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    Rumorpile: Next-Generation F-150 Delayed By Issues With Aluminum

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    December 11, 2013

    The Ford F-150 is a very important model for the blue oval since it's the top seller and one of the key ways Ford makes a profit. With a new model on the horizon, it has been rumored that Ford would be utilizing aluminum in it as way to improve fuel economy and give the F-150 a unique edge. But that decision seems to be causing more problems.

    The Truth About Cars has learned from a number of sources that Ford has rejected aluminum from Alcoa and other Tier 2 suppliers since it didn't meet internal forming requirements for the “tooling tryout” phase of pre-production. Because of this, Ford has pushed back the launch date of the next F-150 from Memorial Day to late 2014 and shorten the validation process.

    The problem with using aluminum in vehicles is that it can return to its original form after being struck with a die. This in turn could cause a program to be completely derailed.

    Now Ford usually will go through two phases of pre-production vehicles before building production vehicles (MP1 and MP2). They have decided to put these vehicles into the sales channel since they are considered saleable units. This also introduces increased risk for bugs and problems for Ford's most important product.

    Source: The Truth About Cars

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Interesting to learn that Aluminum can return to it's original form. That could be a huge problem if the quality is not right on the metal mixture.

    My gut tells me that forgoing the QA of MP1 and MP2 and instead selling these auto's into the channel will bring up nightmares and lead to auto's that will end up being listed as ones to avoid.

    This foregoing of proper testing makes me think Ford internally made some decisions that were not really researched well and now it is starting to bite them in the butt and since they are already heavily invested into this project, they cannot or are not willing to change a titanic of a potential quality problem.

    I suggest they release their truck in all steel form and call it a Commercial Grade only truck till they work out the aluminum issues.

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    Those hydroformed hollow steel frames really help GM to keep the weights of its trucks down while adding to the structural rigidity. I wonder how come Ford and Ram have not mastered this art?

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    I wonder *where* they are using the aluminium. I could imagine using aluminum or plastics for non-structural components--doors, fenders, hood, rear bed outer fenders, tailgates...not sure how much weight savings they would get there, though.

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