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Old 08-06-2019, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Aluminum.......your friend or foe?

Wondering if anyone is fabricating themselves, or using aftermarket aluminum bumpers and hitch receivers / recovery points on their trucks?

I'm considering changing my front and rear bumpers from heavy steel to aluminum, in the interest of weight-savings. Yes, less weight is more power, and I figure I could shed at least 125 lbs by replacing steel with aluminum here. I know, 125lbs doesn't sound like much, but, on an underpowered zuk, it is.

Obviously, your wheeling needs would either favor the use of aluminum, or negate it's use on your rig. My zuk is intended for more exped / mild trail use rather than crawling and challenging terrain. If / when I use my winch, it's to get out of trouble, not deeper into it.

So, on that note, what are your thots on using 1/4" thick square tube, with plate aluminum added for reinforcement, for use as a vehicle-recovery receiver hitch?

Ditto for a swing-away spare tire carrier? My current one is 2 x 2 x .125" steel. with lots of bracing, double shear, strong, heavy, but the reality is, is that it's overbuilt for my needs. I tend to overbuild all of my junk.
Anyone make one from aluminum?

I'm confident that I could make the bumpers and guards from aluminum, being functional, although, with a big hit, they may bend [ more easily ] than steel.

Aluminum boys? Lets hear it.
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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People have been building anything and everything 4x4 related out of aluminium for years, do it.
It's not the material that fails, its the design.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Is it Tuesday?

I don't see why this is a discussion....as the previous poster said, its been done for years already with success. When used in the right places, weight savings can be nice without taking away from function but at a significant cost.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Is it Tuesday?

I don't see why this is a discussion....as the previous poster said, its been done for years already with success. When used in the right places, weight savings can be nice without taking away from function but at a significant cost.
So guys have been making aluminum receivers and aluminum swing away tire carriers for years?
I have yet to see a plethora of these aluminum projects, anywhere.

Have pics?
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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be sure to separate the aluminum from steel components properly or else itll corrode the aluminum

also aluminum welding is easier to fawk up compared to welding steel

and aluminum bends... easily...

no i havnt seen a bolt on production aluminum bumper

yes i have seen aluminum skid plates and other bashable components before
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So guys have been making aluminum receivers and aluminum swing away tire carriers for years?
I have yet to see a plethora of these aluminum projects, anywhere.

Have pics?


https://idealoffroad.com/collections...rrier-aluminum
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Old 08-06-2019, 03:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Gen-Right has been making bumpers, fenders, rockers, tire carries out of aluminum for years.. Also there's a reason aluminum links are more popular. But using the correct material makes all the difference.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A few years ago I remember Savvy off road or however you spell their name making aluminum bumpers for jeeps and stuff. I would have bought a rear Samurai bumper if they made one. Now I just want aluminum steering links for some reason.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Aluminum bars were/are fairly common in Australia. Initially for cars that spend time on the beach due to corrosion concerns and for large vehicles where high weight is a concern (aluminium bars are normal or OTR trucks) and more recently for vehicles where front end weight is a big issue. They are not used in trail vehicles that see repeated impacts - they're a one shot deal - one animal hit or whatever and they are replaced. typically they fail around their mounts in an impact.

I have never seen an alloy tire carrier/rear bar combo. I'd suggest the reason will be related to fatigue. Building complex aluminium structures with moving parts that have to resist high levels of vibration, impact, and cyclic load is hard. Lots of aluminum parts that I've seen over the years (flatbed trays, roof racks, bar work etc) has been riddled with fatigue cracks, especially around the site of an impact.

If you're willing to do the design work and heat treatment, it's possible to build anything you like out of aluminium, but the cost of manufacture and the critical nature of any welding tends to make it impractical. Bear in mind that most aluminium structures where very high strength/weight are required are riveted/bonded, not welded. (yes, I know bicycle frames are an exception, but they have a much shorter life than a steel frame)

Locally, alloy bumpers do not integrate winch mounts, again for reasons of cost and fatigue. The winch is retained in a steel cradle which is independently bolted to the chassis. I have never seen an alloy bar incorporate a recovery point. Again, I think anything is possible, but the level of engineering and construction required (along with the practicality of use - what if that recovery point ends up 1.5" thick once you've calculated it out?) mean it's not worth it.

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Old 08-09-2019, 01:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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be sure to separate the aluminum from steel components properly or else itll corrode the aluminum

also aluminum welding is easier to fawk up compared to welding steel

and aluminum bends... easily...

no i havnt seen a bolt on production aluminum bumper

yes i have seen aluminum skid plates and other bashable components before
Factory made ARB aluminum bar for the 200 series Landcruiser



I don't understand the appeal of alloy skid plates. Using cheap grades of alloy with low surface hardness just creates a plate that galls and grabs on everything. I think the practice comes from rally vehicles that aren't point loading their skid plates - it's more of a pan to prevent damage to components above. For some equally inexplicable reason, alloy tread plate seems a common material to use too - guaranteeing you'll get jammed on whatever it was you were trying to slide over.
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I don't understand the appeal of alloy skid plates.
It makes perfect sense if your goal is to maximize the amount of money you want to take from stupid people. There's a reason that 99% of the time you see that shit it's on some Toyota that never gets wheeled.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Factory made ARB aluminum bar for the 200 series Landcruiser



I don't understand the appeal of alloy skid plates. Using cheap grades of alloy with low surface hardness just creates a plate that galls and grabs on everything. I think the practice comes from rally vehicles that aren't point loading their skid plates - it's more of a pan to prevent damage to components above. For some equally inexplicable reason, alloy tread plate seems a common material to use too - guaranteeing you'll get jammed on whatever it was you were trying to slide over.
average guy doesnt make sense

for street queens it looks "cool"

if youve got money to burn then you could take advantage of the lighter weight and replace as needed

and who said it has to be a cheap grade of alloy?
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I think if it can be safely put into action instead of steel than why not. Aluminum is sweet. Except for skid plates. I know a bunch of people with aluminum skid plates and they get destroyed where steel stays intact..
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think if it can be safely put into action instead of steel than why not. Aluminum is sweet.
Sure. See my comments re fatigue.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I agree, in Industry I've seen lots of cracked welds in fabricated parts. You can't just design a part as you would with steel.
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