Ford Bronco Suspension Deep Dive

It has been over a year since I pieced with each other a Ford Bronco speculative suspension deep dive employing preliminary requirements, comparisons to the abroad-sector Ranger Raptor, and teaser photos of a bare chassis. Nowadays the specs are more comprehensive, and I have been in a position to lay my fingers on the serious thing for a nearer appear in my own driveway. The two-doorway body may perhaps be bolted in position this time, but I’ll get that for the reason that I’m ready to take away the tires and poke close to beneath.

This Bronco is a two-door Initially Version, a 2021 trim stage that is bought out. You can basically overlook that reality, because every thing it provided can be still observed on the 2022 Ford Bronco Badlands. Importantly, it also has every thing we’d treatment to seem at as much as a suspension deep dive is worried, moreover much more. It had the stabilizer bar disconnect system shared with the Badlands, locking front and rear differentials that are popular to the Badlands and the Wildtrak, and the Sasquatch combination of HOSS Bilstein dampers and 35-inch tires that arrives regular on Wildtrak and can be additional to any trim as an option.

The Bronco I like is the Badlands, which has everything we’ll see right here, but with 33-inch tires paired with a extended-vacation established of HOSS Bilstein dampers. The explanation? The 33s don’t things the wheel wells as significantly as this 35-inch rubber, and as a final result, they let for increased flex and articulation. This set up, with the 35s, managed a 648-issue highest Flex Index rating on my RTI ramp (see movie earlier mentioned), but a Badlands with out Sasquatch would do even far better.


Most of the Bronco vs Wrangler trash chat centers on the Bronco’s use of unbiased entrance suspension. Jeep people today will say, “Solid front axles flex extra.” They’re not erroneous, but reliable axles never experience easily or steer properly when you are not off-roading, and they are not just about as settled on washboard grime roadways. Until the want for highest articulation enters the frame, independent entrance suspension and the lessen unsprung mass that arrives with it can be a greater way to go if that suspension presents respectable floor clearance and a balanced sum of vacation.

The suspension we see right here is not a immediate carryover from the North American Ford Ranger pickup we know. Instead it arrives from the Ranger Raptor offered in Australia, Europe and other parts of the earth. As the Raptor identify indicates, it is a wide-observe, extended-journey impartial entrance suspension. Rumors of a U.S. Bronco Raptor will no question create up from what we’ll see right here.


It is plainly a double wishbone entrance suspension, with upper (yellow) and lower (eco-friendly) wishbones designed of aluminum, and a steering knuckle (crimson) which is created of steel. This blend is a immediate opposite of the North American Ranger pickup, which uses metal arms and an aluminum knuckle.


The front bump cease (yellow) is a urethane bumper that sits at the best end of the coil-around spring and damper assembly. Ford takes advantage of this design as an alternative of the body-mounted bump-stops we’re used to viewing on a Tacoma or 4Runner for the reason that it provides them better independence to tweak the offered suspension journey working with bolt-on components.

The aluminum higher manage arm (green) is canted downward toward the back again to deliver a useful dose of anti-dive geometry, and the ball joint is established considerably back to support produce a nutritious dose of caster. Outside of that, the ball-joint appears to be to be held in area with a circlip that need to permit for quick variations or aftermarket updates.


When in spot, the tire scarcely hides the upper ball joint that’s just peeking into this photograph. We’re not observing the intense higher-mount layout favored by Toyota, but the front knuckle (crimson) is continue to pretty tall, a move that cuts down upper ball-joint and wishbone bushing masses by escalating the vertical separation distance from the tire speak to patch at the ground.

This see also can make it apparent that the Bronco has the type of entrance-steer rack placement (yellow) we hope to see when an motor is mounted lengthwise, and why the place occupied by the rack-and-pinion steering linkage forces the brake caliper (green) to occupy the unused area on the reverse aspect.


You may perhaps have questioned how heavy that steel knuckle (yellow) was going to be, but it is really hollow. We’re also obtaining our 1st glimpse of how the Bilstein HOSS dampers bolt to the decrease wishbone by using a decreased bushing (eco-friendly) with a molded-in tie-bar. These dampers have piggyback distant reservoirs (crimson), and if we could peer within we’d see stiffer conclusion-vacation damping zones at the extraordinary leading and base finishes of the shock to guard towards topping and bottoming.


The decrease wishbone and knuckle have protuberances (yellow) that operate with each other as a steering restrict halt to continue to keep the steering rack from loading up from its interior conclude-end. The other issue to recognize is how the knuckle’s thickness is locally optimized (inexperienced) to help you save even more excess weight past what they’ve achieved by earning the higher section hollow.


Each individual leg of the wishbone has eccentric cams (yellow) that let for caster and camber adjustment, and further more out we can see the nuts (environmentally friendly) that maintain the damper in area. In the meantime, the stabilizer bar finish-backlink (crimson) connects to the rear leg of the wishbone.


The stabilizer linkage connects to a odd-wanting stabilizer bar arm (yellow). We’re used to seeing stabilizer bars produced from a simple bent piece of round-inventory, but this a single consists of a blade that is bolted (environmentally friendly) and indexed to a independent crosspiece, as you could see in a racecar.


That crosspiece incorporates the 1st Edition and Badlands’ stabilizer bar disconnect system (yellow), which is both of those hidden and guarded by a stout bash plate. I fairly doubt we’d see this bolt-on arm building on Broncos that absence the stabilizer bar disconnect, but their solitary-piece mounted bars would mount to the exact same bushing destinations.


It’s a ton much easier to see the will work with the bash plate removed. The small business finish of the bar is composed of two halves (green) that fulfill inside a hydraulic coupling mechanism (yellow) that can be disconnected beneath load. This represents a huge benefit around the Wrangler’s mechanism, which can only be operated on flat floor in no-load situations.

The Ford unit can be disengaged in H4 or L4 push modes, and it will automatically reconnect if your pace will increase to the level wherever the bar is necessary for basic safety. But it does not switch absolutely off at such periods – it as a substitute goes into a standby manner that waits to immediately disengage once again when your pace drops below the threshold.


The diameter of the brake rotors (yellow) is reasonably modest for the reason that the foundation Bronco comes with 16-inch wheels. But the rotors make up for this by getting very thick, which gives them a large amount of thermal mass. The calipers by themselves are pretty beefy twin-piston (inexperienced) sliding units with sizable brake pads.


From in this article, the rear suspension seems incomplete. It is a five-connection reliable-axle set up, but we can only make out the lower trailing link (yellow).


The coli-around spring and shock assembly bolts into a intensely strengthened pocket (yellow) which is included into the frame rail.


The coil spring alone employs a dual-fee layout, but the first fee is established up to collapse totally (yellow) when the auto is sitting on the floor. For all intents and uses, the principal doing the job space of the spring appears to be a linear price – except if there are refined wire diameter versions that aren’t straight away evident.


Below the suspension is totally unloaded on my Flex Index ramp, and you can see how that first part has opened up. Its key goal is to maintain the spring seated at full droop, substantially like the thin tender springs you normally see at the best of racing coil-overs.

This view also presents us a sneak-peek at the urethane bump halt (yellow) that sits at the top rated end of the coil-about assembly. Like the front, the Bronco completely employs shock-mounted bump stops. You won’t see a stopper that registers on the stable axle housing by itself.


You have to crawl beneath rather far to get a great see of the higher tailing link (yellow), but it is there.


The higher link’s axle attachment bracket (yellow) is canted ahead. That fitting just exterior (eco-friendly) is an axle breather tube that wends its way upwards to preserve water out of the differential housing at most fording depth.


At 1st I imagined the rear link bracketry was reduced and vulnerable, but it is truly not any decrease than the gas tank skid plate (yellow) in the track record. Meanwhile, the piggyback-style distant reservoir (eco-friendly) on the rear Bilstien damper is safeguarded by an effect-resistant stone guard.


We can account for 4 of the 5 back links because we have seen the higher and reduced trailing hyperlinks, and there are two for every facet. This Panhard bar (aka track rod) is range five. Its fixed close (yellow) attaches to a bracket which is welded to the frame, whilst the transferring finish (eco-friendly) is bolted to a bracket on the axle housing. It’s about as long as it can be in the out there space, and it sits virtually amount when the auto is on the ground. Both of those ways are needed to minimize the total of still left-appropriate axle shifting that would in any other case occur as the bar swings as a result of an arc as the suspension moves up and down.

The other matter to recognize right here is what you’re not observing: a rear stabilizer bar. The Bronco does not have just one. Properly, this two-door does not. I have not stuck my head less than a four-door still. I imagine it truly is the same, due to the fact I do not see any unused brackets.


Like the entrance, the sizing of the rear brake rotor and caliper set up is restricted to what can healthy inside the foundation model’s 16-inch wheels. Continue to, the rotors are thick and nicely ventilated. The rotor’s deep hat segment (yellow) may well give you the impression it’s hiding a shoe-form parking brake, but the one-piston sliding caliper has an digital parking brake (inexperienced) bolted onto the back.


The 17-inch wheels that appear with the 35-inch LT315/70R17 Sasquatch tires are beadlock capable, which suggests you can unbolt the ornamental 12-bolt ring you see right here and switch it with an accent 24-bolt ring that truly clamps the tire bead in position for extreme small-pressure aired-down off-road managing. The same kind of beadlock-able 17-inch rims also occur with the 33-inch Badlands set up.

These are, in truth, Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, but Ford didn’t want the word Wrangler on the Bronco, for evident causes. In its place, they invited Goodyear to stamp their name on 2 times.


Glimpse carefully and you will see that the ornamental 12-bolt beadlock rings are not undertaking any bead locking. They do assist increase up to a tire assembly weight of some 89 lbs, although. Carry with your knees, is all I’m indicating.

The Bronco’s suspension execution is mighty extraordinary, and I feel it presents prospective buyers a good third solution that sits about midway in between the Jeep Wrangler on just one end and the Toyota 4Runner on the other. You get the removable prime and doors of the Wrangler, but the Ford’s suspension layout has the exact every day-drive positive aspects of a 4Runner thanks to double wishbone unbiased entrance suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Over and above that, the Bronco positive aspects from a wider stance and beefy significant-traveling design that is dependent on the Ranger Raptor. Positive, the Jeep Wrangler will flex additional in intense problems, but the Bronco is no slouch, and it will steer, ride and tackle better just about any where else.

Contributing author Dan Edmunds is a veteran automotive engineer and journalist. He worked as a car improvement engineer for Toyota and Hyundai with an emphasis on chassis tuning, and was the director of automobile testing at (no relation) for 14 yrs.

You can come across all of his Suspension Deep Dives here on Autoblog.