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How Ranger Raptor's Suspension Can ‘Predict and Prepare' When the Going Gets Tough

How Ranger Raptor's Suspension Can ‘Predict and Prepare' When the Going Gets Tough

Monday, March 4, 2024/ Editor -  


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DUBAI, UAE, March 4 2024 – Ranger Raptor’s reputation for off-road performance and capability1 is legendary and, while its 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 grabs headlines, it’s the suspension that provides owners with ultimate control and confidence while off-road.

At the heart of every Ranger Raptor lies a purpose-built suspension system that includes lightweight aluminum upper and lower control arms and long-travel rear suspension with a Watts linkage and trailing arms.

Ranger Raptor’s FOX Shocks with Live Valve Technology were specially engineered to provide adventure-seeking owners with the confidence to take on any challenge while ensuring that potentially damaging loads weren’t transferred onto the chassis.

“The decision to upgrade from passive dampers to semi-active Live Valve dampers was key to the management of dynamic loads and giving the vehicle enhanced capability,” said Matt Gerlach, senior development engineer vehicle dynamics, Ford.

Responsible for developing Ranger Raptor’s suspension tune, Gerlach said, “modelling had told us the new truck would be capable of higher speeds across the same type of terrain than its predecessor and that meant higher chassis loads.”

“Similarly, modelling showed the FOX Shocks with Live Valve Technology would deliver lower peak chassis load at the same speed. They’ve raised the truck’s game,” he said.

Next-level control

New Ranger Raptor’s enhanced capability is because its FOX Shocks with Live Valve combine passive and semi-active systems.

Inside the shock absorber are a series of unique to Ranger Raptor shimmed bypass ports that allow the super-slippery TeflonÔ-infused oil to flow around the shock between the inner and outer body and then back in through reflow holes. These carefully crafted ride zones within the shock absorber were developed by Ford and FOX engineers.

“The ride zones allow the damper to build damping force based on damper stroke position giving you a comfortable ride across light terrain, through to increased damping on more aggressive terrain,” said Gerlach.

'The ride zones are what gives the truck its character,” said Gerlach. “We worked long and hard to develop the positioning of each zone to help the vehicle adapt to its environment and respond to the driver’s inputs very naturally,' said Gerlach.

In Normal mode there might be very little additional damping being provided by the live valve functions, said Gerlach. “We wanted to maintain that 'magic carpet' ride that people loved about the original Ranger Raptor and so the damper response is largely passive.”

However, select Sport mode and damping assistance is increased via the Live Valve system to maintain flatter cornering. “We worked long and hard to develop a series of ride profiles that help the vehicle adapt to its environment and respond to the driver’s inputs very naturally,' said Gerlach.

“For instance, you might have selected Sport mode, but the road might not be very twisty and so there’ll be minimal additional damping, but as the road becomes twistier, the system becomes more active. It’s the system’s ability to adjust within milliseconds that make it natural and a true performance vehicle in the way it responds to driver input.”

The addition of semi-active Live Valve takes the Ranger Raptor’s suspension to the next level. The system controls the flow of oil around the damper by increasing or decreasing flow through the valve needle when drive modes such as Baja mode2 are selected, said Gerlach.

A raft of linked sensors around the vehicle measuring steering, throttle, brake force, chassis acceleration, rotational velocities, and ride height 500 times a second, the Live Valve system can chart, analyse, and based on a series of unique algorithms, ‘predict and prepare’ for your driving style and what the terrain will do next.”

“With suspension tuning there’s an inherent compromise between on- and off-road performance, and between handling and the ride quality,” said Gerlach. “With Ranger Raptor we’ve been able to break this paradigm, and the semi-active Live Valve system provides additional damping that can deliver the best-of-both-worlds in real time.”

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