When the all-new F-150 Raptor first hit showrooms, few could foresee the extent of the innovations beyond its high-output engine and new skin. Along with all the power and agility gains comes the most advanced drive mode system in its class – a cutting-edge Terrain Management System. It is enabled by an all-new dual-mode transfer case that incorporates both all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive systems and electronic lockers to deliver the ultimate multi-terrain experience.
To give Raptor drivers more performance and capability both on-road and off, Ford Performance engineers developed this all-new transfer case to manage the distribution of power between front and rear wheels. Key to that is clutch-based, on-demand all-wheel drive capability for everyday driving, including all-weather mode, while also providing a mechanically locked, durable four-wheel drive system for confidence in severe off-road driving environments.
When combined with the non-sequential 10-speed transmission and high-output EcoBoost® engine, Raptor can deliver its 421 PS** and 678 Nm** of torque more efficiently for the ultimate driving experience – whether you’re on the road or way, way off.
“Raptor’s transfer case provides the best of both worlds, with the natural benefits from all-wheel drive, such as increased traction in rain and snow, as well as extreme off-road capability that comes with a mechanically locked system,” says Tony Greco, Ford F-150 Raptor programme manager.
Typically, four-wheel drive options for trucks come in two transfer case varieties – on-demand systems that employ a clutch to transfer torque to the front driveline, similar to how all-wheel drive setups work, or electronic shift-on-the-fly systems that use mechanical locks to couple the front and rear driveshafts.
Ford engineers sought to enhance the daily driving experience of Raptor while preserving its ultimate off-road performance. With the clutch-based feature of the transfer case, drivers can travel on-road using the 4×4 auto setting, which delivers the benefit of four-wheel drive without the repercussions of component damage or driveline binding – something that can occur when drivers try to use mechanically locked systems on high-traction surfaces like pavement.
Ford fine-tuned the calibration of 4×4 auto depending on road surface conditions, so the transfer case can vary the clutch torque to suit the environment. For example, when the driver selects weather mode via the Terrain Management System, it’s tuned for slippery surfaces, while sport mode is tuned to feature more of a rear bias that can provide a fun driving experience, including better acceleration and on-road performance.
When Raptor goes off-road, its electronic shift-on-the-fly system can still be used, either as a 4×4 high or as a 4×4 low. Thus, drivers can navigate harsh terrain with strength and confidence. The 4 x 4 high can be used in mud/sand mode and Baja mode for instances the ground is soft or loose and for high-speed desert runs. The 4 x 4 low is used in rock crawl mode, intense off-road driving and rock climbing at low speeds, in which an additional gear reduction ratio is useful to provide enhanced capability with improved powertrain response.
In all cases where environmental conditions were particularly hazardous, the transfer case proved to be flexible and capable of delivering elite performance. Though the Terrain Management System comes with default 4×4 settings, drivers have the option to manually override the settings so that they can further fine-tune their driving experience to suit their preferences.
Ford tested the performance of the new system in about 4,000 kilometers of competition testing in the 2016 Best in the Desert series, and went on to complete the 1,368-km long SCORE Baja 1000 race. The Greg Foutz Motorsports team members even drove the truck back almost 650 kilometers to return to their base in Arizona.
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