Barely 36 months removed from its most recent refresh, Super Duty – Ford’s heavy truck lineup – will see several upgrades for the 2020 model year.
Changes under the hood include an all-new Ford-designed and built 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine which will serve as a second option to the standard 6.2-liter gasser in 2020 Super Duty pickups. A third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 with more power and torque will also debut.
With production slated for later this year, Ford Truck Marketing Manager Todd Eckert declined to release power ratings for both the new 7.3-liter and the bolstered 6.7 Power Stroke. But Dave Filipe, Ford’s vice president of global powertrain, promised the Power Stroke would be “the most powerful diesel engine that we’ve ever had in Super Duty.”
For the current model year, the 6.7-liter Power Stroke pushes out 450 hp and 935 lb.-ft. of torque, a considerable upgrade over the 400 hp / 800 lb.-ft. from first generation models.
Power numbers for 2020, Eckert says, will be made available closer to the launch.
The updated 2020 Power Stroke includes a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system with all-new injectors that Super Duty Chief Engineer Mike Pruitt says more precisely meter and spray up to eight times per stroke to control noise levels and optimize combustion. The engine features a redesigned electronic-actuated variable-geometry turbocharger for improved pumping efficiency and throttle response. Worth noting is that Ford used a new turbo, new injector nozzles and exhaust improvements to squeeze out 40 more horsepower and 80 more lb. ft. of torque for the 2015 model year, achieving power output of 440 hp / 860 lb. ft. torque.
Pruitt says structural enhancements for the 2020 engine increase the strength of the cylinder head, block, connecting rods and bearings to handle the higher cylinder pressure and increased output. New steel pistons provide higher firing pressure capability and less friction for added performance, more horsepower and torque.
The new 445 cubic inch gas engine, Filipe says, will slide between the standard V8 and the beefed up Power Stroke and will be “the highest rated gasoline engine for Super Duty, ever.” The new 7.3-liter big block, which is expected to be the most powerful gas V8 in its class, features an all-new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft for added durability. Port injection with variable valve timing optimizes the intake and exhaust to match performance and workload while oil jets cool the pistons under heavy load.
New transmission adds four more gears
Both engines will be paired with an all-new 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission that Eckert says was “designed and tested for the heavy duty customer.”
Super Duty’s new electronically controlled TorqShift is fundamentally similar to the 10-speed that debuted on F-150 last year but according to the manager of Ford’s transmission systems, Greg Stout, it was a “clean sheet design” that produced “a very beefy, very capable transmission.”
“It shares the same architecture and power flow – the same number of clutches and the same number of planetary gears – but the parts are bigger, beefier, stronger, just to match the engine capability,” Stout says. “This transmission actually has fewer than 10 percent parts in common with the F-150 transmission. And those are things that don’t carry any torque because this transmission was designed to specifically complement the new [engines]. This obviously has a lot higher torque requirements and customer duty cycle requirements than our F-150.”
“This transmission is engineered to handle more abuse in terms of higher weight ratings and loads,” adds Chris Brewer, Ford’s lead driveline system engineer. “It handles twice as much input and twice as much load [compared to the F-150 transmission].”
It also features a wider gear ratio span than the current generation 6-speed. Taller first gears should mean easier startup for Ford’s heaviest trucks and improved step ratios between gears will allow for optimized powertrain matching.
“With the wider gear span,” Filipe says, “we’re going to be able to optimize the shift points … to make this a seamless shifting transmission.”
It has selectable drive modes that include normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow. Even with four additional gears, the new 10 speed fits in the same space as the 6-speed while weighing only 3.5 pounds more.
The heavy-duty transmission continues to offer class-exclusive live-drive power takeoff, which allows operators to engage industrial equipment and accessories while the truck is moving.
For 2020, Super Duty gets Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist. With hands off the steering wheel, drivers can use the Pro Trailer Backup Assist knob to steer the trailer through the reverse camera. The truck’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system shows trailer angle and direction, and provides steering suggestions to most efficiently direct a trailer backward. Both systems are built to accommodate all trailer styles, including fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.
Every new 2020 Super Duty is equipped with a FordPass Connect embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices. Other techie updates include the addition of wireless charging and USB-C ports to power devices.
Added safety features – standard on XLT and above – include an available lane-keeping alert that helps keep the truck between the lines on the road, and the Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage monitors for vehicles in blind spots. Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection aids in avoiding or mitigating collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.
Interior, exterior styling
Super Duty also gets a subtle, new curbside look. An enhanced front-end design allows for optimized airflow cooling and lighting performance under heavy loads. All dual-rear-wheel Super Duty trucks come fitted with a dual inlet port, high-airflow grille optimized for maximum powertrain cooling.
Super Duty’s LED headlamps have a new look with improved performance and high series trucks feature continuous signature lighting. An improved front bumper and air dam optimize cooling and make using utility hooks easier. At the rear you’ll find a fresh tailgate design, revised tail lamps and new rear bumper.
Decorative appliqués on the doors and media bin door have been updated on Lariat, while on Platinum edition trucks, these pieces have been updated to Onyx Argento wood. The interior of the Limited model got completely refreshed, with colors updated to Ebony and Highland Tan to provide a refined, modern feel. Limited features authentic materials like genuine leather, a coarse ash wood in black and modern brushed aluminum trim. Crafted details include decorative stitching on the leather-wrapped instrument panel topper, wrapped door armrests, seating and center console lid, and an embroidered Super Duty logo added to the floor mats. A soft headliner in Miko suede is intended to give the cabin an expansive feel.