We Need Roof-Crush Ratings for Heavy-Duty Trucks

Ram Roof Crush 1 II

 

Ford and GM have done something very smart with their pickup trucks. To simplify production and be more consistent in regard to overall safety, both truckmakers use essentially the same cab structures for their light-duty and heavy-duty models.

This means the newly designed pickup cab structures for current Ford, Chevrolet and GMC half-ton pickups should also work to protect the occupants of their HD counterparts. But do they?

Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not conduct roof-crush ratings, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does. As noted in earlier articles, the IIHS measures the exact amount of deflection a roof will absorb with a constant and even amount of force from a flat metal plate applied by a monstrous machine (pictured above). The end result, based on the amount of intrusion into the cabin, is a rating of good, acceptable, marginal or poor.

As an example, let's look at the crew-cab models of each of the three best-selling half-ton pickups: the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the Ram 1500. The IIHS roof-crush rating for the 2016 Ford F-150 SuperCrew is good with a strength-to-weight ratio of 5.85; the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab gets a good with a ratio of 4.10; the 2016 Ram 1500 crew cab gets a marginal with a ratio of 2.97; and the 2016 Toyota Tundra CrewMax gets an acceptable with a ratio of 3.94.

We like that IIHS gives consumers a chance to see the exact strength-to-weight ratios and forces for direct head-to-head segment comparisons. This is valuable information for half-ton pickup truck buyers. But what about the heavy-duty segment? Neither the IIHS nor NHTSA seem to be interested in roof-crush testing HD pickups, a segment that is becoming increasingly popular with families and personal-use owners.

As noted earlier, Ford and GM now use their half-ton cabs for their F-250/2500 and F-350/3500 models, so you would assume they would also offer similar rollover protection to pickup occupants. Unfortunately, we don't know because no one is testing them for roof strength. What we do know is that, generally speaking, HD models are much heavier than their half-ton counterparts so the roof-crush test results are likely to be different. In the case of a rollover, the roof of a heavier truck could likely collapse on passengers at a quicker rate than the lighter half-tons.

Here's our question: If the improved roof-crush testing strategy makes sense for the half-ton segment, why aren't the heavy-duty pickup makers putting more reinforcements and structural supports into their larger and heavier pickups too? Why would they simply use the same cabs from the lighter half tons? And if they aren't stronger, why aren't they letting us know?

When it comes to safety, we like the direction most truckmakers are taking by building stronger and safer cabs for half-ton pickup trucks (although the Ram 1500 could make more progress), but shouldn't they also be making even stronger structures for their HD counterparts?

IIHS photos

 

Ford Roof Crush 1 II

 

Comments

This article is confusing.

First of all, Ford ['17], GM AND Ram all use the same cabs for half ton and HD trucks.

Secondly, the fact that they do share cab structures does not mean they can't meet tougher rollover requirements for HD applications. It's all about how they engineer more robust reinforcements into the design.

Notice that the aluminum Ford gets the best results. It's not the material, but instead how it's used.

"Ford and GM have done something very smart with their pickup trucks. To simplify production and be more consistent in regard to overall safety, both truckmakers use essentially the same cab structures for their light-duty and heavy-duty models."

Ford hadn't used the same cab for their light and heavy pickups since 1996 - they only started doing it again with the new 2017 Super Duty. GM has been using the same cab since 1992, when the crew cab finally joined the redesigned C/K that had been out for the prior 5 years. Dodge/Ram has always used the same cab, but apparently they weren't worth mentioning in your opening.

"Notice that the aluminum Ford gets the best results. It's not the material, but instead how it's used."

Actually, it is the material. Despite having 'suicide doors' for their extended cab, it's still one of the strongest out there. Not because of its aluminum skin, but because of its many different grades of high-strength steel used for the framing of the cab. Ford uses more different high-strength steels than any of the other brands, according to their promotional materials. And note also that the structural design, discounting the materials, are all very similar on their regular and crew cab models. Ram and GM both have gone with a true B-pillar in their extended-cab models to increase that rollover strength but obviously a B-pillar alone is not enough.

I personally don't like Ford for the (lack of) quality I've experienced from their products. But it does appear that in some areas they at least try to do things right. Too bad they can't get the rest of it right.

In over 40 years of buying vehicles I have never given the crash ratings any weight on what I am going to buy and never will.
I would think the heavier duty trucks are in less roll over accidents then any of the light duty trucks, so why cares.
Maybe if I am constantly hauling logs on a mountain road I might give it a second thought but that is all.

trucks are probably the most ruggedly built passenger vehicles you can buy. Do they do this with Honda Civics too?

I think Gm has lobbied on this one, because the square wheel wells in the HD's allow everything to crumble and they dont want people to see that.

Road Whale: Not only is your statement contradictory--it is incorrect.

With the exception of a steel firewall here is NO steel, high-strength or otherwise used on the Ford cab. None. Look it up.

Again, the frame is made from mostly high-strength steel NOT the cab.

The problem is, the cab structure designed around a 4000-5000lbs half ton truck may not be up to the task of supporting additional thousand pounds or so of the HD version in an actual rollover. That's why static roof crush tests arent really any good unless they are scaled by the weight of the vehicle because theoretically a Ford fusion with the same cab structure as an F150 would perform the same in a static test, but because the car is lighter, would protect the occupants way better in an actual rollover.

It's the same principle when you see a truck in a collision with a car. The car (even if it received a 5 star rating) is always worse off. Because they test cars against a fixed barrier the net effect (thank you mythbusters) is the same as if it crashed into another car of the same weight and construction travelling in the opposite direction at the same speed. So the truck is built stronger to achieve the same crash rating because the impact with the fixed barrier simulates impacting a larger vehicle, and because the truck is heavier to begin with, the energy from the crash is dis proportionally transferred into the lighter vehicle.

In over 40 years of buying vehicles I have never given the crash ratings any weight on what I am going to buy and never will.
I would think the heavier duty trucks are in less roll over accidents then any of the light duty trucks, so why cares.
Maybe if I am constantly hauling logs on a mountain road I might give it a second thought but that is all.


Posted by: Dave | Sep 23, 2016 10:04:37 AM

That's a fine personal decision, but maybe a bit foolish. Personally I am still shocked on a daily basis by the sheer number people who seem to see willfull ignorance/stubbornness as a point of pride, but whatever your life not mine.

Personally, my wife and I bought a Highlander last year, and it was specifically one of the only vehicles in the running because it had 4-5 stars across the board including the most important "small overlap" front crash test which replicates the exact kind of accident you are most likely to have on an undivided road due to the increasing number of people texting while driving. The decision was simple, I'm not dropping 40k+ on something I will put the three most important people in my life into without a very serious look at safety. For reference, the Honda pilot of the same year as our Highlander folded up like a cheap beer can that a fat person stepped on in the "small overlap" test. To each their own, but personally that's not a driver's seat I want to put my wife in or a passenger seat I want my child riding in immediately behind her.

Source: good family friend and the child riding immediately behind her were killed instantly in a small overlap head on collision caused by a man who was checking something on his phone and dipped into their lane just as they were passing each other. Sometimes stuff happens through no fault of your own, hope for the best, but have the tools to prepare for the worst.


Road Whale: Not only is your statement contradictory--it is incorrect.

With the exception of a steel firewall here is NO steel, high-strength or otherwise used on the Ford cab. None. Look it up.

Again, the frame is made from mostly high-strength steel NOT the cab.


Posted by: redbloodedxy | Sep 23, 2016 10:19:13 AM

There is some steel in certain areas of the cab.


. Steel is still an important part of the F-150’s makeup. The massive ladder frame supplied by Metalsa is 60 pounds lighter than the 2014 design thanks to a significant increase in the use of high-strength steel. Most of the anti-intrusion door beams are steel tubes, there are several small tapped steel plates in the bed sides, the bottom edge of the tailgate is steel, and all of the aforementioned fasteners are zinc-coated (for corrosion resistance) steel pieces.

http://blog.caranddriver.com/in-depth-with-the-2015-ford-f-150s-aluminum-presented-in-an-alloy-of-facts-and-perspective/

HD trucks weigh about 2,000 lbs more then 1/2 ton trucks so the roofs need to be stronger on HD's to handle the extra load when on its roof without collapsing.

Yo we's need da 2019 Ram!

Insiders on da 2019 Ram pickups
by David Zatz on 2016-09-19

Automotive News has published uh surprisingly detailed piece on da 2019 Ram 1500 lunch.

http://www.allpar.com/news/2016/09/an-inside-da-2019-ram-33744

GUTS
GLORY
RAM

Ram wil take down Chevy an' Ford in 2018!!! Ya' dig?


LMAO:

"Most of the anti-intrusion door beams are steel tubes"

Those are located in the doors and are not a part of the cab structure as they will not effect roof crush resistance.

There are a lot of steel parts on the new Fords, none of which assist roof strength.

"trucks are probably the most ruggedly built passenger vehicles you can buy. Do they do this with Honda Civics too?" -- Posted by: papa jim | Sep 23, 2016 10:12:59 AM

I believe Tesla does it with their all-electric Model S. It is reported to have 'broken' the machine doing what you see in the photo above.

Those are located in the doors and are not a part of the cab structure as they will not effect roof crush resistance.

There are a lot of steel parts on the new Fords, none of which assist roof strength.


Posted by: redbloodedxy | Sep 23, 2016 11:05:19 AM

Agreed, I generally combine the doors with the cab but the cab is a different structure vs the doors.

I guess Ford has got some work to do on bed strength. What good is a truck that cant haul a load or tool box without puncturing the material? Pathetic.

"Road Whale: Not only is your statement contradictory--it is incorrect.
With the exception of a steel firewall here is NO steel, high-strength or otherwise used on the Ford cab. None. Look it up.
Again, the frame is made from mostly high-strength steel NOT the cab." -- Posted by: redbloodedxy | Sep 23, 2016 10:19:13 AM

The keywords I found in their description said that all •sheet metal• was aluminum followed by overall frame structure (body and chassis) of various high-strength steels (lighter, harder and ultimately more brittle. It's a combination of materials AND structural design that make that particular crush test significant.)

That video was already debunked.

The only steel in the cab is behind the dash to keep noise out of the cab, and in the four lower corners because of current stamping tech. The rest is aluminum.

If strength is the key for protection why do steel frames have crush zones? Why does NASCAR use soft walls? Because they absorb energy.

Posted by: devilsadvocate | Sep 23, 2016 10:48:43 AM
Personally, my wife and I bought a Highlander last year, and it was specifically one of the only vehicles in the running because it had 4-5 stars across the board including the most important "small overlap" front crash test which replicates the exact kind of accident you are most likely to have on an undivided road due to the increasing number of people texting while driving

I just checked the crash test on the Highlander and Pilot, both have the same results.. if you want to buy Japanese vehicles go for it, as they have finnaly come around to being safe.
I just checked every American brand and make of every vehicle I have owned and they all had excellent crash ratings, whoa is me who picked great vehicles with out looking...

If strength is the key for protection why do steel frames have crush zones? Why does NASCAR use soft walls? Because they absorb energy.

If roof strength testing is so important why does Ram have the allegedly weakest roof but the longest lasting pickup trucks? Why does RAM use soft roofs? Because they bouce and absorb energy like a soccer ball which is what you want in a crash.

Because they bouce and absorb energy like a soccer ball which is what you want in a crash.


Posted by: RAM TRUCKS | Sep 23, 2016 1:12:43 PM

You obviously have no idea on how to control occupant injury at all. Bouncing around like a soccer ball is as useless as a fiat truck towing a small boat. You need to control the shock and absorb it and not bounce around causing more injury. Fiat guys belI ever anything fiat tells them.

The ford get higher ratings for one simple reason- it weighs less. That means for the same demonstrated strength, the rating is higher.

I would think the additional weight of a HD would rapidly diminish the roof crush ratings. Then add the greater HD payloads. I don't think HDs would really cut the mustard.

The reason for the roof crush ratings on the 1/2 ton pickups is to do with their common use. They are essentially a family hack now and not trucks.

papajim,
Pickups are not the most rugged vehicles. I would think some foreign made off road vehicles are far tougher than any pickup.

The problem with a pickup is it's mass and relatively weak structure supporting that mass in a rollover.

Then add for the very few pickups that carry a load in the bed, this will amplify the damage in a roll over.

Maybe trucks should be made stronger for rollovers.

Why does Ram fail so miserably in crash ratings ?


Posted by: Ford rules G M and Ram break down | Sep 23, 2016 12:34:08 PM

Why does Ford have so many deadly recalls??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TjQo9jnCew

I guess Ford has got some work to do on bed strength. What good is a truck that cant haul a load or tool box without puncturing the material? Pathetic.

Posted by: HEMI V8 | Sep 23, 2016 12:11:02 PM

@ HEMI V8; wow, can't get more lame than that...I guess these RAM recall fangirls will argue any point & deny to the end they are driving a death machine with the worst rated crash tests & now the weakest roof that can cave in & crush you & your loved ones...geez talking about stupid blind faithful fangirls...

The bigger question is why do they skip out on the entire large market segments save 1/2 ton trucks. They do not test 3/4 and 1 ton trucks and they do not test full size SUVs IE QX80, Suburban/Tahoe, Expedition, Sequoia, Land Cruiser etc. When you look these markets make up a significant dollar value of the revenue for automakers. While inherently you are safer in a SUV (IE Expedition vs impala or fusion) SUV to SUV you may not be.

Mr Knowitall (who doesn't know it all)

It's not as simple as that. Sure, the Ford's lighter weight makes a difference but the big reason it has a higher strength to weight ratio is that the amount of force required to crush its cab is much greater than what it takes to crush its competitors' cabs. I believe the IIHS website lists the weight and the amount of force applied for each vehicle tested. If you would take the time to look it up you would be closer to actually "knowing it all". 😉

I guess Ford has got some work to do on bed strength. What good is a truck that cant haul a load or tool box without puncturing the material? Pathetic.


Posted by: HEMI V8 | Sep 23, 2016 12:11:02 PM

I guess you need some help understanding advertising.

The ford get higher ratings for one simple reason- it weighs less. That means for the same demonstrated strength, the rating is higher.


Posted by: Mr Knowitall | Sep 23, 2016 2:00:57 PM

Mr Knowitall: The "lighter" Ford actually weighs as much as a Chevy and nearly as much as a Ram.


Why does Ford have so many deadly recalls??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TjQo9jnCew

Posted by: HEMI V8 | Sep 23, 2016 2:44:57 PM

Why does fiat NOT recall, especially the deadly ones...........

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-09/fiat-chrysler-said-to-face-70-million-fine-over-safety-reports


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will pay a $70 million fine for failing to report fatalities, injuries and warranty repairs as U.S. safety regulators step up their enforcement in the wake of lapses by automakers in making required disclosures.

Even when Ford's F-150 was the heaviest they had the best roof strength. Maybe Ford makes it a priority a little more than

Ram. Keeping the roof from collapsing when a vehicle rolls over is particularly important in pickups because almost half of deaths in pickups are in rollovers.

Hopefully Ram willl follow suite with Ford and get that number as high as possible on the 2019 refresh. There is no more room for BS and excuses because the 2009 F-150 was a refresh and they did all they could to get the roof strength to a high level.

I know the 2019 Ram will have a decent interior and a nice ride. But if Ram ever wants to be viable in the full-size pickup market, they’ll have to build trucks that will pass all crash tests.

1997? That's 20 years ago. What's Ram's excuse today?

“Why does Ram fail so miserably in crash ratings ?”
Posted by: Ford rules G M and Ram break down | Sep 23, 2016 12:34:08 PM

Great question, and while we ponder that, why does Ford put latches on their doors that open while drivers are driving?

http://autoweek.com/article/recalls/ford-recalls-830000-cars-door-latch-issue

Why does Ford continue to have roll-over issues with Exploders, decades after the fiasco with the Bronco?

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/07/ford-explorer-rollover-settlement/

Why does Ford continue to put sunroofs that shatter on their vehicles?

http://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2016/ford-shattering-sunroofs-class-action-lawsuit.shtml

Tell me why?????

I need to know!

Great to see Ford is finally spending a little money on making their trucks safer. With their continued dismal rollover history, it’s no wonder they are being featured in this article!

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/07/ford-explorer-rollover-settlement/

http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/58395/car_accidents/ford_expedition_deadly_in_rollover_accidents.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/08/AR2010050801571.html

https://www.millerweisbrod.com/car-accidents/ford-suv-rollovers

All the links of Ford recalls and class actions only enforces what I have been says for so long now, Ford has so many problems.

Great to see Ford is finally spending a little money on making their trucks safer.

--------

Ford was the first to put anything into making thier roof safer: RSC, safety cage, etc. Ford had good roofs and GM and Ram were in bad shape. Bunch of death traps!

http://cars.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e2019aff3f6886970c-800wi

You tell them Frank...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pk9Yw8Em0U

If anybody can build a "death trap" it is Ford....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmMv3nO9tts

Military grade death trap!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVq0qCpcCoA

If you were to take the weight of the Ford and GM vehicles tested by the IIHS, their roof strength ratios from the IIHS, and the weight of their HD counterparts, then you could figure out the roof strengths for the HDs versions with a simple algebraic proportion.

I think it's great that truck safety is getting more media attention.

"If you were to take the weight of the Ford and GM vehicles tested by the IIHS, their roof strength ratios from the IIHS, and the weight of their HD counterparts, then you could figure out the roof strengths for the HDs versions with a simple algebraic proportion..."
Posted by: Tommy | Sep 23, 2016 10:42:40 PM

One side of the truck has tires and the other side has a roof, the roof part is to keep the rain off of the driver and keep you nice and warm. The tire side of the truck goes on the road. The tires roll to help move the truck down the road.

If you remember this, you don't have to worry about the roof.

Remember:

Tire = road
Roof = driver does not get wet

So once again Aluminum is doing as well as steel while saving weight.

There really should be standardized regs and testing for this standard as these types of vehicles are often more rollover prone than others.

Glad no one was in the tank on this... Fiat needs to get on par though.



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