2015 Ford F-150: Engineers Create a New Frame

2015 F-150 Reyes II

When Pete Reyes, chief engineer for the 2015 Ford F-150, talks about the all-new pickup truck he can't help but smile. That's because he knows what kind of punishment this new truck has endured and how long his team has been working on it.

From the outset of the project, which started the day after the 2009 models were shipped to dealerships, Reyes said, Ford knew this truck was going to have to be something special in order to meet changing buyer needs as well as governmental regulations.

"We knew this would have to be special in order to meet all the targets we wanted to hit. We could have played it safe but we decided to go for it, starting with the frame and working through the entire truck," Reyes said. "Where we've done multimillion-mile testing on F-150 in the past, we knew we'd have to go way beyond that, into Super Duty territory, to prove this new truck was tough."

Ford engineers said they put the new F-150s through thousands of hours and 10 million lab miles of testing to make sure they would be tough enough to survive their likely punishment. Ford also wanted to provide some solace for skeptics who would want to believe that moving to a new alloy material for body panels and bed structure would make the truck weak and vulnerable. "That's just not the case," Reyes said.

During a recent media event in Dearborn, Mich., we found out that Ford has looked at every detail of this new truck. Engineers tried to make the designing and engineering of the parts better and the assembly simpler. They also tried to make the pickup more durable than the one it's replacing. From badging to fasteners to abrasion testing, we saw what Ford did and got a chance to talk to the engineers in charge of those systems. We have to admit that sometimes the level of detail they're working with seems insanely inconsequential, but in talking to the people behind these projects we discovered they are most certainly passionate.

 

IMG_8005a new II

 

Our favorite deep-dive station focused on the new fully boxed frame. Although the changes are difficult to see at first glance, they are significant and impressive. We're told they will pay huge dividends once we see the results play out from behind the wheel.

To begin, Ford engineers used much more high-strength, cold-rolled steel in the frame, precisely pinpointing how thick the frame needs to be at any given section or bend point.

Current-gen F-150s use 23 percent high-strength, 70,000-pounds-per-square-inch steel, while the 2015 model will use almost 80 percent (more similar to three-quarter- and one-ton frame construction than most light-duty pickups). Also, by using supercomputer software to calculate the exact thicknesses and strengths needed, Ford engineers were able to eliminate about 60 pounds from the frame construction alone.

 

2015 F-150 frame 2 II

 

Much of that frame-weight savings is a result of using many different gauge thicknesses all over the frame. The new frame has essentially the same overall shape, with a slightly deeper center section (it was 9 inches tall and is now 10 inches), but the rear and front sections of the frame (both of which are very important because they support the payload bed and powertrains, respectively) are where some more drastic changes occurred.

The rear section of the fully boxed frame is slightly widened and lowered, looking like a 5-inch-square tube foundation, in order to provide a stronger platform for towing. Eight cross-members (one more than the current pickup) use both aluminum and high-strength steel to be stronger and lighter.

The front section of the boxed frame has been modified and slightly widened to provide better support for the new engines and deliver better ride and handling. The newly tuned shocks and springs will help too. The front frame tubes have a corrugated design in the rails in order to allow for more strength and better crush support and energy dispersal. Finally, the "front horns" have been completely fine-tuned incorporating a 12-corner strategy that gives the tube ends more strength and a more predictable reaction in an accident.

The new backbone ladder frame is completely hydroformed and rolled with compression to newly designated thicknesses to make the structure lighter and stronger. As much as people are straining to understand how the body of the new pickup can be made out of aluminum and still be durable, the bigger news could be how well this new frame will improve the ride, capabilities and safety ratings. But we'll have to wait a little longer to report on those details. More to come.

To download the most up-to-date specs for the 2015 Ford F-150, click here.

To read the Ford press release regarding materials usage, click here

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

NEW FRONT HORN                                                OLD FRONT HORN

2015 F-150 New-Old II

 

REDESIGNED LOWERED/WIDENED BOX FRAME UNDER BED

2015 F-150 rear frame II

 

NEW MULTI-THICKNESS CROSS-SECTION OF 2015 FRAME

IMG_8007a new II

 

OLD CROSS-SECTION AND CROSSMEMBER FROM 2014 FRAME

IMG_8009a old II

 

Comments

This is the kind of content I want more of at this site. Interesting.

Not fan boy stuff.

All that said, it's the kind of product development that goes unnoticed by passengers and drivers 99 percent of the time. For the engineers, this is the kind of stuff that gets the blood pumping.

I WAS AT THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW LAST WEEKEND, AND TO MY DISAPPOINTMENT, THIS TRUCK WAS ONLY UP ON THE PEDESTAL. LUCKILY I WAS ABLE TO CONVINCE THE SPOKESWOMAN TO LET ME UP ON THE PEDESTAL TO CHECK THE TRUCK OUT. IT IS FANTASTIC. I JAMMED MY KNEE INTO THE BODY PANELS, NO FLEX, FEELS STURDY AND TOUGH. I AM SURE THIS TRUCK IS GOING TO BE AWESOME. I WILL BE PUTTING IN MY ORDER WHEN THE OPPURTUNITY ALLOWS FOR MY 15 3.5 ECOBOOSTED FX-4 PACKAGED LARIAT.

This is as gay as big al the woman from oz.

Awesome. Ford is doing a frame, what my 2010 RAM 1500 has already. Lighter and stronger. Can't wait for 2019 Ford 4.8 V8 with MDS.
On the other note, I don't see a future with small turbo engines, but Chrysler V8 and Fiat expertise with Multiair (Atkinson cycle).
Deadly combo. Gloves are off. I can't wait for future fight. Hopefully GM can pull something from the hat. Nissan and Toyota as well.
Exciting times.


@Zviera

Actually no, the 2013 Ram's brought the previous year models frames up to the 36,000 psi yield strength that the 2009+ F150s were already at. This is just raising the bar.

@All1
I wasn't talking about material strength , but better design and better use of finite element method software at Ford.
Less weight , stronger frame.
You can use as much high strength steel as you want, but if your design is not effective your frame will weigh 3 tons. Fords frame is heavyest one. At least, that's what I heard from someone in here.

Ram frames are the weakest desgin. The fact that they need air suspension to help with loads is troubling.

It may help aero on the highway a little but once you factor in how much it's going to cost and maintain in the future I don't see it being worth it. Automatically lowering to help get in is cool for grandmas, but I think the running boards alone are enough.

If Fiat-Ram ever comes up with a tougher frame without the air suspension and better wiring, we would consider a Ram chassis. I don't see that happening ever. Ram 1500's have been neutered.

@zviera
On the other note, I don't see a future with small turbo engines, but Chrysler V8 and Fiat expertise with Multiair (Atkinson cycle).


maybe educate yourself with recent news....
http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/04/v6-direct-injection-turbos

@Ken
I've never heard about RAM frame failure.
It handles off road better than any other truck.

@MATTHEWJOHN - you need to get a new keyboard or is it a Microsoft glitch just like the problem prone MyTouch????

No wonder Ford is going to BlackBerry for their next system ;)

It is interesting to see how computer modeling has changed vehicle design.

Is Ford going to one frame across the board for the F150?

@zviera


"I wasn't talking about material strength , but better design and better use of finite element method software at Ford.
Less weight , stronger frame. 
You can use as much high strength steel as you want, but if your design is not effective your frame will weigh 3 tons. Fords frame is heavyest one. At least, that's what I heard from someone in here." 

http://youtu.be/tNvSAV7ef64

@Ken Ram frames are the weakest desgin. The fact that they need air suspension to help with loads is troubling.


I have not heard one issue with Ram frames. I think you are confusing a suspension choice as a frame weakness.

Coil springs offer a soft ride however when work loads increase they need a air suspension.

My 2009 1500 Ram squatted when pulling my trailer about 4 inches. My 2013 ford F 150 maybe squats a inch. Both had proper set up for the hitch to trailer.

The Ram had a slightly softer ride unload compared to the F150. When loaded puling a trailer the Ram felt mushy and ride suffered. The F150 feels the same empty and loaded... a more controlled ride.

Other then that I have heard of no issues with the Ram frame.

@LouBC

I can't imagine one frame design working across the board for the half ton unless they drop the regular cab model.

Or I didn't understand your remark/comment/question.

It seems that one design could not address the engineering issues that several different wheelbases would present.

@Papa Jim

what Lou is referring to is the fact that there are two different thicknesses on the F150 frame depending on the package or configuration. The heigth, with, length, and all other sections are the same besides the actual thickness in the steel used. You would not be able to tell the difference between the two if they were side by side without a micrometer.

There are also two different yield strengths which are 36,000 psi and 49,300 psi. To put that in comparison the Ram 2500 frame has a yield strength of 50,000 psi.

To put that in further comparison, the 2015 F-150 will use 70,000 psi steel, stronger than some Heavy-Duties (Ram.)

I wonder if some of this chassis is grafted straight from the global Ranger.

I would think the front of the chassis horn is almost grafted.

This is from ANCAP for the Ford Ranger.

Ford can still produce an even higher strength chassis, by using thinner sidewalls and honeycomb.

Using thinner and thinner steel might take away from it's off road ruggedness.

This seems again to be a little bit of a marketing ploy by Ford. The front horn is already designed.

http://www.ancap.com.au/crashtestrecord?Id=431

Guys, I reading a lot here about the yield strength of the steel.

Just because the steel is higher tensile doesn't necessarily means it's better or as you guys quote in the US 'Best in Class'.

It's horses for courses. Using a higher strength steel will also give to a more 'catastrophic' fail if over loaded.

Have a look at the properties of metals and how they react to different loads.

Like I mentioned, just a bang off roading that would have maybe put a little dent in a chassis of older design, might increase significantly the risk of failure with this chassis.

During testing does Ford impact the bottom chord of the chassis? How well does the chassis perform after some deformation?

I wouldn't state this is better, it is lighter though and the US is now taking occupant safety in pickups more seriously which is good.

@papa jim - Like All1 said ;)

Ford doesn't use 1 frame strength in various configurations.. They had three and are down to two.

That explains to a great degree why Ram trucks take such a big hit in cargo capacity as you increase cab size and add options.

I assume (any GM guys have an answer?) GM uses 1 frame across the board but even with that choice they can offer a 2,000lb cargo capacity in 4x4 crewcab 6.5 ft box trucks.

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe/jim/ALL1/Frank/Idahoe Joe/The Guy/AD/Casey/papa jim/Young Guy/BeeBe/Steve/Chris/The truck guy/Alex/Mr Chow/Yessir/All Americans/Scott/Buy American or say Bye to America or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So t

The coil over and control arms looks like they are straight out of my BT50, or possibly scaled up. I'll go and have a closer look.

Also, the cab on the new F-150 appears to have the hydraulic mounting system we have on our pickups. This will make for a much quieter ride inside the cab.

The hydraulic mounts really isolate noise and vibration well.

http://www.caradvice.com.au/thumb/960/500/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2012-Ford-Ranger-Review-14.jpg

http://www.tjmbrendale.com.au/files/photos/0/294-photo-39fb34d38d81bb5d0c28a2a14e608c04.jpg

http://www.arb.com.au/news/magazines/export/2012/april/files/assets/basic-html/page78_images/0022.jpg

HAPPY 4/26 HEMI DAY!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcSanOT5OHI&hd=1

So, when we're talking about the various strengths and grades of steel, are we talking about shear, or compression or tensile or...?

WOW!!! THEY STILL HAVE BRAKE LINES ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FRAME!!!!

@ R3NxSTONEx
I knew about this before they start V6 Pentastar production. It was designed for turbo in the beginning.

Doesn't change my statement a bit.

I don't see a future with small turbo engines, but Chrysler V8 and Fiat expertise with Multiair (Atkinson cycle).

I will stick with that.

@All1
You posted some out of topic video.

@papa jim
No one will know, unless Ford delivers more information.

Ford has released 'bigger' numbers than the competition has, that is all.

To increase the height of the chassis significantly and reduce weight, there is a lot of 'thin' walled chassis.

I would assume the side walls of the chassis took the biggest brunt of material reduction. Then followed by the top chord. The bottom chord will require more material due to impacts and the chassis will be subjected to more tensile loads on the bottom chord.

Also, this thinning process will affect the joining of metal by the use of welding to thinner material, especially on the sides and top where most mounting is done.

The yield is malleability and ductility of a material.

The higher the yield the higher the load in different directions can be applied before failure.

This all sound nice and great, except Ford has reduce the weight and increased the size of the item.

So, it might be stronger, but is it more durable?

Ford is the leader in development and sets the new standards that other pickup makers must at least try to be the same or better. I get the impression that Ford is serious about their F-150 cause there are always press information or videos at the same time Chevy and Ram are quiet.
This brings confidence and pride in the buyer and owner of the F-150 that he believes he has the best.
There are people that buy a pickup based on what it looks like and there are people that want substance over looks.
I have learned long ago that my F-150 doesn't impress anybody but I didn't buy it for that, I bought it as a workhorse, to serve a purpose. I have a feeling of confidence of that strong frame that I can't see or show off will handle a heavy load in the bed or towing or better survive a wreck.
The people that are unsure or lack confidence in another brand of pickup they own are the first to cut down the F-150 simply because they are jealous.

@Mark Williams
Can you please do something about the f#ckhead that is continually using my name!

It appears from what I can gather this guy has brought down this site a couple of times recently.

Why doesn't PUTC invest into some decent software and make this site a little more secure.

Mark Williams, I challenge you to state why this site doesn't have better control of the comments. Also, state why this site doesn't invest into better security.

This problem with this site has been ongoings for how long now, Mark? Get a handle on it!

If you can't get a handle on it and you have tried, then maybe you should start looking within Cars.com and all of the other affiliated sites for the problem.

The comment below, even though it isn't obnoxious isn't mine.

"I wouldn't state this is better, it is lighter though"

Wonder if it will catch fire as quickly as the current frame?

@Big Al - I understand sometimes I have those days as well. I just want you to know that I want to be your tear drop, so I could be born in your eyes, live on your cheeks, and die on your lips. I want you. I want you so badly I can’t stand it. I want to be the reason you’re happy. I want you to be mine. I need you to need me. I want to be everything you’ve always wished for. I want you today, tomorrow, and forever.

Ford is going to the 70,000 PSI steel to get away from using so much. (weight savings!) Meaning the frame may or may not be stronger than Ram, GM or the current Ford.

The steel can be 1,000,000 PSI and be weaker than 35,000 PSI steel if you go to paper thin steel as opposed to 1/4" thick steel.

Without knowing the thickness of the old vs the new, this article tells us very little.

They need a new frame dodge and gm have better frame,,go check dodge test the 350 frame twist like a elastic,,

@zviera I knew about this before they start V6 Pentastar production. It was designed for turbo in the beginning.

Doesn't change my statement a bit.

I don't see a future with small turbo engines, but Chrysler V8 and Fiat expertise with Multiair (Atkinson cycle).

I will stick with that.


The link provided is from April 22,2014. I guess it doesn't matter what you think as Chrysler/Fiat will develop turbo and direct injection. A little behind what everyone else is doing?

Small displacement engines and turbo,superchargers, direct injection will be the future.


http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/04/v6-direct-injection-turbos

@R3NxSTONEx
The Phoenix engine was initially designed to gain a minimum 10% efficiency improvement over existing Chrysler V6 engines, not for turbocharging.

It only reached a 7% efficiency gain.

As for the turbo, I don't think so.

For a turbo version of this engine Ferrari had to modify the block so it could be used in a Maserati.

The maximum size a Pentastar block can support for turbocharging is 3.2 litres. This is due to cooling and wall thickness of the cylinders. But the block will require strengthening.

Impressive upgrades to the F-150 frame, but what about the Super Duty?

Are we really going to get an all new Super Duty in 2016 or yet another re-hash of the 1999 model?

I wonder if they will design a new frame for the Raptor? They should because the current one folds in half like a wet dish rag.

During testing does Ford impact the bottom chord of the chassis? How well does the chassis perform after some deformation?

I wouldn't state this is better, it is lighter though

Allpar.com had an article about how Chrysler is testing direct injectioned, single turbo, twin turbo and supercharged Penastar engines. Who knows may be we will see force inducted engines in the Ram soon??

As for Ford, it's good to see them staying competitive and trying to improve their F150, especially when it's the best selling trucks. I find the rear leaf springs to be interesting with the back of them curving up so steep and high on the frame. I'm sure it'll be a nice riding truck, just behind the Ram and ahead of the GM twins!

Chevy seems to be falling behind in the truck market, maybe they have something up their sleeve for 2016 or '17?? The new Colorado looks awkward from the side, with the hood taller that the bed and the window pointing upwards. It'll be interesting to see how they sell and if they take sales a way from the 1500??

@Big Al from Oz follow along.... as I think you thought I said the phoenix engine was designed for turbo... I did not state that... thanks.

@zviera
On the other note, I don't see a future with small turbo engines, but Chrysler V8 and Fiat expertise with Multiair (Atkinson cycle).


I posted this link http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/04/v6-direct-injection-turbos

@zviera

I knew about this before they start V6 Pentastar production. It was designed for turbo in the beginning.

Doesn't change my statement a bit.

I don't see a future with small turbo engines, but Chrysler V8 and Fiat expertise with Multiair (Atkinson cycle).

I will stick with that.


I at no time stated the engine was turbo ready... I simply posted the allpar link to show they are working towards direct injection and turbos contrary to what @zviera posted in his original comments.

Fact is Chyrsler/Fiat are exploring turbos as per allpar.com


@R3NxSTONEx

I don't see future for turbo engines, doesn't matter what Chrysler is going to do.
I see future for V8 multiair (Atkinson cycle )for me. Feel free to buy as many turbos as you want.

@: zviera I don't see future for turbo engines, doesn't matter what Chrysler is going to do.
I see future for V8 multiair (Atkinson cycle )for me. Feel free to buy as many turbos as you want.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
No harm you can believe what you want but the majority of auto manufacturers have invested huge dollars in small displacement engines with turbos.

I'm sure as fuel prices continue to climb we will see tech racing to develop more Atkinson cycle engines and other possibilities. one thing is certain fuel prices will continue to climb.... and if war breaks out with Russia and the Ukraine who knows where or how big and ugly this world will become or where prices will go.... maybe we will both be wrong and the horse will be the next major transportation advance all over again?

@R3NxSTONEx

The thing is, turbo didn't really addressed the Mpg, like many Ecoboost customers hoped for. It was just marketing trick and good one. Nobody is getting V6 Mpg with Ecoboost. Nobody . Even my friend with grandma driving style who bought his Platinum recently. He was shocked after first week of driving. He traded in Avalanche.

I love F-150's but I do agree with you guys that the twin turbo's are not the way to go. Nobody makes a turbo that's reliable so if you plan on keeping it forever then paying for turbo replacement is a sure thing. I know many people that own the Eco-Boost and they all say the same thing that when the truck is new they get good gas mileage then after 4000-5000 miles the mileage drops off.
Turbo's were tried in the 1980's and they failed plus they destroyed the engine.
I have a crazy idea: Install two (2) 4 cyl engines in a truck that are designed to run together or separate as needed.

@Tom#3

You say Ford is the innovator yet what Ford is doing has already been done by Ram with its 1500 truck frame starting with the 2013/2014 Ram. So it looks more like Ford is two years after the fact with Ram already having done this with their frame. Also Ram has used an Aluminum hood as well. While Ford is using more Aluminum in the body they are not first. Ram also saved weight in the design of the Pentastar V-6.

So the fact is it was Ram who was the innovator in this area and Ford is responding or to put it bluntly, Ford is following Ram.

Here is a link about the 2013/2014 RAM which is two years before the Ford 2015. As the great Lee Iacocca used to say: "Lead, Follow or get out of the way" Ford has clearly decided to follow while GM must just be getting out of the way.

http://www.allpar.com/model/ram/2013-ram.html

The 2013 Ram 1500’s frame was redesigned with greater stiffness to increase stability and handling while cutting noise and vibration up to 30%. Front rails have 20% higher yield strength due to high-strength steel. The new frame design has new powertrain, air suspension, and body mounting technology.

Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section has high-strength steel that maintains strength and durability while saving around 30 pounds. Larger body mounts are on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar. Two frame lengths are available: 120-inch and 140-inch.

In 2009, the Ram 1500 introduced an exclusive multi-link, coil-spring rear suspension, standard on all except Ram 1500 Tradesman HD; it improves ride and handling with no loss of capability. A coil-spring design centralizes and absorbs bumps and impacts, while reducing the amount of friction in the spring system. This design weighs 40 pounds less than a leaf-spring configuration. For 2013, more robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and have improved sealing methods.

@Ken

Ram has the weakest frames?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f3CAnH7WIM

As for your comment about Air Suspension, are you aware that many semi trucks and trailers use air suspension?

I bet you still think coil springs are no good either yet what do rail cars use? That is right coil springs not leaf springs.

Ford is playing catch up to RAM is so many areas.

Ram Big Horn 1500
A year ago I was doing research everywhere, reading any and all information I can before I picked out what new truck I wanted. I admit the Ram 1500 was my first choice both with the information I gathered on it and the test ride and I never-never-never seen any information about the frame on the Ram. I visited and read everything in the Ram Forums and NOTHING was said about the frame, but there was lots of information and videos out there on the F-150 and I got to admit that impressed me.
Plus when I went to purchase the Ram 1500 I didn't get much of a discount off sticker where I got $12K off the sticker price on the F-150, even when I liked the Ram 1500 more I just couldn't spend $9K more for it.
There are plenty of things I don't like about my F-150 and not afraid to admit it and I am guilty of finding fault in the Ram and Chevy just to make myself feel better that I purchased the F-150.
Ford did a better job marketing the F-150 and I got caught up in it.
Watching these F-150 video's is pride like someone patting me on the back saying; "Tom, You made the right choice with the F-150"

hemi lol
Yes the brake lines are on the outside of the frame for the reason you can see them if they are leaking or rusted and are easy to replace if needed, (the same reason power lines are on telephone poles) and the cab and bed wiring harness is also located on the outside of the frame too, betcha you didn't know that!

There are no tele/power poles in my neighborhood. No falling limbs will ever knock out the power here.
They are protected from most outside forces.

John: the only weakness in the Ram? would be the coil springs, but one mans weakness is another mans fine and smooth ride! But I would say the frame is a tough as or has more strength than most 1/2t frames out there, as a mater of fact all the domestic frames are fully boxed and as tough as need be.

@hemi for Life: I also wonder if they will design a new frame for the Raptor...may they can also use the ZF Friedrichshafen AG 8-speed transmissions that Fiat uses in the RAM. I mean if they make the RAPTOR nice enough people won't want to put that POS transmission in PARK anyway.

Just one question if the TorqueFlite 8 transmissions prevent the vehicle from shifting into park, does that make it a 7 speed transmission?



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