The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor has been the focus of many comments and articles recently for its frame bending issues, and now Jamal Hameedi, the SVT’s chief nameplate engineer, has gone on record with an official response from the company. The story was featured exclusively on Autoblog and is of importance to Ford SVT Raptor owners everywhere, particularly because so many of them have reported bending the frame of the bed away from the cabin of the vehicle in recent months. Read on for a brief overview of the official Ford response to the frame bending issue.
Extent of the Issue
Ford made the public response as a result of an official investigation into a highly publicized outing in which 14 Raptor owners went on an off-road trip and, upon completing the journey, 10 of the owners discovered that their vehicles had been bent on the frame where the bed connects to the cab. The company has thus far received word of only four vehicles being damaged, none of which were on that particular journey, but the public statement was necessary due to the overall intrigue that the story has generated among other Raptor owners. Though there were likely more trucks that were damaged, even in that initial run, the company is basing its response only on the four instances that have been reported officially.
Why the Problem Occurs
After examining the 4 confirmed cases of frame bending, Ford has concluded several things about why this problem may occur. As Mr. Hameedi explains, the vehicle is traveling to quickly for the obstacle that it hits. When a vehicle hits an obstacle at a speed that is greater than what it is able to handle, the first damage that might occur would be to the jounce bumper cup that holds the bumper in place. At an even greater speed, the damage is transferred instead to the frame of the vehicle.
The energy of hitting the obstacle must be absorbed in some way, and the safest way for that to happen is to transfer the force of that impact to the frame of the car. As a result, the frame bending helps to ensure that the vehicle is as safe as possible to drive when it exceeds proper travel speeds. However, owners will not generally be happy to know that their vehicles must be damaged in order to retain safety at these speeds.
Changes to the Suspension
From the perspective of Ford, Hameedi says, there are no real problems with the suspension system. In fact, considering the speeds that the vehicle is designed for, it functions well even in spite of the frame bending. He suggests instead that, because the Raptor is a new vehicle that has attracted new drivers to the off-road, high-speed circuit, these drivers will need to learn the proper ways to handle their vehicles without causing further damage. The company will continue to monitor the results of Raptor frame bending incidences to make sure that the vehicles are designed to best minimize their occurrence.