Ford’s Super Duty midcycle refresh actually completes the fourth-generation redesign of the model that started with a redo of everything you see and now ends with a redo of the major mechanical systems—two new engines and a new 10-speed automatic transmission. For the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty, we’ll start with the newest of the new engines:
7.3-liter “Godzilla” Gas V-8
Bigger inside, smaller outside. Tidy exterior engine dimensions ease maintenance accessibility in all applications and afford more useful space for chassis-cab and motor-home chassis customers. Godzilla is reportedly narrower and shorter than both the V-10 and the 6.2-liter SOHC V-8. Inside, this shrunken engine’s 107.2mm bore and 101.0mm stroke pencil out to a 7,293cc (445-cubic-inch) displacement—a bump of 532cc over the V-10. The oversquare cylinder dimensions also help reduce cylinder-wall friction and heat transfer, improving overall efficiency relative to the V-10’s undersquare (90.2mm bore/105.8mm stroke) design. Overall weight is also reduced by about 50 pounds (23 kg). It’s currently the largest-displacement gas V-8 in the class, but there’s room in this clean-sheet design to bump the bore and stroke up a bit, should any of its bragging rights come under fire. There’s also oodles of room in the valley to accommodate a supercharger.
Variable cam timing. There is a cam phaser on the single in-block cam. It’s a simple fixed-overlap kind like those found on GM Small Block and FCA Hemi V-8s, not the Mechadyne DuoCam setup that provides for separate intake and exhaust timing variability like the one used on the Dodge Viper. It can rotate the cam up to 60 degrees. Advancing overall timing improves low-end/light-load torque and fuel economy; retarding it at high speeds improves horsepower. Cylinder deactivation will not be available at launch but could be added if that feature proves incredibly valuable to Ram HD customers. We’re told the camshaft bearings are larger than most, and roller rockers and followers are used to reduce high-speed friction. Also variable: the oil pump displacement (great for running that hydraulically actuated cam phaser).
Port injection only. After Ford added port and direct fuel injection to the F-150’s six-cylinder engines and changed the 5.0-liter to direct injection last year, we were a bit surprised to find port injection on this clean-sheet engine. It turns out the anticipated higher-load, lower-speed duty cycle these Super Duty applications experience don’t warrant the increased expense of direct injection. Also, the new 10-speed automatic transmission helps keep the engine operating in its “peak efficiency island” of 1,500 to 2,500 rpm. And even without DI, this new engine manages to tolerate 10.5:1 compression. Oh, and if the fuel you prefer to inject is compressed natural gas, Ford will again offer a CNG conversion kit.
Strong and Cool. The all-new cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft are built for heavy-duty loads, with four-bolt, cross-bolted main bearings. Oil jets cool the steel pistons just like on many high-power engine applications. The engine will be manufactured in Ford’s Windsor, Ontario, engine plant.
6.7-Liter Power Stroke Diesel
In-house. At the press event introducing its new Super Duty trucks, representatives frequently repeated the fact that Ford is the only manufacturer that designs and builds all of its own heavy-duty engines and transmissions—a not-so-subtle dig at FCA’s Cummins engine and Aisin transmission suppliers and GM’s use of Allison trannies. Indeed Ford’s latest 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 marks the third generation of in-house Power Stroke diesels since parting with Navistar in 2010.
Strengthened numbers. The basic block architecture is unchanged, but the compacted-graphite iron block and aluminum heads, along with the rods, bearings, and pistons, are all strengthened to withstand increased in-cylinder pressures expected in this “most powerful diesel ever offered in a Super Duty.” Power and torque figures have yet to be released, but the emphasis on power makes us wonder: Is Ford preparing us for a torque spec that doesn’t quite top the new Ram/Cummins’ kilo-lb-ft, but a power figure that blows away its 400 hp? (The second-gen 6.7-liter makes 450 hp and 935 lb-ft.) When asked, diesel tech specialist David Ives demurred, emphasizing that while torque gets a big load moving, it’s the power rating you need to keep it climbing the Davis Dam at a constant speed. We look forward to testing exactly that later this summer.
Highest fuel-injection pressure. A new fuel system provides a common-rail injection pressure of 36,000 psi—a new class record. The pump, located in the valley of the vee, is gear-driven at crankshaft speed off the (also gear-driven) cam. The fuel lines and rails are also upgraded, as are the piezo injectors themselves. They feature a new spray pattern and are capable of up to eight separate injection events per cycle.
New turbo. It’s still located in the valley of this “hot-vee” setup, but it is now quicker to respond to throttle inputs thanks to a revised variable-nozzle turbine that benefits from fully electric instead of electro-hydraulic control. Ives was mum about peak turbo pressure.
TorqShift 10-Speed Automatic
Three sizes. This year more variations on the basic transmission design developed in conjunction with General Motors are rolling out. We now learn that at Ford the design has been developed in three torque classes. The lightest-duty one goes in the Mustang and will be arriving soon in the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Navigator. The middle one is already in use in the F-150. Super Duty applications will employ the largest one. The “barrel” of the transmission, where all the planetary-gear magic happens, increases in diameter with each step up, allowing for beefier shafts, gears, and plates in the multiplate clutches.
All new. Less than 7 percent of parts are shared between the F-150 10-speed and the Super Duty TorqShift transmissions. Those that do carry over are primarily minor fasteners. Gear ratios have not been provided as yet, but we’re told they aren’t very different, though heavily loaded Super Duty vehicles may skip gears much less often than the light-duty trucks do. The new transmission also supports multiple drive modes, including normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow. And, as with the F-150, the much broader ratio spread promises improved performance and economy relative to the G6 six-speed TorqShift it replaces. It also fits in the same space and weighs just 3.5 pounds (1.6kg) more than the G6.
Live-Drive power takeoff. Another major differentiator is the power takeoff that’s offered as an option on Super Duty applications. Opt for Live-Drive, and the gearing that powers the oil pump gets scaled up so that the idler gear can deliver power for things like a hydraulic pump for dump trucks, bucket lifts, etc. As before, it works whether moving or stopped, and Ford claims this latest application can provide more power.