Rivets May Determine Success of 2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 Rivets II

There are plenty of vehicles sold today that use aluminum bodies, but according to Automotive News, the keys to their success come down to proper adhesive application and having the right type of rivet for the job.

Companies like Jaguar and Land Rover (sold to Tata Motors by Ford in 2008) have gone through a steep learning curve in order to make the weight-saving metal work in luxury sportscars, sedans and SUVs. As a high-tech alternative to the industry standard of spot welding, the new process uses up to 20 different types of rivets — each with a special coating to prevent corrosion between aluminum and steel — to fasten the different body panels.

Replacing the relatively simple process of spot-welding steel panels with rivets and adhesive will vastly increase production complexity and theoretically increase the likelihood that some kind of small problem could arise. The article notes that the Solihull production facility in England (which produces a mere 95,000 units per year) stops any time an improperly aligned rivet is "gunned" into the panels. Production does not restart until the rivet is replaced. Doing something like that on a pair of Ford production lines (in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., for example) could significantly slow down the plants' combined maximum production output of almost 650,000 units annually.

Rivet production and proper installation are likely to be key issues in how durable and long-lasting the 2015 Ford F-150 will be. And it will be interesting to see how well those rivets hold up to the vibration and harsh duty cycles of the typical pickup truck (a very different duty cycle from the one luxury vehicles endure). Replacing several or thousands of rivets in a given pickup is likely to be impractical, if not impossible.

Cars.com photo by Mark Williams



If anyone can make it happen, it is the Ford Motor Company.

It may take a few years to work out the bugs,but it shoudn't prove too difficult.Most adhesives used today are top notch and they also help reduce vibration and metal to metal friction.

I am sure Ford leaned a lot from owning Land Rover. I am sure they can pull it off ,and the 2015 f150 will be a great success .

Ford to date has refused to accept the benefits that Turbo Diesel Engines bring to the F150 class of vehicle and therefore had to turn to using Aluminum to lighten up the Cab of the Truck to help with weight savings and thus fuel efficiency. Perhaps if Ford had developed its LION Series V6 and V8 TdI's to meet US EPA & CA-ARB requirements, it would not find itself in the situation of having to deal with the problems associated with mass production of Aluminum bodies. Also, maybe Ford should ask Audi about the lessons it has learned since it started making the all Aluminum A8 back in 1994. Vorsprung durch technik!!!

Rivets break and fail. I can see certain parts of the truck falling off with this construction.

you know? I never thought of that! You can't spot-weld aluminum,,, right? How come you guys never told me that?
So its held together with rivets and glue?
I just don't know if I want the new 2015 F-150, plus the insurance rates will increase cause its higher cost to repair aluminum.
Maybe you Ram Guys are right, maybe I will be better off keeping my 2013 F-150?

:( ..... http://www.fordproblems.com/problems/aluminum-corrosion.shtml

Great article, Mark. Very interesting. I'd suggest reading the original Automotive News article that Mark links to. It will be fascinating to see if Ford can pull this off. Seems like an awful lot of complexity - especially when dealing with something that is built on the scale of the F-150. But I suppose somebody in the truck market had to go first - kudos to Ford for giving it a shot (and maybe kudos to Ram and GM for letting Ford go first!).

I would love to see more articles like this on PUTC. I'm no engineer, but I'm fascinated by these kinds of articles. Good stuff.

What a joke! I'm sure Ford girly girls will love their aluminum can trucks.

Really? What has the aircraft industry done? You honestly believe a truck can't be made of aluminum.

I bet in the 80's no one thought a v6 would be the mainstay in fords 1/2 tons either.

From what I have read ford has been working on this next step since 2009...

There is no guesswork left otherwise this would have never been announced.

Fear of the unknown.... in two years the other brands will be scrambling to catch up .... watch and see.

Good go two way, could be the best thing Ford has done yet, or it will be a complete disaster with nobody buying their trucks.

I love the Ram guys commenting on the merits of Aluminum….like they don’t have their own problems…lol

I guess that does take GUTS!




Airplanes do not fly around in saltwater or get taken off-road (at least not intentionally)! Maybe Saturn had a better idea 20 years ago.

@mark49 - "Airplanes do not fly around in saltwater or get taken off-road"

Ever wonder how much stress is on the wing of a passenger airliner?

Seaplanes...... where does that name come frome.


Bush planes?

Ever land in the middle of nowhere on a dirt runway?

The reason why they can't spotweld is dissimilar metals. You can't weld aluminum to steel (IIRC).

Looks like the FAKE Lou-BC has surfaced once again.

My name links to TypePad and if a post was made by "the real Lou", it will appear on a list on the Type Pad site.

"Lightweight Alloys Don’t Mix With Steel
I’d argue that Ford’s F150 engineering teams are as good as any in the industry. The F150 is capable, affordable, and generally does quite well in various industry quality and durability studies. While Toyota’s Tundra tends to do a bit better in terms of quality and durability (as well as resale), Toyota can’t match the F150′s low cost and variety of options. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an F150 to anyone who didn’t like the Tundra.

Yet no amount of engineering talent can anticipate every problem. When you mix steel and aluminum alloy, you see:

Galvanic corrosion. Because steel and aluminum alloy have dissimilar electrical potentials, the connection points between the two metals will corrode in the presence of moisture. What’s more, once that corrosion begins, it can accelerate rapidly. This is because hydroxide (aka drain cleaner) is often a byproduct of galvanic corrosion…as you can imagine, a corrosive process that produces a corrosive chemical as a byproduct progresses quickly.
Dissimilar expansion and contraction rates. Different metals expand and contract differently at any given temperature. Thus, any connections you make between the two metals have to be designed to expand and contract and/or they have to be flexible. Any sealants you use to protect aluminum and steel assemblies from moisture have to be flexible as well, or they’ll break and allow moisture to penetrate.
Manufacturing challenges and subsequent durability problems. Steel is easy to work with. If you need two pieces of steel joined together, you weld them and call it a day. Yet aluminum is hard to weld without warping, so many aluminum vehicles (like the new Corvette) rely heavily upon adhesives, rivets, and newly invented welding techniques. Adhesive bonding (aka gluing parts together) has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last 40 years, but it’s hard to know if the adhesive bonding techniques Ford will use in the aluminum F150 will stand up to the rigors of truck use. Rivets are a tried-and-true option, but they’re vulnerable to corrosion. Newly invented welding techniques seem promising, but there’s simply not a lot of data.
And that bit about “standing up to the rigors of truck use” is really the key point. There are lots of all-aluminum vehicles on the road today, but they’re mostly sporty luxury cars. Is the owner of an all-aluminum."

" SL550, for example, hauling a 10,000 pound trailer up a 6% grade? Hauling a heavy payload across the desert on a hot summer day? Plowing an alpine driveway in sub-zero weather? I’m willing to grant that all-aluminum sports cars and luxury sedans can be durable and reliable, but these vehicles are not beaten upon like your average truck.

What’s more, all aluminum vehicles don’t have nearly the corrosion risks that a steel and aluminum mix will face.

While Ford is using specially coated aluminum panels to prevent galvanic corrosion, self-piercing rivets to limit contamination during manufacture, considerable amounts of adhesive to ensure structural rigidity, etc., the simple fact is this: Ford is breaking new ground. While the end result is going to be very positive, unforeseen problems are likely to arise…especially in the first few model years.

@Lou BC - Fake Lou real Lou who gives a crap, looks like the "fake Lou" stole your Lou identity and you ran like a little girl. Hey look out for OZ apparently he likes little girls!

"Imitation is the sincerest for of flattery"

We are now learning that General Motors will take the Ford approach by using aluminum for the body of its next generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks. According to The Wall Street Journal, GM’s hand has been forced by increasingly stringent fuel economy standards (and of course market pressure from rivals).

According to the WSJ report, GM is partnering with both Alcoa and Novelis to supply aluminum sheets for its next generation trucks. As we reported earlier this month, Ford has already inked a deal with Novelis to supply aluminum sheets for its F-150. - See more at: http://www.dailytech.com/GM+to+Use+Aluminum+Bodies+on+Next+Gen+Trucks+to+Reduce+Weight+Boost+Fuel+Economy/article34367.htm#sthash.irsdB1V7.dpuf


Again I told you so.

There is no current cheap alternative to fastening aluminium.

Bonding is acceptable, but is costly. Riveting is costly. Annealing aluminium body panels after forming is costly.

Repair of aluminium is costly.

I work in aviation. It is costly.

It's not that Ford don't want to use diesel's in their pickups. Diesel's are in use extensively in Ford light commercial vehicles in the global market.

What is hindering Ford in the US are biased regulations that work against diesel powered vehicles.

So, you'll have to be content with a Eco Boost. These are more efficient than a naturally aspirated gasoline engine.

But under load they aren't as good. The 3.5 Eco Boost was touted as a 6 litre V8 replacement engine.

The 3.5 Eco Boost isn't used in HDs for a reason. They are not economical when under load and aren't as durable.

Late breaking news we are now learning that Toyota will take a slightly different approach than Ford by using Balsa Wood for the body of its next generation Tacoma and Toyota’s full-size trucks. According to The Kyodo news Journal, Toyota’s hand has been forced by increasingly stringent fuel economy standards (and of course market pressure from rivals).
According to the SIG report, Toyota is partnering with both De Witt Balsa Wood Company and South West Wood to supply wood sheets for its next generation trucks.

According to Toyota product development engineer Ricardo Lee, the secret to balsa wood's lightness can only be seen with a microscope. The cells are big and very thin walled, so that the ratio of solid matter to open space is as small as possible. Green balsa wood must therefore be carefully kiln dried to remove most of the water before it can be formed into auto body panels. Using dry balsa wood will increase fuel economy in by 325% in the Tacoma’s and 452% in the Tundra’s. As was reported earlier this month, Ford has already inked a deal with Sardia Plywood Industries in India to supply Plywood sheets for its F-150. Could this be the next trend in trucks who knows?

Is not gm have a pattern for new technologies for welding aluminum and save weight. ??

@Big Al from Oz.

Thanks for the response. Having grown up outside the US and watching what happens in the EU/AUS etc... I'm aware that Ford knows all too well the benefits that TDI engines bring to vehicles. However, I think Ford must have found through its "customer research on Diesels in trucks" that here in the US, there is still a negative "impression" and therefore went down the road of Turbo charging smaller Gasoline engines.

As far as the biased regulations are concerned, this applies to all Fossil Fuels here in the US and not just Diesels. As a side note, many owners of TDI vehicles are reporting better actual MPG on the Fuel Economy dot Gov website, than the EPA has estimated.

As a FYI, for 2017 model year vehicles, US emmission and fuel economy requirements will start to get even tougher through 2025. Therefore, Auto makers will have to further downsize their power plants, increase the number of speeds in transmissions and employ lightweight materials while still meeting ever more stringent safety regulations.


Cheers, you are of British origin?

A couple of years ago I found a working document carried by a professor for Ford regarding which direction Ford will head in regarding the take up of diesel vs petrol.

The paper was written in 2004. The recommendation stated that Ford would move in the direction of forced inducted petrol engines over forced inducted diesels.

It concluded that the initial price of a vehicle had better marketing potential over the 'cost over life' of a vehicle. The paper and Ford recognised the advantage diesel offered.

The US market is like the French market in relation to energy use, except the French gave diesel the advantage along with canola and the US corn farmers. Very controlled and socialised.

Even here in Australia petrol has tax advantages over diesel, actually very similar to the US in percentage. We don't have regulatory emissions and fuel standard disadvantages that the US has.

As you can see diesel is being used in larger heavier vehicles and petrol is still the main energy form in lighter vehicles in Australia.

The path that CAFE and the EPA is forcing US manufacturers to head in for large vehicles will be the end of them.

Aluminium is used in prestige vehicles for a reason. Aluminium will not become viable until the cost of fuel outweighs the cost of energy.

Aluminium is viable in commercial applications, in 24/7 vehicles, similar to diesel.

Some of the commenters on this site have stated that diesel is to expensive to use in the US, due to the initial vehicle price. This sentiment is very similar to that 2004 Ford paper. They are now forgetting this and stating how good aluminium will be, even though it will be a more expensive option than using diesel in a steel truck. I think Ram has the better 'game plan' than Ford or GM with US full size pickups.

Even better is Toyota and Nissan by creating pseudo Class 3 trucks. This will be an eye opener. The US will have 'midsize' pickup philosophy in a 1/2 ton pickup. A 1/2 ton pickup when you don't really have a 1/2 ton pickup.

I do think diesel is a far better option than aluminium in meeting the more stringent FE requirements in the US.

Aluminium pickups and everyday cars will be around in a couple of decades, when the cost fuel vs vehicle weight is equalised. But then diesel energy will still be the best option.

@ Lou_BC

Friction stir welding is an expensive process that welds dissimilar metals. Honda uses a variation of this to weld aluminum to steel on the frame of 2013 accords.

Check out link. Times are changing tradional knowledge is slowly becoming irrelevant.


Peterbilts and Kenworths and most all other big rigs have been riveted together for decades and you don't see them rattling and falling apart now do you...not to worry, Go Ford

@Alberta_85- thanks for the information.

The best solution for joining aluminum panels is to weld them, but welding aluminum can be difficult and expensive particularly the energy requirements. GM has developed a proprietary aluminum welding process that may revolutionize the use of aluminum in automotive applications. My hunch is while GM is behind Ford in the application of aluminum technology at the moment, they may soon leapfrog over everyone in the industry in the not too distant future.


Rivets and glue may become obsolete soon. Wait and see.

but, but Ford went back to a cast iron engine block in their new 2.7 EB engine with the rest of the engine made of aluminum,, you guys know when you bolt aluminum heads to a cast iron block problems happen cause those 2 metals react by expansion and contraction by heat and cold very differently and that's how leaks and blown head gaskets happen.
Maybe the Ram Guys are right, Ford is going in the wrong direction, too complicated, simple may be better.
I am going to wait till you guys own the 2015 F-150 for a year and watch what problems and recalls pop up before I consider owning one. The new 2015 may be the F-150 that knocks Ford off the top of the best selling truck for the past 27 years.

Big Al from OZ
I enjoy reading your posts, you come up with things I never thought about as a learning experience for me and I use what you said to impress my friends.
I have to agree with you about the 3.5 EB engine as not economical under load cause I know too many people that own one and they are not getting the great gas mileage as they expected.
So is the new 2.7 EB engine in the 2015 F-150 going to be worse? I mean if Ford comes out and says that engine will get 27 MPG I won't believe them.
Its still a heavy truck at around 5000 lbs even if the new one is 700 lbs lighter and its a fine line in finding the right engine that would pull that weight around in the most efficient manner, I mean if you install an engine too small then you'll have to floor it everywhere you go and pushing a small engine to the limit suffers gas mileage,,, right? You know what I mean?

Alan Mulally of Ford come from Boeing. I'd be willing to bet he was able to bring some of that talent from Boeing to Ford.
Assembling aircraft's with aluminum isn't a problem so a pick-up shouldn't be a issue either.
Time will tell but I like leadership in innovation from any manufacture.

Not to worry, the F150 will be just fine. After all, IMO, 90% of all pickup trucks I see are people haulers. It will hold up just fine for those 90%. The other 10%... good luck.






In aircraft, it's usually the exact opposite that's true. The rivets tend to last longer than the panels they're securing.

@Tom#3: In speaking on the turbo engines vs V8s in pickup trucks, the fuel savings (or not) really depends on how the buyer plans to use the truck. If, like something over 50% of pickup buyers may be doing, they're using it as a daily driver with no or light loads, then the turbo can offer a significant savings as they're not drawing on the full power capability of the engine. On the other hand, if they're a lead-foot or constantly haul/tow a decent load, they're working the engine harder and sacrificing any gains offered by keeping that engine out of the turbos. Basically, to get good economy out of the turbo engine, you need a feather-light foot and the vehicle unladen.

On the other hand, if they're a lead-foot driver and/or they're always carrying/pulling something (say at 1/4 to 1/2 capacity) the V8 is the better choice because it has the leeway to 'idle along' due to higher torque at lower speeds. Yes, I know the EcoBoost can give higher torque even at low speeds--but only while accelerating; once you're at speed and your revs settle down, the V8's inherent torque allows you to run at lower turns than the turbo at the same speed.

If you want nothing but raw economy and only haul an occasional load, the EcoBoost is the better choice. If you need steady power at all throttle settings, the normally-aspirated engine is still the better choice.

@ Big Al from Aus,

Born in England of Irish Parents. Grew up in Ireland and emigrated to the US in 1993.

Cheers for your comments and information. The next few years will be interesting for pick up trucks buyers in the US as new technologies come on line to meet the CAFE requirements etc...

However, I see TDI's eventually being accepted across the boad for Mid and Full Size trucks with V8's going the way of the Dodo. Diesel has more energy than gasoline and therefore offers greater fuel effieciency potential. Europe has already proved this without a doubt.

Cheers for now and slainte.

Here are two links. One regarding the 2.7 Eco Boost which is quite descriptive, but not overly giving in technical information. The other on the 2015 F-150.

Both articles appear to be Ford propaganda. It will be relatively accurate information with lovely adjectives and adverbs throughout. Read the info, not the Ford bull$hit.

I do question two aspects of the 2.7. The first is the block constructed in two pieces and the strength of the block. The second is the lack of bearings in some areas of the engine. Especially with the gudgeon pin assemblies.

But Ford do have good engineers.

As for the FE. The 2.7 will be more economical than the 3.5 Eco Boost due to less friction on bearing surfaces, smaller capacity and start/stop technology. How much this will improve will be anyones guess.

As for the power increase I do think it might be a little more powerful than a Pentastar but not by much. It will have a tremendous torque advantage over the Pentastar.

Like any turbo gasoline engine it will 'absorb' fuel at a very high rate when loaded. This has to occur in any gasoline engine. Power equates to fuel burn.



I do think the Ford figure of around 300hp is quite accurate. I also think the 2.7 Eco Boost will have 350-370ftlb of torque.

I read that the aim of current force induction is more a gain in torque rather than horsepower. The torque will also come in quite low as that's another goal to run taller gearing.

The 27mpg FE figure claimed by Ford is a little over optimistic in my eyes. I would think it will closer to the Pentastars FE figure. Except when the engine is under load, then I would think the Pentastar will use less fuel.


If anyone can make it happen, it is the Ford Motor Company.

Posted by: Buy American or say Bye to America! | Apr 28, 2014 1:51:39 PM

I see you are back and are DRUNK ON THE FORD KOOL-AID more than ever! Some things NEVER CHANGE! LMAO

Maybe it's time to bring the radial engine back. With such a flat face you could offer really short noses on the trucks and still get decent horsepower and torque.

Aluminum Steel Galvanic Corrosion
I'd be concerned with an aluminum body with Ford. I have an Expedition with aluminum parts and have paint problem caused by the aluminum deterioration.

My biggest concern is that Ford doesn't do anything about it. This deterioration is not my fault it's Fords.

Maybe they got it right this time, but if they didn't will they back it up or leave the owners with their mistake.

Does anyone know where I can get the F-150 rivet package?

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