Nothing says “abuse me” like a fully-boxed steel frame. And no other GM vehicles need such a setup more than pickup trucks. Because let’s face it, their mettle (metal?) is tested by contractors, laborers, farmers, and general do-it-yourselfers day in and day out, year in and year out. So with the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks, consumers will be glad to know that GM isn’t lessening the integrity of its pickups, as the trucks will indeed feature a fully-boxed steel frame with varying degrees of strength in strategic areas.
To note, the main frame rails and major cross members are made from hydroformed high-strength steel, as are the all-new cab structures. Roughly two-thirds of the cabin structure is steel, including the A and B-pillars, roof rails, and rocker panels. Even more robust “ultra-high-strength steel” is used in areas of the rocker panels and underbody for the sake of the new shallow-offset crash tests the trucks will face.
In addition to the cabin fortifications, the pickup beds of the new Sierra and Silverado also benefit from tougher steels than before. For instance, the trucks will feature a roll-formed steel pickup box, which GM says is lighter, stronger and more durable than traditional stamped steel boxes used by competitors.
To keep the overall mass down, aluminum is used in a number of areas, but in ways that GM states do not compromise dependability of the 2014 Chevy and GMC trucks. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of weight is saved thanks to the cast aluminum composition of the new EcoTec3 engines, which will sit under an aluminum hood. 4WD crew cab models will also use forged aluminum upper front control arms and cast aluminum lower control arms and steering knuckles for a total mass reduction of 42 pounds compared to steel. GM anticipates the weight savings to reflect on the scale, and at the gas pump when testing concludes, which consists of over 13 million miles of total driving.