Spied: possible Bronco mule seen testing in Detroit

DonovanJM

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I just came to post the same thing. They sure did a good job with the camo on this one.
 

Stampede.Offroad

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  1. This is clearly some humpty-dumpty patchwerk body, but it contains some Ford Ranger. The proportions do seem to make this a highly plausible mule to test some Bronco parts. Is it a 2 or 4 door wheelbase, and is there going to be a difference? It does seem a little longer than the tarp-Bronco, and the driver position could be be marginally forward of this Ranger's.
  2. This version still has IFS (but it also has a Ranger body front end), it is convenience for the mule, or the design?
  3. The rear end appears to be a linked solid axle with shock mounts close to the wheel. There's a lot of skirting in the back for the suspension, and frankenstein on top, so its hard to glean much from it. The rear well arch seems heightened though. Hitch and bumper are nice and high in the rear -- that's a lot of departure angle.
  4. 6 lugs and the KO2's look good, but I can't quite make out the size with images at this resolution.
  5. The track width doesn't match the fenders, this looks somewhere between normal and raptor for the ranger. Would this represent standard or performance for Bronco?

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Nickp

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WRANGLER PROBABLY TOTALED SEARCHING FOR SHITBOX
Really interesting that it has a ton of camo for the rear axle, but nothing for the front suspension. This might be extrapolating a bit, but I think that is saying that the given front suspension is nothing like the actual production’s is going to be. I.E. solid front. My guess is the rear is a Dana 44 which they want to hide because putting a D44 with IFS would be pretty dumb unless you’ve got a desert runner, which is the F-150 raptor that Ford already has.

Really curious now.
 

Toyhoarder

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I’m betting they’re hiding a Watts link out of the ranger raptor.

Dana 44s are pretty weak as far as rear axles go. I would think they’d just use a Ford 8.8.
 

Bronco Logic

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I'm with everyone else, I see the dimensions fitting but hope not b/c I'm not seeing a solid front axle. It may be there and just well hidden but there isn't the normal bulging differential housing. The rear however, looks to be solid.
 
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Stampede.Offroad

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I'm with everyone else, I see the dimensions fitting but hope not b/c I'm not seeing a solid front axle. It may be there and just well hidden but there isn't the normal bulging differential housing. The rear however, happens to a live axle.
I'm going to hope the purpose of this mule is (aside from a staged photo op?) to serve as a literal "shake-down" run of the rear suspension. There could be the automobile equivalent of a seismometer in it to check for harmonic vibrations in the new rear end equipment.

I'm going to cross my fingers and hope we see another unit with a bunch of funny camo under the front end soon.
 

Bronco Logic

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Agreed. If Ford is taking this long to produce a glimpse of it, coupled with the HIGH expectations of the new offering, I'm happy they're beta testing every component of it rather than resting on the laurels of your standard solid rear axle. But it has to be more than the rear axle. Surely the Ranger and Bronco wont share different rear axles....surely.

I know we all complain about how long its taking but Ford could seriously be doing some uber due diligence with this thing to ensure they're bringing a high quality, high performing, and well designed product to this lucrative market segment.
 
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I was looking at this and comparing it to the "covered" Bronco image and noticed that the wheelbase on the mule looks to be a little wider then that image. Could this be a 4 door chassis?
I apologize for my terrible photoshop skills but here is a little visual.
BRNC2.jpg
BRNC3.jpg
 

Stampede.Offroad

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I think this one is a little longer in the wheelbase.

It seems to fall between the JL/JLU models, which I think would be a sweet spot for multipurpose capability (or it's a visual trick of the driver position). That might mean one wheelbase for both 2/4 door configurations, OR this could be the 2-door length and the driver position and front bumper could be farther rearward in a proper Bronco body?
 

Prizefighter

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It looks almost identical to an Everest to me. Someone post up a pic and you will see the mirrors, fender flares, rear departure angle, etc. all look extremely similar.
 

rwarlick

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Yuck ... I don't know about any of the mechanical aspects, but this body style looks horrible! It's a bubble egg and too small. Been thinking all along that Ford is going to mess up this come back :(
 

Rocket

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it might be just me but looks like another SUV. Hope they are just testing the drive train. Im not impressed, nothing for me to sink my teeth into here but heck its just my opinion.
 

blksn8k

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I'm betting this is just a suspension test mule. I wouldn't get too exited about how it looks. Since they are using a modified Ranger chassis under the Bronco it makes perfect sense to use some Ranger bits on this MULE. It probably has the same drivetrain as the current North American Ranger with the possible exception of the rear axle. That could be the Watt's link setup from the Ranger Raptor which is essentially the same as what's under the current Everest. It could also be something totally new. Why go to all the effort to hide an existing design?

Then again, maybe we're all wrong and it's the 3rd generation Sport Trac! Just kidding.
 
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