From virtual torture testing in supercomputers to purpose-built potholes, Ford has tough-tested the all-new Super Duty to make sure it’s ready for popular aftermarket cargo box equipment that ranges from glass racks to salt spreaders.
For the first time, the Super Duty body uses high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy, which is more dent- and ding-resistant than the outgoing steel cargo box and not subject to red rust corrosion.
The backbone of Super Duty is an all-new, fully boxed frame composed of more than 95 percent high-strength steel that is up to 24 times stiffer than the previous frame.
The new truck line also features heavier-duty four-wheel-drive components, driveline, axles and towing hardware than the current Super Duty.
Together, high-strength steel and high-strength aluminum alloy help reduce weight by up to 350 pounds. Ford is reinvesting additional weight savings everywhere it counts to give customers more towing and hauling capability than ever before.
“Ford Super Duty customers depend on their trucks to work hard every day across a variety of jobs,” said Kirk Leonard, vehicle integration engineer for Ford. “We drove prototype vehicles over the durability roads of the Ford Proving Grounds fitted with common aftermarket accessories to test the fitment and capability of our toughest pickup box ever.“
Before the first truck hit the roads at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds, plenty of upfront work was accomplished virtually using supercomputers to predict and engineer cargo box robustness.
“Our team of vehicle integration engineers worked together to develop a unique design approach with the Ford Truck Body Engineering team to drive optimized panel shape, added reinforcements and up-gauged materials into the pickup box – all of which were proved beneficial in our evaluation,” explained Leonard.
During the design of the new truck, Ford body structure engineers ran countless hours of supercomputer simulations with various aftermarket equipment examples to predict box load performance. The focus was to ensure the all-new 2017 Super Duty cargo box was as tough or tougher than previous models.
“Our modeling analysis enabled us to improve the structure and strength of the box in the design phase of the truck,” said John Comiez, Ford body structure engineer.
Throughout the evaluations on extreme durability roads and off-road terrain, and even after overloading select equipment, the new box design stood up to the abuse, run after run. Upon completing the challenge, the vehicles were examined in the lab by the team. No concerns were found in either the supporting structure or the mounting surfaces.
The all-new Super Duty will be built at Kentucky Truck Plant, and goes on sale late next year.