Ford rolls out Work Solutions

Nov. 1, 2008
Ford has expanded its features for truck customers by rolling out a collection of industry-exclusive technologies for F-Series trucks and commercial E-Series

Ford has expanded its “smart” features for truck customers by rolling out a collection of industry-exclusive technologies for F-Series trucks and commercial E-Series vans that will help make business owners more productive and successful.

Ford Work Solutions delivers four features:

  • An in-dash computer developed with Magneti Marelli and powered by Microsoft Auto that provides full high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network and navigation by Garmin. It's the first broadband-capable in-dash computer in production. This system allows customers to print invoices, check inventories and access documents stored on their home or office computer networks -right on the job site.

  • Tool Link, a radio-frequency identification (RFID) asset tracking system developed in partnership with DeWalt Inc, a leading manufacturer of professional power tools, and ThingMagic, specialists in embedded RFID technology. This enables customers to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of the tools or equipment stored in the pickup box.

  • Crew Chief, a fleet telematics and diagnostics system, which allows small fleet owners to efficiently manage their vehicles, dispatch workers to job sites, and keep detailed vehicle maintenance records.

  • Cable Lock security system developed in partnership with Master Lock, the lock manufacturer, to discourage theft of expensive tools too large to fit in the cab.

Ford Work Solutions features were developed through hands-on research with contractors and trades people in multiple markets around the US.

All four Ford Work Solutions are available on the new 2009 Ford F-150 XL, STX, XLT and FX4 trucks; F-Series Super Duty XL, XLT and FX4 trucks; and all 2009 E-Series vans. Transit Connect vans join the lineup in mid-2009. Several of the features will be available for dealer installation to upgrade Ford Trucks already in service.

Getting connected

Rob Stevens, chief engineer for commercial vehicles, said the Transit Connect is a compact van purpose-built for small business owners seeking a fuel-efficient alternative to full-size vans. It is designed, engineered, and manufactured by Ford of Europe.

According to Stevens, its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission will deliver estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Cargo capacity is 143 cubic feet, and it can handle loads up to 6.5 feet in length and 4.7 feet in width.

The compact van boasts a flat load floor, dual sliding side cargo doors and rear doors that open 180 degrees, as well as front doors with large openings to make entering and exiting the vehicle for delivery drivers.


Stevens said E-Series improvements include a redesigned instrument panel and console, door trim panels with more storage, built-in auxiliary switches users can customize, wider-opening rear doors, more comfortable seats, and a factory-installed navigation system. A new message center features standard vehicle maintenance information as well as miles-to-empty and fuel economy numbers. The message center is standard on vans equipped with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel engine and includes an engine-hour meter that keeps a running total of engine use, even during idling.

A new door system makes it easier to move the rear doors to their full-open position. A detent allows the doors to be held open at 95 degrees. When needed, they can be opened to 172 degrees with a simple push, allowing full access to the rear cargo area.

There are more fueling options. E-Series full-size cargo vans equipped with 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter engines are capable of running on E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), pure gasoline, or any blend in between. All E-Series engines are designed to meet 2010 emissions standards.

Ford added safety equipment, including a new optional, dash-mounted front-passenger air-bag cutoff switch on vans and cutaways; standard AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control) on all wagons and recreational vans and optional on commercial vans with gasoline engines; and an optional factory-installed integrated trailer brake controller that allows direct operation of the trailer's electronic brakes by squeezing the control module on the instrument panel with more confidence than typical aftermarket systems.


The improvement for the 2009 model starts with a fully boxed frame constructed with hydro-formed and high-strength steel side rails. The lightweight frame delivers 10% more torsional rigidity, which delivers increased durability and safety. The frame also paved the way for the 2009 F-150 to improve upon the current model's towing and hauling capability across all cab configurations.

The new F-150 will offer standard AdvanceTrac with RSC and trailer sway control, plus available rearview camera assist as well as integrated trailer brake controller.

The interior of the new SuperCrew offers more usable space for people and gear, thanks to a 6” stretch that improves rear seat legroom and cargo capacity. A mechanically articulated second-row seat flips up and out of the way. Combined with a flat load floor, the feature gives the new SuperCrew 57.6 cubic feet of space behind the front seats and can accommodate items up to 47.9” tall.

Under the hood, the new F-150 will be powered by three modern V-8 engines, mated to either a 4-speed or a new fuel-efficient 6-speed automatic transmission. The engines include:

  • 5.4-liter, 3-valve Triton V-8, which has been optimized for better performance with improved horsepower and torque and is capable of running on E85, pure gasoline or any blend in between.

  • 4.6-liter, 3-valve V-8, which is new for F-150. Both the 5.4-liter and 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8s utilize open valve injection. This unique feature improves the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber, which results in an increase in horsepower during towing and reduced emissions.

  • 4.6-liter, 2-valve V-8, a third V-8 choice in the line-up that delivers more horsepower with the same fuel economy performance as the outgoing truck's V-6.

This all-V-8 engine lineup delivers a fleet-average 1 mpg improvement in fuel economy versus the outgoing F-Series. Diesel and EcoBoost gas turbo direct injection engines are planned for F-150 in 2010.

The pickup box is made easier to use, more flexible and accessible with such new features as tailgate and box side steps, stowable bed extender, and cargo management system.

F-Series Super Duty

F-Series Super Duty offers more standard capability for 2009, including an integrated trailer brake controller and trailer tow mirrors on select models.

Standard GVWR on the F-450 has been increased 500 lb to 16,500 lb. It will retain 15,000-lb and 16,000-lb GVWR offerings for markets and applications where these ratings are required.

All four Super Duty trim levels — XL, XLT, FX4 and Lariat — come with new standard features. The XL now comes standard with air conditioning, Securilock, and manual trailer tow mirrors.

The XLT now has power-heated trailer tow mirrors, privacy glass, integrated trailer brake controller, remote keyless entry, and Securilock as standard features.

The FX4 adds standard PowerScope integrated power-fold, power-telescoping mirrors, power seats, privacy glass, integrated trailer brake controller, captain's chairs, and SIRIUS satellite radio.

The Lariat adds all of the new FX4 standard content as well as the reverse camera system, a power sliding rear window, heated seats, molded running boards and SYNC.

Ford is offering Tough Bed, a military-grade, factory-installed, spray-in bed liner for the first time on the 2009 F-Series Super Duty.

According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), installation of spray-in bedliners grew from 27% in 2004 to nearly 34% of all pickup trucks in 2006 and will continue to grow at a steady rate to nearly 40% in 2008.

Developed in partnership with PPG Industries, this military-grade coating has been through the government's toughest blast mitigation testing to determine whether the material can withstand the force of a bomb blast. It has performed equal to or better than other protective coating systems at one-third the thickness.

The polyol-based elastomeric film and isocyanate hardener are applied to the pickup box by a precision, high-pressure, automated sprayer to ensure one thin, smooth, even coat — unlike the traditional hand-spray application of aftermarket bed liners.

The finer application ensures that the bedliner materials won't run or sag on the inside walls of the box in addition to minimizing unnecessary weight. Tough Bed does not compromise Super Duty's cargo capacity or the installation of aftermarket assets such as toolboxes, tonneau covers, and truck caps.

The special bedliner material formula is immune to the effects of ultraviolet radiation and will not fade or chalk. It also protects against physical damage to the pickup box such as gouging, scratching, cracking, and chipping. It is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile factory limited warranty.

All F-Series Super Duty models are built at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

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.