A military-grade aluminum alloy body on Ford’s 2017 F-Series Super Duty helps reduce overall vehicle weight while allowing the company to add larger components for improved capability.
Ford will use the same alloys it used in its all-new F-150 trucks, which are more dent- and ding-resistant than the outgoing steel body and not subject to red rust corrosion, Ford said.
The 2017 vehicles also include a stronger, fully-boxed steel frame, improved axles/springs and suspension, class-exclusive features and technologies, and multiple gasoline and diesel engine and transmission combinations. The Super Duty frame is composed of more than 95% high-strength steel that offers up to 24 times more stiffness than the previous frame and is designed to improve towing and hauling capability, according to Ford.
“Like the F-150, when we go to advanced materials that help reduce weight, we can give that back to the customer in terms of improved capability: better payload, better towing, and more efficiency,” said Mike Levine, truck communications manager.
The aluminum body and steel frame combine to reduce the Super Duty’s weight by about 350 lbs. Some of the weight savings has been reinvested in bigger components, including bigger axles, brakes, and hitch, to help with improved capability, Levine explained. Ford also expects a minor improvement in fuel efficiency.
Powertrain Options & Upfitting Ease
For powertrains, the 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine is available for both pickup and chassis cab models. Available on the F-250 pickup is a 6.2L V-8 gasoline engine that is equipped with Ford’s new TorqShift-G transmission for improved capability. The Super Duty chassis-cab lineup includes a choice of 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 diesel, 6.8L V-10 gasoline, or 6.2L V-8 gasoline engines.
The F-Series Super Duty comes with several optional driver-assist technologies, including lane departure, blind spot, adaptive cruise control, and collision warning features. The truck also features lighting technology, including LED side-view mirror spotlights to light up a work site, LED cargo box lighting, and class-exclusive quad-beam LED headlamps and tail lamps.
Levine doesn’t anticipate any upfitting problems, stating that fleet managers just need to make sure they’re purchasing attachments that are compatible with the aluminum cargo box and work with knowledgeable upfitters.
Ford already provides guidance to upfitters for the aluminum-body F-150 and will provide the same for the Super Duty. “We provide guidance on what types of materials are suitable if they’re going to make modifications…what they need to do to keep aluminum and other materials, like steel, isolated from each other,” Levine said.
All three cabs — regular cab, SuperCab, and crew cab — are longer and include a new interior design. There are five models in the Super Duty lineup — XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum. The 2017 Super Duty will be built at Ford’s Kentucky truck plant and goes on sale late next year.