Three Types of Ford Suspensions

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Red Ford Jumping at Dam Jump Competition
Ford has had three different types of front suspensions for nearly all of their trucks. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages and in this article we’ll take a quick look into each one.

We’ll start with the solid axle, and then go through the toughest independent system known as the Twin-I/Twin-Traction Beam. Finally, we’ll finish off with the modern true Independent Front Suspension System (IFS).

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The solid axle front end is the crudest yet toughest front end you can have on your four-wheel drive. The connection types range from leaf-springs to links, so there are many ways to attach the solid axle to your Ford truck.

For rock crawlers you also get lots of steering angle you can’t get in the IFS. However, since both wheels are solidly attached to one another; movement on one wheel will affect the other. This can make some street driving antics a little hairy.

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Next is the Twin-I/Twin-Traction Beam Suspension. This combined some of the toughness of the straight axle with good street manners of an independent front suspension.

The twin-I is connected to the truck by two pivot points on each frame side and a radius arm for each beam. While you get independent movement from each wheel, the wheel hub follows the radius of the beams.

Wheel camber will change from positive to negative as the beams travel in their arc so road driving can feel strange. Steering design becomes slightly strange as you have to now incorporate a similar pivot in your steering arms.

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Finally, there is the independent front suspension (IFS). This design allows for great road manners while still letting you get off-road with four-wheel traction.

However, lifting an IFS truck will require moving the front differential down with the wheels as the drive angle of the axles must stay as level as possible or you may face premature wear or even breakage at extreme angles.

You also don’t get much in terms of steering angle for rock crawling as the extreme 50-plus degrees of steering angle you see on the solid axle trucks will break most IFS axles.

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Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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