Ford Aluminum-Body F-150: Beauty More Than Skin Deep

Updated Mar 28, 2014

2015 F150 Body Repair Upgrades2015 F-150 Design Makes Crash Repairs Faster, Easier and Cheaper

Ford is continuing to release more and more tidbits of information about the forthcoming 2015 F-150 and some of the innovations it brings along with the aluminum-body design. 

While Ford’s design and powertrain teams devoted years to making the next generation F-150 a head-turner, another group of engineers worked behind the scenes developing new ways to reduce costs associated with the inevitable of any vehicle – accident repairs.  

John Norton, Ford’s Chief Engineer for Customer Service Engineering (CSE), the group tasked with the maintenance and repair side of new vehicles, told Hard Working Trucks the 2015 F-150 is designed to save money in both parts and labor when it comes to collision repairs.

Norton says front to rear, the aluminum-bodied F-150 has been designed to keep accident repair costs and vehicle downtime minimized.

(Colored and tagged components in the image above show structural components that are new designs to the 2015 F-150.)

“The frame sectioning is similar to today’s truck (Front and rear), however on the 2015 F-150 the lower control arm bracket will be replaceable; whereas today’s truck would require the front frame section be replaced if the bracket was damaged,” says Norton siting one example of what’s hidden under the new truck’s skin. 

Another example of the new F-150’s design toward reducing downtime and collision repair costs are the upper structural supports for the the front fenders.  

If that area is hit hard enough to bend the supports around the engine bay, repairs are very time consuming says Norton.

Each area painted or tagged has been changed to make structural repairs easier than current F-150. (Click to view larger)Each area painted or tagged has been changed to make structural repairs easier than current F-150. (Click to view larger)

The typical repair an auto body shop makes presently requires six to eight hours removing the damaged structural supports and components inside the cab to access and replace the damaged pieces. 

“With the 2015 F-150 we’ve re-designed those components so now all you have to do is remove the fender and the front door to replace the damaged apron tube. That’s a big cost savings from just the labor perspective alone,” says Norton.

Another area that’s been redesigned is the floor pan and floor pan cross member, which can now be sectioned instead of requiring complete replacement, which is costly in both parts and labor.

Norton says those are just a few examples of many areas CSE  spent years refining and redesigning to make the 2015 F-150 easier to service – and, when accidents happen,to repair –  than the model it will be replacing. 

That should be good news to both prospective owners, repair shops, and insurers of Ford’s forthcoming half-tons.