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Tuesday 27 September 2016
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Ford Is Using This Contraption to Simulate Steep Hills

Ford Is Using This Contraption to Simulate Steep Hills

Ford is moving mountains with its Super Duty.

Well, not literally of course, but it comes close. It’s using a special piece of equipment to simulate steep mountain terrain to help put its Super Duty through its paces, without actually being on a mountain.

So what is this thing?

Well, Ford calls it a “dynamometer sled”. Hooked up to the Super Duty, it’s designed to mimic steep grades, like the ones trucks experience while driving up steep inclines. So instead of actually testing on a mountain, it can conduct its tests from the privacy of its Arizona Proving Grounds.

This year, Ford upgraded the sled for the first time in 25 years. The truck maker says its reason is simple: the all new Super Duty is just too tough. So it had to create an even tougher sled to give the truck a test run, or mountain, for its money.

The new sled has a maximum drawbar pull of 5,620 pounds, which is 181 percent more from the last sled that could only simulate up to 2,000. Ford is most excited that the new “dyno” can simulate the Davis Dam and Townes Pass. Both are renowned testing locations for trucks. Townes Pass features 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.

“Any test engineer in North America knows about Davis Dam. 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,” says Jim Sumner, Ford Product development engineer.

The 2016 Super Duty starts at $32,385. It comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that gets 385-horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. The super engine is the available 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel that gets 440-horsepower with 860 lb-ft torque. The larger engine allows for a maximum conventional towing capacity of 19,000 pounds.

Photo Credit: Ford