Super Duty frames are made using thick 6.7 mm steel outer rails, and the
F-450/550 gets 8.1 mm steel. The cross members are both welded and riveted,
a belts-and-suspenders approach that Ford says tops the either/or approach
section of the frame is fully-boxed, for maximum strength, which is critical
for customers such as landscapers, who may mount a snow plow on the trucks,
said Reyes. The entire frame is e-coated for corrosion resistance.
A significant detail of the frame’s construction is that the very
front frame horn section drops down seven inches to mount the bumper.
This puts the Super Duty’s front bumper in better line with the
protection systems in passenger cars, so that in the event of a collision
the occupants of the car are less likely to be injured. High bumpers and
stiffer frames can worsen the effects of collisions between different-sized
vehicles, so the front frame horn not only lowers the bumper nearer to
car height, but it is also constructed of dimpled steel that will crush
in accordian-style in a crash to reduce the force of the blow.
virtual bridge truss as the foundation, Ford installs suspension appropriate
to the expected work load. Two-wheel-drive F-250s and 350s rely on the
ol’ Twin I-Beam swing axle suspension used by Ford since the Iron
Age. In this iteration stiffer bushings and revises attachment links on
the anti-sway bars improve ride and handling, and a steering damper reduces
vibration. The front portion of the Gross Vehicle Weight is boosted from
4,800 lbs. to 5,250 lbs.
The four-bys get a moonbeam solid front suspension using coil springs
and radius arms designed to minimize axle wind-up under acceleration.
The design enables a reduced turning circle of 46.1 ft. for the regular
cab, long-bed pickups. The two-wheel-drive trucks U-turn in 47.7 ft.
rides on a solid front axle, either two- or four-wheel-drive, mounted
with twin-coil suspension. The solid axle not only provides durability,
but its wider track lets the front wheels turn at sharper angles for a
reduced turning circle size of only 42.3 ft. for the regular cab. The
big crew cab long bed F-450 pickup turns around in 51.5 ft.
suspension is the business end of any pickup truck, so Ford put some extra
effort into this area. The seemingly contradictory requirements of both
higher payloads and increased personal use -- which means customer demand
for better unladen ride -- posed an obstacle, but vehicle dynamics supervisor
Dan Gompper’s Super Duty team scaled it like a Super Duty 4 x 4
conquering the slimy mud of a south Texas construction site in an ice
storm. That means they met the seemingly impossible task with poise and
determination that prevailed impressively.
Leaf-sprung solid axles have known pros and cons. They are strong and
have excellent load-carrying capability, but are given to rough ride and
axle-hop under hard acceleration. The solution was longer leaf springs.
The new trucks’ leaves stretch eight inches more to mount farther
forward on the frame. These longer springs have fewer leaves, contributing
to a smoother ride. Stiffer bushings meanwhile contribute better roll
control in cornering and the staggered shock mounts provide an improved
ratio for the shocks’ damper action.
This rear suspension was also designed to keep the rear of the trucks
low to better tow fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.