Heavy-duty trucks are the workhorses of the truck world. Capable of towing nearly 20,000 pounds (as much as 24,600 if you include the F-450), these are the pickups that haul huge loads, are built to survive the rough stuff, and see more than their share of dirt, grime, and hard labor. So it's a little strange to look at them as being high-tech vehicles. In fact, "high-tech" may be the last phrase you think of to describe them. However, that is starting to change, especially with regard to the 2011 Ford Super Duty. Ford recently gave us a sneak peek at the next F-250/350/450, and while it may not look dramatically different from what you see at dealerships today, a lot has changed under the skin to make it more capable, more efficient, quieter, and more reliable than it was before.
The overall appearance of the Super Duty has not changed all that much. But there are differences. Take a look at the nose: The headlights and side-marker lights have been restyled, as has the bumper. The grille now has two large bars, much like the three-bar grille first seen in the Super Chief concept Ford unveiled at the Detroit auto show in 2006, and there's a much larger Blue Oval up front. The hood is also new, featuring a more pronounced dome. Inside the cab, there's a new 4.2-inch LCD screen within the gauge cluster that displays trailer brake control gain, an inclinometer, fuel economy, trailer data, and more, and it can be customized to show what information you want to see. Also new to the interior is a flow-through console that includes two 12-volt powerpoints and a 110-volt inverter.
Under the hood, though, is the most significant change to the Super Duty: the engines. An all-new diesel engine will make its debut, and it was designed, engineered, tested, and built by Ford. It's a 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8, with a compacted graphite iron engine block instead of gray cast iron. CGI is a stronger material, one that Ford has successfully used in other markets and is implementing here for the first time. Use of CGI along with a switch from iron to aluminum for the cylinder heads helps reduce the overall weight of the new engine, said to be about 160 pounds lighter than the outgoing 6.4-liter.
The 6.7 uses what Ford calls a Single-Sequential Turbocharger. As Adam Gryglak, Large Diesel Engine Engineering Program manager explains: "The Single-Sequential Turbo [SST] design harnesses the power of two compressors and one turbine in a single housing. The double-sided compressor provides airflow capability across the entire engine operating range, matching the performance of twin turbo systems. The SST design offers the fast response of a small turbocharger, as well as the increased airflow to produce more horsepower, similar to a larger turbocharger. The double-sided compressor wheel operates sequentially, as one side of the wheel flows air at low engine speeds and both sides of the wheel compress air at higher engine demand."