The 2011 lineup of Ford’s Super Duty F-Series trucks may not look all that different from the models on the road today, but a lot has changed under the hood. In fact, in a vehicle segment dominated by talk of horsepower, torque, and towing capacity, the new F-Series Super Duty trucks may just change the game, and make such terms as “inclinometer,” “Single-Sequential Turbocharger” (SST), and “compacted graphite iron” (CGI) the new language of heavy duty pickups.
The new F-Series Super Duty models, which includes the F-250, -350, and -450, are set to go on sale in the first half of 2010, and one of the most exciting new features is a new diesel engine option, a 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8. This engine makes use of the abovementioned CGI material for its construction, which offers higher pressure tolerances than the materials used in the outgoing 6.4-liter diesel, and yet still helps the new engine weigh in at 160 pounds less than its predecessor. The cylinder heads are made of aluminum (another weight-saving measure, as the 6.4-liter engine’s heads were made of iron), and bolted on top of them is the new turbo, the SST.
The SST is technically a single turbocharger, but a newly designed compressor essentially gives it the same performance characteristics of a twin turbo. Twin turbos have two turbine-drive compressors that use exhaust flow to alter the pressure of the air/fuel mixture being injected into the engine at one time. The more compression, the more fuel can fit in the same volume of air, hence creating more power in the engine upon combustion. The purpose of having two turbos was to have one compressor that was tuned to work at lower RPMs and another to work at higher RPMs (a single compressor isn’t normally capable of producing sufficient boost across the entire RPM spectrum). The SST uses a double sided compressor that works in sequence. At lower RPMs, only one side of the compressor operates, then at higher RPMs they both operate.
The new SST, along with a revised intake and exhaust manifold design, allows for far greater pressures to be achieved in the engine. For example, the new fuel injectors can operate at 30,000 p.s.i. This makes the engine quieter (which may be a downside to some fans of huge, rumbling diesels) and also makes it more efficient and cleaner. Ford has been a bit quiet on exact performance numbers, but the outgoing diesel’s 350 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque are definitely a fair deal lower than the new engine’s performance. Judging by early technical speculation, power output will likely be in the neighborhood of 425 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque. And, it’ll have better fuel economy, though, again, exact figures have yet to be released.
The gasoline engine options are also being revamped. A 6.2-liter V8 is replacing the 5.4-liter option. This same engine is in the new F-150 Raptor and puts out 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque in that applications, so comparable numbers are expected for the F-Series Super Duty. The currently available 6.8-liter V10 is making a return, presumably with a few tweaks, but it may not be around for long. Rated at 362 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, the V10 only beats the new 6.2 V8 by a bit of torque, and under-performs versus that engine in horsepower.
On the inside, the most prominent showing of all the new technology in the Super Duty models is a 4.2-inch LCD screen. This screen can show a variety of data readouts, including trailer brake control gain, an inclinometer, trailer data, fuel economy, or just about anything else that can be measured electronically. Other than this screen, and a few extra buttons, the new Super Duty cabs won’t see any huge changes, which is expected. After all, there’s only so many things you can do with the cab of a pickup, and one used primarily for work (as most all Super Duty models end up as) doesn’t need many bells and whistles.
The 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty models show off just how good Ford is at the big truck game. They know what to change (more powerful and fuel efficient engines), they know what to keep the same (the styling, with the biggest change being that the front grille now has two horizontal bars rather than three), and they know what people need (a dependable tool). There’s a reason that Ford’s trucks have been at the forefront of the market for years, and with this new model, that looks to be the same for coming years.