If they're set on doing it, they should only run partial production and see how they work out. My 98' F150 has the original Alum/composite hood and has no corrosion or peeling paint, that's covered in Northern MN road salt 6 months of the year. I think the lower A-arms are cast alum? Corrosion would be my initial worry in thin Alum. lower body panels.
Guys, It's not like bolting aluminum and iron/steel components together is something new in the automotive world.
Aluminum heads on iron blocks. Aluminum thermostat housings on iron intakes. Aluminum intakes on iron heads. Aluminum transmissions to blocks, aluminum transfer cases to iron transmissions. Aluminum IRS differentials to steel chassis. Aluminum control arms to iron knuckles, etc...Yes there have been issues, but you are making it sound as if components are going to be falling off within a few years...
These trucks are not sitting in a bath of salt water 24/7.
The Ford hood issue turned out to be from iron particles getting on the aluminum panels before they were painted. My friend has a '98 Ranger with a factory aluminum hood. No excess corrosion on it or peeling paint.
All of the components you mention have a barrier between them...gaskets.
When two different metals are placed in contact with each other an immediate chemical reaction takes place. In essence, a battery has been created.
I don't see where adding another $1,500 to the price of an already expensive truck is the answer for Ford truck sales. Chances are the $1,500 quoted will turn into $2,000 to $2,500 by the time it goes into production. And I doubt the cost in savings with gas or diesel fuel mpg is worth it. As somebody else mentioned, insurance premiums for collision coverage would also probably increase. And if you live in a state that taxes vehicles as property, the tax will increase as well as the new truck is more expensive.
It's difficult for me to imagine why engineers cannot use gearing to acheive better fuel mileage? Or maybe a smaller cubic inch engine with a turbo/supercharger? This isn't a plug for the company, but I switched over to Royal Purple for all of the fluids in my 2008 150 Lariat and I average 1.4 miles of additionl mpg after the switch.
I just don't see a marketing advantage for Ford by switching to aluminum.
I would love to see panel skins in aluminum with inner steel structures. Imagine being able to buy a Ford truck and not have rotted out cab corners, wheel wells, and door skins in than 10years, I would be on board for that.
Also the disimilar metal argument is easily fixed, one product comes to mind, Panel-Bond. You can glue the panels to the steel structure and voila, get a gasket or seperation of the 2 metals which in turn will help keep corrosion to a minimum. I want aluminum bed sides, door skins and cab skins on my F250 now. The thing looks like ***** after just 10 yrs. Both rear wheel wells rotted out, bottom of all the doors are rotting, both cab corners are junk. Even the crash bar across the front of the truck has rot holes through it.
I can tell you now that Ford is serious about the aluminum use in the body. I work for Alcoa and there is a $300 million investment in one of our plants for this just starting up and there is talk about the plant I work at doing some automotive sheet too. Of the $300 million, half Ford is putting up and half Alcoa. There are also other manufacturers getting ready to do it to their vehicles too. We are very hopeful to get this work at our plant since it would create many more jobs.
The heavier and more solid a vehicle is, the less protection you really have. Think about taking your truck and running head on into a concrete wall at 200mph. Then think about what happens to an Indy car doing the same. The Indy car will fly all to pieces because the crunching of the car absorbs the impact. When the vehicle can't crumple and blow to pieces the energy from that impact is transferred all the way through it and you catch way too much of it. The Indy car driver walks away most of the time.
Im ok with the aluminum panels. Harder to repair though (think dent removal) and that could be problematic.
It's not (necessarily) harder to repair. It just takes techniques/tools that are a little different. If you try to repair it using the same old methods used by low end body shops, then yes you'll have problems. Otherwise, not an issue.
Originally Posted by BrockwayMT
Galvanic corrosion will always be an issue as well. How that works out with the liquid salt up here will be interesting to see.
I'm interested as well. Many auto manufacturers use aluminum extensively or even exclusively (mostly full size luxury sedans like Jag and Audi), but I don't leave in the north or northeast to know what it's like to deal with road salt. I have bare 6061-T6 aluminum skids on my rock crawler Jeep, and it's perfect: much lighter weight, no rust (or corrosion in my case), and at least as strong...
Originally Posted by DIXIEDOG1
Aluminum may not rust but as mentioned it corrodes and it's the same end result.
It is NOT the same. Rust is cancer. Corrosion is not, not a self-sustaining chain reaction, and is much easier to stop and fix.
Originally Posted by efx4
Aluminum is softer than steel
That statement isn't meaningful and accurate. There is not such a thing as "steel" and "aluminum" alone. There are many varieties of aluminum and many varieties of steel. Some are suitable for one purpose, some for another. You wouldn't want to make a door out of 4150 steel...
The 03' Explorer with some aluminum panels is holding up great. Hopefully Ford will heat treat the aluminum panels to add hardness and rigidity as well as developing an effective anodizing to help prevent corrosion. Maybe even a proprietary alloy similar to marine grade 5052 or 5083. I say bring on the aluminum.....
aluminum is more susceptible to stress cracks than steel. Anyone who is familiar with the aviation industry and airplane maintenance knows this first hand.
Stress cracks? You're talking about body panels forming stress cracks? From what stress? They don't experience any of the temperature fluctuations of commercial aircraft, nor are the body panels structural. They're not talking about changing to aluminum frames, though that would be pretty cool...
Originally Posted by parkland
I love the idea of a truck that doesn't die from rust, but aluminum just corrodes away from dissimilar metals. [Everything must be aluminum. Welding screws aluminum.]
No they don't, and no they won't. This is not a new problem. You may also want to investigate TIG and look into the many, many various alloys and heat treatments for aluminum, all of which have very different results for different applications.
They have been happy till now letting trucks rust away, why would they all of a sudden offer a truck that doesn't corrode or rust?
It's not about that. It's about the massive weight savings.
Originally Posted by Breaker 1-9
I've seen the current F150's go just lightly over bumps and watched ther entire bed jiggle/shake/viberate. Oh and whatever happen to good'ol american steel?
Aluminum body panels will result in reduced weight and thus reduced torsion stress on the frame. Thus less of that behavior you're talking about. And is that second question for real?
Will a 700lb loss in mass actually lead to a high percentage of mileage increase?
I don't know much about the newer trucks, but my 96 F150 gets pretty much the same mpg whether it is empty or if I have 2000lbs in the bed. Of course 16-18 mpg is pretty bad no matter how you look at it. The biggest thing I have found that makes a difference in my mileage has been tire pressure. Let them get a little low and mine drops to more like 13-15mpg.
How much weight could they save if they just lowered the bedsides back down to what they were on my 96? I know I hate the new ones that are so tall I can't reach something laying in the bed without climbing on the tires.
I've seen the current F150's go just lightly over bumps and watched ther entire bed jiggle/shake/viberate. Oh and whatever happen to good'ol american steel? BTW we're talking trucks here, not race cars. I think Ford needs to get serious with quality control and knowing the tolerances of certain materials. Lately I have seen plastic in Fords newer vehicles in which I remeber having toys almost completely stronger than an entire vehicle currently on the road from Ford.
Modern trucks are literally hundreds of percent stiffer than trucks of the past. The reason you might see the bed/cab jiggle now is because the imperfections of the road actually making it to the top of the extremely stiff cab structures.
Trucks of the 90s and earlier had hideously floppy cab and frame structures. The frame and cab structure would just bend and deflect so much that they would effectively absorb the vibrations.
The weight savings would show mostly in city driving, marginally on highway driving from the slightly diminished rolling resistance.
I would still be concerned with cost. New trucks are already priced out of reach of the average person. The additional cost of aluminum just might reduce truck sales enough to hurt an already poor economy.