Ford thirteenth-generation pickup trucks have an aluminum body. It was launched in 2015 as the Ford F series. Manufacturers prefer 6000 series aluminum alloy in the construction of the truck. It is light in weight, corrosion-resistant, and saves fuel. Ford aluminum body trucks are expensive with more repairing costs.
Are Ford Truck Bodies Made of Aluminum?
The thirteenth generation of the Ford series has an aluminum body. Ford introduced it in 2015.F150 was the first pickup truck to have an aluminum frame and other parts.
Later in 2017 F series heavy-duty truck also switch to the aluminum frame. In 2020, Ford announced the 2021i model that consists of a full aluminum frame and other parts.
This model consists of a steel frame and a military-grade aluminum-alloy body.
F150 series is built from 6000 series aluminum alloy using different heating treatments. Some F-series trucks besides F150 still have high-strength steel bodies.
Is Ford F150 an all-aluminum body?
You can recognize the new aluminum body F150 truck from other trucks by checking its model year.
Another way to distinguish between them is the structure of headlights and grilles.
The fog lights of the thirteenth generation Ford are also different from steel body pickup trucks.
The fog lights are rectangular, but in a twelfth generation, they were round.
Why Ford truck switch to the aluminum body?
Ford made a revolutionary change in the construction of trucks in 2015.
They prefer aluminum bodies over high-strength steel body due to many reasons. Here is a description of all the perks of an aluminum body.
It is a lightweight metal and reduces the weight of ford trucks. On average, aluminum is 50% lighter than steel and 10 to 20% lighter than fiberglass.
An aluminum truck bed weighs 30 to 40 % less than a steel bed.
Aluminum per cubic foot weight is 170lb steel weighs 500lb per cubic foot. Aluminum is weaker and less dense than steel.
But Ford engineers have combined military-grade aluminum with other metals through heating treatment to make an aluminum alloy.
Ford F150 is 700 to 750 pounds lighter than a steel body truck. Its weight is according to weight restriction by the law.
It gives the truck a high power to weight ratio as compared to the steel body.
It can deliver more power towards torque and horsepower while driving. It decreases the payload and steering load of the vehicle.
corrosion resistance is another quality that encourages manufacturers to choose aluminum.
Steel bodies are more prone to rusting and corrosion than aluminum alloys.
The new generation trucks do not require an additional coating of paints to treat and prevent rust.
Its excellent corrosion resistance can increase the warranty to up to 10 years.
The steel frame and body need a frequent coating of paints after spinning. It increases the overall maintenance cost of the vehicle.
Aluminum is an environment-friendly metal and resists chemical oxidation of paint and varnish. It forms a protective layer on the upper surface to resist corrosion.
It has increased the life expectancy of pickup and heavy-duty trucks. The engine and tires will suffer less wear and tear. The bed of the truck will remain intact for a long.
Durability and strength
The strength and durability of aluminum are much higher than steel. Its weight-saving and rust-proof characteristics protect it from damage for many years.
Therefore it is more durable than steel and these are more efficient and require low maintenance than other pickup trucks.
Ford engineers tested aluminum for years in laboratories to enhance its strength. The manufacturer blended both military-grade and aerospace aluminum to produce a durable alloy.
Besides durability and strength, aluminum is a malleable metal. You can transform it into different shapes.
It can turn into more intricate shapes without cracking or damaging. In contrast, steel is a resilient metal that has limits on dimensional modifications.
You can not push it into deeper spinning or intricate shapes without ripping it.
In safety ranking, Ford’s aluminum body is on the second number. For many years Ford occupied the number one position until its competitors won the crash test.
Ford’s heavy-duty aluminum truck has passed the crash test that establishes its safety.
In the crash test, they crash the truck into different barriers on the vehicle’s front side.
To test the rear sides, a barrier is propelled into the side to test its safety.
Aluminum has different properties than steel, but it is a hard metal. Its rust-proof quality and malleability make it safer metal for truck body and bed frames.
Improve fuel mileage
Aluminum body vehicles can increase fuel mileage and reduce fuel consumption. Lighter vehicles use less fuel and battery power to move on a highway.
Aluminum reduces vehicle weight; you can drive a big truck in the same weight range.
These trucks are on the highest level in fuel economy ratings among gas-powered heavy-duty trucks due to switching to aluminum.
It saves 7 to 10 percent fuel for every 12 percent reduction in weight.
The aluminum body enables them to use the small and fuel-efficient engine in larger vehicles.
It also increases the driving range by 20%. These trucks achieve high acceleration, less carbon emission, and high-speed driving range without downsizing the trucks.
Ford’s new generation truck is also resistant to dents and hail damage.
It seems that aluminum is a weak metal and can not withstand any pressure.
Steel has more tensile strength and capable of enduring pressure and bents. But in contrast, its rust-proof quality makes it hard day by day.
The manufacturer has increases the thickness and gauge of aluminum alloy to protect it from dents. So it has superiority in the field of aluminum body trucks by evolving changes in the vehicle.
There is no production of any harmful chemicals during the refining process of this metal.
It gives the manufacturers an advantage of lesser carbon emission and other pollutants.
It is easy to recycle approximately 90% of aluminum comes from recycled metal.
It is simple to recycle truck bodies after the completion of their lifespan. Using recycled products requires less energy and expenditure to construct a new body.
Problems with aluminum body truck
There are some problems with the Ford truck’s aluminum body besides all the benefits. Here is a brief description of all of them.
High repair cost
Aluminum is an expensive metal; therefore, the vehicle cost is much higher than an ordinary truck.
Repairing a steel truck costs 30% less than an aluminum vehicle. Its repairing techniques are pretty different from other techniques.
You will need a separate workshop for repairing it. The automobile workers need special training to fix issues of aluminum body vehicles.
It is a tricky process to weld aluminum panels; there are specific welding techniques to weld the damaged parts.
It is also expensive to repair corrosion damage to an aluminum body.
On average, there is an increase in construction cost 0f $500 per pickup truck. Due to this reason, its insurance cost is also high.
One disadvantage of aluminum bodies is their sensitivity to heat. Steel is tough and heat resistant than aluminum alloy.
Aluminum starts to melt at 1000 degrees of temperature. As temperature rises, it starts losing its strength.
At a temperature above 500 degrees, aluminum loses half of its strength.
That’s why aluminum body vehicles are at higher risk of damage in extreme temperatures.
During welding with heat, it is more prone to holes and cracks. It is more prone to oxidation due to heat and paints start bubbling.