Need more torque? There's an app for that -- at least if you own a 2011 Ford F-250, F-350 or F-450 Super Duty pickup truck with an all-new 6.7-liter V-8 Power Stroke diesel.
Ford has announced that it's raising power levels in its all-new compression ignition engine to an astonishing 400 horsepower and 800 pounds-feet of torque through an update to the engine's software. That’s an increase of 65 pounds-feet and 10 hp over the initial 390-hp, 735 pounds-feet version of the engine that was announced in February. It's also an increase in bragging rights, after Ford saw GM claim segment-leading power ratings for the 397-hp, 765 pounds-feet 6.6-liter Duramax V-8 diesel in March.
“This [power upgrade] is part of our continuous improvement program,” said Adam Gryglak, chief engineer for Ford’s 6.7-liter diesel program. “Now is the right time to release it.”
Production of the updated engines with the new power ratings starts this week, but early adopters of the new 2011 F-Series Super Duty aren't being left behind because there are no changes to the engine or transmission.
“There are no physical hardware changes required,” Gryglak said. “The fueling schedule has changed along with transmission [shifting schedule] calibrations to make sure we have a smooth and continuous torque curve.”
Additional fuel injected during combustion is all that's needed to get the power bump.
Starting Aug. 31 and continuing for the next 12 months, 6.7 Power Stroke owners can have their engine control unit software updated for free at their local Ford dealer. The upgrade process is similar to a firmware update in a smart phone or PC and is expected to take about 30 minutes.
“Drivers are going to see most of the benefit in highway gears, fourth, fifth and sixth, in the amount of reserve torque that’s available,” said Chris Brewer, Ford F-Series Super Duty chief engineer. “If you're driving in hilly terrain towing a trailer, instead of a downshift happening sooner, it will happen later. You can stay in a given gear longer.”
Along with more power, 6.7 v2.0 owners should see improved fuel economy because the engine can shift gears faster and hold them longer. Ford says the engine will be 2 percent more efficient than 6.7 v1.0, making the 2011 F-Series Super Duty 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel 20 percent more fuel efficient than the old 2010 6.4-liter Power Stroke V-8 model.
“One of the nice things about staying in a [higher] gear longer is that you get improved fuel economy,” Brewer said. “The torque converter is also locking up earlier and, in some cases, staying locked up longer.
Unlike F-Series Super Duty pickups though, Ford's diesel-powered Super Duty chassis cab trucks will not receive a power upgrade. They’ll stay at today’s power levels.
“[Trucks with] dyno-certified engines will not be affected by this power and torque increase,” Brewer said.
But wait. There’s more.
It's not just best-in-class power figures that Ford is taking back from GM. It's also going to increase (again) maximum towing and hauling numbers. The one-ton Ford F-350 dual-rear-wheel is getting hardware improvements that will increase maximum payload and maximum fifth-wheel towing to best-in-class levels. Increased use of high-strength steel in the frame will boost the maximum payload to 7,070 pounds, up from 6,520 pounds, and max fifth-wheel towing to 22,600 pounds, up from 21,600 pounds.
“We're using high-strength steel in the number six cross member in the frame the handle the increase payload,” Brewer said. “That change, along with the horsepower and torque increase, helped increase [fifth-wheel] towing.”
There's no increase in conventional towing and payload for F-250 and F-350 single-rear-wheel trucks or the F-450 pickup. Unlike the free software upgrade, current owners of F-350 DRWs will not be able to retrofit their trucks to the new towing and hauling figures. Only 2011 Job 2 F-350 duallys will carry the higher ratings.