A perennial favorite, the Ford F-550 Super Duty chassis cab was named Work Truck’s Commercial...

A perennial favorite, the Ford F-550 Super Duty chassis cab was named Work Truck’s Commercial Truck of the Year. 

Photo courtesy of Ford

The Ford Super Duty F-550 chassis cab was named Work Truck’s Commercial Truck of the Year. Selected from a field of 11 contenders, Work Truck readers chose the Ford F-550 as the truck that best fits their fleet requirements, including application effectiveness, durability, quality, servicing, maintenance, and lifecycle costs.

“We are honored to win the Work Truck Commercial Truck of the Year award for our F-550 Super Duty chassis cab. And, we’re excited to accept the award on the same evening that we unveil the 2020 Super Duty chassis cab trucks including the all-new F-600 — a medium-duty truck with the right size, power, and technology to tackle the toughest jobs. We know that hardworking men and women around the country rely on F-Series trucks to do their jobs every day. That’s why it’s our job to keep making America’s best-selling trucks even better,” said Mark Buzzell, director, Ford North American Fleet, Lease, and Remarketing Operations.

The award was presented at The Work Truck Show 2019 during Ford’s press conference. “Ford’s F-550 Super Duty is a hardworking truck and incredibly deserving of the 2019 Commercial Truck of the Year award. Our Work Truck readers spoke up, naming Ford once again No. 1 in 2019,” said Sherb Brown, publisher of Work Truck magazine. 

Powertrain Updates for 2020

Ford Super Duty improvements for 2020 include new gas and diesel engines, an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission, design updates, and smart technology.

Ford will continue to offer the 6.2L V-8 gasoline engine standard for F-350 but is replacing the 6.8L V-10 standard gasoline engine in F-450 and F-550 with an all-new 7.3L V-8. The available 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V-8 gets upgraded.

The new 7.3L gas V-8 engine generates more torque and power than the outgoing 6.8L V-10. Its compact package provides greater maintenance access for technicians. And, because it has two fewer cylinders, it uses fewer parts than the V-10, resulting in less downtime at the shop and lower long-term ownership costs. 

The powerful new engine uses an all-new cam-in-block, overhead valve architecture with cast iron block, and forged steel crankshaft for maximum durability. Port injection with variable valve timing optimizes the intake and exhaust to match performance with workloads. Oil jets cool the pistons under heavy loads.

Super Duty’s third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 includes a new 36,000-psi fuel injection system with all-new injectors to precisely meter and spray up to eight times per stroke to control noise levels and optimize combustion. The inboard exhaust diesel V-8 features a redesigned electronic-actuated variable-geometry turbocharger for improved pumping efficiency and throttle response. 

Also, structural enhancements increase the strength of the cylinder head, block, connecting rods, and bearings to handle higher cylinder pressure and increased output. New steel pistons provide higher firing pressure capability and less friction — meaning improved performance and more horsepower and torque than ever.

An all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed TorqShift automatic transmission is available across all chassis cab engine offerings with available 10-bolt live-drive power takeoff provision with up to 300 lb.-ft. of torque. 

The electronically controlled transmission has selectable drive modes that include normal, tow/haul, eco, slippery, and deep sand and snow. Even with four extra gears, the entire unit fits in the same space as the 6-speed and weighs only 3.5-pounds more.

Ford is the only manufacturer that designs and builds its engines and transmissions for all of its commercial vehicles.

Improvements in Tech

All Ford commercial vehicles including Super Duty chassis cab will be updated with standard modems with 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices to help keep drivers and crews connected while on the job or road. 

New Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services are available to help customers operate their fleets more efficiently. Ford Telematics and Data Services enable fleet managers to enhance uptime and asset utilization, optimize running costs, improve driver behavior, and protect their fleets using Ford OEM-grade telematics software, integrating with the company’s existing telematics service provider or taking vehicle data directly into their own IT systems.

On the road, available lane-keeping alert helps drivers stay between the lines. New standard auto high-beam headlamps automatically turn off when another vehicle is approaching and then turn back on once the vehicle passes, eliminating the continual need for the driver to monitor the status of the lights. 

Available Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking can help drivers avoid or mitigate collisions in some cases. 

Easier to Upfit

In response to customer requests, Ford made several upfitting improvements to model-year 2020 Super Duty chassis cabs. Changes include pre-drilled holes for trailer hitch mounting and better wiring for snowplow upfits. 

“Part of F-550’s appeal is its versatility,” explained Kevin Koester, Ford medium-duty truck and Super Duty fleet marketing manager. “We are continuously improving the vehicle design to make it easier for our upfitters to install a wide range of bodies and equipment efficiently.”

Super Duty chassis cab is receiving a number of enhancements for the 2020 model-year, including...

Super Duty chassis cab is receiving a number of enhancements for the 2020 model-year, including new engines and tech.

Photo courtesy of Ford

A New Option

For customers who need additional payload or need to mount heavier upfits but don’t want to move into a truck larger than their reliable F-550, Ford introduces the all-new F-600 Super Duty chassis cab. 

F-600 fills the sweet spot between F-550 and F-650. It delivers the capability of a Class 6 truck — including a maximum GVWR of 22,000 pounds — in a familiar Class 5 Super Duty package. 

Although the overall vehicle is the same size as an F-550, F-600 uses upgraded driveline and chassis components, as well as higher-weight-rated 19.5-inch tires and wheels to help it achieve a higher GVWR. With Ford’s exclusive choice of gasoline or diesel powertrains and 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains, F-600 lets fleets spec the truck they want instead of settling for what’s available. 

F-600 can be ordered in early 2020 and will be available in mid-2020.

The Bottom Line

The new F-Series Super Duty debuts as the most tested truck in Ford’s history. It endured more than 12 million miles of testing for the 2017 model-year alone, which was increased by an additional 7-million miles for 2020. 

Testing includes running the truck around the clock under the most extreme loads and through all kinds of environmental conditions using dynos, test tracks, and public roads. Because the testing surfaces and durability test tracks are so punishing, many of the miles are run using robot drivers that can handle the abuse better than humans to ensure every F-Series truck is Built Ford Tough. 

Ford is the only manufacturer to continuously build Class 4-5 chassis cab trucks over the past 20 years. The company has 73% market share in the segment with its F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cabs through the end of 2018. In essential vocations such as utility services, landscaping, and government, Ford’s share is more than 80%, according to a Ford analysis of IHS Markit TIPNet registration data. 

Assembled in the U.S., Ford’s F-550 Super Duty chassis cab is built at both the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville and Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake. The 2020 model arrives at dealers in Fall 2019. 

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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