Texas is the truck state, highest truck sales in the nation. Media Day at the Texas State Fair starts the show before the fair opens to the public. This year gave us a peek at 2015 Ford Super Duty and 2015 GM Heavy Duties. Ram showed their new 2014 1/2 ton diesel, 6.4L Hemi and air suspensions already. Nissan Titan stayed the same, Toyota Tundra has new sheet metal and interior for 2014.
Ford Super Duty 2015,
drive train changes
Since 2011 model year, all three brands had exhaust brakes on their diesel engines. Ram and GM had a dedicated button to turn on the exhaust brake. Ford exhaust brake turned on in Tow Mode. Problem was you couldn’t tell anything happened with Ford diesel exhaust brake and it was very noticeable with GM and Ram engaging their exhaust brake by pushing the button. In the truck shootouts I’ve done towing of heavy trailers in the Rockies, the Ford Super Duty with diesel had to use it’s truck brakes dramatically more than Ram or GM diesels because of the exhaust brake issue.
Ford says they’ve fixed the exhaust brake issue for 2015 Power Stroke 6.7L with a new larger turbo GT37 up from GT32 . Another change is the single larger compressor wheel instead of the dual compressor wheel from 2011-2014. The 2015 Super Duties will have an exhaust brake button, we’ll know on the first drive if the larger turbo charger does the job going down the fast side of our Rockies with bigger trailers.
A spokesman from Ford said the 6.7L diesel has more horse power and torque, of course higher towing capacity will result from the new turbo and new fuel injectors (no numbers yet). New fuel pump and injector tips will better atomize fuel in 6.7L Power Stroke Diesel. Ford stated there should be no change in noticeable turbo lag from the larger turbo. Improved transmission grade shifting and a new torque converter will also improve towing ability. Ford says the fuel mileage should stay the same.
Ford’s other big news is the F450 pickup truck is back again with 19.5-inch wheels, 12 ply tires 10 lug wheels, bigger brakes and more capacity. In 2011 the F450 became a F350, they just didn’t tell you. From 2008-2010, the pickup truck version of the F450 was the segment leader for payload and towing. Standard equipment was wide front axle, rear frame balancing damper, 19.5-inch wheels, 10 lug and 12 ply tires. Then in 2011 Ford announced in public that they went to 17-inch tires to get a higher speed rating so Ford owners in Texas could drive over 80 mph. Also the truck went down to eight lug wheels and 10 ply tires. But magically the payload and towing capacity went up on the new de-tuned F450 in 2011 with the new 6.7L powerful Power Stroke.
For 2015, Ford corrected the F450 to the same heavy duty truck it was in 2008 but now with a useable exhaust brake, larger turbo, new injection system and larger brakes.
GM Heavy Duty 2015,
exterior and interior changes
New sheet metal and interior, from the newly re-designed 2014 Silverado and Sierra 1500 will make it to the 2015 Heavy Duty GM 2500-3500 scheduled for spring 2014. HD 3500 will have a 7,374 pound payload and a 19600 pound bumper tow capacity with or without a Weight Distributing Hitch. 3500 HD for 2015 model will have a 23,200 5th wheel/gooseneck trailer rating.
GM trying to differentiate Silverado and Sierra with a large grill on GMC and different hoods and headlight stack. Same fully boxed frame, same power-trains since 2011, it’s the new look you’ll notice with a higher quality interior, better controls and a seat that finally fit’s me, (I’m a heavy duty reporter.) Soft touch dash and door inserts, real stitches in the dash, aluminum in the dash instead of plastic. Plenty of 12 volt (4) and USB jacks (5) in the center console along with a 115 volt plug. On the GMC Denali there’s a unique 8-inch digital display in the instrument panel.
Big news for big trailers, GM will now have in the Integrated Trailer Brake Controller for the first time with electric-over-hydraulic capability. On trailers, hydraulic brakes are more powerful than electric, GM is the last of the Big Three to be compatible. GM will also be automatic, sensing which brakes your trailer has and switching. Ram and Ford have dash screen readouts that you manually switch between trailer brake types. With GM’s new dash, the integrated trailer brake controller moved up for better access, but still on the left side of the steering wheel.
GM is the king of quiet, doors roll under the roof into the body, with triple seals on the doors. High strength steel throughout with bigger rear doors on crew cabs, more rear leg room. Extended cab goes away for a new Double Cab with rear door opening rearward for better access in parking lots.
Also from the 2014 GM light duties, the new Lane Departure system if interesting. If equipped it will tell you in the dash and vibrate your seat when you are two close to objects front-back and side to side. If you cross your lane lines on the road, it will vibrate the seat bottom left or right. You will quickly learn if you are swerving too much. The headlights are a projector lens. The rear bumper has a corner step built in, the rear stake pocket has a handle built in, an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate soft drops the tailgate. Cargo rings in the bed for high-low cargo tie-downs and LED under the rail cargo lights. Dually 3500 now has StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control. ❖