Structural Secrets Inside the New Silverado

  Chevy Silverado HSS II

You have to give GM credit. With the introduction of its new 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra half-ton trucks, GM is doing a great job of promoting their structural engineering and weight-saving technologies. For example, the highly important frame of the new pickup truck is now made with all-new high-strength steels. 

The two main rails of the ladder frame are fully boxed and hydroformed to both reduce mass and improve strength, becoming a stronger, lighter backbone. 

It's important to note that each of the three cabs have been designed with liberal uses of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels in key areas such as the A-pillar, B-pillar, roof rails and rocker panels. It should come as no surprise that the new "conventional-door" extended cab configuration is quite a bit stronger and quieter than the previous-gen "non-B-pillar" strategy. 

Additionally, the bed itself has quite a few design changes to accommodate the new box that GM hopes will be stronger and more durable than its competition. Of course, the secret key to these upgrades for GM is how much attention it has given the idea of adding strength in conjunction with cutting as much weight as possible, and in most cases GM has done that with significant use of aluminum. 

As noted earlier, there is plenty of aluminum: all three new EcoTec3 engines use aluminum blocks and heads, all Silverado and Sierra hoods are made of it, and the upper and lower control arms (in both 4x4 and 4x2) crew cab models use aluminum as well. 

Thankfully, it looks like GM understands that simply saving weight in order to get a better fuel economy number and save consumers a little bit of money isn't the only reason to make these changes, as evidenced by the intro to the automaker's latest press release. 

"Full-size pickups are unique. Their owners routinely use them in ways that would horrify most car owners.  They pull heavy trailers thought the mountains, haul tools and supplies down washboard gravel roads, and slog through mud and muck on farms and construction sites. And trucks are expected to perform these tasks for years on end, with a minimum of repairs."

We're encouraged that GM seems to understand (or at least its marketing department seems to understand) what motivates most pickup owners, buyers and enthusiasts. Of course, we say that without spending a single moment behind the wheel or doing any kind of meaningful testing with these trucks. Still, it looks like GM has chosen a solid course. We can't wait to drive. 

For the full press release, click here

For the fullsize image of the crew cab, click here.

 

Comments

This has already been done by Chevy's competitors like Ford in their 2009+ model F150s. That is kinda bad when Chevy catching up to the rest of the competition is big news.

Any news yet on hp/tq and fuel economy figures?

We're encouraged that GM seems to understand (or at least its marketing department seems to understand) what motivates most pickup owners, buyers and enthusiasts. Of course, we say that without spending a single moment behind the wheel or doing any kind of meaningful testing with these trucks. Still, it looks like GM has chosen a solid course. We can't wait to drive.

Maybe ford and ram will learn from GM's advances and improve the integrity of their trucks. GM benefits from its years as a aerospace contractor with the Air Force and that is one reason Chevy's last for decades and Fords last years with rams lasting just a few years.

@tj, Its like ALL 1 said in the first comment, Ford has already done this. Where you been?????

When you have a product that is in last place for style and safety, it's fairly easy to copy what others (Toyota and Ford) have been doing for years just to catch up. They let the others spend the money on R&D, copy their ideas, and then broadcast marketing puke about how many advancements they are making. Maybe they will finally produce a truck that won't collapse on itself when rolled over. GM sickens me.
Meanwhile, all across America, little GM fanbois and girls are jumping up and down with glee celebrating their almighty brand.

They don't keep the buyer in mind. If they did they would get rid of the low slung frame and get a sfa on the hd trucks.

They would also put controls in the cab in their proper place for function.

This generation is better but they did not have the correct focus groups (people that actually use it for its intended purpose).

GM has always done plenty of crash test r&d. The only thing surprising me is it taking as long as it did to get it right. And even then, we're assuming the next gen will be right.

Boy oh boy, the Ford fans got a double wam bam and they sure are pissed. Ram post numbers that smoke there super poopies and now chevy haves a stronger and more safer truck then ford. It's okay Ford folk just grab a coffee and take a chill pill.

What happen to Ford trucks they use to be the best. You could get the best interior in Fords but not anymore. Ram and Chevy both offer leather wrap dashs and door panels, but not Ford. They Ford give's you cheap plastic on everything unless you buy their top modle trucks, Even the top modles don't even offer or look as nice at the Ram/Chevys though. Well guess I will have to stop buying Ford trucks till they can get with the game and build a real truck again, shame on you Ford you let me down.

It's nice to see GM improve their trucks, but they are advancing at a slower and slower pace each time. Ford has been using this technology for years and consistently receives the top safety rating. All aluminum engines and other materials?, done years ago. By the time these GM's finally hit the dealer's lots, Ford will have announced the dates of when their next all new models will be available. This will put Ford at almost an entire design generation ahead of GM. I think Ram will be close to that too with phase 2 of their new truck design out by next year. It feels like Ram and Ford are now the brands pushing the technology and design limits. Maybe this new truck from GM will be a kick-start and be the first of many new things from them. Hopefully. Close competition is good for all of us.

@Paul810 all the infomation will be released Monday AM (1-14-13) at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Ford passed by GM in U.S. government vehicle purchasing

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20130108/RETAIL01/130109926#ixzz2HaEpjZ4m

Good for GM, now what is high and ultra-high strength steel compared to 10 years ago high strength steeel?
Kind of like buying a washing machine. All stores carry advertise is high and extra high capacity washers. Nobody makes a normal/standard size... or is the old standard size a high now?

NHTSA upgrades Ford unintended-acceleration probe

They don't keep the buyer in mind. If they did they would get rid of the low slung frame and get a sfa on the hd trucks.

They would also put controls in the cab in their proper place for function.

This generation is better but they did not have the correct focus groups (people that actually use it for its intended purpose).


@Scott, I agree. The HD suffers badly because of the drop down frame and no SFA. That's the very first thing they should have fixed yet they didn't. It's nice to see they are finally getting around to building their trucks like a truck again. You have been able to purchase a truck worth a damn strengthwise since the GMT-400 ended. These 900's were the flimsiest so called "truck" on the planet.

Well, I guess these GM/Chevy guys will be happy. Their trucks won't be made of tinfoil anymore. How nice of GM to not build their truck like a car with a bed finally.

http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=119648

I don't know if I trust GM bringing back rocker panels on their trucks. My 02 rockers were completely rotted away like swiss cheese by the time I traded it on my 07. I can see why they got rid of them. GM went so cheap on their metal they don't last. Now you see that last generation of truck everywhere all rotted out on the rockers. Beds and cab bottoms too. If they brought back the rockers I sure hope they made them to last like those 90's trucks were. I don't need another rust bucket Chevy. And yes, these current trucks are flimsy as all get out. I've had my rear bumper replaced twice over minor bumps resulting in major damage. The body is just worthless when it comes to strength. I'm glad to see they made these new ones supposedly stronger again. I won't be fully convinced until I see it though. GM has always been great at lip service and poor on delivery.

I like to see the behind-the-scenes info about the truck's design - it's interesting purely for the sake of being interesting.

Having said that, aluminum hoods...not a fan. It's just not as easy to work with as steel if/when you need a repair. I'd rather see a magnesium alloy hood (that's what Ford has been doing for a long time). One thing the F150 does right.

@mike Ford has the tinfoil body, and car enigne in a truck talk bout a hypocrite ford fanboys are the biggest hypocites around.
http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1206504-thin-sheet-metal.html?nojs=1

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/328376-body-metal-is-too-thin-dont-you-think.html

Again, the way to think about is GM has benchmarked Ford's old product. Ford will set the new bar with the 2015 F-150. The unveiling is next week.

http://www.pickuptrucks.com/html/autoshows/naias2008/ford/video1.html

Doesn't this just mean that GM is finally making bodies that are on par with the rest of the industry?

Ford and RAM have been doing this for years already and Toyota set the example with their 2007 Tundra which contained the most high-strength steel of all (at that time).

GM has been resting on its haunches for decades and their engines are the most dated in the industry! Why can't GM come up with a magnificent engine like the Tundra 5.7? All-aluminum, DOHC, 32-valve, enormous hp and torque.

If GM could do that, they could also incorporate their cylinder-management system and have a truly modern, lightweight yet powerful V8.

This is just evolution. Not revolution.

Anyone who thinks that the GMT-400 HD chassis was better than the 2011+ GM HD chassis is smoking something good. The new frames are stronger, and the suspensions carry weight 100 times better than the old trucks. The only thing the 400 trucks have on the new ones is classic good looks and thicker sheetmetal. Let's face it folks, what manufacturer has sheetmetal as thick as they did in the 80's and 90's? The answer is: no one!

This technology isn't new. It has been used for cars now for a number of years.

There is a bit of spin from GM though, describing how a truck is used. Towing and carrying loads?, This relies on drivetrain, chassis and suspension strength.

Designing better crumple zones in the chassis will also help survivability in crashes.

The cab doesn't carry the load, it protects the occupants. Most every component is structurally tied to the chassis on a pickup.

The shapes that the manufacturers will be able to form is also restrictied with higher tensile strength steel.
The effectiveness of this body/chassis is will be determined by crash testing.

In Australia now, many industries will not buy a mid size ute if it doesn't have a five safety rating. VW Amarok, Ford/Mazda and Holden Colorado/Dmax have this technology already. So the Big 3 are already there.

Also using higher and higher tensile strength steel means more carbon, this equates to more corrosion if it isn't surface treated adequately.

I wonder if they will still have the thin sheet metal, I guessing yes and this is why they went to the fender bulges around the wells so you won't notice the wavy sheet metal they had before.

@GM gib. Sure I will oblige your request.

Here is a look on the interior of the current Silverado. The Tundra and Ram have improved their design from what I have been told.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kctx33qsjlY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZF0EUlJprU

Here is another video of the front structure of the current Silverado versus the others. As you can see, GM is far behind the curve from the rest of the competition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQET-JW81DE

The only place where GM brought it was in it's frame on the current design. It is not like the Ford's but it's close.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huS-X0USuq0


One step forward -- two steps back. for all that the previous extended cab trucks had a weakness where the doors came together, adding a B pillar does not mean you have to hang a door on that pillar. They could have as easily put the latch for both side doors on the pillar and kept that easy access the old suicide doors offered.

As for the rest of it: Who cares who was first? Whoever gets it right is the one to applaud. We don't know which is 'best' until they are put to practical, real-world operation.

@dave: The bar is not set until the truck hits the road. All Ford will do with their 2015 F-150 announcement is slow Ford owners down--convincing them to wait two more years before buying a new Ford truck. That could just give RAM and GM a chance to reach sales parity with Ford.

@K - remember "Like A Rock"? TJ just crawled out from under it! You could add @hahaha to that list.

@johnnie doe - we do not know if the GMC twins will be safer than everyone else's trucks unless you believe every press release that any company releases.

@hahaha - unintended accelleration is a phenonenon that is reported for almost every vehicle out there.

Toyota had 53% of its UA complaints filed after it became public knowledge that there was an investigation. (Translation - greedy lawyers and people jumping on the money train).

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/02/ttacs-nhtsa-data-dive-95-cars-ranked-in-rate-of-unintended-acceleration-complaints/#more-346855

Please note that these are complaints and the causes are not listed. Some cars that have a higher reported incidence of UA BUT once factored against the number of cars of that model on the road equals a lower actual incidence.

An interesting fact is that some of the Lexus models rate higher statisitcally than their Toyota siblings.

@hahaha - thin sheet metal? why don't you search through some GMC truck sites.
Wavy box sides - sound familiar?

From reading the linked articles to the Ford websites they have trouble with denting due to thin metal. All the manufacturers have gone to thinner metal and it the technology allows they will use even thinner metal to get the weight down and to save costs. I have noticed the metal on my 99 Chevy S-10 is a little thicker than my 08 Isuzu, and even then my 99 S-10 dents much easier than vehicles that I had prior to it. Adding a stronger cab frame does not mean that the metal is any thicker, it just means that the cab area offers more protection to the occupants. I do think that the composite bed on the Toyota Tacoma's offers better protection to the bed and that this is a much better idea. I put bedliners in all my trucks because I use my bed and I don't want to have it rusted and dented.

Big Al has a good point about tensile strength of steel determining the shape of the metal. This would explain the added curves above the wheel wheels and the creases in the tailgates of the GM twins and explain why Tundra has creases in the tailgate and other areas. If anything there will be more creases in all the trucks as the metal gets thinner to meet the new fuel standards. I am not trying to take sides, I am just stating the obvious.

Just a I saw from another story posted today 1/10/13. note:
Ford is the only U.S. automaker paying a dividend. General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) has yet to restore its dividend, and Chrysler Group remains privately held, although it took a small step towards a future public offering Wednesday. Chrysler said that the union-controlled trust fund that holds 17% of its shares had asked it to make the type of filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that precedes a public offering.

@ supercrew02--Good for Ford. Hopefully the sales will continue to go up and they will continue their dividends and maybe GM will join in. It is always good for the stockholders to get a return on their investment.

GM still needed a bailout because they suck!

No secret here, moving on.

Wavy box sides - sound familiar?


@Lou, look at any 2007 and newer Silverado. Wavy as hell sheetmetal over the rear wheelwells. I still can't understand how such a thing got past GM quality control. Then again, this is GMC we're talking about.

The only place where GM brought it was in it's frame on the current design. It is not like the Ford's but it's close.


- And a STILL rust magnet wax dipped POS nonetheless. Govt Motor Corp can't afford paint for their frames like Ford and Dodge.

Anyone who thinks that the GMT-400 HD chassis was better than the 2011+ GM HD chassis is smoking something good. The new frames are stronger, and the suspensions carry weight 100 times better than the old trucks. The only thing the 400 trucks have on the new ones is classic good looks and thicker sheetmetal. Let's face it folks, what manufacturer has sheetmetal as thick as they did in the 80's and 90's? The answer is: no one!

@BennyJ, nothing wrong with my 96 Silvy. It hauls everything like a truck should just fine. The only difference is my truck body and interior doesn't fall apart around the frame like these 900's do. I don't need to carry 100 times what my 96 does. I've had well over 2k lbs. of junk in the bed and never had a spring break or a problem at all. GM doesn't build a durable truck anymore and that's a fact. Their bodies are junk. They're ugly as efff too. Long live old (REAL) Chevy's!

Having said that, aluminum hoods...not a fan. It's just not as easy to work with as steel if/when you need a repair. I'd rather see a magnesium alloy hood (that's what Ford has been doing for a long time). One thing the F150 does right.

@GMGib, that would cost GM too many pennies. They couldn't then afford a fire sale discount on the next gen cheapo truck they glue together if they did that. Heaven forbid they just build it right with quality the first time.

Here is a look on the interior of the current Silverado. The Tundra and Ram have improved their design from what I have been told.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kctx33qsjlY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZF0EUlJprU

Here is another video of the front structure of the current Silverado versus the others. As you can see, GM is far behind the curve from the rest of the competition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQET-JW81DE

The only place where GM brought it was in it's frame on the current design. It is not like the Ford's but it's close.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huS-X0USuq0


- That makes Chevrolet look so pathetic and cheap it's not even funny. Penny pinching bastards. They can't build a truly quality built truck to save their lives anymore. Fords are genuinely built better and of higher quality.

Here is a look on the interior of the current Silverado. The Tundra and Ram have improved their design from what I have been told.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kctx33qsjlY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZF0EUlJprU

Here is another video of the front structure of the current Silverado versus the others. As you can see, GM is far behind the curve from the rest of the competition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQET-JW81DE

The only place where GM brought it was in it's frame on the current design. It is not like the Ford's but it's close.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huS-X0USuq0

@ALL1, it's pretty obvious that Chevrolet cares not about quality. They care about being cheap and the almighty dollar. They are not a real truck company anymore. Just a joke figment of GovtMoCo's imagination these days. And GovtMoCo couldn't give a damn about building real trucks. They care about Chinese Buick's in this century. Not Chevy trucks. It's why I hate GM.

Chevy playing catch up to Ford again huh? LOL! What a joke that company turned into. Those cheap ass hacks couldn't build a real damn truck to save their government owned life anymore. Real Chevy's died in 1987 and every trucking man knows it. Halfway decent Chevy's died in 1998 and everyone knows it. They've been a joke for a good decade plus these days.

Don,
GET A LIFE!

People want GM to update their "crap", then when they do they get slammed for it. Ford and Ram owners say " GM needs a nicer interior to compete", Gm comes out with a really nice interior, similar to the Ram 2013 and Ford/Ram guys say it is ugly ect. ect. If you are a Ford?Ram/ GM fan , buy your respective truck and be happy with it, but calling the other guys truck down is wrong, everybody has their own fovorite, GM obviously has a lot of followers or they would not be able to sell hundreds of thousand of truck per year. Congrats to GM on thier new truck, i really like the look, it looks like a truck, but i also have to say congrats to Ram and Ford for thier 2013 refresh, they all are nice looking and nobody should hang thier head for owning any of the new trucks, they all have some outstanding features nowadays.

@Snowman-I agree. GM has improved the looks and the interiors of their trucks and Ram and Ford are well built and competitive trucks. Slamming and ridiculing someone's brand of truck is disgusting. I have no problems with someone liking a particular brand but I lose all respect for anyone that reverts to name calling and obnoxious comments and behavior. GM, Ford, and Ram are all selling well and isn't that really more important than all this negativity. I don't want to waste time or energy on such negativity. Some of these guys need to get a life and be grateful they live in a country where they have the freedom to buy what they want and are given the means to earn enough to afford a decent car or truck.

@Mark J..... ITS CALLED A CAR WASH.... i had on 05 not a spec of rust on it anywhere... why... becuase I washed it... man what a concept... I drove that truck through everything...

And all you SFA guys need to shut up... wow... unless you are going rock climbing the frame doesnt sit any lowerethan your ford and dodge control arms... and what about your front diffs that are 5.5in off the ground... something on every truck is going to drag at some point and nothing on any of them is ever going to stop them from being a truck and doing what they were desgined to do.. except for the fact that Chevy does it better, smoother and more comfortably with the IFS... and we have way more problems with our 3/4 dodges in the oil field than we do with our GMC's.. I had 217k on my work truck and never changed one front end compnent... so get off your SFA band wagon.. The company I work for will no longer purchase dodges because of how much we spend on repairs and how long our techs are out of service due to thier "dodges" being broken down...

Wow! Journalistic Over Embellishment 101 really paid off for the folks in the media that are propping up this truck per the almighty F├╝hrer himself (you know who I'm referring to). Next we''ll hear about teflon-coated wheel lugs.

What a joke.

@Mark J..... ITS CALLED A CAR WASH.... i had on 05 not a spec of rust on it anywhere... why... becuase I washed it... man what a concept... I drove that truck through everything...

-You're nuts. Those GMT800's were rustbuckets to the max. And it's not like an ordinary old truck where you'd get some rust and it would go up a few inches and taper off. The metal on those corroded until there was nothing left of the truck. Those wheel wells would rot away straight to the top of the bed rails. They used the cheapest metal from China they could find for those heaps of crap. And low slung frames do matter. The ground clearance is a joke. I've watched contractors literally DRAG their truck over a tall curb to get to the grass on the other side. Yes, the frame was DRAGGING on the cement. Absolutely worthless for anything other than flat smooth roads. Your differential stuff is a joke too. All serious offroad trucks use beam axles. Front and back. It's never a concern. You can run larger diameter tires lifting the whole beam without stressing halfshaft components. Not so with the stupid way GM does it. Those guys haven't built an off road worthy truck since 1987 and that's a Fact. There's many truck guys who feel GM hasn't made trucks worth paying attention to since.

GM can do whatever it wants to try and improve its trucks but any self-respecting Texan will choose an F150, F250 or F350 over anything from GM.

I owned GM trucks in the past. I had a whole fleet of them for my construction business, and no GM truck holds up as well as any of my F-series trucks have.

The Mexicans love their Chevy trucks, and we have a bunch of them here in Texas, but anyone with half a brain would choose a Ford F-series if they really are serious about a pickup truck.

There's a reason why Ford trucks are America's best sellers. Ford trucks are far from perfect, but they are a whole hell of a lot better than anything else out there.

I don't know why people like Ford trucks. You have the Super Duty which dates back to 1999 and is older than dirt. That thing is so old I think it came over on the Mayflower. Then you have the F-150 which came out in 2004. It has had some mild updates, but it's still an ugly slab sided POS with bed sides that are as tall as Mount Everest. That's why I don't fool with Ford trucks these days. Out with the old and ugly and in with the new as they say.



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