2017 Ford Super Duty Testing with Portable Mountains
Engineers use towing dyno trailer to simulate hill climbsby Mark McNabb, on
Ford engineers have developed a new testing platform for evaluating the towing abilities of the new 2017 Super Duty. The engineers took the idea of a dynamometer sled to the max, building a larger and more powerful version that creates 5,620 pounds of resistance behind the truck. That’s an increase of 181 percent over Ford’s previous dyno sled.
What’s the purpose? Well engineers can simulate driving up steep mountain grades, all from the oval track at Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds. This not only saves time and money with traveling, but also provides a closed, non-changing environment in which to test with.
The dyno sled uses a brake limited comprised of a series of electric coils wired together that are energized. The magnet-like function the coils provide mimic the effects of gravity found when driving up an incline. What’s more, the dyno sled can be controlled remotely and programmed to provide the exact resistance measurements as found on real-world hill climbs, including Davis Dam and Townes Pass.
“Any test engineer in North America knows about Davis Dam,” said Jim Sumner, a Ford product development engineer. “It’s a demanding hill going from sea level to more than 3,000 feet in 11.2 miles, and is an ideal location to test towing capability. With this dyno, we can test the all-new Super Duty on that hill – but from right here on the level surface of our Arizona Proving Grounds.”
Astute trailer-towers will also know the Davis Dam from the Society of Automotive Engineers’ towing standards. Called J2807, the testing regiment covers everything from a truck’s frame strength to its ability to properly cool its engine while climbing the seven-percent grade. If a truck’s tow rating is J2807 certified, customers can know that truck has been independently tested by the SAE to pull that weight. Impressive tow ratings are no longer marketing hype.
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Why it matters
Testing regiments are a big deal for automotive engineers, and towing tops the list with pickup truck development. Customs demand trucks that can do work and automakers are determined to out-do their competition. Having larger towing capacities is simply a matter of bragging rights. Thankfully those automakers that follow the SAE J2807 towing standards are held in a more honest regard. Ford will likely have its 2017 Super Duty J2807 certified, but before that certification can be given, Ford engineers have to ensure the Super Duty’s ability to tow without fault.
That’s where this dyno sled comes into play. Sure, Ford could haul the Super Duty engineering team across the country to test on-location at the Davis Dam or Towne Pass, but this simple trailer makes for a great substitute for general testing.
Ford might say the 2017 Super Duty is “all-new,” but its powertrain lineup is basically carry-over from 2016. This includes the 6.2-liter V-8 and the 6.7-liter PowerStroke V-8 turbodiesel. Granted, Ford might be squeezing some more power out of both engines, but the engineers definitely know what they’re working with.
All that aide, the video above provides a interesting glimpse into Ford’s testing regiment for the 2017 Super Duty.
Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty here.