Technical Bulletin - March 11, 2015


Galvanic Corrosion a Problem with 2015 Ford F150? Not for CURT

For 2015, Ford has introduced a brave new feature on its F150 pickup: an aluminum body. The benefits of this feature are less weight, better fuel efficiency and higher rust resistance, to name a few. While the benefits are promising, one potential problem new Ford truck owners are concerned with is galvanic corrosion. In particular, will galvanic corrosion be a problem with aftermarket parts?


What is galvanic corrosion?

Galvanic corrosion is essentially an accelerated form of corrosion that occurs when two different types of metal come in contact. When two metals that are dissimilar are joined together and an electrolyte such as water or a liquid chemical is added, corrosion begins to occur more quickly. A good example of two dissimilar metals is steel and aluminum. If a steel surface is touching an aluminum surface for an extended period of time, the aluminum surface will begin to corrode faster, and the steel surface will actually be protected.


Can galvanic corrosion be prevented?

The effects of galvanic corrosion can be slowed and prevented in several simple ways. The key to preventing it is to keep the metals isolated or separated. Nonmetallic isolators such as plastic or rubber are effective. Paint can also be used, though it must be high quality and provide consistent coverage. When the metals are properly separated, the electrical charge that causes the increased corrosion rate cannot flow from one metal to the other, and the metals are preserved. Below is a list released by Ford of approved fasteners, paints and isolators that work well to prevent galvanic corrosion.

 

Approved Fasteners                                                                                      Recommended Acrylic Lacquer Touch-Up Paints

1. Aluminum clamps                                                                                         1. Motorcraft

2. Zinc-coated steel fasteners with an aluminum washer                                 2. Duplicolor

3. Aluminum pop rivets                                                                                     3. Rustoleum 

4. Plastic push pins

5. Aluminum rivnuts

6. Plastic scrivets

 

Approved Anti-Corrosion Coatings                                                              Recommended Isolators

1. Motorcraft PM13-A                                                                                       1. Aluminum washers

2. NOX-Rust 7703-W                                                                                        2. Urethane tape

3. Any zinc-rich primer                                                                                      3. Polypropylene tape

                                                                                                                         4. Neoprene spacers

 

What is CURT’s solution?

When it comes to installation, the majority of CURT products are designed to mount directly to a vehicle’s frame, including our receiver hitches, gooseneck installation kits and 5th wheel brackets. Because the 2015 Ford F150 has a steel frame, galvanic corrosion is not an issue with frame-mounted products. However, there are some steel CURT products that do come in direct contact with the pickup’s aluminum body, and as such, we have taken some proactive steps.

Our gooseneck installation kits and 5th wheel base rails and brackets will include polyurethane strips to go between the truck bed and steel surfaces. This will keep the aluminum and steel isolated from each other and will prevent galvanic corrosion from occurring. Also, most of our heavy-duty products, such as our 5th wheel and gooseneck hitches are coated in a liquid Aquence® coating and highly durable carbide powder coat, offering a superior paint finish.

In our electrical department, our custom wiring harness extensions and other appropriate electrical products will include measures to prevent corrosion at the mounting points. One such measure includes neoprene well nuts. These will be included in our custom vehicle-to-trailer wiring extensions to protect the truck body. 

We are confident that these solutions will help promote a long life for our products and a better experience with the 2015 Ford F150.