Introducing the World First Ford F-450 Super Duty in Right-hand drive

World First – Right-hand drive Ford F-450 Super Duty

Engineering: where the miracle happens in the multiplex operation of converting American SUVs, Muscle Cars, and Pickup Trucks from left-hand drive to right-hand drive, which is not as easy as one might think. The phrase ‘Mirror Conversion’ overshadows the chain of sophisticated engineering and reverse engineering efforts exerted by the team of 30+ highly skilled and talented engineers at Autogroup International.

This blog will unveil the key elements of the miracles completed during a ‘simple’ right-hand drive conversion process by the Autogroup International Engineering team…

 Why does it take 30 Engineers to convert an American SUV to Right-hand Drive Car?

From the initial point of a left-hand drive vehicle arriving at Autogroup straight from the original manufacturer to the final point of a right-hand drive vehicle being shipped to one of over 60+ countries, each and every engineer, individually handles a crucial link of the chain which leads to the final product; a successfully converted, legally compliant, ISO quality assured and  safe Right-hand Drive ‘American Beast’.

The entire Engineering Team works around the clock to retain a common focus – guaranteeing the ‘safety’ of the Occupants. Reaching this focal point cannot be justified as a simple task as it requires higher degrees of brainstorming to solve complex complications, skillful application of engineering principles – theoretically as well as practically, manipulation of the latest technologies & software used in the industry and the integration of safety, quality, and ergonomic factors into the product that is designed and developed while maintaining its originally intended performance.

It should be emphasized that, apart from the expertise and the competence of the engineering team, the experience and knowledge gained throughout the company’s 20 years in the industry and successful conversion of 1000’s of vehicles plays a significant role in bringing success to each and every conversion project handled

The team of Engineers at AGI are narrowed down under several pathways with respect to the nature of work they conduct:

Mechanical Engineering

The branch which could be designated as the kingpin of the Conversion process, handles each modification which concerns the broad area of engineering physics collaborated with mathematical principles in reference to Materials, Metallurgy, Design & Development, Manufacturing & Maintenance of Mechanical systems.

Kicking off from Safety critical, major conversions and modifications such as Steering System relocation, Brake System repositioning and Dashboard Crossmember modification, through complex modifications such as HVAC modification, going all the way up to other co-relating modifications are being handled by the team of mechanical engineers.

Certain modifications play a higher role in safety aspects while others contain a portion of ergonomic aspects as well. All these vital and peripheral aspects are considered by the respective engineers throughout the design and implementation process to obtain the perfect outcome.

A fragment of the Engineering team also specializes in Reverse Engineering aspects that handles specific key components in collaboration with both mechanical and electrical modifications. This team is brought into action when a certain conversion procedure requires complex designing capabilities such as Dashboard designing, re-engineering HVAC Units, Door Switch Panel and Mirror modifications, Chassis modelling as a part of Stress Analysis for compliance purposes and in accordance with Right-Hand Drive orientation.

Ultimately after all is said and done concerning 3D modelling of components, the Engineering Department also consists of specialized CAD designers responsible for manipulating 2D drawings which is a requisite to proceed with the manufacturing stage. This is recognized as a key stage as the finalized drawings are used for Quality control and Verification procedures.

Electrical Engineering

Modern day automobiles would cease to exist without the humongous role that is being played by Electrical Engineering aspects. The same theory could be applied to the conversion process carried out here at AGI. The talented Electrical Engineers are challenged with major responsibilities while they carry out modifications from as minute as a single strand in the wiring loom, to Driver/Passenger seat modifications and wide mirror alterations, and relocation of Controlling units.

As the final piece of the cake, proper functionality of each Electrical component and their communication linkage within the CAN bus system is verified through multiple scans and verification steps as most of the electrical modifications carried out comprises critical safety aspects.

Plastics Engineering

Plastics Engineering plays an essential role within the conversion procedure since multiple components which are being modified and re-engineered are manufactured using ‘Plastic Injection’, by carefully selecting the most suitable plastic materials through research and sample testing to meet OEM chemical standards and also incorporating mold making processes. This includes master units such as dashboard panels, HVAC units and other pieces such as door switch & password panels.

Engineering Documentation

Fulfilling another crucial part of the engineering procedure, the team of engineering documentation handles all the compliance requirements demonstrating vehicles’ conformity with Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and government regulations, vehicle testing and maintains control of multiple engineering related documents and records establishing traceability and linkage to each vehicle conversion, modification, and component.

Conformity of Production (COP)

Conformity of Production assures that every single vehicle conversion and every single item utilized is the same quality, size, and design, demonstrating the company’s capacity to create conversion parts that perfectly satisfy the design specifications, performance, and marking criteria as set out by the engineering teams.

“It takes a team of over 30x talented, highly educated and experienced Engineers to safely convert a vehicle to right-hand drive and to be legally able to import it your country”

Written by Ravindu Suraweera, Mechanical Engineer at Autogroup International