Aluminum body F-150 and F250 and Steel eye bolts.

Detox916

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Joined
Mar 15, 2019
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Ok i recently started a purchase on a floor model shell. My issue is drilling holes in my aluminum bed and putting in steel eyebolts. This will cause galvanic corrosion no matter what they say they are drilling a hole and creating a contact between two metals. I have placed my 3k non refundable deposit before understanding how they secure the camper. I am now forced to cancel the order. i cant ruin my truck. it states the refund isn't refundable. I hope they will understand my issue because i cant afford to just give away money and cant risk the load on the truck being secured by something that will corrode. I really wanted the camper. :(
 
Why not have them mount it and then remove the bolts and solve the problem as PaulT suggests or replace them with structural aluminum bolts. should be an easy job of removing one bolt at a time and use the thread lock compound "locktite". You may want to ask them not to use locktite, so you can remove them.

I believe you can buy rated aluminum bolts that are as strong as steel.

Good luck
 
I think you are blowing the issue way out of proportion. Even if all the conditions are right and you live, or often travel, oceanside, it's not like the entire bed of your truck is going to rot off in 5 years. Ha. Corrosion would be minor at worst if the proper conditions exist and you did nothing. If you are worried, make a couple simple and minor accommodations to eliminate it all together, take delivery of your camper, then enjoy your new truck and camper.
 
I’m not blowing things out of proportion. You can’t use steel on aluminum. When you drill you expose the metal and I drive where the roads are heavily salted.Ford states special fasteners need to be added to the aluminum beds as stated in there bulletins.
 
Detox916 said:
I’m not blowing things out of proportion. You can’t use steel on aluminum. When you drill you expose the metal and I drive where the roads are heavily salted.Ford states special fasteners need to be added to the aluminum beds as stated in there bulletins.
I'm afraid you are wrong. I believe FWC has been using zinc coated steel, which is the best against galvanic issues. FWC has been installing campers on new aluminum bodied Ford's. Have you you discussed the procedures that FWC is using. I spent 40 years in the building envelope business working and designing sheet metal systems. Zinc coated bolts and screws are better than stainless steel. You should have FWC install the bolts and you should have contacted FWC. You have blown this way out of proportion. FWC isn't going to do something to damage your truck. All of the screws on a FWC are zinc coated steel. I haven't seen the slightest amount of damage to the siding or other parts.
 
As indicated above, zinc plated steel is used. The zinc coating is sacrificial.
As Paul mentioned, you could take it a step further by isolating the bolts from coming in contact with the aluminum bed.
 
The bed isn't plated when you drill it and remove the plating. Not trying to complain simply looking into something that isn't disclosed on the web site anywhere. I don't see any warranty on installation anywhere. So drilling into a 50k truck bed and putting bolts on not knowing what they are could be a issue, Isn't that what forums are for "information"?
 
In addition to this site you should join the Facebook Four Wheel Camper Owners site. Lots of new FWC owners installing new FWC's on new Ford trucks.
 
You have a couple of choices.

1. Use aluminum bolts (McMaster.com). They have 2024 aluminum bolts up to 5/8 diameter. The tensile strength is low compared to steel (30,000 psi), however you could use more of them.

2. Mount the camper using a TorkLift frame mount setup, which means no holes in the bed.

Regarding trying to isolate the bolts from the bed. I'm not real sure I like the idea of bolting thru an aluminum bed. Aluminum will fatigue and crack much faster than steel. I would be afraid that there is going to be cracking at some point. You safest approach would be the TorkLift setup. Just my opinion.
 
Why not get another set of steel bolts and isolators that ford uses to attach the bed to the frame? Realistically, I feel like you’d be fine with some antiseize on the bolts and paint on the exposed bed, but you could go a step further and build a 1” subframe that isolates the fwc from the bed.

Either way, I’ll be looking into this same issue later this summer. Curious where you net out.
 
Perhaps, something to consider are the multitudes of aluminum outboards with stainless steel props, mounted to aluminum boats with steel bolts and moored in saltwater for months on end. The sacrificial zinc anodes control corrosion and are replaced as needed.

I am considering replacing my 2010 Tundra with an f250 or f350. Corrosion of the mounting bolts or aluminum bed will not be as major a concern as getting the camper charging by alternator correct.

Paul
 
Since moving to the SC coast a year ago, I have been in the process of replacing all FWC factory installed zinc coated fasteners. They will rust and rather quickly if exposed to salt air.

2019-03-25-08-01-54.jpg


FWC zinc coated bolts, washers, nuts attaching the front tie done bracket to my 2015 Hawk.

Ford has issued bulletins addressing the issue the OP is most concerned about.

I would follow the bulletins. If unable to do so, I would fashion Delrin or similar material isolators to prevent contact.
 
PaulT said:
Perhaps, something to consider are the multitudes of aluminum outboards with stainless steel props, mounted to aluminum boats with steel bolts and moored in saltwater for months on end. The sacrificial zinc anodes control corrosion and are replaced as needed.

I am considering replacing my 2010 Tundra with an f250 or f350. Corrosion of the mounting bolts or aluminum bed will not be as major a concern as getting the camper charging by alternator correct.

Paul
Excellent analogy!

Both my Yamaha F60 (2017) and F40 (2018) utilize "zincs" (sacrificial anodes) for use in saltwater to prevent corrosion. Even long ago sold outboard motors used "zincs".

I fish throughout the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and Santee River Delta, saltwater estuaries, never had an issue with any of my motors as long as I monitored the condition of the "zincs" and replaced them as needed.
 
Whenever I bolt anything to aluminum on my commercial fishing boat, I coat the aluminum, washer, bolt with ‘rector seal’.
Provides a barrier between the dissimilar metals that get drenched in saltwater everyday. Works well.
 
All that has to happen is to electrically insulate the steel hardware from the aluminum body panel(s) and the galvanic corrosion problem is disconnected. Drilling the hole in the aluminum panel may allow other forms of corrosion to occur, but if insulated it won't be galvanic.

If super concerned about this the Tork-Lift suggestion eliminates all of the potential issues.

I like Fords. I used to bleed Ford blue. I'd never buy an aluminum bodied truck.
 
Aluminum automobile bodies were used by Porsche 50 years ago and were/are very sought after because of durability.

In the absence of current, aluminum self protects by creating a hard protective coating of aluminum oxide when cut or exposed to air. Repeated erosion of the aluminum oxide on sheet metal should be avoided.

My understanding is the turnbuckles from the factory are aluminum and they are in contact with steel eyebolts. I see no failure occurring after 6+ years of heavy use.

Sending current through dissimilar metals in series can cause failure depending on the metals and I have seen this occur.

Many 1,000,000's vehicles have aluminum heads bolted to steel blocks with steel bolts with no galvanizing.
 
iowahiker said:
In the absence of current, aluminum self protects by creating a hard protective coating of aluminum oxide when cut or exposed to air. Repeated erosion of the aluminum oxide on sheet metal should be avoided.

My understanding is the turnbuckles from the factory are aluminum and they are in contact with steel eyebolts. I see no failure occurring after 6+ years of heavy use.

Many 1,000,000's vehicles have aluminum heads bolted to steel blocks with steel bolts with no galvanizing.
That reminds me about the turnbuckles. Mine are actually steel hooks and AL turnbuckle body. And as I've posted ad nauseaum, I'm still using the FWC originals almost 22 years later. Never seen any corrosion in the contacting thread areas but then gain, they are used only seasonally.

Having a AL camper deck I have seen a white powder which assumed was aluminum oxide, mostly wherever there has been a hole drilled (and not repainted). Seems particularly bad when a SS fastener is used in the hole. These SS fasteners are always thru bolted as the I believe the threads in the AL would never stand up long term. This corrosion might be aggravated by weather exposure.

The bare AL deck has cargo tie downs that are plated (zinc ? but smooth). These are thru bolted with a similarly plated fastener. I haven't seen any corrosion here but even if, the backer plates are 1/4 AL and frankly, will prob outlast me.

Back to the OP. I read it differently. Less that the poster was looking for mounting solutions and more that he/she was cancelling the order, pointing out the concern to the readership and hoping that the mfr would understand.

I had a few thoughts on cancellation or immediate resale which, if the OP is interested I can post up.
 

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