Ford’s Aluminum Body 2015 F150: Is 30mpg Worth The Risks?

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I feel sorry for the decision-makers at Ford. I’m not bagging on Ford (for the record, I think they deserve a hell of a lot of credit for being so bold), but their decision to use aluminum extensively in the upcoming F150 is the result of a terrible choice.

Ford Atlas Concept Truck

Ford’s Atlas concept, a preview of the aluminum F150 set to debut early next week.

By my reckoning, Ford had only two options when it came to designing the next-gen F150:

Option #1 – Keep building the same great tried-and-true steel truck while using an increasing variety of tricks and fancy systems to squeeze out a few more MPG’s, or;

Option #2 – Take a big risk and be the first automaker to make a truck that extensively uses light-weight materials.

While option #2 is the most logical – weight loss is the best way to improve fuel economy and meet government-mandated fuel economy requirements – it’s easily the worst best choice available. I have no doubt that the first generation of aluminum F150s will be universally disliked by truck owners in the decades to come. This is not a commentary on Ford’s engineering talent. This is the inexorable conclusion I’ve been lead to based on all the available data. If you keep reading, I expect you’ll come to the same conclusion.

First, Here’s What We Know About the 2015 F-150

The details are coming fast and furious, but here’s what we know:

  • The new F150’s frame is still made from steel, but it’s going to be a lightweight steel that uses a new manufacturing process designed to trim weight
  • The new truck will use nearly 1,000 lbs of aluminum for everything from suspension components to body panels to transmission housings to the engine block
  • A new start-stop fuel savings system will be available (only it will be limited to a specific engine or pair of engines)
  • The new F150 will feature active grille shutters and – on higher trim levels – power running boards that retract into the vehicle body to reduce aerodynamic drag
  • Aluminum body panels and interior structure will generate about 500lbs of weight savings, and will make copious use of both rivets and adhesive for bonding
  • A 2wd F150 with the right mix of features is likely to get a 30mpg highway rating from the EPA

It’s rumored that there’s a 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine being considered for this lighter F150, but that seems unlikely. A smaller EcoBoost 2.7L V6 has been discussed for a while now (code named “nano”), and of course Ford will be unveiling some new styling and a bevy of luxury features on the new truck (as is the trend in the industry). But the big story is the extensive use of aluminum.

Let’s Give Ford Some Credit

Most automakers who have been forced to choose between true innovation and half-measures have chosen the latter. Rather than do something dramatic that makes sense (like reducing weight), they’ve opted for a short-cut. Why re-invent the pickup truck when you can just sell consumers on the values of a new twin turbo V6? Or a smart new engine computer that deactivates cylinders to save fuel? Or a fancy air suspension system that improves aerodynamics on the highway?

After all, these complex and relatively expensive systems can be sold as “features.” Even though these systems offer minimal value to the end-user (most trucks get about the same fuel economy with or without these systems), automakers love bolting more gizmos onto a cheap (and heavy) steel chassis. There’s a lot of profit in that approach. Well, except for Toyota, who seems to prefer the “none of the above” choice, making no meaningful effort to improve fuel economy (at least not yet).

Poker Chips All In

Ford has gone all-in with their decision to build an F150 with an aluminum body. Will consumers respond positively, or will quality problems drag down the brand?

Ford, on the other hand, has gone all-in. They’re putting their reputation on the line to build the most fuel-efficient full-size truck on the market. The trouble is, mixing aluminum and steel is tricky.

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.

But What About Testing? Ford Isn’t Stupid

Ford is not stupid. I’ve known a lot of Ford employees in my life, and the vast majority of them have been smart and capable. I’ve got nothing but respect for Ford’s engineering talent. You can bet that Ford is testing the hell out of the new aluminum F150.

EcoBoost tear down

Ford tore-down a heavily tested EcoBoost motor at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, the idea being to prove just how bulletproof the new EcoBoost engine would be. Four years later, we know that EcoBoost engines have had some significant problems.

Yet Ford’s engineers tested the hell out of the EcoBoost V6, and they failed to identify a relatively serious stalling problem until well after the EcoBoost was made available for sale. Going back further, Ford’s engineers tested the hell out of the 6.4L diesel, and they failed to find a series of problems that would lead to stalling, crop-dusting, and exhausts that literally spit flames.

The same can be said for Tundra and Tacoma engineers that didn’t fully appreciate the corrosive climate in America’s “rust belt,” GM engineers that didn’t fully appreciate the fire risks of heating windshield washer fluid, Boeing 787 engineers that didn’t fully appreciate the fire risks of lithuim-ion battery systems, space shuttle engineers that didn’t fully recognize the dangers of poorly designed solid rocket booster O-rings, etc.

Put another way, engineers can only test for the failure modes they anticipate. When you consider the inherent complexity of mixing aluminum and steel, and you consider all the wear and tear that trucks endure, it should be painfully obvious that the aluminum F150 will have problems. The only questions are “How many problems?” and “How bad will they be?”.

Ford is Paving the Way to The Future, But At What Cost?

Ford’s decision to be the first to build an aluminum truck will offer few benefits in the short term. While Ford will brag about 30mpg fuel economy, the first few years of the aluminum F150 will be ugly. I predict a litany of issues associated with corrosion, fit and finish, and manufacturing quality.

Meanwhile, GM, Toyota, Nissan, and Chrysler-Fiat will keep on building the same old steel trucks. While these competing trucks won’t get 30mpg, they’ll be affordable, capable, and incredibly reliable. GM, Ram, and Toyota won’t win any awards for innovation, but they will build trucks that are relatively problem-free.

Will Ford lose market share as a result of their decision to go aluminum? Perhaps. It certainly won’t take much for the Internet to over-react to aluminum F150 quality problems. A few YouTube videos depicting aluminum F150s with problems is all it will take to put a dent in Ford’s sales….imagine photos of an aluminum body panel that’s “exfoliating” due to galvanic action, like the image below.

Galvanic corrosion.

One type of galvanic corrosion, known as ‘exfoliation’, attacks this aluminum alloy guard rail. The corrosion was caused by a single steel bolt and mother nature.

Ford’s decision to jump head-first into infotainment with the MyFord Touch system is a great illustration of what will happen with the aluminum F150: Ford’s innovation will help to pave the way for the rest of industry, but it will also damage Ford’s relationship with countless consumers and hurt their quality ratings.

Summing up, Ford’s new aluminum F150 is going to change the truck market as we know it, and there’s no doubt that we’ll all benefit from their decision to innovate in the long run. Ford deserves kudos for a bold decision to build a truck with an aluminum body. But in the short run, Ford’s aluminum F150 is going to have quality and durability problems. You can count on it.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. Mickey says:

    “Ford is not stupid”. Really? Not J2807 compliant. When they tell the nation they will be when the new design comes out, then what are you telling me from the first sentence. What will help their downfall and GM takes over is their arrogance on J2807 standards and their complete lying to the country saying they will be compliant on new design. 6 years now has gone by with the same old song and dance. When will NHTSA or EPA get on Ford’s case about this?

    • Can’t argue with you on this point – it’s dangerous for Ford, Ram, and GM to keep avoiding the J2807 tow rating standards. I agree that NHTSA should consider getting involved…those tow rating standards are about safety as much as anything else.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mickey, I own a Cummins Ram Diesel. I have no idea how much it can pull. I have no idea how much a Tundra can pull. Am I going to go out an buy a trailer which can handle the load of J2807 standard (whatever that is), no.

      I wouldn’t even consider pulling anything which is at the upper limit of the Cummins motor in my truck.

      No disrespect intended but, the J2808 point is just not an important issue. Ram claims the new 6.7 Cummins Ram dual wheel trucks can tow up around 30,000 pounds. If I see one coming at me in the mirror with a trailer and a big CAT excavator on it, I will be getting out of the way fast and will stay away. These tow ratings are getting out of control. These loads are for F450 and up 1 ton rigs, not 1/2 or ever 3/4 ton pickups.

      How many Tundra owners with their nice leather seat luxury trucks are ever going to tow anything over 10000 pounds? 1 out of 100, 1 out of 500, 1 out of 1000, I don’t know how many but there aren’t enough of them for it to matter and if they are gong to try to tow 15,000 pounds with a 5500 pound truck at 70 MPH they are crazy anyway.

      • Tim Esterdahl says:

        Your comment basically sums up why J2807 standard is important. I think you should have researched it before you spoke. The standard is for towing safety and sets the maximum towing capacity for each truck. It is meant to clear the confusion on towing and set a real safety standard. For your example on the Ram towing the CAT excavator, it would spell out what the safe load would be. This means you wouldn’t freak out if it towed it. Peace of mind and safety is what the standard is all about.


        • Larry says:

          I really just can’t agree on this issue.

          People have got to stop looking for the answers in the findings of others. People who tow heavy loads need to be able to use their own judgment about what is reasonable.

          I know for certain that my truck can tow 10000 pounds and I could slow down and do it reasonably safely. My wife could not. She has never towed anything and it would not be reasonable for her to take the wheel of a 6000 pound truck and 10000 pound trailer because it’s rated to do so.

          Could my truck move a 25000 pound track excavator 1/4 mile safety, I think so but I would not take it down an interstate at 65.

          So, Tim, while you are clearly a reasonable person and I make that determination from reading you posts, I still claim towing standards aren’t worth much. They are almost as worthless as MPG ratings on a sticker.

          If I owned a new Tundra and had to move a 200,000 dollars Yacht, I would think twice about moving it myself with a pickup truck even if it was at the trucks tow rating.

          Most time we agree, not this time.

  2. Rick says:

    When I first read about Ford going to all aluminum trucks (light steel frame) I was pumped. Curb weights have crept up in recent years and weight alone has hindered truck and car mpg along with vehicle performance. Manufacturers have simply gotten fat and lazy off the low-tech shoulders of their profit-laden, truck divisions.

    Perhaps Ford saw what Jaguar had successfully done years past and most recently Range Rover who introduced two new, all-aluminum models that shed up to 700 lbs! There is no denying smart aluminum engineering can solve issues as your article concurs. Will it work in a pickup environment? The F-150 seems ripe as it is the company’s bread and butter and likely not the workhorse of buyers. It might not see extreme use and those stats may have influenced decisions. I could see issues with the rental market however.

    Ford assumes big risk that are often arm-chair quarterbacked. Criticism is easy to levy at your opponent, whereby Toyota comes across as too conservative, not willing to improve even its paltry nav system in a good truck. But maybe Ford didn’t do the work on the Ecoboost and allowed it to go to production knowing it was defective yet perhaps they were behind schedule.If true, that’s unforgivable. If I had that truck, I would expect my dealer to get me a replacement 5.0L at their expense. Likewise, If Toyota doesn’t help me as a loyal buyer in the event of something they should cover, I would walk just the same.

    As the article points out, Ford is a good truck. I don’t like it’s driving position, steering and the frame (it wiggles over bumps) – it’s not horrible. It’s just that my Tundra is better! I like the Ford’s electronics over my truck.

    Remember, Range Rover is enjoying more sales since their models were revamped. I have to believe the use of extensive aluminum had something to do with it. I hope Ford is successful because they will force the rest of the industry to get on a diet! We can only benefit from the risk takers in the market. I have to gave Ford the credit here.

    • I’m with you on a lot of points, but the one that I liked the best was your point about Ford’s new F150 forcing the rest of the industry to go on a diet.

      A lighter Tundra would be a good thing, provided of course that reducing the Tundra’s weight doesn’t hurt the trucks reliability or durability.

  3. Randy says:

    Just say “NO” to “nano” I am saving my money.

    Ford Facts:

    Ford has abandoned thousands of buyers on the 6.0 and 6.4 diesels. Third post down is typical:

    Ford abandoned thousands on the 2011 – 2013 F150 EcoBoost. There is solid reason most say they will not buy another. The jury is still out on the 2014; has it been fixed? If it has, why not fix it for owners who bought the first three years?

    All of us have heard Ford’s “testing” line before. It has not panned out over the last several decades for Ford. These are not just engineering problems. The problems of warranty coverage are even worse. Dealers have absolutely no incentives whatsoever to solve problems for their customers…..and that is the real problem with Ford – no solution for their customers.

    I am saving my money.

    • Larry says:

      Good point. Ford makes mistakes and then expects their custom to eat the costs. Any problem with the aluminum bodies and the buyer is going to have to pay.

    • aAnthony G. says:

      I love my 2011 Ecoboost!!! I cant wait till they have a 10 speed transmission with the aluminum body.
      Have 62,000 miles on it and going strong !!
      This is one truck that I wont trade in after driving it for 10 years

  4. LJC says:

    Isn’t the 2015 f150 going to make use of a c-channel frame to shed more weight?

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      I have heard this rumor too. I don’t believe it at all. They have been talking about their fully boxed frames for quite a while and I don’t see them changing course.


      • LJC says:

        We’ll see. If shedding weight is this important, then the frame design is on the “chopping block”.

    • No c-channel, but they are cutting “windows” into the boxed frame where steel is not needed.

      I’ll be curious to see this new frame in person. If it’s got a lot of “windows”, it could raise a question about the real value of “fully boxed” frames among truck buyers.

  5. art64 says:

    Good luck driving that lightweight full size pick up truck with an aerodynamics of a brick on a highway. Unless it’s loaded, it a big kite.

  6. LJC says:

    What about the cost of insuring the vehicle? Body repair will be much more expensive in terms of both labor and materials.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      You make valid points LJC. I think this truck is the most anticipated vehicle for this next year and can’t wait to hear/see more of it.

      The thing for me is that with Ram’s Ecodiesel, the new Ford and Nissan saying they are going after Cummins, it is pretty darn exciting to watch the full-size truck market. Now, if Toyota would just do something more exciting than a mild refresh, it would really increase the excitement!


    • An excellent point. Most body shops don’t know how to work with aluminum, so getting body repairs is probably going to be hit or miss for a couple of years.

      As for costs, it’s definitely going to cost more to fix a banged-up F150. However, the biggest cost in any insurance policy is the cost of covering the people inside the vehicle…so I don’t think insurance premiums will go up a lot.

  7. toyrulz says:

    I live in the north and carry 400-500 pounds of sand in my box for “winter-weight”. How will F-150 be when it’s all aluminum?

    If they do not drop it’s magic-towing-dust enhanced towing capacity so the eco-boost can make it up (and down) Davis Dam, I can see many getting pushed to jack-knife by their trailers when tow vehicle weight drops by nearly a half ton.

    I agree this is ultimately the right way to go and glad it’s not Toyota leading the way on this – Ford will take some loss but this is the least of the evils (they can amortize the loss across their ludicrous volume) and we will all learn from their experience (the way Toyota taught Ford on dealing with unintended acceleration accusations).

    I think a redefinition of light truck is coming… where these may be Tacomas of the future, the Tundra becomes HD, and so on. Ford without a Ranger in NA has to make F-150 fit the middle – and they have HDS and 250, 350, 450, etc… to have the capacity future Ford loyalists may need. Tundra will not reduce capability or QRD under current light truck service expectations until they pull the trigger on an HD or 3/4ton class.

    If I was Toyota, I would beef up the. Current model to HD or 3/4 to do the work and then add whole new light duty that is maybe all-aluminum with direct injection 4.6L as top motor and adding a small diesel for the new definition of light duty (truck styled SUVs).

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Good points! There are just so many unknowns at this point it is hard to say what will happen. One thing is for sure, we will get some answers Monday morning.


  8. Brian J says:

    I am certainly not a metals engineer, so if you say that steel and aluminum touching creates corrosion I believe you. However, is that corrosion assumed to be bare metal on bare metal? Won’t Ford (and anyone who follows suit) apply corrosion protection to the vehicle to guard against said corrosion? I have a hard time thinking that these trucks will rust out in 3-5 yrs with proper application of anti-corrosion chemicals. If they do, then Ford will have failed miserably and lost their cash cow. You will be able to to say goodbye to FoMoCo if they get this terribly wrong.

    You mentioned moisture as a death sentence to aluminum and steel that are touching: although cylinder sleeves are cast iron: I haven’t heard of any issues with modern aluminum blocks rusting inside or out, and water is a by-product of combustion. I just can’t help myself thinking that of all things, corrosion protection will be up there on the list of strengths with this truck. Lots of naysayers out there. I recall 7 yrs ago when people were saying that Toyota couldn’t build a decent half ton and now look! I think this news is exciting and will be very interesting to watch unfold. If they get it right, Ford will set the new industry standard.

    • Ryan says:

      I think your comment about the success of aluminum blocks brings up and interesting point. If aluminum can hold up to abuse under the hood, why can’t it withstand the elements on the outside of the truck, too?

      • Larry says:

        It not really the same thing, Electrons flow from on metal to another. Engines are under the hood and somewhat protected from salt. Inside they are coated with oil.

        Aluminum bolted to a steel frame will not work. Ford is taking a big risk with this. They must isolate the connection points with rubber or other coatings. Get it wrong and they will have a serious problem. If they get it right they will be way out in front.

        I wouldn’t take the risk with my 45,000 when I know what I will get with a solid Toyota.

        • BOB says:

          All Pickup cabs and beds are isolated from the steel frame with rubber bushings; they have been for years. There interesting thing will be to see what fastener finishes they are using.

    • It’s a question of moisture. Water doesn’t tend to get in between steel cylinder jackets and aluminum blocks.

      It’s true that the aluminum Ford is using will have a special coating. This coating will likely perform as promised if the coating is applied uniformly and correctly, if the connection points between aluminum and steel are protected from damage, and if the user doesn’t subject their vehicle to unforeseen factors.

      I’m negative because of conversations with auto engineers: if you look at all the popular use of aluminum in the auto industry, it’s all or nothing. The new Corvette, the Tesla, the SL550 – they all went with aluminum everywhere.

      Ford is bucking that trend, mixing the two. It’s risky, as there are a lot of “ifs” involved.

      I’m not saying Ford will intentionally screw this up – I’m saying that they’re tackling a very difficult problem. The odds of them getting it right on the first try are much lower than consumers are willing to tolerate…there will be aluminum F150s with corrosion issues, at least in the short term.

  9. paul says:

    do you work for gm or toyota or are you just a dumb ass.

    • KMS says:

      What are you talking about???????

    • I can honestly say I don’t work for GM or Toyota, but I may indeed be a dumb ass.

      My advice to you Paul is to spend top dollar on the aluminum F150 when it comes out. You deserve the opportunity to prove me wrong. 🙂

      • Larry says:

        That is the best comment I have seen in a long time.

        Yes, I hope you prove that Ford gets it right. I really do since I don’t want to hear that you took a risk with up to 50 grand. One thing I can say for sure, if it doesn’t work out I will be more on your side the Ford will be.

        If your truck corrodes away after the warranty, I will offer to send you 100 dollars. Will Ford do that?

        • Thanks. If I’m wrong, I’ll just be some Internet know-it-all who missed the mark. If I’m right, I’ll just be some Internet know-it-all who got it right.

          But if I spend $30-$50k on a new F150 and I’m wrong…well, I’d hate to be the guy who did that.

          Ford *will* get this process of mixing aluminum and steel down at some point, but it would be foolish to assume the first few years of the new aluminum F150 will be trouble-free. Ford’s recent launch history casts doubt on that, as does the enormity of the technological challenge they’re facing.

  10. mabe says:

    I think any automotive article written, the writer should have to list the brand of vehicle they drive in the opening sentence. I had a De Tomaso Mangusta with aluminum over a steel frame on the rear engine cover and experience minor aluminum corrosion after 20 years. I can’t doubt the writers point on the possibility of corrosion but I doubt the writer is a Ford Fan.

    • mabe – LOL – my bio is readily available. I sold Fords for years, and my favorite vehicle of all time is the 03′ Mach 1 Mustang I owned with the shaker hood.

      I feel like I was pretty complimentary of Ford in the article – I’m not saying that they’re bad at what they do. I’m saying that what they’re trying to do is damn difficult, and that they will face quality issues in the short term.

    • Nait002 says:

      Mabe, I’m guessing you dIdnt drive your De Tomaso Mangusta in the salt and snow like many trucks are. Salt will shave quite a bit of time off the 20 years of sun your car took to corrode.

  11. toyrulz says:

    @mabe – the author has a clear preferences for Toyota, but has also objectively stated many positives of Ford to the point where he implies equivalence depending on needs and priorities. (good job Tim).

    Look at the name of the website, it’s not Fordheadquarters.

    As far as disclosing what you drive, I have 2 Toyotas, a 4Runner and a Tundra. This doesn’t mean I am not knowledgeable of others, I have friends, read on the subject constantly to keep informed and up to date, I have a formal education and experience in engineering, and have owned most other brands among my previous 30 vehicles. I also worked in a GM auto body shop for a couple of years as an apprentice.

    I am also a motorcycle enthusiast that has never seen a steel bolt come out of aluminum easily.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Thanks Toyrulz. BTW, Jason wrote this piece – I’ll let the controversy follow him not me! 🙂

    • Larry says:

      Good point. I forgot about the difficulties with aluminum engines. I have a 29 year old 250 Honda bike that needs about 5 thread inserts. A little too much torque and the threads pull right out of the casting.

      And, you are right on the mark this is not Ford or Ram headquarters. As a Ram owner I may be a guest on thin ice. I am a past Toyota owner and would still be one if Toyota would have sold me a Tundra with the transmission I demanded.

      I like the previous F150 but not as much as the Tundra. No aluminum or turbo gas motors for me.

  12. toyrulz says:

    …If your a Ford fan, might I also suggest… where their objectivity is biased in that direction.

  13. mk says:

    for the person who said about the bed of the ford being aluminum. Everything I heard is the bed will still be steel which would be a very good thing for ford. If done right, I think ford will have a winner and no one can argue over 25 avg mpg hwy. is a definite winner no one else will have next year.

    Heck, I might buy one if they can guarantee me over 25 hwy. mpg that is a huge increase worth considering purchasing.

  14. mabe says:

    Thanks for the valadation

  15. ryan says:

    Yall make a big deal of an all aluminum body and a steel frame and parts, well I recall that my 1991 range rover had the same aluminum body and steel frame. And I can tell you that I had no corrosion on a 23 year old truck.

    • ryan – No offense, but your individual experience is only one data point. A search for “range rover galvanic corrosion” shows more than 16,000 results…your experience isn’t unique, but neither are problems.

  16. Delbert says:

    Do you actually think Ford would invest billions of dollars on a there bread and butter product only to have it corrode and fall apart. It is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about. Ford is using aircraft and military grade aluminum alloys that have withstood all types of environments including being married to steel and being exposed to salt water. Before making judgements on a subject do your research. How many Audis, Jaguars and Range Rovers have you seen corroded, they are all made of aluminum and steel. Ford developed and applied the aluminum body on steel technique 15 years ago when they owned Jaguar and Land Rover. The aluminum used in guardrails and trailers is absolutely totally different than what is used in the f150 which is even a higher grade of aluminum than what is used by Jaguar and Range Rover. Just as there are different corrosive resistant stainless steels because all stainless steel is not the same, some will rust and corrode when in contact with iron, some will never corrode or rust period at all.

    • Delbert – You’re correct that this has been done before, you’re correct that the aluminum and steel Ford is using is different than a guardrail, and you’re correct that Ford is being careful.

      But there are literally hundreds of examples of Jags and Rovers with galvanic corrosion issues (a casual Google images search will reveal countless vehicles with problems, some of them only a few years old), and neither a Jaguar or a Range Rover lives the life of the average pickup. Range Rover owners don’t usually go off-road, and Jaguar owners never do.

      You may be correct in saying that Ford will pull this off without a hitch, but I’m not too optimistic for the reasons given. Corrosion is a pervasive problem already – adding aluminum to the mix doesn’t make things easier.

      • FYI – check out this page:

        Under the heading “BODY PANEL & CHASSIS CORROSION” the author writes:

        “In keeping with Land Rover tradition, the greatest problem is that of galvanic corrosion due to the proximity of dissimilar metals – steel frame, casings and bulkhead meeting aluminium body panels.
        Corrosion has always been a Land Rover issue…”

        You can find lots of pictures of Rover products with galvanic corrosion via Google Image search. Just look.

  17. Larry says:

    Remember when GM put a Cadillac sticker on the Chevy Cavalier and called it the Cimarron? They took an already bad car and then put their premium brand label on it for a premium price and knew exactly what they were doing.

    Now, in no way do I think Ford would do that with the most important set of wheels in the US but the risk is high and do they have a 20 year life planned for the F150?
    An aircraft is not an F150. Yes, Landrover has done it and I too think Ford will get it right but do I trust Ford a company which sold engines to people with spark plugs flying out of the heads because they reduced the thread count in an aluminum head. If they could screw up something that simple they can screw an aluminum body so respectfully as I can say this, I think you are the person who does not know what they are talking about. Take the risk yourself with 50,000 dollars. It’s in everyones best interest to see this become a 100 percent success story but it’s foolish to underestimate the risk or to think Ford could care less for it’s costumer if it does not work out.

  18. toyrulz says:

    Aircraft are seriously scrutinized and have mandatory rebuilds etc…

    I remember hearing that Ford was well along on its Bronco II design when they identified a roll over problem and proceeded as the lawsuits were cheaper than the alternative…. just saying, CAFE regs are real and Ford’s corporate average is is very influenced by huge F-150 sales – it may again be the cheaper way for them to go.

    If this new F-150 was an aircraft, would you fly in it? What about in 10 years near the the salt belt.

  19. MARK says:

    My 2011 F150 is undergoing its second repainting of the aluminum hood under warranty. It has corrosion bubbles all across the front edge of the hood. It started 8 months after purchase. I am also on my fourth set of alloy wheels (all covered under warranty)… filiform corrosion has eaten them all up. I found a class action suit against Ford for 2000-2007 cars that had aluminum corrosion issues. Also…read the mustang forums. Tons of complaints about their hoods corroding. I think it will prove a terrible decision by Ford.

  20. mabe says:

    TRD the only thing missing is “U”

  21. Bob says:

    I noticed that Ford is going to use Aircraft and Military Grade Aluminum, does anyone out there know the Compound for these Materials?

    Thank you!


    • Larry says:

      There are many versions of aluminum alloys for use in all kinds of things and that includes aircraft.

      There are many standard grade numbers for sheet and tube. When buying a tube grade like 6060 you know what is in the stuff. They will contain well known mixes of any of the following:

      Aluminum, silicon, copper, iron, magnesium and more. The aluminum component will usually be 95 percent or more.

  22. Chuck says:

    2007 Ford Expedition owner with an aluminum tailgate

    I’ve got galvinic corrosion. The paint on my tailgate is bubbling all over from the corrosion . Ford doesn’t back this up.

    This is a serious potential problem for the 2015 pickup. If Ford took care of the corrosion I’d have no problem buying another one, but from my own experience and searching online there’s many dissatisfied owners with aluminum hoods and tailgates that Ford has stuck.


    • mike says:

      Chuck is correct. Current Ford policy on corrosion is there must be a hole in it for them to repair. The Aluminum experts ,that they claim to be ,seem to not recognize galvanic corrosion when they see it. Last Ford I buy.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The big problem with aluminum is it will cost more to fix when you need a brake job done because the parts will oxidize and they will break when you try to get them out so you will have to buy a full new part. The truck will cost more on insurance because the parts a more expensive made from aluminum.

  24. Frank Vega says:

    The engineers were fully aware of the O-ring issue, the decision to fly the mission wasn’t the engineers call.

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