Here is an interesting topic, how do you open the hood of a Ford Transit Connect? You would think by using the hood release under the IP on the driver side. However, that would be wrong. To open the hood a Ford Transit Connect you need the key. Next lift the Ford hood badge and turning the badge back. To release the first latch insert the key and turn it left. Turn the key right, which releases the second latch, then lift the hood.
Below are the 2012 Dodge Avenger body structure and airbags. Also take note of the location of the 12 volt battery. The Avenger also has double-laminated glass on the front doors and windshield. Another safety feature are the active front head restraints move forward and upward during a rear-end collision to decrease the space between the headrest and head, helping reduce the risk of head and spinal injuries.
The 2011 Lexus IS has a body structure has a high structural rigidity. This body structure is used in the 2006 through 2011 models. As with most late model vehicles, the Lexus IS has a boat load of safety features!
Other safety features to keep in minds:
- Front-impact airbags for the driver and passenger have been designed to protect the head during a frontal crash.
- Side impact airbags for the front seats have been designed to protect the torso during a side impact collision.
- Overhead airbags are used to protect the occupant’s heads in the event of a side collision or rollover.
- Knee airbags help to protect the occupants lower extremities from serious injury in the event of an accident.
- Seatbelt pretensioners automatically tighten seatbelts to place the occupant in the optimal seating position during a collision.
Bentley Motors developed an advanced rollover protection system that is installed beneath the rear headrests for occupant safety. The way the system works is, if the car’s on-board computer senses that it is about to roll during an accident, the two reinforced steel hoops pictured below are deployed in a split second. The steel hoops work in conjunction with the strong windshield frame to protect passengers in the front and rear seats.
The uni-body construction of the GL-Class SUV uses advanced technology and robust materials to create a virtual fortress for the vehicles’ passengers. High- Strength/Low-Alloy steel is used in important areas of the vehicle. Roof pillars employ three layers of steel, and doors feature steel crossbeams. Full-width front and rear crossmembers, along with a reinforced floorpan and door sills, combine to provide protection in a variety of impacts. Advanced front and rear crumple zones progressively deform to help absorb the energy of an impact, while underhood components are staggered to help prevent them from stacking up in a frontal impact, thereby reducing the likelihood of intrusion into the cabin. An ellipsoidal front bulkhead helps channel some of the forces of a frontal impact under, over and around the passenger cabin.
There are 9 air bags that offer 13-ways of occupant protection. Dual two-stage front air bags, front and 2nd-row side-impact air bags, a driver’s knee air bag, and window curtain air bags for all three seating rows are standard.
Below is the body structure shell for the 2005-2010 Mazda 5. The Mazda 5 is built with Triple H body construction. The Triple H construction gives superb strength to the unitary construction body. Unitary construction is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object’s exterior. This is why higher strength steels are used in locations of high stress to increase strength and rigidity without adding weight.
The B-pillars are made of high-tensile steel. The side sills and B-pillars have large cross-sections for extra strength. Reinforcements were put in below the B and C-pillars to strengthen their joints to the side sills.
As for airbags:
- Advanced dual front air bags
- Side-impact air curtains with third-row coverage
- Front-seat mounted side-impact air bags
The 2006-2011 BMW X5 has a highly rigid body structure for maxium occupant protection is made with Ultra High Strength Steel. The passive safety features in this vehicle are passed on via the engine supports and chassis along various load paths which diverts the energy away from the passenger cell.
The BMW X5 has front and hip/thorax airbags and standard with side curtain head airbags (pictured below). The seat belts have force limiters, belt tensioners and crash-active headrests at the front. There are roll-over sensors that active the curtain airbags and the belt tensioners in the event of an imminent roll-over.
The 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt has a rigid Body Structure. The Cobalt’s rigid lower-dominant body structure was engineered as a single unit for mass efficiency and stiffness. The underbody is made of high-strength steel with welded members in strategic locations for maximum strength, structural integrity, mass optimization and crashworthiness.
The 2011 Cadillac SRX Body Structure has a wide range of different Ultra-High Strength Steel (UHSS) to consider during an extrication. Just remember that so many different factors come into play when cutting UHSS so never think that you are outgunned! Have a Plan A, Plan B, etc!
The B-Pillar (item 10) is a combined mixture of different UHSS. The outer B-Pillar is martensitic and the inner reinforcements are Dual Phase Steel and other UHSS. The Side Door Impact Beams (item 13) and Rocker Panel (item 14) are made with UHSS.
The collision repair guide on the 2010-2011 Cadillac SRX states that the B-Pillar can only be replaced as a one piece, no sectioning! The service B-Pillar will come as a complete assembly and the center B-Pillar Reinforcement is constructed of ultra high strength steel (martensitic). Ultra High Strength Steel normally has a tensile strength greater than 700 MPa.
Here’s a little interesting note I ran across from GM, when GM calls out UHSS this classification includes common steel names of Martensitic Steel (MS), Press hardened Steel (PHS), and Boron Steel.
The Inner reinforcements of the B-Pillar are seen in the image to the right with the rocker panel and outer B-Pillar removed. Remember the reinforcements are UHSS Dual Phase. General Motors states that Ultra High Strength Dual Phase Steel (Dual Phase Steel with a tensile strength greater than 800 MPa), also known as DPX cannot be repaired.
What a great year 2010 was! For the first time in a long time the automotive industry started adding jobs here in Detroit! Hopefully, with more people getting back to work the budget cuts in public safety budgets can finally start to slow down, if not end!
As for BoronExtrication.com, I started this blog to help spread around information about the advanced steels used in the body structure of new vehicles. Back in January, I would have never guessed how much traffic to my blog would increase! Also, becoming part of the FireEMSBlogs.com family was huge honor and a great step to gain a larger readership.
One cool thing about writing this blog is all the contacts and people I get to meet in the Fire Service. First off, in May I went to a trauma synopsis at local community college that Ron Moore from Firehouse.com and University or Extrication was presenting at. To my shock, Ron knew who I was when I went up to meet him.
Another gentleman I met was Dave Dalrymple and his crew from RoadwayRescue LLC at a DVD filming for Fire Engineering in Dearborn, Michigan. Extrication is not limited to the US. From Canada there is Randy Schmitz from the Calgary Fire Department and Alberta Vehicle Extrication Association. The reach of the internet connects me to a friend across the pond in the UK, Jon Curley from rtc-rescue.com. Last but not lest is the FireEMSBlog.com group of bloggers and support staff. While I have yet to meet any of them face-to-face, they all are a true asset to the Fire Service and I’m looking forward to a great New Year!
Please everyone on-duty tonight or like me, skipping the alcohol just incase there’s a MVA on the freeway (fires or even more rare in Wixom, MI), stay safe out there!!
One job that needs to be completed on the scene of an extrication is securing the power source. A simple task that even the newest probie should have no issue completing. However, I have to ask, do you know where the battery is? Now some of you will say it’s either in under the hood or in the trunk. That’s a safe assumption. Just remember that automakers position the battery in different locations in vehicles based on weight distribution, cost of running cables, and sometimes, batteries are put the only place they fit. Took a quick look at the battery locations of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the first two images and the E-Class in the the third. Just to clarify, we are only talking about the standard 12 volt car battery, not hybrid batteries.
High-end cars like Mercedes-Benz and even domestic brands like Lincoln and Cadillac cover up most of the engine compartments with plastic covers. The automakers view it as an “under the hood beautification”. Check out the engine compartment of a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V in the image below.
Here are a few pictures of the 2010 Chrysler Body Structures:
When the redesigned Chrysler Sebring hit the road in 2007, it had one of the highest combined percentages of high-strength and ultra-high-strength, hot-stamped steel among production-volume vehicles. How much UHSS and Dual Phase? Hot-stamped steel is used in the A-pillars, B-pillars and roof rail reinforcements that shed 30 lbs of upper body weight by 30 lbs. Dual-phase and high-strength steels are located in the sill with as many as four layers of metal that provide impact energy management. The Sebring has large sills which stiffen the body structure.
2008 until to present, as of 2011 the Volvo V70 has a body structure around the passenger compartment is constructed in the form of a particularly strong safety cage using different grades of steel.
- Red: Ultra High Strength Steel
- Orange: Extra High Strength Steel
- Yellow: Very High Strength Steel
- Blue: High Strength Steel
- Grey: Mild Steel / Forming Grades
- Green: Aluminium
I wish every automaker would make a detailed extrication handbook for their vehicles. Most provide a basic guide for the hazards in their vehicles. However, Mercedes-Benz has gone above and beyond. Take a look at the link below. The Mercedes-Benz guide is 187 pages full of very useful information that can be used on other makes and models.
Below is an example of what the guide shows:
In the S-Class (model 221), certain areas of the Apillar are particularly well-suited to being cut through. Such areas are clearly designated with “CUT” marks in the windshield.
Cutting the A-pillar free in the area of the roof frame on this vehicle.
The Cadillac CTS currently uses Advanced High Strength Steels in strategic structural locations. One of Cadillac’s plans for the next Cadillac CTS refresh is to make the CTS one of the lightest cars in its class. One assumes they will do this through additional use of Aluminum, and high strength steel. The advantage of high strength steel is that for the same properties a thinner, lighter piece can be used that has the same or better strength and durability.
There is a 2-3% improvement in fuel economy for every 100 kg (220 lbs). So although the EPA cycle is complex, in general a 28 mpg CTS might break 30 mpg with the loss of around 500 lbs of weight from its 3,681 lb curb weight. Obviously there is a limit to the fuel economy that can be gained in this manner, since Cadillacs one can safely say will always have some weight. Cadillac’s goal of being the lightest in their vehicle class seems ideal. This goal is one that will have to be revisited in the crowded markets Cadillac competes in.
The Cadillac CTS currently uses Advanced High Strength Steels in strategic structural locations.
Civic Hybrid with Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) was named a 2010 TOP SAFETY PICK by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). According to the IIHS, the award “recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear, and now [for 2010] rollover crashes.” So there is some Ultra-high Strength Steel lurking in the body structure! Any body pillar, rail, or rocker that is a different color in the images below is worth taking a mental snapshot.
A rigid structure enables designers to maintain tight body-panel fit tolerances, tune the suspension for precise ride and handling, help keep the ride squeak- and rattle-free as well as to provide long-term durability and high levels of crash protection for the occupants. The widespread use of high-tensile steel enables the RDX to meet all of these challenges.
Polygonal-shaped frame members, that are designed to disperse and absorb forces in a collision, are located behind the front bumper beam. These high-strength steel frame members send collision forces upward and rearward where they can be absorbed by the main body structure. In the event of a rear collision, polygonal-shaped high-tensile steel frame members direct the loads forward and outward. These rear frame members also use a “wave shape” design that provides high strength, yet deforms controllably in a collision. In a side impact, large longitudinal high-tensile steel side sills extending front to rear underneath the vehicle, along with lateral high tensile steel cross members, absorb energy. For greater steering precision and handling stability, RDX designers paid particular attention to improving body rigidity around the front and rear suspension. These reinforcements are comprised of side-to-side bracing behind and above the firewall and inside the tailgate area.
The use of varying grades of steel in the construction of the RDX’s unit body is key to its stiffness, performance in a collision and light weight. HSS780 grade steel is used in the “box” section of the front, side and rear frame members at the bottom of the body. Additional high tensile steel (HSS780 and 590) is used in other areas under the floor, and in the A- and B-pillars and roof rails. By utilizing high strength steel (39-percent by weight), the RDX exceeds the BMW X3′s torsional rigidity.
The 2010 Hyundai Veracruz is constructed with a reinforced unibody. The body structure is made of high-tensile steel with engineered crumple zones. The Veracruz receieved a 4 Star Rollover Rating from the NHTSA. Side impacts the vehicle receieved 5 Stars. So there is high strengh in the pillars, but the roof may not be as strong.