Skip to comments.Ford's Trade-In: Truck to Use Aluminum in Place of Steel
Posted on 07/27/2012 2:33:00 PM PDT by Responsibility2ndEdited 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 ...
And just why are they taking this chance? The answer is given in the excerpt.
If you can't actually make it Ford Tough, make it look Ford Tough...
We put some extra pounds in the trunk in winter time.
Well, as long a the fender wells say “Body By Budweiser” on the inside’ it’ll sell......
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.
UPS has been using Aluminum for years, and is now looking at plastic.
Do they even think they make an aluminum that is as tough as steel?
If those things crash and catch on fire, I bet they will burn hotter than the surface of the sun.
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.
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.
You're just looking at the negative side. Look on the positive side - Alcoa closed at $8.45/shr today. Buy, buy, buy!!
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.
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.
How long before GM and Chrysler get a waver and/or loophole in millage requirements to be able to build a steel bodied truck?
I don’t think aluminum bodies are necessarily a bad idea.
Didn’t Land Rover use aluminum bodies?
Wonder if I could get one unpainted but polished?
ya, but their mechanical issues always killed the truck before the corrosion did.
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.
Do you know that current engines are made of mostly aluminum ?
aluminum corrodes too... sometimes worse than steel.
Don't know...but McDonnell-Douglas did.
Properly designed, Aluminum can be just as strong as steel. It will just cost more.
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.
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.
At a certain point, it becomes an issue over mass. Too little 'mass' in the truck, and it cannot control the mass being pulled.
The first Land Rovers were aluminum body on Jeep frames. LRs still use a lot of aluminum.
The F-250 will continue to be made with steel.
Heavier pickups are exempt from the gas mileage rule.
If it would, most race cars would explode, as many of them are made out of titanium and aluminum.
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.
Scotty says “transparent” aluminum will fit the ticket!
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.
The Bismarck was of course sunk by the British Navy in the Atlantic ocean.
Don’t they use aluminum powder in rocket fuel?
Powder vs solid form makes all the difference when burning it.
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.
Car wheels now are mostly an alloy of magnesium and aluminum. Which were developed for race cars to reduce weight, and gyroscopic force.
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.
I know they use it in fireworks.
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
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.
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.
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