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 > Aluminum vs Steel flatbed

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NorseNW

Battle Ground, WA

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Posted: 11/18/22 08:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Making a transition to an F550 chasis cab and flatbed with storage boxes. I'm going with the Stable Camper bed kit with the CM flatbed. Here is my struggle - aluminum or steel?

I live in Vancouver, WA so plenty of rain and damp. We do about 4 trips a year to the coast to go clam digging and drive the truck on the beach. The truck gets sprayed down as soon as we return. I take it to a car wash and spray the undercarriage out. We tow a boat to the coast 4 times a year, so it sees saltwater environment a bit.

I plan to have the entire bed and boxes sprayed with a bed line regardless of what I go with. I don't have a need for the shiny finish on the bed and boxes so no reason to pay for that.

My main concern is having the steel turn into a rusty nightmare. Just curious what folks' experiences have been with different type beds. Clearly aluminum is more expensive but maybe it's worth it???

mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 11/18/22 09:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Aluminum is not immune to corrosion either. It can be worse than steel.

Aluminum + steel + salt + moisture = battery = galvanic corrosion.


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ticki2

NH

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Posted: 11/18/22 10:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have had the same aluminum flatbed for 20 years . 15 of those years it has been on a plow truck that saw many many mile on salt laden roads . The underside of truck was sprayed with fluid film every year . The flatbed and truck have held up extremely well under those conditions . I did take some pains to isolate the aluminum from steel where ever I could . Under the use that stated I don’t think you will have a problem with the aluminum .


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Posted: 11/19/22 11:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think the weight of the aluminum is worth more than I paid for my flatbed 25 years ago. The aluminum still looks real good used every business day. A bit scratched up but still looks good.

Papa_Wheelie

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 01/08/23 02:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 10th truck in my life was my 1st flatbed and I love it! It was the neighbor's truck and had already been converted from std to steel flatbed. If I were to do it again, I would go w/ aluminum, for the reasons stated above, along w/ weight savings.

jimh406

Western MT

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Posted: 01/08/23 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wouldn't be worried about a steel aftermarket bed any more than the rest of the truck/frame/wheels.

Since you said F550, are you going with super singles or similar and do you know that 19.5s aren't very good for the beach?


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mellow

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Posted: 01/09/23 09:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jimh406 wrote:

do you know that 19.5s aren't very good for the beach?


This is not true, I have run into many guys running 19.5 aired down on the beach with big rigs, and this is in sugar sand not hard sand, so it CAN be done, I couldn't believe it till I saw it.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 01/09/23 09:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depends on where you get the steel flatbed from. If they use garbage metal and paint, it will be rusty before you can blink.

Grit dog

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Posted: 01/09/23 10:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mkirsch wrote:

Depends on where you get the steel flatbed from. If they use garbage metal and paint, it will be rusty before you can blink.


Sage advice. Even moreso in NY.
Of course it was on the internet but I recall someone saying one of the big mfgs, CM I believe, had poor quality coatings.
If I was buying a steel bed long term this would be one of my primary concerns.

Same with aluminum I suppose. A bare aluminum bed will look like poo soon and very difficult to maintain appearance. So quality of coatings is almost equally important but more for appearance.


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markowwes

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Posted: 01/09/23 10:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have had an aluminum service body on my F550 for 15 years now without any corrosion or paint problems.
If the material, being steel or aluminum is prepared properly, you won’t have a problem either, my deck was washed down with acetone and powder coated properly, any steel deck should be sand blasted to shiny metal and primed and powder coated too. Don’t cheap out on the finish either way and you won’t have problems, steel over aluminum will make it considerably heavier even though you have a 550 it will still make a difference in the final GVW so look at all your options (trailer tongue weight, generator, extra equipment, camping gear, fuel) they all add up and the next thing you know is the 550 isn’t enough.

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