Steel Industry Swings Back at Ford F-150

TAWA_Awards F150 II

When the manufacturer of the best-selling pickup truck in the U.S. makes the switch from steel to aluminum for the entire body and bed, it's not an easy changeover. And it's especially not easy for the steel industry to sit by and watch it happen. We're guessing the last thing Big Steel wants to see is all the other truckmakers jump on the Ford bandwagon, shedding weight by switching to aluminum — especially when the industry thinks it still can offer viable options. And that's exactly the message Big Steel is sharing.

By no means a coincidence, the marketing arm of the eight biggest North American steel producers — the Steel Market Development Institute — became the title sponsor of the Texas Auto Writers Association's 2014 Truck Rodeo, which took place Oct. 8-10 just outside San Antonio. The all-new, all-aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 was competing for the highly coveted Truck of Texas award and, in fact, won it. It also took home four other major Truck Rodeo awards.

Although some might say the optics here look a little funny, SMDI President Larry Kavanaugh wants automakers to know that there are plenty of material choices available that also reduce weight. He was quick to reminded us that the use of advanced high-strength steel has been on a meteoric rise of late. "In fact," he said, "the new Ford truck frame uses more high-strength steel than any other pickup."

Ronald Krupitzer, outgoing vice president of SDMI, said the institute wanted to get involved with the TAWA Truck Rodeo in more specific terms. "Texans know and love their trucks," he said in a statement. "When they need a vehicle to keep up with the workload and lifestyle, advanced high-strength steel offers the perfect balance between weight and performance … we look forward to partnering with the Texas Auto Writers Association and sharing their insight on why time-tested materials, like advanced steel, will help ensure the durability, strength and safety of future vehicles."

While diplomatic, the SDMI representatives were focused on promoting the message that steel will always be the bigger player in the pickup segment. According to a recent report (to download the report summary, click here) they cited extensively during our interview, advanced high-strength steels will continue be the material of choice for automakers beyond 2025, while aluminum use is likely to peak in just a few model years.

Whether it's right or wrong to have the TAWA Truck Rodeo sponsored by a group with a vested interest is up for debate, but they did comfortably shake hands with the Ford F-150 team members, just like they did with eachh of the other Truck Rodeo category winners, when the awards were given out and photos taken. And whether this is the start of huge competitive campaign that puts exotic materials on one side and Big Steel on the other remains to be seen. In the final analysis, most buyers won't care what pickups are made from — all they want is a lighter, stronger and more durable vehicle and if it can be a little less expensive, that would be good too. 

For more information about SDMI, visit; for more about TAWA, visit photos by Mark Williams; TAWA images


TAWA_Awards_103_DSC_0095 (1) II
The Three Amigos? Larry Kavanaugh, SMDI president (left), Doug Scott, Marketing Manager for Ford Truck Group (middle), and Michael Marrs, TAWA president (right). 




As usual, it's the corporations v. the planet.

Why would al. peak in just a couple of years? The problem with steel, whether high strength or not is the fact that it has to be thin to weigh less. Look down the bed of a Chevrolet at the wavy metal, prob Ram and Ford as well. I'm sure that's the reason for the crease above the GM wheel wells. They're in damage control mode right now, and rightly so.

@Tom, you're correct.

You notice above the rear tires on the Silverado 07-13's big time. Looks like a bad bondo job. That so called high strength stuff cost Chevrolet tons of loyalty. For one, it's so thin it had to be stretched into ridiculous looking bulge shapes to gain any stiffness back. For two, it's so ridiculously thin that it dents almost by touching it. It rust through almost instantly. Once a rust bubble starts, you have maybe another year until the bed looks like swiss cheese. You also can't fix those dents and rust. Body shops call for complete bed replacement. The metal is too thin to do anything with.

Here is what the 07-13 model Silverado's are looking like everywhere in the north. This is just how fast the thin metal rots. If people thought the 99-06 models were bad, they're in for serious shock in the next couple years on the 07-13's.

@Steel Market Development Institute -

This is your heavy and rust prone high strength steel at work on a Silverado.

Most owners don't care what pickup trucks are made from.....

...Until they have to get repairs done at the body shop. Suddenly it's going to become a big deal. A really big deal.

Non story, obviously slow news day, move on.

Im actually extremely excited for the aluminium. biggest battle in truck longevity in the climate I'm in is body rust.

Maybe the steel industry will ask for a Gov. loan. Why not everyone else is.

-Pretty common sight on the roads now. It's the GMT800's all over again. These guys can't get it together. With all the body metal issues they've had since the 99 model began, the frame metal issues (though mostly due to the cheap wax dip instead of e-coat) and the brake line rust issues, I don't see much loyalty left for Chevrolet. Not even in the racing community outside of the track cars themselves. And I don't see how the steel industry has a leg to stand on. I'll take aluminum and composites all day every day. Thicker gage stainless would be ideal of course but the cost has always ruled it out. At least GMC got it right with the Sierra using plastic moldings around the tires this model. They've been the better looking truck for some time now anyway. Not that it helps the Chevrolet's any. They really should have used those plastic moldings on both trucks since they continued with the thin steel stuff.

Chevy owners have been burned too many times. I know I was. We race them still, I just don't drive their trucks daily any longer. Not for personal use or as shop trucks. They're not built for durability and longevity like they used to be. This picture is just another example in the long line of many Chevrolet trucks.

Is the entire f150 bed including the floor and fender wells made out of aluminum?

Has anyone around here actually taken a micrometer to a Silverado's sheetmetal and measured the thickness? Compared it to other makes of trucks?

I doubt there are many around here that could actually read a micrometer anyway.

@Big Bob--I bet there is little if any difference between brands. Steel has gotten thinner mainly to get the weight down but there is not that much more they can go to get it thinner and lighter. Has anyone ever considered there are other materials besides aluminum. How about xenoy?

Saturn used Plastic on their cars, did no rust or dent but shattered when it got hit hard enough

All Manufacturers deal with rust people......... Difference is how its dealt with when it happens......

GM; Cab corners and rocker panels big issues..
Ford and Ram; Big issues with bed rust. particularly above wheel wells.

These problems are as soon as can be imagined..... within a few years. You have GMT 800 trucks up through 07 with rockers just disappearing and Ford bed decay something terrible on the same years and then Ram in the exact same spots...........

Even Toyota is dealing with it. BUT its NEVER body rust on a Toyota. its the frame instead.. Difference is Toyota will fix it free of charge to the consumer, i have ALWAYS wondered why the others wont stand behind their products as Toyota does. Its bad publicity to have an issue and not fix it.

Many people will be quick to point at the problem that Toyota NEVER had in the witch hunt from 2009-2010 but Toyota responded which leaves me with a question for you all...........

WHY would Ford NOT fix the sparkplug issue on the 5.4 under warranty or the the Timing chain tensioner issue..... why do they STILL brush the huge problems with ecoboost studdering from condensation off....... THAT is what kills a companies reputation. You can sit on here and tote that this guy or that gal has fanboi'isms and such but the "real consumera" remember very vividly how a manufacturer responds to a "problem" and remembers that the next time they purchase. As the years go by and the UAW has less of a grip on the market more and more people shy away from those brands that refuse to acknowledge and fix an issue that everyone knows about and quite frankly the internet makes is public info EVEN IF YOURS DOESNT HAVE THE PROBLEM AT THAT TIME. with the internet ALL manufacturers are on Front St. everyday and that "i dont think we have a probelm, its the customers they can pay" mentality is going to kill a few manufacturers if they dont see the light.

Aluminum takes 10 times more energy to produce than steel and that higher energy use contributes to global warming.

No more cheap PDR dent repairs with aluminum.

The biggest issue with pickups is the beds, the back side of the panels is open and exposed so salt and water get up their and start rotting and most people don't wash the back sides of the panels like they should.

Aluminum dents easily and cannot be straightened out. If you hit aluminum hard enough it will break. Plastic would be ideal for truck beds.

I really don't think there is nothing wrong with aluminium, except cost and a few initial niggles in the joining of the materials.

Bonding has come a long way over the past few decades, but it is a costly process. The most technological feature of the F-150 isn't the "soft" lift tailgate, or those mirrors. Mirrors have been around for thousands of years. The technology is at the Frod factory, not the vehicle. That I do hope they get correct.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with high carbon steel. It's odd how people are passing judgment on the thickness of the materials when they don't have much knowledge of some of their comments. I do suggest they use google or even go into Wikipedia for some answers to their comments.

Ford do in fact make a high carbon steel pickup. The most "advanced" pickup Ford manufacture until this new F-150 arrives is the global Ranger. It uses a significant amount of high carbon steel.

Not may complain about the amount of plastics that are used in a modern vehicle.

In the end my view is anything manufactured from aluminium costs more. Steel wheels are cheaper, steel ladders are cheaper, steel shovels are cheaper. These are all relatively uncomplicated and simpler items to manufacture. There is no bonding or changes in production.

Maybe with robotics Ford might be able to reduce costs. But either Ford will make less profit, they will charge more or both with the aluminium F-150.

My view is "technology" for the sake of technology with no real value or benefit is a waste.

"all they want is a lighter, stronger and more durable vehicle and if it can be a little less expensive, that would be good too. "

That sums it up.

I don't care what it is made of as long as it is durable and I can afford it and it does what I want it to do.

The steel industry is obviously worried. As far as PUTC questioning the optics of "Big Steel" sponsoring an event where Ford was going to win............ remember this..... PUTC gets FREE trucks to test from the car companies.

what are the optics of that little factoid?

@Jeff S.

Didn't GM do that with the Pro-Tec composite box? I thought they had a lot of warping issues from sun / heat?

Many seem to think that Aluminum does not corrode, they are wrong. You have to be careful with aluminum because different metals do not react well with aluminum. Who knows what different metals are going to be carried in the beds of the F150 that will scratch the paint and reacted with the aluminum causing corrosion.

@hemi lol, Please. And what are you 'lol'ing at? Dodge's V8 design is the real deal. Ford's V8 design is the real deal. Can't say the same for Chevy. Is this new so called gen 5 a genuine Chevrolet Smallblock? Is it a GM/GMC smallblock?? Is it a Ford knockoff hybrid? Because it looks an awfully lot like old school Ford to me. I find it funny that GM ditched the Chevrolet Smallblock name and just call it a GM/GMC smallblock now... They have since the gen 3. See, Even GM hates Chevy. It must be an old disgruntled former Pontiac/Buick guy running the place. Chevrolet's since the early 2k's are not only rocker rot and cab corner rot disasters, they are the absolute kings of wheelwell bed rot. Seriously dude?

Chevy's a joke now. As pointed out, at least the GM Sierra's have plastic around the wheel openings. Apparently Chevy buyers aren't as privileged even though they paid the same price. GM got in bed with China for the sake of Buick and in the U.S. GMC/Buick. For that, Chevrolet went down the tubes. Chevy trucks have been cheap flimsy tinfoil poor looking junk since the early 2k's.. Sure the Dodge's rust over the wheels too. But not nearly as fast. At least you can get plastic moldings on your Dodge Ram at the Dodge Bros-Chrysler. dealer. Ford offers you the same but now with the aluminum advantage. Most Chevrolet people have dumped Chevy trucks and cars outside of the Camaro and Vette or the cheapies. They're a rentalcar-racecar name now at best. I guess if you're not a Chevrolet guy but a GM diehard you could buy the GM Sierra. Even still, it's not as good as what Ford and Dodge are offering up.

Ram Big Horn 1500 (hemi lover)
You are correct! Aluminum will corrode if a different metal comes in contact with it, aluminum sucks up the other metal like a sponge. What happens when you install a steel muffler clamp on a aluminized or stainless pipe? It will eat thru the pipe.
What I worry about is where on the F-150 does the aluminum meets or touches the steel? The frame? I don't know?
The first people buying the F-150 are making a big gamble into the unknown and that's the main reason I think the sales numbers will drop knocking the F-150 off the top as the sales leader.

Hey guys (especially ALL1), thought I would chime in here again to demonstrate the futility of new trucks, especially the '15 F150. Let's do a cost comparison with what I drive, vs what you guys will be driving.

So lets assume you go out and buy a brand spanking new '15 F150 with the 2.7l Ecoboost. Lets say payments are $600/month which is a completely reasonable figure. Additionally lets say the 2.7l Ecooboost is slated at 27 highway 18 city, 22 combined. Those are generous FE numbers.

Right off the bat, I save $600 a month because my truck is paid off. My truck gets 14mpg combined. Lets do a comparison assuming 2000 miles driven per month. If gas is $4/gallon, then I spend $571/month on gas and you guys will spend $363/month.

So with payments and gas costs, you guys spend:

I spend:

My savings = $392

Oh but wait. This just in:
Gas is going down to $3 a gallon. Time to recalculate those numbers. With $3 gas, you guys would spend $272/month. I would spend $428/month. Interestingly $428/month is not too far off from you initial $392/month.

So just because gas prices will be dropping, I will be spending what you guys would have been spending with your Ecoboost had gas prices remained $4/gallon. LMAO, this is effing hilarious. I didn't need to buy the latest arse-warming truck made out of aluminum. Even with current gas prices, I am still saving almost $400/month. That is enough to treat the wife to dinner a good number of times during the month. So I also have the advantage of a happy wife. You guys have an angry wife because you just bought the latest truck you can't afford.

"Aluminum dents easily and cannot be straightened out."

@JeffS. Same goes for this so called high strength steel crap. At least Ford is making their aluminum thick and sturdy.

"Didn't GM do that with the Pro-Tec composite box? I thought they had a lot of warping issues from sun / heat?"

@Tim, Ford did composites before GM. And the 97-03 Beds on Ford held up great.

"The biggest issue with pickups is the beds, the back side of the panels is open and exposed so salt and water get up their and start rotting and most people don't wash the back sides of the panels like they should."

@Madman, yep. Just look at the so called Like A Rock, Strong Chevies. Rustbuckets. Chevy guys might hate GM but GM fans should be thrilled. At least their GMC's got built in moldings around the tires this time. Too bad they insist on copying Ford's grilles. To you Chevy losers, sorry, your days have come and gone Long ago... We've all seen it unfold for years. I guess you losers have the Corvette at best. Until Ford unleashes the next GT that is. And That car is a Genuine Ford. Can't say the same for your cars and trucks. Oops, your Brands.

I do agree that the steel industry is worried. But how worried?

Emerging market sales will consume lots of steel. I do think steel is far from dead.

My concern is the cost. Like I've stated I do work with aluminium and it is more labour intensive to work with.

We are already witnessing Ford employing an extra 850 people to build these new pickups, and that is in only one plant.

Mainstream aluminium vehicles are not new. Some prestige vehicles are also made of aluminium, but the added costs can be hidden easier.

Ford will need to look at value adding to cover the costs of these vehicles. Maybe that's one of the reasons why any vehicle and not just aluminium are so heavily blinged now.

I do think Ford is playing the PR game with the aluminium F-150. They have released all of the information except FE.

If the FE doesn't have a significant gain is it the value of the aluminium truck worth it?

Ford also started out with one of the heaviest pickups and the 700lb weight savings might end up only being 400lbs on a competitor.

But is this savings on a high end crew cab? How much savings is in a regular cab? 400lbs?

Ford so far seem to only be basing its comparisons mainly against the current F-150 and not the competition.

Why? Is the new aluminium F-150 not going to be what Ford had hoped for?

Maybe a steel and diesel pickup will be the best and cheapest option. The trucking industry stated that it takes longer for aluminium to pay back over diesel.

Can you get me a vin number of a 2015 F-150 just so I can get an insurance quote?
I just want to know what the rate will be because its made of aluminum and will cost more to repair.

Most of you commentary is pure and utter nonsense.

The comments you made regarding aluminium is quite inaccurate.

Why don't you use the net and learn?

Why don't you try and pass on useful information and have an educated debate?

Is it all to hard?

Real men drive old trucks
You don't consider the "wow" factor, how wow and popular you are with a new truck showing it off making your friends jealous.
For me I get a $750/month truck allowance where I work cause I use my truck as a requirement for my job that isn't much 1/2 mile off-road and maybe towing a live-in trailer once or twice a year for 30 miles.
Yea, I can pocket that $750 and use an old 4x4 beater truck, but why not spend it if I have it?
Plus all my co-workers get a new truck every year and I don't wanta look bad.
So if I work there for 5 years and get a new truck every year then they fire me I will still have the newest truck while being unemployed.

@ walt

My LOL is directed at the Hemi 5.7......... I'm not talking about GM's smallblock but dont get me started on how much more flexibility that GM has over Ram with that block. I'm LOLing the 5.7 Hemi because the 346 cu in. 5.7 I-force Toyota engine spanks its butt............

At least Dodge are real Dodge's again. Fiatsler will be calling the Ram the Dodge Ram as they should have kept it. That's what it IS. The Viper, Challenger and Charger are all going back to being real Dodge's. Not faux SRT's thank God. Just like Ford, always keeping things real. I can't say the same for Chevrolet. Is this new V8 a real Chevrolet Smallblock? Nope. It's a GM/GMC Smallblock. That's why they dumped the Chevrolet name. And as if Ford hasn't thought about the aluminum touching steel issue. Sorry, Ford actually paints or ecoats their frames. It's not a cost cutting exercise like GM's wax. They even use quality body mounts.

@hemi lol, Sorry guy. There's a difference between Chevrolet Smallblocks and the GM hijacked named/Ford copied smallblocks. I can't blame Chevrolet guys one bit for not liking GM and or their GMC trucks. Who the heck would want to own a Chevy anything anymore if it didn't say Corvette or Camaro? They're subpar, ugly and second class cars and trucks. Not so with Ford and Dodge. Yet true concerning Chevrolet. Which is exactly why Ford became and is Ford. Same for Dodge. Chevrolet is not Chevrolet. They are a low rent figment brand of GM/GMC's imagination. I guarantee you'll see Chevrolet close within 5 years time. Probably Cadillac too. It will all be about GM-GMC/Buick.

@Tim--Doesn't the Tacoma have a composite bed? Plastics like Xenoy are used on aircraft wings so I think it would work well on body panels. Also you can easily mold plastic into any shape. It is hard for me to believe that aluminum is the only light material that you can use on a truck body. Has anyone ever noticed how well some of these large plastic garbage cans with the bar for garbage trucks to pick them up hold up. Also what about a hybrid material that is blended with plastic like they do with the Trex decking. Instead of wood could another material like steel be put in a polymer. It is hard for me to believe that aluminum is the only light material that can be used on truck bodies.

OneFordSFA --The difference with steel is that you can straighten it out, aluminum tears. Also as Big Horn pointed out aluminum does rust (instead of red it is white). I had a aluminum covered porch that was 10 years old that I recently had torn down that was rusting out. I also have aluminum deck furniture that is rusting as well. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike aluminum but to say that it will not rust is not true. Every material has its advantages and disadvantages including aluminum.

@Big Al - Tommy#3 sure is infatuated with himself. It is true what he says, women tend to be all ga ga over gay men.

@BrianL--Chevrolet is not going to close in 5 years. Why would GM eliminate a brand that is their biggest seller. Even if you hate Chevrolet you have to look at the number of vehicles they sell. Eliminating Chevrolet would hurt GM and probably put GM out of business. Even if Chevrolet or GM were gone do you honestly think that all their customers would buy Chryslers and Fords? It is more likely the Chinese would buy GM which could happen. I doubt Ford and Chrysler want GM gone since they all use the same parts suppliers. Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda would have more to benefit from GMs demise.

Aluminum is the way to go. Even better than composites like the old F150 trucks. It's fixable. Unlike the thin steel which is not. Unless it's a little dent. And no, Chevy's aren't real guys. Not anymore. I thought everyone knew that by now. I laugh every time I see words like "Genuine Chevrolet" or "Chevrolet Motor Company since 1911". Please..... Just like Pontiac's with Chevy engines were real Pontiacs. Same with Olds.. Ya Sure. C'mon folks, It's post consolidation GM bunk. Just as once loyal Pontiac and Old's loyalists soon learned. Now it's Chevrolet loyalists turn to learn and eventually take the axe at the hand of GMCorp just like the other two. Everything is GMCorp. now folks. Hence the push for GMC and the downgrade of Chevrolet. China as pointed out is the reason for GMC's push of Buick cars. Get over it. That's why there's even jackets and signs that say "The Heartbeat of America, YESTERDAY'S Chevrolet". Good grief. Even Ed Cole's kid knows. Chevrolet,Pontiac,Olds etc used to be real companies just owned by GM. It's exactly how Chevy trucks got the upper hand over GMC. GMC's were all Chevrolet's. Now it's the opposite post consolidation. Get used to the Tahoe and Corvette being called GMC because it's gonna happen

LOL I'll be rolling in laughter in a few years, when them plastic fender moldings on the GMC's rot off. The whole bed/fender wheel well will be junk. Then the same person posting under all them name crying but the Chevys not having them, will be calling them dumb plastic moldings a stupid idea and crying about that. GMC can keep them and you people crying bout bed wheel well liners, you can get them for the GMC and Chevy if you choice to. I don't want that crap hiding and cause rust holes though because you can't get in there to wash the salt out. As for this picture The guy/lady probably never took the extra 1 minute to wash the little fender lip off. The F150s rot out right there to because people don't take the extra minute to wash the dirt/salt off the lip.

@BAFO - Why would the trucking industry compare aluminum vs diesel payback? Makes zero sense.

But if a steel pickup with a diesel is a good FE solution, why isn't an aluminum pickup with a diesel better?

Aluminum built pickups with gasoline come in at a much lower cost than diesel/steel, unless your talking heavily bling'd out and luxo.

Although consumers buying fully loaded and decked out pickups are so concerned with FE.

The aluminum advantage isn't all about FE though. Rust prevention? Increased payload/towing? Decreased wear/tear? Improved handling/acceleration?

Don't discouraged though. Midsize pickups will be aluminum too someday. Give it 20 or 30 years.

@BAFO - Why would the trucking industry compare aluminum vs diesel payback? Makes zero sense.

But if a steel pickup with a diesel is a good FE solution, why isn't an aluminum pickup with a diesel better?

Aluminum built pickups with gasoline come in at a much lower cost than diesel/steel, unless your talking heavily bling'd out and luxo.

Although consumers buying fully loaded and decked out pickups are so concerned with FE.

The aluminum advantage isn't all about FE though. Rust prevention? Increased payload/towing? Decreased wear/tear? Improved handling/acceleration?

Don't discouraged though. Midsize pickups will be aluminum too someday. Give it 20 or 30 years.

Since I can afford it.....why don't I just buy a new truck, and all the gas I need, and everything else you mentioned? Sometimes it's not about how much you can save but how much you can afford to spend. Sure I could save a lot of money driving a 20 year old truck, but i'd live with more stress every day and I'd just die with more money sitting in the bank.

Sorry guys, the Super Duty is the rust champ out there. Ford loves using tht expanding foam sealer, problem is they use it before they paint the panels, so it's a trap for moisture against primered sheetmetal. Thing is they rarely rust in the sunshine states, which tells me that a lot of the problem is with those liquid de-icers much of the mid-west has fallen so deeply in love with. That just will eat anything (maybe the Fords a little faster but all makes are doomed). Never could understand why anyone would want to live in places like that. Bad weather, low wages, everything rusts. But, the real mystery is why anyone living in a place like that would ever buy a new truck and use it year-round. That's throwing money away. I know a guy who lives in Iowa, and he buys late model high mile used trucks in California, takes them back home and just about the time the body rusts away the drivetrain gives up and it's to the junk yard after that.

Good for Ford. Best built, best looking and highest class trucks since the 1990's by far... Before that, Chevrolet easily had the upper hand for decades and I'd say followed closely by Dodge. Ford has brought it hard for a good decade and a half though. The Super Duty even longer with it's SFA. Although to be fair, Dodge invented the swing arm coil SFA in 1994. They were first. Chevy dumped it, Ford ran with it. Ford and Dodge win there.

-I watched that. Interesting. Chevrolet was indeed it's own company outside of GMC. The second half caught my attention though. Cadillac? Why buy a Cadillac? I can have a nicer Ford, Kia or Nissan for the same money. Hell, I'd rather have most new Ford's over BMW's and some MBenz cars. Ford themselves are wasting money on Lincoln too. The only company I know of that can pull of even 2 nameplates is Toyota/Lexus. And that's because most people didn't know Lexus was a Toyota before the internet.

@Johnnydoe, wow. You're not too bright.Posted by: RayM. | Oct 15, 2014 9:18:32 PM

Never claimed to be the smartest person ever, but I know better. Go take a trip to your local junk yards, and take a look at cars/vans, with plastic so called protection moldings (Hell even trucks with fender flares.). Pull some of them moldings off and take a look. You'll find road salt, dirt and rotted metal behind them, that the poor owner couldn't see to fix before it got really rusty and full of holes AKA unfixable. If them so called protection moldings wasn't there to rub off the paint from engine vibrations/ruff roads, or wind hitting on them while your driving. Then all that trapped road salt, dirt, and moister wouldn't be able to rot the metal out quickly. Sorry, but it's just common sense to me. The more places that trap dirt/salt/water that can't easily be cleaned behind. The faster rust will start.

I love old Chevy's too guys but move on. They're done for. I was a Chevrolet guy as well once upon a time and I've made no apologies for it. They owned Ford back in the day. Still, GM has made their decision and bed, let them lay in it. Either buy the GMC or move forward. This is about Ford. High strength metal isn't strong at all. Think about when Ford went to the thinner GM-800 thickness metal in 09. It's was actually in between the 800 and 900 for thickness. Still, too thin. The ones ordered without the wheel opening moldings will rust just like the 800 model Chevrolet's. Moldings protect the wheel wells more than anything. Why GM didn't put them on the Silverado is mind numbing really. Still, Ford is ahead of the game. We're talking virtually no corrosion, no composites to crack or break and thicker material that won't flap in the wind, wave or dent like the thinner metal. It's a win/win. Ford is so far ahead of the game here. I'd say they're far ahead of Chevrolet but really, it's GMC and Dodge's Ram they're competing against. Chevrolet just competes against GMC. Not Ford or Dodge trucks. Chevrolet's loyalty cash has been long since spent by GM and/or GMC. They're literally living on borrowed time but when it comes to trucks, it's long over. Get over it guys. And of course Chevy engines aren't Chevy's. They've been GM's for years.

Excellent article in Oct 14 issue of Road and Track Magazine about bringing back the straight 6 engine AND the design flaws and how inefficient the V6 engine is based on the degree of cyl bank. The V6 is designed to cram into a small space. NOT to be efficient.
The V6 is seriously off balance where off-set crank pins and internal balancers are used where the internals of the engine is beating itself to death cause of the wrong degree of the cyl banks where the straight 6 has the crank directly below the pistons.
The only better V6 design is a 90 degree cyl bank but you'll never find that!
Maybe some of you educated experts can read that and draw your own conclusions and catch what I missed cause I admit I don't fully understand it.

Gas is down to $2.89 so the need of a lighter, fuel efficient pickup isn't needed anymore.

"The aluminum advantage isn't all about FE though. Rust prevention? Increased payload/towing? Decreased wear/tear? Improved handling/acceleration?"

Good post. I'll add one more. Stops better.

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