The Backbones of the 2017 Ford Super Duty Trucks

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Frame 1

A Ford Super Duty truck is a tool. So is a crowbar. That’s where the similarities end, though. A Super Duty is also a complex machine, especially the 2017 model. It’s loaded with technology and features tweaked engines and even a new transmission. However, under all of those moving parts is a relatively simple component: a frame.

For 2017, the Super Duty pickup’s underpinnings are more robust than ever. The weight saved by the use of an aluminum body means the frame can now use six times more high-strength steel than the frame in the 2016 SD, bringing the total to 95 percent. Thanks to its fully boxed construction, the 2017 unit generates less noise, vibration, and harshness. A 1.5-inch increase in the height of the frame rails and through-welded crossmembers translate to greater rigidity – up to 24 times more stiffness, in fact.

The five available wheelbases start with a twin-I-beam suspension up front and range in length from 141.6 to 176 inches. Ford says its new truck will offer “the most towing and hauling capability ever delivered by Super Duty.” In other words: the 2017 F-350 4X4 with the tweaked Power Stroke V8 and dual rear wheels should be capable of towing more than 19,000 pounds and pulling a fifth wheel that weighs more than 26,500 pounds. A similarly equipped 2017 F-450 should be able to tow more than 19,000 pounds and transport a fifth wheel that weighs more than 31,200 pounds behind it.

Frame 2

The maximum gross axle weight and maximum gross combined weight ratings and towing capacity for the 2017 Super Duty chassis cab’s frame also climb. (These are the numbers it has to beat.) Like the pickup’s backbone, the chassis cab’s frame features six times more high-strength steel than the unit it replaces for a total of (at least) 95 percent.

The eight available wheelbases, which range in length from 145.3 to 205.3 inches, feature a fully boxed section under the cab, an upfitter-friendly open C-channel design behind it, and as many as 10 crossmembers throughout for greater strength and stiffness.

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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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