1. Khorae Olivier
    March 20, 2018 @ 9:30 AM

    I like how you talked about steel and aluminum in terms of how strong they are being dependent on the alloy in question. I would think that the mixture of metals would change the density and strength and go into the decision process. Thank you for the information about how they two metals are usually comparable as far as strength.


    • Eldon Goates
      April 2, 2018 @ 7:24 AM

      Good observation. Interestingly, the alloying of Steel and Aluminum only changes the density slightly — insignificant in practical terms. The strength, on the other hand changes a lot. The way it is processed, like heat treatment, also makes a huge difference. This topic is a good idea for a future post. Thank you.


  2. Steve Lussier
    May 16, 2018 @ 11:36 AM

    Great article. I would also like to know what size of material would be use and frame type for different size of trailers. Example would be a 16 ft flat deck 10,000 lb capacity trailer VS a 20 ft flat deck with 14,000 lb capacity. Is there a formula or a web site that would show what is the best way a trailer is build and have the correct size of material. Aluminum or steel.


    • Eldon Goates
      May 19, 2018 @ 5:17 PM

      Yes, there are formulas, but they are not as simple as it might at first sound. The biggest issue is knowing what materials — channel, tube, angle, I-beam — then the sizes, combinations, and configuration. So many variables. Posting something to get you going is a good idea, so I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.


  3. Emmett
    May 7, 2020 @ 4:07 PM

    I’m replacing rusted 2x2x1/8″ thick galvanized steel tube crossbars on a pontoon boat trailer.
    I’m considering 2x2x1/4″ thick 6061-T6.
    I’ve tried some online calculators, but don’t know enough.
    How does that compare in yield strength and shear?



    • Mechanic
      May 8, 2020 @ 9:25 AM

      As mentioned in the article, aluminum is not fundamentally “weaker”, but it does have different properties — especially with deflection. Without knowing a lot more about how the crossbars are involved in loads, I really can’t say what will work and what won’t. Also, there is a fundamental difference in how Aluminum can attach versus how steel attaches (I’m making the assumption that the rest of the frame is steel). Anyway, if you would like some engineering help, I’m happy to do that with an engineering contract. Enjoy.


      • James
        August 24, 2020 @ 9:30 PM

        How would I go about some engineering help? I would like to build a aluminum trailer and don’t have a clue what to use for materials lol. I build one out of steel years ago that has worked great but need it to be wider and lighter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *