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Aluminum frame vs steel frame horse trailers

 
Old 04-07-2019, 01:03 PM
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Default Aluminum frame vs steel frame horse trailers

I was on the Bison coach site today and played around a little bit with trailer specs. I compared my steel frame 8319 Ranger to the identical except aluminum frame 8319 Laredo. The difference was eye opening. The trailers were only 301 pounds apart in GVWR, steel frame 19311, vs aluminum frame 19010. The steel frame was lighter dry weight by over 100lbs, and has 500lbs more carrying capacity.

Lesson learned dont by aluminum to save weight. They have to add a lot more aluminum to get the strength of the steel frame.

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Old 04-07-2019, 02:55 PM
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i'm surprised that big of a horse trailer has an aluminum frame
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Old 04-07-2019, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 5.0GN tow View Post
They have to add a lot more aluminum to get the strength of the steel frame.
Absolutely not true. But you DO have to engineer the product properly.

When you see an aluminum trailer that is not at least 15% lighter than it's steel equivalent, you are looking at the limitations of purchasing common stock tubing and beams, or selecting the wrong alloy for the job. I've seen a few trailers built with 3 series aluminum when they should be using 6 series, which is nearly twice as strong by weight, at less than 5% more cost. I've also seen trailers where the frame could have been more than double the rating of the axles.There are still a lot of engineers that don't trust aluminum as far as they can throw it, which is sad considering the extensive use of it in air and spaceframes.
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
Absolutely not true. But you DO have to engineer the product properly.

When you see an aluminum trailer that is not at least 15% lighter than it's steel equivalent, you are looking at the limitations of purchasing common stock tubing and beams, or selecting the wrong alloy for the job. I've seen a few trailers built with 3 series aluminum when they should be using 6 series, which is nearly twice as strong by weight, at less than 5% more cost. I've also seen trailers where the frame could have been more than double the rating of the axles.There are still a lot of engineers that don't trust aluminum as far as they can throw it, which is sad considering the extensive use of it in air and spaceframes.
I get where you are coming from, but I have owned an all aluminum, and now the steel frame/aluminum skin. I will now after towing both take the steel any day. The all aluminum trailers typically have a solid aluminum beam frame rail, and I Beam cross members, with aluminum plank floors. My steel frame trailer is built with a thick c channel steel frame, steel crossmembers every 12 inches and 2x6 polymer coated lumber floors in the stalls and 1 inch thick marine plywood under the LQ. It truly rides much better than the aluminum, and feels cooler in the summer and warmer in winter.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:51 AM
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I-beams and channel offer poor weight to strength ratio, no matter the metal. The advantage is a more compliant frame, but that should be the job of the suspension, IMO. Welded tube frames cost more to produce, but a proper design can be 30% lighter than equivalent I/channel.

Yes, aluminum is more thermally conductive that steel. If your steel trailer has an aluminum skin, there shouldn't be a noticeable difference as the largest surface area by far of both trailers is the skin.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 5.0GN tow View Post
I was on the Bison coach site today and played around a little bit with trailer specs. I compared my steel frame 8319 Ranger to the identical except aluminum frame 8319 Laredo. The difference was eye opening. The trailers were only 301 pounds apart in GVWR, steel frame 19311, vs aluminum frame 19010. The steel frame was lighter dry weight by over 100lbs, and has 500lbs more carrying capacity.

Lesson learned dont by aluminum to save weight. They have to add a lot more aluminum to get the strength of the steel frame.

Aluminum has 1/3rd the strength of steel, so it requires three times the amount of aluminum for structural components of the frame. Only true advantage aluminum gives is corrosion protection, provided it is kept clean and urine/manure isn't left to sit on the floor and get under it to the frame.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:01 PM
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The suspension on both trailers is a torsion suspension. Both are fully insulated aluminum skin trailers. The only difference in conductivity would be floor materials. I have come to prefer the wood floor for vibration dampening too, plus Bison gives a lifetime warranty on it. When really looking into the weight differences, it's all in the tongue weight, so the structure up there must be a lot heavier in the steel frame version.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:53 PM
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
That is one article I had seen, that kind of compares and contrasts all build types. Clearly they build steel frame trailers, but having owned both I dont disagree with them. Our new Bison is built very similar, steel both sub and structure framing and insulation in horse area with aluminium skin over the steel. Kind of how Ford builds the 150s.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:51 PM
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My Trail-Et is built the same way, steel structure, aluminum panels. I wish all my trailers pulled as smooth and stable as that one.
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