Engineers use towing dyno trailer to simulate hill climbs

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.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

2017 Ford Super Duty Testing with Portable Mountains
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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.

2017 Ford Super Duty

2017 Ford Super Duty High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty here.

Press Release

When testing the toughest, smartest, most capable Ford F-Series Super Duty ever, engineers discovered the all-new truck is so powerful that it needed new equipment to simulate traveling up steep mountain grades to ensure it lives up to its Built Ford Tough reputation.

2017 Ford Super Duty Testing with Portable Mountains
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Traditionally, a dynamometer sled is attached to the vehicle hitch and pulled behind it. The old-style dynamometer did not challenge the power of the all-new Super Duty, so Ford set out to find a new, stronger dyno sled to test the vehicle’s mountain climbing capability limits.

The dyno simulates steep grades by providing pull against the vehicle, using a brake limiter – a series of electric coils wired together that are energized, acting like a large magnet. This drawbar pull against the truck mimics the effects of gravity while driving up an incline.

The new dyno is capable of a maximum drawbar pull of 5,620 pounds – a 181 percent increase compared with the 2,000 pounds from the previous dyno, allowing the new setup to simulate steeper hills. A common simulated grade used for testing is approximately 7 percent, but the new towing dynamometer used at Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds can simulate up to a 30 percent grade.

“The new Super Duty is really impressive,” said Jim Sumner, Ford product development engineer. “In more than 25 years of doing this work, we used the same dyno, which did the job, but the new truck is so powerful we needed new equipment to test out its capability. The fact that even under full load, Super Duty didn’t have any trouble at all is a testament to just how capable this new truck is.”

The equipment allowed Ford engineers to virtually test the all-new Super Duty on Davis Dam and Townes Pass – all without leaving the proving grounds. Testers upload the profile of the hills to the dyno and it adjusts to the correct grade, allowing for the truck to be tested in a variety of conditions to ensure performance regardless of environment.

“Any test engineer in North America knows about Davis Dam,” said Sumner. “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.”

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Townes Pass, the other hill engineers use for testing, is approximately 16 miles long, featuring an average grade of 5.1 percent and a maximum grade of 10.1 percent.

Davis Dam is so effective for testing vehicle capabilities that the Society of Automotive Engineers incorporated the grade of the hill into its test standards. Being able to test on this grade without having to make the trip to the real hill in Bullhead City, Arizona, expedites testing, and helps Ford engineers ensure that the all-new Super Duty will deliver the performance owners expect from their heavy-duty Built Ford Tough truck.

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