Ford Announces Ten-Speed Transmission, More Torque for 2017 F-150 EcoBoost
Significant Updates Made to Flagship 3.5L Engine
Ford will put a 10-speed transmission into its mainstream F-150 for the 2017 model year, proving rumors that the gearbox will spread beyond the high-performance F-150 Raptor. Other updates slated for the truck include a torquier, heavily updated 3.5L EcoBoost V-6.
The second-generation EcoBoost will get exclusive rights to the 10-speed transmission, which replaces a six-speeder in 2016 trucks. It’s the first Ford gearbox to completely forego cast-iron components, using a variety of advanced alloys instead. The weight savings inside the transmission pay big dividends, allowing for less parasitic power loss and greater rotational efficiency. Ford sweated the small stuff, integrating the torque converter and turbine clutch to save two-plus pounds of weight and enable a smaller package overall.
The gearbox incorporates three overdrive gears and a massive ratio spread, which allows Ford engineers to fit the F-150 with taller axle gears for better fuel economy without sacrificing performance. An integrated electric pump provides seamless Auto Start-Stop operation of the EcoBoost engine, while improved transmission fuzzy logic helps the F-150 adapt to specific driving styles, including sport mode and tow/haul mode.
The EcoBoost engine to which the 10-speed is saddled is extensively improved for 2017. Ford’s flagship V-6 motor now produces a stonking 450 lb-ft of torque, outstripping every other 1/2-ton truck V-6 (and almost every V-8) engine on the market, including diesels. The engine was tuned for excellent low-end torque as well, where customers need it most.
A new fuel system combines port and direct injection, giving the EcoBoost engine the lower emissions of the former and the more efficient combustion of the latter, depending on the task the F-150 is being called to do. Other updates include new turbochargers with lighter-weight turbine wheels, which provide more boost. They operate in sync with the electrically actuated wastegates, increasing their efficiency and extending their life. The lighter turbine wheels are also more responsive, reducing the 3.5L engine’s already short lag even more.
The valvetrain was also extensively redesigned, featuring hollow camshafts that provide up to 4 pounds of weight loss. Ford says the new intake and exhaust valves are more durable as well, and hydraulic valve-lash adjusters will maximize the engine’s durability. Finally, the aforementioned Auto Start-Stop will reduce the F-150’s fuel economy by shutting the engine down when idling, such as at traffic lights. Such technology has also been proven to help reduce pollution and CO2 emissions, making it good for the environment and the owner’s wallet. For better responsiveness, it doesn’t actuate when the truck is in tow-haul mode or shifted into four-wheel drive.
While these updates are great news for Ford and one of its highest-volume powertrains, what makes us most excited is that we can now reasonably expect the Raptor to have at least 450 lb-ft. Since it uses the same second-generation 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 as the one revealed today, we now have some official numbers to hang our hats on. And with Ford Performance ‘s track record of going above and beyond, we don’t doubt the Raptor will get even more torque. Consider us excited.