Ford Answers Your Ford Questions!
Last month we decided to take Nuts & Bolts in a different, temporary direction. For a few issues we'll be gathering up your tech questions and taking them to the people building new 4x4s. Last month was Dodge Truck, and this month is Ford, but send us your GM, Toyota, and Jeep questions too, as we will be knocking on their doors next. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ford, The Future, And 4x4s
Q What is Ford's view of the off-road marketplace? The exciting new F-150 SVT Raptor and proven-rugged Super Duty trucks show it is an important market, but what does Ford consider important for future 4x4 vehicles, and what does Ford want our readers to know it is doing for recreational off-roaders?
A FORD RESPONDS: Ford remains committed to providing exciting and capable products to off-road enthusiasts. We have long been committed to off-roading and we take learning's from off-road racing and apply those directly to our truck product development.
Ford continues to introduce innovative technology and features that appeal to off-road customers, such as the F-150 SVT Raptor's standard electronic locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control, and a new off-road mode.
Built Ford Tough durability is designed, engineered, and manufactured into all our trucks. Combining Built Ford Tough with great suspension travel, traction devices, and innovative technology helps make Ford a leader in off-roading.
We have many exciting new products that will appeal to off-roaders. Building off the new '09 F-150, we are now introducing the all-new '10 F-150 SVT Raptor, the first-ever factory-built, high-performance off-road truck. The F-150 SVT Raptor is still fully capable and practical to use every day.
The all-new '11 Super Duty enhances off-road capability with availability of electronic locking differential and Hill Descent Control. The latter feature integrates brake and powertrain calibration to control speed and direction down off-road grades.
4wor Responds: We can't say they're lying. The Raptor was in our 4x4 of the Year test, which starts on page 38. We've heard rumors that Ford has hired retired desert racers to do extreme off-road testing in special rollcage-equipped engineering vehicles to help determine just how much abuse new Ford trucks can take.
Q What is the most fuel-efficient 4x4 (with two-speed transfer case) that Ford currently offers, and what is Ford doing to cross-pollinate a performance 4x4 off-road vehicle and fuel efficiency?
A Ford: The Ranger 4.0L V-6 4x4 with manual transmission offers 15 city, 19 highway. The F-150 4.6L 3V 4x4 offers 14 city, 19 highway. Super Duty does not have fuel economy window labels, as it is O8500 GVWR. As previously announced, we will be introducing a new EcoBoost engine on the F-150 late in 2010, which will offer exceptional fuel economy and low-end torque.
Q With the square design of the Ford Flex and the great response Ford is receiving for that crossover, does Ford have any considerations of building a new version of the original square-styled Bronco? Or is that nameplate dead?
A Ford: While many enthusiasts have painstakingly restored original '66-'77 Broncos, we have no plans at this time to resurrect this nameplate.
4WOR: Why don't you send us A Ford Flex and a Super Duty, and we'll resurrect this nameplate?!
Ford Dirt Racing
Q What off-road motorsports is Ford involved in? Does Ford sponsor any 4x4 teams, be it for stadium racing; rally racing, desert racing, or rockcrawling?
A Ford: In the United States, Ford is actively involved in 4x4 events and sporting racing. Ford is the official vehicle of the Best in the Desert Series, and we provide vehicle support for TORQ series. Look for Ford displays and vehicles, including the F-150 SVT Raptor, at 4x4 events across the country.
4WOR: And Ford still sponsors the Professional Bull Riders!
F-150, 250, or 350?
Q The half-ton diesel truck is a product many truck buyers are waiting for, but with this option waiting in the wings of all the OE manufacturers, is there concern that half-ton performance in towing and hauling could step on the toes of Super Duty? With the new F-150 being able to tow almost 12,000 pounds, why would I buy a Super Duty?
A Ford: Super Duty customers require significantly higher capabilities to fulfill vocational jobs in construction, landscaping, contracting, and so on. Ninety-seven percent of our customers tow and haul regularly, with some towing loads ranging up to 24,000 pounds-far beyond F-150 max towing capability. These functional needs require torque levels achievable only with a diesel powertrain, which is not available on the F-150.
Ford Racing Parts
Q From the looks of the Ford Racing Performance Parts Catalog, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of off-road parts for Ford vehicles. Anything new and exciting coming from Ford Racing for the off-road truck enthusiast, such as winch bumpers, off-road lighting, or suspension?
A Ford: Take another look at Ford Racing's website (www.fordracing.com). Inspired by the F-150 SVT Raptor R truck that earned a podium finish at the SCORE Baja 1000, there are several new exciting parts, including a new light bar, off-road lights, and skidplates.
Daily Dose of F-150
Q How many F-150s can Ford make in an average day?
A Ford: With our flexible manufacturing we can produce as many as needed to meet customer demand! You can check out the assembly line yourself at the Henry Ford Museum, which offers tours of our Dearborn plant, where we build the F-150.
4WOR: Was Henry Ford a politician? Because you easily diverted that question.
Q With the new F-150 SVT Raptor, Ford has entered the off-road enthusiast market with guns blazing. Are any 4x4 events scheduled for 2010 that Ford will attend to show off the performance of the F-150 SVT Raptor to the public?
A Ford: Our 2010 event schedule is not yet finalized. Check our website for updates (www.fordracing.com/schedule). In 2009 we attended numerous 4x4 events, such as Best in the Desert and TORQ.
4WOR: Bring a Raptor to the Moab Easter Safari and show us some sweet jumps!
Power Wagon Hunter?
Q The performance of Dodge's Power Wagon with solid axles, selectable locking differentials, electronic sway bar disconnects, and a winch is hard to beat, but many buyers want all this and a diesel engine. Has Ford considered building a similar truck based off the Super Duty platform with the diesel?
A Ford: The '11 Super Duty will offer an off-road package available in both a gas and diesel powertrains, which includes an electronic locking differential, Hill Descent Control, branded tuned shocks, and skidplates. It will build upon the inherent strengths of a dedicated heavy-duty frame that is different from the under-8,500-pound GVW frame.
4WOR: Nice! A diesel with a selectable locker. Can we get two and a winch?
Q The Ford Ranger is available in other parts of the world with a diesel engine. What must be considered before this option can be offered in the U.S.?
A Ford: Customer needs drive powertrain offerings, and the U.S. Ranger fulfills customer need for an inexpensive commuter vehicle with light hauling/towing capability and achieves best-in-class fuel economy without a diesel engine. For most non-North American markets, the global Ford Ranger fulfills the role of a fullsize pickup in terms of size and payload, and a diesel engine is required due to local market requirements.
4WOR: Wow, we never considered that our little Ranger was some Third World country's Super Duty.
Raptor Right For Me?
Q How would you convince a buyer who doesn't live near wide-open desert areas that the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is right for his type of four-wheeling? What benefits does it offer over other performance 4x4 vehicles in the market?
A Ford: We'd encourage everyone to check out the vehicle in person and take it for a testdrive. While the F-150 SVT Raptor has exceptional performance in the desert, it was developed to be a great all-around truck that excels in all off-roading conditions (sand, mud, snow, dirt, rocks, and so on) without any trade-offs for on-road ride and performance.
The truck is still fully capable with 1,000 pounds payload and 6,000 pounds towing, enough to tow toys such as dirt bikes, ATVs, and snowmobiles.
The F-150 SVT Raptor offers patented Fox Racing Shox triple internal bypass shocks, unique 35-inch BFGoodrich tires, and several new electronic features like off-road mode that you cannot do in the aftermarket. The F-150 SVT Raptor is priced about $2,500 MSRP above a comparable FX4, so it offers exceptional value with a factory warranty!
4WOR: Hmmm, 1,000 pounds is a lot of hay! Imagine how much faster you could feed the cows out in the back pasture with a truck like this.
Calling Mr. Ford
Q In what way can truck buyers convey their desires to Ford for product development?
A Ford: Ford Motor Company engineers, product planners, designers, and marketing personnel monitor truck enthusiast websites, blogs, and forums. These channels provide helpful, unfiltered insight for product feedback and functional expectations. Customers seeking the latest '11 Super Duty information can go to www.fordvehicles.com/2011superduty. Customers can share this link with their favorite social networks, sign up for product updates, and read major truck enthusiast journal reviews.
4WOR: That means they're watching 4wheeloffroad.com, so go post in our forum.
Q When, if ever, will we see a diesel F-150?
A Ford: The F-150 Diesel was put on hold, as were the competitions' light-duty diesels, in part due to the higher diesel fuel prices.
4WOR: Yes, but diesel prices are lower than gas again. Just saying.
Don't kill that little truck!
Q I have heard rumors that the Ranger will soon be ending production. Is this true? When?
A Ford: The '10 U.S. Ranger recently received updated feature content like AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and side airbags and will be available for the foreseeable future.
4WOR: Thank goodness
Stick in A Ford
Q What Ford 4x4 vehicles are available with a manual transmission?
A Ford: Ford Ranger and Super Duty are currently available with manual transmission.
4WOR: Don't take them away!
Have 1, Want 2
Q Will the F-150 FX4 ever be offered with a front locker to match the rear?
A Ford: Currently there are no plans, but that is something we will consider. Thank you for the excellent suggestion.
Solid Super Duty
Q Will the Super Duty ever go to IFS like the GM HD trucks?
A FORD: The '11 Super Duty remains on a dedicated heavy-duty frame and suspension. The voice of the customer has been clear to sustain this segment-exclusive feature to achieve the required functional over-8,500-pound-GVW capability.
The Man Plan
Q I can't get a manual transfer case in my '09 F-150. Why not?
A Ford: A manual transfer case is still an option on '09 and '10 F-150 4x4s. Ford F-150 offers a manual transfer case with either manual shift on the fly (MSOF) or electronic shift on the fly (ESOF).
No Man Plan
Q Why can't I get a manual transmission in my '09 F-150?
A Ford: Limited customer demand resulted in all major half-ton pickups deleting the manual transmission option.
NO Lightening, Just Thunder
Q What happened to the Lightning?
A Ford: We now offer an all-new F-150 SVT Raptor, which is a high-performance off-road truck. Ford decided to go in this direction rather than toward a street-performance-based truck like Lightning because we saw the market trends moving toward more off-roading. Also, we believe that off-roading fits better with the truck's natural capabilities.
4WOR: Streets are dumb. Another waste of taxpayer dollars.
Bigger, Badder Raptor
Q Will you ever make a crew cab F-150 SVT Raptor?
A Ford We have received many requests for a SuperCrew F-150 SVT Raptor, and we are currently evaluating this suggestion.
4WOR: Sweet! We are considering getting two Saint Bernard puppies to ride around with us.
Q Will you ever make a crew cab Ranger?
A Ford: Ford Motor Company offers a crew cab Ranger in non-North American markets, where it fulfills the role of a fullsize pickup. In North America, the Ranger fulfills the need for an inexpensive, fuel-efficient commuter vehicle and the F-150 fulfills the need for a larger package with greater capability in the fullsize segment.
4WOR: Thank you for answering our readers' questions, Ford.
Confused? Email your questions about trucks, 4x4s, and off-roading tech using "Nuts, I'm confused" as the subject and include a picture (if it's applicable). Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file. Also, I'll be checking the forums on our website (www.4wheeloffroad.com), and if I see a question that I think more of you might want to have answered, I'll print that as well. Otherwise drop it old-school style with the envelope addressed to the address below. Letters published in this magazine reflect the opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes. Write to: Nuts & Bolts, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, fax 323.782.2704. Email to: email@example.com