Ford doubles down on aluminum with 2017 F-Series Super Duty

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ford Super Duty F Series trucks getting aluminum bodies for 2017.

Ford Super Duty trucks will be sold with a new aluminum body, like their smaller sibling the F-150, starting next fall. Ford will introduce its new Super Duty pickup at the State Fair of Texas this morning, unveiling a restyled brute of a truck with an aluminum body and a stiffer frame. Besides the restyled exterior, the Super Duty will get more technology, such as a 360-degree camera system that can provide a bird’s-eye view of the truck and make towing easier.

The F-Series Super Duty lineup of pickups and chassis cabs is taking the same path as the F-150 in switching from a steel body to one made of aluminum. In addition, the heavy-duty pickup will be available when it arrives next fall with a camera that can be mounted on the trailer to help with backing up.

Ford says the trucks are up to 350 pounds lighter than the ones they replace, but that hundreds more pounds of cut weight were put back into the trucks in the form of heavier duty axles, drive shafts and other equipment. Ford took a risk when it converted the body and bed of the popular F-150 to aluminum, which required taking two assembly plants down for months and which dented sales in the final months of 2014 and well into this year as inventories of the new model slowly built up.

The company did not release horsepower or torque figures for the engine, but said they will provide the “highest combination of horsepower and torque ever.” The stiff new chassis on the truck – a fully boxed frame formed mostly from high-strength steel – will have more than 24 times the torsional rigidity as the previous truck. Kentucky Truck has a new body shop that is almost complete and will make it easier to ramp up the new truck when production starts in the fall of 2016 as the outgoing model is phased out. It adjusts how far you have to turn the wheel at different speeds so you don’t have to crank it too much when you’re making slow, tight turns, while keeping it from being to sensitive on the highway. This is the first all-new cab for the truck that was first introduced 17 years ago, said Dennis Slevin, vehicle engineering manager, and the first truck in the segment to have an all-aluminum cab.

Prices for the new models will be announced closer to their on-sale date next fall, but the current lineup run from about $32,000 to $72,000 before options. Engines include the carryover 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engine on the F-250 only, as well as the 6.8-liter V10 gasoline engines and there is a 6.7-liter V8 turbo-diesel engine.

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