Aluminum F-150—What You Need to Know to Get Your Shop Ready

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This IMPACT Collision Solutions TIP was written by industry expert DAVID LUEHR

Don’t Fear the Change

Aluminium Auto Repair TipsThe oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. Hopefully this TIP will help the reader understand the realities of repairing the 2015 Aluminum Ford F-150. It has been said by many that repairing the Aluminum F-150 is actually easier than its steel predecessor in many ways. Those who work through the fear and make the initial investment will quickly realize the opportunities this technology presents. And guess what? It’s not nearly as bad as many of you may fear!

Why the Change?

C.A.F.E. Standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) originally created by the government in 1975 to reduce foreign oil dependency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For detailed information on C.A.F.E. see the fact sheet at the NHTSA website and visit EPA.gov.

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Reasons Ford Chose ALUMINUM to Improve Fuel Economy

  • Light weight
  • Similar strength characteristics to steel
  • Proven technology from aviation industry
  • Proven technology from military and commercial vehicles (Humvee & Peterbilt)
  • Easy to repair using rivets and bonding adhesives 

A few facts about the Aluminum F-150

  • Ford has been producing the Aluminum F-150 in small quantities since 2009. They have been thoroughly tested!
  • The frame is still made out of high strength steel.
  • The entire truck body and bed are aluminum (the firewall is steel & radiator support is magnesium).
  • Two alloys of aluminum are used: 1. 6022 Non-structural / 2. 6111 Structural
  • The truck bed floors are made of a thicker aluminum and are much more dent resistant than steel.
  • The switch to aluminum saves over 700 pounds of vehicle weight compared to its steel predecessor. 

What equipment will you need to fix the Aluminum F-150?

There are several manufacturers that make the required equipment to properly repair this truck. I recommend contacting your favorite equipment distributor for specific information. Ford Dealers or non-dealers that are Ford Recognized repair centers may have specific equipment requirements to meet Ford standards.

For independent shops, assuming the collision repair center is already properly equipped to repair a steel vehicle and has truck frame anchoring capabilities, additional minimum equipment considerations for adding aluminum repair are:

  • Dust Collection System (to use only with aluminum repairs)
  • Dent Repair Station
  • Rivet Gun
  • Pulse Welder
  • Isolation Curtain (or separate room/building)

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What will it cost?

The graph to the below shows a minimum “rough” cost for a shop to get ready for the Aluminum F-150. Please note that the Isolation Curtain cost could vary widely depending on several factors. The price listed is the minimum a shop could expect to spend.

Aluminum F-150 auto repair costs

Training

Ford Dealers have their own required training programs such as I-CAR WCA05 Aluminum Welding, and FOR06 (2015 Ford F-150 Structural Repair Training Course). Dealers will also need to perform STARS internal training system.

Non-Dealers I-CAR recommends that anyone working on the 2015 Aluminum F-150 take the following two courses

  • FOR06 (2015 Ford F-150 Structural Repair Training Course)
    • The per person cost is $186 for Gold Class Shops, $234 for Standard.
  • WCA03 (Aluminum Welding Test)
    • The per person cost is $700 for Gold Class Shops and $880 for Standard. There are pricing discounts available depending on number of techs attending the event.

 

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