Mirror lady delivers a high-tech mirror that’s adjust-friendly
Katherine Ralston brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “loving your job.”
When the Ford Motor Company engineer was recently reunited with a prototype for the towing mirror she developed for the 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup truck, she gave it a big hug, saying, “I missed you.”
It’s this kind of compassion and dedication that led to the development of not just the first original equipment manufacturer application, but the industry’s first power-fold, power-telescoping side mirrors.
Developing a mirror this big and complex provided Ralston with plenty of challenges. At one point, she found herself in Australia to sort out some vibration issues.
“I was driving down the wrong side of a dirt road at 80 kph (50 mph), holding a force gauge attached to the mirror to take wind force measurements while the team in Dearborn (Mich.) was having trouble with the mirrors folding back under wind load.”
With all those issues resolved, Ralston’s team has delivered a mirror that every trucker will fall in love with.
A large, 7 x 8-inch power-adjustable main mirror and a large, 3.75 x 6.4-inch manually adjustable spotter mirror provide excellent visibility. What the best in the aftermarket can’t do is extend and fold at the touch of a button. The control switch is conveniently mounted on the windowsill near the power window switches. The mirrors extend 2.75 inches and fold flat to the cab when not in use. They are also integrated into the vehicle’s seat-position and pedal-memory system, offering two different settings.
“These mirrors have the most feature content of any mirror available today, including heated glass, clearance lamps and integrated turn signals,” says Ralston.
The workings of the mirrors are surrounded by a design that’s been squared and toughened to match the front of the 2008 Super Duty truck. Several design studies were done to make sure the finished product looked good on the truck.
“We were always teased during development of the 2008 Super Duty that we were developing the mirrors that the truck attached to,” says Ralston.
Harry Rawlins simply enjoys the convenience that the power-fold, power-telescoping mirrors provide. As 4x4 trailer and tow specialist for the Ford Super Duty, he spends a lot of time behind the wheel of trucks towing trailers. The mirrors are part of a towing package that he helped develop, which includes the industry’s first fully integrated tow brake controller.
“A good set of mirrors is a necessity when towing,” says Rawlins. “Super Duty’s mirrors provide excellent visibility both behind the trailer and in the driver’s blind spots. But what’s really nice is that they pull in easily for manoeuvreing into tight spots.”