First Look: 2009 Ford F-150
Ford Brings More Capability and Luxury to the Best Selling Full Size Truck

By: Mike Levine Posted: 01-13-08 00:01 ET
Photography: Ford Motor Company, Mike Levine
© 2008 PickupTruck.com

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January 16th, 2008 is the 60th birthday of Ford’s F-Series pickups and Ford is taking the wraps off a very large present for its truck buyers at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Ford has made big improvements to the 2009 F-150, in an effort to keep the number one selling vehicle in America the leader in sales and competitive with the latest trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota, and Dodge. The company committed over 1,000 engineers, designers, and others to the revision program during its development period.

It’s not an all-new truck, like the 2009 Dodge Ram, but it’s a thorough top-to-bottom update of the vehicle that debuted in 2003. The upgrades start with the frame and extend all the way through the truck to the powertrain, interior, and exterior.

"This is a major change for the F-150. The exterior is bolder, tougher, the back end changes are very strong, and the interior is all new – every element from the fabrics to the materials to the designs. We've put new features in the truck that are going to make our customers' lives easier," says Mike Crowley, Ford Truck and SUV group marketing manager.

Chassis, Cabin, and Suspension Changes

The F-150's fully boxed frame adds new hydroformed side rails, made from high strength steel. The high strength steel improves torsional rigidity by 10-percent and saves weight from the chassis by using a narrower gauge steel compared to the previous F-150’s frame.

The rear suspension has been upgraded with longer leaf springs, for better ride handling and load control. The springs are mounted farther forward from the axle, like Ford did similarly updating the 2008 Super Duty.

To meet tougher 2010 federal rollover regulations, the F-150’s roof has been reengineered with high strength steel. High strength tubes run from the base of the A-pillar up through the roof, forming a safety cage around the truck’s occupants.

New Powertrain Options, Technology, and Transmissions

Ford is only offering V8 engines for the 2009 F-150. The entry level 4.2-liter V6 has been dumped.

The legacy two-valve per cylinder 4.6-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) Triton V8 four-speed automatic moves downstream from the middle position to take the old V6's slot. Ford says the 4.6-liter V8 delivers more horsepower and torque with the same fuel economy numbers as the outgoing V6.

Ford also says a V6 will return to the F-150 lineup for the 2010 calendar year, when Ford's new EcoBoost gasoline turbo direct injection V6 is added to the list of truck engines. A diesel motor will also be offered in 2010. Sources say the diesel will be a 4.4-liter V8 oil burner.

Ford is adding a new three-valve version of the 4.6-liter Triton V8 as the F-150’s middle engine. It’s pairing the 3V 4.6L with the new standard 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission that debuted in the 2007 Ford Expedition.

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