New F-Super Duty coming

FORD saved its biggest news for later.

Those attending the company's session at The Work Truck Show were invited to attend the measuring sessions for the 2005 F-Super Duty May 17-19 in Dearborn, and the company introduced its new low-cab-forward chassis at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

A total of six half-day measuring sessions were held at the Ford Conference and Event Center in Dearborn, Michigan, to provide truck body and equipment manufacturers a preview of the new chassis.

The 2005 F-Super Duty will start production in late July, Ford's Bill Chew said. Details of the new model were limited, but Chew did say that electronic engine controls will be included that would make it possible to elevate the idle control through the ECM.

“We are working to make sure that everything you have in the 2004 product will be there for you in the 2005 model year — plus a little bit more,” Chew said.

Among Ford's announcements at The Work Truck Show:

  • The GVWR of the E-350 dual-rear-wheel with 138-inch wheelbase has been increased from 10,700 pounds to 11,500 pounds without adding any tare weight.

  • White wheels are now available on cutaway stripped chassis.

  • For 2005, an electronic control will be included with all gasoline engines.

  • The auxiliary idle control module will be discontinued as an orderable option.

  • The natural gas engine goes away after the 2004 model year.

  • For F-650/750, a new vertical exhaust will be added for utility applications.

  • CAD data available through Ford's Body Builders Advisory Service. The data will come on a set of two CDs — one for E-Series and one for F-Super Duty.

Fast-growing niche

The new 2006 Ford LCF (Low Cab Forward) is Ford's response to customer demands for a differentiated alternative in the growing tilt cab segment. It was unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville three weeks after The Work Truck Show.

“The low cab forward segment is one of the fastest-growing niches in the commercial truck industry, with sales up almost 50 percent in the last decade,” said Joe Castelli, Ford Division Commercial Truck Director.

Built in and for North America, the Ford LCF will get 200 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque from its Power Stroke 4.5L V-6 diesel engine. The diesel will be paired with Ford's TorqShift® 5-speed electronic automatic transmission.

The standard powertrain also features the popular Tow-Haul mode to help when drivers tow loads up and down steep grades. Going uphill, the powertrain controller automatically adjusts the shift points to keep the engine in its maximum power zone with no gear hunting. And downhill, a tap on the brakes automatically downshifts the transmission to help slow the vehicle. An optional power take-off provision also is available to run specialized equipment.

The Ford LCF frame will have cross-members joined by Huck bolts. Frame rails, spaced 34 inches apart, will have a resisting bending moment (RBM) of 461K. Ford will offer four AF choices, five C/A dimensions, and five wheelbase lengths. Depending on wheelbase and configuration, choices of fuel tanks will include the standard 40-gallon tank located rear of the axle and between the frame rails, an optional 35-gallon side-mounted tank, or dual side tanks with a capacity of 70 gallons.

The new trucks go into production early next year as 2006 models. Class 4 and 5 configurations, with GVWRs of 16,000, 17,999 and 19,500 pounds, may be ordered later this year.

Remaining loyal

The current Class 3-5 cab forward segment comprises annual sales of about 24,000 units, but growth projections show sales of 40,000 units by 2010. Truck showroom research shows that tilt cab customers are extremely loyal and that 76% of tilt cab customers' second choice is another tilt cab. Once customers choose tilt cabs, they tend to stick with them.

The LCF is being developed as part of the Blue Diamond joint venture (JV) and will be assembled at the JV's Escobedo, Mexico facility. The joint venture was formed in February 2001 to build a variety of commercial trucks to be marketed and serviced separately by Ford and its JV partner.

In September 2002, Ford debuted its 2004 F-650 and F-750 Super Duty trucks, the first products to result from the joint venture. The 2004 models offer extensive breadth and depth of product with a choice of three cab configurations, three diesel engine options and 38 wheelbase choices, allowing the trucks to be easily upfitted across a wide variety of body types.

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