Development team could recreate inclines on flat roads
Ford used a new dynamometer sled that simulates steep grades in the development of the new 2017 F-Series Super Duty truck range. Traditionally, dynamometer sleds are attached to the tow hitch and pulled by the vehicle, and the Blue Oval is now utilizing the equipment to test the mountain-climbing capabilities and limits of the new F-Series Super Duty.
The dynamometer sled simulates steep grades by providing a pull against the truck. A series of electric coils that are energized and wired together, called a brake limiter, acts like a magnet to mimic the effect of gravity when driving up an incline. Compared to the old units used, the new dynos are capable of producing a maximum drawbar pull of 5,620 pounds (2,549 kg), which is 3,620 pounds (1,642 kg) more than before. This new setup can simulate steeper hills that have up to a 30-percent grade.
“The new Super Duty is really impressive,” said Jim Sumner, Ford product development engineer. “In more than 25 years of doing this work, we used the same dyno, which did the job, but the new truck is so powerful we needed new equipment to test out its capability. The fact that even under full load, Super Duty didn’t have any trouble at all is a testament to just how capable this new truck is.”
Thanks to the new sled, engineers didn’t need to leave flat ground in order to test the Super Duty’s capabilities. They were also able to upload the profiles of hills to the dyno, allowing it to adjust to the correct grade and test the truck in a wide variety of conditions regardless of the current environment. Ford engineers tested the 2017 F-Series Super Duty at multiple locations, including Davis Dam, an 11.2-mile stretch of road that rises from sea level to more than 3,000 feet above, and one that Motor Trend uses to test vehicles for our Truck of the Year program; and Townes Pass, a 16-mile road that has an average grade of 5.1 percent and a maximum grade of 10.1 percent.