Ford’s 2017 Super Duty pickups and chassis-cab models will come with more engine power and torque and advanced electronic features, but they also share their aluminum cabins with the popular F-150 pickup. Competitors have long used cabs from lighter-duty models for many years, but Ford hasn’t done it for about two decades.
At a launch event in Denver on Tuesday, Ford executives said that combining the cabs yields economies of scale, because the F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles of any kind in the United States and its three cab types are produced in great volume.
The change also provides more interior room for Super Duty models because the F-150’s cabs were enlarged and updated with aluminum construction several years ago. By adopting those cabs, the ’17-model F-250 through 550 SuperCabs and SuperCrews will be several inches longer and thus more roomy.
Since the mid 1990s, Super Duty trucks have had their own bodies separate from the F-150, executives explained. At first they kept the old cabs originally used in the 1970s, then several years later they got new, slightly larger cabs—in steel as they’d always been—and used those through the current 2016 model year.
Going to aluminum saves as much as 750 pounds for the largest F-150, but weight savings for a Super Duty will be 350 pounds at most, executives said. Light-weighting could’ve been greater, but engineers added beef to the new SuperDuty frames, which are made of mild and high-strength steel. Among other changes, a heavier frames got at least three extra crossmembers, and with fully boxed main rails a SD frame is now 24 times stiffer.
Like the F-150, all SuperDuty models through F-550 will have aluminum front fenders and hoods, and F-250 through 450 pickups will also have aluminum beds, too. The F-650 and F-750 continue to use previous-generation steel cabs.
The new F-250 through 550 pickups and cab-chassis trucks are now in production in Louisville, Ky., and will begin arriving at dealers in late August, executives said.