Originally Posted by StuckinMud
Had a long discussion with a ford frame engineer about a year ago. He would not give any details and said we would have to wait and see but we may be surprised. We did at length discuss the issues with a hydro frame. The tone was that it would not be on the truck. There are a lot of hurdles that hurt the use on a superduty. #1 is aftermarket support. The trucks are popular because you can hang anything on the frame you want. Bumpers, beds, plows etc..
A hydroformed fame by nature will not allow the flexibility to drill it at will and bolt something to it. It was also said they are very un-weld friendly. There were a few other points but the tone did not look good for it. I would not be surprised if you see a true C-channel frame with returns separating from a somewhat U-shape(for torsional stiffness). Or we could get a version of a boxed frame.
Hard to say I will just have to take a field trip and get a good look. Then again the test mules are usually a newer drive train in an older body.
Great post. The only thing you missed is when the truck has been in a wreck. Even though GM has had hydroformed truck frames since the 99 model year I still talk to bodymen on a weekly basis that don't know the do's and don'ts when it comes to repairing or replacing.
While I'm sure tens of thousands of trucks with hydro frames have been heated and pulled the fact of the matter is IF you have to apply heat to make the frame pull it's GAME OVER and you must replace the frame.
Unfortunately a lot of estimators/managers/owners/body men still don't know this.
A perfect example is the shop in NE ATL where I take my work to. The estimator/manager knew this but the co-owner who has done body work for 15+ years (now is one of their painters) did not until I brought it up. He told me he's heated and pulled many in the past because he didn't know.
I was at a body shop in Tallahassee, FL about a year ago and they had a 2yo D'max dually that hit a palm tree pretty easy front dead center. Even though the radiator had just barely been pushed into the fan the problem was the frame horns were bent to the point they needed 'heated' frame pulling.
What could have been a $4K repair turned into a $12K+ repair because a new frame was spec'd/required and believe me when I say a hydro frame bends easily but requires a torch and 12 tons to pull.
The g/f has a new 150 and the positive thing about a hydro is you can run 70 mph down a dirt road and feels/sounds like you are doing 40 mph. That's fine for a chick truck but I'll take a real frame any day of the week.
Something to consider too: If the frame can't be pulled and must be replaced who benefits now?