New Rangers Class-Leading Water Wading Tested to the Limit
Bangkok–28 Apr–Hill+Knowlton Strateegies egies
Deep in the jungle at a 4×4 testing facility in Thailand’s Kanchanburi Province, a team of Ford engineers hover alongside a 1.25-million-liter water tank. The location – the site of the third test of Science of Tough, an online documentary series from Ford – was chosen to put the new Ford Ranger through a series of challenging scenarios that would stop other trucks in their tracks.
“Ranger drivers are out there facing real-world challenges like river crossings and other water obstacles every day, and we wanted to see how well the Ranger steps up in a few extreme tests,” said Vince Gower, a Ford engineer who oversaw Ranger testing and development at Ford’s proving ground in Australia. “We pushed the Ranger to the limit today, from shallow high-speed crossings through to water wading as deep as 800 mm, all done with a full load.”
To successfully run through shallow water at higher speeds, a vehicle needs to combine smart design that keeps crucial components dry with rugged durability. On the Ranger, critical areas like the inner wheel arch on the right side of the vehicle – a barrier that helps protect the air intake – as well as the bumper and lower air dam have been engineered to be robust and capable of withstanding water impacts.
“When you’re entering into water at higher speeds, like if you encounter an unexpected river crossing, that first contact with the water is like a hydraulic hammer,” said Gower. “It’s crucial to make sure all components are properly secured and can take the impact. The Ranger dealt with the 200 mm at-speed test with ease – even with a full load.”
The Ranger’s engine bay is designed with class-leading 800 mm water-wading capability in mind. Critical engine components sit above the water line – including the air intake, alternator and key electrical modules – to keep them out of harm’s way and to improve durability against mud, dirt and sand ingress. All electrical connectors and modules are double-sealed to ensure that even those below the water line will still operate when submerged. The engine bay water capture area in the air box is also equipped with a one-way valve to discharge any water that comes in.
“After we ran the 200 mm and 800 mm tests fully loaded without the Ranger breaking a sweat, we tried something we’ve never done before: leaving the Ranger running submerged in 800 mm of water for more than two hours,” said Gower. “There were zero engine or electrical issues, and we drove it out with no problems at all. Even the fog lamps were entirely clear of condensation.”
The Ranger is equipped with breathers along the entire powertrain to get air to systems that need it, while preventing water from interfering with vehicle functions. The breathers on the differential, transmission and transfer case have been located specifically to allow the Ranger to wade through water 800 mm deep. Furthermore, a curved design helps prevent splashed water from getting sucked into the breathers when driving through shallower water at higher speeds. And as the tests proved, even fully loaded, the Ranger doesn’t flinch from powering through water thanks to its powerful and proven Duratorq diesel engine.
Proving the Ranger’s durability, even non-essential systems continue to work at depths beyond the capabilities of lesser trucks.
“One other innovation in the Ranger is a horn that works fully submerged, with a design that stops water from ingressing and disrupting function,” said Gower. “So even while cruising through 800 mm of water, you can still use the horn and let everyone know the new Ranger is coming through.”