Ford’s Super Duty truck has received a new 6.7-liter turbocharged diesel engine for the 2011 model year. When the truck went on sale earlier in 2010, the Power Stroke diesel returned 390 pound-feet of torque and 735 horsepower. In addition, Baldwin-Wallace College says that the truck gets 29.2 miles to the gallon.
But Ford has found a way to improve power and fuel economy by offering a software upgrade. That 30 minute adjustment, performed at the dealer level, will yield 400 pound-feet of torque and 800 horsepower, providing best in class performance. Importantly, Ford says that fuel economy will improve, although those numbers have yet to be confirmed.
The upgrade isn’t unusual, but how it was handled is. Instead of waiting for the next model year trucks to be assembled, Ford has offered the upgrade for all new trucks and those already sold to customers. That means if you own a 2011 Power Stroke diesel, you can get the upgrade at no cost. Ford says that customers are likely to opt for the change especially if they use their trucks for hauling and other rigorous work.
Power Stroke has served Ford well, a capable line of engines previously produced by Navistar for Ford, but now handled in-house. A previous version of the engine had some technical problems which cost Ford a mint to fix, but the current engine is more powerful and offers best in class fuel economy. The EPA doesn’t track fuel efficiency in this class of vehicles, but the Ford Super Duty beats the Chevrolet Silverado 3500 and Dodge Ram Heavy Duty truck in most independent tests.
Software plays an important part in the way any vehicle works these days. All vehicles have a central computer which controls the essential functions. Torque, horsepower, fuel efficiency and a host of in-cabin and handling matters are computer controlled or enhanced, allowing manufacturers to squeeze more power and efficiency out of every vehicle. Indeed, software engineers can sometimes find ways to make a vehicle more efficient after the fact, giving customers the chance to enjoy a complimentary upgrade.
Owners of any late model car should keep track of recalls and other notices related to their vehicles. Not all recalls suggest a quality problem, but keeping cars compliant can go a long way toward ensuring that your vehicle operates optimally. Recalls are a cost covered by the manufacturer, with upgrades usually part of your vehicle’s warranty plan.