Lighter stronger materials mean more durable and more fuel efficient, with higher resale, they say airplanes use aluminum, but airplanes don't get door dents (not the same as hanger rash), corrosion can be an issue if moisture is not kept at bay in the floor and structural low areas, if you work in a truck fleet, you know what I mean, but I think that with Fords experience with Range Rover, I think they know a thing or two about the required practices regarding separating dissimilar metals and not creating a battery! Working with semi trailers, the biggest corrosion areas seem to be at the panel to frame tie ins, particularly bad with insulated reefer trailers because the insulation in them is a sponge after year nine and you get moisture drive like crazy, but we do run these aluminum trailers through 17 years before we scrap them, in many cases still running and useable. I think with proper care on the end users part this should be a good thing. Detroit area.
Look at USPS vans they have been using for years with aluminum bodies...even big Snap-On tool trucks are aluminum. Its been proven to be a very good material. Yes it'll have a bit more cost to it for painting and repair.
I personally like steel better. Easier to work on and repair. But aluminum does not rust away like steel. Eventually they'll have to reduce weight even more to meet the 2025 CAFE regs for 54.4mpg for trucks.
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Aluminum is a great idea.. Strength and durability, I don't see an issue.. However, areas of steel to aluminum will be a problem in the long term. In the north where salt and calcium chloride are used to clear roads in the winter, nothing but devastation to the aluminum.. I own and operate a body shop and deal with this nightmare of corrosion constantly..Steel rots quick enough..I don't know the answer to prevent this problem, but I do a lot of rustproofing sprays and it does help.. But, it is not foolproof..
Weight reduction for fuel saving is great. Little dents are common in steel sheetmetal from the shoppers who find it necessary to slam their doors into the side of anything within a 100 feet..So, dents won't change, being steel or aluminum...
God knows we need some fuel economy...
Aluminum that has been properly prepped, primed and painted should do well, especially thicker aluminum alloy that the F-150 will use. Keeping it properly separated from steel; like by e-coat between the 2 dissimilar metals, should be a minimum effort to hopefully prevent galvanic reaction. At the autobody end, proper prep with body hammers, sanders, etc. should be aluminum specific and not contaminated with any steel. Aluminum is certainly not a new metal in automotive applications, it's just being used in greater amounts in todays vehicles, and proper repair must be observed. That's probably a hurtle that must be dealt with when these trucks ultimately end up in a collision shop at some point.
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I love it! I think most makes will do this soon. Ask my 60 year old DuraCraft log busting, rock bumping sand scraping boat.
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All I know is my 2007 has an aluminum hood, and its covered in dents from small limbs falling out of my trees and the occasional hailstone. Do I think its a good idea? Yes, I do, but I also think it may be a little ahead of its time. I foresee this move becoming another 'Edsel' in Ford's history. I have more reservations about the aluminum bed than I do about the cab. On the other hand, a 700# lighter truck combined with a turbo V6 would be very attractive to me. I'm getting tired of my rather mild V6 manual but there is no new truck in my financial plan and I only have 16K on the '07, so I guess it'll be around for some time. Who knows? Low miles steel trucks in great condition just may become more valuable soon.
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