A recent thread got me wondering how many boat owners know that Ford really changed up their truck packages this year. On the off chance that there might be some folks out there contemplating a new tow rig, let me highlight some new features in this yearís Ford trucks that frankly I wouldnít have known about if I didnít decide to look at replacing my 2002 F250.
Two new motors built by Ford:
I went with the gas engine because of the reduced maintenance, didnít require the diesel power for my towing needs, and some new features (like diesel exhaust fluid, DEF) that need to be watched for a while. The new gasser is touted to be more fuel efficient than its 5.4L predecessor. Brand new without a cap and load, I was getting 14.5mpg mixed driving conditions. I now have a cap, about 600lbs of added weight for winter traction, and also using winter fuel that tends to reduce mileage, and Iím getting about 12.5mpg for the same mixed driving. My 2002 F250 with a 5.4L got 12mpg with cap, w/o any load, in the summer. So I moved up significantly in power and torque capabilities and improved in gas mileage.
- 6.7L diesel that has class leading power (400hp, 800ftlbs)
- 6.2L gas that is also leading the class (385hp, 405ftlbs)
Another big change is a brand new 6 speed automatic transmission thatís also made by Ford. Itís standard in both diesel and gas trucks, and Ford isnít offering a standard transmission in the F250/350.
Iíve found the transmission is smoother than the old transmissions, and it puts rpms lower for normal driving which aides in improved fuel economy.
- In normal drive mode, you can lock out the use of gears starting with the 6th gear and working back down. This is done using a rocker switch on the shift lever. Itís one way to keep the truck from shifting into the 5th and 6th gears for city driving and for driving down hills if you want to hold back a load. Then if you want to let the tranny start using those gears again, rock the same switch up to make the gears available.
- In the tow mode (push on the button at the end of the shift lever) it holds gears longer before shifting up, and holds gears longer before shifting down. It also has a feature to force the transmission into a mode for holding back a load upon hill descent by shifting the tranny down & running the rpms up.
- Then it also has a manual mode (move shifter from D to M), and this allows you to completely select your gear using the same rocker switch on the shift lever. Useful for picking your gear while towing and not having to worry about the tranny shifting gears for you.
The last new drive train feature is the electronic locking rear end thatís available as an option. Normal driving is of course without the rear end locked, but if youíre getting stuck or need both wheels pulling, you can pull out the transfer case mode selector to electronically lock the rear differential. Limited slip rear dif is still available if you donít want the locker.
I frequent a Ford Truck forum, and so far am glad to see very few reports of problems with the engines. The transmission seems to have a few more incidents, but I think they are still pretty few in numbers and early on some solutions were hampered by poor parts availability. Nothing I havenít seen before with new vehicles in their first year. Iím at 1100 miles on the new truck, and I am very pleased. There are a lot of comfort features to choose from too, but the reason for posting here was the boat towing capability.