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Aluminum vs Steel flatbed

Making a transition to an F550 chasis cab and flatbed with storage boxes. I'm going with the Stable Camper bed kit with the CM flatbed. Here is my struggle - aluminum or steel?

I live in Vancouver, WA so plenty of rain and damp. We do about 4 trips a year to the coast to go clam digging and drive the truck on the beach. The truck gets sprayed down as soon as we return. I take it to a car wash and spray the undercarriage out. We tow a boat to the coast 4 times a year, so it sees saltwater environment a bit.

I plan to have the entire bed and boxes sprayed with a bed line regardless of what I go with. I don't have a need for the shiny finish on the bed and boxes so no reason to pay for that.

My main concern is having the steel turn into a rusty nightmare. Just curious what folks' experiences have been with different type beds. Clearly aluminum is more expensive but maybe it's worth it???

jimh406 wrote:
do you know that 19.5s aren't very good for the beach?

This is not true, I have run into many guys running 19.5 aired down on the beach with big rigs, and this is in sugar sand not hard sand, so it CAN be done, I couldn't believe it till I saw it.
2002 F-350 7.3 Lariat 4x4 DRW ZF6
2008 Lance 1191 - 220w of solar - Bring on the sun!

Explorer III
Explorer III
I wouldn't be worried about a steel aftermarket bed any more than the rest of the truck/frame/wheels.

Since you said F550, are you going with super singles or similar and do you know that 19.5s aren't very good for the beach?

'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 DS, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Bags, Toyo M655 Gs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.

NRA Life Member, CCA Life Member

My 10th truck in my life was my 1st flatbed and I love it! It was the neighbor's truck and had already been converted from std to steel flatbed. If I were to do it again, I would go w/ aluminum, for the reasons stated above, along w/ weight savings.

I think the weight of the aluminum is worth more than I paid for my flatbed 25 years ago. The aluminum still looks real good used every business day. A bit scratched up but still looks good.

I have had the same aluminum flatbed for 20 years . 15 of those years it has been on a plow truck that saw many many mile on salt laden roads . The underside of truck was sprayed with fluid film every year . The flatbed and truck have held up extremely well under those conditions . I did take some pains to isolate the aluminum from steel where ever I could . Under the use that stated I don’t think you will have a problem with the aluminum .
'68 Avion C-11
'02 GMC DRW D/A flatbed

Aluminum is not immune to corrosion either. It can be worse than steel.

Aluminum + steel + salt + moisture = battery = galvanic corrosion.

Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.