Ford's mighty three-valve, 6.8-liter Triton V-10 is one of our favorite gasoline engines because of its diesel-like performance. Although Ford discontinued the V-10 as an option for its 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickups — substituting the all-new two-valve 6.2-liter V-8 gasser in its place — the company is keeping the 10-cylinder mill for 2011 F-450 and F-550 chassis cabs and the F53 motorhome chassis, and Ford has just announced that it will offer the V-10 as a brand-new option for 2012 F-650 and F-750 medium-duty chassis cabs.
Today's Ford F-650 and F-750 commercials are offered with a Cummins inline-six diesel engine, a variation of the same six-cylinder oil burner offered in Ram HD pickups and chassis cabs. By adding the V-10 for its Class 6 and 7 work trucks, Ford will become the only manufacturer to offer a gas-powered vehicle in every truck class from 1 to 7.
GM used to offer an 8.1-liter V-8 gas engine for its medium-duty GMC TopKick and Chevrolet Kodiak chassis cabs, but production of those rigs ended last year.
“No other manufacturer offers this wide of a range of options and solutions for truck customers,” said Len Deluca, Ford's director of commercial truck sales and marketing. “The availability of a gas engine in this medium-duty segment will be welcome news to many businesses and municipalities.”
The powerful V-10 is rated at 362 horsepower and 457 pounds-feet of torque, but its biggest advantage may be its price relative to traditional diesel engines that dominate in classes 6 and 7. Gas engines burn cleaner than diesels. They don't require the same complex exhaust-scrubbing hardware, which can mean saving thousands of dollars in upfront purchase costs.
Instead of being paired with Ford's legacy 5R110 five-speed automatic transmission, the 6.8 will be mated with the all-new 6R140 six-speed gearbox that debuted in 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks for both the 6.7-liter V-8 diesel and 6.2-liter V-8 gas engines.
The 6R140 features Live Drive power takeoff with an output shaft linked directly to the engine crankshaft providing constant PTO operation any time the engine is running, regardless of vehicle speed. It provides the capability to power PTO-driven accessories such as dump bodies, generators, salt spreaders and snowplows.
Compressed natural gas or propane alt-fuel packages will also be available as an option for the 6.8-liter V-10. The conversion will be available starting this fall on F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cab trucks.
The new gas-powered chassis cabs can be ordered starting in late 2011.