Now that Ford has unveiled its advanced new 6.7-liter V-8 Power Stroke turbocharged diesel engine, they’re also revealing the truck that wraps around it today, at the 2009 State Fair of Texas, in the heart of truck country.
The 2011 Super Duty is the third version of Ford’s heavy-duty pickup in the last four years and the second since Ford reworked the truck for the 2008 model year.
In a segment where major truck revisions have traditionally been measured using the automotive equivalent of geologic time scales, changes this significant and close together are extremely rare, especially when Ford’s HD competitors – GM and Chrysler – are also introducing considerably updated HD pickups.
GM’s 2011 model year 2500 and 3500 Chevrolet and GMC Heavy Duty pickups are expected to arrive by the middle of 2010 with freshened exteriors and a next-generation 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 diesel powertrain that promises a few new tricks. The 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups should hit dealer lots this winter with their 6.7-liter Cummins I6 clean diesel and featuring all-new sheetmetal and redesigned interiors.
Ford’s changes are critical to keeping its lock on the Heavy Duty segment, where the F-250 three-quarter-ton and F-350 one-ton trucks rule the pack with almost 50 percent market share; the Ford F-450 1.5-ton continues in a segment that it owns but with several major revisions.
Gas and Diesel Engines
Update #1 September-25-2009 01:29 PDT:
The original story stated that Ford would continue to offer the 5.4-liter V-8 gas engine. That was incorrect. The existing 6.8-liter V-10 and new 6.2-liter V-8 will be the only petrol motors available for 2011 F-Series Super Duty trucks, depending on whether they are a pickup or a commercial chassis cab. I regret and apologize for the error. - Mike Levine
Heavy Duty pickups exist to tow and haul the heaviest loads. While the 6.7-L PSD will be the power-pulling crown jewel of the 2011 Super Duty lineup, two other gas engines will be available for the F-250 through F-550 pickups and commercial chassis cabs: today’s 6.8-liter V-10 Triton and an all-new 6.2-liter V-8, which is also slated for use in the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor off-road pickup. This is the engine formerly referred to as the Boss V-8, and the Hurricane before that.
The single overhead cam (SOHC) 6.2-liter V-8 features two spark plugs per cylinder and dual equal variable cam timing.
According to Mike Harrison, Ford’s V-8 gasoline engine programs manager, dual equal VCT dynamically changes the timing of both the intake and exhaust valves together but it does this using only the single camshaft per cylinder head and two VCT actuators (one per cam). Each cam actuates the intake and exhaust valves on each cylinder bank. When the camshaft is advanced or retarded via the VCT actuator, both the intake and exhaust valve timing is advanced or retarded by an equal amount -- hence the name ‘dual equal.’
There are several benefits to using dual equal VCT, including improved fuel economy, NVH and emissions when idling or highway cruising, and increased torque and power response at full throttle.
Ford won’t say what the final power figures are for its new 2011 engines, though we have heard that the 6.7-L PSD will make more than 390 horsepower and 720 pounds-feet of torque. The 6.2-L V-8 is expected to pump out approximately 400 hp and 400 lbs.-ft. of torque.
For the U.S., the 6.2-L gas engine will be E85-compatible from Job 1 and the 6.7-L Power Stroke will be certified to run on biodiesel blends up to B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% conventional diesel).
Super Duty trucks headed for sale outside the U.S. will be calibrated to run on high-sulfur diesel fuel, which would gum up the soot trapping diesel particulate filters of U.S.-spec trucks, or to burn old-school leaded gas in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 6.7-liter diesel will meet the California Air Resource Board’s tough oil-burning emissions standards that force non-compliant diesel engines to automatically shut down after five minutes of idling if they produce too much nitrogen oxide emissions. The F-Series Super Duty trucks will be able to idle indefinitely and still meet CARB’s tough NOx emissions limits.
New 6R140 TorqShift Transmission
All three engines will be paired with Ford’s all-new 6R140 heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission that promises innovative shift strategies and power takeoff features. It replaces two transmissions – the 5R110 heavy-duty TorqShift five-speed automatic and six-speed ZF manual, which has been discontinued for the 2011 model year.
Ford has badly needed a six-speed automatic transmission for its diesel HD pickups to compete with Dodge’s 68RFE and GM’s Allison T1000 six-speed automatics. The six-speed also gives Ford gear parity with GM’s 6L90 six-speed 6.0-liter V-8 gas engine and an extra cog over Dodge’s 545RFE five-speed 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gas engine.
First and second gears have been deepened, from 3.11 and 2.02 in the 5R110 to 3.97 and 2.32 in the 6R140, so the truck can start with less effort. There’s a larger step between the first two gears (1.65 vs. 1.09) which previously might have raised concerns that the truck would feel like it was getting bogged down after upshifting to second gear.
The addition of a sixth cog means the Super Duty also gets a second overdrive gear for improved cruising fuel economy. Fifth gear is .86 and sixth is .67, vs. a .71 top gear in the old 5R110.
Unlike the 5R110, which had a 1.00 ratio in fourth gear, the 6R140 jumps from 1.15 in fourth to fifth gear overdrive.
The new transmission wrings out several inefficiencies vs. the 5R110 that help improve fuel economy. They include faster warm-up times and operating the transmission cooling system at 200 degrees F instead of 173 F – a temperature that Ford says strikes a good balance between mileage and trailer-towing shift performance.
The 6R140 also uses a new torque converter lockup strategy that enables the torque converter to lockup sooner and more often, which allows the engine to run at a lower rpm for better fuel economy. A long-travel turbine damper helps the torque converter cope with the 6.7-L V-8 diesel’s high torque output and allows the powertrain to lug down to 900 rpm.
Gas engine models inherit the Super Duty’s electronically controlled viscous clutch that debuted on the 2008-10 6.4-L diesel trucks, for better fuel economy and better overall NVH and controllability.
The 6R140 doesn’t stop with the addition of sixth gear; it adds Ford’s “SelectShift” feature that lets the driver lock-out gears and manually shift and hold gears in a way that’s similar to GM’s and Dodge’s automatic transmissions.
Here’s how SelectShift works: On the gear select lever, mounted on the truck’s steering column, there’s a shift-up/shift-down button near the tow/haul button. If you’re in “Drive” and enter SelectShift mode you’ll be able to lock out sixth gear. The truck will communicate the subtraction by showing only five gear positions in the instrument cluster display. Doing this turns the six-speed transmission into an electronically limited five-speed. Drivers can also lock out every other gear down to first, though you’d obviously limit the truck’s driving performance envelope. An automatic rev limiter ensures the truck won’t blow the redline if you shift into this mode while traveling at highway speeds.
What’s the advantage of locking out gears? If you’re cruising through rolling hills in tow/haul mode, tapping the brake to automatically downshift on descents, you can narrow the range of gears the truck will have to step through so the transmission isn’t constantly hunting across the large gear span. It’s another way the automatic transmission can perform like a manual gearbox.
“We giving the customer more control at their fingertips in lieu of the customer letting the transmission control everything,” Chris Brewer, Ford Super Duty Chief Engineer, said, “and the driver only able to give guidance with the brake.”
SelectShift will allow the driver to manually shift up or down on demand and hold specific gears, as long as the engine doesn’t exceed redline.
Live Drive PTO
Power takeoff isn’t new to heavy-duty pickups, particularly chassis cabs like the Dodge Ram 3500 and its Aisin six-speed transmission. PTO enables running auxiliary equipment directly off the truck’s engine via either a splined driveshaft or the transmission.
Ford’s new Live Drive PTO taps the Super Duty's crankshaft through the 6R140, so you can power hardware like a snowplow, cement mixer or a generator on the go in stop/start conditions. Until now, if you were using PTO to power a peripheral while moving and came to a complete stop, PTO would shutoff when the transmission's torque converter disconnected at idle. LiveDrive provides power at all times because power comes directly off the motor, regardless of whether or not the torque converter is locked up.
Parasitic power will be limited while the truck is on the go. The Live Drive PTO will be rated at 150 lbs.-ft. of torque while the truck is moving and 250 lbs.-ft. of torque when it’s parked.
Imagination is the only limit for a feature like this. Brewer said Ford is already working with aftermarket companies to create applications to take advantage of the Live Drive feature.
Live Drive PTO will be optional for all F-250 to F-550 Super Duty trucks equipped with the 6.7-L diesel. Brewer said there are no plans to enable PTO for the 6.2-L gas V-8, though conventional gas engine PTO will be available for chassis cabs that use the legacy 6.8-L V-10 engine.
6.8-L Triton V-10 Tradeoff
Speaking of the 6.8-liter V-10 – the diesel-like 362 hp, 457 lbs.-ft. of torque gas engine (which we previously selected as our favorite HD gasser because of it’s powerful performance during our 2007 Heavy Duty Shootout) with the legacy 5R110 five-speed automatic gearbox will be reserved for only the F-450 and F-550 chassis cab business.
So, are Class 2 and Class 3 buyers of the 2011 Ford Super Duty losing something with the introduction of the 6.2-L V-8 and the loss of the 6.8-L V-10? Brewer doesn’t think it’s a loss as much as a tradeoff for reasonable power, better fuel economy and a better transmission.
It’s Brewer’s responsibility to make sure that the newest Super Duties can stand up to customer needs and that it will beat the targets Ford expects the competition will be aiming for in their future HD pickups.
“We deliberately looked long and hard at [our new engine lineup],” Brewer said. “With the 6.2-L V-8 straddling the middle between the 5.4-L V-8 and 6.8-L V-10, coupled with pairing it up with the six-speed transmission, we said the 6.2-L is the best of all worlds. The fuel economy of the 6.2-L V-8 is going to be better than the 5.4-liter V-8 and 6.8-liter V-8 and 5R110 [TorqShift transmission] is today.”
Brewer won’t say how much more efficient the new diesel and gas powertrains will be over the 2007-10 Super Duty pickups, but Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari says Ford is confident that the Super Duty will be class-leading.
“We feel that we’ll be able to give customers a pretty good substitute for the 6.8-liter V-10 and a very big upgrade over the 5.4-liter V-8,” said Brewer. “The 6.2-liter won’t be an absolute advantage over the 6.8-liter but for the bulk of customers that are choosing between the 5.4-liter and 6.8-liter today, we think the 6.2-liter 6R is the right compromise for the Class 2 and Class 3 trucks.”
Towing and Hauling
Like the horsepower and torque figures, Ford has remained coy about specific changes to Super Duty max towing and payload ratings.
Brewer says that, in general, payload capability will improve by about 100 pounds, for two reasons: First, the new 6.7-L diesel engine weighs about 160 pounds less than the outgoing 6.4-L diesel. This improves both front payload and the gross axle weight rating, particularly for applications like snow plowing. Secondly, other safety, refinement and emissions-control changes add back about 60 pounds, so the 2011 Super Duty weighs about 100 pounds less than the 2008-10 trucks.
Brand new is the first-ever factory fifth wheel prep package that's been designed and engineered by Reese Hitches. The truck will come with the bed floor cut, the frame mount, and the wiring — but the customer will still have to buy the hitch that sits in the bed from either a Ford dealer or the aftermarket.
Single rear-wheel Super Duty pickups receive standard trailer sway control with roll stability control, like the system that’s offered on the Ford F-150. TSC measures trailer sway input coming into the truck based on rear yaw motion. If it senses too much, it can apply both the truck’s and trailer’s brakes (if they’re electric) through the integrated trailer brake controller and reduce engine throttle to help prevent loss of trailer control. It’s a first for this safety feature in the segment.
F-450 Pickup Changes
Ford is making big changes to its biggest Super Duty pickup model for 2011, after hearing from F-450 owners that they wanted better fuel economy and a higher top speed, according to Doug Scott, Ford's truck and SUV marketing manager.
The 2008-10 F-450’s frame is a hybrid of sorts that combines the front frame portion of the F-450 chassis cab with a wide-spaced rear frame (wider than the chassis cab’s standard 34-inch spacing) based on the F-350, so the cargo box won’t twist under load. But it weighs a lot, with a hefty base curb weight of 8,851-pounds for the four-wheel drive version.
Removing weight is a quick way to improve mileage, so Ford made major revisions to lighten up the 2011 F-450’s frame and running gear.
In back, the new F-450 swaps its old Dana S110 rear axle for a new Dana M80 and replaces the old widetrack Dana Super 60 front axle for a standard widetrack Dana 60. It also switches the F-450 chassis cab’s front frame portion with the front frame clip from the F-350 pickup.
The new F-450 chassis and axle setup is similar to the recently discontinued “Fat Boy” F-350 but the F-450 still retains its best-in-class 24,000-pound maximum trailer towing rating. Maximum payload, though, is lowered by 500-pounds, from 6,180-pounds to 5,680-pounds, according to Scott.
All of the hardware changes total up to a 600-pound weight savings are said to give the 6.7-L diesel powered 2011 F-450 a double-digit percentage improvement in fuel economy.
To raise the F-450’s top speed, the old 19.5-inch wheels have been dropped because their tires were rated up to only 80 mph. New 17-inch wheels and tires are expected to raise the 2011 F-450’s top speed above 90 mph.
With all the changes to the F-450, some might say that it’s the toughest, most capable F-350 pickup in Ford’s lineup.
Rear Differential Electronic Locker
The 2011 Super Duty adds an electronic locking rear differential for the first time that’s similar to the GKN-supplied e-locker that’s available on the F-150 FX4 off-road package and SVT Raptor.
Brewer said the e-locker has been designed by Ford and will be manufactured at the Sterling Axle plant for single-rear-wheel F-Series Super Duty trucks only.
The locker can be controlled with a dash switch. It’s best used in low-friction scenarios, such as on slippery boat ramps or in slick mud and on icy roads. It will stay engaged until the truck reaches 30 mph, at which point it disengages until the truck’s speed returns to 30 mph or less. The truck will also disengage the locker if it’s making a tight radius turn by sensing the steering wheel position, so the rear wheels and tires aren’t damaged from scrubbing on pavement.
Hill Decent Control
Similar to the system that was introduced for the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, the 2011 Super Duty also receives hill descent control, which uses the truck’s ABS system to control downhill speeds without the driver having to apply the brakes. Drivers just have to steer.
Chassis and Suspension Changes
In 2008, Ford improved the Super Duty’s frame by lowering and widening the boxed front frame to fit the 6.4-liter V-8 engine cooling package and to meet frontal impact standards without a "blocker bar." The rear was also modified to accommodate 8-inch-longer leaf springs to improve the ride and handling.
Those changes are carried over into 2011 with a few minor updates. Ford has added new cross members to improve fuel system integrity and improve its NVH levels. Further improvements to the front and rear of the frame help make sure that small cars won’t submarine under the Super Duty in the event of a crash.
The suspension has been tuned up, too. The shocks have new internal valve settings and the spring rates have been adjusted for better ride comfort. In 2008, Ford introduced its 3-plus-1 spring pack for both the diesel and gas trucks but the 2011 model SD pickups with diesel engines are setup with a new 2-plus-1 kit. Brewer said the 2-plus-1 setup reduces some of the spring binding from friction that drivers felt as a secondary impact after hitting road bumps. It also saves weight for improved fuel economy.
It wouldn’t be a Super Duty without a big, bold front end. The 2011 SD trucks get an all-new front clip that includes a two-bar chrome grille that’s framed by two “C-clamp” style trim pieces that replace the old nostril intakes. The headlights are sleeker and the bumper follows the sharp bottom curves of the grille. Ford has removed the front fender side vents and replaced them with subtler model identifiers that are positioned just below where the A-pillar meets the hoodline.
According to Pat Schiavone, Ford’s chief truck designer, the 2008-10 SD was influenced by the burly 2002 Tonka concept, while the 2011 is influenced by the locomotive-inspired 2006 Super Chief concept.
Brewer said the aerodynamics of the trucks have improved
Ford has also changed the hood so that it opens clamshell-style, separate from the grille. It also sports inverted power-dome styling.
The inside of the Super Duty has been updated, too. It borrows the seats from the F-150, improving the old six-way power adjustable chairs to 10-way units with heaters and coolers in the Lariat and King Ranch models. The heated and cooled seats will be available for the Lariat Chassis cab models too.
There’s a new information display in the instrument cluster that can show the truck’s attitude off-road as well as the steering position. It also communicates important systems messages and the transmission’s gear state.
The Cabela’s edition Super Duty that debuted for 2009 goes away for 2011 but Ford is keeping that model’s interior storage features. There’s lockable underseat storage beneath the small center seat up front and a large storage compartment beneath the rear bench. The extra storage is standard on XLT and Lariat Crew Cab models.
The middle front seat gets a nice safety bump – the addition of a three-point safety belt.
The famous King Ranch trim package gets a few changes. The iconic Castano orange leather seats can be swapped for black ones. The interior can also be equipped with black carpeting in addition to the traditional camel color.
Black is a more contemporary color, Brewer said, and it hides dirt better. Don’t worry about hot, black seats in summer; cooled seats will be standard on the KR truck.
With the economy in the state that it’s in, there are no plans to add a Platinum model counterpart for Super Duty. But Brewer said that could be revisited when sales trend upward again.
The new 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups are scheduled to go on sale in the first quarter of 2010.