Trucks & SUVs

Ford May Launch Feature GM Abandoned In 2008

Do you remember Quadrasteer? It was a revolutionary steering feature for Chevy and GMC pickups. The system allowed any truck it was installed on to have a turning circle of a Chevy Spark. It was a four-wheel steering system, and those who stepped up raved about it. Quadrasteer made its debut in 2002 in the GMC Sierra. 

When the full-size GM trucks were redesigned in 2008 Quadrasteer was gone. In the years since GM has stated it has no intention of bringing it back. 

That’s what makes this Ford steering patent filing curious

Ford four-wheel steering patent | Ford-0
Ford four-wheel steering patent | Ford-0

So that’s what makes the recent patent filing by Ford so curious. The Drive dug up this filing to apply four-wheel steering on its heavy-duty F-series trucks. The electric steering system mounts on the rear axle’s differential cover. Obviously more complex, and more expensive than conventional steering, it provides a number of advantages.

Besides making a much tighter turning radius, it also compensates for negative rear-wheel camber on solid rear axles equipped with rear-steering capability. The system negates negative handling qualities and abnormal tire wear. Instead, it allows a single common turning point for all four tires to lessen maneuvering complications.

Ford’s first four-wheel steering experiment was in 2017

Ford four-wheel steering patent | Ford-0
Ford four-wheel steering patent | Ford

In spite of the elimination of GM;’s Quadrasteer Ford experimented with the principle in 2017 when engineering firm ZF built an F-150 with rear-wheel steering. What has changed since 2002 is that now most vehicles including F-150s steer by wire. Their electrical steering simplifies the system and makes it easier to adapt. 

Quadrasteer was also electronically controlled. Developed by Delphi on a Dana 60 rear end, it weighed almost 300 lbs. But, the rear ends weight rating increased by the same amount. Trailering capacity was increased from 8,700 lbs to 10,000 lbs.

When it was first introduced, Quadrasteer was a $5,600 option. Yikes! It saw a couple of price reductions throughout the course of its production. It could eventually be ordered for under
$3,000. 

Besides the GMC Sierra, it was also offered on the GMC Sierra Denali, Chevy Silverado and Suburban, and GMC Yukon XL. 

A lot of exotic cars currently offer four-wheel steering

Ford four-wheel steering patent | Ford-0
Ford four-wheel steering patent | Ford

Trucks aren’t the only vehicles that have utilized four-wheel steering. Currently, Porsche has it available on the 911, Lamborghini has it for both the Huracan Evo and Aventador SVJ, Both Bentley’s Flying Spur and Continental GT, and the Bugatti Chiron.

So far Ford is mum about future engineering. But especially if it can reduce the added weight somewhat from the system GM offered, there would not be much net negative. 

This also may be in preparation for an all-electric F-150. If it’s easier to adapt to an independent rear end then it may be filing patents shown on a live axle so as not to reveal too much. An independent rear end in a pickup would have the advantage of allowing for packaging batteries more easily. It also eliminates the need for tying the two sides together because Ford may place electric motors in each wheel. This would aid in both traction control and also make for a quicker response since the motor does not have to transfer power. Since it’s at the wheel there is no distance for the signal to travel.

At this stage, it’s all speculation, but to aid in steering radius and improving trailer and boat towing it makes sense. Offer an aid for those ills and make more money from the option and make for a better truck for the customer. Wins all around!