F150 Aluminum Body Myths and Truths

Wayne Bentley Light Duty

I decided to post this to combat some things I have heard from customers concerns and quite honestly competitive makes sales staff. I liken this to previous situations. As an example: GM’s Duramax introduction in the early 2000’s. Ford salesmen would use the aluminum head attached to cast block as an issue neglecting the fact that this engine was designed by Isuzu who in fact had been doing this for decades. Fords introduction of twin turbo EcoBoost V6’s for pickup use….. we now know what a success it is now. To be the leader in any market you have to innovate and subsequently the competitors will try most anything to discredit the innovation. What typically happens is those competitors follow suit. Why did Ford go with aluminum? It is quite simply a response to the new EPA fuel mileage standards in the very near future. In my humble opinion…… Ford is years out in front and well on their way to be able to achieve those new standards in a way that will maintain their truck dominance.

Myth Number 1 

“The F150 is an all Aluminum Truck.”

Not true! Only the body skin is aluminum. The frame is:

  • Fully boxed ladder frame is designed to be the strongest F-150 frame ever, with torsional strength higher than the previous-generation frame — 70,000-psi yield strength
  • Features more high-strength steel than the previous- generation F-150 to enhance strength and durability while reducing weight
    • Previous-generation F-150 frame used approximately 23% high-strength steel, while the all-new F-150 frame uses 78% high-strength steel
  • Tailor rolled blanks allow for different thickness in the side rails, putting strength where it’s needed most and allowing for the removal of weight from the frame while retaining overall strength
  • Through-welded ladder construction with 8 crossmembers — 5 of which are through-welded — helps provide outstanding bending and torsional stiffness
  • Large cross-section rails help improve torsional rigidity
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Myth number 2 –

“Aluminum is not as durable as stamped steel”

Not true!


  • 2015 F-150 body and bed are made of 6000 series high-strength aluminum alloy
  • Key enabler for the all-new F-150 to weigh as much as 700 lbs. less than its predecessor, contributing to increased towing and hauling capability
  • Thick body panels — thicker than the steel panels used in the previous model – provide excellent resistance to dents and dings
  • Engineered reinforcement panels beneath the aluminum help withstand impacts
  • Aluminum is naturally resistant to rust and forms a protective layer of oxidation when it corrodes — this means no rust-through perforation or “red dust” like steel
  • 2015 F-150 body and bed are made of 6000 series high-strength aluminum alloy
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Myth number 3

“Insurance rates double”

  • In fact, real-world repair costs on the new 2015 Ford F-150 average $869 less than last year’s F-150 model, according to Assured Performance, an independent body shop certification company that works with leading automakers.”
  • Insurance rates are based on historical data not predictive data. Based on that and the bullet point above Insurance rates should go down.
  • Many vehicles employ aluminum hoods, hatches and roof panels. While other manufacturers use injection molded plastics so new materials are nothing new to most body shops. Ford engineered the panels to be replaced in lieu of repair. Bed sides, door skins, fenders etc replacement even among stamped steel instead of repair (IE fill) has been the order of the day for years due to labor costs.
  • The F150 is still the number one nameplate by a huge margin, they define the market and repair facility capability and competitiveness.

Myth number 4

“Aluminum is not as safe as stamped steel”

  • The F150 is the only and the first truck to achieve 5-star safety on all sides for all passengers.

Myth number 5

“I will loose payload and towing”

  • Payload and Tow 101. Payload is based off of GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and Towing is based on GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). This is standard on all makes and brands.
  • So what is GVWR and how do I get to my payload capacity? Easy. Take the published GVWR and subtract the physical shipping weight and then subtract 150 pounds per person and 150 pounds for fuel = payload. Example: A 2016 Ford F150 Crew Cab 4×4 XL 101A 5.0L V8 pickup has a base GVWR of 7000lbs – GVW of 4730lbs – 150lbs for driver – 150lbs for fuel = 1,970lbs.
  • The GCWR will give you what you can tow. GCWR on same truck above is 16,200lbs – GVW of 4730 – 150lbs for driver – 150lbs for fuel = 11,170lb trailer weight rating.
  • Both of these measures have been increased over the previous model by a very significant amount….. close to 600lbs and is in fact the industry best payload and tow rates in the 1/2 ton segment.

Bottom Line is this….. we here at Tate’s Truck Center market GMC, Ford Ram and Nissan trucks and each manufacturer has something to offer that appeals to differing consumers. We know trucks and can sell the right truck to you for your needs and wants. We will always tell you the truth and will dismiss any myths or misconceptions. Ultimately do your research and do not hesitate to call us with any questions or clarifications you may have. Each brand puts their own spin on things but facts are just that facts!



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Please contact me by email at wayne.bentley@tatesautocenter.com or by phone at (928) 240-2624 for more information on this vehicle.

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