Ford Revisits OHV Layout, Big Displacement for New Commercial-Truck V8

The all-new Ford 7.3-liter gasoline engine will be available first in MY2020 Super Duty F-250 and F-350 pickup models, joining the standard 6.2-liter V8 gas engine and the optional 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. (Ford)

In a still-heated market for highly profitable heavy-duty pickups and commercial vehicles, Ford doesn’t intend to be outdone by General Motors’ and FiatChrysler’s recently-launched new efforts, announcing the power and torque figures for its all-new 7.3-L gasoline V8 for its 2020 models and reminding that major revisions for 2020 for its Power Stroke diesel V8 also portend to increased power.

For heavy-duty pickups and commercial models, Ford likes the low-rpm power and torque offered by a lower-revving overhead-valve engine. (Ford)

At a late-July media event, Ford revealed that the new 7.3-L, which revives the overhead-valve layout Ford largely abandoned years ago for gasoline engines, generates 430 hp at 5500 rpm and 475 lb-ft (644 Nm) at 4000 rpm. The figures conveniently slip past the 401 hp and 464 lb-ft (629 Nm) available from GM’s 6.6-L gasoline V8 and the 410 hp and 429 lb-ft (582 Nm) FCA deals out with its 6.4-L Hemi V8—both of which, it may be no coincidence, also are OHV designs.

Joel Beltramo. Ford manager for gasoline V8 engines, said the return to an OHV layout (Ford’s overhead-cam 6.2-L gasoline V8 will remain available for the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups, as well as the F-350 chassis-cab) was driven by the higher power and torque available lower in the rpm range. “It’s the most-powerful gasoline Super Duty engine ever,” he added.

The new 10R140 10-speed automatic transmission uses experience from Ford’s light-duty 10-speed automatic and fits in the same case as the existing 6-speed heavy-duty transmission. (Ford)

Further, a dyno-certified variant generates 350 hp and 468 lb-ft (635 Nm) at 3900 rpm. That variant is standard for the 2020 F-450 chassis cab, F-550 and F-600, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks, as well as the F-53 and F-59 stripped-chassis. The 2020 E-Series cutaway van also will benefit from the new 7.3-liter V8.

Priority: durability

Beltramo detailed the durability-focused details Ford engineered into the 7.3-L, including oversized main bearings, a forged-steel crankshaft and special coatings for the piston rings, valves and valve seats is borrowed from Ford’s turbocharged-engine experience. And cast-steel rocker arms have nitride roller bearings and a unique design that promotes enhanced oil flow. Oil jets cool the underside of the pistons.

The new 7.3-L gasoline V8 and 10-speed automatic transmission are liberally available in the 2020 Ford commercial-truck lineup. (Ford)

The new 7.3-L has port fuel injection, variable valve timing and a variable-displacement oil pump to reduce parasitic losses. The workhorse V8 will be standard or optional in a broad spectrum of Ford commercial vehicles that spans the F-250/350 Super Duty pickups all the way to the F-350 to F-600 chassis trucks and the previously mentioned medium-duty and stripped-chassis models.

More ratios in the mix

Coinciding with the 2020 launch of the 7.3-L V8 is a new 10-speed automatic transmission, the 10R140 TorqShift. Specifically engineered to compliment the torque curves of the new gasoline V-8 and revised-for-2020 Power Stroke turbodiesel V8, the transmission surprisingly packages in the same-size case as the 6-speed automatic that remains available for some of Ford’s commercial-vehicle lineup. And the four extra ratios—the top three of which are overdrives—and associated hardware upgrades bring just a 3.5-lb. (1.6-kg) of extra weight compared to the 6-speed automatic.

With the all-new 7.3-L V8, Ford joins its direct rivals with an overhead-valve gasoline V8 for its heavy-duty pickups and commercial vehicles. (Ford)

“We’ve basically taken from the formula from the F-150 10-speed,” said 10-speed transmissions system manager Greg Stout, “and expanded it into the Super Duty class.” Stout added, however, that just 7% of the new 10R140’s parts are shared with the light-duty 10-speed automatic. He also told Automotive Engineering that although the light-duty 10-speed transmission was developed in cooperation with GM, the heavy-duty variants (GM also has a new 10-speed automatic for its redesigned 2020 HD lineup) were engineered separately.

Although Ford is not yet prepared to make efficiency comparisons between the 10-speed and 6-speed automatics, Stout said there is a demonstrable improvement from having four more ratios, but the 10-speed also engages a maximum of only two clutches now, compared to three previously. And the new transmission’s variable-displacement oil pump also enhances efficiency, he said.

In addition to five new pre-programmed shift strategies that include eco, tow and slippery modes, the new 10-speed transmission provides for a standard power-takeoff (PTO) when backing the Power Stroke diesel. Stout said it offers a best-in-class 300 lb-ft (407 Nm), a 20% upgrade over Ford’s 2019 PTO maximum.