Ford Bronco Crawler Gear Is All About Speed Control
Much has been said about the Ford Bronco since its inception, but little coverage has been given to the crawler gear for the seven-speed manual transmission. It’s an ultra-low gear designed to literally let the Bronco crawl with prolific on-demand torque for mountain climbing. But a deep dive into the mechanics of Engineering Explained explains why it’s really all about speed. And Tesla fans might not be happy with the news. More on that in a moment.
We’ll leave all the complex calculations to the video, but here’s what you need to know in a nutshell. The Bronco’s manual transmission crawler gear has a 6.588 to 1 ratio. It’s an extremely large gear – the first ratio is 4.283 to 1 in comparison, so as you can imagine, the speed of the gear is extremely large. caterpillar gear is very limit. The flip side is torque, and in this case the video focuses on wheel torque as opposed to engine torque. With the transfer case in low range, the crawler gear combined with the Bronco’s most aggressive final drive ratio produces a whopping 29,372 lb-ft of wheel torque. In a nutshell, it is foolish.
Where is it? As the video astutely indicates, there is only a limited amount of torque that can be effectively used before the tires start to slip. With a few additional calculations based on the weight of the Bronco and the 33-inch tires, only 5,000 pounds of force can be used effectively. With different tires and more mass, more of that torque can be put on the ground, but there is no scenario in which all this available force can be used, impressive as it is.
This is where the hard truth comes in for Tesla fans, and indeed many EV enthusiasts who prefer to preach the benefits of electric wheel torque. Because it can be an incredibly high number, some brands favor these numbers over engine torque in a way that suggests superior performance. The reality is that these numbers are mostly for show, as the torque on the wheels usually cannot be fully utilized. As a measure of performance, the upcoming Tesla Roadster claims 7,400 lb-ft of wheel torque and it’s not very close to what the Bronco offers in its crawler gear. Does that mean the Bronco will be faster than the Roadster?
Of course not, because the torque of the wheels does not accurately reflect the overall performance of the vehicle. In the case of the Bronco, its speed range calculated using the crawler gear with the transfer case at the bottom is only 1 to 7 mph. That’s the real benefit of a tracked machine like this: exceptional low-speed control. Plus, the driver won’t have to slip the clutch to maintain this control, as the Bronco should go at 1 mph with the clutch engaged and the engine running at 1000 lazy revs.
It’s all there in the numbers, and for readers who love the science behind such things, this video offers exceptional insight into the Bronco’s off-road prowess at low speeds.