• Ask Mr.Truck Ep #2: Chevy vs. Ford, Aluminum vs. Steel, and Much More


    mr truck epsisode 1 ask questions answers

    You guys ask us a lot of questions and we want to answer them all. We don’t know a better way to do this than have our good friend – Kent “Mr Truck” Sundling – answer some of the most detailed and toughest questions that you sent in.

    On the second episode of “Ask Mr Truck”, Roman Mica and Mr Truck discuss the following topics: Chevy vs. Ford, Aluminum vs. Steel, will TFLtruck test 4500 or 5500 trucks, should I get a gasoline half-ton truck or a diesel, and many more.

    Get all the details and discussion here.


    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

    Similar Articles

    40 thoughts on “Ask Mr.Truck Ep #2: Chevy vs. Ford, Aluminum vs. Steel, and Much More

    1. I’d be careful with your comments about the 6.2L engine and towing. There’s no doubt its a very powerful engine and performs well. However, many people have petitioned GM to install this engine as the base gas V8 in the 2500HD and 3500HD trucks. GM will not. Some users here have postulated this engine will not hold up to long-term heavy towing due to its lighter construction when compared with the old workhorse 6.0L.

      1. The 6.2 is designed for half-ton use and I’m sure it is over-built for those requirements, that’s why it’s the half-ton top performing engine and can pull the max weight in a half-ton Silverado. You can’t compare a half-ton to a heavy duty truck, they follow different requirements and the heavy duty is built to withstand harder jobs and pull more weight. It’s the same reason the 3.5 isn’t in a super duty, it’s not about power all the time.

    2. Wow…that was a VERY unimpressive take on the Aluminum VS Steel argument.
      First, aluminum IS much lighter .
      Second , steel IS much stronger .
      Aluminum IS more expensive, more difficult to work with and will be more to insure repair and replace.
      The test WAS a marketing gimmick but DOES point out shortcomings in the Ford approach. It obviously doesn’t do as well with sharp objects (like tool box corners or brick corners). What if you have certain pointy objects hit your Ford in other places like a quarter panel etc.? It WILL be more likely to be pierced and more significantly damaged.

      NOT saying aluminum is not a good choice but it most definitely has its problems. The new GM and Ford trucks are VERY closely competitive and the GM is not all aluminum.

    3. That was a pretty poor answer on the aluminum vs steel. There was also a test where bricks were dropped into the beds of both the Chevy and the Ford and just like the tool box punched a hole in the aluminum Ford the bricks also punched holes into the aluminum floor. The steel floor survived with any hole be it the bricks or the tool box.

      Clearly there are serous short comings with the aluminum used on the Ford vs steel used on GM and Rams.

      In order to make the aluminum as tough as the steel Ford would have to make it a lot thicker and when they do that the weight goes up.

      1. Bill J Mr Trucks answer on the Aluminum is spot on. To make Aluminum hold the same weight as steel or in laymans terms, as strong as steel, you have to make the aluminum thicker. When you make something thicker, you make it stiffer, when something is stiffer with the same strength, it does not do well against impact loads. Think of steel as a thin elastic that can also be stretched further than aluminum. But its heavy. Like Kent said GM made it work for them. They took the weakness of the aluminum and loaded it accordingly. The very basic formula for this is well known as f=mass x acceleration. The mass of the tool box remains the same, the acceleration is the variable. If it took the tool box 0.1s to stop then the average acceleration or deceleration in this case is going to be very large increasing the force because the aluminum is stiff. If the toolbox took 0.2 seconds to stop on the elastic steel then the force is cut in half. Because the tool box took longer to slow down the steel only saw 1/2 the average force in that time frame. The aluminum took on twice the amount of force to stop the tool box faster. The aluminum is also less ductile and will not stretch like steel so it has two disadvantages in that it has to be stiffer to be as strong for impact loads and it wont stretch as far. Now if you were to just place a load on the aluminum and load it incrementally you can make the aluminum stronger than the steel and still come in much lighter than the steel because there is no velocity involved to cause a deceleration on the steel vs aluminum which changes the force considerably. But like Kent said if you kept increasing the thickness of aluminum it would get so strong that it could handle triple the load condition and barely dent at all and maybe still come in lighter than steel. But why do that and make it heavier because not many people are going to put holes in the bed like this so the goal is to be as light as feasibly possible for the majority buyer.

        1. Alum is alot more ductile than steel Thomas, it lacks tensile strength. So yeah, alum generally is “weaker” with some over lap for some alloys vs mild steels. If I remember right equivalent strength alum is 1.5 times as thick as steel. Which makes it require more stress to form requiring more tensile strength. So on a so forth.

          1. I agree, need to change the thickness of the bed to prevent piercing over time,it is what it is..2016 fords and 2016 Gm trucks in 1/2 ton models are very similar in curb weight so Ford definitely went on a diet, but sacrificed the bed thickness while doing so,and who knows where else they might of cut corners..

            1. Ford also thinned the steel in some sections of the frame and added holes in it where their computer models indicated strength should be less affected. Which I find a bit concerning personally. They say it doesn’t affect the strength of the frame but Ford said the exact same thing when they cut holes in the 1980/81 F-150 frames.They looked like swiss cheese and had a tendency to bend when loaded with weight. Ever notice that you never see many 1980 F-150’s on the road these days.

              Then there’s the struggles Ford has had with painting aluminum body panels. They’ve been caught up inlawsuits over recent Mustangs and Explorers that had aluminum hoods with paint that flaked off and the dealer couldn’t repaint.

          2. Canoe, depends how you are interpreting ductile. When steel goes into its plastic range where it won’t come back to its original shape anymore you can stretch this plastic range of the steel a lot further than aluminum before the material fractures. This is talking normal 50ksi steel vs structural 39 ksi aluminum (6061T6). You can get into specialty steels and aluminum. You can however get into 100ksi hardenened steel however with almost no plastic range whatsoever. Everything said could go on in dispute forever unless you know exactly which material types were used. But the best steels or common steels have a better plastic range and can be bent several times in their plastic range and survive cyclic loading in their yield range far far longer than aluminum. Aluminum has an advantage in that it can be built a lot stronger and come in lighter under static loads.

            1. What about the modulus of elasticity of the two metals Thomas. Alum flexes 3 times more than steel with same load. The issue is tensile strength, which is that stretching break point, as well as yield strength, where deforming takes place. Sorry but your explanation was poor. GM just showed what everybody knows, aluminium is not as strong giving matching geometry. Yeah aluminum can be equivalent given thickness, how much you want to pay? Fyi ductile is the ability of the metal to deform, per usual.

            2. Canoe. Aluminum will not be as strong as steel given the same shape. Technically the aluminum will deform more than steel given the same load. However, realistically it can only deflect in this yield strain until it hits its yield stress. So it never makes it further than steel during its hypothetical deflection under elastic bending. When both metals hit the plastic bending, no longer in elastic bending the steel deflects further because of the higher stress it can take.

              Shapes will play an important role along with cyclic loading and impact loads.

            3. Another formula you can look up as proof is “stress is equal to the moment times the distance from the neatral axis to the extreme outer fiber of the shape divided by the moment of inertia”. known as Stress= M-Y/I Now discover this formula. The moment is caused by a load causing bending which is the same let’s say. The Y is directly related to the shape and so is I. Therefore they are the same. The steel takes on more stress so you are correct it takes more load. Now under bending. The aluminum has a lower E so under the same load it deflects more under this elastic bending. However when both metals exceed this elastic bending they go into plastic bending and this is where the stee gains more strength and depending on the steel will have or not have a ductile advantage. Normally the steel will stretch further than aluminum in the plastic range. And yes this all depends on the yield and ultimate tensile strength in that steel has larger numbers to slow that impact load and stop it before fracture. The biggest factor however is the shape as the moment of inertia is = width times the depth cubed divided by 12 for a standard rectangle. Because the depth is to the cubic power it makes the shape stiff and will govern over the other parameters. Go back to stress= my/I. The I will lower the stress incredibly with depth. The problem is the stiffness under impact loads. The less it deflects the more average load it has to take on. Steel can deflect further and take on a higher average load during impact and be thinner allowing it to be less stiff and therefore deflect further.

            4. Learn how to flippin read Thomas. If you knew what the hell you where talking about you would notice I am agreeing with you.

            5. Tensile strengths, yield ultimate and breaking(and ranges between, stress strain curve) is the problem when it comes to Aluminium. Not complicated. For Pete’s sakes. Want to start talking about stamping thick aluminium panels and issues with that? Oh wait, already covered

            6. Ok but it’s still complicated. There’s a myriad of load conditions and a myriad of metals and a myriad of different properties in each metal. It is a difficult decision what to use as each has advantages and then there are costs involved and weight to think about and corrosion and then worst of all people’s perception. It’s not simple.

          1. Just don’t get the Ford factory spray-in liner. They don’t etch the paint before they spray it on so the bed liner peels off extremely easy.

    4. I have a question for Mr. truck I am interested in buying a 2016/2017 four-cylinder auto transmission RWD and I want to know what is the best for a daily driver/towing rig I only tow a boat and trailer combo is 6600 pounds and sometimes something a little heavier I’m currently using a 1997 Chevrolet C1500 4.3 V6 auto transmission RWD with 3.42 to 1 rear axle ratio 232,131 Miles on it have not decided on when I want to get in a new four-cylinder truck with RWD and auto transmission just warning you know which one is best for towing/daily driver

    5. Tfl why don’t you guys just tell people to start checking out the forums that are related to what individuals want to buy, on the forums you can find all the problems a vehicle is having and what people’s overall experience has been with no BS…..well maybe a little BS….
      When I looked at the eco diesel, I went on the forum and they said that the eco diesel engine was a terrible engine, someone else on a post said that is made in Taiwan which is a given that it’s going to be a shit engine regardless of if it was designed by Italians.
      I am looking forward to watching the F650 video!

      1. MTNMN, TFL is not going to refer readers to an inferior website for information. Seriously.

        As for that F650 video I forgot to mention that and double down on that I am looking forward to that. You can buy these for as cheap as an F150 used as I was looking into getting one but the fuel mileage is in this case so bad that I stayed away from it. But what an awesome truck, feels almost just like the big rigs and will pull and haul so much more than a regular HD truck and last 3 times as long.

        1. Those websites are based off of individual experiences with the same vehicle over a period of time. Almost every vehicle that I have owned I have joined a forum that was built around that specific vehicle to trouble shoot problems I was having rather than pay a shop 150 dollars an hour on the chance that maybe they’ll fix it and maybe they won’t but in the end I’ll have the cash cleaned out of my pockets. I mean let’s be serious for 150 dollars an hour I’ll sit in front of a computer and source all the information I need to do that job and than do the job myself unless it requires specialized tools that are not available for rent or my time is worth more than 150 dollars an hour.

          1. I know I was just throwing a compliment to TFL under the table. Shops are so dam expensive now its not worth owning used if you don’t have the time to fix it yourself. And yes the owners forums are useful.

          2. You’re both right. Forums are 1000x more informative than any other form of vehicle specific think tank, but TFL, ultimately, is a business so they’re not about to dissuade their audience – their market – from using their product

            1. I wasn’t trying to dissuade anyone, TFL is a great starting point but a person has to dig through the forums for their vehicle of choice to find out how that vehicle performed over time.

            2. MTMNMN. OK but what about brand new vehicles. Plus these guys are put through the ringer so they usually know how to review a vehicle. Who else on a forum is going to talk about a new Raptor or TRD pro Tacoma. You can go try one out possibly but usually the salesman know nothing and won’t let you take it off road or will miss things.

            3. Ok but the suckers or lucky ones who take the chance are looking for reviews. Otherwise you would never get a chance to buy a used one or know if it has problems. But good advice

            4. Thomas the suckers or lucky ones are the “window shoppers” that the rest of us get to learn from, they’re the ones who take the chance to fulfill their individual needs or try to stimulate their identity crisis, these people are always going to be around and the rest of us who don’t need approval from the rest of society can benefit from their insecurities……just sayin

            5. MTMNM, ya that would be me LOL But I used to buy used and got fed up with the shop prices to fix breakdowns and just having to deal with breakdowns and little annoyances. I did the capital gain vs loss and its actually not that much more to buy new. For that added cost to weight ratio of what I make for a living it not worth it to me. I like driving the latest vehicles. I only held on to my Sierra Denali for 9 years because it had 4 wheel steering and nobody else offered that and that to me was the best option a truck could have. It got to a point where they were torching parts off because it was rusted so bad so I had to let it go.

    6. Nice Physics Lesson Thomas on F=ma. I had no idea you could be so entertaining. But, I have a simpler test. Can the new Aluminum Ford F150 face the New Baja 1000 “Rhinoceros Can Opener”? You know, the one that Ripped Open – the 1st Place Winner STEEL 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD PRO – all the way from the drivers back seat door to the end of bed rear side wall. I can’t wait until your Acceleration gets multiplied^exponentially (Thomas) by some really aggressive race truck drivers and then we will see how the Aluminum Ford Trucks do?

      1. Joe the aluminum is terrible for fatigue loading for desert racing if it is in constant flex. You can only bend it once or twice and that’s it for it. Especially the welds reduce the strength at the weld by 50% so welding it in low stress areas is key.

        I’m not an advocate for Ford or aluminum. Aluminum is better given certain load conditions when you need to save weight. Steel has many other benefits. Just my opinion that for a truck bed, for the purpose it serves for most buyers the aluminum has more advantages but I believe a composite bed is better than both steel or aluminum. I actually wasn’t trying to be entertaining as usual on that one, thought it was rather boring for most people but I guess there is a buyer for everything?

    7. Ford’s 1st round with F150 Aluminum Trucks was sure to have some bugs in it. The Ford Engineers will work out the growing pains and weak Aluminum problems in the next couple of years. They are just going to have to figure Non-Ferrous and Non Metallic fatigue over time. And it’s not going to be pretty for Ford during this initial Aluminum phase.

      But Thomas, your stress test lecture on Aluminum properties is right on. Even though, I fell asleep halfway through it. I could tell you were right on! Don’t feel bad though, because I fell asleep during the Sir Isaac Newton 2 semester Physics lecture too.

      But your point ties into why I pay attention to the Baja 1000 so much. The Prototype Testing at the Baja 1000 will help find the Aluminum weak links from repetitive vibration crack analysis. My bet is that the Competitive Ford Race Trucks will have all the weak body parts off. The Chin Spoiler will be gone. No Stock Doors. The stock bed will be gone. Along with all the regular glass. You know, just they way they should sell the Ford $$$ Premium Off Road Package. However, Ford always runs just a few trucks with the stock body parts and those are the truck that I want to see after they complete the Baja 1000. Now if we could only find someone at SEMA who knows how many Aluminum Ford Trucks and How many Competitive Truck Ford will be Running at Baja? Then we can sit back and wait for the fun to begin?

    8. The F-650 should be pretty cool. Kinda hoping to see a V-10 gas get tested at elevation, just to see something different. The new Medium duty trucks from Ford look rather impressive.

    9. While we’re all being so honest, how many half-ton trucks owners are going to intentionally drop anything in the bed of their $60,000 truck? How many of those same owners are going to either buy the optional factory bedliner or add an aftermarket bedliner or have sprayed-on bed protection added to handle most unintentional accidents?
      Ford has put on their “truck nuts” and gone out on a big limb to address government mandated fuel economy issues with innovative solutions in both their body materials and drive trains. It’s called leadership.

    10. Exactly. In the real world the Ford bed has GM beat. No red rust. With a the drop in bedliner it is nearly indestructible. And all the extra tie downs are a must have for hauling. GM will come out with their 2019 and claim to do it better but they are just following Ford a jhonny come lately as usual.

    11. I had a small peice of tire get kicked up and it punctured a hole in the aluminum hood on my Ram. I’m not sure I would want to hole truck made out of it. think if you had an aluminum roof and got a hole it it. Major expense their and you’d better get to the body shop asap before your interior is ruined.

    12. Honestly, who cares. Everyone who works their truck puts in a bedliner of some sort, or at least a mat. And it’s not like steel is impenetrable. Chevy just did the best marketing this time around. My steel bed has a puncture or 2 in it, and that is with a plastic liner AND a rubber mat on top of the liner. Will it change what truck I buy, nope not at all. But considering how many newer trucks I see of ALL 3 brands with rotted out beds and rockers and cab corners, I do wish my current truck had an aluminum body instead of steel.

      1. I haven’t seen rotted rockers/cab corners on any of the 3 trucks made in the last 8 or so years. GM sprays a rhino-liner type material on the bottom 8″or so of the sheet metal to keep rock chips from developing into rust and the cab corners were redesigned to drain much better. I have seen newer Rams with slight bubbling-type rust the very bottom edge of the rockers but it almost looked like a factory defect issue.

    Leave a Reply

    Top