Aluminum body panels were once reserved for high-dollar sports cars, but the next-generation of Ford ’s F-Series trucks will reportedly use the lightweight material in order to comply with stricter fuel economy regulations.
According to sources familiar with the project, Ford ’s next-generation of F-Series pickup trucks will utilize aluminum for most its body panels, including doors and fenders. The next-generation F-Series – dubbed P552 – is scheduled to launch in 2014.
Ford isn’t commenting on the rumors, but the move would keep in line with the company’s overall strategy of reducing vehicle weight by up to 700 pounds by 2019.
“We know our customers, and it’s all about the truck being a tool and they want it to be more productive and more efficient,” says Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager. “So we have to keep moving the needle if we want to be king of hill. We’re always looking at all the ways of doing that going forward and we have a great strategy.”
Yea, Ford has used aluminum hoods since the 1997 model year. Aluminum can dent very easy if not reinforced and/ or with a mastic backing to improve rigidity, and it's more expensive too. It wont rust, but it can corrode, but the F-150 is pretty heavy and sure can stand to loose some weight for sure. I can't imagine a 2016 or '18 vehicle coming out in 2014 though, it doesn't seem to make much sense.
A brand new Ford hood for my '04 Expy was over $1200 to replace. A small dent int he center and the Ford body shop said it was unrepairable. Can anyone imagine the overall cost increase that these trucks will have?
How many of you have noticed a white mail truck with dents and dings on the body panels? It's all aluminum.
The US Navy and US Coast Guard have been using aluminum on the superstructures on warships for decades with great results. No rust, lightweight and very spendy to replace as it's not really repairable.
The hood on our old 90 town car was aluminum... They can still corrode, especially if your state uses that brine crap on the roads and you have a defect in the paint. My neighbor has a first gen Expy that is corroded up pretty good.
Ford has used aluminum hoods on F150's and the SUV's since 97. The rear hatch is also aluminum on the Expy and Ford makes a lot of the supports out of magnesium along with the transfer cases which also are magnesium and have been since the 80's.
Sounds like cost will go up as well! They are talking about saving weight, have they ever thought about making the truck smaller, more like they used to be, they are so huge now! The bed's are also very deep, you could probably save all that weight by bringing the trucks dimensions back down to non-bloated status!
The problem with repairing an aluminum part like a hood is that it's not very rigid and the repair starts to become large because it's hard to feather the ends of the repair. Aluminum can be tig welded, but not a lot of body shops weld aluminum. The the shop I work at sends tig welding to the welding shop down the street from us, but mostly we replace torn aluminum parts. Aluminum is not a bad thing if the parts are engineered and made right.
I think there is a ton of money to be made in aluminum body panel repair. This has bothered me from the first time i heard it, you get a dent in your aluminum hood and the body shop says "can't be fixed" .... not true. It isn't that it can't be fixed, it just cant be fixed with conventional methods.
eventually someone will pick up the ball and run with it, but for now they seem to be content with soaking their customers for $1200 hoods.
Have you guys ever seen a repair bill for an Audi A8? That car is almost 100% aluminum. Insurance companies are more than happy to total those cars versus repair them for the cost of repairing aluminum. Aluminum is repairable, but it's much harder to work with. From what I understand, it's difficult to weld, you have a narrow temperature band in which you can weld in, it doesn't cherry-up like normal steel does to give you a warning that you're burning hot, and it likes to burn through.