Ford opened the order book for the new 2023 F-Series Super Duty truck last October, racking up 150,000 pre-orders in five weeks. After the truck was expected to be in customer hands earlier this year, the heavyweight pickup version of the heavyweight sales champion has just started shipping to customers in all trims. Delay is cast as a necessary evil to produce lasting good. Ford is committed to getting this launch right so as not to give Super Duty profits back for warranty costs and recalls. Ford CEO Jim Farley has had a lot to say this year about the automaker’s focus on quality, and Super Duty will be the first demonstrator of that.
The company has implemented a zero-defect process at its Louisville and Ohio assembly plants where it makes trucks. In Kentucky, more than 9,000 employees are involved in Super Duty production, and the entire zero-defect hardening is said to take three hours per vehicle, with about 40 cameras installed so far. and may eventually have 100 cameras and many more. In addition to using robots, we are also training our employees to scrutinize videos and analyze build data. A detachment of 350 quality inspectors inspects all off-line trucks. This includes driving all units for 40 kilometers looking for potential problems that escaped inspection.
All of this is done after the revised prototype testing process. Ford has tripled the number of trucks he uses for towing tests and nearly quadrupled the number of vehicles he uses for durability tests. Engineers focused on high mileage runs, allowing Ford to find weak spots by running trucks until parts broke, instead of performing specific tasks based on mileage. Ford said earlier this year that an employee on the line had discovered an alignment problem with the bonnet, which, while within spec, may have left customers unsatisfied. The engineer fixed the alignment. Ultimately, he was forced to halt production for three weeks as automakers deal with every detail. “We’ve solved dozens of quality issues,” Farley said. “As a company, we don’t always do that.”
The new truck has three engines. A new 6.8-liter naturally-aspirated V8 gas engine comes standard, a downsized version of the 7.3-liter naturally-aspirated Godzilla V8 producing 405 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers add 20 horsepower and 15 lb-ft to the retired 6.2-liter output. The refreshed 7.3-liter now makes 430 horsepower and 485 lb-ft. This represents 10 lb-ft more for the same number of ponies. The Power Stroke option is a dual output 6.7 liter V8 oil burner. Base power remains the same as 2022 at 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft. 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb-ft in new high-power trim. All engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic.