2004 FORD F-150 OVERVIEW
"Our vision was to forge a new direction for the market, building decisively on Ford's Tough Truck heritage and creating a product that would alter the expectations of pickup customers. The new F-150 does that with the courage of a leader, launching a new era of Built Ford Tough."
- Chris Theodore, Vice President - North American Product Development, Ford Motor Company
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2004
- Even tougher - F-150's fully boxed frame is approximately nine times stiffer torsionally than its predecessor, providing the foundation for improved durability, driving dynamics, and ride refinement and quietness. With a maximum tow rating of 9,500 pounds and maximum payload capacity of 2,900 pounds, the new F-150 is the most capable full-size pickup under 8,500 pounds.
- New interiors - Custom environments have been developed for each series. The initial "wow factor" is supported by substance that makes F-150 a pleasure over the long run.
- More spaciousness - Regular Cab and SuperCab models have a passenger compartment that is 6 inches longer, providing more space inside for occupants and their gear. For SuperCab models, that extra length means increased rear-seat comfort for three adults in the rear seat. For Regular Cab, it means 13 inches of secure storage space behind the seat.
- Easy access - Reflecting consumer demand for ease of access for people and cargo, Regular Cab models feature new, class-exclusive access doors that open up new stowage possibilities behind the seat.
- New engine technology - Ford's new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-8 engine produces 300 peak horsepower, a 15-percent improvement over the previous award-winning 5.4-liter engine, along with improvements in low-speed and peak torque and greater fuel efficiency. Smooth, quiet and refined, it also contributes to the quieter cab environment.
- Stronger stance and style - The new F-150 features an all-new design, with a bold exterior shape that reflects Ford truck toughness and capability. The refined interiors take the full-size pickup to a new level of comfort and refinement.
- Superior driving experience - Tremendous attention to detail and engineering advancements -- such as the new outboard rear shock absorbers and wider rear leaf springs -- have been applied to the chassis of the F-150 to deliver a confident, capable driving experience.
- Safety - The new Occupant Position Sensing technology for the first-row passenger makes the 2004 F-150 a strong choice for safety. It exceeds rigorous new federal safety standards for air bag and offset crash performance.
- Cargo capacity - The new F-150 cargo box is more than 2 inches deeper, with greater cargo volume. Plus, a class-exclusive new standard Tailgate Assist feature helps owners of all statures more easily open and close the gate.
2004 FORD F-150 LAUNCHES A NEW ERA OF BUILT FORD TOUGH
2004 F-150 XLT is expected to be the volume leader.
The dominant force in pickups has just upped the ante.
Now, as it celebrates more than 85 years of truck experience and 55 years of legendary F-Series accomplishments, Ford is again redefining America's truck.
The all-new 2004 Ford F-150 creates a bold first impression as it extends Ford's tradition as America's Tough Truck leader. It creates an even bigger lasting impression when its doors are opened to reveal a revolutionary interior design with refinement, comfort and spaciousness unparalleled in a truck.
The combination of Tough Truck capability and refinement sets a new standard for the industry. Toughness. Strength. Pulling Power. Fuel Economy. Safety. Interior spaciousness. Refinement. Driving dynamics. Stability. Functionality. Cargo capacity. Comfort. Style.
Ford pioneered the pickup, gave it the first V-8 engine and Crew Cab and went on to create a brand that is synonymous with truck leadership. Tough, capable and powerful, the F-Series has been the best-selling full-size pickup for 26 years as of January 2003 and the nation's favorite vehicle for 21 years running. The Ford F-Series is America's truck.
COMPREHENSIVE 3-CAB, 3-BOX, 5-SERIES LINEUP
F-150 now offers the industry's widest variety of body and trim configurations. Customers can specify the pickup box according to load length and box style, with more choices than ever before. Additionally, all cab configurations now feature four doors for ease of access. The lineup includes:
- Three cab choices-
- Regular Cab, a single row of occupant seating and rearward-swinging access doors that reveal a behind-seat stowage area up to 13 inches wide.
- SuperCab, a two-door extended cab version featuring a second row of seating accessed by two rearward-swinging doors.
- SuperCrew, a crew cab that features two rows of seating and four forward-swinging full-size doors.
- Three box lengths and two box styles -
- Eight-foot, 6 1/2-foot, and 51/2-foot box lengths are offered. In addition, the F-150 SuperCab 5 ˝- foot box is a new offering and a full-size pickup truck exclusive.
- Two different box styles, Styleside and Flareside, are available.
- Five distinct series offerings -
- From the workhorse F-150 XL to the refined F-150 Lariat, the 2004 F-150 lineup has the truck to meet a variety of customer wants and needs. The five series - XL, STX, XLT, FX4 and Lariat - each reflect insight into unique customer needs.
ALL-NEW TOUGH TRUCK DESIGN IS SOPHISTICATED, ASSURED
The all-new F-150 exterior is designed to be confident, powerful, fresh and refined. Drawing on design elements from the current F-150, the F-Series Super Duty lineup and the Mighty F-350 TONKA concept, the new truck's taut, boldly chiseled shape resonates Ford Tough Truck tradition.
"Creating an all-new F-150 was about asserting the toughness and truck capability of the leader," said Patrick Schiavone, design director, Ford Tough Trucks.
"We definitely wanted to push the design to a new level, to move the excitement needle up a notch. The result is a shape symbolic of strength with an underlying tone of sophistication that really gives this truck aspirational qualities," Schiavone said.
Tall-shouldered and proud, the new F-150 profile features a self-assured, "planted" stance achieved through widening the front and rear tracks more than 1.5 inches. New larger standard wheel and tire combinations reside in straightforward circular wheel arches that visually communicate power.
The bold front-end design conveys strength and symbolizes the powerful engine range. It features new quad-circle-styled headlamps designed in form-follows-function clusters, and incorporates a new wrap-around fascia treatment that communicates refined sophistication and precision. A bold bumper with integral foglamps, when equipped, and tow hooks (on 4x4 models) complete the look.
The F-150 FX4 model is designed to look at home on rugged terrain.
Enhancing the truck's visual strength is its high beltline, which draws attention to its chiseled, powerful flanks and a roofline reminiscent of chopped-top custom street trucks. A more vertical tumblehome (the inward bow of the side windows) balances the visual weight of the lower body while allowing nearly flush side glass, a mark of refinement. The doors adopt the Ford signature stepped-down beltline - a feature that aids outward visibility while providing an athletic rake that dynamically links the front and rear of the truck.
MORE ROOM FOR PEOPLE AND THEIR CARGO
The passenger compartment of the Regular Cab and SuperCab body styles is 6 inches longer, giving customers greater interior spaciousness. Regular Cab models feature industry-first rearward-swinging access doors that make it easier to reach a behind-seat cargo area that is large enough for golf clubs, toolboxes or five-gallon paint buckets. Each access door features an integral window that contributes to the airy, spacious interior feel of the new F-150. SuperCab occupants can enjoy first-in-class rear door power windows (on XLT, FX4 and Lariat) as well as an optional power sliding rear window.
The flow-through console available on the f-150 lariat matches a center stack finished in woodgrain and warm steel trim.
The clean look of the F-150 Styleside box is available in all three box lengths - 8-foot, 6 1/2-foot and 51/2-foot. F-150's new 61/2-foot Flareside box - formed of inner steel panels and sheet molded composite exterior panels - is available on STX, XLT and FX4 models. The stylish Flareside harks back to historic Ford models with deeper, fender-like wheel flares and a unique tailgate design that flares outward at its upper edge for a "spoiler effect." Tailgates for both box designs incorporate Ford's new Tailgate Assist, an innovative and segment-exclusive feature that reduces opening and closing efforts.
REVOLUTIONARY NEW INTERIOR DESIGN
The 2004 Ford F-150 interior sets new standards for craftsmanship and refinement. It reflects Ford's attention to detail and provides enhanced occupant comfort, reduced interior noise and more feature content.
"Truck owners spend more time than ever before in their vehicles, both for work and personal use," said Jim Smithbauer, F-150 design manager. "We designed the new F-150 interior to give them the comfort, craftsmanship, versatility and features they want and deserve. The look is very modern, precise and industrial, and it's executed in an honest, straightforward way."
Designers adopted a modular approach when creating the F-150 instrument panel. Bold vertical bands gave the design team tremendous flexibility to adopt different colors, textures and materials to customize the look of the instrument panel. All models, including the base version, feature an attractive two-tone instrument panel.
"Built Ford Tough" was always in the forefront of designers' minds as they shaped the all-new 2004 F-150.
Designers created three different instrument cluster designs, which combine with other elements to give each series a distinctive look. For example, the FX4 cluster evokes images of classic aviation while the Lariat features chrome-ringed gauges that match other chrome interior elements, including the door handles.
Functional round air registers are trimmed in chrome on higher-specification models and are dimpled for fingertip-controlled opening and closing.
The new F-150 interior introduces a flow-through center console, giving customers the option of two captain's chairs with a floor shifter on FX4 and Lariat models. The floor shifter, another F-150 first, is a sophisticated design, detailed in warm steel and chrome. Vehicles equipped with a 40/20/40 split-front-bench seat have a different instrument panel center stack optimized for middle passenger legroom.
The new F-150 marks the debut of another industry-first - a modular overhead rail system that allows owners to customize interior storage options to suit their individual needs. It is standard equipment on XLT, FX4 and Lariat SuperCab and SuperCrew models.
The brushed aluminum rail system is integrated into the headliner and extends from behind the rearview mirror to behind the second row of seats. The forward end of the rail features a dome light console and a large storage bin module.
The system - with integral power supply - allows owners to easily snap in additional modules, such as first aid kits, toolboxes, flashlights and two-way radio holders as they become available from Ford or the aftermarket. Already available on XLT, FX4 and Lariat SuperCrew is an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
THE NEW, DIFFERENTIATED F-150 FAMILY
In order to meet the needs of key customer segments, Ford developed five distinct models for the new F-150. Each series provides new attributes and comfort and convenience features - many of which are firsts in the full-size segment.
"In essence, we are reinventing the rules in the full-size pickup market," said Doug Scott, Ford Division truck group marketing manager. "We built on our heritage, listened to customer feedback, and developed a totally new approach that allows us to appeal to the full-size truck market and provide individualized versatility and character."
The XL personifies the pickup's role in building America. It is the workhorse truck that gets the job done, and can get down and dirty with hose-out floor functionality. The XL is available in both Regular Cab and SuperCab models with a choice of vinyl or cloth interior. The Regular Cab configuration is equipped with Ford's new rear access doors, which open up a more spacious area behind the 40/20/40 split-bench seat for stowage. The XL boasts a bold, forthright grille design; tailgate-assist; and larger, standard 17-inch steel wheels. New features also include standard tilt steering wheel and a center display system in the instrument panel.
The F-150 STX provides work truck capabilities in a sporty, stylish package. STX, powered by the 4.6-liter Triton™ V-8 engine, is available in Regular Cab or SuperCab body styles and features body-color bumpers and 17-inch sporty cast aluminum wheels. STX comes equipped with a standard 61/2 -foot Styleside or an optional Flareside box, and the SuperCab model also offers a 51/2 -foot Styleside box option. Owners of the new STX can opt for an available audiophile sound system with AM/FM radio and 6-disc CD changer with subwoofer.
Versatile enough to carry people and cargo, the XLT series is ideal for a wide array of uses - ranging from hauling to recreation. XLT is available in all cab variations and, depending on cab choice, all three Styleside box lengths and Flareside configurations are available.
XLT features an optional Silver two-tone paint finish, unique grille treatment and standard 17-inch cast aluminum wheels. Premium cloth is featured on the standard 40/20/40 split-bench seat or optional dual captain's chairs, and a chrome instrument panel accents add distinction. The XLT features Ford's new overhead rail system and foglamps on 4x4 models. For SuperCab and SuperCrew models, XLT's standard second-row power windows are a segment first.
The new FX4 is aimed at outdoor enthusiasts who believe four-wheel-drive capability is a critical lifestyle element. It combines off-road capability with a bold and distinctive individual statement. FX4 models are available in Regular Cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles. Customers have a choice of box configurations: 61/2-foot Styleside, 61/2-foot Flareside or the new 51/2-foot Styleside, depending on cab choice. New optional 18-inch machined cast aluminum wheels, body-color bumpers, a distinctive grille and a new available Dark Shadow Gray lower two-tone exterior paint treatment complete the package. Inside, FX4 has unique "warm steel" accents on the instrument panel, center console, doors and steering wheel. Its aircraft-inspired instrument cluster, "carbon mesh" accents and chrome-ringed air registers further refine the look. Optional captain's chairs can be specified in either sporty cloth or sporty leather, and come with a segment-first, flow-through center console with floor shifter.
The ultimate in truck refinement, the F-150 Lariat combines truck toughness and comfort, geared to buyers who view their trucks as a reward for achievement. Lariat owners use their trucks for a multitude of purposes from everyday driving and road trips, to towing boats or travel trailers. Many depend on their trucks for towing but want comfort and refinement. The Lariat features optional premium heated dual power leather captain's chairs with the unique flow-through console and floor shifter or a standard 40/20/40 leather split bench seat.
The instrument panel and center console contain finely crafted stitched surfaces in Medium Pebble or Ebony, augmented by woodgrain touches on the doors and instrument panel center stack. Lariat's instrument cluster also is unique, with cream-colored gauges ringed in chrome to complement the chrome-ringed air registers and chrome door handles. The steering wheel has built-in controls for key audio and climate control functions. Other special Lariat features include an in-dash message center, electronic automatic temperature control and power-adjustable memory seats and pedals. An available Beige lower two-tone paint treatment, chrome bumpers and a unique grille, along with 18-inch bright aluminum wheels accentuate the exterior.
SUPERIOR DRIVING EXPERIENCE
The all-new Ford F-150 provides an entirely new driving experience in a full-size pickup. The steering is crisp and direct, the ride is plush yet controlled, the braking is strong and assured, and the cabin is quiet. Ford has applied its expertise in driving dynamics to the best-selling vehicle in the world, and the result is a pickup truck that is responsive, confident while towing and robust and capable off-road.
The new F-150 has been designed to achieve exceptional handling, ride and quietness due in part to a solid and stable fully boxed frame with hydroformed front rails. The frame is approximately nine times stiffer in torsion and approximately 50-percent stiffer in bending as the already robust backbone of the current truck.
The entire frame is fully boxed to form a closed "box" section rather than the traditional "C" rail design, and hydroforming was used for the sections of the frame rails that bear the loads of the front suspension. The result is increased stiffness and stronger attachment points for the brackets that attach the body and suspension to the frame - and minimal shake and shudder on rough roads.
With a driving feel that is designed to be plush yet connected to the road, F-150 has a front suspension system that readily absorbs bumps but stands strong against steering forces. Both 4x2 and 4x4 models use new coil-on-shock, long-spindle, double wishbone front suspension with cast aluminum lower control arms - a first in the pickup truck segment. The suspension reduces unsprung weight to help provide better ride and stability on choppy, broken surfaces.
Advanced bushings - soft in response to road impacts but stiff to cornering loads, with ride tuning and handling tuning optimized independently - contribute to the improved ride and handling. Engineers targeted crisp steering response with new features including "gripping" bushings and double ball-type joints instead of rubber bushings in the stabilizer bar system.
The front shock absorbers are mounted inside the springs, allowing four-wheel-drive models to use coil springs instead of the traditional torsion bars, permitting more precise suspension tuning and commonality across the lineup. The design also moves the shock absorber closer to the wheel for approximately 25-percent greater mechanical advantage, which allows for more precise shock tuning.
The Hotchkiss-design rear suspension has been optimized with rear shock absorbers placed outboard of the frame rails - a segment exclusive - for improved control of body lean and a smoother ride. The shock position also provides better control of axle "skipping" and "skating" that can happen on washboard-type surfaces. Rear leaf springs are now 3 inches wide (20 percent bigger than the 2002 F-150 and the same width as on the F-Series Super Duty lineup) to help reduce sway during cornering and considerably improve towing stability.
Precise steering, a laterally stiff rear suspension with outboard shock absorbers, larger brakes and the new 5.4-liter, 3-valve TritonTM engine make for the best F-150 driving experience yet.
A rack-and-pinion steering system that is the largest and strongest ever used on a Ford vehicle was engineered to provide improved steering response for the new F-150. It is more robust than the recirculating-ball system used on the current F-150 and has less operating friction. Both measures contribute to the precise steering response that makes the new F-150 driving experience spirited and confidence-inspiring.
"Steering response was a top priority for our dynamics team because this is where the vehicle communicates very directly to the driver," said Frank Davis, F-150 chief program engineer. "The new rack-and-pinion steering, increased system stiffness and reduced friction all play their part in delivering a superior driving experience."
In addition to its class-leading dynamic performance, the new F-150 steering system also makes for a relatively tight 46-foot turning circle on SuperCab models with the 61/2 -foot cargo box, which beats comparably equipped competitors, most notably the Dodge Ram Quad Cab.
The new standard four-wheel disc brakes are larger and more powerful while providing better feel.
The new F-150's revised rear suspension places the shocks outboard of the springs for the first time, allowing more precise tuning and improving ride handling. Wider leaf springs increase the suspension's resisitance to side loads, for increased stability.
The rotors are larger and thicker, and the calipers are larger and even more robust - 60 percent stiffer - for enhanced stopping power and better brake pedal "feel."
Four-wheel anti-lock brake control (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) are standard.
The vented front discs have twin-piston calipers and are 330 millimeters (13 inches) in diameter, an increase of 22 millimeters (0.87 inches), or about 7 percent. The vented rear discs, with single-piston calipers, have a diameter of 348 millimeters (13.7 inches), an increase of 14 millimeters (0.55 inches). Increasing rotor size provides more surface area for brake pad contact and better heat dissipation for more consistent braking performance in stop-and-go driving or while towing.
The F-150 suspension is designed to contribute to braking assurance, resisting body dive and counteracting natural toe-out forces under braking to provide the driver predictable, consistent stopping performance.
While the most dramatic improvement in the F-150 driving experience comes on-road, Ford has steadily improved off-pavement performance. Four-wheel-drive models use the proven manual- or electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case of the current F-150 and a selection of optional limited-slip rear axles.
On rugged terrain, the new F-150's outboard shocks provide more precise control of the rear axle, while the wider leaf springs increase side-to-side stiffness.
In low range, electronic throttle control allowed engineers to incorporate a dedicated accelerator response strategy for better control of torque in the most challenging and slippery conditions.
Off-road braking performance was the subject of careful tuning. On loose surfaces like gravel, F-150 engineers were able to improve off-road stopping distances by approximately 13 percent.
For the most serious off-road enthusiasts, the F-150 FX4 provides skid plates, specifically tuned shock absorbers, optional LT tires and a standard limited-slip 3.73:1 rear axle.
The 5.4-liter, 3-valve TritonTM engine delivers 300 hp and 365 lb.-ft. of torque, both improved for 2004.
The new F-150 offers two engine choices - a 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-8 and a 4.6-liter Triton™ V-8.
The all-new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™V-8 engine is designed with three valves per cylinder, variable cam timing and a host of other features that provide increased power - especially at low engine speeds - along with improved refinement and efficiency.
The new engine delivers 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 365 foot-pounds of torque at 3,750 rpm. The all-new, aluminum cylinder head - with two intake valves and one exhaust valve per cylinder for 24 valves in total - and an improved cast-iron block balance impressive power with better fuel efficiency and quieter operation.
This new technology builds on Ford's proven modular V-8 engine platform. Its predecessor, a 2-valve version of the 5.4-liter Triton™, has been named to Ward's 10-Best Engines list six years running. It isn't a single technology but rather a suite of enhancements that deliver these consumer benefits.
The new engine will be Ford's first modular V-8 to use variable cam timing, which allows Ford engineers to optimize intake and exhaust valve actuation across the engine speed range. It is the industry's first mass application of dual-equal variable-cam timing, which shifts the intake and exhaust valve timing together.
Variable camshaft timing allows the valves to be operated at different points in the combustion cycle, to provide performance that is precisely tailored to specific engine speed and load at that instant. The driver does not notice that the cams are changing, but recognizes that there's more power when it is needed.
In combination with precise control of spark timing, fuel injection and use of electrically controlled Charge Motion Control Valves in the intake runners, this technology produces improved power and torque, particularly at the lower engine speeds that are so important to applications such as towing and heavy hauling.
With all-aluminum heads, single overhead camshafts, magnesium camshaft covers and a clean-sheet design approach, Ford's engineers were able to develop a three-valve-per-cylinder engine that has virtually no weight penalty compared with two-valve V-8 engines. The three-valve head is dimensionally smaller than the two-valve design for the 5.4-liter engine, while offering more rigidity and strength. It also is easier to manufacture.
At lower speeds and lighter loads, the new Charge Motion Control Valves (CMCV) - located at the end of each intake runner - are specially shaped to speed up the intake charge and induce a tumble effect in the combustion cylinder. This causes the fuel to mix more thoroughly, and to burn quickly and efficiently, with reduced emissions, particularly at idle.
The CMCVs are controlled by an electronic motor, and open at a predetermined point as engine speed increases. At higher engine speeds, they do not affect the intake charge at all. This allows undisturbed maximum flow into the combustion chambers at wide-open throttle.
The proven 4.6-liter TritonTM V-8, like the 5.4-liter TritonTM, now uses electronic throttle control for improved response and efficiency.
New on both the 5.4-liter and 4.6-liter engines is a segment-first torque-based electronic throttle control that uses driver input from the accelerator pedal to actively modulate the torque at the drive wheels. It is a direct descendant of technology first used in fighter aircraft.
Replacing the mechanical throttle linkage is an accelerator position sensor, an electronic control circuit and an actuator at the throttle valve on the engine. The controller takes into account the current operating status of the engine and ambient conditions, and then operates the throttle as needed to best deliver the desired result.
This produces seamless and consistent engine response, improved fuel economy and enhanced integration of vehicle systems, such as the transmission, variable camshaft timing, vehicle speed control and idle speed control.
IMPROVED 4.6-LITER TRITONTM V-8
All systems and components of the new F-150 are designed to work seamlessly together, including the new 5.4-liter, 3-valve TritonTM engine, transmission, electronic controls, suspension tuning and braking systems.
Also available in the new F-150 is the 4.6-liter Triton™ V-8. It achieves 231 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and an impressive 293 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. Ninety percent of this torque is available at 2,000 rpm for strong towing performance and solid acceleration while hauling heavy loads.
In addition to the benefits of the new electronic throttle control system, the 4.6-liter modular V-8 has reduced hydrocarbon emissions for 2004 thanks to improved gaskets, seals and crankcase-ventilation plumbing.
The 4.6-liter Triton™ V-8 has two valves per cylinder and a cast iron block. It uses an upgraded version of Ford's 4R70E four-speed automatic transmission, which has improved shifting controls, for smoother performance.
ENHANCED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS
Matched to the new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-8 is a new 4R75E four-speed automatic transmission, an evolution of the 4R70E used on the current F-150. It is upgraded to handle the torque of the 5.4-liter engine, while taking advantage of patented upgrades to the 4R70E.
While final certification is not yet complete, Ford expects the new F-150 will offer competitive fuel economy.
The new 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-8 meets the U.S. federal government's Tier 2, Bin 5 Emission Vehicle standard. The 4.6-liter Triton™ V-8 meets the Tier 2, Bin 10 Emission Vehicle standard.
CAPABILITY, COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Tough, capable and versatile, America's pickup truck also has more interior spaciousness, features that contribute to ergonomic ease and new levels of refinement. The combination makes for a calm, quiet confidence that all drivers will appreciate.
Each of F-150's cargo boxes - offered in 51/2-, 61/2- and 8-foot lengths - is more than 2 inches deeper than before, increasing usable volume. The total cargo volume of the 61/2 -foot box, for example, is 65 cubic feet, which is nearly 12 percent better than the current F-150, 13 percent better than Chevrolet and 42 percent larger than Toyota's 6-foot box. That extra capacity could save a trip to the landscape supply or garden center.
The newly engineered chassis and seamless powertrains make pulling a trailer easier than ever. The 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-8 has excellent torque at lower engine speeds, and its sophisticated electronic throttle control provides seamless, instant response and consistent transmission shift quality. Four axle ratios - from 3.31:1 to 4.10:1 - are available, and all but the 3:31:1 can have optional limited-slip capability for enhanced traction.
Camouflaged test vehicle runs through an off-road course at Arizona Proving Ground.
The laterally stiff new rear suspension is very resistant to side loads, so trailer influence on the truck (in crosswinds, on rutted roads or alongside 18-wheelers) is minimal. This contributes to confident, stress-free trailering, aided by powerful new braking capability.
With a maximum tow rating of 9,500 pounds and maximum payload capacity of 2,900 pounds, the new F-150 is the most capable full-size pickup under 8,500 pounds.
At F-150's core is a stout, fully boxed ladder frame with hydroformed front rails. Critical cross members are welded to the rails with a "through-rail" joint to prevent localized flex. "Wide-footprint" brackets attach the suspension, body and powertrain to the frame to maximize the strength of the attachment point. The entire frame is welded together, built to last.
The F-150 SuperCrew configuration combines the versatility of a pickup box with generous interior space.
The new body structure is improved by more than 75 percent and works with the stiffer frame to ward off squeaks and rattles. For the new F-150, the most aggressive use yet of structural adhesives on a Ford truck helps to spread loads over the length of a seam, to maintain long-term body stiffness.
Prototypes completed a 17-week corrosion test at Ford's Arizona Proving Ground that included a gamut of torture, including Salt Bath, Humidity Chamber and Drying Chamber. Sixty cycles of this testing simulate six years of abuse in Canada's rugged Maritime Provinces. Today's F-150 prototypes were subjected to hundreds of testing cycles.
In addition, the new F-150 has endured the equivalent of more than 5 million cumulative miles of engine testing.
Contractors and personal-use buyers may have different needs and wants in their F-150, but they all use the truck as a tool - to get the job done, to get their gear to the recreation area or to get to work between weekends. Ford knows that any good tool is easy to use, and has worked extensively to help ensure that all of its customers find F-150 a good "fit."
New for the 2004 F-150, electronic throttle control enabled engineers to craft a unique throttle response for low-range four-wheel-drive to enhance the driver's feeling of control.
People come in all shapes and sizes, of course, and the F-150 reflects that fact: It's designed to accommodate a so-called 25th-percentile woman (approximately 4'10" tall) as well as a 99th-percentile male (approximately 6'4"). The cabin is wider than ever before and its front seat is roomier, yet the door armrests extend far enough for smaller drivers to use comfortably. Grab handles and optional running boards assist during entry and exit, and optional power-adjustable pedals join a standard tilt steering wheel for customizing the driving position.
A standard Tailgate Assist feature uses an internal torsion bar to help with raising and lowering the tailgate. The optional running boards were moved lower and farther outboard to be more useful for stepping up into the cab.
Essential to meeting Ford's goals for the best driving experience available in a pickup truck was engineering quietness into the cabin. A quiet passenger cabin helps driver and passengers to stay alert and arrive relaxed, and has a profound effect on customer satisfaction.
The F-150 team tackled cabin noise with fanatical attention to detail.
As a result of their efforts, the F-150 cabin has highway cruise noise levels that are 2 sones quieter than the previous segment leader. While driving on coarse country roads at more moderate speeds, overall interior sound levels are 2.8 dBA lower than the previous leader.
During wide-open-throttle acceleration, the "speech articulation index" - a measure of how easily one can hold a conversation - is 5 percentage points better than the nearest competitor, above 3,500 rpm.
The new F-150 is rugged from the ground up-literally. The new fully boxed frame features hydroformed sections for improved torsional and bending strength.
Liquid-filled engine mounts or "hydromounts" attenuate much of the engine's noise and vibration before it can reach the passenger compartment. To further combat unwanted noise, the new F-150 has inset doors with improved seals, thicker front side windows, a laminated dash panel and noise-blocking air extractor vents at the rear of the cab. New double door seals contribute to the quiet ride.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The all-new Ford F-150 has been engineered with a focus on safety. Across the line-up, the new full-size truck from the Tough Truck leader has the strength, technology and know-how to protect its occupants.
The new F-150 helps to protect its occupants with a structure designed to absorb crash energy and dissipate it before it can reach the reinforced passenger compartment. In the U.S. Federal Government's frontal crash tests, the 2002 F-150 SuperCrew scored five stars for driver and front passenger protection.
In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's offset frontal crash test, Ford expects the new F-150 to earn high marks, based on extensive internal testing. It also has been designed to meet the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208, which regulates air bag as well as offset crash performance.
Safety enhancements are integrated throughout the F-150's passenger cabin. New for 2004 is a weight-sensing front passenger seat that helps tailor air bag response to specific situations. It's an element of Ford's comprehensive Personal Safety SystemTM
The new, strong hydroformed front frame rails are built with computer-designed front horns to help manage crash forces. In an impact, these areas of the frame are designed to collapse in an accordion fashion, dissipating energy before it reaches the passenger compartment.
Innovative design added additional space to this crush zone. Rather than being welded or bolted to the back of the fully boxed bumper beam, the front frame rails extend through cutouts in the beam to its front face, where they are welded in place. In a severe frontal impact, lower suspension control arms are designed to fracture, further absorbing crash energy.
The front crush structure is built from channeled steel sections welded together to form fully boxed frame rails. These sections meet the robust hydroformed frame ahead of the cab, providing a rugged steel platform beneath the entire passenger compartment. Reinforcements on the frame rails further improve the frame stiffness there. Combined with exceptionally stiff door sills and door openings, the hydroformed frame is able to help keep the main section of the frame from twisting during an offset crash. In the U.S. Federal Government's side impact tests, the new F-150 is designed to retain its strong performance.
The new F-150's portfolio of safety features now includes the Ford Personal Safety System™ and new occupant sensing technology.
With Personal Safety System™, frontal air bags offer multiple deployment levels to tailor inflation force to the severity of the crash, the driver's safety belt use and the driver's seat position, as determined by a sensor mounted to the seat track.
The Personal Safety System™ is augmented by advanced passenger-weight-sensing technology. If the sensor detects no weight on the front passenger seat - or very little weight, such as a newspaper, a half-dozen bagels or work gloves - the passenger-side air bag is automatically turned off. If more weight is detected on the seat, as with a small child, the air bag remains turned off and a light on the instrument panel illuminates with the message "PASSENGER AIR BAG OFF." If an adult is seated properly in the passenger seat, the light is extinguished and the air bag is automatically switched on. Small children should always be seated in proper supplemental safety seats in the rear seats whenever possible, even with this system.
A vehicle occupant's best line of defense in crashes remains the safety belt. The new F-150 has three-point belts at all outboard seating positions and all rear seating positions in SuperCab and SuperCrew. To encourage safety belt use, the new F-150 is equipped with Ford's pioneering BeltMinder™ system, which prompts the driver and - for the first time in a truck - the front passenger to buckle up.
The new optional flow-through center console and floor shifter, shown in the FX4.
At both the driver and outboard front passenger positions, safety belts are equipped with pyrotechnic pretensioners and load-limiting retractors. In the first moments of a frontal impact, the pretensioners pull the lap and shoulder belts tighter, which helps to reduce slack in the belts.
The new F-150 has standard provisions for safely securing a LATCH-compatible child safety seat. There are three sets of LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) fixtures and top tether anchors across the rear seat of SuperCab and SuperCrew models, and a top tether anchor on the front passenger seat. Regular Cab models have both LATCH lower anchors and a top tether anchor on front passenger seats.
Numerous additional features help to protect customers, the new F-150 and its contents, including Ford's patented SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system, available keypad entry, remote keyless entry, spare wheel lock and standard lockable tailgate.
With 6 more inches of interior cab length on Regular Cab and SuperCab models, the F-150 provides more lockable stowage volume than ever before - up to 13 inches behind the front seat of the Regular Cab.
THE F-SERIES LEADERSHIP STORY
The all-new 2004 F-150 Lariat introduces unprecedented refinement while delivering Ford Tough Truck capability.
The story of the Ford F-Series is one of sustained leadership. From the construction site to the house next door, the full-size pickup has earned its place in the fabric of American life. F-Series is America's choice. It outsells every other full-size truck brand. In fact, F-Series has been America's favorite vehicle for 21 years running, as of January 2003.
Historically, Ford has led the industry with innovations such as a standard third door on SuperCab and the SuperCrew. These configurations gave F-Series customers true personal-use versatility - without compromising tough truck capability. When extended cab models were introduced in the 1990s, they accounted for less than 20 percent of the total market. Today, they represent approximately 80 percent of sales due to their increased passenger space and functionality.
"Ford's F-Series leadership is well documented," said Matt DeMars, executive director for Tough Trucks, Ford Motor Company. "We have a huge owner base and a reputation for toughness and durability that is unsurpassed in the industry. We used our customer insight to help us anticipate the 'next big thing' in the market, and we continue to give customers in this growing segment the most appealing products."
In 2002, Ford dealers delivered more than 800,000 F-Series trucks to U.S. customers, making F-Series America's best-selling truck for the 26th consecutive year.
The numbers tell why Ford is aggressively striving to maintain and extend its leadership as the best-selling full-size pickup. The F-Series is extremely important to Ford's bottom line. It accounts for nearly 28 percent of Ford Division's sales and 23 percent of Ford Motor Company's total U.S. sales.