more to say about the F-150 than only promoting its new features and
it debuted ‘way-back’ in the
2004 model year, the current F-150 continues to excel in certain areas
where the 2007
Toyota Tundra, in particular, doesn’t. One
of those areas is the frame – the foundation for any pickup’s
towing, crash safety, and ride and handling capabilities.
In a graphic
demonstration of torsional load balancing and stiffness, Ford placed
bare frames from the 2007
F-150 and Tundra side-by-side, to point
out the differences in engineering and build. 250-pounds of weights
were attached to the left rear portion of each chassis and the amount
frame flex was measured. The C-channel, riveted cross member construction
of the Tundra’s
chassis flexed 3.2-inches under the load versus only .86-inches of bend
in the fully boxed, welded cross member build of the F-150’s. In
pictures the amount of visual flex in the Tundra’s frame is quite
highlighted the greater width, torque and load bearing capacities of
its rear leaf springs and sturdier leaf spring bolts, versus the narrower
width leaf springs and thinner bolts used in the Tundra and Chevy Silverado.
Oval crew is so confident in the F-150’s
frame and rear suspension components that it’s buffing up the truck’s
tow rating for 2008 to 11,000 pounds – the most in the half-ton
segment, for now.
year is going to be extremely difficult for Ford to maintain its pole
position in the full size truck market. F-Series sales in the first quarter
of 2007 were down almost 14% versus 2006 volumes. These new features
and models aren’t likely to reverse that trend but quite possibly
they’ll help to slow it down enough to keep Ford’s sales
lead until the all new 2009 F-150 appears.
And to help
underscore the point that the new truck is coming soon, as we walked
around and drove the 2007 and 2008 models, tarped-up 2009 mules and
prototypes zoomed around the Dearborn test facility tracks in full
view of all the journalists on hand. It won’t be
long before we’re crawling all over those trucks too.