I recently received an email from a reader who was distressed over a bedside replacement on an aluminum 2015 Ford F-150.
The original build used self-piercing rivets (SPRs), but Ford recommended that SPRs not be used. Ford recommended blind rivets or plug welds, but the reader saw this as a problem in that it would not look like the original.
According to the reader, the SPRs are small and flat, while the blind rivets are much larger and raised. He asked if I knew of anyone who had a better way to do this repair.
“With the price of new trucks, this seems like a case for diminished value,” the reader said. “This just screams, ‘I’ve been in a wreck,’ yet you’re following Ford’s recommendations.”
Right away, a repairer in California came to mind who told me about his learning experience doing a $30,000 repair of the new F-150. I also referred the reader to our technical writer, Mitch Becker, who was able to steer him to a shop in Minnesota that could help. Both shops told him there was no way currently of doing the repair differently.
One of the shops told him, “In the future, we are not always going to be able to reproduce what the factory did to manufacture the car.”
“I still think there should be some way to make these bedside replacements look better,” said the reader.
What pleased me was the reader’s comment about how willing the two shops were to try to help him. It’s encouraging to me to see that type of cooperation in this industry. I suspect we’ll need more and more of it as vehicles get more sophisticated.