Ford Performs Cold-Weather Testing…in Florida?

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If you happen to be near Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base this summer and you see someone heading toward it with a winter parka, don’t immediately label them a kook. They’re either cold-blooded…

…or a Ford employee performing cold-weather vehicle testing in the site’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory.

There, the Blue Oval is able to determine how its vehicles, ranging from the Focus to the Super Duty (including prototypes of the next-generation truck), respond to nearly every possible weather condition as well as temperatures as frigid as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That keeps Ford from having to wait on cold weather to occur naturally or travel across the world to reach it. (However, when it comes to the development of the 2017 Raptor, there’s nothing quite like getting outdoors.)

My home state of Texas is a huge market for F-Series and Fusion sales, but Ford certainly hasn’t forgotten about those of you way up north. The automaker said in a press release, “Engineers conduct idle tests at the lab – running the engine week after week as temperature fluctuates from 40 degrees to minus 40 degrees, and examining the exhaust as it heats up then cools back down – to help ensure the needs” of Prudhoe Bay Oil Field workers in Alaska.

Ford also studies the behavior of 13 commonly used fuels at minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure it sets up its models for optimum cold starts. In fact, it was through cold-weather evaluations that Ford engineers figured out that they should use gold ceramic plugs instead of metal plugs so that the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 can heat up more quickly.

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via [Ford]

Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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