss of friction....

We put some extra pounds in the trunk in winter time.

5 posted on 07/27/2012 2:41:24 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Responsibility2nd

Well, as long a the fender wells say “Body By Budweiser” on the inside’ it’ll sell......


6 posted on 07/27/2012 2:42:18 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Similar to what Germany employed to circumvent the tonnage restrictions imposed especially upon them by the 1926 bilateral arms ‘agreement”.

This brought you the so-called ‘Pocket Battleship” the Bismarck, among others.

They sacrificed armour for speed. But guns are faster than ships and it took a pounding and sank.


7 posted on 07/27/2012 2:42:42 PM PDT by Surrounded_too
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To: Responsibility2nd

UPS has been using Aluminum for years, and is now looking at plastic.

http://www.whatisworking.com/2011/06/ups-trucks-made-of-ultra-light-material.html


8 posted on 07/27/2012 2:44:23 PM PDT by foundedonpurpose (It's time for a fundamental restoration, of our countries principles!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Do they even think they make an aluminum that is as tough as steel?


9 posted on 07/27/2012 2:45:07 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Sacajaweau
Stopping time?? Huge loss of friction....

I leaned that lesson in a hurry some years ago when I bought a Festiva. Anti lock brakes and all and it still slid on dry pavement in a hard stop.
10 posted on 07/27/2012 2:45:56 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Responsibility2nd

11 posted on 07/27/2012 2:46:17 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: Sacajaweau

If those things crash and catch on fire, I bet they will burn hotter than the surface of the sun.


12 posted on 07/27/2012 2:46:57 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: Responsibility2nd
I instantly thought of New Coke when I read this. They will make a colossal mistake and do great harm to their brand if they do this in my opinion
13 posted on 07/27/2012 2:52:18 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Encourage all of your Democrat friends to get out and vote on November 7th, the stakes are high.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

plus convince die-hard pickup buyers that aluminum is as tough as steel.


It’s not... steel and aluminum don’t mix. Salt eats it worse than steel.

But the truck will be lighter... It might cost them the “longest lasting pick up in America” title.

Guess if I want a new ford I better buy it before the switch.


14 posted on 07/27/2012 2:52:42 PM PDT by cableguymn (For the first time in my life. I fear my country's government.)
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To: Surrounded_too

Bismarck wasn’t a “pocket battleship. Just the opposite, it was a full-sized battleship with increased armor protection. Germany had disgarded the restrictions by the time Bismarck was launched. German warship theory was heavier armor and smaller, more accurate guns. Had they been able to produce sufficient numbers of ships, this might have worked. Bismarck wasn’t sunk by the British which reall pissed them off to this day. She was pounded into a useless hulk, but still floated until her own crew scuttled her. The Brits got their revenge for Bismarck sinking the Hood by leaving over 1,000 German survivors to drown. Fair play and all that, eh, chaps? Naturally, they have a different version.


15 posted on 07/27/2012 2:53:46 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
If those things crash and catch on fire, I bet they will burn hotter than the surface of the sun.

You're just looking at the negative side. Look on the positive side - Alcoa closed at $8.45/shr today. Buy, buy, buy!!

16 posted on 07/27/2012 2:54:29 PM PDT by BipolarBob
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To: Responsibility2nd

The Ford F150, if they do it correctly, could be a hit. The reason is the CAFE standard, but FORD will make a truck that AMERICANS will buy.


17 posted on 07/27/2012 2:54:29 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (Yes, Obama, I had help with my business. MY CUSTOMERS!!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

18 posted on 07/27/2012 2:55:20 PM PDT by I see my hands (It's time to.. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHER FREEPERS!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

On the plus side, no worries about rust in the wheel well or fenders. Sound-wise, Aluminum should aborb and “deaden” any road noise. From a crash-worthines perspective, Aluminum should have minimal rebound, thus absorb the damage better than steel.

On the down side - depending upon how Ford impliments this, the body could be too week for regular heavy use, and painting Aluminum is going to be an issue.


19 posted on 07/27/2012 2:55:41 PM PDT by Hodar (A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.- Burroughs)
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To: Responsibility2nd

How long before GM and Chrysler get a waver and/or loophole in millage requirements to be able to build a steel bodied truck?


20 posted on 07/27/2012 2:56:00 PM PDT by matt04
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To: Responsibility2nd

I don’t think aluminum bodies are necessarily a bad idea.

Didn’t Land Rover use aluminum bodies?


21 posted on 07/27/2012 2:59:58 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Responsibility2nd

Wonder if I could get one unpainted but polished?


22 posted on 07/27/2012 3:04:36 PM PDT by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (EAT MOR CHIKIN)
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To: yarddog

ya, but their mechanical issues always killed the truck before the corrosion did.


23 posted on 07/27/2012 3:05:06 PM PDT by cableguymn (For the first time in my life. I fear my country's government.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
This is a very good article. It's long... Only if you have a WSJ subscription.
24 posted on 07/27/2012 3:05:56 PM PDT by upchuck ("Definition of 'racist:' someone that is winning an argument with a liberal." ~ Peter Brimelow)
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To: Sacajaweau

We put some extra pounds in the trunk in winter time.”

Used to live in Kansas and had to drive on lots of hilly terrain. Snow and particularly ice were bad in the winter. We always put several bags of sand in the trunk of all of our cars beginning in October or November and left them there until spring. My dad had four 100 lb. weights he always put in the back of his pick-up. This extra weight, together with steel studded snow tires, pretty much allowed us to get around in the winter.

Female question maybe - but will the lighter trucks still be able to pull and haul as much as the ones available now? My grandson uses a pick-up to haul a lot of stuff so we might need to think about replacing his current one before the new ones are the only ones available.


25 posted on 07/27/2012 3:06:01 PM PDT by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
If those things crash and catch on fire, I bet they will burn hotter than the surface of the sun.

Do you know that current engines are made of mostly aluminum ?

26 posted on 07/27/2012 3:06:01 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Hodar

aluminum corrodes too... sometimes worse than steel.


27 posted on 07/27/2012 3:06:42 PM PDT by cableguymn (For the first time in my life. I fear my country's government.)
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To: yarddog
Didn’t Land Rover use aluminum bodies?

Don't know...but McDonnell-Douglas did.

28 posted on 07/27/2012 3:07:02 PM PDT by gundog (Help us, Nairobi-Wan Kenobi...you're our only hope.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
The WSJ got it wrong.

Ford: Reports of more aluminum on F-150 'premature'

29 posted on 07/27/2012 3:07:27 PM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: yarddog
I don’t think aluminum bodies are necessarily a bad idea.

Agreed, aluminum can be strengthened decently. You also have the advantage of not rusting.
30 posted on 07/27/2012 3:07:52 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Properly designed, Aluminum can be just as strong as steel. It will just cost more.


31 posted on 07/27/2012 3:08:10 PM PDT by Yo-Yo
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To: Hodar

However...any body damage cannot be “pounded out”. Aluminum doesn’t really dent, it stretches. The “fix a dent” guy, won’t. And yes, painting it is definitely trickier - generally, it requires absolute cleanliness and etching or epoxy primer.

“Frame” and suspension parts are forget it if they are bent or broken. Very few body shops in the US are qualified to straighten or weld an aluminum frame (welding/straightening aluminum is an entirely different, highly skilled, more capital-intensive process). Body shops that can actually work with aluminum generally operate in two entirely separate buildings, because the iron dust from grinding contaminates aluminum work.


32 posted on 07/27/2012 3:12:33 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
If those things crash and catch on fire, I bet they will burn hotter than the surface of the sun.

Doubtful. Aluminum will burn if you get it hot enough, but there's nothing in a truck that will burn hot enough to get it started.

I grew up around junk yards and body shops, and have seen lots of burned vehicles. Aluminum parts just melt.

33 posted on 07/27/2012 3:13:13 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: Grams A
Female question maybe - but will the lighter trucks still be able to pull and haul as much as the ones available now?

At a certain point, it becomes an issue over mass. Too little 'mass' in the truck, and it cannot control the mass being pulled.

34 posted on 07/27/2012 3:14:00 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: yarddog

The first Land Rovers were aluminum body on Jeep frames. LRs still use a lot of aluminum.


35 posted on 07/27/2012 3:14:27 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: matt04

The F-250 will continue to be made with steel.
Heavier pickups are exempt from the gas mileage rule.


36 posted on 07/27/2012 3:18:51 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (I didn't post this. Someone else did.)
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To: tacticalogic
Ground aluminum is what burns ferociously and is not as hard to light. I think that is what some people are thinking of. Since the inside of the combustion chamber gets pretty darn not, and aluminum engines don't immediately vaporize is proof that solid aluminum won't burn from any kind of crash.

If it would, most race cars would explode, as many of them are made out of titanium and aluminum.

37 posted on 07/27/2012 3:19:53 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: The Antiyuppie
However...any body damage cannot be “pounded out”. Aluminum doesn’t really dent, it stretches. The “fix a dent” guy, won’t. And yes, painting it is definitely trickier - generally, it requires absolute cleanliness and etching or epoxy primer.

Steel stretches too. The difference is you can pound out the steel and then "shrink" the stretched places by heating them red-hot with an OA torch and quenching it. If you try that with aluminum you'll just burn holes in it, and welding aluminum is something most body shops do not have the equipment or experience to deal with.

38 posted on 07/27/2012 3:23:17 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: DannyTN

Scotty says “transparent” aluminum will fit the ticket!


39 posted on 07/27/2012 3:24:20 PM PDT by Renegade
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To: Responsibility2nd

Change these darn federal fuel-economy targets, not our beloved pick up trucks. Only nut job politicians think a usable truck can do work with a thimble full of pixie dust, we in the heartland know plenty of gas or diesel is necessary.


40 posted on 07/27/2012 3:25:27 PM PDT by RicocheT (Eat the rich only if you're certain it's your last meal)
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To: ozzymandus
You are confusing ships. The Graf Spee was a pocket battleship that engaged British ships in the Battle of the River Plate. Damanged the German Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew and the Captain committed suicide in Montevideo,
Uruguay.

The Bismarck was of course sunk by the British Navy in the Atlantic ocean.

41 posted on 07/27/2012 3:26:10 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: UCANSEE2

Don’t they use aluminum powder in rocket fuel?

Powder vs solid form makes all the difference when burning it.


42 posted on 07/27/2012 3:26:37 PM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Looks like I’ll need to get a few more years out of my ‘79 F-250 and my ‘93 F-150.

That’s prolly ok ‘cuz I planned to anyway.


43 posted on 07/27/2012 3:27:16 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (The instinct toward liberalism is located in the part of the brain called the rectal lobe.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
The first thing that should be addressed in the concept of 'aluminum'. Most material we see, use, are familiar with is not 'aluminum' but aluminum alloy. Various alloys perform differently, and have different strengths.

Car wheels now are mostly an alloy of magnesium and aluminum. Which were developed for race cars to reduce weight, and gyroscopic force.

44 posted on 07/27/2012 3:27:47 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: yarddog
"... Didn’t Land Rover use aluminum bodies?"

Yes, they at least certainly did on the Defender 90 series.

The problems with those vehicles (and all applications where steel surfaces meet with aluminum surfaces) is that the materials do chemically react with one another, especially when exposed to salt and water. Defender 90s seem to have interesting rust problems where steel meets aluminum.

I think that this Ford concept will work, but there are going to be issues with ownership of these vehicles. I expect most noticeably if bodywork is ever needed. You really can't repair mangled aluminum, only replace it. All in all that's probably not a huge issue.

45 posted on 07/27/2012 3:29:04 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid (Semper Fi)
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To: cripplecreek
Don’t they use aluminum powder in rocket fuel?

I know they use it in fireworks.

46 posted on 07/27/2012 3:30:18 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Renegade

people around here collect anything metal as its worth 200 bucks a ton at the recycler. I forsee guys coming out to the new ford and seeing its missing its bumpers


47 posted on 07/27/2012 3:31:42 PM PDT by mriguy67
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan
If those things crash and catch on fire, I bet they will burn hotter than the surface of the sun.

IIRC, I read somewhere a long time ago where the early M-113 APC's had aluminium as armor so when they got hit during the Vietnam War, they burned at a higher temperature and causes a lot more casualties. If they want to make a rustless car, why not stainless steel?
48 posted on 07/27/2012 3:32:04 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (June 28th, 2012, the Day America Jumped The Shark.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Using just aluminum is inferior to using an aluminum alloy, which might be much harder. The trick is to find an alloy with something not very expensive.


49 posted on 07/27/2012 3:35:44 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: UCANSEE2

IIRC the aluminum armor of one of the British warships was set off by anti-ship missiles during the Falklands war, so you can get solid aluminum burning but it takes temps higher than you can produce with any kind of petroleum fire to do it.


50 posted on 07/27/2012 3:36:31 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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