It would have been quite forgivable if you didn’t realize the Ford F-150 Raptor has lived its best life for the last decade with a live axle rear end. And why wonder, those big pretty FOX shocks worked wonders controlling movement in tandem with the OG leaf springs.
Well, with the launch of the 2021 F-150 Raptor, Ford has now given its flagship half-ton a proper five-link rear end with coil springs. It would be easy to believe the fallacy that Ford’s movements are in response to the launch of the 702-horsepower 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, but development is methodical and lead times are long, so you would be wrong.
Truthfully, leaf springs are a cheap and effective way to spring an axle. But like your cheap uncle leaf springs aren’t very flexible. Leaf springs are designed to keep the truck’s axle in a desirable position throughout the suspension cycle, leaf springs are used to restrain the rear end instead of controlling its motion like a five-link setup.
Because leaf springs are working to control motion in all directions it’s limited in the ability to articulate. Because the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor now has a set of trailing arms the coil springs only have one job, doing suspension.
As pointed out by The Drive, the new trailing arms also lend increased high-speed stability to the 2021 Raptor, especially when dealing with uneven terrain. The new coil springs also enable greater suspension travel, 15 inches, compared to the old truck’s 13.9 inches. For comparison, the Ram TRX offers more than 13 inches of rear suspension travel, which is well short of both the outgoing and incoming F-150 Raptor.
The new coil springs work in conjunction with electronically controlled Fox Live Valve shocks, which are capable of adjusting 500 times per second. The new suspension is expected to make the 2021 F-150 Raptor more compliant at high-speed, and a bit more comfortable on the road.