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2005 Ford Super Duty (Preview)

     News has finally broken on the revised 2005 Ford Super Duty pickups and we can now shed some light on what Ford has in store for us. Since we have been receiving so much mail about the spy shots we took back in November, we are taking this opportunity to answer some of your questions now that the trucks have broken cover.
     The most obvious changes are in the face of the new SD’s. A bolder grille, reminiscent of the 2002 Tonka Concept truck, looks as though it was milled out of a block of steel with a nine inch Blue Oval residing in the center. Jeweled headlamps accent the grille while a revised bumper lends more reinforcement to the BIG truck look. Larger rolling stock fills the wheel wells with 17”ers standard and 18”ers optional.
     The boys down at Ford powertrain are making plenty of noise this year. Riding under hood are three available engines that will pull you, your family, your house, your neighbor’s house, and a boat without ever breaking a sweat. The newest of the engine options is the iron-block, aluminum head 6.8L V10. Featuring the 3-valve design from the F-150’s 5.4L V8, the V10 benefits from better breathing through 2 intake valves and a single exhaust valve. Power boosts include a 45 horsepower bump with a 30 lb-ft torque increase for a total of 355 and 455 respectively. The 3-valve 5.4L V8 also migrates into the Super Duty lineup as the base engine. With 300 horsepower and 365 lbs of torque the V8 features power plus economy over the ten cylinder. Improvements to the 6.0L V8 diesel include revised mapping of the electronic control systems, electronic throttle control, and a turbocharger with electronically controlled variable vanes. The new electronics increase power while the turbo flattens out the delivery of the torque over a greater portion of the rev range, reducing lag in the process. With all the new features the diesel is now rated to a 250,000-mile service life. The 5-speed automatic TorqShift transmission is now available with all engines.
    Strength maximization came through improvements in the chassis. The front portion of the frame has been boxed-in for additional rigidity of the front suspension, leading to improvements in handling. Aft of the boxed section, the frame walls are increased anywhere from 10% to 17% in thickness. Combined with a new rear cross-member and the 2.5 hitch receiver, an F-350 can tow a trailer of 15,000 lbs or gooseneck trailer of 17,000 lbs.

     Now for the real controversy, the front suspension. Switching this year from leaf springs to a coil spring/monobeam setup, Ford is confident that the new suspension will better handle the loads that customers demand of their trucks. Ford claims that the new setup will increase lateral stability, improve steering feel, and reduce the turning radius, which we all know needs all the help it can get. Those of you desiring a snow plow, Ford says the new suspension will better handle the load of a plow, as well as provide better control of the plow, keeping it from scraping the pavement unintentionally. Not to mention, the ride should be greatly improved with the new front end. Concerns? We don’t have any.

     While not as inviting as the interior of the new F-150, the Super Duty’s receive a minor freshening. And we do mean minor. The gauge cluster and electronics receive the most work. The big news is the availability of a factory installed trailer brake controller. Ford claims this industry first setup will reduce compromises made by aftermarket systems. Because the controller is integrated with the vehicle it can better modulate the trailer brakes to work with the truck brakes, rather than the light switch, all-on or all-off braking of aftermarket controllers. Integrating the controller into the dash also improves ergonomics, as it is not mounted under the dash like aftermarket kits are. Cab choices of regular, SuperCab, and Crew Cab remain the same as well as remaining identical in their dimensions.

     Well, that is about all we can tell you for now–until we get our hands on one, that is. Also, look for new King Ranch  and Harley-Davidson limited-edition pickups coming our way. I hope Dodge and the General were taking notes, because the battle of the behemoths continues.

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