Ford fires up Super Duty cutaway production

PRODUCTION was scheduled to start in April on the “Superest” of Ford's Super Duty cutaway chassis, the E-550.

“The E-550 is an Econoline on steroids,” Scott Van Dorn, chief program engineer for the Ford E Series, said at the NTEA convention and Work Truck Show.

The E-550, with GVW ratings of 17,500 to 19,000 pounds, comes with 19.5" wheels, a 6,000-lb front GAWR and tapered leaf springs, along with new steering geometry that reduces the turning radius.

The load and ride height of the E-550 is comparable to that of the company's F-550 chassis cab and is noticeably greater than the E-450.

The E-550 is available in a variety of wheelbases — 159" to 233" and CA dimensions ranging from 100" to 174". In addition, Van Dorn said Ford is at work on instructions and procedures that will provide final-stage manufacturers with additional guidelines for performing frame modification.

CAD drawings on a CD-ROM are available for the E-550.

Production was scheduled to begin in April at the Ford plant in Lorain, Ohio.

In other Ford news:

  • A back panel is now available on all E-Series chassis.

  • Child restraint and other federal motor vehicle safety regulations are coming, and Ford will begin to implement changes ahead of compliance deadlines. “A lot of regulations are coming in the next few years for the van industry,” Van Dorn said. “Your industry will begin to be affected over the next two or three years.”

  • In January Ford increased the torque on the 7.3-liter to 525 ft-lb

  • In the first quarter of 2003, Ford will introduce the new Power Stroke powertrain consisting of a six-liter V-8 diesel engine and a five-speed automatic transmission.

The new powertrain reduces the time required to go from zero to 60 mph by 20% when compared with the current 7.3-liter engine. It also improves fuel economy by 10% and is capable of meeting the emissions regulations that go into effect for diesel engines in 2004.

Contributing to the improved engine performance is an electronic variable-response turbocharger that allows Ford to control the turbo over a wider range of operating conditions. In addition, new fuel systems capable of 26,000-psi injection pressures improve performance and helps Ford reach the new emissions limits for diesel engines.

  • Ford also is introducing a new five-speed automatic transmission designed to withstand the power and torque generated by the new engines. A number of refinements improve reliability and smoother responses to driver commands.

  • Ford begins its 2003 model year for medium-duty trucks in April. The company is sold out for the 2002 model year.

  • On Halloween, the company shuts down truck production at its Cuautitlan plant near Mexico City and will shift it to the Escobedo, Mexico, plant where Ford and International will operate its Blue Diamond joint venture. Production is scheduled to start shipping in January 2003, and the trucks will be considered 2004 models.

  • A measuring session for the 2004 model Blue Diamond 650/750 is being planned for this summer.

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