Craig Schmatz, Ford F-Series Super Duty chief engineer, didn’t mince words when summarizing the 2017 Super Duty lineup.
“Simply stated, this will be the most towing and highest payload of any Super Duty ever,” Schmatz, a 30-year plus Ford employee, explained to a standing room only crowd of reporters Monday night at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
An aluminum body, combined with a new, stronger frame and a more powerful powertrain have given Super Duty an impressive boost.
“So, putting that into perspective, what does that mean?” Schmatz asked. “A fully loaded super duty chassis cab and trailer can carry half the max of an 18-wheeler on most U.S. highways. Quite impressive.”
That translates into 40,000 pounds of hauling power, or an increase of 5,000 pounds over a 2016 Super Duty. The 7,500-pound front gross axle weight rating is up 500 pounds, or as Schmatz put it, “250 pounds more than our nearest competitor.”
In this case Ram was the nearest competitor located inside the convention center.
The Ford-built 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine is now equipped to churn out 330 horsepower, or 30 more than before. Torque now tops out at 750 foot pounds, a 90-foot pound improvement.
With plenty of weight savings realized from fitting Super Duty with an aluminum body, Ford engineers opted to beef up the truck’s frame. It features 95 percent high-strength steel with eight times more torsional rigidity than the previous frame, through-welded cross members, and fully boxed rails under the cab and forward for strength and safety.
Other Super Duty improvements include a larger gas tank (Schamtz wouldn’t specify size), integrated tailgate step and larger brakes for the F-450 and F-550.
“That means more confident braking, better overall brake life and overall confident experience,” Schmatz said.
Upfitting design changes include a new upfitter interface module, a customizable software program and a blunt cut interface.
“This will make it much easier and much more reliable for the electrical system for the upfitters to interface the vehicle and will provide lower cost for them and better experience over the long-term for the end customers,” Schmatz explained.
Super Duty has six new upfitter switches.
“We’ve got overhead on the vehicle; that’s two more than we had today. They’re all higher amperage. We’ve got two that can be on all the time as well as switchable and configurable. We’ve listened to what the chassis cab customers want and have delivered it.”
A new box link system includes cleats and brackets that can be customized for aftermarket accessories.
Super Duty garnered some accolades during the reveal. “Automotive Fleet” editor and associate publisher Mike Antich presented Ford with an award for best medium-duty truck of 2016. Both the Ford F-650 and Ford F-750 were chosen by readers based on cost of ownership, ergonomics, serviceability, durability and the capability of that truck to meet the needs of a specific vocation. Readers had 12 trucks to choose from online.