Powertrain overhaul for Ford

Nov. 1, 2010
FOR the first time in the 60-year history of the Ford F-Series, four new truck engines are being introduced, all coupled to a revised six-speed automatic

FOR the first time in the 60-year history of the Ford F-Series, four new truck engines are being introduced, all coupled to a revised six-speed automatic transmission.

Available at launch are a 3.7-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8, each with fuel-saving and performance-enhancing twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) technology, and a version of the 6.2-liter V8 that is the base engine in the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty. A 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, specially tuned and calibrated for the F-150, will be available in early 2011.

Ford says that when the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine joins the lineup, the 2011 F-150 will have up to 20% better fuel economy compared with the outgoing 2010 F-150.

Prototype engines underwent a wide range of tests to ensure complete compatibility with truck application and truck durability, with all components and systems passing testing to the equivalent of 150,000 miles. Components such as the exhaust manifolds and the crankshaft (forged steel) were upgraded, piston-cooling jets and oil coolers were added, and engines were specifically calibrated for improved heavy-duty operation and durability in F-150.

The 3.7-liter, built at the Cleveland plant, generates an estimated 300 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm — enough power to achieve a trailer tow rating of 6,100 pounds. The engine offers E85 flex fuel capability.

The 3.7-liter V6 powering the base 2011 F-150 is the latest application of the Duratec V6 engine, with additional technology and upgrades for truck application. In particular, more work was done on the bottom end of the engine. Other enhancements for durability include a forged-steel crankshaft, cast-iron exhaust manifolds, and a die-cast aluminum oil pan, which supports a 10,000-mile interval for oil changes. The design of the cylinder bore and piston rings has been optimized for efficient lubrication.

The 5.0-liter V8, built at Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ontario, is rated at 360 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 380 lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm. It has a 9800-lb maximum trailer tow rating. It, too, has E85 flex fuel capability.

While this 5.0-liter V8 engine is similar to the one powering the 2011 Mustang GT, it has several differences to optimize it for the harsh duty cycle truck customers demand: the camshafts were tuned to improve low-speed torque, which is key to truck customers; and the 10.5:1 compression ratio was optimized to reduce knock tendency at lower engine speeds while towing.

The 6.2-liter V8, built at Romeo, Michigan, Engine Plant, generates 411 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 434 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm, and it carries an 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow rating.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost, built at Cleveland Engine Plant, has power comparable to a naturally aspirated V-8. Features include: fuel economy improvement of up to 20% versus the 2010 MY F-150 5.4-liter V8; improved intake and exhaust camshafts; cast exhaust manifolds for heavy-duty operation and durability; improved manifold and cylinder heads; and direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valvetrain with polished buckets to reduce friction and improve fuel economy.

Several available enhancements have been added to the 6R80 transmission to help F-150 customers tow more easily, including SelectShift with both progressive range select and manual functions.

Super Duty changes

The new engines for the Ford F-150 follow the all-new engine lineup for the F-Series Super Duty introduced earlier this year and highlighted by the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel. In addition, the 2011 Super Duty got a refreshed front-end, and a new 6.2L V8 gas engine.

In Job #2 on the chassis cab, the urea tank will have a mid-ship location on vehicles with aft-of-axle fuel tank only. It will remain outboard on the frame rail on the passenger side with mid-ship fuel tank. If required for Job #1 builds, a FCSD service kit is available to relocate the DEF tank between the frame rails (aft fuel tank-only applications).

Super Duty Marketing Manager Todd Kaufman said the F-450/F-550 chassis cabs are the first vehicles of their size to have true split-shaft PTO capability. It operates at a range of 700 rpm to 3000 rpm.

PTO enhancements for the 6.7-liter diesel include: lowered minimum engine coolant temperatures from 100° F currently to 20° degrees for PTO engagement; eliminates the need for a change of state (allows remote start/stops without switching SEIC off and back on); vehicle output signal was corrected (VSO); high rail issue was resolved.

E-Series gets roll stability

Chief engineer Rob Stevens said the E-Series has these enhancements:

  • Roll Stability Control (RSC) is standard on all commercial vans, and limited slip axles available with RSC on vans and wagons, with the RSC light now integrated into the instrument panel.

  • A new hydraulic system line material is on all vehicles compatible for use with type “A” fluid.

  • A new power steering pump, reservoir and belt.

  • A new 225-amp alternator is available on 5.4-liter gas engines.

  • Standard GVWR ratings were increased from 9,600 to 9,900 lbs on E-350 SRW cutaways (138/158" with aft-of-axle fuel tank). A 10,050 GVWR is available as an option (including the ambulance prep package).

  • A new plastic mid-ship fuel tank (33 gallons) will be offered with integrated carbon vapor canister and new wiring that is standard on all vans and wagons and E-250/E-350 cutaways equipped with mid-ship fuel tanks. All other cutaways and stripped chassis with an aft-axle fuel tank will use a carryover canister and bracket assembly mounted inboard of the frame on the driver's side near the #3 crossmember.

Alternative fuel options

Stevens said the Transit Connect has a new CNG/LPG prep package (hardened valves and seats). The package is part of the Ford Commercial Vehicle sustainability philosophy. Under this philosophy, Ford will concentrate efforts on four technologies: CNG/LPG (dedicated and bi-fuel), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV); hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), and battery electric vehicles (BEV).

“What we're doing is different than our competitors,” he said. “There is no one application that is perfect and covers all applications. Different technologies are available, and needs are different. We're trying to marry up various technologies to those needs to make an offering we think is right for the end user.”

Here are some of Ford's plans:

  • Medium trucks have biodiesel availability now and CNG/LPG in the first quarter of 2012.

  • F-450/F-550 Super Duty models have biodiesel now. CNG/LPG will be available by the end of this year, and PHEV will be offered in 2011.

  • F-250/F-350 Super Duty models have biodiesel now. CNG/LPG and E85 options will be offered in the 6.2L by the third quarter of 2011.

  • Stripped chassis (commercial, E-Series-based E29/E39/E49), E-Series (van, bus), and E-Series (cutaway) have CNG/LPG, E85, and PHEV.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.