Why has no one discussed saving weight? - PowerStrokeNation : Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Why has no one discussed saving weight?

Alright, we've beaten aerodynamics to death, and debated types of fuels and common upgrade misconceptions. The one thing I don't hear here is weight savings. I know that our trucks are meant to pull trailers and carry heavy objects so it seems like a joke trying to make our trucks lighter, but weight is one of the spiral effects, if you can save weight, you can reduce the rate of other components like suspension and brakes and engine power. For starters lets look at composite body panels (I was a materials engineer so I'll use the proper term instead of debating fiberglass vs carbon fiber and the likes). I know hard core off roaders have them made to reduce damage, and racers use them for weight savings. A one piece lift of front end would probably save around ~200 lbs if you combined the hood, grill, and fenders and bumper (even more for you Dave with your aero mods), plus it would allow for easier access to the engine. A composite skinned and aluminum framed bed would save a couple hundred, composite door would do the like and eliminate the corrosion problems along the sills. These parts have little structural strength, or atleast none that requires steel (and all in all a properly formed carbon fiber shape has pound for pound much more strength than steel so don't try to talk about 'flimsy plastics'). Suspension is next, flex-a-form leaf springs weigh less than half what current steel ones weigh (but remember what I said about spiral effect, if the truck weighs less then the suspension can be reduced). Sway bars and trac bars are not to far off. Composite drive shafts reduce rotational mass, somebody on the othersite did it, got it from this place: http://www.acpt.com/driveshaft/driveshafts.html, cermic brake rotors aren't that far off, I know, I worked with a company (starfire) that was making them, motorcycles use them all ready. You could do the body of the truck but that would be quite expensive and a ton of work. One of the other unique advantages is that none of this would ever rust! I know that weight savings is probably the most expensive of the list of things we can do to improve mileage but it has not been brought to the table, my point here is to see if anyone else has done research here to post and help others. Once we do all of this then we can talk making the engine smaller, which is beyond the original scope of this forum, since the truck would no longer be a powerstroke in body or in powerplant.

Just some long winded food for thought

JP5

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 02:47 AM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

fwiw can you try using paragraphs. That's really hard to read

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 03:04 AM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

Ditching the spare tire is about all the weight savings I'm gonna do. Probably wont even do that.

If you are die hard serious about mpg like Dave is then I think some of those ideas would work. One question I have though. What kind of difference in mpg would shedding 200lbs make? How long and how many miles would need to be driven to make up for converting the front clip to one piece? I doubt ceramic brake rotors are anywhere near cheap. Never looked into them so I really dont know. Just assuming.

Those are some things Dave came across I think right about now. He has done what is possible to gain mpg but yet not cost an arm and a leg. He talked of gearing lower or some kind of special drivetrain thing. Cant remember what it was but he figured he would have to drive many many miles to make up for it.

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 01:18 PM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

A pair of ceramic rotors for a sportbike are about $1500 to replace the two small rotors up front. From a handling perspective, it's unsprung weight, so it has handling characteristics that would be enhanced more so than weight reduction for FE.

But that's a big cost. And I have yet so see any even at the race track on production race bikes.

I have nothing against loosing weight, but with a 7-8000# vehicle, you've got a couple of issues. First, a couple pounds here and there isn't going to make a substantial difference. Difference, yes.

Next, I'm not willing to give up my comfort.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 03:45 PM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

most of the weight in our trucks isn't in the body panels (these newer hi-temper panels are pretty damn thin, and pretty stinkin' light)...
biggest weight wasters we have is/are:
frame and suspension
differentials and 4wd steering knuckles
the engine itself
automatic transmissions

I'd love to see Ford come up with a lightweight hydro-formed frame, a'la Corvette, but I don't see where it can go much further than that, given the cost of some materials, and given the fact..

aluminum may be pound-for-pound as strong as steel, but say a pound of steel is a square six inches on a side... a pound of aluminum is going to be eight inches on a side to have the same strength.. and still weighs a pound..

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

Alright, sorry about the long post, I are engineer not english major. How much weight do I think we can lose off of a truck without sacrificing anything, probably around 1000 lbs. Things like aluminum radiators and the like add up after a while. Yes I understand the density vs strength relationship and that among metals the relationship is linear, so yes the same weight of steel will produce the same strength as the same weight of aluminum, but the two pieces will be of different sizes. Composites are outside of this realm. I merely used the word aluminum in talking of replacing the bed in order to add some rigidity to it.

Another thing, rotational mass vs load are two different factors. Did anyone ever measure the weight difference of factory rims? This right there could be a decent cheap factor without going to something exotic.

The frame could be done, I saw a carbon fiber I beam with a sinusoidal wave webbing that was significantly stronger than the same dimension I beam, but once again these arent easily obtainable. Like I said earlier, the weight is spiral, once we get the rest of the truck (and trailer since we are still going to use the truck) we can get by with smaller engines and transmissions, but then at what point is a powerstroke no longer a powerstroke?


JP5

By the way, my ultimate goal is not the most fuel efficient, but a more capable longer lasting all around vehicle. One of the other overlooked side effects of composites are their corrosion resistant qualities.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 04:54 PM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

One thing that I & other's have noticed is that loaded or even towing a mild trailer it don't affect these trucks too much. I have a single cab OBS with a couple of home made Heavy Duty bumpers & usually full of tools & a spare tire. I haven't really noticed a diffrence MPG wise since before I did that. I always see 14-16mpg lately been getting about a solid 15mpg with half town going 35mph to country roads doing 45-55mph. I towed a 16' trailer & had the back full of junk & grossed about 10k lbs on the scale & still got around 15mpg.

I'm not going to pull out tools or a spare tire because I might have to use them to gain an 1/8 mile to a gallon. To me it don't balence out, then when you need a tire iron, hammer, jumper cables & a spare tire that's sitting at home you'll have to hope someone else is wasting fuel & carrying them with em or get a ride home to get it when you could have kept it in your to begin with.


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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 04:58 PM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?



also ceramic rotors are great in a racing application, but don't have the the same breaking power on a street driven vehicle as you could never get them up to temp

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 06:53 PM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

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Originally Posted by jeromejcp View Post
One of the other overlooked side effects of composites are their corrosion resistant qualities.
But they are affected by sunlight. We stopped using carbon fiber mufflers some time ago as they would explode on impact making them completely useless.

Steel does have the quality of being able to be bent back into a shape that is useable.

The idea of using carbon I-beams is interesting, but just looking at the chassis of a Super Duty, one can see that it's an engineered chassis rather than a bunch of I-beams bolted and welded together.

New tractors are engineered now to where they don't carry so much weight. Additionally, steel supplies are shortened and more expensive than what they used to be too. That has resulted in less steel in the manufacturing of vehicles: it's less cost so as to keep the cost competitive with other manufacturers, etc.

Dave
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2008, 07:12 PM
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Re: Why has no one discussed saving weight?

Another thing too is cost. For much will all the fenders & what not cost vrs the amount of fuel you save? Last I looked those things weren't cheap.


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