Thursday 6 March 2014

Cummins feels the Scorpion’s sting

Executives at Cummins Inc. must have known it would happen. Now it has. Ford has dumped Cummins in its medium-duty trucks in favour of its own diesel, as revealed this week at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The new F-650/F-750 trucks are the latest Ford commercial trucks to have a revamp. And they will have the second-generation 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 diesel engine built at the company’s Chihuahua Engine Plant, Mexico, and which during development carried the code name Scorpion.

Although dubbed medium-duty trucks, the F-650 and F-650 are the largest trucks in Ford’s global portfolio and as such are updated infrequently having been largely unchanged since 2003.

Now they have been given a redesign and in the process Ford has elected it will no longer offer the Cummins 6.7-litre ISB engine in the F-750 as before. Instead Ford will use its in-house engine, the 6.7-litre Power Stroke which is already offered in the 2015 F-series Super Duty range, the first of which will be available in Spring 2014.

In the world of powertrain engineering, life is tough. Not content with matching the ISB’s 850lbft torque, Ford engineers had to squeeze out that bit extra from the Power Stroke to reach 860lbft. The power and torque combination of 440bhp and 860lbft demonstrate how much Power Stroke has edged up from its original spec. of 400bhp and 800lbft. 

It does not seem all that long ago that there would be a medal for the first to pass the 700lbft mark; now the stakes have been raised to see if anyone can reach 1,000lbft.

Of the Big Three, Ford comes out top. The 6.6-litre Duramax engine in General Motors Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and GMC Sierra HD trucks are rated at 397bhp and 765lbft torque while the Ram with Cummins 6.7-litre ISB is rated at 385bhp and 850lbft torque.

Meanwhile, this new development ups the engine offtake from the Chihuahua Engine Plant, which has become a major engine supplier to so Ford’s truck range.

Apart from its significance as a diesel engine supplier, Chihuahua (and Ford's preferred machine tool supplier MAG) are also amassing expertise in the machining of compacted graphite iron (CGI) which is at the heart of not only the 6.7-litre V8 Power Stroke but also the 4.4-litre TD V8 diesel engine based on the 3-litre V6 Lion diesel made at Ford’s Dagenham Engine Plant, UK.

The Chihuahua-built 4.4-litre could still be on its way into the F-150 pick-up truck which has just been given a new CGI engine, the 2.7-litre EcoBoost gasoline engine – another Ford CGI engine.

Regardless of how the customer configures his new vehicle, the 2016 F-650 and F-750 trucks will have a Ford powertrain. Ford’s 6.8-litre V10 gasoline engine is carried over from the previous model but both engines are teamed with Ford-built TorqShift six-speed automatic transmissions. This allows Ford’s marketing staff to boast the vehicles as the only medium-duty trucks with in-house drivelines.

The new medium duty trucks will be built at Ford’s manufacturing facility in Avon Lake, Ohio with production slated to begin in early 2015.

Offered in three cab styles – Regular Cab, SuperCab and Crew Cab – the trucks will also be available in straight frame form, dock height and as an all-new tractor model designed for heavy towing.

Available in three power levels up to 440bhp and 860lbft torque the trucks will carry a five-year/250,000 mile limited warranty.   

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