When it comes to off-roading, some challenges can be presented that you might not expect. Often, even if your bumpers clear a ditch or ravine you’re driving through, the exhaust tip will scrape. The exhaust tip is typically one of the lowest hanging components near the vehicle’s bumper, and they end up dented.
Per CarBuzz, Ford has filed for a patent that shows off a very interesting retractable exhaust pipe tip that would be ideal for off-roading. The patent shows a system that can pull the exhaust tip under the vehicle preventing it from being damaged and providing more clearance for a vehicle. The patent outlines a system with an exhaust tube mounted to the underbody of the vehicle with the exhaust tip “slidably mounted” to the exhaust tube.
Extension shafts would be used to slide the tip in and out when needed. The device uses bearings and gears as well as an actuator to facilitate the sliding movement. In addition, the system would include an electric motor inside of an enclosed box for powering the sliding mechanism.
According to the patent, such a system would improve the departure angle and help change the typical differences between the approach angle and departure angle. The problem with having more approach angle than departure angle is that drivers believe they can make it through an obstacle because the front end clears only to have the back end scrape, potentially resulting in vehicle damage or getting stuck.
The exhaust pipe in the system would retract or extend only when the vehicle is traveling forward at a set speed. We can certainly see a feature like this being rolled out on a Bronco or possibly off-road equipped Ford trucks in the future. Like all patents, there’s no guarantee the technology will ever make it to market.