Ford tweaks Super Duty software to boost fuel economy by another 2%

Ford Diesel Supervisor Steve Hawk tests the new Power Stroke software

Competition is a good thing and you'd be hard pressed to find a more competitive segment in the car industry than full-size trucks. Ford, General Motors and, to a lesser extent, Chrysler are continuously trying to outdo each other for the hearts and minds of truck buyers. Just weeks after Ford introduced its new 2011 Super Duty trucks earlier this year, GM struck back with upgraded heavy duty pickups of its own. Scanning across the spec sheets of the two brands, the GM trucks exceeded the Fords ever so slightly in almost every category including power and fuel efficiency of the new diesel V8s.

Not content to let its brand-new, 6.7-liter Power-Stroke sit in second place, Ford went back to the dynomometer and started tweaking the calibrations in a effort to beat both the power numbers and the fuel efficiency of its rivals. The power and torque are now up to 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet while the fuel efficiency has been boosted by another two percent over the trucks built since earlier this year. That gives the 2011 Super Duty a 20-percent advantage over the 2010 models. The best part is that customers that already purchased a 2011 Super Duty will be able to get the software upgrade for free from Ford dealers. Now let's see what GM can come up with in response. Both the Ford and GM diesel truck engines are now certified for use with B20 biodiesel.

[Source: Ford]


  • The 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V8 turbocharged diesel is now rated at best-in-class 800 lb.-ft. of torque and 400 horsepower, an increase of 65 lb.-ft. of torque and 10 horsepower. Current 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty diesel owners can get the increased performance through a free dealer-installed software upgrade to the truck's powertrain control module
  • Super Duty reclaims F-350 towing and payload leadership vs. Chevrolet Silverado 3500. When it comes to capability, Super Duty offers uncompromised choice – whether it's F-250, F-350, F-450 or F-550
  • The 6.7-liter Super Duty diesel now has 20 percent better fuel economy compared with the outgoing engine based on Ford drive-cycle tests of comparably equipped 2011 Ford and 2010 Ford models
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 3, 2010 – Ford Motor Company will begin production this week of the most powerful diesel engine ever installed in a heavy-duty pickup, Barb Samardzich, vice president of powertrain engineering, announced today at an international auto industry conference.

Introduced in April 2010, the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel powering the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty will be upgraded to best-in-class 800 lb.-ft. of torque and 400 horsepower, Samardzich said at the Center for Automotive Research's annual Management Briefing Seminars.

"These numbers are impressive, yes, but that is not why they matter," Samardzich said. "These numbers matter because our customers say they do. The higher torque means that fleet operators, such as Florida Power & Light, can plow through deep swamps and get to downed power lines faster and more confidently. It means that oil and gas crews in the Northwest can tow up an 8,000-foot grade maintaining a steady speed and using less fuel."

In an industry-first customer loyalty program, Ford will provide the power upgrades free of charge to all current owners of a 2011 Super Duty diesel pickup. Customers will receive letters explaining the procedure, a 30-minute software adjustment to the truck's powertrain control module, and inviting them to visit their dealerships for the upgrade.

The upgrade program will begin by Aug. 31 and continue for the next 12 months. The 2011 Super Duty diesel pickups in dealer inventory will receive the upgrade as well.

A rigorous testing protocol that included computer, laboratory and on-road validation ensured 250,000-mile durability in the new Power Stroke's components and systems. This strict testing opened the door for the 2011 Super Duty's increased capability.

"We know that durability and reliability is uppermost in the minds of our Super Duty customers, along with torque and horsepower, so we took a conservative approach that ensured that the new Power Stroke would be absolutely bulletproof while delivering significantly improved power," said Chris Brewer, chief engineer of the 2011 Super Duty.

New Ford design and engineering methods enable strong platform from which to build
The new Power Stroke is a "clean sheet" that combines the best of proven technology with new, patented approaches backed by an extensive laboratory and real-world testing regimen to assure customer satisfaction. Benefits of the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine include:

* First use of a compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine block in a Super Duty-class vehicle in North America; stronger than cast iron, Ford has successfully used CGI in engine blocks in products around the world. The block structure was optimized for reduced weight and maximum strength to meet the demands of higher torque and horsepower.
* Unique inboard exhaust and outboard intake architecture, an automotive-industry first for a modern production diesel engine, reduces overall exhaust system volume, which leads to better throttle response for the customer; additionally, reduced exhaust system surface area minimizes heat transfer to the engine compartment and improves NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) performance.
* The new engine architecture enables easier service work for all major engine components, potentially reducing downtime. On turbocharger service, for example, the body/cab no longer has to be removed from the frame to access the turbo; also, the high-pressure fuel pump, EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) components and thermostats are directly accessible from the front of the vehicle.
* The turbocharger features an industry-first dual-sided compressor wheel that works in a single housing. The unit is uniquely center-mounted on a pedestal low in the back of the valley for improved NVH. This turbocharger design allows the single unit to deliver the benefits of a twin-turbocharger system in a smaller, more efficient package, combining the advantages of a small turbocharger (faster response) and a large turbocharger (ability to compress and force more air into the engine for more power) in one unit.
* The high-pressure fuel system injects fuel at more than 29,000 psi. The system delivers up to five injection events per cylinder per cycle using eight-hole piezo injectors to spray fuel into the piston bowl. The direct-injection system is calibrated and phased for optimum power, fuel efficiency and NVH performance.
* Aluminum cylinder heads for reduced weight; the mid-deck construction with dual water jackets provides increased strength and optimal cooling; also, six head bolts, instead of four as found on other engines, help improve sealing and maintain cylinder integrity.
* Compatible up to B20 fuel, allowing greener fueling options of up to 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.

The new Super Duty debuted not only with a new diesel engine, but with a new heavy-duty TorqShift™ six-speed automatic transmission. As experience was gained building the new powertrain, engineers continued to test components, check data and seek optimizations.

More power and better fuel economy, too
Fuel economy is expected to improve at least another 2 percent, making the 2011 F-Series Super Duty 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel a full 20 percent more fuel efficient than the 2010 model. The improved torque and horsepower, for example, means a customer can get to a higher gear faster and stay in it longer, both of which aid fuel economy.

"Our testing procedure proved to us we could push the hardware a little harder," said Brewer. "Again, we wanted to make absolutely sure our customers received an engine that was outstanding in all the key attributes: durability, reliability, power, performance and fuel economy."

The increased performance will be evident in situations such as improved passing capability on the highway or when towing a heavy load up a steep grade. When towing, the increased engine torque will let the vehicle stay in high gear more often, reducing transmission shifting frequency and keeping engine speed low for better fuel economy and lower noise.

Best-in-class capability reclaimed for F-350 models going forward
Going forward, the F-350 dual-rear-wheel (DRW) model will add vehicle upgrades to bring maximum payload and maximum fifth-wheel towing to best-in-class levels. Higher-strength steel in the frame will boost the payload and towing ratings as follows:

* F-350 DRW maximum payload to 7,070 pounds, from 6,520 pounds
* F-350 DRW maximum fifth-wheel towing to 22,600 pounds, from 21,600 pounds

"Customers of the F-350 dual-rear-wheel configuration push their trucks to the limit and are the ultimate payload and towing users," said Brewer. "And like with the diesel upgrades, we've found we can push the Super Duty even harder and bump up the ratings. The fact we have more torque and horsepower makes the job that much easier."

More Information