Ford F-series Super Duty Gives Customers Power And Style
Ford’s F-Series Super Duty, the proven leader in the over 8,500-pound truck segment, is setting new standards for 2003 with an all-new optional diesel engine and automatic transmission with class-leading power. In addition, the lineup offers expanded option availability for wider capabilitThe new 32-valve 6.0-liter Power Stroke® V-8 diesel engine is more powerful and cleaner, achieving approximately eight percent better fuel economy, while satisfying more stringent emissions standards than the well-respected 7.3-liter Power Stroke® diesel it replaces. The new 6.0-liter Power Stroke® reduces the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions by 20 percent. It also provides customers the power they want with improved noise and vibration refinement.
The diesel will be matched with the new five-speed TorqShift® automatic transmission that sets a new benchmark in responsiveness and confidence. TorqShift® features a newly designed five-speed gearbox and electronic control system to provide smoother shifts and higher low-gear ratios to help a loaded truck get off the mark smoothly. The transmission’s tow-haul mode helps improve shift control under demanding operating conditions.
"This vehicle is extremely versatile and was designed to meet customer needs," said Bill Ickes, F-Series Super Duty assistant chief program engineer. "Whether our customers use their Super Duty trucks for business, pleasure or as a family carrier, they will be impressed by the new powertrain, package offerings and available configurations."
F-Series Super Duty customers asked for more power, but they also wanted more options.
Ford obliged by adding the King Ranch edition, the new XLT Sport Crew Cab and FX4 Off-Road packages, and a segment-exclusive power moonroof on Crew Cab models, to enable customers to more easily suit their trucks to their lifestyles.
F-Series Super Duty pickups and chassis cabs equipped with the new optional engine and transmission will begin production this fall at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky. They will begin arriving in dealer showrooms in early 2003.
Super Duty head of the class in power
The 32-valve 6.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel engine and TorqShift® transmission will be available on F-250 through F-550 pickups and chassis cabs. Combined they produce horsepower of 325 at 3,300 rpm and 560 foot-pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm – the best in the over 8,500-pound gross vehicle weight segment.
"This combination is very capable – loaded or unloaded, with or without a trailer," says David Johnson, F-Series Super Duty vehicle engineering manager. "Our testing went beyond how much it pulls to how well it pulls a load. That’s where our engine and transmission work together to surpass the competition."
The new engine, a direct injection, 32-valve diesel V-8 engine with all-new cast-iron block and cylinder heads, was first shown in concept form in January at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit. It employs an Electronic Variable Response Turbocharger (EVRT™) for boost over the full range of engine operation.
"This turbocharger provides a large frame size for better fuel economy, while providing electronically controlled turbine tuning for improved low end boost improvements," said Charlie Freese, chief engineer diesel engines. "This allows the vehicle to achieve launch and performance feel improvements without sacrificing efficiency. Had we chosen a wastegated turbo, it would have wasted exhaust energy at higher loads, compromising performance and fuel economy. This would have been a tradeoff that we were not willing to accept for our customers."
The 6.0-liter Power Stroke® introduces a new hydraulic rail fuel injection system to achieve higher injection pressures for clean, efficient combustion, while a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system helps reduce NOx emissions. The engine also features a cartridge-style oil filter, positioned on top of the engine for easy maintenance. TorqShift® transmission features include higher torque capability; a new electronic shift control system that monitors engine, transmission, vehicle speed and driver input to optimize shift performance; and a larger pump to help improve cooling and lubrication.
The powertrain system’s capability is coupled with Ford’s new tow-haul feature, in which a driver pushes a button to change the shift strategy of the transmission. While going uphill, tow-haul mode holds a gear longer before upshifting smoothly to maintain consistent travel without strain. On a downhill grade, a tap on the brake signals tow-haul, which downshifts as appropriate to slow the engine, giving the driver greater control and helping extend brake life.
The engine and transmission were developed together, rather than through a more common approach of adapting one to fit the other.
"The engine and transmission have been treated as an integrated system since day one," says Gerard Kuchta, TorqShift® manager. "Throughout our series of tests, we utilized the most current 6.0-liter Power Stroke® engine and TorqShift® transmission available to us. The combination of these two approaches ensured that the best powertrain system performance level was achieved."
The 6.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel also is available with a six-speed manual transmission option. The new 2003 model offers a dual mass flywheel for F-250 and F-350 applications. "The dual mass flywheel reduces gear noise for added powertrain refinement," says Freese.
In addition to the new 32-valve 6.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel, Super Duty offers a choice of Triton™ gasoline engines, including the 6.8-liter Triton™ V-10. The award-winning standard 5.4-liter SOHC Triton™ V-8 offers 260 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque and has a stiffer engine block for quieter performance in 2003.
Ford used sophisticated computer analysis on F-Series Super Duty engines to test interior noise and its sources. The result was development of a stiffer engine block for F-250 through F-550 that has cut overall radiated noise.
Extensive sealing was used to help keep noise from entering the cabin. In addition, absorptive material was used to reduce noise levels that may obstruct conversation. "It’s similar to furnishing a room," says Johnson. "It’s easier to talk in a room with furniture than in an empty room because the noise is absorbed and sound isn’t bouncing around."
"The 6.0-liter Power Stroke® engine employs pilot injection strategies to tune combustion sound characteristics," said Freese. "Pilot injection strategies introduce a small quantity of fuel into the combustion chamber before the main injection event. This reduces the rate of pressure rise and reduces the ‘diesel bark’ that many people associate with diesel engines."
Noise levels were measured using a standard articulation index, in which lab instruments measure and rate the ability to hold a conversation. Johnson says F-Series Super Duty showed a 20-point improvement to levels "within a shade of some of the best cars in the world."
In response to customer requests for more choices and comfort, the XLT Sport Package (formerly the Built Ford Tough Sport model exclusive to SuperCabs) is made available on F-250 and F-350 Crew Cab models, and features expanded color availability. A new FX4 Off-Road Package replaces the 4x4 Off-Road equipment package. In addition, the King Ranch edition, already popular on the F-150 model, will be offered for 2003 on F-250 and F-350 Crew Cabs in single- and dual-rear-wheel applications.
"Super Duty King Ranch will really thrill our customers," said Ickes. "From the Castańo leather interior with wood appliqués and saddlebags to the lighted Arizona Beige cab steps with diamond plate inserts, the King Ranch is the ultimate in luxury."
High quality cloth and vinyl are used in XL-trim-level vehicles, and standard inboard armrests are added with the bucket seat option. Additionally, an industry-exclusive power moonroof is optional on 2003 Crew Cab models, and new manually telescoping trailering mirrors with power adjustable heated glass and integral turn signals will be offered.
Tough Customers for Tough Trucks
There are no limits to the uses Super Duty truck customers find for their vehicles.
"We wanted to make sure that when the truck was loaded it had the capability to fit the most discriminating customer – the customer who’s really going to put it through its paces," says Johnson. "But recognize that many of our customers drive their trucks unloaded some of the time. This is a vehicle that is refined when it’s hauling and refined when it’s not hauling."
During development, a 14-member group took a cross-country test drive with five Super Duty trucks hauling trailers with windscreens. Jeff Christensen, powertrain launch leader at the Kentucky Truck Plant, met a few Super Duty customers along the way.
"Each time we stopped, Power Stroke® owners told us stories about how much they love their truck, how durable it’s been and how many miles they have on it.
"We met one gentleman hauling a 38-foot boat behind a Super Duty from Florida to Washington state. He told us how he runs a small fleet of our trucks and hauls these kind of loads all the time, and he has one with more than 500,000 miles on it," he said. "I now know first hand that our customers put their trucks to the test."
Already the best, getting better
F-Series is the best-selling brand of trucks in the world due to their capability, quality, reliability, power and range of product choices. F-Series Super Duty leads all other brands in purchase consideration (64 percent vs. 61 percent for Chevrolet Silverado), according to Millward Brown market tracking data gathered from January through June 2002.
F-Series trucks have been America’s best-selling truck for 25 years and the best-selling vehicle for 20 consecutive years. Ford offers a comprehensive truck lineup, from personal or family use trucks to trucks for small business to commercial trucks. The Built Ford Tough lineup includes Ranger, F-150, F-150 SuperCrew and F-Series Super Duty (F-250 through F-750 pickups and chassis cabs).
"Super Duty always has been the icon of Ford toughness, the big brother for all to look up to," says Tim Stoehr, Super Duty marketing manager. "Once again, we have reset the power standard with the 32-valve 6.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel and TorqShift® transmission. We have the package right – both under the hood and inside the cabin – and we’ve got some fresh new looks for 2003 with the addition of King Ranch, FX4 and XLT Sport."