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  4. Glossary | Ford.com


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    Adjustable Shock Absorbers

    • Rear shock absorbers that provide load leveling without a host of moving parts or an on board air compressor
    • Internal shock valving senses ride height and uses energy from the vehicle’s motion to increase hydraulic pressure and raise the shock to the desired ride level
    • As the vehicle is driven, the shocks quickly “pump up” to the necessary pressure, and the vehicle’s original ride level is restored

    Aerodynamic Drag

    • Drag or resistance produced by a moving object, such as a motor vehicle, as it displaces the air in its path
    • Usually measured in pounds, aerodynamic drag increases in proportion to an object’s frontal area, drag coefficient and the square of its speed

    Air Dam

    • Soft, lower body extension attached below the front bumper improving vehicle performance by limiting the amount of airflow directed under the vehicle
    • Improves aerodynamics and redirects the airflow to the engine compartment for improved engine cooling or air conditioning performance
    • Assists in reducing aerodynamic lift, turbulence and drag

    Air Dryer

    • A component of the air conditioning system
    • Condenses and filters moisture and contaminants from pressurized air from the air compressor
    • Most air dryers use a drying agent known as a desiccant to remove moisture from the air
    • Moisture is automatically expelled when the compressor unloads

    Air Suspension Seat

    • Single seat, either driver or passenger, which incorporates an air-activated suspension system to help eliminate the jolts and bounces of the truck cab
    • Note: Normally air suspension seats require that the truck be equipped with air brakes to supply air to the seat
    • Some seats feature an integral air compressor so the occupant can energize the seat on vehicles that are not equipped with air brakes

    Air/Fuel Mixture

    • The measure or ratio of the amounts of air and fuel being fed to the engine’s cylinders. The power train control module (PCM) computer adjusts the air/fuel mixture to provide the best combination of performance and fuel efficiency
    • A higher percentage of fuel to air is described as a rich mixture, while a lower percentage of fuel to air is termed a lean mixture
    • On Ford vehicles, the air/fuel mixture is measured by an electronic sensor that provides input to the power train control module systems


    • During a moderate-to-severe frontal impact, the airbag is designed to inflate in approximately 1/20th of a second (less time than it takes to blink an eye) and begins to deflate immediately thereafter. In that brief period, the airbag can help reduce the risk of injury to the head and chest of the driver and/or the right front seat passenger
    • Electronic diagnostic module continuously monitors the airbag for proper operation
    • When the ignition switch is turned to the ON position, the airbag indicator light on the instrument cluster illuminates for approximately six seconds to signal that the system is functioning properly. Should a fault occur in the system, the airbag indicator light flashes, stays on or fails to illuminate when the ignition switch is turned to the Start position. This signifies immediate service is required
    • Always put small children and child seats in the rear seating positions (except jump seats). Deactivate the passenger airbag with the airbag shutoff switch (if equipped) when using a rear-facing child safety seat in the front passenger seat
    • Dual-stage Airbags
    • Can deploy at two different levels, or nor at all, depending on the information sent to the Restraint Control Module from various sensors located within the vehicle
    • In less severe collision events, the airbags will deploy in the lower or first stage of deployment force
    • In more severe collision events, airbags will deploy at both stages or at full force
    • Seat sensors, in some front passenger seats, can detect the weight of passengers and deploy only if the occupant is above a certain weightSecond Generation Airbags
    • Designed to inflate with less force than that employed in earlier or first generation designs
    • The airbags reduce the peak inflation pressure and/or rise rate
    • Rise rate is the force and speed with which an airbag inflates and is controlled by factors such as the type and amount of inflator gas, the actual airbag size and the design of the vent used to release the pressure from the airbag once deployed
    • Note: The airbag is not a substitute for safety belts. Safety belts must be properly worn at all times to maximize the effectiveness of the system. Always secure children in the back seat (except jump seats).

    All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

    • Continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position and steering-wheel angle sensors to determine the vehicle’s conditions and driver’s intent. The system then determines the optimal amount of front and rear torque for the given conditions to not only reduce wheel slip but to prevent the slip from occurring in the first place
    • Helps ensure the vehicle will be sure-footed on the road in a variety of conditions, such as fast cornering, uneven pavement, potholes, slippery surfaces and anything that compromises traction
    • Vehicle normally functions in front-wheel-drive mode
    • When sensors detect that wheel slip is occurring or even just likely to occur, the All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system can react within as little as 50 milliseconds to distribute up to 100 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels
    • Controller may detect a difference in wheel speed front-to-rear even in good weather, such as when driving through sand, mud or wet leaves
    • How the System Works
    • All-Wheel Drive uses electromagnetic activation of an internal clutch pack
    • Engages when sensors detect wheel slip in the front wheels, and often acts preemptively to prevent slip from happening in the first place
    • When activated, the system uses force from an electromagnet to push clutch plates together
    • Drive shaft torque is transmitted through the unit to the rear wheels, taking power from the front wheel sand sending it to the rear
    • Benefits of the System
    • No driver interaction is required to activate AWD. It’s there when your customers need it
    • The system can send up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque to front or rear as needed to avoid wheel slip
    • Operates with speed and sophistication to help provide peace of mind and driving confidence
    • Releases just as quickly, avoiding binding or wheel skid once traction improves
    • Benefits on either wet or dry pavement. Because the system can transfer torque quickly away from the front wheels, it helps reduce the type of understeer often associated with front-wheel-drive vehicles to provide improved vehicle control
    • Lightweight with few moving parts, for little impact on fuel economy
    • When AWD is combined with All-Speed Traction Control or the AdvanceTrac? system, a high degree of torque can be sent to the wheel with the best traction, even if the other three wheels have no traction at all

    Alternative Fuel Vehicle (also see E85 Vehicles and Flexible Fuel Vehicle {FFV})

    • Refers to any type of vehicle that uses nontraditional fuel or power sources:
    • Methanol/Ethanol
    • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
    • Propane
    • Electricity (as in Escape Hybrid)


    • Engine-driven device that converts mechanical energy into alternating electrical current
    • Provides power to run all of the vehicle’s electrical components when the engine is running
    • Single or dual heavy-duty alternators that provide additional charging capacity are also available for applications such as cold-climate operation (temperatures below -20°F) where battery drain and accessory use are typically very high, and vehicles are equipped for towing purposes

    Alternator Capacity

    • To determine minimum capacity for an alternator:
    • Minimum alternator output = Total load x 1.20, where total load comprises continuous night-winter load
    • Add 20 percent (.20) to accommodate anticipated intermittent load
    • In most cases, a 2.51:1 or better alternator drive ratio will provide a reasonably adequate system output

    Ambient Interior Lighting

    • Utilizes Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights to illuminate the vehicle interior: foot wells, cup holders, and controls, depending upon the vehicle
    • Offers the ability to change color to suit your mood. Color selections include aqua, blue, green, purple, red, yellow or white lighting

    Anti-theft Systems

    • Perimeter anti-theft alarm system
    • Guards the vehicle's doors, hood and trunk/lift gate. When an unauthorized entry occurs, the system trigger sand will:– Flash the head lamps, parking lamps and theft-indicator lamp on the instrument panel
    • Sound the horn. Note: It will not be triggered by breaking glass or entry into the vehicle through a window. The perimeter anti-theft alarm system is designed to work with the factory-installed Remote Keyless Entry System.SecuriLock? passive anti-theft ignition system
    • Uses a sophisticated electronically coded ignition key to start the vehicle. The system is designed to help prevent the engine from being started unless a coded key programmed to the vehicle is used. There is no battery on the key itself; the small amount of energy required to identify the key is supplied by the vehicle
    • SecuriLock is designed so that it is not necessary for the driver to follow any procedure to arm the system. It is automatically armed when the key is removed from the ignition and is disarmed when the key is reinserted into the ignition
    • Spare keys will be available from dealerships. Customers can program their keys by using each original (2) key in the proper sequence and finally inserting a new key for programming (see Owner's Guide for more details)
    • There are billions of possible codes

    Auto lamp System

    • Provides ambient-light-sensitive automatic on-off control of the exterior lights normally controlled by the head lamp control switch
    • Comes preprogrammed to keep the lights on for approximately 20 seconds after the ignition switch is turned off
    • If desired, the time delay can be reprogrammed on some vehicles to keep the lights on for up to 3 minutes after the ignition is turned off. See the vehicle Owner’s Guide for more details

    Auto lock

    • Auto lock feature will lock all the doors, lift gate and lift gate window when all doors are closed, the ignition is in the ON position, the vehicle is shifted into any drive gear putting the vehicle in motion
    • See the vehicle Owner’s Guide for vehicle-specific information on the range of functions

    Auxiliary Springs

    • Used on many light trucks for load stability or to support heavy loads with minimal effect on ride characteristics
    • Help control roll and sway of trucks with high bodies that carry loads that might shift when cornering or operating on high-crowned roads
    • Usually used on rear leaf springs, and are mounted to act only after the regular springs are partially deflected under heavy loads

    Axle Ratio

    • The number of output shaft (on front-wheel-drive vehicles) or drive shaft (on rear-wheel-drive vehicles) revolutions required to rotate the axle one full turn
    • For a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with an axle ratio of 3.55:1, the drive shaft would have to rotate 3.55 times to rotate the rear axle once. This is also known as the Final Drive Ratio
    • Lower numeric axle ratios tend to be more fuel-efficient. Higher axle ratios deliver added torque for increased power for acceleration and trailer towing
    • Front-wheel-drive vehicles employ an Axle Transfer Ratio, essentially a Final Drive Ratio

    Axle, 2-speed

    • Type of rear drive axle offering two reduction ratios and a control mechanism for selecting either ratio at the driver’s discretion
    • "Lo" axle range (the higher numerical ratio) provides maximum pulling power
    • "Hi" range (the lower numerical ratio) provides maximum road speed
    • 2-speed rear axle permits split-shifting in the lower transmission gears to obtain evenly spaced gear steps that optimize available engine power
    • 2-speed axle can be used in Lo range for crisp performance at slower speeds or in Hi range for maximum economy on the highway

    Axles, Rear Drive

    • Full-floating Rear Axle — Generally used in heavier-duty applications. The full-floating axle shafts “float” within the outer axle housing where they drive the wheels. The outer housing supports the entire rear weight through double-opposed wheel bearings, which absorb all load and wheel stress
    • Semi-floating Rear Axle — The axle shafts and wheel bearings not only support the total weight, but also transmit driving torque to the wheels. This axle system also resists stress due to skidding, turning corners and other traction forces
    • See Live Axle for more information

    Balance Shaft

    • Engine shaft designed so it rotates in a way that reduces or cancels out vibrations produced by the engine, resulting in reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the passenger compartment
    • In 4-cylinder engines, two shafts turning in opposite directions on either side of the engine’s crankshaft are generally used, while in V-type engines, a single balance shaft is used

    Battery Saver

    Feature on some vehicles that automatically turns off interior or under hood lights after a set period of time (e.g., 30–45 minutes), to help prevent battery power drainage and save enough power to restart the vehicle.

    Bio-foam Seat Materials

    • Type of foam used in Mustang and Escape/Escape Hybrid seat production
    • Production of bio-foam is designed to emit less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
    • Material is designed to require less energy to produce than the petroleum-based foam
    • Emphasizes Ford’s commitment to its environmental responsibility

    Body-on-frame Construction

    • Type of vehicle construction with the body attached to a separate frame, often with rubber mounts to reduce squeaks and rattles, helping to isolate road noise and vibration
    • Typically more sturdy and robust when compared to vehicles with unibody construction
    • Provides a solid foundation that contributes to payload and towing capability

    Bore and Stroke

    • While these two terms are frequently used together, they are two totally different measurements
    • Bore is the measurement of the inside diameter of a cylinder
    • Stroke is the distance the piston travels from top-dead-center (TDC) to bottom-dead-center (BDC) of the cylinder

    Box Side Steps

    • Frame-mounted steps located on each side of the truck cargo box and in front of the rear wheel well used to make it easy to access the cargo box. Able to support up to 500 lbs.
    • Allow convenient side access to the cargo box using a release lever located on the step
    • Return to stowage position by pushing the steps back into/under the cargo box

    Boxed Frame

    As the name implies, a "boxed" frame has four sides, which provides additional strength. It is a closed structural section that has greater resistance to twisting and torsion forces than comparably sized "open" frame designs.

    Brake Bias

    Front/rear distribution of a vehicle’s braking power. Generally the front of a vehicle where the engine and majority of weight and steering functions are located supplies the greater amount of braking power.

    Brake Modulation

    The process of varying pedal pressure to hold a vehicle on the verge of lockup to supply maximum braking efficiency. Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) employ computer-controlled modulators to maximize braking efficiency.

    Brake/Shift Interlock (Automatic Transmissions)

    • Requires driver to depress the brake pedal in order to shift out of Park and into any gear
    • Prevents accidental engagement of drive gears
    • Vehicles with a floor-mounted gearshift lever include a manual override in the console; vehicles with a column-mounted gearshift include a manual override under the steering column

    Braking Systems

    • Ford Motor Company uses a number of different braking systems on its passenger cars, crossovers, SUVs and light trucks, including the following: Four-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
    • Helps provide straight, more controlled stops, while helping the driver maintain steering control undermost road conditions, including slippery road surfaces
    • ABS computer-controlled sensors prevent wheels from locking up, even when the driver presses hard on the brake pedal
    • Sensors continuously monitor the speed of each wheel. When impending wheel lockup is detected, the computer signals the hydraulic control unit to apply and release (automatically “pumping”) the brakes several times per second with split-second timing, providing a level of braking efficiency that even professional race car drivers cannot duplicate and resulting in shorter stopping distances and greater braking and steering control
    • Three-channel ABS
    • Uses three individual channels to monitor and control brake pressure to the front wheels individually and to both rear wheels together
    • Four-channel ABS
    • Operates similarly to the three-channel system, except that both rear wheels are monitored and operated separately
    • ABS Functionality
    • Computer continuously monitors the ABS for malfunctions. Should a problem develop, an instrument panel light alerts the driver that the ABS computer has shut down and the brakes have been returned to normal, non-ABS operation
    • Driver should never pump the brakes in a vehicle equipped with ABS. This defeats the system and increases stopping distances. For best performance, the driver should apply maximum pedal pressure
    • When using ABS, the driver may feel a slight pulsing sensation; this is completely normal
    • Dual Diagonal Braking System
    • All Ford vehicles feature either a diagonal or front-rear split hydraulic brake system with warning lamp (excluding F-650/F-750 with air brakes)
    • With this system, diagonal circuits link front and rear wheels at opposite corners, so braking capacity is retained even if one of the two circuits malfunctions
    • Power-assisted Four-wheel Disc Brakes
    • Four-wheel disc brakes consist of a disc at each wheel that