Pickups Will Use More Aluminum, But at What Cost?

Aluminum_Hot_Coils sheets II

In a market where engineers hope every ounce of weight savings can be directly attributed to improved fuel economy, increased use of lighterweight materials seems to be the logical choice. What this means to the future design, overall strength and long-term durability of our pickup trucks remains to be seen. 

We've been talking for years about how automakers are using more and more exotic materials to save weight, with Ford doing the best job of spreading the technology across its product lineup. Early reports, as far back as 2007, had the F-150 team experimenting with aluminum and magnesium to save as much as 750 pounds in full-size pickup trucks. Back then, Ford CEO Alan Mulally went on record as saying he wanted to reduce the weight of all its vehicles by 250 pounds, which we assumed to be small cars, to 750 pounds, which we assumed to be the larger full-size pickups.

Ford like many other manufacturers is already deep into extensive use of aluminum and high-strength steel to save weight on current premium (Lincoln), mainstream (Ford), and commercial vehicles (mostly in Europe), but we expect more aggressive use of the aluminum-magnesium compounds as the push to squeeze out more and more 10ths of an mpg becomes necessary. The problem arises when you consider that most of these lighter compounds are also softer and more expensive, so body and frame engineers will have to be careful about exactly where and how much of the material to use. 

Automotive News recently reported that some manufacturers like Audi and Jaguar have been using aluminum extensively in body and unibody frame construction for many years, but with more aggressive corporate average fuel economy numbers on the horizon in 2016, 2018 and finally 2025, you can bet there will be more call for more aluminum usage across the industry. That's great news for aluminum producers like Alcoa, which is expecting the auto industry's aluminum consumption to double in a little over 10 years. In fact, Alcoa predicts that the average amount of aluminum per car will rise from today's current level of 343 pounds to 550 pounds in 2025, and likely even more for the larger pickups. 

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To a certain degree, the use of these softer, lighter materials makes sense for smaller cars, but how they will impact issues like durability, safety and replacement-part costs remains to be seen. Just about every vehicle, including some of the commercial trucks like Ford's Transit Custom, have unibody chassis and relatively light-duty powertrains. There's no doubt that engineers will have to be careful with ladder frame construction, suspension components and load-carrying surfaces. Likewise, more extensive use of aluminum/magnesium/graphite in wheels, engine blocks and frames also could prove rewarding, yet risky and expensive.

Materials like magnesium, though relatively prevalent (some have it listed as the eighth most common element on Earth), could natually impact build costs and eventual transaction prices of pickup trucks. Already, some are reporting that aluminum supplies are getting tighter, with the average price of aluminum already significantly higher than mild or high-strength steel, and that price is likely to continue to rise with demand.  

Richard Schultz, managing director of Ducker Worldwide, a global consulting firm, told Automotive News that each pickup would likely have to shed as much as 800 pounds to meet the coming EPA regulations. Schultz went on to say he though manufacturers would be able to hit that target by 2020.

Whether all this will mean more design exercises in the vein of the Honda Ridgline or something like the Ford F-100 concept we remember hearing about also remains to be seen. Regardless of what happens, every truckmaker is going to have to do a lot of work to convince truck buyers that all this weight savings will not impact their truck negatively, specifically reducing the amount of load it'll be able to haul, how much trialer it can tow, and how confidently it can do it.

We've already seen the 2013 Ram 1500, with its aluminum hood, powertrain casings, doors and control arms, but it wouldn't surprise us to see the new GM offerings to once again play with plastic composites, carbon fiber and high-strength steel, as well. But, as mentioned before, Ford looks like its leading this race to save weight at the moment, with more advanced experiments showing up in its future commercial truck offerings.

Our advice: Don't blink because this could get exciting. 

Aluminum Oxide II

Comments

There's no such thing as a bad material, just bad applications. If you've ever spent any time in an airplane, and you're worried about the durability of aluminum, then I suggest you never fly again because most older birds are made almost entirely out of the stuff.

Aluminum can be a fantastic material if formed correctly and use in a proper application can be stronger and lighter than still in the same application. Aluminum frames with steel inserts for shock mounts or other hard points is an easy way to get around the softness of aluminum.

I'm excited to see the potential of these materials as I'm sick of everything getting heavier and heavier.

Does this mean my truck will get better MPG's but my weekly case of Yuengling will skyrocket. both are essential liquids.

Good point about aircraft. Ford has a leg up with Alan Mulally's aircraft experience from Boeing.

This is why my 08 f150 cost so much to fix from the deer I hit on the passenger side. The magnesium grill support cracked in a million places, so the whole front clip bent over to the driver side damageing both fenders, hood, hood shocks plastic cover on top the bumper,bump and grill. Stupidest idea ever and why I won't buy another.

You hit a deer you friggin DOLT!

You will probably troll my comment and say your 2011 5.3L 1500 held up better when hitting a dear.

SMH!

It probably would hold up better cause chevy and ram use steel!!! It won't bust into powder and crack easy like magnesium. I couldn't help but not hit the deer, it came up a steep bank and jump the guard rail right in front of me so i couldn't see it till it was to late. My point is you can pull back and straighten out steel. It not going to crack and bust like magnesium. Steel isn't going to crack as easly as the force goes across it like the magnesium did on my ford. If it would of messed it up, it still would of been cheaper to fix any way steel is cheaper then magnesium. I know if that grill support was steel it could of been saved and fixed, I would of needed just one fender and a plast bumper cover and bumper. Thanks to magnesium the whole front clip needed fixed cause it crack all apart JUNK!

I really like the look of an aluminum body, there's something visually different and I couldn't pin-point what exactly is. But I think that one of the subtleties as to why European cars have a certain quality about them. I think they hold their age better than steel too.

I like the idea of aluminum bodys no rust!

nobody would like alum. for there body panels if they were to look at the labor charges, and parts replacement costs of the Audi 8 and Jaguar's big sedan after a substancial accident! the costs a horendous! a friend of mine owns a 2008 Audi 8 and after he hit a dear, the labor alone was over 10K! never mind the parts, and he was able to drive the car away!

@Dinobot666

That makes no sense, there are bad materials, and even worse applications. I fly 172s an worry about the durability of aluminum because unlike steel aluminum will fatigue over time where as steel will not given the loadings are below a certain stress. Thats why they retire planes based not on miles flown but on loading cycles.

I don't like aluminum, I know my Ram has a lighweight aluminum hood and it flutters around at highway speeds, just gives a cheap feeling.

How about some Ultra high strengh steel, anyone?

Grille support brackets are not made of magnesium on the 08 F150. Nice story but you lose again.

@Frank,
Don't even waste your time with him. The grille support brackets on the 04-08 F-150 are steel - they rust and are magnetic. This means they are not magnesium and lil johnny is trolling.

@tj

Nope. There is no such thing as a bad material, again, just bad applications. Plastic works great for interiors, but not so great for timing chain guides.

All materials have a fatigue life, and that is why planes are retired when they reach them, it doesn't mean the material is bad, it's just been tested for its appropriate fatigue life.

GM used aluminum hoods on the downsized fullsize cars starting in 1977 and on the downsized intermediates starting in 1978. Aluminum parts will reduce weight and allow manufacturers to put smaller engines in the trucks. They will probably use carbon fiber as well. This will increase body repair costs but it will allow the truck manufacturers to comply with the new fuel standards starting in 2015.

No mention of carbon fiber? It's 6 times stronger than steel and yet only a fraction of the weight. Carbon fiber will be the future, not aluminum, magnesium, steel, or any combo of the 3.

@deano,

Yep, the guy/gal is a dolt.

@ Dan and deano bull crap they are to made of magnesium http://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/issue/article.aspx?contentid=15014

@dan and deano the clueless trolls they got no clue what they are talk bout here another website http://www.f150forum.com/f4/what-2004-2008-bodies-made-156146/index4/

http://www.justanswer.com/ford/1t12q-tsb-04-2-5-magnesium-core-support-repair.html there is another better website, can you read trolls? No wonder you guys like fords you have not a clue what you are talking bout!!

Didn't some of the 97-03 F-150's have an aluminum hood? I want to know what is the meaning of 'future commercial vehicles'? Sounds like they are talking about the Transit van.

The US produce the finest engineered aluminium products in the world, your aircraft industry. It shouldn't be hard to use it in your auto industry.

But use it as we have the worlds largest bauxite deposits.

Maybe Ford to switch to sheet molding compound (SMC) beds at some point like the Toyota Tacoma. It's one reason the Tacoma weighs 300 lbs less than the Frontier.

You said grill support. Not radiator, dolt.

Johnny is a GM troll. Always has been.. Ford still has the strongest sheetmetal in the truck business. I can't say the same for GM. http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=119648

Same diff I guess it don't count cause on these 04-08s, they use two tin brackets to hold the plastic grill on so when you put the hood down it snaps the grill off. Most cars/truck they hold the grill too thats what i've always called it anyway.

I can't say the same for GM. http://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=119648

@Blueoval, those new Chevy trucks are cheap junk. I tell you what though, the GMT400's were the real deal. Those were real trucks through and through. After they were done, so was Chevy. I'm not fond of this thin tin and aluminum at all. It Chevrolet had a brain (which I'm not convinced they do anymore) they'd go the composite route. That was the only thing good about the GMT800's. They had composite beds as options. The trucks were garbage but the composite bed was golden.

@BlueOvalEmpire How am I trolling every thing I posted here is fact? It doesn't matter how strong you're sheetmetal is if you have magnesium parts under it that shatters part when hit, so it gets all bent and messed up anyway.

I'd rather have strong sheetmetal in the bed myself. Who cares about the grille? Nobody hauls stuff on their grille. Chevy got cheap cheap cheap. As usual. Dodge's and Ford both still have strong sheetmetal where it matters. Chevy trucks are built like their cars. CHEAP and Disposable.

You guys are funny all the 'Big 3' uses the same gauge sheetmetal on average. The cargo beds on the GM 800's are indeed junk, and the hoods on Chevy GM 900's were easy to dent before they changed the inner panel in 2011. Super Duty doors wave when you close them, and the bed crossmembers rust like crazy. So do the rear quarters. You guys are complaining about Ford's magnesium core support breaking, heck the whole front of an '07-up Super Duty is weak. Hit one hard and you will see those welded-to-the-firewall inner fender supports cause all kinds of damage. Dodge's seem to be the most dent-prone (brother has an '06 Ram, Mr. Painless Dent has been to his house a bunch of times). Going back a few years:
Lots of complaints when the '73 GM trucks came out (thin sheetmetal, dent-prone, rust issues).
Lots of complaints when the '73 Ford trucks came out (thin sheetmetal, rust prone, too much plastic)
Lots of complaints when the '80 Fords came out (thin steelmetal, flimsy chassis, lots of rust issues).
Lots of complaints when the '88 GM trucks came out (too much plastic, cheap interior, thin sheetmetal in the cargo box).
Lot of complaints on the '94 Ram (fell part right out of the box, lots of dents and rust).
Lots and lots of complaints when the '97 F-150 came out (don't know where to start on that one).

I guess the last real good truck was the '47 Chevy.

Ah yes 1947 chevy the last good truck LOL!

People fear the unfamiliar, that is basic human nature. I don't see any problem with the use of metals other than steel in trucks. Look at the dirt bike industry. A large number of motocross bikes have aluminum frames. They've had aluminum wheels and swingarms for as far back as I care to remember. They even have aluminum sprockets and handle bars. The triple clamps (part that holds the forks to the steering stem) are aluminum. Even shock bodies are aluminum. Modern 200 mph sport bikes have aluminum frames and swingarms. Magnesium wheels have been around a long time too. There are a multitude of design factors that affect the strength of a component beyond metalurgic composition. We will see all sorts of other substances used like plastics. I'm not sure if we will see carbon fibre but technological advancements are making it cheeper and easier to work with.
There will be added costs to these metals and composites but if it saves me money at the pump, I'm all for it if I can see a return on my investment.
The fear of damaging this stuff in a crash doesn't really make sense, if you can afford to buy a new truck, I'd hope you could also afford good insurance coverage.

Why on earth are we so concerned about mpg....If we had common sense leaders we could be free and strong,not a bunch of Nancey's !!There is no reason for high oil prices either...if we refined/drilled in America and get out of Opec our prices would be cheap/reasonable..that is the truth,but they always b.s us about something !

Why would the government want to punish its population ? They b.s us about global warming they b.s us about pollution,they always scare us telling us we are going to die over this and that...and we finally have big/powerful vehicles again and they are going to shut them down force us to ride a bike or take a bus the left hates cars,and when the right is in they are no better,keeping the same regulations the other dolts put in !!

Obama should get voted out as he put these regulations in..America has enough oil to last thousands of years...oh yeah Mr.O said he wants to sky rocket electricity rates and make gas/oil so expensive that extrememly expensive electricity will seem cheap !!Is that what the sheeple want ? Looks that way !!


This is another reason polititians should stay out of the car business...they always stick their nose into it...The mid 1970's low compression,lower powered cars actually used more fuel than the 60's high powered cars... Funny how china is now laughing at America,they parked their childs toy a.k.a bicycle's and now drive cars,yet America is telling its people to stop driving and walk/cycle !!! America is totally crazy !!!

The only reason we are talking about aluminum trucks is because of these idiot polititians,who know nothing at all except how to ruin a persons life !!!

@Help Us All, I completely agree. I thought this was the "land of the free" and I keep seeing stuff about mandated health care, banning sodas and popcorn, banning salt in restaurants. What the...??? But this same stupidity carries over to cars and trucks. Politicians pulling mpg and CO2 figures out of their ass and telling manufacturers they have to meet those figures. Stupid!

I think we should make everything on a car out of Carbon Fiber, Carbon Nanotubes and Titanium. Well, except for the interior. That has to be baby seal fur. Even the headliner. And we need to convince banks to finance cars like a house, because thats how much they'll cost. I want a 30 year loan at 3.5% on my Avalanche please.

On a serious note, I think Aluminum is well proven in drivetrain casings. I also think body panels would be better off as Aluminum, if the proper grade is used to prevent cracking, allowing damaged panels to be fixed. But the internal structure should be steel, with proper treatment to prevent corrosion. All this high strength steel is great, but when it's not properly treated, it rusts too soon, and becomes to weak.

Case in point: '99+ Silverados had the new hydroformed frame rails made of high strength steel that were supposed to be so awesome and better/stronger than the 88-98. Well, my 95 Silverado may have bad rockers and cab corners, but the frame is still rock solid. 3 of my uncles have the new trucks, and their frames are crap. They rust away under the bed and at the bumper. All 3 of them have had to weld in new steel because they had become to thin and were breaking apart.

I hate to admit that there seems to be a lot of uninformed people on this thread.

Yes, aluminum has been used in aircraft for over 70 years; most all-metal airplanes during and even before WWII were made of exclusively aluminum. Planes like the DC-3 and B-17 were among the toughest load-haulers flying and stood up to incredible damage while continuing to fly. That's not to say they were as tough as steel, though; only stronger.

If you bother to look at some of those war-damaged aircraft, you'll find huge holes through the skin with occasional bits of structure missing. This was really the benefit of good design, where the structure--frame, in other words--did all the work and the skin itself carried very little load. Aluminum is so soft that .30cal, .50 cal and even 23mm shells passed right through and as long as it didn't hit anything harder effectively didn't do any real damage to the plane that couldn't be patched with an aluminum version of duct tape. It's when those shells hit fuel tanks, cables, engine or coolant lines that you really saw catastrophic damage. As long as any control surface at least partially functioned and the engines kept running, that plane stood a good chance of getting home.

So how does that affect our trucks and cars? First off, you'll simply have to expect the skin panels to be far more susceptible to dents and dings. Over time this could affect the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but won't necessarily affect the driveability. Frame members also will be more susceptible to bending or cracking under load, depending on how its loaded and the particular alloy used. Personally, for a truck I would expect keeping a steel frame but changing out much of the cab and bodywork to aluminum. At the same time, by replacing steel with aluminum on the body, you could see several hundred pounds of weight reduction which reduces the load on the engine and even allows a smaller engine to offer the same performance in the truck.

Now, personally I could easily see and accept an aluminum "Space Frame" (Remember Saturn) construction of the cab area. Combine this with a carbon-fiber or polymer-based body panels and you lose significant weight while actually improving the durability of the vehicle's appearance over its operational life. As an example, my 2002 Saturn Vue still looks as good outside today as it did when new despite once breaking a tail light on a steel pole that scraped several inches down the side of the rig. A few dollars to replace the light assembly, a bit of polishing to rub out the scratches and you'd never know it had ever taken any impact. The polymer panels eliminated very common parking lot damage that is almost inevitable if you spend any time shopping for groceries or at malls. Of course, this could also make it very easy and relatively cheap to simply swap the cab body in the event of even a major collision as long as the steel frame weren't affected.

On the other hand, if the steel frame is replaced with aluminum, you would be even more likely to see the truck or car totaled in a collision; so design and engineering will be critical going into the future. Personally, I would highly recommend a modular approach where damaged sections can be easily replaced rather than our current 'total it first' mindset. The frame could be either one-piece or two-piece for body-bed mounting and engine/front clip structure followed by cab, bed and nose bodywork. Replacing any one or even two modules would be less expensive than replacing the entire vehicle and if using polymer or carbon-fiber body panels even those could conceivably be reinforced and re-used more easily than cutting and welding steel as long as mounting points remain undamaged.

Personally I like the idea of using more aluminum, but only if it's done right. Trying to emulate the traditional steel construction with aluminum is a guaranteed fail; but with good engineering we could see the return of effectively rust-proof trucks and cars that can still do the job of their ancestors.

Ram and Ford got the best front structure folks. GM is a little bit behind there...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQET-JW81DE&feature=plcp

@Vulpine-Good points. B-17s were called Flying Fortresses for good reason. They were tough and could still fly fairly well despite the number of hits they took to their aluminum skins. Carbon fiber for frames and body panels would be good too. We have been putting off more efficiency too long. Some of these guys don't remember the Arab Oil Embargo or the Iranian Crisis. If history serves me right this was way before Obama. Lets not blame Obama for everything. I guess we could blame Obama for the more frequent occurences of tornados. " The times are a changing!"

Taking TwaRanger's video into account, please note that for the moment that entire front structure being described is steel; to replace it with aluminum would require notably more massive-looking pieces which means even less space under the hood. On the other hand, while you and the commentator in the video disparage Chevy's lack of higher-level structure, in a modular design such as what I mentioned earlier, this would actually be an advantage as the forward body itself would absorb the impact differently and be more easily replaced. Toyta, Ford and Dodge are relying on a physical sub-frame to support the front clip and fenders where Chevy's system has them become a structural unit in and of themselves.

This raises the question currently of how well the four brands mentioned handle the NHTSA's or the insurance agency's crash safety tests where the question becomes, "how much of that crash gets into the cabin?" For Ford, Toyota and RAM, those beams in front guarantee the cab itself takes damage and effectively total the vehicle even in a relatively minor collision. Chevy/GMC's design could mean that absolutely none of that damage reaches the cab. The others "look" stronger, but are they really safer and more cost-efficient? This page at the NHTSA's website,
http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles/Search-Results?startpage=0&pagesize=100&vclass=TRUCK&model=&year=&manufacturer=&searchtype=class&make1=&make2=&model1=&model2=&year1=&year2=&compcars=&byyear=&manufacturerSelect=&pagesize=100&channelLink=%2FVehicle%2BShoppers%2F5-Star%2BSafety%2BRatings%2F2011-Newer%2BVehicles%2FSearch-Results#
makes it quite obvious that the Chevy, despite lacking extra front bracing, performs at least as well as Ford in front collisions and actually exceeds Toyota Tundra 4x4 (and others) which only carry a 3-star rating. Certain RAM models did even worse in 2012 by garnering a mere 2-star rating despite having that heavy-looking support. In other words, the Chevy, lacking those physical frame pieces, performed as well if not better than Ford, Ram and Toyota in actual crash testing.

JeffS and Vulpine sound like Obama/GMC nutswingers. Amen to ZR2S10!! The Chevy frames and sheetmetal from 1999 and up are total crap. Nothing and I mean NOTHING rots faster than a Chevy produced from 1999 on.

jeremysiems: my bodies and myself run on the beach about 200 days a yr. we have an assortment of trucks from Chevy, Ford, toyota, dodge, (ram and dakota), that means lots of salt! and we all have to hose the under body off every time if you know whats good fore your truck. With that said, the ONLY trucks that have no frame issues are the GM Chevy's! and the dakota I also run (2003) is still in good shape. The toyotas on the other hand, every one of the tacos have had therre frames replaced! (warrantied) and body issues, but still! the tundras have frame and body issues, and I mean hardware and frame rails, the fords arn't so bad, mostly tailgates and rear bed sides, chassis hardware, and rear frame issues. we all hose our trucks off every time, and the F-150 I also have I plow with it although the truck is only 1 yr old, I still hose it every day I can, sometimes in the winter it's hard, (frozen hoses) but whenever I can I will, I exspect the ford to last a good long time, and I haven't even mentioned the fishermen out here! if they have a tacoma older that 6-7yrs old, they have already built a flatbed, they run great and you can't sseem to kill them but rust never sleeps on a toyota, there are only a couple tundras owned by fishermen, and they had there beds rhino lined when new, so not much there, but underneath the rear sping shakles all get replaced sooner than later, every one of the FM that have chevy's have no problems as long as they also rhino line the bed, (these guy run around with live catch in salt water filled tubs! till they get to the market! so you can talk all you want about chevy's rusting out, but not around here! we all know better.

JeremySiems -I am an independent not an Obammer or a Fox News watcher. You say that all Chevys are junk and rust buckets. Funny I live in a cold climate and own a 99 Chevy S-10 and I had little if any rust issues. But I have a secret I wash and wax my vehicles on a regular basis regardless of what brand I drive (I guess that is to liberal of an idea for you but I call it conservative). I guess you are a Ford fanboy. There are a World of products out there and all the manufacturers overall have improved quality. Unless you are living under a rock the World is changing and guaranteed gas at low prices is no longer an option. Big Oil is in the business to make a profit not to subsidize drivers like you. The China, India, and other developing countries have put ever increasing demands upon the World supply of energy and are willing to pay for it. Maybe you have a boat load of money and can afford the ever increasing price of fuel to run your big truck with a big block motor forever but the rest of us have to adapt. I chose to adapt. Otherwise like the dinosaurs you too will become extinct.

I'm all for more use of Aluminum and other lightweight-but-strong materials in cars and pickup trucks. I'm even for more use of carbon-fiber in cars and trucks. Anything to make them more efficient.

After owning F100, F150, Silverado and RAM for many years, a powerful but lightweight aluminum engine like that 5.7-liter in my 2012 Tundra really makes a truck handle and ride better. The American brands should use more lightweight materials in their trucks.

Since I have also owned several BMW and Mercedes-Benz sedans that use lightweight alloys in their bodies, wheels and suspensions, I would like to see the American brands do the same. European cars ride and handle much better than any American car in that same size and class.

@ JeremySiems: Did you even bother to read what I said or look at my link? I said nothing about the Chevy rusting out, etc., but directly commented on another person's links about how the Chevy "had no support structure in the front". For that I responded that the Chevy performed no worse and certainly better than several of its competing brands in collisions.

Speaking on rust, I don't give a **** which brand you drive, at least where I live it's the rare 20-year-old truck that doesn't have holes in the bodywork, especially around the wheel arches, due to rust. On the other hand, from 1990 to present, not a single Saturn vehicle has visible rust-through problems simply due to its polymer body panels. Saturn, by the way, is one of those shut-down GM brands someone else loves to complain about.

Here's the problem with going aluminum/carbon fiber. I don't care how you look at it, carbon fiber is expensive and to make formed body panels with the stuff is time consuming using miles of impregnated carbon thread that then has to be fired to fully bond the carbon into a single structure. Yes, it is strong, but it's also very expensive--making the price of parts prohibitive. All you have to do is look at the Audi A8 and the few 'supercars' that use fiber bodies. Personally, I don't want to pay $100,000 for a work truck that sits on the street most of the time.

Aluminum is significantly less expensive than carbon fiber, but it's also far, far softer. A hood that might survive dozens of hammer blows without holing when made out of steel could be penetrated in one or two strikes when made of aluminum. Of course, consequently the aluminum can be bent back into shape much more easily too. Aluminum also has the advantage that it doesn't rust in the same way as steel, though you still need to coat it with a sealer of some sort--usually by anodizing--to protect it. Aluminum does oxidize and can do so very easily--but the scales are white instead of red. I'm sure a lot of people have seen that white 'pox' on their aluminum engine blocks and essentially ignored it. That's aluminum rust, my friends.

So by no means am I supporting any single brand here when talking about rust; rather, I'm discussing the advantages and disadvantages of design and how a well-designed aluminum truck could serve just as well as steel at a potentially lower cost of ownership if that design is modular in function.

Dantheman::::: you said the 5.7 in your tundra makes it handle better, and I couldn't agree with you more, but when you compare it to the F-150 and Silverado, you need to lookup the specs for each truck, if you did you would see that overall the Chevy is the lighest of each cab and be design and length, and the 5.3,6.2 GM engines all all aluminum! and are considerably lighter than the 5.7 toyota! the only parts on the chevy that are heavier are the chassis (fully boxed) and some of the suspension pieces, and the trans. are also I can't find any info on the body panels though, but the tailgates seam heavier. As faras the F-150's they are heavy trucks, all that extra bracing, and full boxed frames add up! same with the Dodge! GM is the only manuf. to make extra efforts to control weight, and the new truck will be even lighter!

Ford had a jump on this due to Mulally having dealt with this issue in the aircraft industry. He already knew how to deal with it (weight and efficiency) and wasn't there to count the beans but get them on board with development.

Both the need to lighten these vehicles and the need to meet the gubbermint requirements are going to raise the prices; but I don't think there will be much of a reason to question durability, there's too much riding on reputation to take too many chances there.



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