Ford loves aluminium - especially when it comes to cutting weight from its F-Series trucks.Now the next-generation F-350, F-450 and F-550 Super Duty trucks for the first time use high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy throughout the cab. This improves 'ding and dent' resistance while saving weight which can be translated into significant increases in towing and payload capability, according to the company.
Ford engineers also claim the chassis frame is the most rigid ever used in a Super Duty chassis cab.
Engineers point t its use of 95 per cent high-strength steel offering eight times greater torsional rigidity than the previous frame. Ford engineers note too that welded cross-members and fully boxed rails extend under the cab and forward to further boost rigidity.
Open C-channel frame rails behind the cab have been added to the specification to deliver the 40,000-lb. maximum gross combined weight rating and 500-lb. increase in front gross axle weight rating, along with increased towing capacity over the previous Super Duty chassis cab.
By making use of aluminium, Ford says it has been able to save up to 350 lb in the all-new F-Series Super Duty and reinvested those savings into tougher, stronger components.
As to the powertrain, with 330 bhp and 750 lb ft. of torque from the second-generation Ford-designed, 6.7-litre Power Stroke V-8 diesel with its compacted graphite iron (CGI) vee cylinder block (the company builds the engine at its Chihuahua, Mexico plant) Ford engineers claim these are the best ratings for Class 4 and Class 5 Super Duty chassis cab
The Ford 6.7-litre diesel engine is teamed with a Ford TorqShift HD six-speed automatic transmission.
Ford claims to be the only heavy-duty truck manufacturer able to design and build its own diesel engine and transmission combination, ensuring the powertrain works “seamlessly with all chassis components and vehicle calibrations”. Ford engineers suggest this enables them to optimize vehicle performance across the entire lineup.
The 6.7-litre Power Stroke for the Ford F-650 and F-750 truck line has a B10 design life of at least 500,000 miles according to Ford, meaning that 90 per cent of the engines are expected to go farther than that without requiring a major service requiring removal of cylinder heads or dropping the oil pan to reach internal components.
Boost for Class 8 efficiency
Meanwhile, Reuben Sarkar, the US Department of Energy’s deputy assistant secretary for transportation, has announced that the department plans to invest $80 million in SuperTruck II, building upon the 2010 SuperTruck initiative.
"SuperTruck was aimed at developing Class 8 tractor-trailers that have 50 per cent higher freight efficiency than baseline models by the year 2015, with a percentage of this coming from engine efficiency gains," he said.
In that earlier programme, four teams — Cummins-Peterbilt, Daimler Trucks North America, Volvo and Navistar — embarked on efforts to reach that goal compared with 2009 Class 8 models partly supported by DOE funds.
The Cummins-Peterbilt team achieved a 70 per cent freight efficiency gain on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis, and the Daimler team managed more than twice the goal with a 115 per cnet gain. The Volvo and Navistar teams are on track to exceed the 50 per cent mark as well, Sarkar added.
Under the new scheme, DOE's SuperTruck II programme not only aims to raises the bar for a 100 per cent freight efficiency gain compared with that of 2009 Class 8 trucks, it emphasizes that the improvement be attainable through affordable technologies.
Participants will be able to propose additional applications beyond the first project's long-haul focus, Sarkar noted, such as regional-haul trucking. SuperTruck II trucks will need to meet performance, safety and emissions standards as well.
In a further development, although Navistar International’s class 5 and 6 DuraStar and WorkStar models will continue to be available with the company’s 9.3-litre N9 and N10 diesels, customers now can specify instead Cummins’ 8.9 litre ISL.
Is this the writing on the wall for these venerable Navistar truck diesels which can be traced back to the well-known International DT-466 of over 40 years ago?
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