Gallery: 2020 F-Series Super Duty in action

Jan. 22, 2020
Ford’s toughest trucks put to the test in Arizona desert.

PHOENIX. “Best in class” was a term used early and often by Ford representatives during a press event here to launch the new 2020 F-Series Super Duty. And while the assembled truck and off-road media didn’t have competing vehicles for comparison, editors were given the opportunity to put a wide range of Super Duty configurations through about every challenge they could imagine—and a few additional tricks of the trail designed by the Ford off-road team that might as well have been marked with signs saying “Go ahead, we dare you.”

The general consensus: It will be a challenge for any truck manufacturer to top this next level of Built Ford Tough heavy-duty pickup truck capability, power and technology—although those Ford representatives on hand were quick to add they’re already working on it. (A trepidatious editor's road trip report is here.)

“Super Duty customers have demanding and diverse needs—from towing heavy trailers to repairing critical infrastructure,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, North America. “Productivity is their lifeblood and their truck is their biggest tool. Our new Super Duty has more power, more payload and towing capability and better technology than ever to help these customers build a better world.”

Indeed, the new Super Duty owns six key best-in-class heavy-duty pickup truck claims for full-size pickups over 8,500 pounds:

  • Best-in-class maximum available diesel gooseneck towing of up to 37,000 pounds
  • Best-in-class maximum available diesel fifth-wheel towing of 32,500 pounds
  • Best-in-class maximum available diesel conventional towing of 24,200 pounds
  • Best-in-class diesel power and torque with available 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 delivering 475 horsepower and 1,050 ft.-lbs.
  • Best-in-class gas power and torque from all-new available 7.3-liter V8 delivering 430 horsepower and 475 ft.-lbs.; and
  • Best-in-class maximum payload capacity of 7,850 pounds with standard 6.2-liter gas engine.

Citing 2018 US registration data, Ford also says F-Series Super Duty had the most market share in industries such as government with more than 60% share, petroleum with 50% share and utility services with more than 45% share.  

New F-Series Super Duty improvements include new gas and diesel engines, an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission, chassis upgrades, exterior and interior design updates, and smart advanced technology that raises the bar again in towing, payload and connectivity.

Powertrains

An all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 7.3-liter V8 joins the standard 6.2-liter V8 in Super Duty’s gas engine stable. The Ford-designed and Ford-built third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 is upgraded to deliver more power and torque. Both engines are paired with an all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission. Ford is the only manufacturer to design and build all of its heavy-duty engine and transmission combinations—ensuring the powertrain works seamlessly with all chassis components and vehicle calibrations.

“With the addition of the 7.3-liter V8, upgrades to our 6.7-liter and the debut of an all-new 10-speed transmission, we are delivering the strongest, most capable Super Duty powertrain offerings yet,” said Mike Pruitt, Ford Super Duty chief engineer.

Based on decades of commercial engine experience, this 7.3-liter is expected to be the most powerful gas V8 in its class—providing durability, ease of maintenance, and the towing and payload capability customers want, according to Ford. It uses an all-new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block and forged steel crankshaft for maximum durability. Port injection with variable-valve timing optimizes the intake and exhaust to match performance with workloads. Oil jets cool the pistons under heavy loads.

Super Duty’s third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke includes a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system with all-new injectors that precisely meter and spray up to eight times per stroke to control noise levels and optimize combustion. This inboard exhaust diesel V8 features a redesigned electronic-actuated variable-geometry turbocharger. Structural enhancements increase the strength of the cylinder head, block, connecting rods and bearings to handle higher cylinder pressure and increased output. New steel pistons provide higher firing pressure capability and less friction—meaning improved performance and more horsepower and torque than ever.

The truck’s standard 6.2-liter gas V8 rounds out the three engine choices for Super Duty customers.

Ford is making its all-new 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission available across all three Super Duty engine offerings for the new 2020 model. This TorqShift features a wider gear ratio span than the 6-speed and is designed for the harshest towing conditions. The heavy-duty transmission continues to offer class-exclusive live-drive power takeoff, which allows the operator to engage industrial equipment and accessories, such as snowplows, with the truck in motion.

This electronically controlled transmission has selectable drive modes that include normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow. The entire unit—even with four extra gears—fits in the same space as the 6-speed and weighs only 3.5 pounds more.

Technology

For 2020, class-exclusive new Pro Trailer Backup Assist makes negotiating even the largest trailers into the tightest of spaces easier than ever before. With hands off the steering wheel, drivers use the Pro Trailer Backup Assist knob to easily steer the trailer via the reverse camera. The truck’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system shows trailer angle and direction, and provides steering suggestions to most efficiently direct a trailer backward. Both systems are built to accommodate all trailer styles, including fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers.

Available lane-keeping alert helps drivers stay between the lines, while the Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage monitors for vehicles in those blind spots—even when towing. Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection aids in avoiding or mitigating collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. These features are standard on XLT and above Super Duty models.

Chassis Cab

The 2020 lineup of Super Duty chassis cabs is built even more capable, powerful, and work-ready featuring the available all-new 7.3-liter V8, all-new 10-speed TorqShift transmission, available third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine and a 6.2-liter gas V8, all offered to give customers the power of choice when the toughest jobs in the harshest conditions require maximum performance.

The 7.3-liter V8 is the biggest displacement gas engine in the class and delivers dyno-certified 350 horsepower at 3,900 rpm and best-in-class 468 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3,900 rpm all in a compact, versatile engine designed with commercial durability in mind.

“We don’t operate in a vacuum in Ford commercial trucks, we talk to the customers, dealers and upfitters who know how hard our trucks are worked,” said Nathan Oscarson, commercial truck marketing manager. “That kind of real-world feedback helps us engineer the level of commercial trucks that the industry demands.”

Maximum grunt comes from the available 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 offering dyno-certified 330 horsepower at 2,600 rpm and 825 ft.-lbs. of torque at just 1,600 rpm – and improvement of 75 ft.-lbs. vs the previous model year. An all-new heavy-duty 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission is standard across all engine offerings with available live drive power takeoff. This new 10-bolt power take off provision is capable of a best-in-class maximum 300 ft.-lbs. of stationary torque and comes standard on diesel-equipped models.

“From the 6.2L V8 to the 7.3L V8 to the heavy duty 10-speed, these powertrains are always in the sweet spot of the power band for maximum efficiency and capability in towing and hauling,” said Greg Stout, heavy duty drivetrain manager.

F-series Super Duty Chassis Cab models include business-critical capability like best-in-class maximum payload of 12,750 lbs.,  which lets customers mount everything from utility bodies to boom cranes. Vocational customization is simplified with available programmable upfitter interface module and drivers appreciate functionality like available flat under seat storage.

Ford Super Duty Chassis Cabs are #1 in commercial truck class 2-5 registrations with 65.6 percent total share of the U.S market*, proving that when the power goes out, when fires must be fought or when bridges need building- it’s dedicated tradesmen in Ford Super Duty Chassis Cabs who come to the rescue.

New Ford Telematics and Data Services are available to help commercial customers operate their fleets more efficiently. Ford Telematics enables fleet managers to improve asset utilization, optimize running costs, protect their vehicles and encourage better driver behavior. This advanced technology is enabled in the Super Duty lineup by the inclusion of standard FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices, which keeps the truck, drivers and crews connected at all times. Those uptime gains from smart technology continue with Pre-Collision Assist with Automated Emergency Braking and Audible Lane Departure Warning, which can help operators avoid or mitigate collisions.

Super Duty Chassis cab models are available to purchase today. For customers who need additional payload or need to mount heavier upfits but don’t want to move into a larger truck, the all-new Ford F-600 Super Duty chassis cab is just the right fit between F-550 and F-650 and will be available for order later in 2020.

As announced last summer and also new on the 2020 Super Duty Chassis Cab, Ford offers Power Takeoff (PTO) as standard with its 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo diesel. Combined, the 6.7-liter Power Stroke and all-new TorqShift 10-speed heavy duty automatic transmission with the power takeoff provision delivers best-in-class stationary torque of up to 300 ft.-lb. for commercial vehicle bodies that require direct-to-component or hydraulic body motor power. That’s 50 ft.-lb. more than the closest competitor, according to Ford. PTO provision will remain optional on 2020 Super Duty Pickup models and 7.3-liter gas V8 Chassis Cab models.

Tremor

For jobsites well off the beaten path—and for weekends in the wilderness—the 2020 F-Series Super Duty is available with the new Tremor Off-Road Package. Tremor pushes Super Duty boundaries with new hardware and tech to handle rough terrain, making it the most capable off-road Super Duty ever.

“A growing number of Super Duty customers use their trucks for more than work. They’re fishing, camping and towing boats on weekends and they go off-road, so we designed this truck specifically for them—more ground clearance, bigger shocks, bigger tires and more off-road capability,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Tremor balances what customers demand in terms of work with what they need in the great outdoors.”

The Tremor Off-Road Package boasts towing and payload ratings similar to non-Tremor models. Both workhorse and adventure machine, the package is available for XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum F-250 and F-350 Super Duty with the 7.3-liter gas V8 or third-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel. Tremor can be specified for 4x4 single-rear-wheel SuperCrew trucks with a 6.75-foot box; F-250 models also require the high-capacity trailer tow package.

Off-road upgrades start with a set of aggressive 35-inch-diameter Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac maximum-traction tires—the largest diameter tires available on a heavy-duty pickup—mounted on a set of unique 18-inch matte-finished black wheels. These tires, combined with a 2-inch front-end lift and shorter air dam, result in 10.8 inches of ground clearance, best-in-class water fording of 33 inches, and the best approach and departure angles of any Super Duty ever—31.65 degrees and 24.51 degrees, respectively.

Progressive-rate springs and custom 1.7-inch piston twin-tube dampers balance heavy-duty towing performance needs while also controlling body motion on rutted, rock-strewn trails. Tremor uses a locking rear differential with electronic shift-on-the-fly engagement and a new Dana limited-slip front differential. In certain modes, the front axle can sense when a tire has lost traction and uses the brakes to send power to the wheel with traction.

Additional hardware includes off-road running boards that tuck up next to the body for damage control, extended-axle vent tubes and the same beefy skid plates as fitted to FX4 models.

The 2020 Super Duty Tremor features selectable drive modes: normal for around-town use, tow/haul for optimized performance under load, eco for enhanced fuel economy, slippery for icy conditions, and deep snow/sand for low-traction conditions. Unique to Tremor is a new Rock Crawl mode, which is optimized to operate in 4x4 low and is enabled by the standard TorqShift 10-speed automatic transmission. Tremor trucks equipped with the 7.3-liter gas engine have a 53:1 crawl ratio while those equipped with the 6.7-liter diesel engine have a 44:1 crawl ratio.

For the first time ever, Super Duty gets Trail Control, a feature that debuted for F-150 Raptor and Ranger. It functions in any mode like cruise control for off-road driving.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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