The 2011 Ford F-150 will be the first full-size pickup truck offered with standard electric power steering instead of conventional hydraulic assisted turning.
EPS offers up to a four percent improvement in fuel economy by getting rid of the losses that come from operating a hydraulic pump, a nearly infinite tuning of steering feel and the elimination of hydraulic steering fluid and hoses.
Until recently, EPS systems were available only in smaller cars and crossovers because the components weren’t strong or efficient enough to meet the higher front axle steering loads of pickup trucks. Only GM’s 2009-11 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Two-Mode Hybrid pickups offered EPS because their powerful (and unique) 42-volt electrical architectures provided enough energy to support the feature.
Whereas a hydraulic power steering system uses an engine-driven pump and pressurized hydraulic fluid to help turn a truck’s wheels and reduce driver effort, EPS replaces the hydraulic pump and fluid with an electromechanical motor-driven connection to the steering system.
And whereas a hydraulic steering pump always requires power, even when the truck is traveling in a straight line, EPS requires power only during steering maneuvers, which helps make the vehicle more fuel efficient.
According to Ford’s 2011 F-150 order guides, sent to dealers last week in the U.S. and Canada, EPS will be standard for trucks equipped with the new 3.7-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engines.
EPS won’t be available for specialty models, like the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and Harley-Davidson F-150, that are equipped with the heavier large displacement 6.2-liter V-8. They’ll stick with conventional hydraulic steering.
The latest Ford half-ton will also receive several other notable improvements.
New tilt and telescoping steering is standard on FX and Lariat models
An electronic-locking rear differential is available for multiple models, not just the dedicated FX4 and Raptor off-road trucks
The Lariat Limited model is confirmed for 2011, with unique wheels and interior trim.