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Old 05-27-2019, 12:02 AM   #11
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Does steel really add so much that you need additional suspension support?
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SteelheadJones View Post
Does steel really add so much that you need additional suspension support?


Doubtful...
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Grampswrx View Post
The tough part is deciding if you want steel and the additional suspension support necessary to carry it or aluminum and it’s lightness.
Every now and then I see an Aluminess bumper on the classifieds that has taken a hit and always seems to be written off. I suppose I'd rather write off the bumper than the vehicle.

Now I do have a steel bumper on another vehicle and it's been in minor fender benders where a spray of black paint is all it needs, the aluminum one's just don't seem as robust? or perhaps it does it job by taking the hit?
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:02 AM   #14
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Those really look to be built right, destaco clamps, axle bearing hinges, like someone said "the gold standard" for offroaders.



There's a lot of people on here that get sooo invested in the equipment they have on their vans... I'll just say that it's not opinion that



1) aluminum is not nearly as strong as steel, pound for pound.



2) There's a huge difference in fatigue strength of an aluminum structure, vs a steel one. For any structure, you only get so many bending cycles before cracks develop. Aluminum is like 10x? - 100x? fewer cycles before a crack develops than steel (It's been a while, I can't remember, but it's surprisingly significant).



In a bicycle for instance, it doesn't matter because most will never but their bike through enough cycles to ever matter. Older aluminum framed sand buggys are know to have cracks, repairs, more cracks, it before like shoveling sand against the tide, a loosing battle. They don't make sand buggy frames from aluminum anymore.



The thing is a welded steel structure like a tire carrier on the back of a van, will likely outslast the life of the rest of the van.


The Aluminess frames seem to hold up great, I've never seen one crack, break, or need repairs. You?
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:09 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post

The Aluminess frames seem to hold up great, I've never seen one crack, break, or need repairs. You?
I will never have this problem because I can't afford one
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:48 AM   #16
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Did you build the boxes too?

I assume you mean single point hinge right?

Is it not an issue because trailer spindles are so strong?

I think I can visualize this but do you have any more pics you can share? Thanks!
I bought the aluminum boxes off eBay. They are sold as under the trailer boxes for big rigs. By single point I mean the trailer spindle hinge assembly I used, sold for just this purpose.
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The latch arms I built. The latch assembly itself I purchased online.
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The UHMW pads the arms rest on. The latches latch to simple u-bolts bolted through the bumper.
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Old 05-27-2019, 12:44 PM   #17
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I should have gone to welding school...
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:39 PM   #18
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...

1) aluminum is not nearly as strong as steel, pound for pound.

I apologize, I meant the inverse... got distracted, gaffed it. Pound for pound aluminum is stronger than steel.


A thicker walled welded structure can be made from aluminum, be just as strong as the steel one, but be lighter weight. Or so heavy walled and larger diameter tube, bigger box sections, that it's measurably stronger than steel and weighs the same. Very friendly to machine, corrosion resistant, too.


It's fatigue strength where aluminum weldments fall down.


Also, aluminum welding is less of a 'home fabricator' skill, home fabricator is less likely to be set up to TIG (or spool gun) weld aluminum.



Quote:
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...The Aluminess frames seem to hold up great, I've never seen one crack, break, or need repairs. You?

That was sarcasm, I apologize for that, too.



Several SMB owners have chased cracks with weld repairs, and given up, but these are rig that have some hard and long use history.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:39 PM   #19
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The Aluminess frames seem to hold up great, I've never seen one crack, break, or need repairs. You?
You may be joking, but my galley box swing out has suffered severe abuse and nothing has even bent much less cracked. I had it loaded with a Honda 2000 generator, and a bunch of other stuff inside, and 3 five gallon full fuel cans on top when the latch came loose and the whole thing flew open while rounding a curve in the road. Not once but twice. Thats pretty strong.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:42 PM   #20
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Does steel really add so much that you need additional suspension support?
If you want to maintain the same ride front up front, yes. If you don't mind it riding slightly lower (1/2"-3/4" depending on spring rate and winch size) than you can leave the suspension stock.

On the rear of an EB van, it probably makes a bigger difference, since 400 pounds on the rear bumper adds about 550 pounds to the rear axle. Again, enough to make stock (or soft aftermarket) springs sag unless without help.

I chose steel because I wanted the front end absolutely animal proof. Turns out it does pretty good against large trees, basalt boulders, and RAV-4s too.

I went with steel in the rear for it's towing capacity. As a result, my van weighs 8,500 pounds empty and it's really just a fancy wagon with big hips. Other EB vans mights find themselves over their rear axle or tire ratings if they went with steel over AL.
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