Published on May 18th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
Built Ford Tough: Watch the Ranger Keep Cool Under Pressure
Heat, humidity, tough terrain and 24 hours of heavy loads and towing: a recipe for the ultimate test of the Ford Ranger’s rugged capability. In the final experiment of Built Ford Tough – an online documentary series from Ford – a team of Ford engineers put the Ranger through a grueling non-stop 24-hour test on a course chosen to challenge every aspect of the Ranger’s tough credentials.
The unsealed 6.5-kilometer jungle course boasted steep slopes, unpredictable potholes and ruts, and constantly changing road terrains, including slick mud, sections with spots of slippery moss, and rocky areas. All of this required the Ranger to tackle changing conditions as engineers steadily increased the demands placed on the truck, with strategic pit stops only to change drivers, refuel and progressively add weight.
The Ranger tackled the first laps unladen, allowing it to take the course at higher speeds. Engineers then began loading the truck bed with cargo, and eventually added a trailer and additional weight. By the end of the test, the Ranger’s powerful Duratorq diesel engine was hauling 1,000 kg in the bed and towing 2,700 kg – up grades as steep as 20% – in temperatures that hovered around 40 degrees Celsius.
The new Ranger’s refreshed front-end design meant Ford’s thermal systems and aerodynamics engineers had to completely revise how the vehicle manages front end airflow to keep critical components cool. Extensive computer fluid dynamics analysis was performed to ensure the right amount of air is supplied to the cooling pack’s heat exchangers – the charge air cooler, condenser and radiator.
The air deflectors, which guide air to the cooling pack, were carefully redesigned in order for the requirements of air conditioning, engine performance and engine temperatures to be met. Unique profiles were added to the grille and air deflector surfaces to deliver air from the front of the vehicle to the cooling pack as efficiently as possible. In addition to the natural airflow, a mechanically driven fan helps draw air through the heat exchangers to deliver even more effective cooling at lower vehicle speeds.
The Ranger’s smart transmission also helps manage engine temperatures during extreme towing and heavy load situations. The transmission control module helps moderate temperatures by controlling torque converter lockup and gear selection when it detects the truck is towing heavy loads. The module also improves drivability and fuel economy of the vehicle, and has the capability to control temperatures when the need arises.
Engineers put the transmission through extensive testing to make sure it manages heavy loads in a way that helps keep temperatures down, while delivering the smooth and seamless performance that customers expect. The transmission temperatures are also regulated by the remote transmission oil cooler, which is used to dissipate the transmission oil heat into the cooling system.