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Old 06-01-2014, 10:44 AM   #31
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I have worked for the largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world for 35+ years. We use a huge amount of aluminum in our products and many of those componets are required to withstand years of high loads, flexing/heat cycles, impacts, and general hard use.....with amazing relialability and reletive light weight

Every part (including aluminum) that is used on a commercial, private, or military aircraft that will see any significant stress is designed, engineered, and fabricated using only the best practices that are proven to withstand any normal use that the end user can dish out.

The problem is that process is VERY expensive, but you ever fly, can bet your life (literly) that those aluminum componets will do the job they were designed to do.

The problem I see with using structural aluminim jeep parts is that the manufacturers cannot afford to design, engineer, and fabricate their products to the standards that I want.

So for now I'll stick to steel bumpers, skid plates, winch mounts, spare tire mounts, ect.

However, if produced properly aluminum structural componets were available at a reasonable price, you bet I would be interested!!

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Old 06-01-2014, 09:48 PM   #32
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Check out Savvy Offroad, their products' history and success rate, and talk to the designer Blaine Johnson. You'll be convinced.

I do a lot of work for your past employer so I'm right there with you. My aluminum products comprised of 6061-T6, 7075, and 5051 all have a success rate of 100% and I don't see that changing. You've got to remember that airplanes are up there, Jeeps are down here and the forces and usage each one sees are very different. The testing and design requirements reflect those differences.

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Old 06-05-2014, 10:54 PM   #33
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There's more misinformation and uninformed people in this thread than there is the opposite.

Aluminum used in offroad armor and bumper applications is nothing new. Those in the know have been doing it for years and these types of discussions have been going on for just as long. Go to some of the toughest offroad events in the world and you'll see tons of aluminum being used in all types of applications.

If you don't think it's a suitable material for armor and bumpers on Jeeps that are used on the toughest trails in the world, you don't know what you're talking about. That's not meant to offend anyone, it's simply a statement from someone with a fair bit of experience and education in materials science and one who deals with fatigue and fracture testing of aluminum every day.

If you'd like to learn more, the information is out there and isn't tough to find. You can read for hours upon hours on this exact subject and as long as you have an average IQ, you'll appreciate what aluminum has to offer over steel.

My personal TJ has full aluminum corners, aluminum sliders, an aluminum belly skid, aluminum steering box skid, aluminum front bumper/winch mount, aluminum fuel cell, aluminum control arms, and a few other odds and ends. The weight savings over comparable steel items is significant and the level of protection is virtually identical.
I've built countless high voltage electrical cabinets, brackets and all sorts of parts for chemical plants and refineries out of carbon steel and stainless. For the last ten or so years and especially since the price of Aluminum (various alloys) has fallen more in alignment with steel we have been using aluminum probably 80% of the time. Aluminum is a joy to work with, welding and forming. Just really getting started with 4WD Jeeps and have begun making skid plates 1/4" plate mostly, and various other things for my wife's JKU. The aluminum plates have taken the full weight and abuse very well indeed. It is her DD, but we have been bashing it on trails that it really was never meant to be on (it just happens to be fun) . It looks like we will be getting her a new JKUR in 2015 and I will be taking over hers, Aluminum is going to play a major role in the future of that JKU. Your points are spot on.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:21 PM   #34
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I have worked for the largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world for 35+ years. We use a huge amount of aluminum in our products and many of those componets are required to withstand years of high loads, flexing/heat cycles, impacts, and general hard use.....with amazing relialability and reletive light weight

Every part (including aluminum) that is used on a commercial, private, or military aircraft that will see any significant stress is designed, engineered, and fabricated using only the best practices that are proven to withstand any normal use that the end user can dish out.

The problem is that process is VERY expensive, but you ever fly, can bet your life (literly) that those aluminum componets will do the job they were designed to do.

I repaired the damged skins of A6s in the field using cold rivets and hand tools to cut out damaged areas and files to smooth the edges and card stock pressed into those holes to give proper expansion and contraction clearance for the subsequent patch and backer plates. craweled down through the fuselages to install many of these repairs.

You do not need to be a design engineer to use materials and to apply good fabrication skills coupled with proven materials (even if they were tested and proven in jet aircraft) to build a badzzz bumper that will take pretty much more abuse than you will ever want to apply to your jeep frame or your four point harness for that matter.

The problem I see with using structural aluminim jeep parts is that the manufacturers cannot afford to design, engineer, and fabricate their products to the standards that I want.

So for now I'll stick to steel bumpers, skid plates, winch mounts, spare tire mounts, ect.

However, if produced properly aluminum structural componets were available at a reasonable price, you bet I would be interested!!
I repaired the damaged skins of A6s in the field using cold rivets and hand tools to cut out damaged areas and files to smooth the edges and card stock pressed into those holes to give proper expansion and contraction clearance for the subsequent patch and backer plates. crawled down through the fuselages to install many of these repairs. And watched those jets fly fly off to continue the good work they were known for.

You do not need to be a aerospace design engineer (or rocket scientist) to use materials and to apply good fabrication skills coupled with proven materials (even if they were tested and proven in jet aircraft) to build a badzzz bumper or skid plates for a Jeep that will take much more abuse than you will ever want to apply to your jeeps frame or your four point harness for that matter.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:57 AM   #35
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I would say it depends on your usage. If you gonna be bashing it into stuff all the time then go with steel skids and bumper. If its for looks and the occasional ooooopsss then you should be ok with aluminum. I have an aluminum River Raider oil pan skid, but I knew I wouldent be banging into it every weekend or anything its just there for the accidental stump or log covered in snow that I didnt see, so for me the advantages of aluminum prevailed.
Agree with this. If doing much rock crawling, stick with steel. Otherwise aluminum is great.

I do mostly rock crawling, so mostly steel. I've save some weight by doing plastic fenders + ditched the hard top. I like the soft top more anyway.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:19 PM   #36
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Ever notice that Aluminum trailers are showing up on the highway more and more these days? Do you think its because they want to pull weak trailers or maybe you think it's because they are now closer in price to steel and they can now carry more weight in freight in ratio to trailer weight without exceeding the DOT 80,000 lb limit. I don't sell aluminum I just think misinformation or lack of it can keep some folks from getting out of the box. You better stick to steel wheels because those aluminum wheels cant take rock crawling or Baja or the Hammers, or......They are not nearly heavy enough.
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:28 PM   #37
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Ever notice that Aluminum trailers are showing up on the highway more and more these days? Do you think its because they want to pull weak trailers or maybe you think it's because they are now closer in price to steel and they can now carry more weight in freight in ratio to trailer weight without exceeding the DOT 80,000 lb limit. I don't sell aluminum I just think misinformation or lack of it can keep some folks from getting out of the box. You better stick to steel wheels because those aluminum wheels cant take rock crawling or Baja or the Hammers, or......They are not nearly heavy enough.
They're also not coming in contact with rocks with those trailers. I didn't say it isn't strong, just that it should be avoided for rock crawlers. Apparently you didn't understand that part...
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:57 PM   #38
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:04 PM   #39
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I have hit and dragged my aluminum TF rails often so they have taken a beating and are holding up great. The rest of the skids are steel but I will probably end up with an aluminum rear bumper before too long. I am a firm believer that aluminum can hold up great on the trails.
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:10 PM   #40
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Example of properly designed aluminum used in rough service:

https://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motora...161112760.html
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:43 PM   #41
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Agree with this. If doing much rock crawling, stick with steel.
Negative, ghost rider. Rocks are all I really care for.
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:13 PM   #42
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Negative, ghost rider. Rocks are all I really care for.
Ha!! I had a feeling you would see this and post.
Was it JKO there was a ALUM vs steel debate as well?
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:57 PM   #43
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Ha!! I had a feeling you would see this and post.
Was it JKO there was a ALUM vs steel debate as well?
Isn't it as common as 2 door vs. 4? 4dr is clearly better btw...
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:05 PM   #44
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Isn't it as common as 2 door vs. 4? 4dr is clearly better btw...
Not really ... Not on here anyways. 2 door FTW
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:36 AM   #45
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Ha!! I had a feeling you would see this and post.
Was it JKO there was a ALUM vs steel debate as well?
I don't know. I've engaged in far too many of them to remember where they took place.

What I said earlier is really all that needs to be said. If you (not you in particular) can't comprehend the benefits, sorry bout ya.
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:46 PM   #46
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Just thought I'd paste what I just read on the Poison Spyder site when looking at their fenders that come in both steel and aluminum:

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Crusher Flares™ are available in either heavy duty steel or light weight aluminum, to suit the needs of a wide variety of Jeep owners and their four-wheeling requirements. Choose steel for heavy duty ruggedness, for use on Jeeps that see a lot of time in the rocks and hard core wheeling. Opt for aluminum when weight savings is an issue, or on Jeeps that will only see mild off-road use with reduced chances of encounters with the rocks.
So if the manufacturer is saying the aluminum is only for non rock crawlers, I would tend to believe them over the nonsense stated in this thread.

I've talked to other vendors about aluminum vs. steel as well. Genright comes to mind. They have said the same thing -- steel for a rock crawler.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:01 PM   #47
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:15 PM   #48
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Just thought I'd paste what I just read on the Poison Spyder site when looking at their fenders that come in both steel and aluminum:

So if the manufacturer is saying the aluminum is only for non rock crawlers, I would tend to believe them over the nonsense stated in this thread.

I've talked to other vendors about aluminum vs. steel as well. Genright comes to mind. They have said the same thing -- steel for a rock crawler.
My fenders are steel and there's more than one way to look at that argument. Aluminum fenders will yield before steel fenders will, which could very well save your tub from crushing. I've seen some pretty nasty tub damage due to energy transfer through steel tube fenders. The same methodology (intentional crumple zones and/or sacrificial components) is used in many other applications. And no, I'm not saying that tapping a tree or rubbing up against a rock will crumple aluminum fenders, especially those from PSC.

Oh, but wait.....that's nonsense because I don't work for PSC.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:36 PM   #49
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Just thought I'd paste what I just read on the Poison Spyder site when looking at their fenders that come in both steel and aluminum:

So if the manufacturer is saying the aluminum is only for non rock crawlers, I would tend to believe them over the nonsense stated in this thread.

I've talked to other vendors about aluminum vs. steel as well. Genright comes to mind. They have said the same thing -- steel for a rock crawler.
River raider has a very similar disclaimer on there site about there aluminum vs. Steel skids.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:40 PM   #50
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From the river raider site.

" Note: Our aluminum skids, while offering excellent protection, will not stand up to the same level of abuse as our steel skids."

I'm not trying to say aluminum doesn't have its place... It does, I have aluminum skids under mine. But that doesn't mean its for everyone. My suggestion would be to talk to the manufacturer, see what they suggest for your purpose. Then do research to make sure its what you want. "Check but verify".
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:53 AM   #51
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Manufactures prob don't want people calling them back and requesting new parts due to scratches/gouging, etc.
Most if us are new to wheeling like myself and don't know the difference. The disclaimers are there to protect the manufacturer....
Just a guess.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:50 AM   #52
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Manufactures prob don't want people calling them back and requesting new parts due to scratches/gouging, etc.
Most if us are new to wheeling like myself and don't know the difference. The disclaimers are there to protect the manufacturer....
Just a guess.
Correct.

Take a look at the gentlemen over at Savvy. They engage in the hardest recreational wheeling and competitive racing in the world. They use aluminum of the appropriate type, thickness and design in most at-risk locations, skids, fenders, etc. Even in those extreme conditions, the benefits outweigh the cons if executed correctly.

Go to a U4 event and see how many guys are running steel wheels. Also take a close look at the belly skids and control arms....hell, even steering knuckles and steering links. I bet you see a lot of aluminum.

There's more to this argument than what you see at the surface, which is where most stop unfortunatley.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:16 PM   #53
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Manufactures prob don't want people calling them back and requesting new parts due to scratches/gouging, etc.
Most if us are new to wheeling like myself and don't know the difference. The disclaimers are there to protect the manufacturer....
Just a guess.
That's the main complaint I hear from people with aluminum -- it might not break in half, but it does not take scrapes and dents as well. It will get pretty ugly from the gouging. Unlike steel that will just get some minor surface scratches that can be touched up.

I'd love to cut some weight, but not if it means using armor that doesn't protect (the purpose of armor) or looks awful after a hit.
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Old 06-12-2014, 01:19 PM   #54
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I personally like Aluminum accessories, including bumpers!
This will save on your fuel consumption, and not de-grade your power loss as much.

But yes, safety also plays a major factor into it!

I worked with on highway trucks, (18 wheelers) and managed one of the largest Peterbilt Service Departments, including Body Shop, in the nation.
The front Bumpers used on these Trucks, have to meet DOT Safety standards. They were manufactured from Aircraft, (Airo-Space) 7075 Aluminum. Which is light weight, but very hard and durable.

So the bottom line is, if you want light weight, but with strength and durability, then 7075 is a option, but get your wallet out, because it ain't going to be cheap.........
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Old 06-12-2014, 04:11 PM   #55
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That's the main complaint I hear from people with aluminum -- it might not break in half, but it does not take scrapes and dents as well. It will get pretty ugly from the gouging. Unlike steel that will just get some minor surface scratches that can be touched up.

I'd love to cut some weight, but not if it means using armor that doesn't protect (the purpose of armor) or looks awful after a hit.
I've cut myself on more gouged steel components than I have on gouged aluminum components.....and all of my skids and body armor are aluminum. Scratch/gouge resistance is similar between basic mild steel and 60 and 70 series aluminum used in these applications, given the conditions they're seeing.

As for not protecting.....huh? My tub is still nice and straight with no dents and it's never seen anything but aluminum armor. It's been on its side while laying on boulders. You're listening to the wrong people.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:17 PM   #56
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There is nothing wrong with aluminum, steel or even plastic bumpers or armor for that matter. It just depends on what your priorities and budget are.

Steel is the material of choice for many applications because it offers the best price/performance of any material for automotive applications (but not aerospace). You can deviate and use other materials but its a tradeoff. Aluminum offers less weight and easier manufacturing in some cases at the expense of hardness, tensile strength and fatigue tolerance.

If weight is more important than maximum strength and you don't mind paying extra then aluminum is a good choice. But if you like to push the envelope on rocks and other obstacles the steel is probably a better choice. Stainless steel is even better.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:22 AM   #57
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Steel = safety? What?? I have news for you. Every aftermarket aluminum bumper I have ever seen is stronger than the OEM bumper. As was stated sometimes a sacrificial part is preferred. When it comes to safety of the occupants, everything from the bumper to cab is designed to give under the right conditions. The goal is not to build the strongest cage with no give. The goal is to allow the change in velocity of the occupant to be as low as possible in relation the change in velocity of the vehicle during a crash. The crumple zones are the mechanism, or cushion if you will, that allows for this to happen. If you remove a portion of that mechanism and replace it with a solid material that is stronger than the frame it is mounted to, it is the next part in line that will give earlier because you have removed an energy dissipation device. I am not saying not to install a new bumper as I may do the same to mine at some point (they will most likely be aluminum) but saying that the steel bumper is safer, is a complete misunderstanding of vehicle safety engineering. As the price of aluminum continues to get more inline with steel, you will see much more of it in vehicle manufacturing.
If I misunderstood your statement, I apologize in advance.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:31 AM   #58
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Steel = safety? What?? I have news for you. Every aftermarket aluminum bumper I have ever seen is stronger than the OEM bumper. As was stated sometimes a sacrificial part is preferred. When it comes to safety of the occupants, everything from the bumper to cab is designed to give under the right conditions. The goal is not to build the strongest cage with no give. The goal is to allow the change in velocity of the occupant to be as low as possible in relation the change in velocity of the vehicle during a crash. The crumple zones are the mechanism, or cushion if you will, that allows for this to happen. If you remove a portion of that mechanism and replace it with a solid material that is stronger than the frame it is mounted to, it is the next part in line that will give earlier because you have removed an energy dissipation device. I am not saying not to install a new bumper as I may do the same to mine at some point (they will most likely be aluminum) but saying that the steel bumper is safer, is a complete misunderstanding of vehicle safety engineering. As the price of aluminum continues to get more inline with steel, you will see much more of it in vehicle manufacturing.
If I misunderstood your statement, I apologize in advance.
It's nice to see someone thinking clearly. As I stated before, there's more to this argument than what you see at the surface.
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:27 AM   #59
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I have a strong preference for aluminum products: bicycles, hand gliders, tents, airplanes even beer cans.

However, to sit here and claim that aluminum has stronger mechanical properties than carbon steel is absurd. Check out these two tables. You don't need a degree in materials science. Look at columns 3-7. Larger numbers are better. This doesn't even include fatigue. Both metals have their place.

Properties of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys - Engineer's Handbook

Properties of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys - Engineer's Handbook

As far as bumpers go why not check out wood.
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:34 AM   #60
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I have a strong preference for aluminum products: bicycles, hand gliders, tents, airplanes even beer cans.

However, to sit here and claim that aluminum has stronger mechanical properties than carbon steel is absurd. Check out these two tables. You don't need a degree in materials science. Look at columns 3-7. Larger numbers are better. This doesn't even include fatigue. Both metals have their place.

Properties of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys - Engineer's Handbook

Properties of Aluminum Die Casting Alloys - Engineer's Handbook

As far as bumpers go why not check out wood.
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