Axle Woes: Will the New Bronco have a Solid Front Axle, or No?

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Our forum members consider what’s in store for the hotly-anticipated 2020 Ford Bronco.

The $64,000 question — or actually, the possibly $30,000-$45,000 question in the Ford Truck Enthusiast forums is: Bronco to have a solid front axle? That query was posed by FTE Senior User Butterflyer36, and the responses came fast and strong. Butterflyer36’s interest was piqued by an Automotive News report with the headline: “Check your 6, Wrangler; Ford Bronco will have solid axles, too.”

“I’m not certain it’s true though,” writes Butterflyer36 in the FTE forum thread that he posted. “It will use Dana axles, but that doesn’t mean solid axles. The Spicer AdvanTEK axles mentioned [in the report] are used in solid axle and independent suspension applications.”

Fellow FTE members chime in with divided opinions on whether or not the n hotly-anticipated Ford truck will indeed have solid axles or not.

The thread conversation takes an unexpected turn into discussing solid axles and which trucks still have them. 

“They don’t even use Dana axles in the F-series anymore,” suggested Posting Guru Pgh Rebel, who kicked off an interesting related side-discussion about F-Series trucks, Dynas and Super Dutys. Pgh Rebel then clarifies his statement, adding: “I was more referring to the ‘150, which uses a Ford 8.8″ up front.” 

The thread, which is currently eight pages, steers back to the Bronco and a good number of Ford fans add their thoughts on the solid axle situation with the 2020 Ford Bronco.

‘It really needs to have solid axles. Anyone that says the independent suspension is good off-road doesn’t go off road. Second, IT’S A BRONCO, why are we focusing on road handling?’

“A solid front axle would be incredible, but it wasn’t even in my thoughts when I imagined the Bronco,” says new member 2Door. “Why? Well, for one, it would be almost solo in the class (only rivaling the Wrangler) in the small SUV field. Therefore, it would pit the Bronco DIRECTLY against the Wrangler. …Two, except the Super Duty’s, it would be totally new for Ford. Jeep has been using them since the CJ’s … so they know, that’s what their customers want. Bronco? Totally new territory. The Bronco hasn’t used a SFA since ’79. They would be taking an enormous risk. But, that said, Ford gambles… This might be Ford’s next gamble…”

Naturally, 2 Door then adds: “The only thing I truly want is the option of 2 doors and a manual transmission.”

Too big of a gamble for Blue Oval?

Elder User P.Bronner questions that enormous risk. “I’d be very surprised if it had a solid front axle.,” he writes. “Personally, I can’t see the advantage of solid axles aside from mechanical simplicity. “

“Count me out for the solid front axle, not really interested in that,” says Ford Truck Enthusiasts forum moderator, Tom. “Maintenance on modern IFS setups is substantially easier, in addition to the ride and handling benefits. If I were to be buying a Bronco it would be my daily driver, and I’m not interested in off-roading my DD.

“I’d love something a bit more truck-ish than the Explorer and Escape, but I’ve never been interested in a Wrangler,” adds Tom.

ALSO SEE: Tell Ford What You Really Want from the 2020 Bronco

FTE Senior User TheBoom brought the boom: “Really confused by some of the responses here,” he writes. “It really needs to have solid axles. Anyone that says the independent suspension is good off-road doesn’t go off road. Second, IT’S A BRONCO, why are we focusing on road handling? If that is what you care about, why the heck are you buying a Bronco? Independent can be made to be good in serious off-road with enough money like what they do in the King of the Hammers, but OEM and IFS are 6 letters that should not be in the same sentence when talking about off-road. Independent front and rear? Hell no! that would be the biggest joke ever.”

‘The Bronco hasn’t used a SFA since ’79. They would be taking an enormous risk. But, Ford gambles… This might be Ford’s next gamble…’

“On the hardware side, Ford will produce what their market research folks tell them will sell the most units, tempered with what the bean counters and engineers can produce at the appropriate price point and profitability, and further limited by what the risk management lawyers will allow them to offer,” suggests Senior User PrescottIce. “As for aesthetics, if they decide to re-do the classic, they have a pretty reliable track record of success with the Mustang line; I think the design team is capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat.

Bucking the system

Ford Bronco

And perhaps the most unique response comes from New User Me1234. The longtime Bronco owner already has his response strategically planned should the 2020 Ford Bronco arrive without a rockin’ solid axle.

“If Ford messes this new Bronco up, I’m going to make it a weekend habit of driving to a different Ford dealer in my 1993 Eddie Bauer,” writes New User Me1234. “I will wear a suit. My hair will be perfect. My shoes will shine. Checkbook will be in hand. When the salesperson comes out, offers me a test ride, maybe I’ll take it, maybe I won’t, depends on the day. I’ll inquire about the options, visibly getting more upset if they say things like ‘no removable top,’ ‘no 2-door option,’ ‘no solid front axle’ (yes, I’m aware my 93 doesn’t have a solid front axle). When they ask me if I want to buy I’ll say, ‘Sorry, you don’t have anything in this entire dealership that can replace the Bronco I already have.’ I’ll then walk up to my then 27-year-old truck, open the cooler in the back, grab a Coke through a sea of Budweiser, hope in the driver’s seat, and drive off the lot blasting ‘Take It Easy.'”

We think Glenn Frey would have approved. Check out the full discussion about the upcoming Ford Bronco and join in the conversation by clicking over to the Ford Truck Enthusiasts forums now!

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