Ford opened order books for the new 2023 F-Series Super Duty trucks last October, piling up 150,000 pre-orders in five weeks. After expecting to get trucks into customer hands earlier this year, the heavyweight pickup versions of the heavyweight sales champion have only just started shipping to customers in all trims. The delay is cast as necessary evil to create an enduring good; Ford is committed to getting this launch right so that it doesn’t hand back Super Duty profits for warranty costs and recalls. Ford CEO Jim Farley has talked a lot this year about the automaker’s focus on quality improvement, the Super Duty is the first demonstrator.
The company implemented Zero Defect processes at the Louisville Assembly Plant and Ohio Assembly Plant that build the truck. In Kentucky, where more than 9,000 employees are involved in Super Duty production, the entirety of the Zero Defect enhancements are said to take three hours per vehicle, a gauntlet that includes around 40 cameras so far and could ultimately count 100 cameras, plus a number of robots as well as employee training to vet video and analyze data on builds. A contingent of 350 quality inspectors check every truck off the line, including driving every unit 25 miles to look for potential issues that escaped scrutiny.
All of this comes after a revised prototype testing process. Ford tripled the number of trucks used for tow testing and nearly quadrupled the fleet used for endurance testing. Engineers focused on high-mileage runs, and instead of conducting certain challenges to a mileage number, trucks were run until parts broke so Ford could find the weak spots. Earlier this year, Ford said an employee on the line found a hood alignment issue that was within spec but that a customer might not have been happy about. Engineers revised the alignment. The automaker would end up stopping production for three weeks to address every detail. Farley said, “We fixed dozens of quality issues. We haven’t always done that as a company.”
The new truck offers three engines. A new 6.8-liter naturally aspirated V8 gas engine is the standard mill, a downsized version of the 7.3-liter naturally aspirated Godzilla V8, making 405 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. Those figures add 20 hp and 15 lb-ft to the output for the retired 6.2-liter. The updated 7.3-liter now makes 430 hp and 485 lb-ft., representing the same pony count but ten more pound-feet. The Power Stroke option is a 6.7-liter V8 oil-burner in two outputs. The base output is 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft, same as in 2022. The new high-output trim makes 500 hp and 1,200 lb-ft. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic.