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Old 11-26-2014, 06:49 PM   #1
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Default Which is a better starting platform for Off Roading- F150 or Super Duty

Hello,

I was curious to hear what the general consensus is of which truck should have better Off Roading capabilities if both vehicles were using the same mix of suspension upgrades. In terms of upgrades I'm thinking along the lines of a 2.5" Coilover setup or equivalent in the front along with AAL or blocks for the rear while also using upgraded tires and wheels of the same size (ie..either 33 or 34's)?

Does the fact that the Super Duty uses a stick axle in the front make for a better starting platform in terms of articulation and durability? If so, is this one difference big enough of a reason to take the Super Duty over the F150?

I see that on some Super Duties they have the "Old School" manual Hubs in the front which I'm not sure if they are manual or electronic. Does this feature allow for Full Locking of the front wheels (ie..Spool style) or would someone still need to install a Diff with those features in order to have full locking? Is this type of front wheel locking not available for the F150's? I'm assuming that being able to lock all four wheels at the same time would be a nice benefit when things get hairy.

Lastly, does the weight and size of a Super Duty while Off Roading make for a big enough negative impact that one should pick the F150 instead?

I should be clear that this topic is not meant to take into consideration anything about towing or hauling.

Thanks for your thoughts
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:41 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eekoboost View Post
Hello,

I was curious to hear what the general consensus is of which truck should have better Off Roading capabilities if both vehicles were using the same mix of suspension upgrades. In terms of upgrades I'm thinking along the lines of a 2.5" Coilover setup or equivalent in the front along with AAL or blocks for the rear while also using upgraded tires and wheels of the same size (ie..either 33 or 34's)?

Does the fact that the Super Duty uses a stick axle in the front make for a better starting platform in terms of articulation and durability? If so, is this one difference big enough of a reason to take the Super Duty over the F150?

I see that on some Super Duties they have the "Old School" manual Hubs in the front which I'm not sure if they are manual or electronic. Does this feature allow for Full Locking of the front wheels (ie..Spool style) or would someone still need to install a Diff with those features in order to have full locking? Is this type of front wheel locking not available for the F150's? I'm assuming that being able to lock all four wheels at the same time would be a nice benefit when things get hairy.

Lastly, does the weight and size of a Super Duty while Off Roading make for a big enough negative impact that one should pick the F150 instead?

I should be clear that this topic is not meant to take into consideration anything about towing or hauling.

Thanks for your thoughts
The super duty is what I would choose for an offroading platform. The independent front suspension on F150's is mostly what I would base my decision on. Unless you're planning on doing baja/prerunner offroading IFS can be a pretty big limiting factor mostly due to its inherent weakness and lack of articulation.
As far as the locking hubs are concerned the "Old School" hubs you're referring to only do the job of locking the front axle to the front tires. To engage 4X4 with those you have to shift the transfer case into 4X4 then get out and lock the hubs to get the front tires doing anything. That doesn't mean you have a locking differential though, so unless an aftermarket unit had been installed the differential would simply provide power to the tire with the least traction.
Size and weight do play into offroading ability as well. F150's are smaller but they're still pretty big. However there are many different wheelbase options on both so if offroading is your primary concern with this vehicle a I think a shorter one would do better. Weight will also make you sink deeper into mud and pull you back down steep, slippery hills.
Super Dutys are also made with bigger stronger parts so if you really get into some hairy situations you would have a smaller chance of breaking things.
I hope this helped.
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:40 PM   #3
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Hey, Thanks for the info man.
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Old 11-28-2014, 06:39 AM   #4
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Unless you're doing some serious rock crawling I've found that in my area the limiting factor for off roading in our trucks is trail width. They are often "jeep skinny" with trees and other obstacles quite close together. Also, like "Z" mentioned, articulation is a difference. So it's not only a matter of what you want to drive but where you want to drive.
In the last year I've had a few chances to do some fun trail riding. I love it. So, I went through the decision making process of deciding if I wanted to keep my truck and ride the trails that I can or get a Jeep which opens up a whole different world. I opted to keep the truck. It's just going to be harder to find places to ride.
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Old 11-30-2014, 04:11 AM   #5
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I'll add my two cents and say it depends on what you mean by "offroad". If you're talking dirt roads and light trails, either will work great. The lack of articulation in the IFS is not a drawback until you get into serious rock crawling, and once you're at that point the size of either truck will work against you.

I think you're a little unclear on the purpose of those manual hubs though - they don't "lock" the front diff. They serve to disconnect the wheels from the half-axles so that you're not spinning the front driveshaft while driving around in 2WD, which gains a little efficiency and prevents a small amount of drivetrain wear. They're a stronger and more reliable setup than most modern electronic or vacuum actuated axle disconnects, but they don't "lock" the front diff, it's still "open". And while we're on the topic, I wouldn't ever spool a front diff or turning the truck would become a nightmare. I wouldn't even put an automatic locker in front. I'd pony up for an ARB or leave it open.

If I had to choose between just an F150 and a Superduty to wheel I'd take the F150 with it's slightly worse articulation every time, because if it came to it I could throw a solid axle underneath the F150 easier than I could make the Superduty smaller and lighter. Neither would be ideal for anything more than light trails - if you want to wheel hard and you're stuck on the idea of a Ford, look into a Ranger or Bronco, or even an early Explorer. I used to wheel a stock Explorer, took that little minivan lots of places it had no business being.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:54 PM   #6
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Full sized vehicles are generally not a good contenders for serious offroading. Most are limited to fire roads, open fields, and mild trails. Many 4x4 groups tend to limit trial runs by excluding full size vehicles as the become a liability to the group.

If however, you are looking to do easy stuff and enable yourself to make it a little bit further into the back country for camping and what not, then an F150 is a good choice.

For real wheeling I would look at something smaller.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:42 PM   #7
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Thanks and good info.

What makes the manual front Hubs stronger then having an electronic version like on the F150? If both options offer the ability to disengage the front axles when in 2WD I'm not sure I understand why a manual one would be stronger unless of course we are talking about a larger spline axle and Diff being used on the manual versions.

Also, I can see how using an electronic engagement system verses a manual one could be viewed as less reliable but at that point are we only talking about the actual switching mechanism and not the mechanical hardware involved?

Lastly, I can see how using a Full Spool in the front would certainly be an issue for regular driving situations but don't they offer an Air Locker or E Locker of some flavor for the front Diff that can be engauged during those times when your door handles deep in the Muck?
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:55 PM   #8
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Main question you need to ask yourself is what type of offroading are you planning on doing? As this will determine what type of truck you will want to build and what type of parts your going to want. Deep mud ya want big tires which requires low gears built big axles and horse power. Rock crawling usually low gears bullet proof parts and small vehicle. Sand and Baja ya want suspension travel and horsepower. Of course these are just quick scenarios to show ya some big differences between the different types of offtoading
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eekoboost View Post
Lastly, I can see how using a Full Spool in the front would certainly be an issue for regular driving situations but don't they offer an Air Locker or E Locker of some flavor for the front Diff that can be engauged during those times when your door handles deep in the Muck?
Yeah, that's the ARB I'm talking about, they make an air locker for almost everything. There's another air locker called the Zip made by Yukon, I don't know what Ford fronts are available. I don't think anybody makes an Elocker for a Ford front, but I could be wrong.

Perhaps "stronger" isn't the right word for the manual hub lockouts. In fact, in terms of strength, it's probably weaker, at least at the hubs themselves. The lack of an electronic or vacuum actuated disconnected does make them simpler and more reliable though.
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:58 AM
 
 
 
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