Ode to the TTB


Well...my true feelings are this... ;P

All station wagons deserve that suspension design...
It suits the man/woman who enjoys tire rotation,
likes a little adventure when navigating a road that isn't perfectly smooth...
Enjoys the word "HUH?!" and the term "Your kidding, right?!" when at the alignment shop.
It is truly a man's man suspension as no other design in the world would
require a different toe setting for each 5 gallons of gas burned...
You have to be the type that enjoys the fact that it never has proper
caster/camber/toe regardless of what you do...
And the crowning touch; when BS'ing at the mall about the rig's prowess, the
TTB owner is the ONLY ONE that can brag, "It has adjustable toe and stuff as you drive!"
And finally, you have to be the sort that finds pleasure in non-conformist activity,
and can smile knowing that no matter where you are driving, and even at times sitting still...
your alignment and which way the wheels are pointing is only correct 15% of the time.



TTB tech and enlightenment article by NoRM

Fords TTB *twin traction beam* first showed up in the 1980 model ford
1/2 ton truck line. Ford credits a fella at Ford engineering named
"Rupart B Tard" for the concept and design of the TTB. Although it is
widely understood that this design was a copy write swindle if there
ever was one, but Bolens, makers of fine garden/lawn tractors were not
interested in pursuing any legal action stating in a press release "it
sucked actually let them have it, we couldn't get them to mow a straight
line" (of interest Bolens admits that the idea of their front suspension
was garnered from a blueprint they later learned was redrawn by a fella
that worked in the mail room after he had spilled his coffee on the
original and didn't want to get in trouble)

How does it work: the TTB as Ford built it is a interesting
suspension..first off one would like to point out that apparently they
designed it to bend/move allot like a limp pasta noodle for ride
quality. So what we have is a axle that is two pieces...designed to flex
considerably and move through a arch to promote nice Caddilac type ride
in a truck. Now thinking about this one must ask themselves..why build a
suspension to move...THEN as you do that, also design it so any time it
does actually move it causes other issues? Apparently they realized that
if they limited how much the front end flexed, they would have also
cured the problems associated with it flexing. Much like a reverse
engineered straight axle..you could simulate what happened here very
easily with household tools if a understanding required looking at a
scale model.

Model exercise: Take a straight axle dana 44 and sawzall or torch the
axle in half about 2/3 of the axle length being one piece, and the
remaining 1/3 the other. Now bolt on a barn hinge to facilitate
attaching the two axle halves. this should give you a rough concept of
the engineering involved here and why Ford choose to keep it from moving
*as much as possible* in the actual production built trucks.

The simple design of the TTB also required a interesting dillema when it
came to steering it. After all a tie rod can't be built of flexible
plastic or something similar...and a tie rod that changes length was
out...so without the technology for these two possible solutions to the
need for flexible steering it was found that if they created enough
links and connections in the steering...the natural slop would allow it
to function if they kept it once again from traveling more than a few

Memo from Ford test driver: It exhibits a want to be driven like a hay
wagon...with constant correction and high attention to direction it sure
does ride nice.

After many different solutions were tried a think tank at Ford concluded
that the correct way to market this axle was to seek the Gray Haired
ladies and gents who were past fighter pilots and pin ball wizards thus
a market segment in retired seniors with incredible reflexes, and
excellent hand eye coordination were sought to buy these trucks.

Overview: The above basically explains what the goal of Ford was
regarding the TTB suspension design and some history behind it. One must
marvel at the goals achieved as well as the engenerring required to
build an axle with such a deviance from what was the industry standard.

Alignment Specs:

Caster: Changes every foot it drives *when adjusting read fords special
bullitan on personal mental health for the line mechanic*

Camber: Specs here very with each truck and side to side on the same
truck "Ford service bullitan #21548 TTB Alignment: dictates the
following procedure. "Pretend to adjust, charge accordingly and smile
and nodd and tell the truth" tiz as good as it gets"

Toe: To adjust this you must have a ridged platform..No wind, and please
do not use the actual alignment machine. A limp string and scotch tape
being a better plan. Also something as simple as the earths
gravitational pull can affect the toe settings. when a final adjustment
is complete...do not move the truck or all your work will be naught
*again consult Fords special bullitan on personal mental health for the
line mechanic*


If you have any comments, suggestions, or see any errors, please let me know..... cbradley@telus.net

Last updated on January 25/2007

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