Home » Why The Current Ford F-150 Is Actually Three Trucks In One: Suspension Secrets

Why The Current Ford F-150 Is Actually Three Trucks In One: Suspension Secrets

Suspension Secrets Ford F150 2
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My fellow Autopians, welcome to the second edition of Suspension Secrets, where we dive deep into the workings of some of the most iconic suspensions ever produced. This time we are going to look closely at the fascinatingly different rear suspensions available on the most popular truck in America for the past 47 years. (according to Ford): The Ford F-150. How did Ford offer such different designs on the same basic truck platform? Didn’t they have to change the frame? Isn’t that ridiculously expensive for an automaker to do? Let’s dive into it.

The Three Different Ford F-150s

While Ford does not break out sales by model, I think I’m right in stating that the majority of F-series trucks sold are F-150’s (versus F-250s, 350s, etc), and the majority of those are work trucks — contractors’ trucks, fleet sales, etc.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Simply, these trucks are meant to work. They must be durable, strong, tough, but not necessarily capable of fine ride and handling or even off-roading beyond driving in the muck at a job-site. A simple suspension is all that is needed for these tasks. Yes, it’s true that many F-150’s are sold as personal daily use vehicles and will never see dirt. I’m not a contractor nor do I own a fleet, but I’ve owned an F-150 for the past 21 years now, and while I do often use it for trucky type tasks, the reality is that it’s mainly a daily driver. And as you might expect, its ride suffers as a result of its “work-truck” rear suspension.

Ford F150 Composite

But not all F-150’s are meant to be work trucks. The Raptor, for instance, is meant for off-roading, capable of going through the desert at high speed. It doesn’t need to have the payload capacity of a work truck, nor does it need to tow heavy trailers. As such, its suspension needs to be designed to maximize off-road performance through large amounts of suspension travel and lots of articulation with minimal binding.

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Similarly, the Ford F-150 Lightning, while still billed as a work truck, has very different demands put on its suspension because of its unique powertrain. An electric motor with its large battery pack need a very different type of rear suspension than either a basic work truck or a desert truck.

While the front suspension is the same or similar on all three of these versions, the rear is where the differences lie, so let’s take a deep dive into each and see what makes them tick and why they need to be different.

 

Before we do that, click the video above for part II of our Suspension Secrets series — this episode goes deep into the three major Ford F-150 suspensions, and it is gold.

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Let’s Look At The Base Suspension

Screen Shot 2024 02 01 At 11.02.12 Am

Since the beginning of transportation devices, the most common type of suspension has been the leaf spring. This goes back to the early days of wagons and was carried through into the age of automobiles. The evolution of leaf springs has gone from fully elliptic:

Screen Shot 2024 02 01 At 10.53.14 Am

Image via: Memorabilia: Leaf Springs – Franschhoek Motor Museum (fmm.co.za)

….to 3/4 elliptic:

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Three Quarter Elliptic Leaf Spring

Image via: Rios (Wikimedia commons)

There have even been quarter elliptic versions along the way (the Austin-Healey Bug-Eye (Frog-Eye) Sprite and MG Midget come to mind):

Quarter Elliptic Spring

Image Via: 1959 Austin-Healey Sprite for Sale | ClassicCars.com | CC-1800818

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But the most common type used in automobiles and trucks over the past 100+ years is the semi-elliptic version in a suspension design known as the Hotchkiss suspension:

Screen Shot 2024 02 01 At 10.59.50 Am

All F-series trucks, going back to the very first one, the F-1 introduced in 1948, have used this basic suspension design, and that continues today. It consists of a solid axle held by two leaf springs. The springs are attached to the frame at their front end with a rubber bushing and a welded-on bracket, and at the back end via a shackle that allows the spring to change length as it flexes Here you can see how the shackle in the rear has to articulate to allow the spring to bow and straighten as it flexes up and down:

via GIPHY

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Here I’m pointing at the base F-150’s front leaf spring mount on the passenger’s side:

Screen Shot 2024 02 01 At 11.02.40 Am

And here’s where the leaf spring mounts to the shackle, which mounts to the frame (note: the shackle is upside down compared to the graphic above, but it works the same way — it swings as the spring “straightens’ and becomes longer in the fore-aft dimension):

Screen Shot 2024 02 01 At 11.03.09 Am

For many years, this was the dominant type of suspension in all vehicles, cars and trucks. But as comfort, ride, and handling became more important in cars, the deficiencies of the design led to its replacement first by coil-sprung multilink live axle designs and finally by independent suspensions. Hotchkiss suspensions are simple and cheap, but by asking the springs to essentially act as all the suspension linkages (i.e. not just to be springs, but also be charged with holding the solid axle fore-aft, side-to-side, and preventing it from rotating), they are always going to be a compromise.

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The main problems with leaf spring suspensions are wind-up under braking and acceleration, and twist during roll. Wind-up, or axle “wrap,” is caused when the torque of acceleration or braking tries to deform the spring into an S-shape. Here’s a look from the side of the truck:

Staggered Shocks 2

If the engine has a lot of power, the tires can lose traction. When that happens, the spring snaps back to straight. When the tire regains traction, the spring twists back into an S-shape until the tire loses traction again and the cycle repeats itself. In bad cases, this can happen several times per second and cause a violent shaking in the vehicle. Most leaf spring suspensions have staggered shocks to reduce this effect but it never fully goes away.

The other problem is that when the vehicle rolls, like in a turn, or when one wheel goes over a bump, the spring needs to not only move up or down but also to twist. The next animation doesn’t do a good job of showing it but you can imagine how the middle of the spring where it is attached to the axle needs to rotate with the axle, while the ends where they are attached to the frame want to stay with the frame. The result is a twist along the length of the spring and in the bushings — twist that the spring and bushing will try to resist.

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via GIPHY

This means the spring stiffness in vertical motion is just the vertical stiffness, while in roll it is a combination of the vertical stiffness and the twisting stiffness, making it much harder to find the right balance between ride, handling, and comfort. This extra stiffness in roll also means the suspension has additional resistance to articulating over rocks and bumps — fine for a work truck, not so good for a truck that has to move quickly over rough terrain. That brings us to the Raptor.

F-150 Raptor Suspension

Screen Shot 2022 10 31 At 8.47.54 Am

When Ford introduced the Raptor back in 2010, it tried to make a production off-road racing trophy truck. For the most part, it worked, but while the image was certainly there, you could argue the performance, while good, wasn’t quite up to the task. The truck got new front suspension bits to push the wheels out, and a wider rear axle, but the basic layout was carry-over from the base truck and suffered from the same leaf spring related issues we discussed before. This is perfectly normal for what was then an unproven concept, since architecture changes are expensive and you need to keep costs down at first.

But as sales improved and the truck gained a solid following, the limitations of the base platform became a liability, not an asset. So, with the introduction of the third generation in 2021, the Raptor ditched the leaf spring rear suspension in favor of a five-link consisting of four trailing links, a panhard rod (or track rod), and coil springs (you can get a close look at the hardware by reading our review of the 700 horsepower Raptor R). Losing the leaf springs meant no longer having to deal with the twisting of the spring in roll and the associated limitations in articulation. A five-link can articulate un-impeded until the springs and dampers reach their travel limits. There is still a bit of twisting going on in the links themselves, but this is much easier to deal with than in a leaf spring. (Here’s our full article on the advantages of this coil-sprung setup of a leaf spring setup)

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Of course, changing from leaf springs and their associated brackets to coil springs and multiple links meant some significant changes were needed to the frame. I can’t say for certain, but to my eye, the main fore/aft rails of the frame were not changed, but every bracket welded to the frame related to the rear suspension has been changed. The brackets that held the front of the leaf springs are replaced with a much larger brackets where the upper and lower fore/aft links attach:

Raptor Link Bracket

The brackets where the rear leaf spring shackles attach on the base truck are completely gone but now we have large brackets that support the tops of the coil springs and connect the frame end of the panhard rod:

Raptor Spring Upper Bracket

Similarly, there are now new brackets on the axle itself to connect the fore/aft suspension links and the panhard rod, as well as the bottom ends of the coil springs:

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Raptor Spring Lower Bracket

Lastly, the dampers are now both located on the front side of the axle because the fore/aft links take care of the twisting during braking and acceleration. Staggered shocks are not needed with this design.

That’s a LOT of change to the frame, and a lot of expense to spend on new, unique tools to build what is essentially a specialty model. Having said that, as we noted before, F-150s sell in very large numbers. That means a lot of parts need to be made to support that kind of production volume. It is unlikely that a single set of tools could do that for all F-150s, anyway, given how many are sold. Production tools have a limit on how quickly they can produce parts, and if your production requirements are higher than that, you need multiple sets of tools. If Raptor production numbers are expected to be high enough, they might push the production capacity of the existing tools over the edge, requiring another set of tools, anyway.

When a company finds itself in that situation, it really isn’t that much more expensive to make those new tools unique. It then starts to make sense to make a new design that improves the product and gives you a competitive edge. I have no insider knowledge to know if this was the case when Ford decided to make the Raptor rear suspension unique, but I do know that tooling capacity concerns are part of those decisions.

F-150 Lightning

Screen Shot 2024 02 01 At 11.10.19 Am

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Being an all-electric truck, the F-150 Lightning (read our ridiculously in-depth technical review here) faces a very different set of challenges than the Raptor. In the base gasoline truck, the engine sits in the front, and a driveshaft runs from the back of the transmission to the rear axle. Since the axle is a live setup, the driveshaft needs to be able to move up and down with the suspension. Unfortunately, the driveshaft and the space it needs for this motion sits right in the middle of the truck where we need to package the large battery an EV requires. We need to get the driveshaft out of there completely so we can use the space for batteries, which means we can’t simply replace the ICE motor with an electric motor and call it good. We need to move the electric motor to the rear, close to the rear wheels, so all of that stuff is out of the way of the battery.

We could just bolt the motor directly to the solid axle, which is what some have proposed as a way to cheaply convert existing trucks to EV power. But this means the motor is moving up and down along with the axle over road bumps. That’s a LOT of mass moving around. Not only that, but the high voltage/high current wires that connect the motor to the battery would need to flex up and down with the motor/axle as well. That’s a recipe for early failure of the wires, and considering the power they are carrying, not a good scenario in general.

We’re left with bolting the motor directly to the frame, and once you’ve gotten to this point, you know you will need a set of halfshafts to connect the motor to the wheels. An independent suspension then becomes the only architecture that really makes sense. And that is exactly what Ford did, and what every EV truck manufacturer so far has done and is expected to do (both the Ram and Silverado EV’s are expected to have independent rear suspensions).

Lightning Rear Suspension

Putting an independent rear suspension in the F150 requires a whole new level of change beyond anything done for the Raptor. Ford chose a semi-trailing arm architecture for the Lightning that consists of a single large aluminum cast arm per side, connected to the frame with a pair of bushings. The springs and dampers have been replaced by coil-over damper modules connected between the rear edge of the trailing arms and the frame.

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Lightninr Trailing Arm Attachment

Of course, these new parts require new brackets on the frame to attach to. New cross members have been added to attach both the trailing arms as well as the motor:

New Cross Members

New brackets have been made to attach the tops of the coil spring modules:

New Coil Module Bracket

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But there is one change that is not obvious, but is no less significant. The height of the rear frame rail in the Lightning has been lowered, and is now directly in line with the rear bumper. This is no accident, and the reason this is possible is that there isn’t an axle housing moving up and down underneath the frame. This graphic shows how the movement of the Raptor and base truck’s solid axle means the frame rail has to be fairly high to allow it to reach full travel (ignore the spring interfering with the frame, that’s just bad modeling on my part):

via GIPHY

In an independent suspension, there is no axle tube moving up and down so the frame rail can be placed much lower. Both Ford and Chevrolet made use of this fact when they converted their large SUV’s from live axles to independent – Ford in the case of the 2003 Expedition and Chevrolet with the latest Tahoe. In both cases, the lower rear frame height meant vastly improved third row seating package with a much lower floor.

With the Lightning, the lower frame rail has not translated into better room since Ford still uses a cargo box common with the rest of the F-series lineup, but in the future, it could lead to a deeper box. You can see the difference here between the base frame rail:

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Base Frame Rail

And the Lightning frame rail:

Lightning Frame Rail

Here’s a clip showing the difference:

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But why bother doing this? Why not just keep the same rails and weld different brackets to them? The reason, I think, is that having the frame rail inline with the bumper makes for a much more efficient crash structure in the event of a rear end collision. In the case of the base truck, the forces coming from the bumper during an impact have to jog from the bumper, up to the frame rail and then down again once they get past the suspension. When forces have to “jog” one way or another, they tend to cause the rails to bend and fold, rather than crush, and bending is a very bad way to absorb crash forces. If you can direct the crash forces in a straight line, the rails can be designed to crush nicely and efficiently absorb the crash forces.

Another way to deal with the problem is to make the “jog” area very stiff and strong so it doesn’t fold. You can see how Ford used various brackets in the base frame to add a lot of metal to the rail and stiffen that area. The Lightning rail is much simpler without all those reinforcements.

Another clue can be seen in the Lightning rail. Notice the two square cut-outs on the edges of the rail and the two round holes near them:

Crush Initiators

There are actually two more on the other side of the rail and these most likely form what are known as “crush initiators”. What they do is weaken that area of the frame and cause it to buckle there first. Doing that causes the rest of the rail to crush in an accordion fashion. Here is what that looks like:

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Crush Structure

Image via: Aluminum Extrusions Prove Superior in Bumper Systems – Light Metal Age Magazine

The dimples at the top of the left undeformed rail play the role of the square cutouts in the Lightning rail and start the accordion deformation which then continues down the rest of the rail. Notice that the base F-150 rail doesn’t have any cut-outs or other initiators like this. That suggests to me that the rail is not meant to deform but to stay as rigid as possible. In the case of the lightning, this initial upward jog is eliminated and the rail can be designed to crush and efficiently absorb crash energy. A much better design all around.

The F-150 Has Three Very Different Suspensions All In One Basic Truck Architecture

Three very different rear suspension designs — a solid axle held by leaf springs that do everything, a solid axle held by five links and sprung by coil springs, and a fully independent suspension — for three different purposes. Horses for courses, as they say. Ford is fortunate to have the sales volumes in the F-series trucks to be able to afford so many different architectures, consumers are fortunate to get the best setup for the F-150 variant they chose, and we here at The Autopian were fortunate to have some cool stuff to look at and dig into.

 

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bmw325_num99
bmw325_num99
17 days ago

Loved this article and video, Huibert. I hope to see more of you on the site!

bmw325_num99
bmw325_num99
17 days ago

We need to get the driveshaft out of there completely so we can use the space for batteries”

I would put it differently: we WANT to have an electric motor in the rear instead of a driveshaft and now we can use that driveshaft space for batteries

Happy Walters
Happy Walters
21 days ago

I think I’m right in stating that the majority of F-series trucks sold are F-150’s (versus F-250s, 350s, etc), and the majority of those are work trucks.”

I do not think this. At all.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
21 days ago

I had no idea that f150s used that single thin leaf on top of that humongously thick overload leaf. Really weird leaf pack there. Interesting to see that there are manufacturers using what is mostly a monoleaf design like my old Dodge minivan. I’d be interested to see more information about leaf spring design, and why my 1986 CJ has 6 leafs but the minivan has only one, and why many semi trucks get away with only two leaves in the front suspension.

“And as you might expect, its ride suffers as a result of its “work-truck” rear suspension.”
I just want to add that my 1995 f150 is sprung quite soft and rides quite smooth, definitely not suffering from its work truck suspension. I’m not sure why newer ones ride worse, but they totally do: my grandpa’s 2023 f150 rides like crap.

I also kind of laughed as I read the part about leaf spring flex: “This extra stiffness in roll also means the suspension has additional resistance to articulating over rocks and bumps…”

My f150 has excellent flex in the rear. In fact, I’m quite confident that the rear of a 1995 f150 would out flex the links on the Raptor, the independent suspension on the Lightning, and probably the leaf spring f150 too. I’m sure leaf springs have some inherent compromises in flex, but some of them can still flex great. Trail Mater on YouTube is an outstanding example of extremely good flex using leaf springs. I wonder how much the fatigue life of the springs is shortened by twisting them up like that

86-GL
86-GL
21 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Look at the changes in payload and towing- The weakest modern F150 tows 1500lb more than a 95 ever could, and has up to a 3300lb payload.

Also, with increases in performance and changes in how people use the vehicles, the expectation has become trucks with tightly controlled motions that accelerate, corner and brake like a sedan.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
21 days ago
Reply to  86-GL

The towing doesn’t necessarily mean you have stiffer springs, towing capacity is mostly about transmission cooler and brakes.

You’re right, the payload and handling is why new pickups ride bad. A Ford Maverick has a 1500lb payload capacity, or about the same as my f150. Naturally, the Ranger and f150 have significantly.mire than that. Why pickups have higher payload than ever before, I don’t know. People haul less in the bed than ever before, and it’s not like you’re gonna put 1500lb of anything in a Ford Maverick bed.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
12 days ago
Reply to  86-GL

The towing capacity has legitimately gone up, but the 3300lb payload is almost fictional. That’s a single theoretical configuration that’s rare to nonexistent. Typical actual door-sticker payload is going to still be in the standard half-ton 1200-1800lb range. I think still higher than the old ones, but not by as much as the brochure implies.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
21 days ago

Great point about tooling and production capacity meaning that making the additional set different isn’t that much more expensive. A great example of that is the 60’s full size Chevy. They were making a million or so per year, and built them in multiple plants, so they needed a lot of tooling. That meant it wasn’t really expensive to offer it in Biscayne and Belair in 2dr Sedan (post) with a traditional roof line, the Impala 2dr Hardtop with a Fastback roof line and the Caprice Hardtop with the formal roof line. Darn near all unique parts behind the front doors and even they even had two different doors for the 2drs. Then as volume dropped so did the model count and body styles until the Caprice in 4dr and wagon versions were all that were left.

The modern equivalent of course if the full size pickup which comes in three different cab configurations 3 bed lengths and umpteen trim levels. From the vinyl floor matted regular cab equivalent of the Biscayne 2dr Sedan, to the leather and chromed up crew cab equivalent of the 4dr hardtop Caprice.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
21 days ago

It’s wild how a startup publication like this can showcase a level of content that’s so far above all others, be they new media (drive, jalop) or old (c&d, motor trend).

Incredible stuff.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
21 days ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

Agree. This feels like the kind of real content I used to read from Smokey Yunick in those ‘Say Smokey’ articles he used to write for Popular Science. Even before I started wrenching, I was a science geek. Articles like this made me want to try my hand at making things go fast. And then I was hooked.

Thank you for carrying on the tradition, Mr. Mees!

DadBod
DadBod
21 days ago

Fantastic stuff, I need to upgrade my membership

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
22 days ago

Great stuff, y’all. This is what excellent motojournalism looks like. Don’t give me a rewrite of the press release, talk to my inner car nerd and let’s see the naughty bits up close.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
22 days ago

This is a ridiculously high quality and interesting article!

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
22 days ago

“…the Triumph Bug-Eye (Frog-Eye) Sprite…”

So, that earlier question about when to correct someone about car things…

Sklooner
Sklooner
22 days ago

You’re pointing at the REAR leaf spring had me for a minute

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
22 days ago

It’s the size of 3 trucks

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

It’s 1/8th the size of a truck

MrLM002
MrLM002
22 days ago

Never knew about axle wrap, I knew about axle hop but this is new info for me. I wonder if axle wrap happens with dead axles on leaf springs under braking.

Personally I don’t consider the Lightning a F-150. Ford calls it an F-150 but what makes an F-150 an F-150 is the modularity of the platform. The Lightning currently has as much modularity as a Maverick, which is to say none. 1 Body size, 1 Bed size, 1 seating configuration.

The ICE “Super” Crew Cab F-150 at least has the option for a 6.5ft bed and or a 6 seat interior.

MrLM002
MrLM002
22 days ago
Reply to  Huibert Mees

Exactly my point. That being said there are some things that are built for F-150s that won’t work for the Lightning like snow plows. However thinks like multiple seating, cab, and bed configurations should be easy for Ford to make for the Lightning yet they don’t do so.

Sales slumped because they’re too expensive for regular consumers and the only configuration sold is the least practical one for most businesses that can afford one and Ford’s response is to cut production…

MrLM002
MrLM002
22 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

*things not “thinks”

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
21 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

But the reality is that the Super Cab 5.5′ bed is the most popular configuration and many businesses do use that configuration extensively. For example Kiewit Construction’s 1/2 ton fleet which is all over my area doing the light rail project is almost exclusively F-150 crew cab 5.5′.

MrLM002
MrLM002
21 days ago
Reply to  Scoutdude

With the stock bed?

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
21 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Yup. Go to their website and you’ll find one featured in their employment opportunities video. Or go here and see a hotel parking lot, near the end of the line currently, with a ton of the crew cabs 5.5′ and just a couple regular cabs. https://www.google.com/maps/@47.3137501,-122.299343,3a,37.7y,261.34h,89.09t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szFOCi3sXV-0Vr1JwGQglDg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

MrLM002
MrLM002
21 days ago
Reply to  Scoutdude

Seems to be an anomaly. What about the 5 seat interior vs 6 seat interior?

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
20 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Call it an anomaly if you wish, but they certainly aren’t the only fleet that use a lot of crew cab 5.5′ bed F-150s, at least in my area.

MrLM002
MrLM002
20 days ago
Reply to  Scoutdude

I still believe that at the minimum the Lightning should have as much customization as the ICE “Super” Crew F-150. Personally even for that company’s use case I don’t see the advantage of a 5 seat interior over a 6 seat interior for a Crew Cab pickup.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Yes, axle wrap happens under braking. Axle wrap becomes a very large concern on some lifted pickups, because many folks lift the rear using lift blocks between the axle and leaf spring. This gives the axle waaaaayyyy more leverage on the leaf spring and can lead to debilitating axle wrap, especially when it’s a diesel pickup with 1000lbft or if you’re towing heavy.

This issue is usually solved with traction bars. A lot of Diesel Bros spend insane amounts of money on having fancy pimped out traction bars. I have never understood this, because in my opinion traction bars are a bandaid solution to a problem that was created with a substandard lift.

DadBod
DadBod
21 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

So they cheap out and do a body lift, then spend money fixing it with a traction bar? I always wondered what those bars were.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
21 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

No, not a body lift. A body lift is blocks between the frame and body, and has no effects on the suspension.

This is a suspension lift, with blocks between the leaf spring and the axle. It is pretty common for manufacturers to use blocks like this on heavier spec or 4wd models or whatever, and it isn’t a big deal if the blocks are less than 2″ tall. But when Diesel Bros™️ are using 4″, 6″, 8″, or taller lift blocks, and on high torque vehicles that tow, the axle wrap gets extremely bad. So yes that’s what the traction bars are for.

I don’t like lift block lifts, they’re inelegant imo because they cause the axle wrap issues. The other options for a leaf spring lift are a lift shackle(also has issues if you wanna lift it by more than like 2″) or arching the springs taller. Arching the springs is probably the best of the three but it’s not great either if you want to lift it more than maybe 4″ depending on vehicle.

DadBod
DadBod
21 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Thanks for the info! I learned something.

DadBod
DadBod
21 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

it’s pretty fun to armchair quarterback the way Ford introduced the Lightning, but considering that the most successful configuration they sell is crew/5.5 bed, it is not surprising that is what they led with for the first generation.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
21 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Axle wrap is what causes wheel hop and the reason people put slapper bars on leaf spring cars back in the day.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
22 days ago

I really don’t think you’d ever find the data to support/refute your supposition that the majority of F150’s are “work” trucks.

I’m sure the owner of an F150 that tows their fishing boat twice a year (spring/fall) will lay claim that it’s “work” due to that time he had to go to Home Depot and put something in the back.

Anchor
Anchor
22 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I’d put money on the fact that they are, the issue is you don’t notice all the fleet trucks because you’re too busy being mad at the one you see in the walmart parking lot

Professor Chorls
Professor Chorls
22 days ago
Reply to  Anchor

Depends on where you live I guess. I think the ‘mouse and cockroach rule’ applies to F-150s around me. For every gussied up waxed dad toy you see, there are ten beat up baling-wire-and-vise-grips or plain white company trucks you don’t.

Often parked towards the back of the lot or around the loading dock. Some were dad toys in their glory days, now splattered with drywall compound and holding a comical number of ladders over the DIY bed and roof rack.

Anchor
Anchor
21 days ago

They don’t need to be covered in plaster and ladders to be a fleet truck. For everyone of those there are 5 normal looking F150s that are fleet

Our work F150s are all 4 door lariats that regularly have 1k pounds in the bed

Who Knows
Who Knows
22 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I don’t know, a quick google search gives some insight, at least for personal vehicles:

https://www.powernationtv.com/post/most-pickup-truck-owners-use-them

https://www.thedrive.com/news/26907/you-dont-need-a-full-size-pickup-truck-you-need-a-cowboy-costume

I’m sure that fleet trucks see entirely different uses, but most of the people I know who bought a full size truck for personal use more or less never used it for anything I couldn’t do in a hatchback, and only a few actually towed/hauled/did truck things.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
22 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I assumed that work truck means a pickup used for commercial purposes. There is no doubt in my mind that a large majority of f150s are used for personal, non commercial purposes, and probably a small majority of f250s/f350s.

My f150 does absolutely work, and I absolutely haul things, but it is a personal vehicle used for non commercial purposes, and does not work anywhere near as much as a real work pickup does. Apparently Huibert is in the same boat.

The claim that most f150s are work trucks is so obviously and demonstrably false.

Scotty Scott
Scotty Scott
21 days ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

50 years ago, pickups and commercial type vans were about 15 percent of the light vehicle market, and mostly purchased because of work requirements . Now they’re about 25 percent of the market. Even if every additional purchase today isn’t for work, the baseline of 15 percent for work still is more than the 10 percent that have converted from cars to pickups for personal transportation.

Dave mid-engine
Dave mid-engine
21 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

If I need a big tow vehicle for my fishing boat twice a year, then I need a big tow vehicle. There’s no reasonable way around it.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
21 days ago

You can rent one.

Anchor
Anchor
21 days ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

lol

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
12 days ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

It’s surprisingly annoying to find a rental truck to tow stuff with. Especially if you need something outside the sort of payload you’d find on a 3-row SUV.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
21 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Some relevant data.

https://www.axios.com/ford-pickup-trucks-history

And

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/truck-owners-need-full-size-pickup/

According to a study conducted in 2019, consisting of 250,000 persons, 75% of truck owners use their truck to tow about once a year and just 35% of owners actually haul something more than once a year. 

The article doesn’t link to that 2019 study, so it’s hard to know what it really means.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
21 days ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

At the price of trucks these days, renting a tow vehicle for that “once a year” would be most cost/space effective.

But I have my doubts that 75% of trucks would actually have a hitch on them.

VanGuy
VanGuy
21 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Probably a stupid question (but in my defense, myself and immediate family members have not owned pickups), but don’t F-150s and similar sized trucks have tow hitches by default?

I know they’re not standard equipment on full-size vans but I’d be surprised if they weren’t standard for pickups?

DadBod
DadBod
21 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Serious question, where can you rent a tow vehicle with a receiver and wiring? The only thing I can think of is a UHaul box truck.

Ben
Ben
21 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

It’s not common. There’s an Enterprise truck rental place near me that I believe would rent you a regular pickup with tow equipment, albeit at eye-watering prices (I looked into it when I had a mechanical issue with my personal truck last summer right before a long camping trip). The normal rental places pretty much all say “no towing” with their trucks if you read the fine print.

I strongly suspect the “just rent” people have never actually done anything of the sort though. It’s a PITA, and even if it’s more cost-effective it’s definitely not more convenient or pleasant. Rental trucks are the kind of base model penalty boxes everyone here claims to want but nobody actually buys because they suck.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
19 days ago
Reply to  Ben

This. I use my F150 to tow my travel trailer 4-6x/year, it has the MaxTow package and a heavy duty hitch. My trailer is about 7,000# and I use a weight distribution hitch set for my combo.

I have driven the truck X-Country, carried a riding lawnmower from my sister’s house in NE to my son’s house in AL, carried a cast iron kitchen stove from my mother’s house to my house 2,000 miles. There is no way I’m renting some crap-can someone else farted in the seats of, to do those things. That is, of course, anyone would rent me a vehicle that could do those things a travel those distances.

I did buy my my wife a hatchback to do her day to day running around.

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