Ford Super Duty Diesel Climbs Back Atop The Power Ladder

Illustration for article titled Ford Super Duty Diesel Climbs Back Atop The Power Ladder

Heavy-duty truck buyers want more power and the 2011 Ford Super Duty's 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel's providing it with new best-in-class ratings: 800 lb-ft of torque and 400 HP. Below, a chart of how far the power wars have come.

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That's an increase of 65 lb.-ft. of torque and 10 HP over the power numbers of the 2010 version — and early versions of the 2011 — engine. The power boost comes as the result of a software upgrade to the truck's powertrain control module. Owner's who've already purchased a 2011 model year truck will get the power boost if they head to their local dealership for the software upgrade.

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This is just a continued escalation in the power wars for the heavy-duty pickup truck market that saw Chevy take the top of the hill for a few months and now sees Ford take the perch back after beating the snot out of 'em. But these power wars are a long-term affair — we've seen an over 100% increase in power output of heavy-duty Ford trucks alone since 1993.

Take a look at the chart below of Ford diesel power ratings since 1982 put together by our friends at PickupTrucks.com. How high will they go? If these numbers continue their stead creep higher, expect Ford's diesel to go from the 800 lb-ft gorilla to the 1000 lb-ft gorilla in the room by no later than 2015.

Illustration for article titled Ford Super Duty Diesel Climbs Back Atop The Power Ladder

And with greater power comes greater capability. Ford tells us that going forward, the F-350 dualies will now see maximum payload and maximum fifth-wheel towing climb to best-in-class levels. Higher-strength steel in the frame will boost the payload and towing ratings as follows:

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

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DISCUSSION

I don't trust anything Ford says about power ratings and tow ratings anymore. They seem to just arbitrarily increase capacities when they want to or when ever GM throws a hand down on the table. Not that Ford is the only culprit. GM does it took. Dodge does it too but they are usually so late to the game, they are like the annoying fat kid down the street that keeps yelling "Guys! Wait up! C'mon! *wheeze wheeze* Wait up! C'mon! *sob*"

Granted, it's not really a bad thing. I mean most modern pickup trucks are fairly comfortable, especially compared to even just the mid-90's. They have crazy power levels and have still managed to gain mileage. They look good and are just as if not more durable than all the older models.

But when you are talking about a 7,000+ pound payload, what's honestly the difference between 6,500 and 7,000? Everybody I know who would need a truck with that level of capability doesn't use a pickup truck. They use gigantic stake-bodies or box trucks. At the same time, when you are towing 21,000+ pounds, what's really the difference between 22,000 and 21,000? That's honestly an "overload" and not really any difference.

I'm all for very capable trucks. Hell, I'm currently trying to figure out how to afford one myself. But at the end of the day, the people who use these trucks for work don't care so much about the numbers comparisons. They are going to buy what they are loyal to and they can find a chassis that fits their needs from any of the Detroit names. The numbers are really just so nerds, geeks and weenies like us can sit around on the Internet debating them and looking for any inkling to demonstrate how our chosen brand is superior to others.

Instead of numbers, we should have realistic figures. Stuff like "How many Hyundais can it crush under it's gigantor weight?" or "How many Hondas can it drag around a race track before it's top speed is reduced by 50%?" or "How many rednecks can you fit in the back to point and laugh at the Toyota Tundras you pass until the springs bend backwards?"

You know, stuff that MATTERS!