Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate





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  1. #1
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    Default Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Hi fellow offroaders

    Just a question for interest sake. Which is really better, a steel bash plate or aluminium plate?
    I know aluminium is much lighter but by how much really?
    And which one will be more durable? Taking cost into consideration also.

    Would love to hear some input.

    Thanks guys

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    The density of Al is roughly one third of steel.

    The strength of Al depends on the grade which is identified by the series, from 1000, 2000, etc to 5000 and 6000. There are higher grades, but not generally for commercial use.

    The lower grades are easy to form and bend nicely, but machine terrible. E.g. drilling a hole often smears the Al instead of cutting it cleanly.

    5000 and 6000 are "machine grade" alloys and finishes well. It also comes in various hardness conditions, e.g. T1, T3, T5.

    In sheet form, these grades do not bend well over short radii and could crack. They can be softened by heating. I once had a bash plate bent from 6mm Al and the hydraulic press got stuck while putting in a 20° bend. It had to be heated with an oxy-acetylene flame along the bend line to get the machine to complete the bend.

    The 6000 series is marine grade and used for manufacturing boats, specifically 6082.

    Although these materials are a third of the weight of steel, they can have up to 80% of the tensile strength.

    For something underneath a car, I have - but would not again - used 3mm Al. 4mm works fine if you just want to protect the plastics, but 5mm is better for more rigidity and you can still bend it. 6 is too thick.

    A good compromise is 3mm stainless steel. It does dent, but it is easily straightened out afterwards. Al workhardens, so is a bastard to panel beat back into shape when it gets thick.

    Another reason for SS is that Al requires a very powerful laser to cut compared to steel. Typically a machine which could cut 10mm steel could only do 3 mm Al. You pay for that power. Water jet cutting is optimal for Al, but the end product is still more expensive than SS.
    Last edited by JJJ; 2020/07/30 at 09:57 AM.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Ek kan nie veel sę oor die tegniese deel nie maar in 2018 het Sarel een gebou van Aluminium toe ons Van Zylspas gaan ry het. Wel hy het baie houe gevat en is hier in die werkswinkel. Sy werk gedoen maar beslis te sag. Staal of stainles is beslis beter.
    Elize
    en ry saam met SarelF in
    4x4 Isuzu NPS 300 met kamper
    Kyk gerus by www.blinkgatproducts.com
    Vir enige aluminium produkte,canopy's, campers kontak gerus
    Sarel 0828209413

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Wynand, the best way to understand which is better or most suitable for the application, is to see and physically feel the stiffness of the material.

    But not only the sheet, the folded product, as the strength is multiplied a number of times when you start folding lips along edges.

    I am running the risk of insulting your intelligence, but a practical example would be a length of 20mm wide flat bar, say 3mm thick. When you pick it up in the middle, the ends bend down under it's own weight.

    Now, take a piece of 20mm equal angle of 2mm thickness and do the same. If it does bend, it will be a lot less.

    If you are really interested - as in planning to fabricate something - you can visit me for a looksee. I have all sorts of material varying from 1.5mm to 6mm - and thicker in plastics - which will demonstrate the principle as well as the properties.

    PM me if you would like to come round.
    Last edited by JJJ; 2020/07/30 at 08:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    aluminum - sticky
    steel -slippery

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by JJJ View Post
    Wynand, the best way to understand which is better or most suitable for the application, is to see and physically feel the stiffness of the material.

    But not only the sheet, the folded product, as the strength is multiplied a number of times when you start folding lips along edges.

    I am running the risk of insulting your intelligence, but a practical example would be a length of 20mm wide flat bar, say 3mm thick. When you pick it up in the middle, the ends bend down under it's own weight.

    Now, take a piece of 20mm equal angle of 2mm thickness and do the same. If it does bend, it will be a lot less.

    If you are really interested - as in planning to fabricate something - you can visit me for a looksee. I have all sorts of material varying from 1.5mm to 6mm - and thicker in plastics - which will demonstrate the principle as well as the properties.

    PM me if you would like to come round.
    Hi

    Thanks for the info. Way too technical for me though lol.

    I have already purchased a Rival 3mm Steel bash plate to be fitted to my Mitsubishi Triton. Will probably arrive here tomorrow.
    I was just wondering if I should have dashed out a bit more money and rather have bought the aluminium plate. I know it's lighter in weight, just don't know by how much. And then of course more expensive.
    What I gather from info of various sources is that that alu plate is not as durable as the steel plate. So the more serious offroaders prefer the steel plate.

    Below is the current condition of my standard bash plate
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200620_150725.jpg 
Views:	353 
Size:	133.9 KB 
ID:	582284

    Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    With the aluminium you will always wonder - was the bash too hard - while you will have more peace of mind with the steel
    Robert

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    I went aluminium, mainly due to the fact I live and most of my trips are near the beach. Steel rusts.
    Current off-road vehicles: *** Great family accommodation. See Facebook, Google maps and airbnb. Wild Wind Ranch/Mkulu Kei
    * 1975/8 SHREK Land-Cruiser FJ40 DIESEL P/U, BFG 31x10.5 muds. 2 x 1.6 ton tirfor winchs
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    * 2014 Land-Cruiser LX V8 76 DIESEL STATION WAGON, BFG's 285 all terrain.
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    SOLD 2020 Jan.
    * 2011 HILUX 4X4 P/U, BFG 31x10.5 all terrain
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    * 4x4 trailer, 1987, BFG all terrain
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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    I make a variety of bash plates for Nissan Patrols. Most of them are made from 5mm steel. I use steel because that makes it easy to weld on bracing and mounting. They are not simply flat plates.

    Some guys still bend them.

    It takes a hell of a sturdy thing to resist the momentum that a 2-3ton vehicle can generate even at relatively slow speeds.

    I am not saying that Aluminium can't do the job, but it needs to be pretty thick if you want to completely eliminate damage to a heavy vehicle driven enthusiastically.
    1996 Patrol 4.2SGL with lots of stuff to make it heavier and thus increase traction?

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan View Post
    I make a variety of bash plates for Nissan Patrols. Most of them are made from 5mm steel. I use steel because that makes it easy to weld on bracing and mounting. They are not simply flat plates.

    Some guys still bend them.

    It takes a hell of a sturdy thing to resist the momentum that a 2-3ton vehicle can generate even at relatively slow speeds.

    I am not saying that Aluminium can't do the job, but it needs to be pretty thick if you want to completely eliminate damage to a heavy vehicle driven enthusiastically.
    Sorry for going off topic... Peter, whats the price on those bash plates... I need one for my 2001 Patrol




    .

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Wynandsc View Post
    I have already purchased a Rival 3mm Steel bash plate to be fitted to my Mitsubishi Triton. Will probably arrive here tomorrow.
    Where did you buy it and what was the price please?
    Jacques Jooste

    2011 Triton 3.2 Auto 4x4

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Tweeling View Post
    With the aluminium you will always wonder - was the bash too hard - while you will have more peace of mind with the steel
    I fully agree. Think going with the steel plate was the best decision.

  19. #13
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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by jooste777 View Post
    Where did you buy it and what was the price please?
    Purchased it from a guy that advertised on the Mitsubishi Lovers SA group on facebook. R1,000

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    I installed a 4mm steel one on my Colt 19 years ago. It is heavy and I must take it off when I drain the oil but after many bashes it is still perfect.

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan View Post
    I am not saying that Aluminium can't do the job, but it needs to be pretty thick if you want to completely eliminate damage to a heavy vehicle driven enthusiastically.
    Yes, preferably, enthusiastically should not be part of the equation.

    But sometimes - in my case anyway - the protection is to keep the plastics intact and keep parts attached to the car. They are not designed as jacking points. My reasoning is that if your protection cannot "give" the attachment points have to dissipate the impact.

    Here is an example of a 3mm Al fuel tank cover on a Freelander 2.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20180101_195156.jpg 
Views:	137 
Size:	293.0 KB 
ID:	582314

    Admittedly, the car was airborne before it struck something upon re-entry. If the plate was not there, the fuel tank would have been pierced.

    When I got home, I removed the plate and straightened it out in a bench vice. The reason the bracket did not bend, is because it is made from 4.5mm stainless steel.
    Last edited by JJJ; 2020/07/30 at 04:06 PM.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Spend extra and get a stofpad bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Wynandsc View Post
    Hi

    Thanks for the info. Way too technical for me though lol.

    I have already purchased a Rival 3mm Steel bash plate to be fitted to my Mitsubishi Triton. Will probably arrive here tomorrow.
    I was just wondering if I should have dashed out a bit more money and rather have bought the aluminium plate. I know it's lighter in weight, just don't know by how much. And then of course more expensive.
    What I gather from info of various sources is that that alu plate is not as durable as the steel plate. So the more serious offroaders prefer the steel plate.

    Below is the current condition of my standard bash plate
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200620_150725.jpg 
Views:	353 
Size:	133.9 KB 
ID:	582284

    Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by jooste777 View Post
    Where did you buy it and what was the price please?
    I got mine from Tuff Stuff and it was the 3mm steel one for R500. Just ask for Andre when you call their landline. It comes in 2 parts like the original in the Tritons but it weighs much more and actually has a extra bracket that bolts onto the cross member. It took about and hour to fit as I dont have a hoist it was a bit of a struggle. They are supplied with everything from bolts to brackets.
    Last edited by Yster1979; 2020/07/30 at 05:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Yster1979 View Post
    I got mine from Tuff Stuff and it was the 3mm steel one for R500. Just ask for Andre when you call their landline. It comes in 2 parts like the original in the Tritons but it weighs much more and actually has a extra bracket that bolts onto the cross member. It took about and hour to fit as I dont have a hoist it was a bit of a struggle. They are supplied with everything from bolts to brackets.
    Awesome.

    Thank you very much
    Jacques Jooste

    2011 Triton 3.2 Auto 4x4

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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    Spend extra and get a stofpad bash plate
    My Stofpad aluminium plate which is CNC made exactly to fit, can still access oil drain plug has served me well
    Ford Ranger Supercab 3.2 auto 4 x 4
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    Default Re: Steel bash plate vs aluminium bash plate

    You guys have covered much of this topic. If I may add my 2 cents.

    If you're concerned about cracking on aluminium, just use a slower bend (bigger radius). The inability to bend the 6mm aluminium is more a factor of the pressbrake not having sufficient tonnage - using a bigger bottom V and "helping" the bend decreases the amount of power you need. Also know that aluminium has a grain that runs in the length of the sheet, so orientate the sheet so that the tighter bends that may want to crack run across the grain.

    For steel I would certainly only consider Domex 700 or Docal 1000 - you'll get away with a lot less weight and the same or better strength.

    I liked the post about the steel being more slippery than aluminium - this is a point I never considered before and is a very valid point. That's certainly put me off aluminium.

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