By on July 15, 2013

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No, that’s not a typo. Al is the periodic table symbol for aluminum – the stuff that the next F-150 will be made of.

TTAC’s “industry informant program” has already proved fruitful. A supplier source let us know that the aluminum construction of the next Ford F-150 is going just fine. Ford was so worried about the possibility of things going awry that they developed an all-steel body-in-white alongside the aluminum version. Turns out it won’t be needed.

Our source says the next F-150 will stay close to the looks of the Atlas concept. Powertrains include the 5.0 V8, the 3.5L Ecoboost and a new 3.5L naturally aspirated V6. New for 2015 is a smaller 2.7L Ecoboost V6. Good news for Raptor fans. It will be back in 2016.

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104 Comments on “Ford Goes Al In For Next F-150...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    I have nothing against aluminum bodies, provided they use thicker gauges then the current gauge steel they use.

    The lack of rust is nice, but worrying about the implications of a small ding being repaired in a cost efficient manner, worry me if they use the same thin gauge metal on the new body.

    Does this mean the front and rear bumper will still be made of steel?

    Also isn’t it federally required that the roof and doors be made of steel? The H1 had to be redesigned with both of them out of steel in order to sell in the civilian market, whereas the rest of its body is also aluminum.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      You should not be worried about PDR (Paintless Dent Removal) on aluminum body panels. I have a 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution with aluminum hood, fenders and roof. All have received PDR without issue. A good PDR shop/person will simply have stronger tools for working with aluminum. It takes them a bit more elbow grease, but the results are the same.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Even high-tensile Aircraft-grade aluminum dents as easily as steel but is much harder to get the dents out of. Nay, impossible!

      We used to fix the holes in our AC-47 by hand-riveting aluminum plates over the damaged skin. And dents stayed dents. There was no way to beat out dents without the aluminum looking like a crinkle-dip potato chip akin to “Ruffles Have Ridges.”

      • 0 avatar
        Rick Astley

        Not sure what to tell you. I have a car with aluminum body panels and have watched, in person, dents being removed by hand.

        Perhaps its lucky for me that Mitsubishi uses such thin aluminum, but whatever the case, it can receive PDR. (doubtful that Mitsubishi uses high-tensile strength aircraft grade aluminum on a fender, roof or hood)

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Rick, I think that’s the key — thin aluminum. We patched aircraft aluminum which is a bit thicker.

          When it comes to aluminum car body panels, I believe most places just replace the single panel instead of smoothing out the skin, like on a door.

          Maybe we’re talking dents vs DENTS here. The dents I am referring to are incurred in an accident, such as a fender bender.

          If a shopping cart dings the side of a car, it may certainly be possible to push the dent out, but if that same dent is caused by another car, I’m not sure.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            “Aluminum” is a WIDE range of different alloys, with widely varying properties. I doubt very much that the stuff a stressed skin aircraft is made out of has much in common with what a car body part is made out of.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That’s true too, but it doesn’t take away the fact that aluminum in any alloyed form is much more difficult to work with than automotive steel.

            Maybe metallurgy has progressed to the point where alloyed aluminum sheet is as strong, flexible and malleable as automotive steel, but neither the difference in costs, nor the ease of workability, can be overlooked.

            There’s the weight-saving factor and that may be driving this conversion to aluminum alloy. When it comes to pass, we will all know how well it works.

            Seems to me that Audi made an all-aluminum car at one time.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        AC-47?! Sweet! Think the TTAC bosses would let you write a review? Somehow I think dent repair would be the least exciting aspect of that story!

    • 0 avatar

      Aluminum, Oxygen, Silicon and Iron are the most abundant resources on Earth. Unfortunately, mining Aluminum and using it in cars is expensive and a major energy user = more fossil fuels.

      all Engines should be aluminum but I’d feel safer with major body components and platforms being steel. More carbon fiber in hoods and body panels would be cool too.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It will be interesting to see how this body performs in the real world. The thing that keeps running through my head is “cost vs benefit”. I’m sure Ford has done the analysis but does the MPG gain realy justify the increased cost of an aluminum body?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I heard that Alan Mulally is a fan of aluminum.

      • 0 avatar
        OldWingGuy

        Having spent most of his career at Boeing, I would expect Mr. Mulally to be quite comfortable with aluminum. Just wait until we get a carbon fiber body with a lithium battery. They may want to schedule a bit more time for testing…

        I think aluminum is great. Just on the basis of less corrosion problems alone. I tend to keep my vehicles a very long time (20+ years), and rust is always a problem.

        • 0 avatar

          Less corrosion, yes, but you get fatigue issues in exchange. That F-150 may literally fall apart at the seams in 50k miles if there’s any flex. But the remaining chunks aren’t going to be rusty.

          • 0 avatar
            ihatetrees

            Great point. Fatigue is a complex animal. The first jet airliner, the Comet, began unexpectedly failing. It took a couple years to determine fatigue was the issue.

            That said, I’m sure Ford’s boffins have the fatigue issue solved.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @ ihatetrees: The fatigue the Comet experienced was due to cabin pressurization and its effect on the square window design of the airplane. After correcting for these issues, they had a successful and safe career.

      • 0 avatar
        Lynchenstein

        Al Mulalloy?

        :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      It will be interesting, to me, to see how this aluminum performs coming out of the paint oven. Previous efforts resulted in distortion from the as-stamped dimensions. That plays havoc on panel fit-up and surface match. If they plan for it, it may be OK for a pick-up.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Hopefully they’ll keep the size in check and it won’t grow like the last major body change (2004 MY).

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Perhaps someone can chime in with how much aluminium (by volume) is required for the new F-150? How much does it cost versus the somewhat lower volume of steel that would be used? If the cost to buy and build an aluminum F-150 is less than a $1,000 more than the steel version, then it seems to me that buyers will go for it when they test drive it. If it costs $3,000+ more, then maybe sleeker design or an 8-speed transmission would be a better option.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Regardless of what the pickup truck bodies of the future are made of, I hope they will still offer a V8 with more displacement than the 5.0.

    Word is that Toyota will drop the 5.7-liter because of CAFE and EPA mandates in the not-too-distant future, keeping the 4.6 as their biggest V8.

    I’ll be trading my 2011 Tundra in the 2015/2016 Model Year time frame and want a husky V8 in my new truck, regardless of brand. If that means stepping up to a 3/4-ton F250, so be it.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’d be surprised if Toyota does that as I’m sure they want to stay at least somewhat competitive in the full size pickup game. While fuel economy is important to buyers, so is power, and you don’t want to have less than the competition.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I think Toyota may not have a choice but to follow suit with Ford and GM, and downsize.

        CAFE and EPA mandates will eventually overtake them because the 5.7 is not a fuel efficient engine. Never was. Never claimed to be. It is just a marvelously magnificent engine. The best I have ever had under the hood of any of my trucks. I believe it to be the Rolex of truck engines in any and all trucks of that size and weight class.

        In June I towed a 9X14 Haulmark to Camp Pendleton, CA, and back, and while I’m not complaining about the cost of gas, I burned a lot of gas with an overall mileage for the trip <10mpg with a total GVW of <12,000lbs.

        I had to get weighed at the scales on I-10 before entering CA. By then I had already used up the four 5-gallon gas containers of pure-gas Premium I had in the bed as reserve. That stuff is hard to find. Everything is at least 10% Ethanol these days.

        Putting a smaller displacement engine under the hood of a truck and altering the final drive/differential ratio will not affect tow and haul ability, but it will improve fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          You don’t need a ton of power for towing, because you shouldn’t be going fast anyway. I have towed a 5Klb boat with my I6 Grand Cherokee, and I have towed the same boat with my buddy’s V8 GC. The V8 does tow it more effortlessly, but my I6 tows it as fast as I am willing to go, and when not towing gets about 15-20% better fuel economy. Doesn’t do any worse than the V8 when towing either.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It’s not about going fast. It’s about going up mountains with a load, especially in my area on US82.

            I towed with my old 6-cyl trucks in the past but with only three manual gears forward I could neither go fast nor did I get any mileage to speak of.

            But that was in a time when gas cost $0.50 per gallon, so staying in first or second gear for the climb and burning a ton of gas was no big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      ToxicSludge

      Ther is always a diesel option,such as the new 14 Ram 1500.420 ft.lbs of twist @ 2k rpm sounds better then any V8.It will also deliver excellent mpg’s.Then there will be the 2015 Nissan Titan with an available Cummins ISF diesel.V8′s are fine and dandy but for heavy work and no real need for a 3/4 ton,diesel is the best way to go.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Sometimes its not about the engine, when stepping up to the 3/4 ton, but the heavier frame, axles, etc. I worked for a survey company that ran gas powered 3/4 tons for that reason, all the weight those trucks carried was hard on the running gear.

        • 0 avatar
          ToxicSludge

          Agreed,however the op has a Tundra which is a 1/2 ton and wants a bigger engine,a 3/4 ton if all else fails.But if he would rather stay in the 1/2 size truck,a diesel would be a viable cost effective alternative.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I briefly owned a used 1996 RAM 3500 Cummins Diesel Dually. It was one MF-ing hauler, even with a loaded fifth-wheel behind it.

            It was a rough-riding SOB but got the job done – no doubt about it.

            I sold it to a kid getting out of the Air Force who was going home to his dad’s ranch in Texas because the Cummins and the RAM are not without their own separate problems. And I didn’t want to experience what lay ahead for both of them.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I think you missed the point and added what you believe he should want.

            Unless your talking about a Diesel engine over 6 liters in displacement.

          • 0 avatar

            Diesels are always blown these days. So the displacement may be smaller.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I find it interesting, and likely revealing, that the 3.5 liter is now going to be offered in naturally aspirated form.

          The F Series will now have a V8 and V6 non-ecoboost motor.

          The ecoboost V6 that’s currently being sold has caused nothing less than a vehement backlash amongst the F Series faithful, as one could glean by visiting any of a dozen or so Ford dedicated forums, and may also help explain why Ford now sells 6 of the 10 LEAST RELIABLE vehicles one can purchase today (and yes, this index includes JLR products), according to the latest data from Consumer Reports:

          http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2013/05/top-10-least-reliable-cars-and-trucks.html

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Why is it revealing? They are replacing the 3.7 with the 3.5? Hasn’t there been a industry trend to downsize engines? Didn’t the 3.7 replace the 4.2?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The F-series already had a non-ecoboost V6 the 3.7. Since the new truck is going to weigh about 700lbs less the loss of less than 5% of the displacement of the base engine should not be surprising.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            “Quality? What’s that? Don’t ask anyone at Ford because apparently they don’t know.” – from the write up on the Focus’ second place finish on the least reliable list. They may succeed in shattering the ‘now they all make good cars’ myth.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Thanks for the link. If Ford has many loyalists unhappy with the drivetrain in the F-150 how do they continue to sell 50K a month? Especially since you would think the Ram and GM twins would provide solid competition.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            All my early pickup trucks were 6-cyl and three-on-the-tree when I got started way back when. And they got the job done, way back then.

            In 1988 I bought my first brand-new truck, a 350 V8 Automatic Silverado ExtCab with all the bells and whistles (at the time).

            Once I experienced the V8/Automatic combo, I was hooked. No way in hell will I ever go back to a V6 truck anything. The bigger the V8, the better. The more gears in the tranny, better yet!

            It’s comparisons like these that make me yearn for my old 1999 F250 V10 I bought from a MSgt at the Air Base when he left the area.

            The people who bought it from me still drive it today and haul their Komfort trailer with it, every place they go across the USA and Canada.

            My wife’s dad until recently owned a 1973 Suburban 4X4 with the 454 and the THM400. The reason he kept it for so long is because all the new ones he tested were gutless when compared to his oldie but goodie.

            In 2012, when his ’73 Suburban finally had to be euthanized and sent off to the crusher, he had enough presence of mind to part out most of the pieces, including the engine and transmission.

            Old iron like that brings a lot of money with the right crowd. And the right crowd are the people who have the time, money and facilities to keep these old, uncomplicated, carburetor-fed, humongous dinosaurs running.

            I’m too old for that crap now. I want power and I want comfort. If Toyota is forced to downsize their displacement in the future, I’ll have to step up to a 3/4-ton to get the bigger engine.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            bball, I was unaware they currently offered the normally aspirated V6, and if that’s so (and I have no reason to doubt you), I wonder why the dealer lots are so heavily skewed with stock of ecoboost V6 F-150s.

            To bball and everyone else:

            That being said, there is good reason to believe Ford is having major quality control and reliability problems with many of their new vehicles they’ve launched in the the last two years, whether grenading transmissions (dual clutch in many of their passenger cars or the Getrag MT82 in the Mustang), issues with every version of the ecoboost (and the number and frequency of complaints regarding the ecoboost in the F Series is legion, even by internet forum standards), cooling system or electronics/electrical issues.

            Even when not discussing the reliability woes, Ford is just making bad decisions, and an example of this that I can cite is using the ecoboost 1.6 liter in the Fusion, which accelerates like a dog, gets far worse real world fuel economy than advertised, and is in general a poor fit for that application.

            I am genuinely surprised Ford is going to use so much aluminum in BODY PANELS of the next F Series. Someone mentioned that aluminum is used in the rails of HD Trucks (Freightliner), but that’s a totally different application than vertically and horizontally mounted body panels on what bills itself as the best selling light duty work truck, where the vehicle is more likely than not going to be subjected to harsher treatment (or is at least intended to be so) than the average passenger car.

            Someone else mentioned that Ford had built a “backup” traditional steel paneled F-150, in case the testing of the aluminum paneled one didn’t meet their criteria, but this reminds me of the whole gimmicky 150,000 mile torture test of the V6 ecoboost being used in the F Series, where it was “lab” tortured, then torn down, rather than being tested for 150,000 miles in the real world.

            I’ve grown highly skeptical of so called “torture testing” of things related to vehicle components that takes place in anything other than real world conditions, especially when it’s done on a schedule and “duty cycle” that is claimed to replicate accelerated wear & tear that will occur in the real world.

            It will be interesting to see how aluminum skin holds up over time on many F Series pickups in the coming years.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I too am surprised by the 1.6 ecoboost in the Fusion. The whole point of a turbo engine was to get better fuel economy. But that hasn`t worked out, especially when most other companies manage to get equal or better fuel economy with a standard engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Dead weight I think you missed a lot of that ecoboost torture test. A randomly selected engine was pulled off the line and then treated to 300 hours of extreme testing on the dyno to simulate 150k of use, it was then installed in a truck that was driven to an Oregon based logging company and used for a while. That truck was then driven to Miami to compete against and beat a new 5.3L powered Chevy and Hemi Dodge in a 9,000lb tow test. After that it was then installed in a race truck that was first used for practice before taking the #1 spot in the stock engine class at the Baja 1000. It then came out and went back on the Dyno for more testing before being shipped to NAIAS where it was tore down in front of the crowd.

            http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/01/what-the-inside-of-a-torture-tested-ecoboost-v-6-looks-like.html

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            You are right, a lot of complaints about the Ecoboost has its own dedicated Facebook page chronicling the various failures.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Can someone clarify the extent of the aluminum construction? Is it just the body, or parts/all of the frame as well.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      All aluminum body. Swapping steel for aluminum was being tested elsewhere. I do not know what the extent of steel being replaced with aluminum is throughout the truck though. The next Navigator and Expedition will also have all aluminum bodies.

  • avatar
    carve

    Long haul trucks (e.g. Freightliner) have used aluminum frame rails for decades, and are very affordable for how big they are. It’ll be nice to see the rest of the auto industry catch up without considering it some kind of exotic material (e.g. NSX, Audi)

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Huh…I always assumed Canadians spell aluminum “aluminium”…

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I like the idea of lighter, more corrosion resistant trucks. I’m curious to see what the insurance companies will make of this. Collision repairs on aluminum cars are still specialist endeavors involving shipping your wreck to one of a handful of properly equipped and trained repair facilities in the country. An aluminum F150 should double the number of aluminum vehicles on our roads in its first couple months of production, increasing the demand for such repair facilities. It will be interesting to see how long it takes costs to come down though. It will also be interesting to see how confident fleet operators are in Ford’s assertions when there are so many other competent alternatives.

    • 0 avatar
      monomille

      While aluminum is certainly nominally more corrosion resistant than steel, it certainly isn’t corrosion proof in the presence of salt water. Mixing steel and aluminum use in a wet environment also has issues. Be very interesting to see how this works out in the worst corrosion prone parts of the country. Of course, many pickup trucks already have significant frame rot issues in those places now.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Ford certainly knows quite a bit about aluminum body panel corrosion, what with Mustang hoods suffering from it for more than a decade. They don’t seem to know what to do to stop it though. I’ve seen evidence of some good customer service for people whose hoods fell to galvanic corrosion in less than three years, but the solution just seems to be replacing the hoods when it happens. There doesn’t seem to be a way of stopping it once it starts or of Ford producing panels and finishes that don’t experience it.

        • 0 avatar
          Ooshley

          Galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals, and how to prevent it, is well understood.
          If Ford aren’t dealing with it properly then that is a failing of their own making, be it shoddy engineering, or cutting corners to save cost.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Aluminum may attract insurance companies’ attention for OTHER reasons. I’ve lived in neighborhoods where you must, after a long day, unload all gear from your truck if you expect it to be there in the morning.

      Enterprising thieves may find a way to quickly carve off/remove hoods and fenders for recycling. Ford pickups equal beer cans with a $1500 refund.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        This could be very real in some areas, ones where people buy American vehicles like Detroit. I know of a several thousand pound brass elevator carriage being stolen for scrap value. Stripping a pickup would be easy by contrast.

  • avatar
    marc

    Is this going to be a game changer? Couldn’t resist.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I like to see automakers raise the state of the art, but still, GM, Chrysler and Toyota have to be smiling with this news.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Ford said they were going to use the SAE tow standards from now on right?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The new body should (technically) be lighter and stronger than before. This is good. It is also an admission on Ford’s part that the current truck is too heavy and that makes me think that they are trying to hard to get a “one size fits all” solution to work…
    Why don’t they just bring the Ranger back as a light weight fuel saver and leave the big trucks as heavy duty lifters?

  • avatar
    Ion

    I wonder how much cheaper aluminum is verses composite. Ford gave up composite when they realized it was too expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Composites are more expensive at the moment to work with. I suppose it is sort of like making clothing, we haven’t got robots yet able to handle very complex shapes using cloth like materials.

      Simple flat sheets are relatively easy to manufacture as a composite. Look at plywood. Then try and laminate complex shapes in wood.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Aircraft cost more money for a reason and the cost differential isn’t just engineering. Aluminium is more expensive to buy and work with.

    But, bring it on, Australia has the worlds largest supply of bauxite.

    I want to see full size trucks continue on, but the use of aluminium is going to increase the cost of the F-150.

    If economy is required, diesel is the best and cheapest alternative. But, regulations are preventing the more economical diesels from entering into the US in any great numbers.

    Ford’s 3.2 Duratorque would have improved the FE of a F-150 substantially.

    But CAFE and all the other regulations make it harder for real competition in the US pickup market.

    I have read that the way the English language is spoken in Australia is more akin to way it was spoken in England a couple of hundred years ago. I don’t know if this is true or not.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Sounds about right. Colonies tend to retain the speech in use at the time of their settlement. Also depends on who the settlers were; Australia wasn’t stocked by the families of the king’s retainers.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @bumpy ii
        Apparently, unlike the US that was populated with the religous types initially. Australia was initially populated by the ‘scum of the earth’ and military personnel that pissed of their superiors.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAF0 – Actually, CAFE encourages foreign competition when they can offer better fuel economy. CAFE helped kick off the small truck movement starting in the mid to late ’70s. CAFE basically co-sponsored the mini-truck craze/fad/invasion of the ’80s so you’re wrong.

      But what regulations are limiting the number of available foreign diesels? Is it a ‘quota’ or an emissions thing? And how do BMW, VW and Ram sneak diesels though Customs?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Sure the 3.2 would increase the fuel economy of the F150 slightly but it would make it more expensive to operate overall. There is a reason that the parcel delivery services in the US have mainly switched back to gas power and GM and Ford reintroduced big gas engines in their MD trucks. That reason is that gas is cheaper overall.

      Take your non 2010 EPA emissions certified engine and take 20% or so off of those MPG numbers for a version that is clean enough to sell in the US. Then take 10~15% off of that number to compensate for the added expense of diesel in the US vs regular gas in much of the US. Now add in the additional purchase cost and the higher maintenance costs and that diesel advantage has been wiped away.

      A friend of mine had a Jetta TDI and after tracking the cost of diesel for it vs the cost of gas for his wife’s car for over a year he figured that a car that got 36 MPG would have the same fuel cost as his Jetta diesel that averaged 42 MPG.

      Take your Australian 8.9 L/100km combined diesel Ranger which equals 26.4 US MPG and certify it to meet EPA’s 2010 emissions and that number will drop to about 21 MPG. That will give you a vehicle who’s fuel cost will be about the same over the course of a year as a truck that gets 18 MPG combined. Or right between what the 5.0L F150 at 17 MPG combined and the 19 MPG combined rating of the 3.7L F150. That is in a bigger, heavier truck and does not take into account the added cost of the diesel engine.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “A friend of mine had a Jetta TDI and after tracking the cost of diesel for it vs the cost of gas for his wife’s car for over a year he figured that a car that got 36 MPG would have the same fuel cost as his Jetta diesel that averaged 42 MPG”
        A Recent study in the US using diesel is cheaper than Petrol(Gas)
        http://www.dieselforum.org/files/dmfile/20130311_CD_UMTRITCOFinalReport_dd2017.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          There are some big problems with that study as it relates to today’s market. For one it surveyed many vehicles prior to the enactment of the 2010 diesel emissions standards that caused a big drop in diesel fuel efficiency. They also used estimates of maintenance and repair costs rather than actual and assigned the same values to both gas and diesel versions which is very far from the truth.

          The other thing you should note is that the study was paid for by Robert Bosch with the goal of using it to sell diesel power to both consumers and automakers.

          Companies that purchase a lot of fuel in the US like UPS and FedEx have done their own studies focusing on post 2010 emissions compliant diesels and they found that diesels were more expensive for them and thus are purchasing mainly gas powered vehicles for their end of the line pickup and delivery functions.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Scoutdude,
            USA Today in a recent article printed this
            http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/02/13/diesel-ram-pickup/1917103/
            Another 2012 article from Scientific American
            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=diesel-cars-make-a-comeback-in-the-us
            Another 2013 one.
            http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/10/more-diesel-cars-in-the-future-for-north-america.html
            Another one
            http://green.autoblog.com/2013/04/29/diesel-hybrid-sales-us-market/
            Shell/BP? in the US predicted 50% of US cars will be using diesel by 2025?.

  • avatar
    lowsodium

    I really like the new $40k+ trucks. I was hoping for something more expensive.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    I have a collection of old traffic signals (yes the ones most TTAC’ers would rather never turn red) and a good portion of them are made of aluminum. I hope Ford does a better job painting these trucks than the modern signal manufacturers do their product, else wise every aluminum F150 will be a lovely speckled black and white within about five years (with every fastener permanently corroded in place to boot).

  • avatar

    Guys, guy, listen. You’re all missing one thing: FACTORY UTE BED is now possible.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I like the fact aluminum is lighter and recyclable, but my only concern would be as to how aluminum bodies would hold up to road salt and the snow melting compounds that road crews use to melt snow and ice? That would be my only concern aside from the expense of body work. Anyone have any expertise in the corrosiveness of aluminum in regards to salt and snow melting chemicals. I have aluminum deck furniture and have notice surface wearing and some white rust. Other than that it has been good and very light and easy to move. A lighter body on the F-150 along with a 8 or 10 speed automatic should make the smaller V6s and V8s very spunky with much better fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Ooshley

      http://bit.ly/11RYN1D

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Jeff S,
      Hi Jeff, I do have a lot of experience working with and around aluminium and composites.

      Aluminium, like iron in it’s pure state is actually quite resistant to corrosion. But like iron when alloyed is can become easily affected by corrosion.

      One factor that affects aluminium alloy is what is termed the galvanic process. This is cause by two dissimilar metals contact each other and electrolysis takes place, similar to how a lead acid battery works.

      The use of sealants and even stainless steel hardware can reduce the speed at which this process occurs.

      But if a vehicle is maintained it will last, look at how long airliners fly around for with no significant corrosion issues. But once identified you should act on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Ooshley

        Uncoated stainless fasteners will still cause issues over the long-term in salt-laden environments.

        Good resource for those interested:
        http://www.aluminiumdesign.net/design-support/aluminiums-corrosion-resistance/#toc-aluminium-and-fasteners

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Ooshley,
          But the stainless fasteners retard the rate of electrolysis.

          What we are doing now is going away from fasteners ie rivets, hi locks, screws etc and are bonding aluminium onto aluminium.

          This bonding is reducing stress, every time you drill you create areas of stress, which fractures and causes corrosion. Even working the holes to reduce stress isn’t as successful as bonding.

          Aluminium is more prone to stress fractures than steel. Especially if they use high tensile aluminium. I expect to see stress related fractures and the associated corrosion as secondary damage in the beginning.

          Auto manufacturers like Ford will adopt some aviation technology, but it will be dollar driven and short cutting will present issues.

          • 0 avatar
            rnc

            Pretty sure that Ford developed a type of metal velcro/exopy set-up for JLR (Aluminum to steel frame or body without fastening), have heard of lots of problems with those two, body panels falling off, no.

  • avatar
    redliner

    So when id the Ford-Toyota co-developed hybrid coming?

  • avatar
    Mike_H

    I’m waiting for the day when a half-ton pickup actually weighs a half-ton.

  • avatar
    Michael500

    Luminum, what kind of crazy metal is that? You know they will make it too thin and it will krinkle like ‘luminum foil. Thanks a lot Obama for your stupid CAFE requirements making cars more stupid. Reagan got rid of 5 MPH bumpers and helped the auto industry in the 80s, this idiot plans to kill it off.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      “Reagan got rid of 5 MPH bumpers and helped the auto industry in the 80s, this idiot plans to kill it off.”

      No president did more to destroy the american manufacturing industry than reagon, yes the general concept was sound, allowing foriegn competition to force american industry to improve and adjust (something carter warned was coming), but then cold war ideology and policies and the new economy (money making money) exposed US industry without any protections what so ever (i.e. keeping us currency artificially strong as a sign of strength didn’t help), I mean after WWII, Japan and the euro countries inacted protections, so thier industries could recover and rebuild, ours were just allowed to be thrown on the scrap heap (don’t blame CAFE or the EPA, Japan and Germany have equiv. if not more stringent in most areas) (but man oh man did that 1% make money from money). Oh and we have this lovely massive military industrial complex that can build just about anything, other than an affordable TV). That’s what reagon did for this country, the S&L crisis*, the crack epidemic, millions of people in prison, round one of voodoo economics, deregulation (the first deregulation (S&L’s) worked out so well, that we just kept going and deregulation got bigger and bigger* (finally caught up to us during round two of voodoo economics, but man oh man did the 1% make money from money on that one too). Voted for first Bush, he and Clinton almost undid the damage that Reagon had created, then neocon piss on’s and underlings from reagon’s and bush I’s administrations, got to be the big dogs during Bush II’s (except for about the last year or so when even he couldn’t deny that he had f%cked up) and ……

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    It will be interesting to see how aluminum works out. Thickness and how it is supported will affect durability along with metallurgy. Will Ford bond aluminum to a steel frame? A few bloggers have already mentioned the electrolysis that occurs with dissimilar metals. Another concern is aluminum and steel will have different rates of expansion and contraction in heat and cold. Aluminum corrodes and pits but technically does not rust. Rust is a term reserved to the oxidization of steel. Another concern is wheel wells. They will have to line those with plastic or some form of protective shielding. I’ve seen pickups that have spent their lives on gravel logging roads and everything is shot peened clean from road debris.

    Hello to Robert Ryan, JeffS, and Big Al from Oz. (Someone already has the name Lou)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I still think the 3.2 litre Duratorque from the Transit is the best option for the F150.

    In our Ford Rangers we are obtaining 27mpg average. I do know sitting on 65mph I’m getting over 30mpg. The F150 I would think would bet about the 30mpg mark with this diesel. This is 30% better than the V6 which doesn’t have the torque of the diesel.

    This engine will as good or even better under certain conditions than a V8. Towing is great for a diesel which will use almost half the amount of fuel as a V8.

    So I think for the working trucks that do work, diesel should be an option. Even off roading the diesel is a great option.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would probably not use hand wax on aluminum or a buffer because I would be afraid of denting. I would stick to the spray wax. Spray waxes have improved to where they provide about as much protection anyway. Just hand waxed my crew cab Isuzu over the weekend, that was a real job especially being Onyx Black.

    Haven’t Rolls Royces had aluminum bodies for years?

  • avatar
    rnc

    GM called thier bland updated trucks game changers.

    Ford is shaving 700 lbs. off the weight of thier trucks and will be able to so without increasing costs, theres already so much profit margin built in (and alot of additional factors). Even without cafe, the differences in MPG’s will be huge, and Gas isn’t getting cheaper and americans have shown they still want bigger and bigger trucks.

    Everybody wants to find something wrong with anything detroit does that is truly game changing. If Toyota was bringing over a full-size aluminum bodied truck with a TT engine as an option and there would be a church built. The last F150 leaped two steps ahead of the others, Ford is just doing it again. Sales don’t lie (espeically the take rate on the EB engines), now if those were Honda introduced EB engines it would be revolutionary, angels from heavon, while Ford would be derided for still being a dinosaur, etc, etc.)

    Mulally has access to the companies and a knowledge of working with Al that probably no other CEO in the world pocesses. Its not just the knowledge from owning RR, and the applications applied and learned from Jag. Before buying Volvo, volvo had been investing huge amounts into research, development and manufacturing techniques, etc. using aluminum vs. steel, in addition to thier hybrid research and technologies (patents) (in the end that $5 billion dollar investment has paid for itself). All of that is coming together now, those investment (LR made money), but what ford learned from thier mistakes are beginning to make the mistakes, ones well made.

  • avatar
    afuller

    I had no issues with corrosion or paint quality on my all aluminum Honda Insight.

    Yes, the aluminum was pretty easily dented (although I never had an issue with that) but that car was so light it was amazing.

    I can only imagine that lessons have been learned since the year 2000 and we’ll be getting an even better product now.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    As rnc has pointed out, Ford owned Jag and Volvo, but they also owned Aston Martin (notice the similarity with some of Ford’s new cars?)and Range Rover. IIRC, all use aluminum body panels. The F150 has for a long time been the biggest and heaviest 1/2 ton. Shaving 700 – 800 lb with minimal increase in costs gives Ford and MPG and performance advantage. It gives them 3 choices when it comes to suspension tuning: 1.Use previous suspension settings which will allow a corresponding increase in cargo capacity
    2.Leave settings alone and easily meet J2807 ratings and tune for better ride (like Ram)
    3.Do a blend of 1 and 2.
    MPG and emission standards are going to be toughened up and unfortunately USA EPA rules are footprint based. It is rumoured that the Atlas is physically larger than the current F150. Ford could up the tow/haul ratings along with a larger “footprint” to push it into a light 3/4 ton class and it would not have to meet 1/2 ton mpg/emission ratings.

  • avatar
    ect

    Whatever they make it from, that front end looks seriously ugly (at least in this picture)

  • avatar
    old fart

    Hopefully they use better primer than GM did on some of their hoods, as they started to corrode pretty good in the rust belt.

  • avatar
    Carlos Danger

    The Atlas concept shows some pretty sharp creases, might that have something to do with it? Most Aluminum bodied cars tend to be rather smooth and rounded.


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