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post #1 of 30 Old 11-15-2010, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Next Ford F-150 Could Trade Steel Frame for Magnesium-Alloy


With Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards of 30 miles per gallon for light trucks looming ever closer, Ford is looking at ways to meet these targets without sacrificing performance on its bread winning F-series pickups.

One method, hinted by CEO Alan Mullaly is in shaving weight. The current F-150 uses a fully-boxed steel frame, which is strong, but heavy, so for the next generation truck an option being considered is a chassis made from magnesium alloy.

There's a good deal of logic to this. Magnesium is currently one of the most abundant elements on earth and is 36 percent lighter than aluminum. It's also being increasingly adopted by automakers, primarily on suspension components and engine blocks, but also body panels. In fact Ford managed to shave some 22 lbs off the Lincoln MKT crossover utility vehicle by using separate aluminum and magnesium panels for the rear lift gate instead of ordinary stamped steel.

Along with the frame, Ford is also exploring the possibilities of using aluminum body panels on the next F-150, though for strength and durability a steel skin will likely remain. As for powertrain options, there's no official word on what might be offered down the road, though expect a next generation EcoBoost V6 and possibly an inline-five cylinder engine, maybe a turbo diesel.

More: Next Ford F-150 Could Trade Steel Frame for Magnesium-Alloy on AutoGuide.com
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post #2 of 30 Old 11-15-2010, 04:12 PM
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And maybe a turbo diesel huh? we have been waiting for a few years for that to happen

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post #3 of 30 Old 11-15-2010, 07:31 PM
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post #4 of 30 Old 11-15-2010, 09:44 PM
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Is it wishful thinking to assume they put the 4.4L turbo-diesel on the shelf to wait for that gov. restriction to happen? Can a 5000Lb truck even see 30mpg with a gas eng. and still have respectable power?


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post #5 of 30 Old 11-15-2010, 10:56 PM
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My only issue is if the truck goes completely to that metal or the frame does, what you have is a lighter truck. Then haul a trailer with no weight reduction toss the truck around when towing it.

It might be fine to the 150s. But dont do it to the 350s and up. Or find another way.

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post #6 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 09:09 AM
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My only issue is if the truck goes completely to that metal or the frame does, what you have is a lighter truck. Then haul a trailer with no weight reduction toss the truck around when towing it.

It might be fine to the 150s. But dont do it to the 350s and up. Or find another way.
I don't think the new standards apply to 250s or 350s. At least not the 30mpg.

One thing they neglected to mention is that magnesium is highly flammable and cannot be extinguished except with a class D fire extinguisher which is not exactly available anywhere. Probably not a problem for a vehicle fire as it wouldn't get hot enough to ignite the metal, but forget about welding it.

The only aluminum that would really be strong enough for a truck frame is 7075, which also should not be welded.

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post #7 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 09:12 AM
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wonder how much this is going to add to the price of the vehicle...im sure it will be more than offset by the fuel savings...sarcasm...
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post #8 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by War Eagle B View Post
I don't think the new standards apply to 250s or 350s. At least not the 30mpg.

One thing they neglected to mention is that magnesium is highly flammable and cannot be extinguished except with a class D fire extinguisher which is not exactly available anywhere. Probably not a problem for a vehicle fire as it wouldn't get hot enough to ignite the metal, but forget about welding it.

The only aluminum that would really be strong enough for a truck frame is 7075, which also should not be welded.

I'd venture to guess it would be a Magnesium alloy that isn't a fire hazard like pure magnesium. The right conditions must be in place for Mag to go up, heat, water, etc. but once it does, woohoo what a show!

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post #9 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 02:12 PM
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I'd venture to guess it would be a Magnesium alloy that isn't a fire hazard like pure magnesium. The right conditions must be in place for Mag to go up, heat, water, etc. but once it does, woohoo what a show!
True, but the same thing that makes Magnesium a fire hazard in pure form (willingness to grab onto oxygen) make it a target for corrosion and stress corrosion cracking.


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post #10 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 02:40 PM
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True, but the same thing that makes Magnesium a fire hazard in pure form (willingness to grab onto oxygen) make it a target for corrosion and stress corrosion cracking.


Exactly, further reinforcing that it would be a space age magnesium alloy (al·loy   /n. ˈælɔɪ, əˈlɔɪ; v. əˈlɔɪ/ Show Spelled[n. al-oi, uh-loi; v. uh-loi]
–noun 1.a substance composed of two or more metals, or of a metal or metals with a nonmetal, intimately mixed, as by fusion or electrodeposition.), and not just run of the mill magnesium. They wouldn't put it out there if they didn't have the negatives figured out. Hell its being used in engine blocks and many other applications today that would be much more risky than just a frame or wheels. It's not the 70s anymore.

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