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William Maley

Ford News: Rumorpile: Next Generation F-150 To Have An Aluminum Body

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

July 27, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford is considering using a aluminum body in the next generation F-150 pickup. The move would drop about 700 lbs, a 15% drop in weight from the current F-150.

The reason as to why Ford is exploring the aluminum pickup is due to upcoming CAFE regulations that by 2025, the U.S. vehicle fleet has to average 54.5 miles per gallon. Also, the regulations would ramp up fuel economy goals for vehicles of different sizes each year.

Analysts aren't too sure if Ford will go the aluminum body route, saying it wouldn't be too practical.

"Full-aluminum structured vehicles are much more expensive to insure because they are much more expensive to repair," said Jim Hall, analyst with 2953 Analytics LLP to the The Detroit News. Hall also said that most body shops cannot work on aluminum cars.

Analysts also point out aluminum isn't as durable as steel, which could pose a threat to the F-150 since part of its reputation is built on durability.

Analysts believe Ford will use more aluminum in the next generation F-150. Currently, Ford uses aluminum in the F-150's hood and the lower control arm on the SVT Raptor.

A source at Ford confirms this to The Detroit News, but also said a design hasn't been finalized.

Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required) via Auto Guide, The Detroit News

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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It's also more expensive to build in the first place, driving the cost of the truck up. I wonder if it will be an optional package and not on all F-150s.

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Aluminum is also much more rigid than steel and could be prone to stress cracking. Given the abuse that truck bodies generally are expected to take, this might be a massive recall waiting to happen.

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WOW, talk about a BIG BIG BIG Mistake if they do this. I can see this for cars, but for trucks, this is a no go. The GOV needs to back off the stupid 54.5mpg or make an exception that if they run alternative fuel, CNG as an example they are exempt from the MPG thing.

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A 700lb reduction is a good start at reducing the obesity of the full size trucks.

Unless they use Aircraft aluminum to handle flex and pressure, the body and panels will stress crack and pretty much the truck will crumble over time. You can kiss the durability goodbye.

Seeing what trucks go through, I do not see this happeneing.

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^ agreed.

Pretty sure it cannot be optional per say, as Ford will have to create 2 sets of panel dies, and at least some degree of different hardware/mounting might be required, too. If anything, this is an 'all or nothing' scenario.

I'd FAR rather weight reduction come from less electronics/bullsh!t than less/reduced structural elements.

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^ agreed.

Pretty sure it cannot be optional per say, as Ford will have to create 2 sets of panel dies, and at least some degree of different hardware/mounting might be required, too. If anything, this is an 'all or nothing' scenario.

I'd FAR rather weight reduction come from less electronics/bullsh!t than less/reduced structural elements.

Agree that they can reduce the electronic BS and nanny devices in auto's before they reduce the box frame and body panels to light weight breakable stuff.

Now, if they want to get rid of weight, create the cab, front fenders, exterior panels of the bed and hood out of carbon fiber and leave the interior bed solid steel.

This I would imagen would really reduce the weight! :D Any guesses how much? I would think over 1000lbs at least.

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they won't do this. too pricey, and not really up to snuff for the typical user.

perhaps they will work it in spots.

some truck buyers like how heavy their trucks are too.

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^ agreed.

Pretty sure it cannot be optional per say, as Ford will have to create 2 sets of panel dies, and at least some degree of different hardware/mounting might be required, too. If anything, this is an 'all or nothing' scenario.

I'd FAR rather weight reduction come from less electronics/bullsh!t than less/reduced structural elements.

For the best selling vehicle in North America, I'm sure there is room for that.

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I hear you there, and maybe there is, but Ford won't justify the cost.

I can see a scenario along the lines of what dfelt posted: perhaps an alloy cab/front clip, but keep the steel bed.

Then again, a hard hit to the cab, requiring a cab swap because it cannot be straightened, would be fantastically expensive.

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We have a '68 Aluminum bodied truck that's been in the family since '77 or so. No stress cracks or fatiguing. It trucked around tons of supplies over the years before it was retired from active duty.

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I hear you there, and maybe there is, but Ford won't justify the cost.

I can see a scenario along the lines of what dfelt posted: perhaps an alloy cab/front clip, but keep the steel bed.

Then again, a hard hit to the cab, requiring a cab swap because it cannot be straightened, would be fantastically expensive.

I don't see them doing an aluminum bed either... I understood "body" to mean cab + front clip

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Advanced High Strength Stell (AHSS) is better than anything aluminum can throw. Structural components should always be steel, it is the other components where strength is not a criteria aluminum is king.

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On the light duty models, they could make the bed and rear fenders out of plastic or a composite..no one ever loads them up anyway.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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