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Ford Tests 2017 Super Duty For Truck Campers

In a new video, Ford engineers smoke the tires testing the highly-anticipated aluminum-bodied 2017 Ford F350 Super Duty using a 5,000 pound welded-steel truck camper simulator.  Roll Stability Control to the rescue.

2017 Ford Super Duty Truck Test

Early yesterday morning Truck Camper Magazine was contacted by Ford Motor Company about tests involving an all-new 2017 Ford Super Duty truck and a custom-built 5,000 pound truck camper simulator.

The tests involved loading the 5,000 pound truck camper simulator and driving the resulting rig through a series of slow and high-speed lane changes and slaloms.  At one point during the resulting video, the Ford team literally smokes the tires as they push the new Super Duty to its limits.

Here is the Ford Motor Company video:

After reviewing the Ford video, photography, and supplied information, we requested an interview with a Ford engineer to answer additional questions on the truck, simulator, and test.  Ford put us through to Scott Brack, Senior Development Engineer at Ford Motor Company.

TCM: The truck in the test appears to be a 2017 Ford F350.  Can you tell us more about the specifics of this truck?

Scott: The truck in the test video was a 2017 Ford F350 XLT, crew cab, dually with a 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine, and four-wheel drive.  We test with multiple rear axle ratios, but I don’t know the rear axle ratio for the test truck.

For the test, we added the Camper Package which includes higher spring rate in the front, a rear stabilizer bar, and a rear auxiliary spring.

Ford Roll Control Test Rig

TCM: Other than the Camper Package, was the truck suspension 100% stock for the test?

Scott: There was no extra suspension added to the truck.

Ford-Test-Simulator-Wide-1

TCM: Can you tell us about the custom made truck camper simulator, and how it was built to weigh up to 7,500 pounds?

Scott: Without the rear tail section and without added weights, the slide-in simulator weighs 2,500 pounds.  To increase the weight to 4,000 pounds, we can add rear tail section weights and add upper cab weights.

Ford-Test-Simulator-Detail-4 Ford-Test-Simulator-Detail-2

To increase the weight to 6,000 pounds or more, we can add up to two 1,000 pound center weights, and a platform weight above the cab of the truck.  The platform adds a lot of weight to the structure.

Ford-Test-Simulator-Inside-Bed

The center weights go into the box of the truck on what looks like an Erector Set of steel tubes.  If completely loaded, the slide-in simulator can weigh 7,500 pounds.

Ford-Test-Driving-3

TCM: From your description, the simulator wasn’t 7,500 pounds in the video.

Scott: It was not at 7,500 pounds during the video.  We were testing a crew cab model, so the simulator in the test was 5,000 pounds.  The regular cab models have the most payload.

TCM: How did you load and attach the slide-in simulator to the truck?

Scott: We used an overhead crane to load the simulator into the truck.  Once loaded, we bolted it to the bed of the truck using bed bolts.

Ford-Test-Simulator-Detail-1 Ford-Test-Simulator-Detail-3

TCM: Where is the center of gravity on the truck with the loaded simulator?

Scott: For the test, the center of gravity was between 42 and 43 inches high from the ground.

When I’m running center of gravity testing, I’ll first test the vehicle on its own, and then a combination of the vehicle and the simulator.  We also have a simulator on a test rig in Dearborn.  I can remove the truck from the camper to get the camper’s center of gravity, but I don’t have that information in front of me.

Ford Truck Roll over stability control

TCM: What is Roll Stability Control?

This question was answered by Ford’s Roll Stability Control team:

Roll Stability Control (RSC) is an active safety system for passenger vehicles. It uses a roll rate sensor together with the information from the conventional electronic stability control hardware to detect a vehicle’s roll condition associated with a potential rollover and uses the correct brake control and engine torque reduction in response to the detected roll condition in order to mitigate a rollover.

Ford-Test-Driving-2

TCM: Is Roll Stability Control standard in all Super Duty trucks, or an option?

Scott: Roll Stability Control is standard on the 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks.

Ford Truck Test Course

TCM: What data was collected during the test?

Scott: We conducted emergency lane changes and made sure the truck was controllable.  We also take the truck to the point where it’s no longer controlled to make sure it gives you fair warning prior stability control coming on, and wheel lift.

Ford Truck Camper Simulator

TCM: Has Ford Motor Company conducted slide-in camper tests in the past?

Scott: I was personally involved in building a slide-in simulator for the F150 and F250 light duty trucks in 1993.  That simulator was built out of aluminum.

In the early 2000s, we built the Super Duty version that we have in Arizona right now.  The simulator for the Super Duty trucks is steel.  We have another simulator in Dearborn.

TCM: Why not use a Ford Truck Camper for your tests?  For example, the Ford 11S slide-out model?

Scott: We used to do the tests using actual slide-in campers, but we were destroying the campers because of how much testing we were doing.  So, we built the simulators to mimic the inertia properties and mass of the truck campers.  Now, using the test simulators, we aren’t tearing apart campers.  Every year we have used the simulators test the new trucks.

Ford Test Driver

TCM: Who drove the actual course?

Scott: Truck and SUV Developmental Engineer, Jason Wroblewski, drove for this test and video.

driving a Ford truck camper simulator

TCM: When will the payload capacity of the 2017 Ford Super Duty be announced?

Scott: We do not have a specific date at this time.

TCM: Has Ford released the bed and cab dimensions for the new Super Duty?  Rail height?  Cab height?  Any special angles or curves in the bed?  This information is extremely important to customers and manufacturers.

Scott: The interior bed dimensions did not change.  The long bed trucks have the same width and length.  The other information will be available soon.

TCM: For readers who are chomping at the bit to buy a 2017 Ford Super Duty, when will they be available at Ford dealerships?

Scott: The 2017 Super Duty will be available later this year.

 

We will follow up with Ford Motor Company when the GVWR, payload information, and other final details are announced for the 2017 Ford Super Duty series.

In the meantime, additional 2017 Ford Super Duty information is available on the Ford website: https://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/2017/#

 

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