- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

The Big Three automakers have unleashed lots of thunder for their heavy-duty pickups. Ford recently announced an entry in this battle of the titans, a battle that's certain to quake the work-truck world.
Its Super Duty pickup has a 32-valve, 6.0-liter V-8 Power Stroke diesel that boasts segment-leading torque and horsepower. The 6.0-liter, a replacement for the 7.3-liter Power Stroke, is efficient a lower-displacement engine with a higher output. It cranks out an awesome 560 foot-pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm and 325 horsepower at 3,300 rpm. This is a gain of 40 foot-pounds of torque and 50 horsepower over the 7.3-liter.
Ford reports this power provides a 25 percent improvement in the vehicle's gradability the vehicle's ability to efficiently tug a heavy trailer up a steep hill. It also has ample muscle for towing a well-equipped two-horse trailer.
"Whether you're using it to earn your paycheck five or six or seven days a week, or you're using it to live your life on the weekend and tow your monster boat to the lake, this powertrain delivers, no matter which customer you are," said Tim Stoehr, Super Duty marketing manager.
Aside from brute power, the 6.0-liter boasts 20 percent reduction in oxides of nitrogen emissions, 8 percent to 10 percent better fuel economy and much improved quietness. A key to the engine's efficiency is an Electronic Variable Response Turbocharger.
Electronic control is used on this turbocharger to optimize performance during varying driving conditions. Notably, it keeps the engine in tune with the transmission for strong launch characteristics. A contributor to quietness is a new fuel system. It is capable of injecting a minute pilot quantity of fuel into the combustion chamber early in the combustion event, to be followed by the main fuel charge. This smoothes out the combustion process and alleviates the harsh knock associated with a diesel engine.
"You can't appreciate the sound characteristics of this vehicle until you put a 10,000-pound trailer on it and haul it up the mountainside and it's quiet," said Charley Freese, chief engineer for diesel engines. "It's like being in a passenger car."
Improved serviceability is another Power Stroke plus. One of the measures taken to ease maintenance woes is mounting the oil filter front-center atop the engine. Also, the water pump can be removed without breaking any connection to the radiator.
Ford's improved Power Stroke diesel, which comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, has a new optional transmission mate the TorqShift five-speed automatic transmission. It features heavy-duty components capable of handling the Power Stroke's raging torque output.
The engine's durability duty cycle is 250,000 miles, and the TorqShift is engineered to be a lifetime partner.
The TorqShift transmission features an upgraded torque converter to maximize low-speed torque, a cooling system with a fluid pump more than doubled in size, an upgraded clutch system and the addition of a tow-haul mode, which eliminates unnecessary gear-hunting when towing a load uphill.
The TorqShift also works in tandem with the Power Stroke, using engine braking to control vehicle speed on hill descents.
Ford boasts that altering gear ratios contributes to an improved off-line kick. First-gear ratio is 3.1 times the input. Along with this gear-ratio setup for strong first-gear launches, the transmission maintains an overdrive ratio for improved highway fuel economy.
The TorqShift transmission works with the quieter Power Stroke diesel for overall lower powertrain noise. Adding insulation to improve the cab environment also contributes to the articulation index the ability to carry on a conversation in a vehicle and not be worn out after making a four-to-five hour drive.
Ford reports its insulated cabs and smooth powertrain characteristics help F-Series Super Duty pickups perform at noise levels comparable to those of some European luxury cars.
About 60 percent to 75 percent of Ford's customers are expected to buy Super Duty equipped with the Power Stroke diesel option, priced at $5,085, Mr. Stoehr said, and the new diesel-powered models are expected to sell well. "The loyalty in Super Duty trucks is among the highest in the Ford Division."


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