Is Alloy Your Ally?

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You may have read about 2015 Ford F-150, which will have an aluminum rather than steel body. It will be significantly lighter than the same truck made of steel, aluminum weighing a lot less than steel. Even better, while aluminum isn’t forever, it usually lasts really long time. Rusted out floorpans (and beds) are about to become as uncommon as skid marks (all but eliminated be widespread application of anti-lock brakes).'15 F-truck 1

But, all is not pixie dust and unicorn farts – because in the word we live in, there is no free lunch. Steel has its downsides, but so does aluminum. Let’s talk about what they’re not telling you.

First, while the new F-truck is lighter by several hundred pounds (depending on the configuration) it also – surprise – costs more. Base price for the 2015 is $25,420 vs. $24,735 for the 2014. That’s about $700 – which will buy you about 300 gallons of regular unleaded at current almost-reasonable prices (about $2.50-$2.65 in my area as of early November).

Ah, but what about gas mileage? Surely the new – and lighter – truck goes farther on a gallon than the old truck? No doubt. But, how much farther? Enough to make the effort worth the expense?

Ford/EPA have not officially released any stats yet for the ’15 F-truck, but informal testing by journalists (using the truck’s built-in mileage computer) indicates around 23.7 MPG with the new super high-pressure (30-plus PSI at full boost) twin turbo 2.7 liter V-6 engine. This is very good for a full-sized truck. But how does it stack up against the previous (all-steel) F-truck?'15 F-truck 3

We know the stats for that one: 17 city, 23 highway. So, about 20 MPG, average. Which means – if the preliminary data are accurate – the new truck (with the new engine) squeezes out about 4 MPG more.

Color me not so impressed.

Especially given the appx. $700 price uptick in context of the recent drop by about a buck per gallon of the cost of fueling up. Ford wants me (well, you – because I’m not buying anything new) to spend $700 more to save 4 MPG per tankful. But $700 will buy the aforesaid roughly 300 gallons of gas, which at say 20 MPG (the ’14 F-truck’s average, with the larger 3.7 liter V-6) works out to about 6,000 miles of “free” driving” in the ’14 F-truck before the ’15 F-truck would begin to save money at the pump.

Meanwhile, I am skeeved out by the ’15 F-truck’s new 2.7 liter twin turbo engine. Yes, yes. Ford has gone to great lengths to assure long-haul reliability. Teflon connecting rods, and a system that keeps oil flowing to the turbos after shutdown, to keep them from self-cremating.

Still, those turbos spin at more than 50,000 RPM at idle – the rotational speed quadrupling to nearly 200,000 RPM at full boost. Which – to repeat – is in excess of 30 PSI.'15 F-150 V-6

I’ll let you be the first to see what happens to this twice-turbo’d wunderkind after the warranty runs out. Me? I’ll stick with a non-turbo’d, under-stressed V-8 that gets 18 MPG. Gas is a lot cheaper than turbos.

Especially two of them.

Meanwhile, you can buy a 28 MPG diesel engine in the Dodge Ram 1500.

But, back to the aluminum vs. steel thing.

One of the theoretical draws of aluminum over steel is that rust will be less of an issue. No more Swiss-cheesed beds and floorplans. Except, of course, that aluminum corrodes, too. Ask anyone who – like me – restores old motorcycles. But the more relevant thing is that steel doesn’t rot much anymore. More often than not, the body will last longer than the useful life of the vehicle – even if subjected to decades of winter driving and road salt. It’s not like it was – for those who can remember the pre-1990s world – when vehicles (and especially trucks) often had obvious body rot before they reached ten years old. Today, it’s very uncommon to see a rusty truck – unless it’s 15-20 years old. And has lived a hard life – outside and rarely washed.  AluminumCorrosion2

So, the superior rot-resistance of aluminum vs. steel may be an academic exercise as opposed to a real-world advantage. Most people will probably have sold their 2015 F-truck before it reaches 15 years old. Before rust would have been a concern – whether the truck’s body was made of aluminum or steel.

But what about accident damage – and repair?

Aluminum is strong – but more easily bent than steel. And it’s harder to repair – to weld – than steel. Here is some interesting tech data about welding aluminum, from one of the major suppliers of welding equipment. Not just anyone can do it. Which means, the cost of doing it – of getting it done by someone who does know how to do it – is likely to be higher. Which will almost certainly mean higher repair – and so, insurance – costs for these aluminum-bodied trucks.

I wish the press kit automotive media would at least mention this stuff. But they won’t, so I will.

Mind, I’m not shitting all over the idea of aluminum. I’m just not dry-humping its leg, either – like everyone else seems to be doing. There are advantages, absolutely.

But there are disadvantages, too.dry hump pic

The bottom line is that Ford is going over to aluminum chiefly to make it politically feasible to continue building a mass-market full-size truck. As I have ranted about previously, the “driver” is not market demand so much as government mandate. A little more than a year from now (in 2016) the government has decreed that all vehicles (including trucks, which used to be subject to a more forgiving standard) shall average 35.5 MPG – or else.  The “or else” being monetary penalties rained down on any recalcitrant manufacturer, which will then be passed on to you, dear consumer. These penalties are figured on the basis of “fleet averages” – and Ford sells a fleet of F-trucks. Hundreds of thousands of them each year. A 4 MPG uptick matters hugely – as far as the government’s “fleet average” calculations  – when the model in question is Ford’s best-selling/highest-volume model.

Ford – any automaker – can “get away” with selling a low-volume/specialty vehicle that doesn’t quite make the MPG cut. Because its contributions (its substractions) to the automaker’s “fleet average” MPG numbers are negligible. But not a half-a-million-each-year seller like the F-truck. Which is why that 4 MPG uptick matters so much. Which is the real reason why the new F-truck has an aluminum-body. And a twice-turbo’d V-6.

Just so you know.

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182 COMMENTS

  1. Still driving my 1989 F150, bought brand new for cash.
    Single cab, long bed.
    300 CID straight six, Borg Warner T18 (3 + granny gear).
    New engine last year @ 240,000 original miles.
    Including the original set, 3 sets of plugs in 26 years/240000 mi.
    Direct port fuel injection with Intel engine computer is flawless.
    Passes smog inspection in California.
    Not for sale at any price.

    Auto mfgrs don’t make real pickups anymore.
    Need a working pickup, not some hermaphrodite abortion.
    Profoundly *NOT* interested in a dual cab, short bed “kinda sorta” pickup/SUV with an over revving turbo & automagic tranny.

  2. Wow you Guys really are hardcore Libertarian,preciate ye’Yep Phil you are a 100%-that Prison crap is a bunch odf Baloney.
    Now who profits from all this?When I was waiting to go to the joint,the rumuor circulating was that Laura Bush owned the KeeFee commisary supply business,that was the place were we pentients got to purchase our overpriced ,low quality merchandise(in jail a standard Ramen Noodle pack cost about a dollar on the street you can sometimes get them for less then a dime) think slavery was abolished? think again, the prisons run on slave labor.I say ditch most of the so called penal institutions and bring back the whipping post and community retribution(no more Clover Kevin) it was a near thing

    • A lot of folks, including ALL the sheeple, think that the 13th Amendment did away with slavery. But here is what is says: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
      Of course when they lock you up, the victim gets no benefit. It would be better if we went back to something similar to indentured servitude, where your services would be auctioned off for a certain in order to make restitution. The “winning bidder” would be the one who would demand the shortest amount of time from you for the amount he paid to the victim.
      And of course the gunvermin exempt themselves from this in cases of conscription.

    • WoW!

      And when you think, that [what is it?] 2% of the population are in these slave camps at any given time (and the majority of them for non-violent or victimless “crimes”)- over a period of time- say 25 years, what percentage of the population in total, has fallen victim to these gulags? It must be tens of millions of people!

      Land of the incarcerated; home of the cowards with badges and gavels…..

      What a travesty.

  3. Hoover Dam was built by Six Companies
    http://www.bechtel.com/hoover_dam.html

    One of those companies was Bechtel. The other 5 were no different than Bechtel. The other guys are gone, or bought out by bigger firms. So its not too much of a stretch to say Bechtel built the dam.

    Fedgov had fukkall to do with any of it. Except of course to stick his nose in everywhere and make bizarre demands and stipulations, instead of just forking the money over and shutting up about it.

    Bechtel built much of Saudi Arabia. The Faux Frankenstein country create by Britain and the US.

    Jubail Industrial City
    Riyadh Metro network
    All kinds of roads and airports.

    They built DC metro and all kinds of things
    http://www.bechtel.com/BAC-Chapter-5.html

    They’re also some of the first guys that “built the roads.” Because as we all know, postmen and deskjockeys don’t know shinola about building roads.

    1919
    Klamath Highway in northern California becomes Bechtel’s first major construction project other than railroads. The Klamath job is also a California landmark: It is the first contract in the state issued by the U.S. Bureau of Public
    Roads.
    http://www.bechtel.com/BAC-Chapter-1.html

  4. OMG! You Guys are preaching to the choir.A few posts back you fellows accused me of maybe(egads!) of being pro clover-my little forays into the enchanted land of Libertine,landed me into the “Governors School For The Gifted” for awhile and let me tell you prison is no undeserving persons,place to be. Needless to say I dont have any particular esteem for the pompous creatures that placed me there.
    So,do I think the government interferes too much?In a word,yes! -“Eire” Kevin

    • Kevin – NO ONE is deserving of prison, even if they have commited a real crime in violation of the NAP. It does the victim no good, costs the taxpayers beaucoup de bucks, and provides most prisoners a grad school level education in crime.
      Restitution is what is called for. And if there is no victim to which to make restitution? Then there is no crime.

  5. Dont imagine Hoover Dam would have been constructed without the gov’ts meddling and make work attitude,I guess Alaska would better in Russian hands now as well as the Louisana territory in French hands? Anyway I agree,more major works should be private and funded not by taxes,rather paid for with user fees.And the gov’t shouldnt compete with the private sector -“Eire”Kevin

    • “Dont imagine Hoover Dam would have been constructed without the gov’ts meddling and make work attitude…”

      I guess that makes the stack of bloodied corpses that government has left in its wake OK. Have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

    • Perhaps not – but so what?

      Hitler built the Autobahn, enacted laws against vivisection (of animals) and so on. I have a T-shirt that has a picture of Der Fuhrer holding a bouquet of flowers, with the caption: What about all the good things Hitler did?

    • “Dont imagine Hoover Dam would have been constructed without the gov’ts meddling” Egad, don’t let the ecofreaks hear you say that, you’ll make them schizophrenic.
      As for Alaska and Louisiana, they would be better off in Alaskan and Louisianian hand.

    • >”I guess Alaska would better in Russian hands now as well as the Louisana territory in French hands? “<

      Couldn't be any worse…..

    • OK, you’re starting to sound more rational now.
      But while your man Zubrin may know what he’s talking about re: oil, he’s off the mark on economics.

  6. Clover is as Clover does,I used to feed Clover to the hogs. I’m sorry but ,I’m of a similar mindset to Pat Buchanan,I say circle the wagons,America can stand by itself.And you naysayers read Bob Zubrin,dont just Google Him. I may have to make some sacrifices,but I do not negotiate with Bullys,if I had the authority and could identify this current crop of Barclava wearing bullies,they would be Rara Avis shortly.I’ll tolerate a lot of abuse on my person,but dont suffer gladly.Bullies picking on the weak and defenseless.
    TL,didnt you mention something about the freedom of the frontier?I concur ,wholeheartedly.
    I think the gov’t did a few things well,eg; Hooverdam,sewards folly,the Louisana purchase to name a few,the Wife is growling,so I will quit for awhile-Kevin

    • Sorry, but Pat B is a conservative, NOT a libertarian. He says some good things, I liked his book “The Unnecessary War.” But he’s wrong as often as he’s right.

    • The Hooover dam couldn’t have been built without the threat of violence? Louisiana wouldn’t have been part of the U.S. without the government using the peoples money to obtain it?

      It is hardto say how things would be if the government didn’t intervene, but I recommend Bastiat. He talked extensively about what is seen and what is not seen. Many people would argue that the government should be involved in roads–simply because they are involved in them now and we cannot see how it would be without state involvement, with very few exceptions.

  7. illegal alien kids rant. why can’t they go back?

    shootout between farmer and illegal alien invader

    white guy beats up black guy

    are there really white and black guys. and national borders. are these true lasting phenomena. or are these fictions created by clever psychopaths who rely on you to accept their myths of authority.

    Guy defends his wife on the beach from young punks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Puc9Q1SMIo4

    End result of women’s equality?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6-lUzi3E1g

  8. screw it. too many words missing from my response. who can make heads or tails of it. Why bother attempting to have original thoughts. It’s tiring. Let me just join the holy NAP herd.

    The beauty of Libertarianism as a philosophy, as opposed to anarchy. Libertarians say vote us in to a position of violent dominance. And then trust us to cast off the trappings of power, and to limit ourselves to only peaceful means, because we’re altruistic supermen who can just do that trick. Trust us.

    If only the founders were alive. We’d all be doing so great. I miss you founders. You were good guys.

    if only we could all be like Jesus. He was swell. There was always plenty to eat, and no one got sick when he was around. He was the savior of us all.

    I sure miss the good old days that someone wrote about on a piece of paper, so they must have occurred. In those days you could just pick the right guy and follow him. Sad that those days seem to be gone. Still got the book though, so there’s that.

    If you want to hear actual philosophy, try these ~hour long videos by philosopher Stefan Molyneux. (look a tilde!)

    The Truth About Ayn Rand: Criticisms [1 of 4]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-2c7Keic_A

    The Truth About Ayn Rand: Criticisms [2 of 4]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3dY2K97uuI

    The Truth About Ayn Rand: Criticisms [3 of 4]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci-JuKYYZOg

    [4 of 4] Stef says it’s coming soon.

    – Actual philosophy is long and tedious to attempt. And who needs it, we’ve got pundits, ideologues, demagogues, and sophists as our thought leaders these days. Let’s all just think in sound bites and memes. Good enough, right?

    • If your bites really are sound, that should suffice.
      Not sure about memes – isn’t that just short for me me me me me me – like we have now?

      • “If your bites really are sound, that should suffice.” An outstandingly pithy aphorism. Consider it stolen.

        a meme regarding “justice”

        a meme regarding coercive accomplishments

        theft encyclopedic article from wackypedia

        In common usage, theft is the taking of another person’s property without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

        The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft, and fraud.

        In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief. The act of theft is known by terms such as stealing, thieving, and filching.

        I understand there’s some kind of “minimum morality” much as there is a minimum wage that most are accustomed to. But as an anarchist, I freely discuss philosophies that fail to meet this arbitrary standard.

        Theft Talk
        http://www.thefttalk.com/Theory.html

        Look I’ve “stolen” this discourse on theft without paying for it. If you read it, are you not an accessory to my theft. Oh the humanity. I don’t believe in gateway theories or gateway drugs. I don’t believe in package deals. You can have either love or marriage without the other. Regardless of the song.

        I take all kinds of content without payment from the internet. Yet somehow I’ve never murdered anyone or asked a third party to do so on my behalf.

        Most here would rather see “illegals” murdered rather than allow millions of them to get up here and continue their thieving ways North of the Border. Funny how that works.

        Maybe it’s white people who are beyond saving. Sure the browns and blacks will steal everything. And they’re not as accomplished as the whites by a long shot. But at least they don’t resort to murder at the drop of the hat.

        Black people kill a few random people due to bad tempers. Or due to a culture of theft. Theft that sometimes goes wrong and makes them escalate things.

        White people kill people on a mass scale. Besides wars and murders. White people commit democide. They kill 250 million of their own people every 100 years.

        If you really think about it. Ferguson isn’t really that bad. It’s the white people in DC that systematically oppress and murder everyone with such accomplished malice and aplomb. Not the disjointed angry Africans who kill someone here and never amount to even 1% of white people’s murdering capacity.

        The advantages of theft over toil
        http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/theftovertoil/theftovertoil.html

        Theft and Consequentialism
        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism/

        The most common indirect consequentialism is rule consequentialism, which makes the moral rightness of an act depend on the consequences of a rule.

        Since a rule is an abstract entity, a rule by itself strictly has no consequences. Still, obedience rule consequentialists can ask what would happen if everybody obeyed a rule or what would happen if everybody violated a rule.

        They might argue, for example, that theft is morally wrong because it would be disastrous if everybody broke a rule against theft. Often, however, it does not seem morally wrong to break a rule even though it would cause disaster if everybody broke it.

        For example, if everybody broke the rule that every man must “Have some children”, then our species would die out, but that hardly shows it is morally wrong not to have any children.

        Luckily, our species will not die out if everyone is permitted not to have children, since enough people want to have children. Thus, instead of asking, “What would happen if everybody did that?”, rule consequentialists should ask, “What would happen if everybody were permitted to do that?”

        People are permitted to do what violates no accepted rule, so asking what would happen if everybody were permitted to do an act is just the flip side of asking what would happen if people accepted a rule that forbids that act.

        Such acceptance rule consequentialists then claim that an act is morally wrong if and only if it violates a rule whose acceptance has better consequences than the acceptance of any incompatible rule.

          • You can say freely given. But that probably is of no effect legally, unfortunately. A man’s word and will without the required smoke, mirrors, and mumbo jumbo, is of no legal consequence these days.

            Here’s the accepted relevant legal position on things you create on the internet. [Berne Convention – initiated by Victor Hugo] Basically as soon as you post something and it goes live on this forum. Your copyright is affixed and active.

            The Berne Convention was developed at the instigation of Victor Hugo of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale. Thus it was influenced by the French “right of the author” (droit d’auteur), which contrasts with the Anglo-Saxon concept of “copyright” which only dealt with economic concerns.

            Under the Convention, copyrights for creative works are automatically in force upon their creation without being asserted or declared. An author need not “register” or “apply for” a copyright in countries adhering to the Convention.

            As soon as a work is “fixed”, that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, [such as this wordpress blog] its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work and to any derivative works, unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them or until the copyright expires.

            Foreign authors are given the same rights and privileges to copyrighted material as domestic authors in any country that signed the Convention.

            Since almost all nations are members of the World Trade Organization, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights requires non-members to accept almost all of the conditions of the Berne Convention.

            As of September 2014, there are 168 states that are parties to the Berne Convention. This includes 167 UN member states plus the Holy See.

            Y’alls Not Helpin!

            • Yes, yes, I keep forgetting that we do not have a legitimate justice system. “The State” could decide to persecute [sic] you for violation of copyright even if I, the holder of said copyright, TOLD them not to do so.
              Sick, sick, sick!

  9. Kevin’s hero, Dr. Zubrin, has written several books. Most of them have to do with exploring and colonizing Mars. He even founded “the Mars Society” in an attempt to raise private funding for Mars missions when he was unable to get NASA to steal money from me for the job.

  10. The Clean Air Fatwa would never had been necessary if businesses were held accountable for their actions in the first place.

    But govt prevents that. Often until immense damage is done. Then they stomp in with their jackboots and destroy a dozen good things to accomplish one goal that usually involves repairing their fuckery.

    At what price was cleaner air achieved? The same price govt always pays. Whatever the markup is on $1000 toilet seats. Thats the markup being paid for cleaner air dog and pony shows.

    If the economy collapses, then it will be a total free for all again.

    Why was everyone such a coward about dealing with factories billowing out dirty air. That they had to run to govt and get absolutely gangbanged into regulatory minced meat stupefication.

    Why not instead, just sack up and deal with a few minor factory owners in the first place. I don’t get it.

    • TL,the poor masses as a whole will not dis their bread and butter.Ask any Yes man.”Everythings fine,the massuh patted my head last night and said I could beat the field hands”-Kevin

      • So true. I’m just an armchair amateur, but this is how I see things

        The first thing about massuh is the violence. The second thing is the theft.

        I can tolerate the second. I am at peace with any form of slavery involving theft. Where a govt takes from me or from my betters and gives to those it claims are in need. Or gives to those impoverished folks in foreign lands who will work far cheaper as even more eager slaves than we will. Or gives as bribes to other powerblocks.

        Not a problem for me.

        But the threatening to cage me. The prohibitions backed by unlimited violence. The prohibitions against me going out and working the empty land. Mining and quarrying the empty fields. Harvesting the vast forests. Putting all creatures to good use for mankind. The cages and the guns that stop us all from being as wealthy as we are physically able to. Which is hundreds of times wealthier than we currently are allowed to be.

        The violence is why I can’t be a part of helping America achieve energy independence. It is because of their threatened and ongoing acts of violence.

        That is a problem for me.

        So I will rebel until things change. Or until a new slave system comes into place that isn’t based on mass violence.

        You have to look at the real problems with critical discernment. The oil rich nations are partners with the London/DC/Euro thugs. They are the backbone of the Petrodollar system.

        The men in power don’t care about any particular nation. They’re just cards in a hand to be gambled with against the nations in other powerblocks.

        America could build a bunch of Nuke plants and get by with only their own domestic oil. Maybe some Canadian and Mexican oil in emergencies. But Nuke plants will jeopardize their Petrodollar scam. They’re risk and change averse.

        They think only in the now. Where they know they need several different types of slaves. Christians. Muslims. Hindus. Socialists. Cheap laborers. Resource miners. Crop raisers. Animal husbanders. Record keepers. Rule creators and enforcers. Shippers and drivers. Advanced industrial maquiladorians.

        There is no crisis for them. They only pretend there are crises to further their agenda. Nothing is wrong as far as they’re concerned.

        • The problem I have with nuke plants is that they are always specced and inspected/authorized by the gunvermin. If we had a free market, I would be more likely to trust them.

          • If we had a free market, we’d actually have many nuke plants.

            I’m with you on not trusting those rat bastards. Especially with nuclear energy. The only thing they use nuclear for is mass murder.

            • If not for gunvermin interference, we might already have fusion plants, not just fission.
              At the very least we could be recycling spent fuel rods (like the Frogs do) instead of fighting about where it will be safe to bury them.

              • I hear you. But people in my area would go batshit crazy if we couldn’t bury waste out at the INL. They love it. ” it creates jobs, you crazy libertarians”. If you bring up a free market, all the people at the dept. Of energy run INL go nuts. Chants of crucify him will ensue.

                That’s what we are up against. It’s a fucking nightmare. The end of the world as we know it might bring the only clarification chance of the free market that we have.

        • >”I am at peace with any form of slavery involving theft”<

          Can't have one without the other. The only reason most allow themselves to be robbed, is because of the threat of violence. Theft id predicated on violence; Theft is a form of violence. Why would you not have a problem with slavery through theft? Either way, it amounts to involuntary servitude.

          • Nearly all animals are thieves. But they generally employ violence, only when theft is unavailable to them. Just observe a troop of chimps. The strongest ones take from the weak at will.

            The weak mostly accept this. Sometimes the weak decide to challenge the strong. If the weak win, they become the strong who commit theft. They never become the strong who fail to take advantage of being strong.

            America is a sick kind of strong that is far more disruptive than this scenario. Of course, America has complex things going on. But in times of perceived scarcity, is still not that far above being chimps.

            But far worse even unfortunately. They kill all manner of weak chimps for ideology and propagandistic reasons. And never leave this mode of non-stop killing. The American chimps kill the weak and lie about it. They elevate some of their weak and pretend they are wrong to confuse their enemies.

            Except to America, everyone is the enemy. Because Americans are bat shit insane. Actual chimps being put in charge of America would be a huge improvement.

            I have learned to speak in sound bites and dogma when dealing with minds I perceive as thinking that way. There’s more to it than what I’ve said of course.

            I’m not saying theft is okay. But if the frontier was reopened. The violence we live under would dissipate. And the worst thing that would be commonplace is mere theft.

            There are certainly religions and nations who ideologically claim to be above theft. But it seems that none of these have ever put into like there’s any in practice the things they claim are their ideal. So I call BS and dismiss them out of hand.

            There’s a cycle that’s been repeated in America. And Europe too.

            1 there is some kind of vast territory that nations are competing for and the free market is alive. Think of Africa, India, the Americas, when they were first being visited by colonists and great foreign power ships.

            2 the territory is mostly claimed and being traded/exploited with. Now there’s civil wars between major power groups, because the low hanging fruit has been claimed. The free market is now of secondary importance. It’s a free for all to see who can claim what by force.

            3 the territory is completely claimed, and the frontier is closed. There’s no low hanging fruit free territory. Now outright wars ensue. Various power groups compete nakedly with each other, and even destroy much of what initially attracted them to this frontier land in the first place. Now there’s political pull and strongmen as the rule of day. The market is gone or hidden.

            Though America still has tons of untouched land. It has prematurely advanced to stage 3 for no good reason. That is why I’m particularly galled by the violence of America. It is utterly unnecessary.

  11. PS Folks.
    Dr.Zubrin maintains there is plenty of oil in ground(doesnt mean we have to burn it all-as the Shah of Iran(US puppet said)”Oil is to valuable to burn”
    I am a libertarian not an anarchist,we need to be left alone as long as our pleasure and lack of consideration doesnt ruin for our children and the next guy,for all its bad faults the gummint has managed to do a few good things(the so called police actions not among them)-The clean air act was very good,no it needs to hold station and not demand things that are extremely counter productive-Kevin

    • Kevin – energy independence is worth what? As long as we are not interfering with them, foreign governments will always be willing to sell us oil. Even if not, oil is a fungible resource. They have to sell it to SOMEBODY or they have no money. So the global price of oil is mostly independent of who they are willing to sell it to. In fact, it enough of them get serious about not selling to “the Great Satan,” the global price will go down.
      Wouldn’t we be better off burning other people’s oil while we can, and keeping our own in reserve?

    • “The clean air act was very good,no it needs to hold station and not demand things that are extremely counter productive”-Kevin

      No, the clean air act was not good. It won’t ever be good. It cannot. Government is incapable of “hold[ing] station” to keep things from becoming “counter productive”.

      Rothbard covered this extensively. Walter Block has talked about it lately. Liability is much much better than regulation. For who regulates the regulators? Where is their liability? They have none. People blindly put their faith in government bureaucrats to oversee things and keep things safe. When they fail, as is usually the case, they have no liability. There are so many of them that no one even knows who to put the liability on. It is finger pointing. When you follow all of their regulatory bullshit and still hurt someone, you are usually freed from liability because “you did everything according to regulations”.

      Just like Phillip, I’d love for you to name 2 things government does well, rather than just claiming they do. It’s much harder to actually prove it.

      • I won’t even limit it to things that (real) libertarians would approve of, just those ‘authorized’ in Article 1, Section 8.

  12. Its time for US(AS IN USA) to get our heads out of the burning sands-Want to give the terrorists more money to Bring down the Freedom Tower?
    Would you sooner pay a little over a dollar a gallon for diesel fuel or would you sooner pay close to $4?
    Brazil did it and we can too,oh thats right,Shrimp from the Gulf now dont need need any oil to cook them in now and thanks to the Exxon Valdez you probaly have plenty of tarballs to burn in the great white North(weve had plenty of snow here in the ridges were I live in October on various occassions the one we had in mid october 79′ knocked the lights out for a week. I hope that you folks dont subscribe to the theory that Elves in the earth are churning out new crude oil.
    I challenge you to get the book and read it from cover to cover,Dr.Zubrin knows of what He speaks(Were not talking Al Gore hypocrisy here)Science trumps superstition every time-Kevin

    • I’m much more worried about the terrorists in DC, KM!

      As Brent and others have observed, there is abundant evidence that economically accessible oil is nowhere near depleted. For example, the statements regarding known/projected supply made in oil company annual reports. If these are false, then why hasn’t anyone sued these corporations for fraud?

      And what about the vast areas of the earth not yet explored? Antarctica, for one. You may not like oil. But to state “we’re running out” is simply not true. Or rather, not based on facts. See my latest article for more on this.

      • isn’t kmccune is falling for the strongman in the Road to Serfdom hook line and sinker.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6lSR62wmSo

        maybe we could confiscate everyone’s eggs and put them in a basket to defeat the Mooslims.

        so what.

        there’s another scarier boogeyman waiting for us behind curtain number 2.

        the Berlin wall came down. Germany is united. Eastern Europe is relatively free now. Why aren’t we allowed to enjoy that hard won fact, instead of jumping on the peak oil bandwagon.

        Conserve oil for what. So we can better invade Eastern Europe with NATO and the EU against Putin. Each American owes $937,000 in debt and accrued liabilities as it is. Why undertake anything more?

        What about Peak Productiveness and Service Provision? What does the world want that we can provide. That’s the only relevant question unless you’re planning to murder and steal from everyone.

        • It’s hilarious when you think about it (and I guess few people actually do)- but even if peak erl was true; so what would they gain if we “conserved” erl, and it lasted for another 10 years instead of “running out” tomorrow? So whatever they’d be trying to prevent happening tomorrow, would happen in 10 years instead. So what’s the allure of staving off “gloom and destruction” for another year or two? (But since Americans are no longer capable of thinking, they can pull the same scam every few years, and people keep falling for it!)

      • It’s funny how the erl’s still flowing, after we “ran out of it” in the 70’s. But half the people alive today weren’t around back then, so they don’t remember it- so “they” can pull the same trick again, every few decades. Never mind the fact that the better part of Americans are so morally bankrupt, that they have no objections to bombing other countries into oblivion, as long as it keeps the erl flowing….and then they get mad at Ron Paul when he mentions that the people we bomb don’t like us anymore, because we bomb them and overthrow their governments and install US-friendly dictators, which we seem to call “democracy”.

    • Why are there terrorists interested in the US of A? Because the US federal government creates and/or supports oppressive regimes that make people’s lives miserable. These people lash out, the US federal government then kills some of them and some people nearby. They lash out… the cycle continues.

      Why does the US federal government do that? For the benefit of corporate interests that benefit those running and influencing the US federal government among other more sick and evil reasons of some individuals. What is the corporate interest? To keep oil prices high. To keep oil off the market. Why do they do that? Profit and for some others so they will be rich and most everyone else poor and controllable. This is why you have your foreign policy problem.

      Did you know that quite a good number of people in the middle east like american cars? V8 powered american cars. They like a lot of other things, some still made in the USA, most still controlled by US companies. It’s very simple. Let the oppressive governments collapse. Trade for oil. 1) the prices for oil will fall. 2) terrorism will go away.

      Stay out of people’s affairs and trade with them. Problem solved. But it doesn’t benefit a very tiny group of people with a lot of power so it’s not done.

  13. I’m all for alcohol-IF IT REDUCES OUR DEPENDENCE ON WAHABARABIAN TERRORIST SPONSORING IMPORTED OIL.That being said it plays hell on our gas mileage,typically 2-3 mpg on my little 3.7 Dodge truck(should have got the V-8s for better gas mileage) all this will change when an effort is made to do better.
    True the little ECO BOOST ENGINE has the torque of a small diesel engine-BUT IT DOESNT GET THE FUEL MILEAGE OF A DIESEL AND NEVER WILL -Kevin

  14. Just for comparison sake what is the typical boost and turbo rpm of a factory equipped turbocharged engine these days? I was thinking 4-6 psi of boost was “normal”.

    Thanks for doing a good job explaining the effects of CAFE on the car market.
    The first time I read about the Ecoboost engine my first thought was “Don’t people realize that the cost to replace one of those turbos, or wonder trannys will consume every bit of the money saved on fuel for the entire life of the truck!” Now I understand.

    I tried to explain this to a buddy who eventually bought the Ecoboost. His reply was “well it won’t look so stupid compared to the 5.4 V8 when the price of gas gets above 4 bucks and keeps going up from there. ” No, if that happens then ANY fullsize pickup will look pretty stupid commuting to the cubicle farm.

  15. I have a friend who is the manager of a Ford dealership collision repair shop. He has described to me the expenses for installing a separate work area for use with the aluminum bodies. The area is to be isolated from the other work stalls and all tools used must remain in that stall. Special welding and riveting techniques will be required and personnel will have to be trained in these areas. There can be no contamination (dust, metal particles, etc.) in this special work stall. Repairs will be expensive.

  16. Ill not be buying the new ford truck.tmp

    Aluminum corrodes faster than steel, its less durable and far more conductive and subject to electrolysis.

    Anybody with late model ford knows about electrolysis and will not be repeat buyer.

    Making the trucks “recyclable” was smart as most will be need to be scrapped before paid off. Aluminium scrap prices will also make the trucks theft targets.

    Prediction epic fail.

    • Or….as seems to be more the case these days: The original owner will sell or have the AL “truck” repoed before it falls apart; and go out and buy another of the same; but on the used market, used pick-ups will become unobtanium. Heck, just look at the prices of 15 year-old trucks today…. I see people paying $12K for a 15 year-old truck [sorry, 8South… 🙂 ] with over 200K miles on it! And even F150’s that old aren’t cheap…. So imagine when the supply of decent trucks dwindles even more; when a 25 year-old truck will be the only viable used truck, because these aluminum double hamster-wheel POSs will be made into iPhone cases before they are 10 years old…..

      • Yup. I buy 15-20 year old trucks, usually for <$2500, put ~$1500 into them and drive them for the next 3-5 years. Cheap and worry free driving as there is no major loss if something catastrophic happens to the vehicle. Once replaced, they old vehicle is a parts doner as I try to buy compatible replacement vehicles.

        Unfortunately, anything made after the mid 1990s is pretty much becoming uneconomical to repair even if it is a minor part that fails. The 2004 F350 I just picked up (for the axles, wheels and tires) is never going back on the road as it has several electronic issues. Nice truck, but even as a base XL there are too many bits to go wrong. The frustration on the face of the guy I bought it off (for next to nothing) as he explained the issues it had, told me that I never want to have the problems he had with a truck. Maybe he got a lemon but I have heard similar stories from other 2000+ truck owners so I don't think so.

        Thus, I now have a fleet of 1986-1995 trucks, waiting to serve when the current unit parks permanently. No finance, no needless tech, no concerns other than starting and driving them occasionally to keep them from deteriorating from neglect. Should have enough now to see me out without buying another….ever.

        Ran into a friend the other day who had recently bought a 2014 Chevy 3/4 ton, loaded. Beautiful truck. Been in the shop for more time in the last year than any vehicle should in a lifetime. Nothing major, just glitches. Window stopped working, one headlight not always coming on, ABS light, reverse light issues, gauge issues. Some issues 'fixed' more than once. To add insult to injury, they give him a compact POS car while his truck sits in the shop. All for only $930/month financed. No thanks.

        • $930 a month?! All my living expenses come to far less than that! Unreal!

          I guess it’s going to be like I’ve been saying- soon there will be no such thing as a used vehicle (except for expensive late-model ones); Once it’s out of warranty….it’ll be done…..and the $40 worth of metal in it will be recycled….and rest buried…..

  17. Eric,
    don’t think of it as 4 MPG, think of it as 20%. Aluminum bodies in pickups may be a new thing, but my former employer Freightliner has been making their cabs, fuel tanks, and other parts, of aluminum for decades. It saves their customers big bucks over the years.
    I share your concern over the biturbo engine. I would much prefer a normal one turbine direct injection turbocharged engine. The only reason for two turbines is quicker “throttle” response over a single turbine, due to the lower moment of inertia of the smaller turbines. Every class 8 truck Freightliner builds has a direct injection turbocharged Diesel too, they do save lots of money.

  18. Question: Could the automakers be wanting the 35 mpg standard to keep the technology curve too advanced for low cost competition from cars like the Chevy Sail? (a car sold in China that reportedly gets 40 mpg and would sell for under $10k in the U.S. IF it could meet EPA standards – which it would meet if the standards from 5-6 years ago were still in force). Just wondering…

  19. The problem with all this, “let’s produce less CO2” nonsense, is that it is just a bunch of lies. CO2 levels can be proven to have been higher than what they are today. In fact, they have been high long before the beginning of the industrial revolution. Read the book, “Unstoppable Global Warming”. Also, you know that rainforest environMENTALists are always so worried about? Guess what, it thrives when the levels of CO2 are higher! People used to live and farm in GREENland. (Yes, it was really green!) There used to be an ice festival on the Thames River in London in the 1500’s and during the Roman Empire, grapes were grown in England. England has been hotter and cooler than it is now. For some hard fast numbers, the atmosphere is about 20% 02, 80% N2 and CO2 is only 0.003% and the man made portion is only a fraction of that. The CO2 is statistically irrelevant because it is DWARFED by the most common greenhouse gas, WATER VAPOUR! People used to oppose the west by being communist until communism so obviously failed. Now it’s environmentalism. Can’t wait until it fails too! What makes CO2 levels fluctuate? the temperature of the oceans, which is affected by sunspots. Oxygen rusts iron, right? I am a Power Engineer. You heat up water before putting it into a high pressure steam boiler because heat makes water outgas. No oxygen means no rusty boiler. The ocean is 75% of the earth’s surface. When its temperature fluctuates, it outgases literally tons of CO2 when it warms up and reabsorbs it when the ocean temperature cools down. Look it up. This is basic science.

  20. Another thing,Ford engineers do know that Aluminum is higher on the electromotive series,then Iron, correct? So when conditions are right guess which disappears first(the principle of the sacrifical anode) but that being said,how come manufacturers do not offer an electronic anti corrosion device for cars or a least sacrifical anodes?(seems doable to me.
    On another note,I think Robert Zubrins book”Energy Victory” should be required reading for car nuts and patriots-Kevin

    • Having spent years in the marine repair business, we in that trade know of a stupidsimple and cheap “cure” for galvanic corrosion in the cases yuo postulate: BONDING. In any boat, in fresh or salt water, there are many different types and alloys of metal, each occupying a different “rung” on the Galvanic Scale. So, for any one metal part, there are others both more and less “noble” than it. To prevent galvanic corrosion, simply bond ALL pieces of metal in any contact with water, whether “the chuck” in which the boat floats, water inside it (bilge), rainwater, (unavoidable in most marine environments) within the cooling system (both the fresh and raw water segments)… in other words, no two pieces of metal that exist anywhere in the boat are ever to NOT have a metal connexion between them. Having a large enough “ground plate”, or bare metal surface IN the “chuch” is the final step. Typically, the prop and shaft can serve this function, often along with a metal rudder. Plenty of bare metal surface area in the water outside the hull.Do all of that correctly you have “shorted” the “battery” that exists between any two pieces of metal. No “battery”, no electron flow, no corrosion. I learned how to use a very sensitive electronic meter and a pure zinc probe in the “chuck” to measure the voltage differential between pieces.. any detectable voltage at all reveals the need for yet one more bonding wire.

      SO… fancy electronic machines that WILL break, and may not “notice” every piece of metal, are unnecessary. simply bond everything… yes, unless welded, two pieces of body metal that are just bolted/rivited/glued must be bonded to assure no galvanic corrosion. Epoxy coatings can be applied in areas such as the battery box to prevent acid or fumes melting the aluminium.

  21. Hmmmm,percentages and ratios will mislead,something that gets 4mpg a 4mpg increase doubles the mileage or a 100% better mileage(half the cost for fuel) now something that gets 20 mpg,24 mpg is only 20% better and will slash your fuel bill by a 1/5 th and I think I did this right,there is sort of a diminishing return relatively speaking,so it is difficult to justify trading a good vehicle just to get something that gets better mileage.Its rather justifible if you are going to buy new anyway-however if its 10-12K to get 33% better fuel mileage,you may never see the .And I hope these good folks dont get caught in the 1-2yr used boondaggle-Kevin

  22. I’ll just keep driving my old 10MPG F250SD and riding my aluminum bicycle…..

    I can just see these aluminum bodies after a few years of pick-up use…..they’re gonna be dinged and dented as if they went through a war! Fixing even little dents in aluminum is EXPENSIVE! I can just imagine what we’re going to be seeing on the streets in a few years, after these puppies have been in service for a while!

    Instead of cheesy aluminum bodies and absurdly complex gas engines, why aren’t they coming out with some smaller diesel engines? Heck, you put a 4BT Cummins in an F150, it’d get AT LEAST 30MPG; satisfy the Nazis; and compensate for the recent higher price of diesel erl! (Not to mention astounding durability and low maintenance!)

    But NOOooooo!!!! They gotta foist all this smoke and mirrors nonsense on people! I guess they’ve gone nearly as far as they can go when it comes to loading vehicles with complex electronics-laden mechanical crap…so now they’ve turned their attention to sabotaging the bodies.

    I see these newer veh9icles as big, rolling Rube Goldberg contraptions….

  23. I love my ’03 Duramax Crew Cab (despite certain known factory defects; injectors, transfer case, fly wheel, etc.) which I bought new out in Nebraska at $1000 under invoice and got the factory rebate as well….total cost under $24K. That said, It really makes no sense at all to pay today’s extra $10K for diesel, especially Ford’s diesel (another subject). But, I also refuse to buy any vehicle that is Flex Fuel equipped. So, I won’t be helping the auto industry create any new jobs Sorry O’B!

    Eric, will they still take your phone calls at Ford?

  24. Eric you say, “Meanwhile, you can buy a 28 MPG diesel engine in the Dodge Ram 1500.” as if that was a panacea for all the ills you list before regarding the AL F-150 and its alleged MPG and other issues. Diesel is running about a $1 higher than gas in most parts of the country. It keeps this delta no matter the drop in $/gal for gas; the more gas drops the more expensive running a diesel is relative to a gas engine. Currently gas is about $2.8 and diesel $3.8/gal. Using 28 mpg for Dodge and 24 mpg for Ford this works out to $.1357 and $.1166 or a 1.9 Cent operating cost advantage PER MILE for the Ford. The cost of diesel is that prohibitive. This does not take into account any premium for the diesel engine. In other words, if the diesel Dodge isn’t cheaper than the Ford, you will never come out ahead on savings from fuel economy. In fact the more you drive your diesel the more it will cost you relative to driving the Ford. (Please no comments on towing etc. this is purely about MPG).

    • Hi Les,

      I agree that diesel engines and fuel are costly. Still, a diesel engine in a truck meant for work makes sense. It can be justified on other than fuel-efficiency grounds. But the fact that it also delivers significantly higher mileage (in a heavier, steel-bodied truck) is hard to dismiss.

      • Hi Eric – nice forum. Fun to read all the comments. Again – not disagreeing that a diesel in a heavier steel shell has to work harder – I didn’t look at the tow ratings either. Sadly we can’t pick and choose our engines/shells. We are at the mercy of the market or rather what the EPA dictates the market to be. The point I was (trying) to make is that the Dodge diesel at 28 MPG doesn’t make sense relative to the AL F-150 at 24 MPG due to the higher per mile cost to run the significantly more expensive diesel fuel. I just didn’t care for the throw away line about hey get a dodge with 28 mpg. The whole diesel thing doesn’t make sense. For those that need the power of a big diesel in a heavyduty P/up for work, this discussion has no bearing.

        • Les, don’t know what part of the country you currently occupy… but where I am diesel is gnerally 40-50 c/gal higher. I run an older E 350 Powerstroke, and it gets significantly better economy driving mostly empty (I’ve almost always got at least 500 Lbs in it) than any other one ton van I know of…. but when I WORK it (I have had 16,000 lbs hanging off the ball and another five K inside, on thousand mile highway trips, still gotten 14 or so mpg… yes, about 27K GCW any gas engine towing half that will only get about 9 max, and some as low as 6. Besides, nearly 300 K on the silly thing, it STILL does not need pil between changes, I’ve done almost nothing to the power train (glow plug controller, two vacuum pumps (both reman,). Brakes, ball joints, tyres, a pair of batteries… and that is IT. Crazy. I don’t care its fifteen years old. NO tuneups, NO sparks, far longer oil change intervals, it still runs today like it did the day I bought it at 130K. Show me ANY gas rig that will come close to that.

          I keep threatening to do some slight mods to the fuel system… change the in tank fuel screen to a coarser one, fit a huge Racor highway rig fuel filter somewhere (can’t figure out where, yet, though… that thing is packed tight everywhere) and start dumping waste oil into it to dilute the purchased fuel. I did this with an older Mercedes diesel years back, and I could add five percent drain oil in winter, and ten percent summer… then fuel oil was five bucks the gallon, so the drain oil was actually worth a bit more than that (it is denser, more energy per gallon). Never noticed a difference in start, run, power, performance…. no more hauling it to the “recyclers”, and I save on fuel. Can;t do that with a gas fired rig.

          • There’s something about those Ford vans… I have a gas ‘un, and it’s got almost 300K on it- and other than a fuel pump; heater core; and the usual consumables, never done a thing to it. (Well, uhh…the blower motor resistor takes a crap every few years- but they’re only $15)- Just shows how they can make something good, when they want to; when businesses are 98% of the market for the vehicle in question. (Of course, GM and Dodge can’t…)

            A friend with 7.3 F350’s used to run lots of waste erl; kerosene; and just about anything else….also towing heavy loads all the time on long hauls….he swore by it for a while….but after having to do lots of extra maintenance and engine work, now he just buys diesel.

          • Yes, but that’s with older diesel tech, pre-ULSD.

            Today’s diesels are turbocharged, ultra high-pressure injection – lots more to go wrong.

            One needs to be driving a lot of highway miles or have some very high torque/towing requirements to justify buying a new diesel truck instead of the gasser model.

            • Yeah, the whole point to diesels- simplicity; low-maintenance; efficiency/economy, is out the window with the new high-tech EPA diesels….. Pretty much no point to them anymore, except for sheer power- and now that power comes at a great cost.

      • I agree on the diesel/work truck consideration, only wishing there were more options available than there are. I will pass on aluminum. Trying to repair anything is going to be so costly as to force part replacement, also not cheap. I see the entire industry pricing itself out of existence, which I suspect is the plan. I am so sick of “gov” being our decider of everything. We now have to pass electronic billboards daily by the dozens filled with their propaganda. One of them harps how 61% of road deaths didn’t have a safety belt on. My first thought was that 39% did and still died. Then I found out talking with one of the local enforcement types that the “non belted” numbers include motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and buggies (yes we have lots of those in NW Missouri). He could not tell me what part of the 61% that was, but it obviously drives the numbers closer to 50/50. A sign not 10 miles later tells me I am 7 times more likely to die in a car wreck if I am not belted. Somehow this does not match the earlier math. With this kind of dishonesty, why should I trust any of their information?

        • Ditto Ernie,

          If you looked into those statistics, as I did in Idaho, you will likely find that easily more than half of the deaths had belts on. The type of belts they put in regular cars aren’t safe at all. They cheat the statistics. Even cheating the stats as they do it isn’t very impressive. It’s like a sports team cheating and only winning 60% of the time…..not very impressive. It’s also very revealing about how worthless those government mandated belts are.

          When the government is involved, it’s about one thing–CONTROL.

        • Funny too, how they don’t seem to keep statistics on how many people who weren’t belted, and lived, might have been dead had they been belted- like my friend’s brother- who rolled his Bronco II when someone cut him off. The roof over the driver’s seat was smushed down to the steering wheel. Luckily, the guy wasn’t belted, and was thrown into the back. Walked away without a scratch. I know of a few more stories like that, too.

          Ironically, my friend (the brother of the guy who rolled the Bronco II) WAS wearing his seatbelt when someone cut him off and he rolled his Cherokee….and he got his arm and shoulder messed up pretty good.

          What I learned from the above? Don’t ride with these clowns and their crappy light little SUVs!

          • In our vassal province of the empire, to admit you weren’t belted is to be ticketed, even though it is apparent the lack of belting kept you alive. I rolled a 15 passenger van on ice on a country road last year during one of the now common “polar vortex” storms. Wasn’t belted, no issues at all. Had I been belted I would have had the roof cave on me while tied to the drivers seat. I am like you in questioning how many lives are saved not being belted.

    • Les, “purely about mpg”, really? So a “truck” as you call it(it’s a fuckin pickup for god’s sake) is a truck is a truck in your view. You see no difference in an F-150 and an F 350? I wasn’t aware that anyone put a diesel into half ton pickups but I work about 15 hrs. a day either driving a big rig or using a K3500 or 3500 Dodge to pull trailers that would drop a half ton pickup onto the ground before you loaded it.

      I’m disappointed GM didn’t go ahead and build their little 4+ liter version of the Duramax for half ton pickups they were testing several years ago.

      I now pay about $2.8/gal for gasoline and $3.35/gal for diesel. To be honest, it’s been about 20 years since I even put gasoline into a pickup. But light trucks have their place more and more as people see the advantages to hauling(gee, I hate to be limited to not speaking of what they’re for, towing)much larger loads and saving a lot of money.

      I’m amazed by the number of people who see pickups as ridiculous. I see a great many people using pickups ridiculously but the fact of the matter is, pickups have and always will have a very useable feature for a large number of buyers.

      • 8Southman – I was only commenting about Eric’s comment on MPG as I clearly noted. I’m not sure what you are so incensed about here, but whatever makes you feel good. Incidentally, I read that the F-350 will go aluminum as well. The whole point was that Dodge and its light duty diesel doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (pun intended). P.S. I’m guessing you get your diesel at the commercial price.

  25. Bicycles have mated aluminum frames with steel bolts for about 50 years and guess what, it is very easy to strip aluminum screw threads with steel bolts. Another issue noticed on bicycles is aluminum frames are more likely to go from seemingly just fine to catastrophic failure than steel. That is why airplanes are constantly inspected for the tiniest cracks.

    Search on Aluminum+Mussolini for a history of Il Duce’s favorite metal. HIs favorite aluminium coffee pot, Bialetti is still in production.

    • Hi George,

      I collect/restore old Japanese motorcycles, so I get to deal with lot of aluminum corrosion. It’s rotsa fun opening up an old hub and finding the inside filled with white powder! Most of this decay happened from just sitting, too.

  26. Your last two paragraphs hit the center. Wonder if F is thinking of merging with another automaker to make the F-150 a smaller part of the fleet avg mpg?

    • Hi Bill,

      I predict that large trucks as mass-market vehicles will be rendered extinct within 10 years. You can quote me!

      I see no way for such vehicles to be built CAFE-compliant and still be what they are.

      Or rather, were.

      • OR we can grab hold of the gummint and MAKE them reel back in the EPA and their stupid carbon useless rules… dump alcohol fuel, let the makers again build to the market, and such “insane” things. EPA need to be dumped. They have far outlived their uselessness. Yeah, I know… let’s don;t get caught aback holding our collective breath. But its a goal to move toward.

        • The Stasi EPA is not done with you yet comrade. Now they want to declare your back yard a government owned “wetland”.

          It seems incredible, but a single missing word could turn a water law into a government land grab so horrendous even a U.S. Supreme Court justice warned it would “put the property rights of every American entirely at the mercy of Environmental Protection Agency employees.”

          http://dailysignal.com/2014/11/12/proposed-water-rule-put-property-rights-every-american-entirely-mercy-epa/

          • Gary, your comment reminds me of a situation in the town on Lawn Guyland (Long Island) where I used to live: A place where one has to pay $10K+ in property taxes on just a regular every-day 2 or 3 bedroom house….and where everything is “planned and zoned” to absurdity- and the cost of getting permission to build and inspections and “certificates of occupancy” and all that Cloverish stuff, probably doublers the price of building a house…

            So, in that gulag, there is a street a few blocks from the lake; and right next to an open area that would sometimes flood or sometimes be dry. The town reconfigured that open area into a series of artificial “ponds” to “manage the wetland”- and now the houses on the street flood on a regular basis and are full of mold.

            One homeowner put sandbags around his property to try and mitigate the flooding… Oooo! No! Can’t do that! The toiwen swooped right in and made him take them away. You can’t “damage the wetland” you know, by altering the course of some of the run-off from the artificial holding ponds that the town crated where the wetland used to be!

            So now, the houses on that block sit empty; the owners are SOL; They paid hundreds of thousands in property taxes (for each house) over the decades; and the houses were built by the town’s permission and all that….then the town ruins the whole block- but yet has zero responsibility/accountability.

            And the houses were on the market at bargain prices recently. In a place where they’ll put a lien on your house for having a puddle in your driveway….but they don’t have a problem with houses that flood every few months and are full of mold, since the town caused that problem and not the homeowner.

            This is the same place where landmark lake-front business started having issues when the water table of the lake rose recently- and the town used to situation to “acquire” the multi-million dollar property- for NOTHING-; Tear down the business; and convert the property into “open space”.

            So this crap is already happening….and it’s only going to get worse!

            There is just no hope for this country- it is just so hopelessly and completely jiggered. Can’t wait to get the hell out of here!

            • See. You are supposed to be a fifth floor leaky brick box resident down in The Bronx. Then they will feed you and leave you alone. But the neighbors can be annoying.

              • That really is the truth, Gary! They take from the most responsible; most productive residents, and give to the neanderthals. Only the “poor” -who are paid and rewarded for having babies which they can not support- are capable of affording to have large famblies anymore- while those who pay for all the entitlement are lucky if they can afford one kid, after Uncle Sam[bo] reams them. (How did I get off on this rant?) 😀

        • That’d be so nice, Tionico- but don’t forget: The public who make up that market are the same tools who tolerate and finance things like the EPA; the same ones who gladly shell-out $50K for a new Crapillac, which depreciates faster than a soft turd on a hot day…and thinks that ridiculously overly-complex airbag-festooned rolling Rube Goldberg contraptions are worth being in-debt for 72 months for….

          It’s like: The gov’t which we battle isn’t entire problem; more like a symptom of the core problem- which is a country full of Clovers and Prius drivers.

      • And you hit what makes this so INSANE to have these requirements. When I am running our truck, it is because it does things our Toyota sedan won’t at any mileage. Our 2000 Ford gets 10 to 14 MPG, but it tows trailers of tools, lumber, 7-8 work crew all at the same time. I do not give a rat f*** that our 1998 Toyota gets 27 MPH. It only hauls 4 people with one large suitcase. Besides the fact it should totally be the free choice of me to buy and the car maker to build/sell, there is nothing sensible in any of this if you are going to keep an economy functioning. These control freaks have lost their ever loving minds!!!

  27. Around figure on a probaly 10K price bite for a nicely equipped diesel,add in the diesel fluid,higher maintenence costs(hope it never breaks) hard to obtain fee,ad nausuem-the only way I would have a diesel is for the torque to pull with,speaking of pull a 6L vortec does pretty well.
    Everybody I talk to around here loves their eco boost(if you are going to pull 10K for petes sake hook it to a duramax or powerstroke oh I forgot to mention you will pay handsomely for the magic elixer called diesel fuel-Kevin

    • That depends. I pull 14k and 8k loads with my tundra. I do it quite often, but no longer than 25 miles usually. I have 105,000 miles. I have done nothing to the truck, other than routine maintenance–oil, brakes, alignment when replacing tires, etc.

      My dad and brother give me a hard time about my “gentlemen’s truck”. They both have duramax diesels. They have double the mileage on their trucks, but they have had leaky seals, replaced bearings, bad transfer cases, rebuilt front end on my brothers. Not to mention , plugged fuel filters, more oil at every single change, etc. They do the exact same type and amount of towing as I do. They can pull a hill better because of the torque, of course. But, at the end of the day, is it worth 8-10 grand initially, plus the extra maintenance and fuel costs? For extra speed and maybe 2 mpg’s better when towing?

      I argue that it isn’t, but we are in business together, so we each get the trucks we want.

      The only justification for a diesel, in my mind is for people who are pulling all the time–basically using their pickup as a semi. Other than that, you cant really justify it……unless of course you compare them to Chevy, Ford, or Dodge gasser’s. Then, the justification is crystal clear–since you will have the typical USSA/Chinese manufacturing deficiencies, minus the power of a diesel. Hahaha

      Also, when you buy foreign, you have the satisfaction of supporting workers in the southern U.S., who aren’t members of murderous, corrupt unions who have worked, hand in hand with government to run the prosperity of this nation into the ground for their own short lived gain.

  28. I’ve got a Defender 110, which has an aluminum tub and body panels but a steel frame. Galvenic corrosion is ALWAYS a concern with that thing, especially where steel is used to reinforce aluminum, e.g. in door panels. Land Rover gave up after half a century and started using galvanized steel for Defender doors.

    Concerning the weight savings, it won’t make a difference. Compare a Defender v8 with a Discovery v8. Both use the same drivetrain, but the Defender is aluminum bodied while the Discovery is steel (and has a lot more in the way of features, like doors that don’t leak). The Discovery weighs half a ton more yet gets about the same MPG.

  29. As a Ford salesman I can tell you Ford’s EPA estimates for the EB engines are horseshit. Of the 50+ F150’s that I have sold I can break down the average fuel economy for each motor from real world experience.

    3.5L Ecoboost averages 13-16 MPG’s in mixed driving.
    5.0L V-8 averages 15 MPG.

    80% of these trucks were 4×4 crew cabs with either 3.31 or 3.55 rear ends.

    What Ford doesn’t tell you is that the EPA figures are calculated on 93 octane NON-ETHANOL FUEL. On the V8’s it’s not as pronounced but….with the high-compression/high boost turbo motors this makes a HUGE difference.

    Most people fill their turbo motors with 87 octane ethanol crap gas to save a few bucks even though 93 octane is recommended for best performance. With 87 octane non-Ethanol fuel, the computer keeps the engine from knocking and grenading itself by dumping in more fuel.

    Since ethanol lowers the effective power density of fuel, the computer must compensate for lower octane PLUS lower power density. It does this by adding even MORE fuel. If 93 octane (pure gas) was readily available, modern turbo motors would deliver their advertised EPA estimates or better. Much like Volkswagen TDI powered cars do.

    • Great info, Pedro – thanks!

      I’ve driven these vehicles myself and have found the mileage difference to be negligible, as you’ve noted. On the face of it, if maximizing fuel efficiency is the object, then a diesel makes much more sense than a twin-turbo’d gas engine. But the FedGov has made diesels uneconomic – which is why we’re getting these high-stress/small displacement/turbo’d gas engines instead.

    • Research gasoline, used for tests, is fading in favor of E10. I am not sure if present EPA fuel economy figures still use research gasoline or not or if it’s an option between it and E10. There’s a transition going on to at least allow E10 but I don’t keep up on this stuff in any sort of detail. If research gasoline is still allowed I expect the manufacturers will use it up until the day it isn’t because it does give superior fuel economy numbers. Because of real world warranty concerns I assume they have long since upgraded their own labs to handle E10.

      The fuel economy test is a specific cycle test of accelerations, speeds, braking, etc. Because of the ever higher CAFE numbers the vehicles become more and more designed for those tests. The weird behaviors of modern cars have been a result not because ‘engineers are idiots’ but because they must make the vehicle do well on the tests. If you don’t drive like the tests well your result will vary widely and you’ll be annoyed with what the machine does in certain instances.

      This is happening at all manufacturers, not just Ford.

      • sort of like the gummint dkewlz these days, it seems. Teach the kids to do well on the tests so you can “:sell” your “education” to government, the real customer. Never mind they are largely useless in the real world. Sad when government ceases to do what it is tasked to do and instead usurps power it was never intended to have…, in vehicles OR school. Meanwhile, we out here tryin ta make a livin are the ones that suffer.. both in paying to get screwed, and in dealing with the products we are “told” we “need”.

        • Government schools were designed on the Prussian system to provide compliant fungible human resources to the government, corporations, and the military.

          • And they are an overwhelming success at that. Funny- but the gov’t is not incompetent when it comes to doing things that THEY actually want to do.

            The two best decisions of my entire life: Dropping out of school the day I turned 16; and moving out of NY!

            • Once one understands the actual goals of the state and the people running it and influencing it the incompetence (at least largely) vanishes.

              People think government is incompetent because they don’t understand its goals.

              • Alliance for the Separation of School and State:

                Why Shouldn’t the Government be Involved in Education?

                http://www.schoolandstate.org/Case/case2.htm

                The Short Answer:
                Forced government schooling stands in direct opposition to the liberty this country was founded on.

                It fosters unquestioning obedience, acceptance of authority, herd mentality, and dependency.

                It manufactures “equality” by lowering standards.

                It discourages individuality, innovation, curiosity, creativity and overall excellence.

                It undermines families and other relationships.

                It undermines religious beliefs, values and morality.

                It fosters social, psychological, emotional and intellectual dysfunction and promotes immaturity and perpetual adolescence.

                It makes children the victims of political change, special interests, researchers, unions and social reformers.

                It undermines the ability of parents to provide their children with the quality and type of education they desire for them.

                • Gov’t schools are an abomination even in a mono-culture- but just think of the how much more so in a “melting pot”; where they communalize all cultures into a secular state-defined whole [or “hole”, would be more like it!], thus not only predisposing the students to the idea of communalism [communism], by having them practice it from a young age- but having them grow up to give assent to, and believe in the common secular culture- where the state is supreme, being the source of that culture; and where all things are tolerated, except “intolerance” or heresy against the god of State.

                  I can not think of anything that is a more blatant transgression of the First Ammendment, than “public” schools.

                • The Gunvermin schools do not undermine ALL religious beliefs – only those that stand in contradiction to the official religion that the Gunvermin is god, and it and it alone will save you.

                  • Exactly! Just like the ancient Romans- There was “freedom of religion”, as long as your religion would acknowledge Ceasar as supreme above all.

                    Or as long as it is not the worship of the True God. Bring in a Koran or an Ouija board or a Kama Sutra…..no problemo! Lets have show-and-tell and learn all about it!

                    Bring in a KJV….and you’re worse than Hitler!

              • True, Brent- but at different levels, it’s a little of both. If you’ve ever lived in NYC, you could see vast incompetence, with no rhyme or reason; two sides of one coin at a time.

                But, yeah….the crooked traitors would rather be thought of as incompetent, than crooked. Like how everyone thought FEMA was incompetent during Katrina. No, that wasn’t incompetence- that was the way it was meant to be.

                People were saying GWB was incompetent. You don’t get to be President of the USA; and rich and powerful, by being incompetent! But hey, if he can convince ’em that his misdeeds are the result of incompetence rather than malice, he has reached an even higher pinnacle of success. Ditto the current commie Columbia-educated Marxist…..he’d rather be thought dumb and incompetent, than go to jail or face a well-deserved firing-squad.

                • I know some here don’t care for Gary North, but he had a good post this am where he identified Congress and the Federal Reserve as ‘sleeper cells,’ out to destroy the US.

                  • I like Gary North. Haven’t read the article…but from what you say, I’d say that he and I have come to the same conclusion. I mean, I’ve always said that virtually everything they’ve been doing appears to be designed specifically to destroy our economy and culture- and has been for a long time.

                    Just the economics alone- I mean, even going back to the days of Wilson and FDR- how could any sane person not realize that exponentially-increasing debt (which can never be repaid) and schemes like Social[ist] Security, would lead to anything but bankruptcy, and consume all wealth?

                    It couldn’t be any other way, because even a 5 year-old should realize that there is just no way to sustain such things indefinitely…and no way out of the corner such things paint us into.

                • I’m in Illinois… and once I look at something from a politician’s point of view and motivations I rarely see outright incompetence. I see astounding arrogance and risk taking. I see incredible disregard for other people or society as a whole. But pure bumbling incompetence is not all that common.

                  The last high profile one was Jesse Jackson Junior. This guy decided he wanted to use his campaign money for personal expenses. The thieves in DC of course all like to do this so there is a mechanism in place to do so. Just send the IRS a cut and it is 100% totally legal. Jesse Jr didn’t do that. Idiot. Of course he then exploited the moron defense as usual.

                  And that’s the usual place incompetence shows up where their own greed gets the best of them. Where they screw up in the political game, anger the wrong person, get chosen for selective enforcement, that sort of thing.

  30. I wonder why they chose aluminum over plastic or carbon fiber? The typical dents and dings on steel body panels will look like deer strikes on aluminum.

    I remember GM built a number of vehicles with plastic bodies. A consumer complaint concerning cosmetic appearance, large gaps between body panels to accommodate greater expansion gave the vehicles a look of hasty assembly.

    UPS put 150 plastic bodied delivery trucks into service several years ago for testing. Haven’t heard how those bodies are holding up in real-world conditions. The plastic body weighs about 900 lbs less than an aluminum body.

    • GM’s plastic body panels ended up with big chunks missing when banged around in cold weather. Not a good look for a ‘tough’ truck.

      Carbon fiber is extremely expensive and not mass production friendly.

      Aluminum will be fine with the dings and bumps with the right alloy and thickness.

  31. “But how does it stack up against the previous (all-steel) F-truck?
    We know the stats for that one: 17 city, 23 highway. So, about 20 MPG, average.”

    I know you’re talking about the Eco Boost, but my 2014 F150 with the 5.0 8cyl, according to the EPA, should get 15/21 mpg. And that number is utter horseshit in the real world. Whatever testing the EPA is doing, it isn’t at all accurate anymore.

    Unloaded, highway driving returns maybe 17mpg. With a light foot and sticking at 60mph I can push it to 18mpg. Moderately loaded, stop and go? Forget it. That’s in the 11-12 range, easily.

  32. OK Ford knows how to play the game. Make a super stuffed little 2.6L EPA box thing out of aluminum, call it a truck for all the urban warriors, and Look like a caring corporation in the process. And if corporate fuel mileage “standards” are still not met just hammer the purchaser harder and give the money over to Cesar, who is always happy to do absolutely nothing to get a suckers money. The system is brilliant.

    • Garysco, you hit the nail squarely. It’s all bullshit and those turbo motors won’t last till the fire gets hot, in fact, we’re already hearing horror stories about them with low mileage and the mpg is pure fiction as Pedro says.

      We proved years ago there are no free rides. You can take the latest, greatest diesel pickup and pull a 35′ gooseneck rv trailer and it will still get about 9 mpg. Poke a big hole with a lot of weight and there is no “magic” happening anywhere with any manufacturer.

      I completely disagree with eric on his prediction of the demise of pickups. It ain’t happening. There are simply too many people who must have them, and with power to hump heavy loads, in the bed or on a trailer. Now the bullshit meter says one thing but reality says another. The light pickups every woman in Tx. seems to “need” cause they’re “cool” may go the way of the dinosaur but people who need them will still buy them and congress will have to reign in the EPA or everyone will simply buy MUCH larger light trucks and say to hell with it.

  33. Only time will tell how the cost-benefit ratio of an aluminum truck body plays out.

    But I don’t ever want anything to do with a 2.7 twin turbo “truck engine.”

    Gotta say I’m a little surprised at your tepid response to aluminum bodies, which will significantly reduce weight. I thought cutting weight was, for you, the Holy Grail of automotive construction……..Or maybe it’s only such a “good thing” if it derives from getting rid of safety equipment? 😉

      • Eric mainly addressed whether it is worth the increased mpg.

        If you have read his columns for any length of time, Eric’s position is that the benefits of weight reduction are legion…..improved acceleration, braking, handling. And the more weight you save, the smaller the frame, brakes, etc, need to be. Which will save even more weight. This time, he hardly mentioned those benefits, which seemed so crucial in the context of getting rid of safety equipment.

        And to revisit that mpg issue…we all know that gas prices are likely to go up a lot in the future. And the more costly the gas, the more valuable will be every extra mpg that the aluminum body makes possible.

        • Hi Mike,

          The point of this column was not to criticize the use of aluminum per se but to question why. My answer, of course, is because of government pressure. The small fuel savings don’t otherwise justify it. I argue Ford went down this road almost entirely because of CAFE.

          • Hi Eric,

            I agree that CAFE is the reason Ford went aluminum, at this moment.

            My point is that, even if caused by fedgov intervention, all those other benefits will still be along for the ride.

            Durability may prove to be the biggest issue involved in aluminum contented pick ups. “If” that works out OK, the result for Ford may be a quantum leap ahead of the competition.

          • Assuming $3.00/gallon gasoline and comparing fuel cost per mile at 20 and 24 mpg, we get 15 and 12.5 cents per mile, respectively. Taking the difference (2.5 cents/mile) and the cost differential ($700), I find that it takes 28,000 miles of driving for the fuel mileage difference to make up for the increased initial costs.

          • eric, I have a 1982 Chevy 3/4 T 4WD and the bed is not only steel, it’s also galvanized. It doesn’t appear it will ever go away. Now those few pounds of galvanizing aren’t going to break the bank fuel mileage wise so why not continue? The obvious answer of course is to keep it cheap since that’s Ford’s mantra along with their non-serviceable front ends, driveshafts and speaking of driveshafts, those aluminum two piece rolled together jobs so light they have cardboard inside so they don’t “ding” so loud when you put it into gear. And they have virtually no strength or durability.

            Of course all this happened in response to GM losing market share for a few years because Ford offered a 351 in half tons and GM only offered a 305 unless you opted for a 3/4 T. The 305, if made identical to the 350 would have been close to power of the 351 but 305’s were POS. I knew people who almost immediately replaced the 305 with a 350 and just went on. Of course they needed a work truck and kept one till it was worn plumb out. At that same time those people who saved all that money on the “better” half ton pickup kept theirs in the shop continually for that carb from hell, that non-rebuildable throwaway job they had for a decade.

            My friends who had mechanic shops loved those Fords. They got to sell, after everybody realized nobody could rebuild those carbs and the remans weren’t any good either(and costly, very costly) so simply replacing the carb(either for another just like it or for the most part, a two barrel Holley that didn’t get decent fuel mileage but hung in for much longer. I’m not a big Holley fan either. They made a street carb to compete with the Quadra-jet. I bought one and ran it briefly but returned to the Q-jet quickly because that Holley drank gas like you had XOM stock. No better performance on the street either and that’s what they were advertised and built for, easy on the gas street vehicles.

            Lots of bs for all vehicles due to EPA. Look for the big light truck makers to try to sell countless millions of really cheap high fuel mileage cars to give them a CAFE break on light trucks. It’s happened before. I think everyone knows what I’d like to do with the EPA….and all the rest of those alphabet agencies.

            Ford is determined to sell a cheaper “truck” to stay on top number-wise and in doing so, sells a cheaper, as in ability to do a job, vehicle. I can remember when the sticker price would be $5 difference in GM and Ford pickups. When you haggled though, Ford would cut you a deal and make you think that $100 more for the GM was pure folly. It’s still working for those who don’t intend to work a pickup. There is a huge disconnect among pickup buyers. Some want a machine to work, others want a “look”.

        • Mike P – I agree that gas prices are LIKELY to go up, maybe way up, in the future. But you never know for sure, unless you have a time machine and have already been there.
          And if we had a free market? What might be coming down the pike that would leave gasoline as a distant memory?

  34. Ford says they have solved the galvanic corrosion problem with appropriate coatings and insulators. Which they better have – drive it in the rain (providing an electrolyte), and that 0.3v difference in potentials will mean that aluminum will disappear pretty quickly.

    What I see as the almost-best-case is that in 10 years there will be a lot of pretty good looking trucks out there — that have rotted frames from having been driven in salt country. With a steel body, you’ll have some indication that your truck is about rusted away — with the aluminum, it’ll continue to look good.

  35. To me, It’s like the old saying goes: There’s no replacement for displacement.

    I’ve had many eco-boost owners tell me that the engine is working like hell when they tow or pull hills. I like my low rpm Tundra 5.7…..if I want even more power, I could supercharge it, all in warranty–well not for me since my truck has 106,000 miles.

    I like diesels, but Toyota doesn’t make one and they are a minimum of a 9 grand add on for the brands that do. A supercharger is half that.

    It seems that Ford cares about one thing–keeping their number one selling truck brand going. They will do anything to keep that. We’ll see how it works with expensive v-6, 5.5′ bed trucks. Not me! Never. Does anyone trust a used eco-boost, with a hundred grand on it?

    • I heard form a sevice writer at a Ford dealership that the early ecoboost motors have (unspecified) issues and need to be recalled but Ford doesn’t want to issue a recall because of the bad press so they are performing repairs under warranty for now.
      While this is only hearsay, it would not surprise me if true.

      • DBB,

        I wouldn’t be surprised either. We always hear about the thousands of miles of testing that companies do. The only tests I trust are real world application. In the real world, the US manufacturers rarely stack up to what their claims are. I recall the claims of Oldsmobile being Mrs dependable than their Japanese counterparts…….clear back in 1999. Who the fuck believed that shit? The real world never proved that out. Think Alero, vs. Accord and Camry.

        The US manufacturers have made strides, but I still don’t trust them….not one bit.

        • Maybe I can add something useful here.
          I do performance testing of computer systems IRL.

          Most people have NO IDEA how many defects aren’t found until poduction. We test 500 users doing business-critical functions, slamming the system with 200% the load it should ever seee….
          Day 1 of Release, someone clicks an alternate path, non-business-critical, but not tested properly – and we find out it calls the same method as another business-critical function, uses it slightly differently, and… The system goes off-line. Not even at normal load yet, might be a handful of users….

          Like the Mars probe some time back – didn’t recall the conversion from Metric to English units, so the probe didn’t deploy correctly, and it was a loss.

          We tested the engine of the car using Regular, Super, and (X) additives.
          The aluminum block worked just fine.
          Then some IDIOT took fuel from his JET PLANE and poured it in his gas tank… Aluminum block engine melted.

          Well, we didn’t test that! OF COURSE we didn’t test that! It’s not supposed to be done! ANY IDIOT knows that!!!!

          And yet….

          Then, more on-point, perhaps: What happens when you drive an engine for 50,000 miles in a test? It pulls in, you do maintenance on the fly, keeping the engine warm – get it back on the track or dyno to keep going.
          Yes, you tested it for 50,000 miles. But it never got covered with salt, sleet, rain, snow, tar, hit with road dust, hit with rocks, etc, etc, etc.

          So of COURSE the test showed everything was fine: The TEST was devised to MEET YOUR STANDARDS. (Test-Driven Design: Write the test first, then devise the code – or engine – to pass the test.)

          OF COURSE it passed.
          But it’s a CONTRIVED test. You changed the oil at JUST the right mileage; you changed the tires at the right mileage. Coolant was topped off, transmission fluid flushed, and you never raced the engine, added fuel additives, hit anything, maybe not even a pothole on the track (by deisgn.)
          Right there, the test is invalid for anything more than a WAG (Wild-Assed Guess.)

          I think everyone here is smart enough to see why but let me point out for those not used to the discipline:
          – Potholes and rocks and debris on the road stresses frame, body panels, shocks, struts, etc, etc, etc. Also the electronics. Perfectly clear track removes these issues.
          – The above does damage to the electronics: strains, especially, change the conductivity and electrical impedance. That means it doesn’t work the same as the damage accumulates. IE: Real World does things differently. Your test tried to prove your test objective, not to simulate real-world conditions.
          – Drivers fail to be perfect with their maintenance. 3K miles for an oil change becomes 5K or even 10K, because the days just roll on by. I’m in a major metropolitan area; to get a decent oil change is a DAY-LONG endeavour, IF the place is ready and expecting me. and I may not get paid for that day, I am not guaranteed wireless access to my workplace. Now it’s more than “$29.95.”
          – Real World, drivers change out basic oil for synthetics; change air filters, il filters. The tests don’t allow for that, it’s ALL “Out of Spec.” Test fails WRT real world applications.

          In other words (and we’ve talked along these lines many times here), the whole goddamn thing is a marketing ploy. shovel the shit out the door, make a buck, make a buck, make a buck. Not in the Capitalist sense, either, but in the underhanded, cheat, thieve, and lie form. (Nothing new, goes all the way back to the 30s or so – “Miracle on 34th street” was the reference, the original.)
          In programming, i’ve had a few like that.
          Development throws it over the wall. Like checking if pasta’s done, you throw it on the wall – if it sticks, the pasta’s done. WTF?

          They do the same across fields. “Overengineering” is frowned upon. Honest testing, honest reporting, REAL testing, is all frowned upon the objective isn’t to find the bugs and deliver a quality product, but to make the delivery date. Get the (other) team their bonus. (QA is the red-headed stepchild. Beaten frequently, even when we go above and beyond, and frequently BECAUSE we went above and beyond. See Also film, “The China Syndrome.”)

          I’m citing films for examples of attitudes. We could just as easily look to Wall Street: “Greed is Good…” speech.

          None of the real world actions are reflected in the tests – and it’s no accident. They want to PASS the test, get the product to market, if it costs more down the road, well – it’s a gamble, they might not face the costs, but they can certainly obscure the cause if it’s not TOO severe…

          So we get shit on, and… We pay the price.

          Need to eliminate this sort of psychopath from the world.

          • Jean,

            I sense some bitterness…..hahaha

            Good points though. The combination of historical function and testing must coincide. That’s why I prefer Japanese cars. The history backs them up. I believe they more thoroughly test products. They must think outside the box, and they are very meticulous…..leading to less mistakes.

            It does take them f-o-r-e-v-e-r to do some things–like the real full size Tundra. That damn thing was 15+ years in the making. I remember test driving a 1st gen tundra and thinking it was a great truck. The only thing missing is that it wasn’t full size. Seven years later I finally was able to get one that was full size, so I was saved from Chevy and Dodge pickups.

          • Excellent, Jean – thanks!

            This is why I always prefer the simple and proven to the complex and unproven. Especially when there’s no meaningful advantage to be gained from going to the complex and and unproven.

            This new 2.7 high-pressure/twin-turbo V-6, for instance. All of that… to get 4 MPG better. Maybe. If it’s used the same way they do the tests.

            4 MPG.

            I’d much rather have a less-complex (no turbos at all, naturally aspirated) larger displacement V-6 or V-8 unless the new engine provides a meaningful difference in real-world economy sufficient to justify the higher up-front costs and risk of down-the-road expenses.

            For me, a meaningful difference would need to be at least 10 MPG. Otherwise, fuck it and feed it fish heads!

          • “Overengineering” is frowned upon… except when we’re dealing with planned obsolescence. In the tech industry, many products are engineered to be unserviceable by consumers. Attempts to do so will destroy the product.

            My computers fail every three years. All according to plan I’m sure.

  36. I think that the ‘more difficult to weld’ thing is actually a by-product of lack of practice. I was always told that, but many years ago I did a lot of projects in aluminum. The guy in the machine shop who did the welding did it beautifully. Then I had something made of steel to be welded . Steel is easier to weld, right? Well his welding in steel, which he didn’t do much of, was functional and worked for the purpose, but quite ugly. It was then I came to the conclusion that it was all about practice and what one worked in most of the time. Steel is much more forgiving, but ease I think is a matter of practice and experience.

    Aluminum corrosion usually happens in the presence of steel. It’s cathodic protection that Aluminum offers steel. When all aluminum that problem is avoided and now the issue is what chemicals it is exposed to.

    The bigger concern with aluminum (in designing this truck) is fatigue. Steel has what is known as the endurance limit. Stressed below that and it will not fail from fatigue. Aluminum does not have that. Lower stress means more cycles but it will break, eventually. This is why pressurized aircraft are forced into retirement. Now for a well designed and tested truck? It will probably last five decades if not a century in typical commercial use from a fatigue standpoint. I wouldn’t accept anything less than five decades because some people out there are very abusive and it would be a disaster for a fatigue problem to show up even in the outliers.

    • Part of the difference between welding steel and aluminium is that the one word “weld” is being used to mean two very different things.

      Welding steel or iron generally involves using a hot flame or electrical arc to melt a zone of the material itself, which then flows together and binds the parts once it solidifies. There was also the “blacksmith’s weld”, that involved heating the two parts red hot and hammering them together that way, which led to them binding while plastic but not molten.

      The ordinary kind of steel welding simply cannot be done to aluminium (or titanium), unless you can arrange an inert atmosphere to do it in (usually argon, as it is the cheapest inert enough gas – nitrogen isn’t inert enough) and the special equipment to do it. Some specialist fabrication is done like that, but most aluminium welding, so called, is something that is never done to steel at all: a blunt, high speed rotating tool is pressed against the parts being welded, forcing them together while locally heating them through friction (also in an inert atmosphere, if possible). The nearest thing to that with steel is the blacksmith’s weld, but even that is done with different kinds of heating.

    • Spot welding aluminum is doable, may not work out for the design and if so for Ford to make this truck the welding has to be automated either way. With regards inert gas, that’s done with steels as well to achieve good welds. Nothing special about it.

      • Hi Brent,

        I’m not worried about the manufacturing/assembly side… but repairs, that’s another thing. I’d bet insurance costs will go up for the F-truck for this reason. Someone else also made a very apt point about frame rot. The sheetmetal (aluminum) will still look good… but underneath…

        • Many a steel car has looked just fine in the body and had horrible rust underneath.

          In my old car shopping I’ve seen many 1960s cars that look just fine until crawling under them. While true that in almost every case cosmetic rust had been repaired and structural rust left to continue, people have been dealing with hidden corrosion on cars for ages.

          Also if the frame of these trucks is still steel, then the body will protect the frame. I suppose Ford aimed for good isolation to prevent that, but the steel frame should go as long as people are used to them lasting. If the isolation fails, longer.

  37. Eric,

    I use the CAFE standards as examples of state and fed over-reach in my college auto class. When I ask what the CAFE 35.5mpg means, I get the requisite blank stares. When I ask how many of them want an F-250 4×4 (we’re in a rural area), hands shoot up. When I mention that won’t be possible because Ford will only be allowed to sell 4 of them in 2016 before they bust the CAFE all to hell and gone, now you start to see lights beginning to flicker in their brains. Then I get as close to the edge of the unemployment canyon as I dare by stating that if they like the way California is going, keep voting the same way the state has voted for the last 40 years.

    I’m doing the best I can to REALLY educate my students.

    • and a rare one are you. We need MANY more willing to challenge the group-think programmed into these kids from preschool. Nice work there.
      I recently completed a two year “sentence” as a returning senior adult to uniiversity, business programmes. I was prepared to be shocked at the naiveté and lack of critical thinking in my fellow students, but I was NOT prepared for what I actually encountered. There were a few, though, whose elevator did reach the top floor, and these helped me to brave the storm.

  38. Eric, a 2.7 L twin turbo in a full size pick up? That is the definition of insanity. How long is that little POS going to last hauling material and equipment and towing trailers? I cannot believe this pure horse crap! How do these urban dwelling nancy boys that sit in their ivory towers think we are going to get any work done? Making light duty trucks meet the same fuel efficiency standards as cars is so beyond the pale I am stunned! Shocked even! These cretins couldn’t survive one day in the country or one day of real work and they have the gall and the nerve to sit up there and dictate to us that our trucks must be sissified? I have about had it with these drooling morons, they are even stupider than clovers!!

  39. Since most people use trucks as cars it probably won’t matter that much in the long run.

    I use a 1982 F100 for WORK. It’s steel. It’s tough as hell. And it’s reliable and simple to maintain. That said, if it’s not hauling something I don’t drive it.

    I prefer active safety features like good handling, good acceleration, low center of gravity and good brakes.

    A truck will never replace a car in my fleet. Who want’s to drive a school bus rather than a sporty car?

    I don’t. So this is all hype to attract the ‘macho truck drivers’ of suburbia. One time I had a guy, who was riding in my Altima SE 3.5 5 MT that “only women drive cars”. I said “no, only women and cripples drive automatics:”.

    He didn’t ask me for a ride again.

    • Personally, I cannot stand cars, especially those of the Asian persuasion.

      ” I prefer active safety features like good handling, good acceleration, low center of gravity and good brakes.”

      I guess you haven’t driven a truck built in the last 20 years.

      Who wants to drive one of those annoying little things that buzz like a misquito? That zip in and out of traffic leaving waves of brake lights and congestion in their wake? That their drivers think are immune to traffic laws and the laws of physics?

      ” I said “no, only women and cripples drive automatics:”. Yea, well good luck with that. The manual transmission is fast becoming a thing of the past, unfortunately.

    • Roy, over 30 years ago I said it would be fine if I never set foot in a pickup again. That’s just not possible for me though. I’d druther ride/drive a car any old day but getting work done isn’t possible for me with a car.

      They really upped the ante in the 80’s and it caused pickups to become under-powered and not up to the job until car companies could sell enough tiny cars to bring some guts back into light trucks. History repeats.

      That was one reason why Japanese car companies got such a leg up on their American competition, simply because they were exempt from CAFE.

      There is a part of the federal govt. that is doing everything it can to destroy this country and CAFE is only part of that plan.

  40. “But $700 will buy about 1,900 gallons of gas”

    No, it won’t. That is a math fail. $700 divided by $2.65 per gallon is well under 300 gallons of gas.

        • By your standards maybe, not mine. Since there is no definition of well under, it is purely subjective. In my view, well under 300 would be somewhere below 250. . .

          • The point is this: if $700 worth of changes results in the vehicle getting 24 MPG instead of 20 MPG, then every 120 miles you drive you save one gallon of gas. Let’s be conservative and posit that the cost of gas for the next 3 years will average $2.50 a gallon. That means the $700 in changes will be the equivalent of 280 gallons of gas. 280 times 120 = 33,600 miles before you reach the break even point for that $700 upfront investment. And from then on, it’s pure profit.

            That’s a no-brainer investment, unless there are other hidden costs associated with how you got to 24 MPG that add to the overall operating costs of the vehicle, either financial costs or subjective enjoyment lost in the driving experience.

            • Hi Jim,

              I find that a 4 MPG difference – either way – in published (EPA) mileage is almost unnoticeable in real-world driving. Also, fuel matters a great deal. What would the gap be between, say, a naturally aspirated V-6 or V-8 burning non-ethanol gas and one of these EcoBoost engines? I’d be willing to bet the difference is much less.

              But, my bigger concern – as a potential buyer/owner – would not be the slight mileage advantage of the EcoBoost engines, or even the $700 price difference. It would be potential repair costs down the road. A twin-turbo 2.7 liter gas engine pressurized to 30-plus pounds of boost doesn’t seem like a good idea in a vehicle you’d like to use for work for the next 15-plus years.

              A turbo-diesel, sure.

              But gas?

              Twice turbo’d?

              No thanks!

              • Hi Eric,

                You’ve written article after article comparing similar cars, and talking about how they varied by one or two or three MPGs, and indicating that these differences mattered.

                Now you’re implying that a 4 MPG difference is insignificant.

                It means something, a 4 MPG increase in a vehicle that would otherwise get 20 MPG means more money in your pocket over the life of the car — if the tradeoffs for getting that increase are less than the value of the fuel savings.

                And there you’ve made some excellent points, that politicians who are bad at math and economics are trying to foist their ill-considered preferences onto others who either have different value systems or who have a better grasp of the tradeoffs involved. You have radical environmentalists who think CO2 is a pollutant rather than plant food, trying to use the brute force of government to prevent people who enjoy high performance cars from being able to have that enjoyment.

                If Ford was making these changes in the context of a politics-free market, solely because they thought this would be considered a better deal for customers, well, fine, either it would go well for them or it would flop. But, you’re right, the CAFE standards force automakers to irrationally overvalue fuel economy while ignoring or discounting the costs of the tradeoffs involved, making us worse off and less happy.

                And, yeah, I too would be wary of the longevity of a vehicle that, in normal driving, had to operate at high levels of boost most of the time, versus just having it kick in for a few seconds here or there when you want power. Maybe these teeny engines will hold up — the smallish 3.5 liter V6 in my Avalon outperforms much larger engines in older muscle cars, and it is still reliable with about 80K on the odometer — but I’d rather someone else perform that inadvertent extended road test.

                • RE: “— but I’d rather someone else perform that inadvertent extended road test.”

                  Ha! …Ah-yeah.

                  When you wrote, “Maybe these teeny engines will hold up —” I pictured a hamster on speed running on a stationary wheel.

                  In the background, a donkey prods on slowly.

                  Ya. Who knows? I guess time will tell. Who the winner is.

                  ….I haven’t seen any 1980’s mopeds on the roads lately,… well, not since the 1980’s. The road salt might’ve done in the RX-7’s, but the mopeds, I don’t think they saw that.
                  …I haven’t seen any of those (what, early 80’s mid-1990’s Mitsubishi’s either) … fookin’ Cash-For-Clunkers might’ve mixed that data-set up maybe?
                  …The early 80’s ‘Jump-in-the-air’ Corollas were all wiped out by road salt too, I imagine? There’s prolly still some around, but I Never see them on the road. …Ever.

                  …In the background (just shy of regularly) an early 80’s or a late 80’s Chevy truck with a sidestep bed pulls up next to me at the stop light. Varrrooom! (Heh. Not, Zoom-Zoom, but Varrrooom. Or, something like that).

                • Hi Jim,

                  Arguably, mileage is less a consideration in a full-size truck – which after all is bought primarily because it is large, capable and so on.

                  When shopping an economy car, a 4 MPG difference is very relevant… because the primary consideration is economy.

                  Do you believe there’s a market groundswell for an F-truck that gets 4 MPG better? I don’t see it. These trucks – in current form – are hugely popular. Not because they get good gas mileage, either.

                  My fundamental point is that this decision appears to have been driven not by the market but rather by government. The pressure to achieve compliance with CAFE is tremendous. And especially so for Ford, because it sells so many of these trucks – and because volume is a critical factor with regard to CAFE math.

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