Yup, you read that right: the popular Ford F-150 will soon offer an independent rear suspension.
According to sources familiar with FoMoCo’s plans speaking to Ford Authority on the basis of anonymity, The Blue Oval is planning to introduce at least one Ford F-150 model with an independent rear end. The move will mark a notable departure from the current F-150 offerings, all of which utilize a leaf spring rear end setup with a solid rear axle.
We should note that IRS is in store for only one (or perhaps two) models of the F-150, and that most other variants will stick with the current leaf spring/solid rear configuration.
An independent rear suspension is known for delivering a more agile and more comfortable ride, but typically comes at the expense of capability in terms of towing and hauling/payload capacity. From what we understand, the particular Ford F-150 variant that is destined to offer the independent rear suspenders will have less of a focus on trailering and hauling.
That’s all we have for now, but expect to know more in the near future. Be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for around-the-clock Ford news coverage.
Great idea, we where just talking about this issue tonight as we drove home in a pickup. Since we are not ever likely to see large sedans again, this makes sense. The ride ride quality looks like it will improve in Luxury pickups where people don’t need crazy trailering or payload abilities, easier to live with.
IRS is not specifically a detriment to payload and trailering. The ability to add static and dynamic negative camber and control toe in thru suspension travel range can benefit lateral grip capability at the rear of the vehicle. This improves the handling capability while towing and with rear biased payload. Even NASCAR cup cars which mandate a beam axle rear use full floating drive hubs with cambered/toed spindles to mimic the benefits of a true IRS. Also, the presence of a fixed driveshaft without the clearance issues needed for beam axle full range of motion can allow a lower floor height for the bed, so lower loaded center of gravity height to help rollover concerns, and a lower lift in height for access.
So reduced payload and trailer capacity are purely speculation, and if they are limited compared to beam axle variant it is likely due to costs associated with sizing specific components to the same vehicle loading such as ball joints or CV joints, or because of manufacturing complexity.
It should be called Expedition Sport Trac
The Ford Expedition actually increased load and tow ratings when it switched to IRS, having a solid axle doesn’t really mean you have to lower the tow/haul limits.