Aluminum VS Steel..... - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 01-06-2012, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Aluminum VS Steel.....

Aluminum VS Steel.....
I have always used the traditional steel lift, bumpers, wheels, etc. , but this time I am thinking about going all aluminum to save weight, since this is my DD and I'm trying to not effect the power. Is the aluminum as strong as the steel? Any negatives to going all aluminum? Anyone that has tried this please post your feedback.
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post #2 of 35 Old 01-06-2012, 08:33 PM
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Alloy front bars fold up when you hit a Roo, the steel holds up much better, is the difference in weight really going to make much difference in performance, at a guess you would only be saving around 40-50ibs max an end


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post #3 of 35 Old 01-06-2012, 09:07 PM
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I was at Poison Spyder Customs in Banning, CA recently and asked them the exact same question. Steel is stronger. They recommended going to aluminum only if you intend on racing or are not going to be rock crawling. The aluminum is softer and can be easily scratched and gouged. I went with all steel except for a few aluminum overlays. You can see my build thread under the TJ's here on JKO. The new PSC tubeless fenders are awesome!

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post #4 of 35 Old 01-06-2012, 09:10 PM
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Steel for my purpose.
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post #5 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 05:38 AM Thread Starter
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Does anyone have specific experience with RK aluminum lift and River Raider's armor, bumpers etc? It sounds like I should just go steel, but I am curious as to how the strength of the specific aluminum they use would compare to steel. It would be nice to
Have the lighter weight for a DD, but not worth sacrificing strength and protection in the case of a accident etc.
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post #6 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 05:58 AM
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On a DD that isn't continually babied and garage kept corrosion will be an issue unless you know the alloy is realitivly corrosion resistant. 7075 is not one of the good alloys.

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post #7 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 06:15 AM
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No only safety in an accident.. but one thing I have learned in my short wheeling experience, you just never know where you are going to end up or the condition of a trail. Best to have the steel IMO.
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post #8 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 06:55 AM
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I just added an Ace stubby with a 12k winch with steel line. That added ~150 lb to my front end. I've seen no change in gas mileage or power as a result.

Go steel.

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post #9 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 07:34 AM
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Go AL and go home.... it is not worthy of a trail rig, PERIOD! Refreshing to hear many of the vendors finally starting to be honest about the drawbacks of AL.... and aside from weight savings, it is ALL a drawback.

Use AL on any armor piece and over at JKF... they will all see you for what you really are, a poser!
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post #10 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 07:40 AM
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Aluminum has a lower shear modulus than steel. I'm also pretty sure it has a lower elastic modulus. It is less resilient to shear stress and tensile stress.

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post #11 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 07:45 AM
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I guess it depends as well on who is making the aluminum products on durability. Yes I agree that aluminum does not have the strength characteristics of steel, but GenRight is making some very beefy aluminum products with their aluminum bumpers and fenders....and yes I have seen their products first hand. I do not have offroad experience with the parts but having checked them out, unless you are planning on rolling your Jeep at MOAB, I think they will stand up to most of what everyone on here is doing as far as offroading. especially if you are offroading in Hawaii, Texas or Florida!

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post #12 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 08:29 AM
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Here is a good thread to get a better picture of the strength differences between aluminum and steel:
https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21896


I have the Rock Krawler Pro Aluminum Long Arm so I guess I can provide a little bit of first person feedback. The kit saved me 120 pounds over their steel version which in my opinion is significant savings.

Aluminum gouges easier than steel so it will get scrapped up quicker but thats about it. Rock Krawler offers the same life time warranty on the aluminum arms as they do on the steel because they have tested the crap out of them.

As for body protection, the product needs to be designed from the beginning with aluminum in mind. Nemesis for example builds all of their stuff to be abused and they want you to go out and beat on it.

As the OP mentioned, this is for his DD so aluminum is perfect.

Just my opinion...
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post #13 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaysJK View Post
Aluminum has a lower shear modulus than steel. I'm also pretty sure it has a lower elastic modulus. It is less resilient to shear stress and tensile stress.

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Something that cannot be said off hand, there are many different steel and aluminum alloys out there both of which overlap each other " strength property " wise, for example 7075-T6 Aluminum will outperform a 1018 cold drawn carbon steel ( something you should be grateful for when you sit in a plane )


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post #14 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by yetiboy01 View Post
Alloy front bars fold up when you hit a Roo...
You must be in austria, right?

I wouldnt use aluminum control arms, skids, or bumbers.

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post #15 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
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You must be in austria, right.....
I doubt they would survive the winter in Austria unless they are in a zoo there


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post #16 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 10:02 AM
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Stuff you regularly drop the Jeep onto or drag across granite - steel

Everything else - aluminum

Don't underestimate the advantages of keeping a lightweight rig both on and off the trail.

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post #17 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 10:16 AM
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I doubt they would survive the winter in Austria unless they are in a zoo there
I once saw an albino polar bear.

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post #18 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 10:41 AM
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Not much to add. I go with steel on my JK becuase it's cheaper


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post #19 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 12:39 PM
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Like the guys mentioned, there are many pros and cons to think about.

If you go with Aluminum suspension components like we offer in our PRO line, we use 7075 AL which is very strong. It is used by many Rock Racers in their Ultra 4 Buggies.

The two draw backs to aluminum that we see are:

1) You need to make sure the Jam nuts are tight and stay tight which they need to be in steel arms, but it is more critical in Aluminum.

2) The biggest is, as someone prior mentioned, field fixes. If there is ever a problem in the field, fixing an aluminum arm, even for a field fix is tricky!

Other than that, the other big negative is simply price.

Aluminum is great if you understand all of the above draw bracks and make sure they never become a negative to you.

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post #20 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 01:19 PM
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Aluminum works great when properly designed.

Please see this thread: https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64113

In fact our products work so well, that a few of our competitors have tried to copy our designs...

We designed our armor to be made from aluminum...which means it has to be a different thickness than a steel version, with different structural gusseting, and different mounting provisions. Our Billy Rockers for example are comprised of three layers that work together as a system to protect your rig. And have been proven on the most difficult trails in this great country.

We'll continue to prove our solutions and the value of designing for aluminum but for now here are two videos of us beating the life out of them. (Re-posted from the above linked thread)...

Trail Abuse 2 - YouTube

Nemesis Billy Rocker Abuse 1 - YouTube


Please note: If you goal is to protect your thirty thousand dollar rig from rocks than please choose a modern solution that has been designed from the ground up to do exactly that.


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INDUSTRY'S FIRST ALL ALUMINUM PRODUCT LINE
(303) 974-2460

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post #21 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 01:39 PM
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That first video is bad ass.

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post #22 of 35 Old 01-09-2012, 11:07 PM
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I love my Pro Alum. Rock Krawler suspension..Even after I did $12k in suspension damage.. RK replaced everything under the lifetime warranty..plus ended up throwing in a few small things..

The weight difference is seriously noticeable. Power -to- weight ....with this little engine...makes a big difference...

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- 07' Rubicon 4 dr, RAMICON- 3.5" ROCK KRAWLER Coil-Over lift
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- 40" Pro Comp X-Terrain

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post #23 of 35 Old 01-10-2012, 12:00 AM
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I have RR aluminum skids including an auxilliary gas tank skid RR fabbed. They have held up well. Weight savings was about 90lbs over steel according to Kenny at RR.

!00lbs is a lot of weight to save, it represents about a 2% savings in end weight of a JKU. If KOH were even a pipe dream I might go steel though.

Corrosion and aluminum are no issue, once aluminum has a surface coat of corrosion - the thin whitish layer, it stops corroding until the layer already present is removed and oxygen is available. Then another thin layer forms. Not much loss of material, unlike steel corrosion. What can be an issue is electolysis, which occurs when two disimilar metals are in contact or in close proximity with an electrolyte also present plus direct current. Salt water is an excellent elctrolyte, our Jeeps have DC systems and aluminum skids are typically mounted directly to steel frames with steel fasteners; an equation for electolysis. But it doesn't occur quickly in an open environment, at least not quickly enough to be an issue with 3/8" aluminum in any span of time to be concerned about.

Steel rusts and once corrosion begins in steel it doesn't stop without work and protection of some sort.

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post #24 of 35 Old 01-10-2012, 03:35 AM
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Corrosion and aluminum are no issue, once aluminum has a surface coat of corrosion - the thin whitish layer, it stops corroding until the layer already present is removed and oxygen is available. Then another thin layer forms. Not much loss of material, unlike steel corrosion. What can be an issue is electolysis, which occurs when two disimilar metals are in contact or in close proximity with an electrolyte also present plus direct current. Salt water is an excellent elctrolyte, our Jeeps have DC systems and aluminum skids are typically mounted directly to steel frames with steel fasteners; an equation for electolysis. But it doesn't occur quickly in an open environment, at least not quickly enough to be an issue with 3/8" aluminum in any span of time to be concerned about.
You're kidding right!

I and thousands of people like me make a living repairing corrosion on many different types of metal, but primarily aluminum alloys: 2024, 6061, and 7075.

I'd check your data again.

Make sure you are looking at alloy info and not pure. Each alloy reacts different in various environments.

Alloys are two dissimilar metals occupying the same space you only need an electrolyte to start the process, water is plenty.

Steel and aluminum don't mix either, this is why you use Cad-Plated or stainless fasteners.


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This is exactly why we need to practice proper gun control.

If he was aiming down the sights correctly and had plenty of practice rounds under his belt, there would only be one side of this story.

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post #25 of 35 Old 01-10-2012, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Broncojohn View Post
You're kidding right!

I and thousands of people like me make a living repairing corrosion on many different types of metal, but primarily aluminum alloys: 2024, 6061, and 7075.

I'd check your data again.

Make sure you are looking at alloy info and not pure. Each alloy reacts different in various environments.

Alloys are two dissimilar metals occupying the same space you only need an electrolyte to start the process, water is plenty.

Steel and aluminum don't mix either, this is why you use Cad-Plated or stainless fasteners.


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I have done my research and also have decades of experience with aluminum in the harshest of saltwater environments.

Here, from the very first reference when googled:
"Aluminum owes its excellent corrosion resistance and its usage as one of the primary metals of commerce to the barrier oxide film that is bonded strongly to its surface and, that if damaged, re-forms immediately in most environments.
On a surface freshly abraded and then exposed to air, the barrier oxide film is only 1 nm thick but is highly effective in protecting the aluminum from corrosion."

"Atmospheric Corrosion
Most aluminum alloys have excellent resistance to atmospheric corrosion (often called weathering), and in many outdoor applications, such alloys do not require shelter, protective coatings or maintenance."

"Corrosion in Waters
Aluminum alloys of the 1xxx, 3xxx, 5xxx and 6xxx series are resistant to corrosion by many natural waters. The more important factors controlling the corrosivity of natural waters to aluminum include water temperature, pH, and conductivity, availability of cathodic reactant, presence or absence of heavy metals, and the corrosion potentials and pitting potentials of the specific alloys."

Yes, which alloy makes some difference, but not much. I suspenct what you think is atmospheric or water corrosion is galvanic corrosion the result of fasterers that are disimilar and not isolated. Even then, the galvanic corrosion is a slow though ugly process with lots of white residue, but not so much metal loss over time.

Try google. This link will be a start: http://www.keytometals.com/Article14.htm

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