At Ziems Ford Corners, it’s no secret we love the Ford Bronco old and new. And, the all-new 2021 family of 4×4 only SUVs is redefining the off-road landscape. That’s because the Bronco comes Built Wild with suspension designs that elevate off-road driving performance without sacrificing on-road drivability or control. We are of course talking about the unique High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension or H.O.S.S. for short. The H.O.S.S system features independent front suspension, taller coil springs for added articulation, and heavy-duty dampers for improved stability on-road and off. Let’s take a closer look at this rugged suspension system.
There have long been complaints from off-road drivers about harsh rides, sloppy steering, discomfort above crawling speeds, and in general unsatisfactory on-road performance in off-road vehicles. According to Mark Grueber, Bronco consumer marketing manager, “We listened to what off-road enthusiasts wanted in terms of capability and control – and heard a lot about what could be improved in the current off-road SUV offerings.” He went on to say, “Our answer was to design a lighter, more agile suspension system tuned to deliver more confident off-road capabilities without having to trade comfort and control.” After all the market research, Ford went to great lengths to engineer out the off-road deficiencies with the new Bronco opting for better on-road handling and high-speed dynamics with a slight decrease in front axle articulation.
The Advantages of H.O.S.S.
Advantages of the 2021 Bronco’s independent front suspension include a reduction in unsprung front axle mass of 42 pounds, or 20%. Lowering unsprung mass makes it easier for the dampers to control wheel motions, especially when traveling at speed over desert whoops.
This results in a far superior ride with more consistent tire-to-surface contact. Add to that, the three-mode electronic-assist rack-and-pinion steering, and you achieve enhanced precision on and off-road while minimizing steering wheel kickback.
Rear Suspension Setup
At the back, Bronco added compliant coil-over progressive rate springs. The lower rear spring rates improve pitch sensitivity, allowing the truck to remain flat on jumps. A five-link geometry 220-millimeter solid axle was added to balance for optimal payload capacity with the coils and dampers mounted as far outboard as possible to afford maximum mechanical advantage. Plus, the rear stabilizer bar was deleted for added articulation. Put all that together, and the all-new Ford Bronco claims class-leading overall suspension travel of 8.7 inches front, 10.2 inches rear on the 33-inch tires. Or, opt for the larger 35-inch tires and you can add 0.4 inches.
Most stabilizer or sway bar disconnects use a sliding collar system to connect and disconnect. It’s simple and effective, however, the downside is that they can’t be operated (connected or disconnected) while the wheels are articulated. The Broncos’ forward-thinking electro-hydraulic system (produced by BWI) on the other hand can be disconnected or reconnected anytime. Through a series of pins and pistons, the sway bar can be coupled or uncoupled at the touch of a button. For instance, engage “Rock Crawl ” mode and the bar will automatically disconnect whenever the speed drops below 25 mph, reconnecting automatically above 20 mph. When connected, the control device rotates with the bar, and the bar behaves like a solid 33mm (1.3-inch) bar.
Optional Bilstein Position-Sensitive Dampers
Optional across the model lineup, Bilstein position-sensitive true monotube dampers replace the base Hitachi twin-tube dampers. Bilstein dampers provide position-sensitive damping with 3 compression zones and 2 rebound zones, controlled by 3 independent pistons.
This allows for superior bottom-out control through a 2-stage, telescoping internal compression stop, a feature that eliminates the need for an external hydraulic bump stop. There’s also a secondary rebound stop to dissipate spring energy and stabilize the suspension directly following a large compression event. These specialized dampers provide 3 zones of varying damping rates with nitrogen-charged remote reservoirs.
All Bronco models feature H.O.S.S. tuning, but the Bilstein position-sensitive dampers and stabilizer disconnect cost extra. On the base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, and Outer Banks trims, the Bilstein dampers are offered as an optional bundle. The Bilstein PSD dampers come standard on Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition models. The stabilizer bar disconnect system is only currently available on the Badlands and First Edition and they are listed as standard equipment on those trim levels.
Ford Bronco, Built Wild
With a legacy of innovating the off-road landscape that began in 1966, the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport deliver a strong, undisputed statement with their high-speed off-road capability and confidence. True to their ‘raised by goats’ heritage, these 4x4s handle any terrain like surefooted wild horses. Contact us at Ziems Ford Corners today to get your piece of the wild.