E-Series changes for Ford
Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Rick Weber
Ford Commercial Truck introduced the next-generation 2008 E-Series that has an all-new brake system, improved ride and handling, and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) increases to 14,500 lb.
Rob Stevens, chief engineer for E-Series, said Ford's E-Series line-up has topped its segment's sales charts for 28 straight years, accounting for more than half of all commercial vans and passenger wagons sold in 2006. He said the commercial van, wagon, and cutaway market accounted for more than 350,000 total vehicle sales last year, and E-Series commands a total market share of 49.5% while boasting a 62.8% share of the cutaway segment.
The 2008 E-Series' new design, inspired by the 2008 Super Duty, features new sheet metal from the A-pillars forward, including hood, fenders, radiator support, grille, and bumpers.
For upfitters who convert E-Series cutaways into motor homes, box vans, and a variety of other vehicles, the changes haven't affected the vehicle's critical dimensions.
“Interestingly, one important thing that many of our customers want to hear about is what's not changing,” Stevens said. “The upfitters make up an important segment of our business and have designed their tooling to fit the dimensions of our vehicles. If we change our door openings, all of their tooling becomes outdated. To that point, door structures and floor structure measurements are carryover and seat attachments are in the exact same location.”
The 2008 E-Series line-up rides on an improved chassis. A series of upgrades to the braking, suspension, and steering systems have resulted in improvements in ride and handling, braking performance, and load-carrying capability.
He said a re-engineered front suspension utilizes a new geometry and larger sway bars to provide a better stance and firmly plant the front end to the road. New valve technology on the rear shock absorbers further enhances the E-Series ride and handling, while upgrades to the steering system provide a better on center feel and reduced steering efforts.
A new braking system features larger front and rear rotors and calipers. A great swept area and new brake lining material help lower brake operating temperatures adding to pad and lining life and reducing maintenance costs.
The chassis and suspension improvements also have resulted in an increase in the maximum GVWR from 14,050 lb to a class-leading 14,500 lb. The maximum front gross axle weight rating (GAWR) is increased by about 10%, from 4600 lb to what he said is a class-leading 5000 lb.
Stevens said Ford also is adding an additional E-350 SRW Cutaway model with an optional mid-ship fuel tank to allow for more usable rear GVWR. The E-450 now offers an optional 37-gallon fuel tank along with the standard 55-gallon tank.
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