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Thread: Weight of all stainless steel panels?

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    Senior Member BladeBronson's Avatar
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    Weight of all stainless steel panels?

    We've all heard it a million times, "those cars are so heavy because of the stainless steel panels!" Does anyone know the total weight of all of the panels combined?
    Christian Williams, Bay Area
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    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    It's funny 90% of people think stainless is heavy. I guess because they have some think stainless pans they lift and compare them the aluminum pans.
    Dave M vin 03572
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    Senior Member BladeBronson's Avatar
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    I think the issue is that you can see the metal. ?Oh, that car is metal so it?s heavy?, not understanding (in the moment) that painted metal is also metal.
    Christian Williams, Bay Area
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    Stainless Steel is only slightly heavier than Cold Rolled Steel. Almost negligible. BUT on the Delorean they used 16 Ga panels. Very thick especially when you compare what they use on new cars, they are so thin some are like a soda can, 28Ga! My guess is they used 16 Ga so any dents can be bumped out, ground and sanded. Future plans were to do the panels in colored plastic. The main reason the car came out too heavy is because the original design was to be a molded tub & frame combined with the S/S panels. They had too many production problems so to stay on schedule they went to the steel frame.
    David Teitelbaum

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    Quote Originally Posted by David T View Post
    Stainless Steel is only slightly heavier than Cold Rolled Steel. Almost negligible. BUT on the Delorean they used 16 Ga panels. Very thick especially when you compare what they use on new cars, they are so thin some are like a soda can, 28Ga! My guess is they used 16 Ga so any dents can be bumped out, ground and sanded. Future plans were to do the panels in colored plastic. The main reason the car came out too heavy is because the original design was to be a molded tub & frame combined with the S/S panels. They had too many production problems so to stay on schedule they went to the steel frame.
    This is not correct.
    The stainless on our cars is somewhere between 22 and 24 ga 304ss.

    The underbody with glass weighs almost exactly 400lbs.

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    This is most certainly a guess, but I have all the panels off my car right now. Heaviest of course is the hood, with its backing, and that's more awkward than heavy
    due to size. My guess is somewhere in the 150lb neighborhood all up. I have a scale nearby, so I can go weigh everything later and you can all see how wrong my guess
    was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrChocky View Post
    This is most certainly a guess, but I have all the panels off my car right now. Heaviest of course is the hood, with its backing, and that's more awkward than heavy
    due to size. My guess is somewhere in the 150lb neighborhood all up. I have a scale nearby, so I can go weigh everything later and you can all see how wrong my guess
    was.
    Sorry, forgot about the doors. From memory, these are 90lbs with all the hardware fitted, so perhaps 80lbs each.

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    Not sure what any of the panels weigh, but the weight of steel times 1.03 = the weight of stainless. Obviously, that?s not much to worry about. For example, if the panels all weighed a 1000 lbs. in ordinary steel (highly unlikely) you would only be adding 30 lbs. to make them in stainless. Of course, you would add some weight in paint to steel making it even closer in weight.

    Stainless is not as strong as conventional steel, so, as David mentioned, it?s possible they made the panels thicker to make up for this. While I?m not sure that modern cars use 28 ga. (.016? seems light to me), I can garentee you our cars are not 16 ga. (.062?). Josh is probably correct, so the difference is not a big deal. I would bet the fiberglass/plastic under the panels far out weighs the stainless.

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    The major difference between S/S and CRS, besides the strength and corrosion resistance, S/S costs a LOT more than CRS. Some of that cost differential is offset by the fact that you don't have to paint it to protect it from corrosion. The weight of the paint is negligible. One of the main reasons JZD chose to use S/S (besides the novelty), when he worked for GM he was aware that the majority of customer complaints were due to paint quality. Another consideration was environmental concerns and getting permits to paint. Choosing S/S avoided all of this. I have to check the gauge again, from memory I thought it was 16 Ga. In any case it is a LOT thicker than what they use now. Lastly, he was also pushing the concept of an environmentally responsible car. One that would last a long time. Knowing that the cars Detroit was making would start rotting out in less than 5 years, he wanted a car that would last. There were also plans that an owner could change the color of the car easily so it would be like a "new" car. The plan was to unbolt and bolt on different color plastic panels and give you credit for your old ones. The car was also relatively easy to repair. Unlike other cars, all of the panels can be unbolted and bolted back on so bodywork was a simple affair, no welding or painting or banging out panels.
    David Teitelbaum

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    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    The weight of the paint does affect the result depending on the weight of all the panels. If our stainless is 200 lbs. then the weight of steel would be 194 lbs plus the 10 lbs of paint would result in 204 lbs. So our stainless weighs less.
    Dave M vin 03572
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