Inside Ford’s Super Duty Weight Reinvestment with an Insider
As we get closer and closer to the inevitable launch of the 2017 Ford Super Duty, we keep learning more and more about the pickup truck. One of the ways that Ford is helping share the information is through their Insider program. That program recruited several people from key industries to get inside access to the Super Duty long before anyone else, and then share their knowledge through videos and other means.
One of those individuals on the inside is FTE fan Nate Berges. We’ve talked to him before, back at the Houston Auto Show, about the program. But that was long before he had a chance to get inside the new truck, to see how the new truck was engineered, and to drive the truck. Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with him again about the program and the new truck.
Nate owns several Super Duty pickup trucks now, including a 2011 pickup as his daily-driver. He also has a fleet of chassis cabs of varying age for his awning company. As you can see by the photo he shared with us above, he is a bit of a Ford fan.
Super Duty customers are definitely a different breed from those who purchase the half-ton F-150. While many F-150 owners do work with their trucks, the Super Duty customer often relies on their truck to do their job. In the case of Berges Trenton Awning, the truck is absolutely essential. Without it, they wouldn’t make any money. As we all know, a business needs to make money to stay in business.
So what is something that Nate is most impressed with with the new Super Duty? Weight reinvestment. If you all remember, the 2015 Ford F-150 shaved approximately 700 lbs off from the previous version of the truck. Much of that savings came from the use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum alloy. The new Super Duty, on the other hand, didn’t lose that much weight when switching to aluminum.
Because the truck is lighter overall, Ford can spend some weight on even beefier components to make the truck stronger than it has ever been. It even affects the overall feeling of how the truck drives. Let’s allow Nate to explain in his own words;
“I definitely felt the reinvestment built into the driving dynamic of the vehicle. Everyone wonders why Ford didn’t shave 700+ pounds like the [F-]150, but that’s because the SD still has a job to do and Ford nipped and tucked where they could but used its size appropriately to improve the ride quality and towing ability all at once.”
One of the things we noticed about driving the 2015 F-150 over the 2014 F-150 was how much lighter on its feet the truck felt. That translated to improved driving dynamics. It appears the Super Duty gets some of that benefit, while still being tougher.
The switch to aluminum also allowed Ford to reinvest in the high-strength steel frame. Again, we let Nate explain;
“The frame itself is obviously bigger, and extending the wheelbase 4″ to accommodate the cab is another part of using the truck’s size to its own advantage.”
While Nate is participating in this program, he isn’t just sharing the marketing speak. He told me he typically keeps his trucks until they die, which can be quite a long time. But for his personal truck, he’s ordered a brand new 2017 Super Duty. And yes, he has to pay for it. I believe that to be the best testimonial about the new truck.
We’re inching closer to the launch of the new truck, and we’ll be sure to share with you all the latest news as we get it. Until then, share your thoughts in our comments or over in the forums!
photos via [Nate Berges and Ford]