2021 Ford Bronco “H.O.S.S.” Suspension Explained

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2021 Ford Bronco “H.O.S.S.” Suspension Explained

At this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise, Ford’s focus was squarely on Broncos old and new, with new and first-generation Broncos to drive plus a rolling chassis for show and tell. Ford suspension engineers used it to tell us their side of the story as to which off-road icon has the better suspension concept—the Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler. Of course, in either case we’re talking about the top-dog models: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon versus the Ford Bronco with the H.O.S.S. (High-speed Off-road Suspension System) with Bilstein position-sensitive dampers and stabilizer disconnect system, standard on Badlands and First Edition models, plus the big-tire Sasquatch package.

Advantages of Ford’s independent front suspension include a reduction in unsprung mass of 40 percent and the ability to utilize rack-and-pinion steering. Lowering unsprung mass makes it easier for the dampers to control wheel motions, especially when traveling at speed over desert whoops. As a result, the tires spend more of the time pressed firmly to the ground. And the advantages of rack-and-pinion over recirculating-ball include improved steering feel and electric power assist, which makes it easier to offer variable assist levels tailored to different driving modes. This system is also used to provide damping to counteract kickback to varying degrees depending on the drive mode selected. Baja and Sand modes get unique steering damping curves.

Most stabilizer bar disconnects (or “sway bar” disconnects, if you’re not a stickler for semantics) use some sort of sliding collar to connect and disconnect the bar somewhere near its middle. This is a simple and effective approach, but this design typically can’t operate (connect or disconnect) while the wheels are articulated. So if you suddenly find yourself running out of wheel travel mid-obstacle, you need to back down to a flat area to disconnect. The Bronco’s electrohydraulic system (produced by BWI, the Magneride folks) can be disconnected any time, and when you request a reconnect, it automatically connects the next time the bar straightens out for an instant. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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