2015 Ford F-150

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They sure went to a lot of trouble – and expense.'15 Ford F-150 lead

You’ve probably read about the new Ford F-150. That it has an aluminum body and is now much lighter (by some 700 pounds) than its steel-bodied predecessor. It also has much smaller engines – for the most part – than its rivals, including the tiniest (but strongest) V6 available in a full-size pick-up. Just 2.7 liters – not much larger than most current fours – but making 325 hp and 375 ft.-lbs.of torque (within range of the Chevy Silverado’s 5.3 liter V8, which makes 355 hp and 383 ft.-lbs. of torque).

Neat, certainly.

But why go to all this trouble?

Buyers weren’t clamoring for aluminum bodywork – or really little engines made temporarily big on-demand via multiple turbos.

It was the government’s fuel efficiency edicts (CAFE) that are responsible for all this.'15 F-150 aluminum

They are set to ratchet up to 35.5 MPG on average next year (2016). That is a high bar – and every little bit matters. Because the mileage returned by an individual vehicle is not what’s relevant for CAFE purposes. It’s the overall mileage of an automaker’s fleet – all the vehicles it sells each year, averaged out. When you’re dealing with that kind of volume, a 2-3 MPG difference (and that’s all we’re talking about here) times several hundred thousand vehicles – which is how many F-150s Ford sells each year – matters a whole lot.

But does a 2-3 MPG difference – either way – matter that much to the individual buyer?

As opposed to the prospect of potentially much higher repair (and so, insurance) costs due to the aluminum bodywork? Which will require special (separate) facilities and higher-order skills to repair?'15 F-150 scales

As opposed to the potential down-the-road repair/maintenance – possibly, replacement – costs for a high-strung little engine with a pair of turbos hanging off each cylinder bank?

Ford has taken a bold as hell risk here. Whether it pays off remains to be seen.

WHAT IT IS

The F-150 is Ford’s full-size (1500) pick-up truck, the best-selling such truck on the market and the best-selling vehicle in the United States.

One of the reasons for that being the almost-unlimited combinations Ford offers. There are about 40 different configurations of the F-150, ranging from the base XL regular cab with 2WD and 6.6 foot bed (MSRP $26,030) all the way up to a Platinum Super Crew 4×4 (MSRP $55,305).'15 F-150 long view

The F-150 competes most directly with the Chevy Silverado 1500 ($26,105 to start for a base “work truck” – $51,150 for a High Country Crew Cab 4×4) and the Dodge Ram ($25,660 for the base Tradesman – $50,990 for a 4×4 Longhorn).

These two are also offered in dozens of possible cab/bed combos – and the Ram is available with a powerful turbo-diesel engine, something neither the Ford nor the Chevy currently offer in their 1500 trucks.

WHAT’S NEW

The huge news is the F-truck’s all-aluminum body – which lower’s the truck’s curb weight by more than 700 pounds.

Equally daring, Ford is moving away from V8s.

You can still order one – but it’s only one of four available F-truck powerplants – and the other three are all V6s.'15 F-150 engines

It’s also not the most powerful engine you can order in the F-truck.

That one’s also a V6.

This is a major point of difference between the Ford and its GM and Chrysler rivals – which also offer six cylinder engines, but mostly as their base engines (the exception here being the turbo-diesel V6 available in the Ram 1500) with V8s being the top-dog engines in those trucks.

The ’15 F-150 also gets (or offers) a number of technology and safety upgrades, including a remote-view trailer assist system, Lane Departure warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and a larger (optional) eight-inch “productivity” touchscreen in the center stack.

WHAT’S GOOD'15 F-150 pillarless pic

Alloy body reduces weight – and unsprung mass.

Turbo V6s make impressive power – and more low-end torque than most V8s.

Pop-out step ladder and grab pole make it easier to climb up and into the bed.

“Pillarless” design (four door models) gives open access to the entire cab.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Aluminum body will be more difficult – and expensive – to repair. This will likely make the F-truck more expensive to insure.

Turbo V6s don’t give you massively better gas mileage than the more powerful – and simpler – V8s available in the Silverado and Ram.

Bed is too tall – even for tall people (a problem in all current 1500 pick-ups).

“PIllarless” doors require the front doors be opened first before you can open the rear doors.

UNDER THE HOOD'15 F-150 3.5 V6

Ford sees little – if any – future for the V8. Not as a mass-market engine. And not because truck buyers don’t want them (they do, very much so) but because the federal government is systematically making it economically not-viable – via “gas guzzler” fines – to offer them for sale as other than very low-volume (and very high-priced) curiosities. When the 35.5 MPG CAFE standard kicks in next year, GM and Dodge buyers may be looking at paying more for their trucks because those trucks won’t make the CAFE cut.

But here’s a Weird Fact:

Ford’s new family of small-displacement – and turbocharged – V6 engines don’t use much less gas than the V8s in rivals trucks.

The base V6 offered in the F-truck displaces 3.5 liters and makes 283 hp and 255 ft-lbs. of torque. It delivers 18 city, 25 highway (2WD versions).'15 F-150 2.7 V6 pic

The Chevy Silverado’s base V6 is a larger 4.3 liter mill that makes 285 hp and (here’s the one to watch) 305 ft-lbs. oif torque. It rates 18 city, 24 highway (2WD) a difference without a distinction.

The Dodge Ram 1500 comes standard with a 3.6 liter V6 that makes 305 hp and 269 ft.-lbs. of torque. Mileage is 17 city, 25 highway (2WD) – another difference without a distinction.

But now things get really interesting.

The F-truck’s first upgrade engine is a tiny V6 – just 2.7 liters. This is the smallest V6 engine you’ll find in any 1500 truck or for that matter, any current passenger car. The 2.7 liter six is about the same size as most current fours. But – with its twin turbochargers force-feeding it air – the power it produces is in V8 territory: 325 hp and a very impressive 375 ft.-lbs. of torque.

However, gas mileage is something of a letdown – given all this effort: Just 19 city, 26 highway. These are good numbers for a big truck. But nothing spectacular when compared with other big trucks – powered by much bigger V8s.

The Silverado’s next-up engine, for instance, is a 5.3 liter V8 that makes 355 hp and 383 ft.-lbs. of torque. EPA gives it a 16 city, 23 highway rating (2WD versions; with 4×4, the number dips to 16 city, 22 highway).'15 F-150 Ecoboost?

The “EcoBoost” 2.7 liter-equipped F-truck does a little better. But three MPGs is not by any measure an epic improvement. The Chevy 5.3 V8 might drink a bit more fuel, but it’s not gonna break the bank. And you get 20 more hp (and 8 ft.-lbs. more torque) as part of the deal.

The Ram 1500 steps up with a 395 hp 5.7 liter “Hemi” V8 that also makes the most torque – by far: 410 ft.-lbs.

And the Hemi’s gas mileage is – again – not all that much worse than the much less powerful 2.7 liter Ford’s:

14 city, 20 highway (2WD).

This is a wider spread vs. the GM 5.3 V8, but consider the Ram’s power stats.

If you want both mileage and power, Dodge also offers – uniquely – a 3 liter turbo-diesel that makes even more torque than the Hemi V8 (420 ft.-lbs.) and pulls down 20 city, 28 highway – better than the 2.7 Ford’s numbers.

You can still get a V8 in the F-truck.'15 F-150 V8 pic

For now.

It is a fairly small 5 liter mill (much smaller than rival’s V8s) that makes exactly the same hp (385) as the Chevy’s “middle” 5.3 V8 and less than the Ram’s 5.7 liter Hemi – and less torque (387 ft.-lbs.) than both of them.

Its gas mileage is not bad, though: 15 city, 22 highway (2WD). Once again, not much of a penalty – to you, the buyer – for going with the V8 over the turbo’d twice V6.

The Max Effort engine in the F-truck is an “Ecoboosted” (turbocharged, times two) version of the 3.5 liter V6. It tops out at 365 hp (20 hp less than the 5.0 V8) but makes 420 ft.-lbs. of torque. Which sounds meaty enough. Until you compare those numbers with the Silverado’s top engine. It’s a 6.2 liter V8 that beats the poor Ford into submission with 420 hp (if you’re counting, that’s a 55 hp difference in favor of the Chevy) and an equally big-bicep’d 460 ft.-lbs. of torque.

Turbos? We don’t need no stinkin’ turbos!'15 F-150 power chart

But how does the mileage of these two stack up? As it turns out, it’s pretty damned close.

The burly Chevy rates 15 city, 21 highway with either 2WD or 4WD vs. 17 city, 24 highway for the Ford’s Ecoboosted 3.5 liter V6. We are looking at a difference of 2 MPG in town and 3 on the highway – which is not much even if exactly accurate and probably a wash in real-world driving.

I’ll get into that shortly.

Regardless of the engine you pick, all the F-truck’s available engines are paired with a six-speed automatic that has Tow and Sport modes. One reason for the not-so-spectacular mileage may be due to this fact. The Silverado and Ram both come with more efficient eight-speed automatics.'15 F-150 towing

You can, of course, go 2WD or 4WD with any of these trucks. Real 4WD. With a two-speed transfer case and Low range gearing.

Ford claims the highest tow rating – 12,200 lbs. with the twin-turbo 3.5 V6. But the Chevy (with 6.2 V8) is a very close second at 12,000 lbs.

The Ram 1500 is – by far – the weakest of the three in terms of rated pulling power: Just 10,650 lbs. when ordered with the Hemi V8.

ON THE ROAD

All three of the Big Three’s trucks now have standard engines that are stronger than their biggest/baddest V8s used to be once upon a time. And with their best V8s (or, as in the case of the F-truck, best V6) they are 4×4 Ferraris.

Well, maybe not in the curves.'15 F-150 road 1

But in a straight line? The F-150 with its middleweight 2.7 twin-turbo engine can cut the rug (0-60) in 6.4 seconds. Notch that down to just a bit over six flat with the 3.5 twin turbo. This is about two seconds quicker to 60 than Magnum, PI’s Ferrari 308.

There’s a reason why, in the opening credits of the show, Magnum has to do a burnout on the grass.

The difference between the turbo V6 Ford and its big V8 rivals is the Ford kind of tiptoes to 60, almost like a magic carpet ride – while the V8 Silverado and Ram 1500 bellow like berserkers. If you close your eyes (well, do this as a passenger) you can almost hear the secondaries of the four barrel carbs opening. Yes, yes… they’re fuel injected (direct injected, for the Chevy) but the echoes of SS 454s gone by echo through the ages.

The Ford reminds me of other Silent Bob performers I’ve driven – like the GMC Syclone of the ’90s (if you remember that one). It was also a six-cylinder turbo – and definitely got the job done.2015 Ford F-150 Tows Loaded Trailer in Extreme Heat

Both Ecoboost V6s have tremendous – though not quite as tremendous – torque as their bigger-engined rivals. The difference being the turbo’d engines’ torque is more readily accessed because it’s available lower in the RPM band. The 2.7 V6, for instance, makes its peak torque (375 ft.-lbs.) at 3,000 RPM while the much larger 5.3 V8 that’s the equivalent “step up” engine in the Chevy Silverado makes pretty much the same torque (383 ft.-lbs.) but not until 4,100 RPM.

And the Ford’s top-dog engine – the 3.5 liter twin-turbo – makes its mondo 420 ft.-lbs. at just 2,500 RPM while the Chevy’s big gun 6.2 V8 doesn’t make its peak (460 ft.-lbs.) until 4,100 RPM.

The Ford thus pulls a little harder with less apparent effort down low and in the mid-range (probably, this accounts for the slightly higher max tow rating) kind of like a diesel engine, which in a very real sense is what these twin-turbo’d sixes were designed to emulate – but the V8 Chevy and Ram pull stronger once the revs build and if you keep your foot down. They also sound more truck-appropriate. That healthy booming roar of a big V8 can’t be replicated by a little six… no matter how powerful that six may be.'15 F-150 gearshifter

I’m a little worried about the Ford’s six-speed automatic – and not just because it’s got two fewer gears than its rivals’ eight-speed automatics, which probably costs the Ford 2-3 MPG (ironic, given the lengths to which Ford went to improve the truck’s gas mileage). It may just have been my test truck – which like all test trucks farmed out to car jockey journalists, has likely lived a life as brutal as a $20 a throw Vegas “escort.” But for whatever reason, it sometimes made a hideous clunking sound that reminded me of how my ’78 Camaro’s transmission sounded after I neutral dropped it back in high school.

If it was just my press truck, ok. It very well could be. Can’t hold it against Ford if a press truck got abused by a journalist (not me, the guy who had it before me).

But if this is a general problem with Ford’s six-speed automatic, there is going to be hell to pay.

AT THE CURB'15 F-150 interior 1

The visual differences between the new, aluminum-bodied F-150 and its steel-bodied predecessor are more subtle. Remember the melting stick of butter look Ford tried back in the ’90s?

Lesson learned.

Getting people to accept turbo’d V6s over big V8s is a steep-enough hill to climb. Ford wisely decided to keep the ’15 F-truck’s looks safely traditional. Meaning, it looks like a truck. An American truck. Squared-off and hunky. Flannel shirts and jeans. Texans will approve.

There are some fairly radical design aspects, however.'15 F-150 detail 1

These include a pillarless cab on four door models. With all four doors open, the cab’s interior is wide open. No upright I-beam in between. The rear doors are hinged at the rear – and open forward – latching onto the front doors when closed. The upside is total access to the cab with all four doors open. The downside is that the rear doors cannot be opened separately. The front doors must be opened first. Which means backseat passengers cannot get in and out independently. This may or may not be of concern to you.

Because bed walls are so high these days – in all 1500s, not just the Ford – it’s hard for even tall geeks like me to access the bed without a step ladder. Which Ford thoughtfully provides – along with a vertical grab bar – both of them built into the tailgate. Press the black button on the top panel and the step ladder folds down. Push the yellow button and out pops the vertical grab bar, which telescopes in and out. This is not just neat, it’s damn near essential for people not at least six feet tall  – and limber.'15 F-150 Geezer pole

The cab is significantly wider now – by about two inches – and this noticeably improves shoulder and hip room, especially when three large guys are riding side-by-side in the back. If you check the specs, you’ll find there’s more hip room in the second row there is up front – 64.7 inches up front vs. 64.7 in the back.

This is true in the Silverado and Ram, too.

The Silverado has the most generous legroom up front (45.3 inches vs. 43.9 for the Ford and 41 for the Ram 1500) but the F-truck’s 43.6 inches of second row legroom (crew cab models) is two inches more than in the Chevy (41 inches) and about three inches more than in the Ram (40.3 inches).

Bed lengths range from the short (5.5 foot) to the medium (6.5 foot) to the long (eight foot), which can be paired with regular, Supercab or Supercrew bodies and trims that range from the base XL work truck up to the Platinum – Ford’s fanciest trim. The King Ranch “cowboy Cadillac” model is still available, too.'15 F-150 bed detail

The bed features well lighting and lockable tie-downs, as well as an available sprayed-in bedliner.

Even the base trim XL comes standard with a 4.2 inch LCD display, but this can be uopgraded to an eight inch “Productivity” touchscreen (bundled with Ford’s MyTouch interface) which in addition to GPS and off-roading info also includes coaching tips to maximize fuel efficiency. The F-truck also offers an optional 400 watt (110 V) power point for recharging tools, electric/remote locking for the tailgate and LED spotlights built into each outside rearview mirror. The turbo-Ecoboosted engines (2.7 liter and 3.5 liter) also come with “active” grille shutters that open – or close – to provide either greater cooling or improved aerodynamic efficiency.

THE REST'15 F-150 in mud

This is a really nice truck, but I can’t quite grok all the fuss over the alloy body and the turbocharged mini-me engines. Aluminum is light – but steel is cheap and easy to fix.

I never quite broke 20 MPG (average) during a week-long test drive of an F-150 4×4 with the 2.7 liter “EcoBoost” engine. This is very decent for a full-size truck but it’s also still within the margin of error vs. the V8 Silverado and Ram 1500 (gas engine; with the diesel engine, the Ram does better) which I’ve also driven for a week each, under the same or very similar conditions. You might get more out of them – or maybe slightly worse. It’ll depend on how you drive. If you drive very gently – to make the most of the mini-me V6’s potential parsimony – you might crest 20 overall.

But no matter which truck you end up with, it’s not going to be a big difference.


So the question becomes: Can Ford convince buyers that a 2-3 MPG difference is worth the almost-certain higher repair (and so, insurance) costs that come along for the ride when you’ve got aluminum rather than steel body panels? Body shops will have to create separate work spaces to work on the F-truck, because when welding aluminum, it is very important to keep steel far, far away. This will be a hassle – and it will not be a free hassle, either. Some shops will probably not want to deal with it at all.

And these huffed-on little sixes? What hassles down the road will they bring?'15 Feel lucky pic

Maybe none. I’ve spoken with Ford engineers and they tell impressive tales of durability torture tests, of running them flat out for hours on end, then tearing them apart to check for signs of duress and finding none. Great. I hope so. But the truth is we won’t really know what’ll happen until these things have been out in the world for ten, twelve years – working the dusty backroads of Texas, pulling trailers up and down the Rockies. We already know the burly V8s used in the GM and Ram trucks are powerful – and sturdy. They have an established track record. They are also simpler. Fewer components (no turbos, intercooler, related peripherals) means fewer potential things that could crap out on you and cost you money.

What was it Clint Eastwood said, all those years ago?

Do you feel lucky?

THE BOTTOM LINE'15 F-150 rest

The awful truth is Ford’s doing what it must to keep the business alive – and it is likely GM and Dodge will follow suit in the coming years because even a 2-3 MPG difference – on paper, at least – matters when the government is demanding a 35.5 MPG average from every every vehicle they sell, both cars and trucks.

Buy the Ford – and be an “early adopter.” Or play it safe (psychologically or actually) and buy one of the others, with a V8.

Well, while you still can.

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48 COMMENTS

  1. It appears that Ford is winning at the game of chicken with gas mileage but has lost in the real world gas mileage and usability. Or should I say, unladen swallow.

    I’ve been watching this new Ford with great interest (I’m traditionally a GM man, but have sworn off all domestics ever since the bailout). There seems to be several problems with this new aluminum and turbo-V6 equation.

    First, as mentioned, the bodies will be more difficult to repair in an accident and likely more expensive to insure. This remains to be seen, somewhat, and I’ll give credit to Ford for trying to dispel this horror by getting repair shop quotes from Ford Certified repair shops and going through the effort of training repairmen at these shops to make sure they can handle the repairs. Yet we won’t really have a good sense of this until we have a few years behind them and the insurance companies crunch the numbers.

    Second, as mentioned, the turbo-V6 is more complicated. I know Ford had some significant teething issues with the original EcoBoost V6 from the last generation F150, but they likely have corrected that by now since they’ve had a couple of years to do so. More significantly, though, is that these are work trucks, and work trucks get abused. They go many thousands of miles past their proper oil change intervals because they have to work for a living. They get bad gas. They get lots of miles on dusty roads. They get to drive down the roughest of the rough trails and through all kinds of crap that is not friendly to complexity and finely balanced components like turbos. Also, as work trucks, they get worked on by their owners to save money at the repair shop. If the computerized wizardry in most new trucks wasn’t already enough to worry about, adding turbos and other extra-delicate and difficult to work on parts only hurts this cost-saving strategy.

    Third, even though the new F150 is around 700 lbs lighter than the outgoing model, she’s still a hefty lady. The running inside joke is that Ford had to spend millions on reengineering and reinventing the truck to get its weight down to what a steel-bodied Chevy already weighs. By most counts, though for some reason direct comparisons seem difficulty, a comparable Chevy Silverado with steel body weighs just slightly less than the F150 equivalent. This is mostly because the previous gen F150 was by far the heaviest of the heavies in pickup land.

    Fourth, the EPA numbers are calculated on an unladen model. The functional difference between a turbo-V6 and an NA V8 of similar power output is that when power is not needed, the turbo in the V6 is not active. As you’ve mentioned before, EP, you get the advantages of a V6 when you need gas mileage and the power of a V8 when you need performance. Yet basic engine efficiencies are roughly the same, so if you’re needing to generate 300hp and 350 lb-ft of torque at any given time, you’re going to burn about the same amount of gas. In fact, the smaller engine tends to burn more because it has to overcompensate for its small displacement. It loses its efficiency. This seems to be the problem with the new EcoBoost. In real world performance, almost nobody is seeing the kinds of gas mileage numbers they were promised (by the EPA, I might add, not Ford per se). Everyone is finding the Ram and Chevy/GMC models to be significantly more fuel efficient in actual usage, often by 4-5mpg, if the copious online reports are to be believed. I suspect a lot of this has to do with the fact that trucks, especially work trucks, rarely travel around empty. They’re almost always laden down with tools, materials for the job at hand, workmen, ladder racks, and even trailers in tow. When you do that, you never let the turbo-v6 function in non-turbo mode because you’ll always be needing that extra power, even just to pull up a hill on the highway. A big V8 isn’t impacted nearly as much. It’s 8 cylinders were already running anyway, so nothing extra need be recruited to provide more power. It’s sort of like sticking an 80lb pack on the back of a 280lb lineman going up the hiking trail vs sticking the same 80lb pack on the back of a 140lb marathon runner going up the same trail. Which one feels it more?

    In the towing comparisons I’ve seen, the Ford V6 does an admirable job, no doubt, but it requires turbo augmented power all the time instead of intermittently. Thus it’s always burning a lot more fuel than the EPA estimates. This seems to result in about 3-5 mpg drops when towing vs. the V8 competition. In other words. the gas mileage advantage of the EcoBoost disappears when it is tasked with carrying or towing a load. Add to that the fact that the V8s almost always end up pulling with less strain/struggle, and at lower RPM, and you’ll find yourself preferring the V8.

    These facts seem to be percolating pretty thoroughly through the truck buying public. I don’t mean the pretenders who buy a truck for the image, but the folks that actually need a truck for work and are not as brand loyal as some. The brand loyalists will always buy what they love, and that’s fine. All of them are good trucks. But the folks that have flexibility seem to be questioning Ford at this point, partly because of performance anxiety and partly because of fear of change.

    • Aluminum is not that difficult to work with compare with steel, it’s different. It’s that fewer people know how to work with it. Aluminum is actually easier to work with in many respects which is why so many low volume builders have used it for body panels. They couldn’t afford the expensive steel stamping dies but they had craftsman who knew how to shape aluminum.

      As to weight it has to be there for something. If GM makes their trucks so much lighter out of steel all it takes is buying a GM truck and disassembling it to find out how. Just about nothing in that regard should be patented. So it’s probably coming down to some sort of product requirement within Ford.

      For fuel economy and other factors vehicles are being built to pass government tests now. The end user isn’t the primary customer now, fedgov is.

      • Hi Brent,

        The big issue here is not the work, per se – it is (as I understand it) that dealing with aluminum requires a separate area and many shops will have to invest in making that space, equipping that space – and so on. That will make it more expensive to repair.

        Probably also in a crash aluminum transmits/absorbs energy differently. If so, the nature of damage may be more extensive, too. Guy I know who is a bodyman told me this.

        • Separate area as in avoiding contamination with grinding particles of steel. That is not having the aluminum body panels sitting next to where someone is grinding steel. It’s the sort of basic cleanliness that is required to do good work with modern paints. I don’t think it’s going to be that huge of burden all said and done.

          As to how it will respond to being hit, I’d have to learn what alloy they are using and at what gauge. It’s not as fragile as many think. I’ve been working with aluminum alloys over the last 20+ years for a lot of different things and it gets the job done. It will be fine once people get used to it.

          I know most people on this site don’t hail from the land of salt but if the aluminum body is properly isolated electrically from the steel frame these trucks are going to last longer. Aluminum still corrodes but if properly protected and not sacrificing itself for steel the truck bodies will hold up much longer. Of course the frame could still rust away.

    • Some of your points aren’t very accurate such as displacement will always out for other means such as turbos. ALL large trucks have turbocharged engines. No way you could make 2250 lb.ft. or torque at 1,000 rpm with a naturally aspirated diesel and it would be dirty…..very. So my view of turbocharging is it’s a great thing. All the diesel pickups are turbo’d too. You won’t get close to 900 lb. ft. of torque from 6.5 L either without boost of some sort. The boost itself is not the problem. The real problem as I see it is Ford isn’t known for great engines to begin with and it’s doubtful they’ve done enough years of testing to see if out in the field this pickup engine is going to hold up. Get it out there in the Tx. summer heat and in some place where a breeze never comes along, you’re running in dust so bad from other vehicles you can barely see where you’re going and it’s so rough at any speed, 10 mph, that it’s banging hell out of that truck.

      I really doubt this engine has the extra amount of cooling for the charge air, the a/c, the transmission, the engine oil and the main cooling system itself that it will be hamstrung by all that dirt. Everything has to be made to work at about half efficiency and work well or it’s all going to go away much quicker since one cooler stopped up leads to another not getting enough airflow and on down the line.

      At one time Ford had these big, tall, intercoolers than mounted in a way to be well below bumper level. Driving through vegetation where you might hit an unseen object that would go under the bumper resulted in lots of repair costs. I used to see them regularly in a friend’s body shop, front end torn down to replace a very expensive cooler….or two. Every other manufacturer addressed this by making more rows per cooler and going as far to the sides as possible keeping the coolers up as high as possible.

      Then there are cold, wet conditions that even in Tx. we’ve seen problems with these engines already building up moisture in the charged air that makes the engines hiccup and produce less power. Ford addressed this problem by saying it wasn’t really a problem and the amount of power lost was negligible. The owners said something different.

      As far as repair goes bodywise, I have read that working aluminum requires an area that’s for all intents and purposes is another paint booth since dirt and other metal debris from grinding steel pickups in the same shop pollute the aluminum enough to cause major problems. A lot of dealers have spent over $100K per “booth” and haven’t even got it paid for yet. Smaller dealers are going to be hurt by this by having to use the larger dealers for body repair and that’s a killer in the car biz.

      As for fuel consumption, it should be lower when you don’t need the boost but once again, Ford’s numbers always seem to be higher than real world. Out on the highway pulling a trailer you may wish you didn’t have to work the engine so hard since fuel mileage goes down not only with more boost but with heat build-up too.

      An old trucker friend of mine was just speaking a couple weeks ago how bean counters ruin big trucks. They order a 550 hp engine and then cut it back, way back, in order to get better mileage. If you drove a load of weights around a track on a flatbed no doubt you’d get better mileage but real world is going up and down hills and pulling wind from differing angles that load it up even more. His company was seeing terrible fuel mileage from their fleet and he kept saying the same thing, give me more power and I can get much better mileage. They finally bought another bunch of trucks and turned down all but his making him promise he wouldn’t tell the other drivers. With that engine being able to use full torque and HP when he needed it he could go a bit faster down a hill, pour the fuel to it going up the other side and be going so much faster when he topped it he wasn’t still obligated to keep his foot in it going down the other side and then back up another hill. Once a few months had passed and they reviewed his mileage they turned all the other trucks back to where original power.

      For those who must have a Ford and know what’s associated with this pickup, they’ll be forced to buy a larger model with a V-8 or diesel which is added cost and not just a small amount. I can only say Good Luck because Ford is going to need it.

      One thing I liked about last years Ford was their GPS. Even though I had a larger monitor on an old Lowrance with Loran and it had waypoint marking so you could find your way back I realize this is nothing new but hadn’t seen it in a vehicle yet. Now this is something that could not only save time and money but possibly your life when you’re doing something like running lease roads and get lost and that can easily be done as I did it last Sat. I used my natural instincts to know which way I needed to go and eventually the lease road morphed into a county road that came out by the courthouse in Mentone on 302, right where i needed to be but that was daylight. I have spent all night wandering lease roads, getting into spots I thought I wouldn’t be able to extract from and finally getting sort of panicky after spending the night being lost. With a GPS dropping cookies or whatever they want to call them, I could have easily found my way back even though that night the bad directions I had never did lead me to that rig. I was grateful to finally see a sign that said Notrees and knew I could get back to the yard and not spend the next day trying to find my way out. I don’t know if other GPS units have this waypoint feature but it was nice to see one that did.

    • Soujourner, your words “In the towing comparisons I’ve seen, the Ford V6 does an admirable job, no doubt, but it requires turbo augmented power all the time instead of intermittently. Thus it’s always burning a lot more fuel than the EPA estimates.”

      I know a guy who bought one last year and pulled his travel trailer. He said it was good on gas, whatever that means, when bare but sucked it down with a vengeance pulling that trailer.

      I could have told him that since most of my friends have been fighting the old big trailer, bad mileage thing for 20 years and finally have come to the conclusion there ain’t no free lunches. A big pickup with a great big fifth wheel RV behind it, over it to be exact, still requires the same amount of power to punch a hole in the wind. So, 9-10 mpg with one of those is finally taken for granted since no “new” Powerstroke, Cummins or Duramax had any magic way of producing that much power without using a lot of fuel. Realistic people don’t even think of pulling one of those monsters with a gasoline pickup. I have seen more travel trailers but not of that size, being pulled with mainly GM pickups this year than ever. I guess they think whatever fuel mileage they get it won’t be far off the diesel and they have plenty power. They’re probably right too.

      I wonder how much boost that EcoBoost has at full warp. I know the last thing they’d do is to spend money on a boost gauge but it would sure be informative.

  2. In the next 6 months I will be purchasing a new truck so I’ve already started my comparison shopping.

    Ford offers the best the best customization options out of all the brands I’ve considered. I like the styling of the F150 best as well. I’ve driven the 2.7 EB and I was blown away (power wise). The lighter weight is felt with much better driving dynamics (braking, turning and payload capability). My biggest concerns are future insurance costs and possible lower resale values with the stigma of it being such a small V6.

    The Tundra is cheaper, simpler and indestructible but customization is non-existent plus it’s the ugliest by far. It’s also a much older design and with less refinement. Resale values are excellent.

    The Silverado will be available with an 8-speed next year which will bump up it’s MPG a bit. It seems to be the most well rounded out of all but its styling and customization options are not as good as the F150.

    It’s a tough choice between the 3.

    • Hi Pedro,

      It’s interesting that Ford has limited the new alloy body to the 1500 (and also the EcoBoost engines). The 2500 and 3500 F-trucks are still steel bodied and apparently will remain so. They also come only with V8s.

      The more I rattle it around in my head, the more I am convinced that the only reason for the alloy body and the EcoBoost engines is CAFE (government fuel economy mandates, which now apply equally to “light trucks”). Put more bluntly: Neither are good ideas for a truck – except insofar as they help Ford avoid CAFE-related costs.

      Did you catch the news that sales of the new F-150 are off by almost 10 percent and Ford is apparently discounting the thing? In its first year as a new model?

      This is really, really bad news for them.

      • Just heard a radio ad for “high-strength steel”. So how does that make you feel? Nothing like high-strength steel in the all-new Chevy Silverado.

        Seems like they want everyone to know it’s a steel body. Not only is a Silverado customizable, there are options I can’t even guess what they are and have spoken to salesmen who had no idea either.

        If you want customization in a showroom vehicle a GMC is the ticket. I say this because I’ve looked at the list of options on them and you need a beer about halfway through. No strippers at that dealer….at least not pickup-wise.

          • PtB, it was the the soft, thin metal they used on the Nissan body pickups about mid-80’s that really turned me off Japanese pickups. That probably isn’t the case now but it was hard to screw anything into the body and have it stay there. Plastic tabs in the grill gave up pretty fast so I screwed the grill in. Soon, the screws had wallowed around and fallen out. I finally let it roam around between the backside mounts and the brushguard……good enough.

      • Eric – “Ford is apparently discounting the thing?”

        Ouch. I wonder how the discount compares with just eating the gas-guzzler tax and sticking with steel.

        Penny wise and pound foolish? Excuse the pun.

      • As great as the EB series is, the only reason they sell is because most people could care less about the engine as long as it drives the car forward. In my experience selling F150’s for a year, Ford could have put a Rotary engine in the F150 and it would have sold just as well.

        From what I’ve heard the main reason sales are down is because only one of the three F150 plants were online. Mainly due to massive plant re-tooling required for the aluminum bodies. There is a major shortage of the King Ranch, Platinum and Lariat trims here in Houston. Those are far and away the biggest sellers thus prices have remained high

        The normal pricing strategy for most F150 sales is $55-60k MSRP minus $10k discounts/incentives. With the other 2 plants coming back on-line this month we are starting to see the normal pricing and incentive structures being offered which is keeping many buyers away.

        I feel that by the Christmas sales season F150 sales will be back to normal as incentives and availability become greater.

        • There seems to be two types of buyers, one that wants something that resembles a pickup and another who needs a pickup. The buyer that wants a “pickup” or rather a “truck” simply wants something they don’t have a clue as to the differences in various models. The other people want something they can work and will last and have good resale value. The first group is typical Ford buyers, not a clue as to what engine it has(engine, yes, it has one silly…..what size? I don’t know) and the second buy GM and Dodge cause they need something with power that holds its value(GM almost exclusively on the value).

          It’s been this way since I can remember. And the people who work on their own pickups, the ones who wrench them are almost all GM. I’ve removed and replaced a water pump on a GM gasoline pickup in 20 minutes from the time I came through the door till I backed out. That’s a good half day chore with a puller for the harmonic balancer and various other gaskets for the timing chain cover plus that plethora of bolts and accessories that must be removed also.

          I certainly don’t blame anyone for not wrenching a Ford since it’s a pain. Ford owners look in dismay and say something is obviously wrong. In the sixties it was hard to go wrong with a SBC and then the BBC, just a larger version mostly of the SBC. And it was a no-brainer then to get the six either company made. The 300 Ford was a good engine, would go further than any V engine they made. The Blue Flame was a good engine too and the old 292 was often found in large trucks, even as large as C60’s. I do miss the old sixes. You could stand on the ground right beside it in the engine bay. Neither got good mileage but both would just go and go.

      • The sales of the F-150 are off because they took a hit to convert the factories (all new assembly line, welding robots, etc). And they are taking a sales hit because the subcontractor that supplies the frames is having difficulties meeting production targets.

        But looking at the local dealers, they each have 250-300 new F-150s listed on their websites. I’m wondering if the product mix is right. Maybe people are looking for the work-truck version, not the luxury version.

        • Hi Chip,

          Yeah, but it’s a bad sign when it’s necessary to offer incentives on a brand-new/just-redesigned model. These trucks should be selling at full MSRP. Instead, Ford is offering – as I understand it – as much as $10,000 off the MSRP.

          That’s a clear signal of trouble.

      • I wonder if the “unintended consequence” of changing the F150, and eventually the Ram 1500 and Silverado 1500 competitors, will be people moving up to F250’s, Ram 2500, and Silverado 2500’s, even if it really is too much for their needs. Kind of like when people couldn’t get the big station wagons of the past anymore, so they ended up buying the even bigger SUV’s, when minivans and smaller station wagons weren’t cutting it.

        In some ways I WANT to see that happen if these trucks are neutered too much. Seems to be the only way to protest stupid government these days by doing something even worse then what they want.

  3. I still believe the old adage: there’s no replacement for displacement. You could buy an ego boost for 55k, or a 4 door duramax for the same money. Why the hell would anyone buy the ego boost? Because “gas mileage”, “the environment”, blah blah blah blah.

    If I were going to buy a union-mobile, it’d be a 3500 Duramax. Since I hate unions, I will stick with my Tundra. Hell, you can buy a new Tundra and put the super charger on it for less than an ego boost. An SC Tundra will take all the ego out of the ego boost……..because there is no replacement for displacement.

    • Hi Ancap,

      That’s my philosophy also. Especially in this context (trucks) where durability and simplicity (they’re usually related) are paramount considerations.

      Now, if the EcoBoost delivered significantly better economy – which for me would have to be at least 8-10 MPG vs. a comparably powerful, otherwise equivalent V8 – then, sure.

      Or at least, maybe.

      But all this complexity and cost … to get an additional 2-3 MPG?

      Picture me scratching my head….

      • The thing with the 2-3 mpg’s is that you really don’t get that. A few people will lie about how well the eco boost does on gas, but the honest ones who drive 80-85 on the interstates and highways here in Idaho tell me the best their trucks do is 18 mpg. In real world driving a Chevy beats that. Most guys get 19-20 or so out of them with 5.3–less powerful, but less expensive and simpler to work on. Chevy engines are the only ones that resemble what an engine looked like 15 years ago. Surprising with the amount of government intervention into their business model.

        They are all too damned expensive thanks to uncle Sammy, but especially the Fords. 50k for a half ton pickup. I bought my first full size pickup in 2000. A 98 Chevy extended cab. Loaded cloth interior, bucket seats for just under $17,000. In 2007 I bought my first brand new Tundra, nicely equipped for $32,000 and I couldn’t believe how ridiculously expensive pickups were becoming.

        Now $40 is the beginning for a nicely equipped 4×4. If that were sustainable it wouldn’t take Uncle Sammy’s life support programs of low interest rates, long term loans and other “incentives” to keep it rolling.

        • I was driving a company pickup for a while with the 5.3. I was going to and back from a site everyday, about 160 miles one way. I was doing it in the dark mostly and drove it no less than 75 but mostly 85 and sometimes for a fairly long stretch 90 and above. I noticed the fuel gauge seemed to be moving slowly so I started keeping up with the mileage. It was returning 17mpg consistently. That may not be so hot at reasonable speeds but I was driving whee out of it, having to floor it quite a bit on a very up and down road to get around slower traffic. That little Chevy ext. cab half ton would bounce off the governor easily. I was impressed with the mpg and would have taken it with a grain of salt if anybody had told me that’s what it would do at those speeds.

  4. I realized that 375 lb. ft. or torque per 2.7 L of engine is similar to what modern diesels do. When you divide 2.7 into 16 and multiply by 375 you get about 30 lb. ft. of torque overall less than what a Detroit Diesel DD 16 produces(2250 lb. ft.) @1,000 rpm. I guess the question is, will a new Ford gasoline engine hold up as long as a diesel engine from a company that has over 1 million engines on the road and has been in business nearly 80 years? A diesel engine doesn’t have to be a lightweight and is used in applications where plenty of oil and cooling are to be had along with at least dual oil and fuel filtration(and coolant filtration).
    So the question really is Are you feeling lucky?……with less percentage of reserve oil, less filtration of oil, fuel and probably air plus the difference in rigidity of the engine and tens of millions of engines produced to come to this latest design?

    Did Ford do the homework in a few years with turbo gasoline engines DD did in 80 years with tens of millions of different types of turbo-charged diesel and natural gas engines?

    Does anyone expect that engine to last 25% of the life of a diesel, 300,000 miles? I use 25% and 300,000 miles since even gasoline GM pickup engines commonly run that far and have for more than 20 years…..but they’re doing so with displacement and not boost. I’ve seen many get half a million miles and be running fine.

  5. I wonder if 3/4 ton and heavier trucks are still exempt from CAFE fleet averages. If so, I suspect the F150/C1500 may cater to suburbanites with the small turboed engines while the work truck market shifts to heavier haulers powered with V8s.

  6. A coworker just bought a fully-decked-out 4×4 Platinum F-150. Which ran him $63k before discounts. And I have to say, it’s *very* nice.

    The one feature I wish I could have in my vehicle is the 360-degree camera view. This gives you a mostly-overhead view when you’re parking in tight spaces. Yes, this is technically a band-aid for styling that prevents you from seeing where the corners of the truck are. But — it makes anyone into a parking superstar.

      • His main job is software development manager. He has a side business of building houses with a business partner (they have 2 almost done and under contract by cash buyers). They have 3 lots waiting in their inventory and will be starting the design process for them soon.

        The key to being successful in Austin as a home-builder is to have good subs, and to treat them well so they don’t leave you for some other builder (the market here is crazy).

  7. It’ll be interesting down the road to see what the value of these trucks with turbo v6’s are after 150K versus the old N/A V8’s.

    You can buy a well cared for used V8 work truck with 150K(miles) and be relatively confident you could get at least another 100K out of it.(and more if you cared for it well)

    I’m not convinced the turbo v6’s are going to hold up under work truck duty like the N/A V8’s no matter how many self serving “tests” the manufacturers trot out.

    I’m in your camp Eric, we’ll see if their tests are BS our not over the next 5 years.

    In the mean time though, if you’re buying a new truck with a turbo v6 you should be prepared for lower residual value if the heavy duty use of turbo v6’s start to show long term reliability drops versus N/A v8’s.

    I wouldn’t say this if the engines in question were diesel’s…but they aren’t…and even then I owned Jetta TDI and the robustness of the engine still became a problem after 200K when the rings continually fouled the intake side of replaced turbochargers….

    I’m not sure what the technical/mechanical differences are with big rig diesels that are able to prevent turbo impeller fouling via piston ring wear after 500,000 miles…

    • Was just looking at an ’08 Pete with a Red Top 550 Cummins and a million miles on the truck. Ex owner operator and the truck looks brand new. The engine has 150K on an in frame rebuild with original turbo. But I regularly see 1M+ miles on big rig engine with original engines and turbos.

      The new Detroit Diesel DD 16 has an estimated life of 1.2 M miles before rebuild. Like cars, big rigs now have mechanicals that are great, rarely any problems but the DEF and EGR play hell with them as well as computers going down. Get govt. out of it and watch MPG double. 20 years ago you’d see big rigs getting 6mpg pulling big boxes. Now they get 4mpg. That’s a lot of money in fuel.

      • Any idea what materials they use to keep clean burn/no blow as far as piston ring wear with that kind of mileage on big rigs?

        • Nick, lots of factors at work here. Better oil, cleaner fuel and a lot of engines including gas car engines have two oil rings these days. And they use all sorts of alloys not only in rings but pistons and liners too. Newer fuel injectors run at greater pressures so there’s less unburnt fuel and turbo blades are made from all sorts of unobtanium too. Turbo seals are much better too and that cuts down on oil as well.

          One of the worst things about the Ford 6.0 L diesel was the oil seal in the turbo. Even at a very young age or few miles I should say, they’d give it up and fill the exhaust will oil…..to the point that when they were replaced it might take hundreds of miles to burn it all out.

          But blow-by is nearly a thing of the past in well maintained engines now.

  8. Guess I’m getting to be an old curmudgeon, I’m with CC they all have the look of Tonka toys. I suppose my brain was impressed at an early age that curves are cool and beautiful. I much prefer the look of my old 2002 F250 front to any of these new boxes.

    I do appreciate the great power made by these small motors, but OMG the technology is bewildering. I’ve rebuilt inline 4s, 6s, V8s, flat 4s and 6s, outboards and even a rotary. But I wouldn’t do anything on these but change the oil! But then they are generally much more reliable, I surly hope they don’t need a complete rebuild at 60k like many used to need. But still just give me an old gas 454cid when I need torque and a little twin cam for my sports car:)

    • Edward, stick a torque cam in that 454 when it’s new and have a real honker. Back when BBC’s kept getting lower and lower compression ratios it was common for people in this part of the country to buy a new GM 454 pickup, and since it’s small towns, the dealer would honor the warranty if they wanted to modify it. They’d stick a different cam and tube headers with turbo mufflers and literally outrun the performance cars of the day.

      It’s sorta funny that in some places modifying a vehicle is still as regular as owning one. Out in the heart of the oil patch, in Odessa(primarily)and Midland Texas people have new pickups and even really old pickups that will outrun nearly anything else on the road.

      I was in a convenience store in Odessa one day and as I was going to exit and the doors were open, I hear the sound of a street race, big power. I look out to see about a ’70 model Chevy pickup with some obviously powerful engine and a new Duramax diesel pulling a tandem axle dually gooseneck trailer having a race right there on 42nd street. The Duramax was super loud and blowing smoke and neck and neck with a bare pickup, both burning tires. It made me laugh out loud. Not many places people still have the balls to street race.

      And out there rice rockets are replete. I’ve seen guys take off on streets that are 6 lanes wide in morning rush hour traffic and do wheelies for a quarter mile and doing some uber speed as they disappear into the distance. A lot of those streets turn to highways eventually so beyond certain intersections they’re almost deserted. Lots of Kaws, Zuks and Yamahammers as well as some Honda’s that you hear and wonder how much displacement they now have. Lots of that big cam, big displacement sound and big aftermarket pipes.

  9. I thought the rear hinged doors and the required opening of the front doors to access them via older extended cab versions had been put to bed. So getting in the back can effectively double front door usage.

    I drive an ’05 extended cab Chevy 2500 4X4 and it’s been crew abused(somebody tweaked both front doors as in backing into something or letting good old Texas wind do its thing) so the doors rattle and leak air. It’s a pain in the butt to have to open the front door to get the rear door open anyway. Getting rid of that support in the center may be a visual and weight-saving boon but it’s already been done to death with extended cabs and it isn’t a success. How the rear can hold a full size door and have it be really solid by having the front shut I’m betting is still a bad thing. That part ain’t rocket science. I get why they went to aluminum but eliminating that full body structure for holding doors is going to be counterproductive in the long run.

    One thing I see a lot of these days are moon roofs on pickups. Of course that probably doesn’t save weight and you can bet it doesn’t make them more structurally rigid or less crushable in a rollover either.

    I guess Ford sticks some more airbags in these doors to make up for the lessened side impact safety too. I’ve been a lots and lots of pickups and lots of extended cabs with doors that open opposite ways and depend on the front to be closed and they don’t work for the long haul. Let one door get a bit tweaked and then the other doesn’t fit tight too. Aluminum is known for its cracking from twisting. The only way they’ll sell a lot of these to companies who know they’re going to be abused is to drop the price well below what they can sell them for…..or at least make that big profit margin.

    And the 700lbs they saved, what happens to the GVWR? Does it get upped 700 lbs.? Someone has already mentioned saving unsprung weight since the vehicle weighs less but that’s with no load. So essentially the same vehicle loaded up with say an extra 500 lbs. of payload is going to be more stressed and smaller brakes and springs won’t be the ticket for that I can assure you. GM started producing variable rate springs in ’69 I think. People who can’t understand variable rate think that Ford’s somehow can haul more weight because the tail sticks way up since they simply have the same size springs from top to bottom. What that essentially does is to make them handle much worse and have a much harsher ride. So assuming they stay with that and the springs now have to handle just as much weight or more and the vehicle weighs 700 lbs. less, then standard fare should be an air-ride seat and a mouthpiece.

    I often have to get out of a big rig a couple hundred miles from home and take a pickup to the house. I never know what will be sitting there but nowdays, I can count on it being a Chevy or a Dodge and thank god for that. Oh, the Dodge will roam and hunt and blow around in the wind but it won’t beat you to death. The occasional Ford I used to have to drive would simply chitter-chatter every inch of the way letting you know every nano-second it had a bunch of springs and stiff shocks….all the way around. All well and good if it’s needed but the Chevy’s were just as good(better actually)hauling a load and rode like a Chevy. A few years back Dodge realized they lost a lot of sales so now a Dodge rides pretty decently too…..and don’t drive too great after a couple hundred thousand miles but still don’t beat you to death.
    I think Ford keeps their trucks rough simply because Ford o Philes equate rough with tough and big rig drivers will tell you rough means rough and crap breaks more often.

    But the real reason Ford is doing this is to sell “light” trucks, really light trucks, the ones everybody and their dogs buy so they can say they drive a “truck”, always refer to them that way. It doesn’t bode well for those people who need a real work pickup.

    But like I tell folks looking to buy a pickup, buy a Ford…..and maybe some day that ’08 Duramax I’m looking at won’t still be going for $43,000.

    Very few people know what a crewcab that’s worked hard every day looks like, inside and outside, but for those who do, they will all scratch their heads before buying one. I look into my crystal ball and see Ford on the ropes for this one. Rocky may not bounce back from this.

    • BTW, last year I asked a guy with a one ton 4X4 Chevy ext. cab how he kept his doors so tight, the rear ones always get that loose feel to them that eventually transfers to the front ones. He looked me in the eye and said “I don’t use them”. Fair enough. Sounds like the advice a dealer used to give everybody who bought a TA with T-tops. Say, I hear from my buddies these T-tops will leak…..so how do you stop that? Dealer: Don’t ever remove them.

      I know where there’s a good Silver Anniversary model TA with T-tops that’s been sitting for years and the tops still don’t leak. The GE silicone sealer that was put on them when new is still doing its job.

    • Did you notice how far up that panel bent? Probably warped the top of the bed too. And to be fair, denting one with a sledgehammer from the side isn’t very realistic.

      What is realistic is having the corner of the bumper shoved into the bed from an angle. I see this all the time and some people simply leave it and pay the hickey when they trade since they know they’re going to. But that dent from an angle that’s already been hard enough to bring the bumper into it and have it dent the panel is much worse than a sledgehammer since it took that entire vehicle moving at some rate of speed into another vehicle or most often, a solid object that doesn’t have any “give”. I’d bet if they’d done that, a very common thing. they’d have seen a big crease in the top of the bed and probably inside the box too.

      I used to occasionally help a friend with a body shop. It’s amazing what you find out about vehicles when you have to do the repair.

      I’d bet not one in 100,000 people know what Super Duty meant at one time.

  10. Since the potential extra costs are impossible to verify or quantify, they won’t cost Ford too many current sales. Down the road, things may or may not be very different.

    But right here and now, this new F-150 is one hell of a nice truck.

  11. I was happy with 1980 style trucks, except for the rust and oil leaks. Not cartoonish Tonka transformer toys nor luxoliners like current offerings.

    IC gasoline engines are metered air pumps, even the tiniest engine will need to suck in and expel as much air as the largest engine to make equivalent power thus burning about as much fuel in doing so. Overdrives are only effective when the engine power curve and road conditions combine to permit low rpms, not often enough when small turboed gas engines are propelling really big vehicles. Too bad diesels are few and far between, as are Americans savvy enough to maintain them.

  12. Lets just hope that Ford did its research and testing on these new engines better than they did for the 6.0 diesel

    remember those?

    how they all self destructed?

    or how the 5.4 gas engines spit out spark plugs because Ford though 2 threads was plenty enough to hold in a spark plug?

    or how the later 5.4s broke off the spark plugs, because they designed the shank of the spark plug to stick waaay down in the head, and of course never tested it because after 100K miles, its so crusted with carbon that it wont come out, and on top of that it was a 3 piece spark plug, so it simply breaks off leaving part of the plg inside the engine.

    Ford claimed they tested the 5.4 engine, which is obviously a lie, because if they had, they would have discovered these flaws.

    they also claimed to have run the 6.0 diesels a million miles of testing, obviously a nother lie, since almost 1/3 of the 6.0 diesels failed early in their life, around 40K miles.

  13. You better believe Ford is taking a gamble, a huge gamble. Most truck buyers are very happy with light trucks the way they are. Ford sure wouldn’t be doing this outside the government over regulations clouding the future.

    If it ends up blowing up on Ford (poor sales, major defects or both), it could bankrupt itself. These trucks are the profit center of not just Ford, but also GM and Fiat-Chrysler. The majority of profits come from this one class of vehicle.

    • I could write an article about this. The truth is with trucks, simply because of what their life will involve, KISS, Keep it Simple Stupid. I suspect people will, if forced to, and that’s almost a certainty, pay more, even more than they are already paying to drive a Dodge or especially a GM pickup.

      My cousin is a good example of a Ford owner. He’s never owned one and never used a pickup except for a few months when he and other members of Lockheed’s skunk works stood in the back of a couple of Ford pickups holding model planes to determine if their computer simulations matched what the planes appeared to show in model form. Then he said that GM pickups were “pure junk” and that Ford’s were the only way to go.

      My first try at pickups came with a ’46 Ford that had a traumatic demise. But it had a rebuilt, modified Lincoln V-8 in it so that wasn’t really a true world test and was a hot rod only. My next two pickups were a 54 Ford and a 55 Chevy. No comparison in the two. The Chevy was down and dirty more powerful and held up much better. It was never even a race after that in that GM’s always held up much better and then late 60’s GM bested Ford in every way, esp. engines and handling not to mention a/c and power steering. Ford never caught up once the 70’s appeared and still haven’t to this day. Dodge and Plymouth were never in the running till Dodge stuck a Cummins diesel in a Chevy look-alike.

      I never bought a Ford but had to use them working for other people. Short-lived engines and shorter-lived transmissions along with power steering that continually gave it up, front ends that never drove right and ventilation that sucked the big one and always that one Cyclops drivers side headlamp that blinded every oncoming vehicle, esp. if they were loaded.

      The only way a Ford would run or pull with a GM after the BBC was on a trailer behind the Chevy.

      Twin I-Beam suspension…..you just never knew where you’d go.

      Those who must have a pickup will pay whatever it costs to have a reliable V-8 and be glad they don’t have to deal with the paint that’s now falling off the aluminum bodies. Everybody got their fill of that with those white/primer two tone GM pickups.

      I know I sound like a know it all but after 50 years of big rigs and having to run small engines flat out all the time that didn’t hold up as long as larger engines and never got the real world fuel economy of the larger engines, I’ve been down this road before…..and down this road……..and down this road.

      When Ford gave up their old pushrod engines(97) and went modular, they gave up cylinders left and right and now there’s few of them to be found while 10 year older GM pickups and Dodge’s too are still around in large numbers.

      • Eight, I see lots of old Ford Trucks still roaming about. Same with Dodge and GM. I live in a road salt area as well. Lots of 10 year old fords around.

        The “problem” with mod motors which I think you are referring to is that the spark plugs didn’t have enough thread unless one was very careful with installing the plugs. Taking great care and using a torque wrench are a must on heads before they went with fully threaded plugs. The damage caused by over tightening plugs can be fixed with threaded inserts installed with the head on engine.

        • BrentP, I’m not speaking of 10 year old pickups, they’re common. I’m speaking of pickups made during the 90’s.

          In this last oil field boom almost every company, especially all the new ones, had fleets of brand new pickups so fairly much all you saw day after day were brand new with some of the larger companies having pickups six to eight years old, like the pipeline companies that have been around a long time. The only exception to that was 90’s and often ’92 or ’93 GM pickups, still out there doing the tough stuff. Not only do I live in oil country but farming and ranching country too. There are very few Ford work trucks left from that era. OTOH, there are still plenty of GM pickups from that era and many people will go to extraordinary lengths to keep one. Good mileage, easy to work on and reliable as hell. Up to ’95, only a computer for the engine and transmission and no air bags.

          Every time somebody shows up in a 6.5 Turbo people will ask what year it is. That’s because the ’92 and ”93 were all mechanical, no computer of any sort and very reliable. And there’s another example of govt. screwing up the market. Had GM been able to stay with the mechanical diesels they would have sold many more. Starting in ’94 though, those pickups had computer controlled diesels and the new problems associated with the fuel system. Most everyone with non-computer Ford and Chevy diesels have run them into the ground and would still be using them still but that’s where insurance companies come in. They won’t give you squat for one if it has much damage so it’s time for a new one. Govt., insurance and car companies work hand in hand to see you don’t get too much life from anything now.

          • I was addressing your last paragraph of your prior post. There are 90s fords around here too, but even the ones you are saying are gone, 10 year old fords, are still around in large numbers. Chicago is harsh environment for vehicles. When I go to places like Texas I see cars and trucks that are extinct here.

            • All I drive are 90-95 F150’s, I bought one for a few hundred dollars with 230k on it. It has 305 now with absolutely nothing but oil changes done. And one set of pads. Still runs great and pulls 15k like nothing. Everyone I’ve had has been super reliable. 5.0 with AODE trans is a hard combo to beat. The newer ones just make me a bunch of money.

  14. “Alloy body reduces weight – and unsprung mass.”
    Pardon me if I’m displaying my ignorance, but I thought the body was sprung mass.

    • Lower vehicle weight reduces size and weight of brakes, suspension components and wheels – all the unsprung stuff. I’m not sure that would be as true for trucks as it is in cars.

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