Steel Vs. Aluminum

cinnur

Member
As I work on my JL to make it my own, I look more towards Aluminum for the idea of weight benefits. I see many comments that Steel is so much stronger than Aluminum, but Aluminum is so often so much of a weight saver at the cost of some of that Steel strength. I am fine if that is where this thread leads, but my main thought on this topic right now is using Aluminum without any type of powder coating or painting once I decide to install. Will bare Aluminum hold up to the elements over time and abuse?
Is there some other treatment to keep that Aluminum look and protect, or just leave it alone?
The bare Aluminum look for some components right now has caught my interest.
I have seen threads going in many directions, but not much on Aluminum holding up to the elements.
 

Ddays

Hooked
Raw or machined aluminum looks like ass once it's been exposed to the elements in our neck of the woods - especially the rigors of Winter. Armor, shocks, bumpers, anything. All it takes is one season. You gotta clearcoat it or paint/powdercoat it.

As far as the strength, it all depends what you want it to do. If you do mostly trails in the NE you can probably get away with the aluminum. because there's not as much rock bashing. But if you're looking to play in rocks, then IMHO steel is the way to go.

You should add up what the weights of the parts are in both aluminum and steel and then see if the cost increase for aluminum is worth it. :twocents:
 

cinnur

Member
Raw or machined aluminum looks like ass once it's been exposed to the elements in our neck of the woods - especially the rigors of Winter. Armor, shocks, bumpers, anything. All it takes is one season. You gotta clearcoat it or paint/powdercoat it.

As far as the strength, it all depends what you want it to do. If you do mostly trails in the NE you can probably get away with the aluminum. because there's not as much rock bashing. But if you're looking to play in rocks, then IMHO steel is the way to go.

You should add up what the weights of the parts are in both aluminum and steel and then see if the cost increase for aluminum is worth it. :twocents:

What kind of clearcoat are you recommending?
 

wjtstudios

Hooked
Raw or machined aluminum looks like ass once it's been exposed to the elements in our neck of the woods - especially the rigors of Winter. Armor, shocks, bumpers, anything. All it takes is one season. You gotta clearcoat it or paint/powdercoat it.

As far as the strength, it all depends what you want it to do. If you do mostly trails in the NE you can probably get away with the aluminum. because there's not as much rock bashing. But if you're looking to play in rocks, then IMHO steel is the way to go.

You should add up what the weights of the parts are in both aluminum and steel and then see if the cost increase for aluminum is worth it. :twocents:

For the first time, I think I disagree with you Jerry 🤣🤣

The fusion aluminum Tie rod that Jeff and I run are insanely strong on the rocks. I’m pretty convinced after hanging the front of the Jeep on the tie rod on a rock would have bent a steel TR. The fusion aluminum TR is still perfectly straight. I will say, the only significant disadvantage of the aluminum is that you could not field weld it if you had a welder with you if it were to ever fail. That’s it


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler
 

Ddays

Hooked
What kind of clearcoat are you recommending?

If it's comestic stuff, like wheels, armor, bumpers, get them powder coated in clear. I had that dome on my wheels this time around and they're still looking brand new. If it's non-visible. like skids and such, just leave them alone. Not much you can do with shocks - spray often with detailing wax & hope for the best. Keep in mind acidic mud will also attack the aluminum. Out west you don't have these issues. One of the reasons aluminum isn't commonly used.
 

DirtHeadDavis

Active Member
Not comparing, just wondering how aluminum will hold up mainly to the elements over time and possible abuse.

I've never liked the look of raw or machined aluminum if that's what you're going for, but either way I'm a guy you'll find on the rocks and all things armor are steel on my Jeep. Weight isn't too much of a problem for me and I'd always black powder coat each piece to avoid corrosion. I'd go steel but as stated figure out what you're going to do and compare the two. My two cents.
 

A.J.

Caught the Bug
For the first time, I think I disagree with you Jerry 🤣🤣

The fusion aluminum Tie rod that Jeff and I run are insanely strong on the rocks. I’m pretty convinced after hanging the front of the Jeep on the tie rod on a rock would have bent a steel TR. The fusion aluminum TR is still perfectly straight. I will say, the only significant disadvantage of the aluminum is that you could not field weld it if you had a welder with you if it were to ever fail. That’s it


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

You can bend the outer portion of the tie rod if you really try hard enough. Just enough to change the toe in and drive you crazy. Found that out after Dusy and Coyote lake trail last summer. Luckily Phil brought his portable toe in tool with him. Fixed it in the garage of the rental house before the long drive home.


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Ddays

Hooked
For the first time, I think I disagree with you Jerry ����

The fusion aluminum Tie rod that Jeff and I run are insanely strong on the rocks. I’m pretty convinced after hanging the front of the Jeep on the tie rod on a rock would have bent a steel TR. The fusion aluminum TR is still perfectly straight. I will say, the only significant disadvantage of the aluminum is that you could not field weld it if you had a welder with you if it were to ever fail. That’s it


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

Lol, Note that I specifically left out the 7075 TR! :bleh: I absolutely did buy that specifically for the strength and elasticity advantages that the aluminum TR has over the steel version that came with the DT axle set. Not really for a weight savings though.

For the rest of the stuff I mentioned, I don't know that the weight gain is worth the extra $$
 
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Ddays

Hooked
I've never liked the look of raw or machined aluminum if that's what you're going for,

I'm sorry, the glare is blocking the view of my screen, what is that you wrote there about aluminum? ;)

w3.jpg



Seriously OP, I mounted these right after I had the wheels powder coated clear. I took them from my loading dock to the powder coater before they even got the chance to get dusty. If this is the look you're looking to keep, this is the only way to do it IMHO.
 

Cousin Clyde

Caught the Bug
I agree that there is room for both on the Jeep. Just depends on the application. I run a 7075 drag link and a chromoly tie rod so that when then bend, they spring back into place. I run a steel oil pan skid plate so that when I land on it, it doesn’t crush and fail like aluminum might.

EDIT: FYI, chromoly is not aluminum ...entered another variable for you there, OP

Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE
 
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Cousin Clyde

Caught the Bug
I'm sorry, the glare is blocking the view of my screen, what is that you wrote there about aluminum? ;)

View attachment 359552



Seriously OP, I mounted these right after I had the wheels powder coated clear. I took them from my loading dock to the powder coater before they even got the chance to get dusty. If this is the look you're looking to keep, this is the only way to do it IMHO.

That’s a kind of a cheap shot with those 40” coopers around them🤤

Looks good man...


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE
 

TrailHunter

Hooked
One of my favorite things about my Jeep is I don't have to polish shit... nothing is easier to touch up than flat black on high wear items like bumpers, sliders & skids. Polished Aluminum wheels do look awesome though.
 

DirtHeadDavis

Active Member
I'm sorry, the glare is blocking the view of my screen, what is that you wrote there about aluminum? ;)

View attachment 359552



Seriously OP, I mounted these right after I had the wheels powder coated clear. I took them from my loading dock to the powder coater before they even got the chance to get dusty. If this is the look you're looking to keep, this is the only way to do it IMHO.
Okay okay, I love shiny wheels lol! Just not bumpers and armor. [emoji2961]

And holy shit those are sharp with those 40" Coopers! [emoji106]
 

Ddays

Hooked
That’s a kind of a cheap shot with those 40” coopers around them🤤

Looks good man...


Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE

They are shiny [emoji16]


2015 JKUR AEV JK350
1985 CJ8 Scrambler

One of my favorite things about my Jeep is I don't have to polish shit... nothing is easier to touch up than flat black on high wear items like bumpers, sliders & skids. Polished Aluminum wheels do look awesome though.

Okay okay, I love shiny wheels lol! Just not bumpers and armor. [emoji2961]

And holy shit those are sharp with those 40" Coopers! [emoji106]

Lol, I agree 100% with all of you guys on the flat black on all of the wear items. The only thing I like shiny is the wheels and King CO's. Well, and the paint. But aluminum is just a bitch to keep nice.
PC is the only way to do that. I've tried sharkhide, polish, wax, etc, but it eventually dulls and looks like hell. Once it pits there's no going back.
 
I'm sorry, the glare is blocking the view of my screen, what is that you wrote there about aluminum? [emoji6]

View attachment 359552



Seriously OP, I mounted these right after I had the wheels powder coated clear. I took them from my loading dock to the powder coater before they even got the chance to get dusty. If this is the look you're looking to keep, this is the only way to do it IMHO.

My favorite.
But make sure you ceramic coat or some other preventative polish and maintain the shine on them. Ask me how I know....

Edit***
I see your second paragraph now. I wish I did that to mine!!!
 
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