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Old 12-26-2013, 03:11 PM   #1
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2008+ E series drivetrain differences

I'd like to understand the differences in the suspension/axles of the 2008+ E150/250/350.....

I've searched and found info scattered around but would like some definitive answers (if possible).

For example, for 2007+ (when the E150 got the increased GVWR and 8 lugs) is the drive train for the E150 and E250 the same or are the axles the same with different spring rates?

I understand that the E150 is 4.6L only, the E250 is 4.6L or 5.4L, and the E350 is 5.4L or V10....There seems to be a few diesels in the E350 cargo vans for 2008 and 2009.....

Are the brakes the same for the E150 & E250 post 2007?.....are they the same as the E350?

From looking at a few zillion used vans, it appears that there are 2008 window vans that do not have RSC, but starting in 2009 all of the wagons got RSC, is this accurate? It also seems that the (non-diesel) cargo vans got RSC in 2010 or 2011. I've looked at a 2009 cargo without RSC.

As far as RSC goes, I have a used Action Van lift kit sitting in the garage waiting for a van and I want to understand the lift kit and RSC. I visited Larry at Action Van last week and asked a bunch of questions. He has a "newer"/shorter pittman arm for RSC equipped vans with less drop that takes care of the issues with lifting an RSC equipped van.

Can one of the experts here explain the issues with the early attempts to lift RSC equipped vans and how the pittman arm fixes the issues? I understand that there is some sort of encoder disc in the steering column.....

Should I look for a non-RSC van for lifting, not worry about it either way, or is RSC desireable even for a lift?

Don't worry there will be more questions later ....
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

Short answer is starting in 2008 all E-series pretty much share the same chassis, steering, front axle, and brakes. You can see the pertinent details here:
https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas.../techspec.html
but one caveat: That tech specs are more like a "minimum" tech spec. I say that because some vans may have a heavier rear axle than the specs list. I.e. many of the wagons got full float Dana 70 axles, even though the specs say semi-float D60.

For a year-by-year overview of changes, see here:
https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas...s/whatnew.html

As for the lift.... Using a short pitman arm with re-located I-beams is not a good idea. I will cause bump steer. Normally, a longer pitman arm is needed when the I-beams are moved to provide lift, otherwise the steering links and I-beams will have non-conentric swing-arcs which will cause toe-out during compression or bump.

I'm surprised they have not developed a different encoder ring, or even a digital signal converter, to pair their lift with RSC.

RSC on its own is not mutually exclusive with RSC, but there are some limitations.
https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas/non-html/Q172.pdf

If you want RSC with a 2WD lift, a better option is probably Camburg. They bend the I-beams so the pivots do not change location. I have some reservations for this kit for primarily road-use, mainly because of a condition called "jacking" which can cause unexpected behavior under extreme road maneuvers, and also concerns over the bending process. They claim none have broken though, and I'm sure they are well tested. But, it will not affect RSC except for raising the CG which is addressed in the bulletin above.
http://camburg.com/store/e-series-va...rformance-kit/

Note - Ford does allow a higher CG with the "high-mast prep-package" which basically includes stiffer rear springs and a lower RAWR, which hints that increased rear roll stiffness is necessary with a higher CG to maintain full RSC functionality.
https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas/non-html/Q-216.pdf
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:53 PM   #3
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

Thanks carringb! I'll be diving into the Ford Build Sheet PDFs. I'm sure that I'll have more questions as well.

I've read the threads on the Camburg stuff, although I already own a used Action lift kit so that's pretty much a done deal.

How does the RSC work? Does the body control module note the rate of steering wheel degree change with the encoder and at a high enough speed figures that you must be sliding? It would seem like a shorter (front-to-back) pittman arm would make the RSC too sensitive since you would be turning the steering wheel further for a given tie-rod travel.

Are there issues with using limited slip or a locker with RSC?

I'm looking for an '08 or newer for the updated front end, but I'm hoping to find an '09 or newer for the updated dash/seats.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #4
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

The following is my take on the Advanctrac/RSC system based on the information I've been able to find. I am not an expert on the system but I have put in a fair amount of effort to learn about the system because of my interest in my van's electronics...

In the simplest terms, the software in the ABS/RSC module uses data from multiple sensors/accelerometers to make calculations. There are many variables in these calculations and if the result of the calculation is outside of a certain range of values, the system reacts in some way (individual wheel braking).

Changing the center of gravity, changing springs, vehicle loading, etc... all have some affect on how the system behaves. Change any one of them beyond what the software was designed to compensate for and the effectiveness of the system is not going to be what it is supposed to be.

With that said, I don't think that anyone can say that their lift kits don't have an affect on the RSC system. And I kind of doubt that the companies that make conversions and lift kits have gone through the math to verify that what they're doing is going to be "ok" with the system. The only real way to make things right after a big lift and major suspension change is to update the software (math).

There's a difference between the vehicle not throwing fault codes and the Advantrac/RSC being fully functional. I think...and again this is my opinion...that the lifted RSC vans on the road right now are working, as in, not throwing fault codes despite the suspension changes, but I'm not sure the RSC will work exactly as the factory designed it to if the vehicle isn't within Ford's specified parameters (Center of Gravity being one of the most important). You can't say for sure unless you compare a stock van to a lifted van in a roll test.

There's a really good technical paper about Roll Stability Control from Ford's engineers online. If you want to read about the math behind the system I can try to locate the link for you.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:18 PM   #5
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

Thanks mgmetalworks

Reading the Ford docs that carringb posted above certainly supports the CG theory. The "Arial lift version" (bucket truck) sounds like it has the RSC tuned for a small, but higher CG than a typical wagon.

I'm still curious how the system works with the encoder disk in the steering column in a basic sense.

I hear you on the aftermarket folks not doing proper software verification of the system; Ford may not be willing to share the software code for a number of reasons......and the time and effort to verify the system with aftermarket mods is probably way beyond the scope of most shops.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:48 PM   #6
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

The encoder is just telling the RSC module what the front wheel angle is. Using a longer pitman arm means the steering is more "sensitive" i.e. the wheels will turn more relative to the steering wheel, compared to a short or stock length pitman arm. One of the parameters the computer looks for is yaw (actual vehicle angle) vs steering angle.

And yes, RSC still will work with Limited Slip. In fact, the two are offered together as an option. It can however require more brake pressure to work properly, so in some situations the brakes may overheat faster. A full-time locker would probably make the RSC system ineffective in some extreme situations since it will no longer be able to brake rear wheels individually. A selectable locker might be a good compromise since you would only be using it a low speeds where RSC don't engage anyways. Granted, that is speculation on my part. I have not tried it. Maybe QuadVan or UJoint have tried though?
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:37 PM   #7
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

The steering wheel angle is just one of many sensors in the system that feed information to the ABS/RSC module software. There are individual sensors at each wheel, the master cylinder pressure sensor, steering angle sensor and the ABS/RSC cluster (which consists of a roll rate sensor, a yaw rate sensor, a lateral accelerometer and a longitudinal accelerometer).

Here's a link to the tech paper if you wanted to geek out (the first document has the most specific info on Ford's RSC systems).

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv20/print4.pdf
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:02 AM   #8
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

Thanks for the white paper link mgmetalworks.

Nothing like a little calculus and dynamics/kinematics with my coffee this morning..let's throw in a few PID loops as well....114 pages!
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:40 AM   #9
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

I think RSC would be really nice for slippery pavement, like for skiing. We test drove an RSC-equipped van. There was a light rain and the streets were Really Slippery. To try out the RSC, I floorboarded it (almost) while turning left from a stop sign, basically trying to make it fishtail. The drive train made some noise, but the van travelled smoothly around the corner, right where I was steering. Without RSC I would have been going sideways.
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:29 PM   #10
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Re: 2008+ E series drivetrain differences

I have a 2008 Quigley with RSC. Since I have a handy button my dash to disengage it I have tried the old parking lot with snow and ice slide the van around trick. Once you get on real ice it makes no difference but if you are going around a curve it does help control some of the movement.
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