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What grade of aluminum diamond plate on the floor of most aluminum car trailers

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  • What grade of aluminum diamond plate on the floor of most aluminum car trailers

    I am working on a design for a 24' aluminum trailer for personal use and want to build it myself in my hobby time. I had assumed the hardness of 6061 tread plate was the go to material but have realized that 3003 is nearly half the price and with all the cost down measures companies are taking these days I am questioning if the cheaper 3003 is the norm ?? Does Anybody know.

    I am also considering extruded planking for the floor as an option but not got any pricing as of yet. I realize that the softer 3003 will have to be more carefully braced from underneath to prevent it from getting warpally looking. Does anyone here have insight into trailer building and materials used.
    Last edited by Doug Doty; 02-13-2015, 08:47 AM.
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  • #2
    6061

    I've never seen AL diamond plate in 3003. Most trailers use 3/4" plywood with something like .045 - .060 AL diamond plate screwed down. If you are making a completely aluminum trailer, look at the flooring in all aluminum horse trailers like Featherlite. We had to rebuild a larger horse trailer, one that rolled over a pipe or fire hydrant and ripped out 2/3's of the under carriage. The construction was far different than a conventional steel trailer. I can see why they are so expensive. To replace the flooring with interlocking extruded panels was close to $500 for a 4'x8' section. Compared to plywood and diamond plate at around $100 for the same area plus the I-beams were really expensive. The trailer used thick wall aluminum I-beams for cross members about every 2'.

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    • #3
      Since you haven't received any answers I'll give my opinion since I don't have facts.

      If it was me I would use 6061 just because it would be less likely to dent/deform under load. Using 3003 or 5052 would require more bracing or thicker sheets to achieve the same strength as 6061 which would cost either more labor or more for the thicker sheets.

      If you know of any truck junkyards you may be able to get some extruded floor sections from a flatbed or a trailer.
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      • #4
        6061? What condition? T6? If so when welding it, expect it to lose approximately 1/2 it's yield strength around the welds. At worse expect it to lose 4/5th's of it's yield strength since it can and does return to the annealed condition (i.e. T0). It can be worked around but you have to incorporate that work around into your design. 5000 series don't lose as much strength when welding but they do lose some also.

        3003 will also lose strength when welding too. And depending upon the initial temper of the material you purchase it can lose as much as 80% of it's strength.

        So my point here is be careful and understanding what you are doing.

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        • #5
          I will say that even if it looses some strength a well designed structure will be strong enough. I made dining chair bottom prototype of 6061 1/2" x 1-1/2" stock.
          The design was four legs running up to the underside of the seat, with four horizontal pieces on edge between them. After welding, the legs weren't all touching the flat floor at once. I thought I could bend it to symmetry. It didn't work. My 210 pound son, and I the same weight weren't enough to bend it to shape. Ultimately a hydraulic press was needed.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by ttppoopp View Post
            6061? What condition? T6? If so when welding it, expect it to lose approximately 1/2 it's yield strength around the welds. At worse expect it to lose 4/5th's of it's yield strength since it can and does return to the annealed condition (i.e. T0). It can be worked around but you have to incorporate that work around into your design. 5000 series don't lose as much strength when welding but they do lose some also.

            3003 will also lose strength when welding too. And depending upon the initial temper of the material you purchase it can lose as much as 80% of it's strength.

            So my point here is be careful and understanding what you are doing.

            Bolt it down instead of welding, you won't lose any strength.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by ja baudin View Post
              Bolt it down instead of welding, you won't lose any strength.

              Thanks for this response, .............. I did not realize how much strength was compromised in the affected area when welding aluminum. I have in the past only made small tanks and non structural things out of aluminum and not honestly tested the integrity of welds, only focused on cosmetics. I did weld up a little 2 person 11' rectangular tune pontoon boat but it was never tested per say... For this trailer, I think I will end up doing a bit of a hybrid of steel and aluminum for cost and appearance so the deck is quite conducive to bolting down.
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              • #8
                I thought those trailers used aluminum decking, not tread plate.

                Just curious.
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