Here's Why The 2019 Ford Raptor's New 'Live Valve' Shocks Sound So Interesting

Image Credit: Ford
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

The 2019 Ford Raptor is getting new hardware over the outgoing 2018 model, including fancy Fox shocks that detect when the vehicle is flying, as well as off-road cruise control called “Trail Control.”

The 2019 Raptor, like the outgoing 2018 truck, gets Fox 3.0-inch internal bypass shocks, except now instead of just adjusting damping based on wheel travel, the shocks feature an electronically-controlled adaptive damping setup called “Live Valve,” which uses various sensors in both the body and suspension to change compression rates real-time. This should mean you can rip through deep ruts at absurd speeds without necessarily bottoming out and shattering your vertebrae.

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Ford says drivers can expect improvements to the ride both on-road and off, with global director of Ford Performance Hermann Salenbauch mentioning the latter—specifically, how the system will help the truck jump. “Not many trucks need sensors to detect when you are midair,” he says. “Raptor sets the dampers to full stiffness to help smooth shock performance as the truck lands.”

Also new for 2019, Ford describes Trail Control—which made its debut in the 2019 Ford Ranger—as something similar to Toyota’s Crawl Control. “It’s like cruise control for low-speed, rugged terrain,” Ford says in its press release, going on to say the system “automatically [adjusts] power and braking to each individual wheel to allow drivers to focus on steering over rugged terrain.”

The system works at speeds between 1 mph and 20 mph in both four-wheel drive low-range or high range, with Ford saying the system can “draw significant engine torque to overcome steep obstacles.” In other words, it’s like hill descent control at higher speeds, and meant for terrains other than just downhill slopes.

I myself prefer to use my feet instead of letting the computer have all the fun, but after trying Crawl Control on the current generation Toyota Tacoma, I totally understand why others might like it, especially if this system can help the truck get un-stuck from a sand pit like Toyota’s can.

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Though, if I’m honest, of the two changes for 2019, I’m mostly interested in the adaptive damping, because I want to know just much smoother and more controlled this truck possibly get while blasting through treacherous, uneven terrain.

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio