A few weeks back, I reported on the new-for-2019 Chevrolet Silverado, and (among other things), its 10-speed automatic transmission.
Several readers were in touch with their thoughts on the idea of a 10-speed automatic, and both Dave Cleveland and Vince d’Entremont got in touch to remind me that, back in the day, transmissions with as few as two or three gears were sufficient to get the job done.
As a child of the ’80s, I grew up mostly with four and five speed transmissions, and now own two vehicles with a six-speed transmission (manual for both).
It looks like the 10-speed automatic is here to stay, and Ford’s just announced that they’ll be using a heavy-duty 10-speed automatic gearbox in their upcoming 2020 Super Duty pickup.
Ford says the new Super Duty will offer the nameplate’s highest conventional, gooseneck and fifth-wheel towing capacities ever. The 10-speed automatic, accordingly, has been subjected to a rigorous strengthening routine to help it stand up the task.
It’s not just the transmission where the upcoming Super Duty is set to leap ahead, either. A recent release announced that two new engines will be on offer—including an enormous 7.3-litre gasoline V8, and a third-generation 6.7-litre Power Stroke diesel V8. The Super Duty’s popular 6.2-litre V8 will remain available as well.
“Super Duty customers have demanding and diverse needs, from towing heavy trailers to repairing critical infrastructure. Productivity is their lifeblood and the truck their biggest tool,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford group vice president of North America.
“The new Super Duty has more power, payload, towing capability and better technology than ever to help these customers build a better world.”
Both new engines will come teamed with the new 10-speed automatic, meaning that customers can expect further-enhanced performance and fuel efficiency. Officials note that Ford is the only brand to manufacture and design their heavy-duty engine and transmission combinations in house, helping ensure the powertrain will work seamlessly with all other vehicle calibrations and components.
The incoming 7.3-litre gasoline V8 should resonate well with customers after simple, effective performance that’s easy on maintenance. The cam-in-block design and cast-iron cylinder block will reduce complexity and add toughness, while strategic deployment of forged internal parts helps ensure a long and trouble-free life.
The engine also uses conventional port fuel injection, instead of more complex and (potentially) more maintenance-heavy direct fuel injection. Oil jets are employed to help cool the massive pistons when the engine is worked hard.
The next-generation Power Stroke diesel engine gets a new fuel injection system that focuses on more efficient combustion and reduced noise levels. A new turbocharger system has also been created to provide further-improved pumping efficiency of the compressor, for optimal throttle response and reduced fuel use.
The mighty diesel engine has also been reinforced structurally, and engineers specified a range of beefed-up components, including rods and bearings, that help handle the added power output with ease.
Output figures are not yet finalized, though they’ll be available closer to the new Super Duty’s on-sale date.
Also notable is how the new 10-speed automatic, despite packing four more gears than the former six-speed unit, fits in the same physical space and is less than four pounds heavier. The new 10-speed transmission will also offer live drive power takeoff capability, which allows the owner to engage installed industrial equipment and accessories, like snowplows, while the truck is in motion.
Elsewhere, the 2020 Super Duty is enhanced with new features and functionalities. Interested shoppers can expect numerous advanced systems that help bolster safety, trailer maneuvering and connectivity.
Built-in Wi-Fi, wireless Smartphone charging and automatic emergency braking will all be on offer, with Ford’s latest safety technologies rolling out as standard on more model grades.
The American-built 2020 F-Series Super Duty will start shipping to dealers later this year.