Dear Truck Trend,

Why aren't pickup truck manufacturers reconsidering unibodies to reduce weight? Ford made a unibody pickup in the 1960s. If the cabs need to be made stronger for pending side-impact and rollover regulations, deeper sills and center door posts for extended cabs could also eliminate truck frames. The deeper sills wouldn't need to extend farther down than the bottom of the current frames and could even have the running board/steps stamped in. There are at least two ways to go, including non-stressed beds bolted to extended sills, as well as stressed beds supporting the rear suspension and bolted to the cab sills and at the bed tops. I have been waiting for Ford to make a Sport Trac out of the new Explorer. The wheelbase wouldn't be any longer than that of a Ford Flex.

Reese Graves
Via the Internet


Dear Reader,

It seems what it comes down to is what people expect from their trucks. Body-on-frame trucks would have the towing advantage, and it would be easier to offer a variety of bed lengths and cabs. Those would also be tougher overall, and more durable off-road. However, unibody trucks would potentially get better fuel economy, have a more carlike ride, and could carry plenty of payload. We think there is a market for unibodies, as long as buyers don't have the same capability expectations as they have with body-on-frame pickups. Unfortunately, it would be too expensive for a manufacturer to offer both. Jeep was the last to try building a unibody pickup with a separate bed on unitized rails. It ended up weighing more than a body-on-frame.That idea has pretty much been killed, which is why the Ridgeline is fully unitized. The Avalanche is the only example of a unitized body/box on a frame, and it too weighed a lot, with the only advantage being the opening to the cab."

-Truck Trend


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