2018 Jeep Wrangler Aluminum Parts Confirmed by Alcoa

JoKer

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If this makes the doors less heavy and easier to take on/off and carry, all the better for my back. What worries me a little is the existing sheet metal already feels kinda flimsy. Whenever I wash it by hand I almost fear putting dents in.

But seriously as long as the Wrangler doesn't change too much on its styling (basic box) or configuration (body on frame), the Jeep enthusiasts will continue eating it up.
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If this makes the doors less heavy and easier to take on/off and carry, all the better for my back. What worries me a little is the existing sheet metal already feels kinda flimsy. Whenever I wash it by hand I almost fear putting dents in.

But seriously as long as the Wrangler doesn't change too much on its styling (basic box) or configuration (body on frame), the Jeep enthusiasts will continue eating it up.
I'll have the new 2018 JLUR CRD with some Fava beans and a nice Chianti. F-F-F-F-F

:D:D:D:D:D
 

Corduroy

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It sounds like only the inner doors will be AL while the outer skin might still be made of steel.

My guess is this will make it lighter and easier to remove but they kept the door exterior steel to protect one of the most easily damageable areas.
Makes sense. I think Jeep is just dipping their toes with aluminum in the Wrangler. It's good for weight reduction but on the back end adds a lot of cost and some complexity both from a mfgr POV and on the consumer end. This to a vehicle that's supposed to be as spartan and uncomplicated as it gets.
 

Otto

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So aluminum will save weight over steel but could the weight savings be negated by additional stuff we're going to see on the JL like the fixed roof structure, new nav unit, longer hood, etc.?
 

Jeep XXL

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So aluminum will save weight over steel but could the weight savings be negated by additional stuff we're going to see on the JL like the fixed roof structure, new nav unit, longer hood, etc.?
The new roof structure will add more weight yes but it will also reduce the need for strengthening and bolstering the rest of the body (for rigidity), so that could save some weight. Sorta like how a convertible is heavier than coupe/sedans because they need more body strengthening to make up for lack of a roof structure.

But you have a point, I think what'll happen at the end of the day is the JL Wrangler won't be much lighter, if at all.
 

SWinch

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But you have a point, I think what'll happen at the end of the day is the JL Wrangler won't be much lighter, if at all.
True but it will have more efficient engines throughout the lineup so it'll get better MPG even if same weight. Yea and increased MPG is really what most Wrangler owners will care about, not curb weight. Not like we're putting our cars on a track where weight affects dynamics a lot.
 

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True but it will have more efficient engines throughout the lineup so it'll get better MPG even if same weight. Yea and increased MPG is really what most Wrangler owners will care about, not curb weight. Not like we're putting our cars on a track where weight affects dynamics a lot.
My guess is the JL will actually be heavier since it will be loaded with more safety, comfort and convenience features. A mechanical top could also add weight. It may also have grown a few inches. The aluminum could be used to offset all of that and the 4 banger, diesel, revised V6 and more aerodynamic shape will all add up to provide better MPG.
 

CorpCow

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True but it will have more efficient engines throughout the lineup so it'll get better MPG even if same weight. Yea and increased MPG is really what most Wrangler owners will care about, not curb weight. Not like we're putting our cars on a track where weight affects dynamics a lot.
Yes but the less weight the engine has to move around the better power-to-weight ratio it'll have. And that might does make a difference whether you're just accelerating on the highway or off roading in a canyon somewhere.
 

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Looking at this from FCA's perspective, I wonder what the financial justification for use of aluminum to improve MPG is...
 

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Looking at this from FCA's perspective, I wonder what the financial justification for use of aluminum to improve MPG is...
Simple.

CAFE.
 

Corduroy

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Interesting article here about the different ways the companies are approaching the weight/CAFE goals.

I think we are going to see an all aluminum Wrangler one day as the regulations get even tighter but CAFE is a fleet average target as I understand it so as we get more electric/hybrid cars it should allow some leeway for vehicles like the Wrangler.

http://www.autonews.com/article/201...others-arent-adopting-fords-aluminum-strategy


Why others aren't adopting Ford's aluminum strategy

Some observers expected a rush to aluminum after Ford last year switched the body of the venerable F-150 pickup from steel to the lightweight metal.

It didn’t happen.

Fiat Chrysler is sticking with steel for the next-gen Jeep Wrangler due out in 2017 as a 2018 model.

Nissan stayed with steel for the redesigned Titan pickup arriving this fall, and Honda did so for the next-generation Ridgeline.


Toyota is not likely to convert its big pickup, the Tundra, to aluminum. Nor is FCA expected to switch the Ram to an aluminum body with the next generation. The cost is high, and the Ram is already the mpg leader.


General Motors is likely to increase the aluminum content in its pickups but stop short of going to a complete aluminum body on the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.


Instead, using its patented aluminum welding process, GM will use a mixed metal approach on the next generation of its full-size pickups that combines steel and aluminum.


The upcoming Cadillac CT6 sedan is GM’s first high-volume vehicle to use all-aluminum outer body panels, but the CT6 uses steel components where extra strength is needed. Think of the CT6 as a dry run for the next Silverado and Sierra.


It’s starting to look like the switch to all-aluminum bodies for high-volume vehicles may not happen at all. Here’s why: Ford’s strategy for the change in metals doesn’t apply to other automakers.


Before the F-150’schange in metals:

• The F-150 was overweight compared with most similarly equipped competitive trucks.
• Ford had been dabbling in aluminum manufacturing technology and lightweight bodies since the 1990s.
• The company’s patented aluminum manufacturing process got a test run in England while Ford owned Jaguar. The XJ sedan switched to aluminum in 2003.
• Ford sees the F-150’s aluminum body as a way to differentiate the pickup from its competitors and to hone an image of advanced engineering.
• Lightweight aluminum complements Ford’s industry-leading effort to reduce engine size. The revamped F-150 has garnered positive reviews for the strong performance of its V-6 engines, the smallest of which is just 2.7 liters.
• When Derrick Kuzak was Ford’s product development chief, the company set goals to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment and to reduce the weight of its vehicles. The new F-150 helps Ford delivers on those goals.

Other automakers are finding different ways to reduce weight and improve fuel economy that are not as disruptive, costly, risky and complex as switching to aluminum.


For example, the steel-bodied Ram 1500, with its optional diesel engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, is leading the pickup fuel economy race with an EPA rating of 29 mpg highway.


GM’s steel-bodied, diesel-powered Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will crash through the 30-mpg barrier when they debut later this year, promises Jeff Luke, chief engineer for midsize and full-size trucks.


Chevrolet in July launched a series of ads touting the high-strength steel in the Silverado because GM doesn’t believe aluminum is the best metal for hardworking pickups. The ads play on people’s perceptions of aluminum as an easily bendable metal that is expensive to repair.


Here’s the thing about aluminum vs. steel: There’s never just one way to solve an engineering problem. Marketing requirements, such as Ford’s desire for an image of advanced engineering, also help determine the way vehicles are developed.


Even if no other automaker follows Ford and converts a pickup to aluminum, it doesn’t mean Ford made a bad decision. Switching the F-150 to aluminum enables the automaker to work toward its own unique corporate goals.


Now Ford has to absorb a few hits as competitors try to exploit perceived weaknesses in the company’s all-out bet. GM and Ford are in a royal battle for market share and image in the lucrative pickup segment, and the gloves are off. Those new Chevy ads are designed to sow maximum doubt in the minds of buyers.


It’ll be interesting to see how Ford responds.
 

SWinch

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Looking at this from FCA's perspective, I wonder what the financial justification for use of aluminum to improve MPG is...
That depends upon who's paying. :)

You gain/lose about 1% per 100 lbs. Here’s a brief summary:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-weight-does-it-take-to-reduce-the-gas-mileage-a-vehicle-gets-by-1-mpg

With aluminum, you save weight, but must add back some structure for high stress areas. Processing is also more difficult and costly, but you save a little in shipping.

So if the steel Wrangler’s hood and doors weigh 500 lbs, made from aluminum they might weigh 250 lbs, saving 250 lbs. If it costs $5/lb to produce the steel product, and maybe $10/lb to produce the aluminum product, you might break even. Repair costs will be higher, but fuel costs will be lower in the long run.

So the answer is… it depends.
 

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It sounds like only the inner doors will be AL while the outer skin might still be made of steel.

My guess is this will make it lighter and easier to remove but they kept the door exterior steel to protect one of the most easily damageable areas.
You might be right. Marchione did say they considered an all aluminum body but scaled it back. I wonder if for the same reasons you mentioned.

That depends upon who's paying. :)

You gain/lose about 1% per 100 lbs. Here’s a brief summary:

https://www.quora.com/How-much-weight-does-it-take-to-reduce-the-gas-mileage-a-vehicle-gets-by-1-mpg

With aluminum, you save weight, but must add back some structure for high stress areas. Processing is also more difficult and costly, but you save a little in shipping.

So if the steel Wrangler’s hood and doors weigh 500 lbs, made from aluminum they might weigh 250 lbs, saving 250 lbs. If it costs $5/lb to produce the steel product, and maybe $10/lb to produce the aluminum product, you might break even. Repair costs will be higher, but fuel costs will be lower in the long run.

So the answer is… it depends.
Do they really need a financial reason? Isn't it all federally mandated that vehicles have to get lighter in order to get more fuel efficient? The companies have to find a way to make it work if they wanna stay in business.
 

RobNY

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You might be right. Marchione did say they considered an all aluminum body but scaled it back. I wonder if for the same reasons you mentioned.
Plus aluminum is more difficult to repair so that's a good thing for owners if the outer layer is steel.

Do they really need a financial reason? Isn't it all federally mandated that vehicles have to get lighter in order to get more fuel efficient? The companies have to find a way to make it work if they wanna stay in business.
That mandate may be changing and easing soon because of the new administration. I wonder if this will slow down the trend of the lightening of cars and more and more efficient (and smaller) engines.
 

Cam

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It might keep the big engines around for a bit longer but it'll take more than 4 or 8 years to reverse this trend. And these plans are probably already inked for the next decade or so.

As far as the shift to aluminum. Cars are just too heavy these days. I'm all for it since it will not only improve MPG but has a lot of positive effects on performance.
 
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