It’s time to take the 2018 Ford F-150 Diesel on the Ike Gauntlet™ – the World’s Toughest Towing Test. The truck we have here is a crew cab Lariat 4×4 with a long (6.5-foot) bed and an FX4 package.
It’s the first time that a turbo-diesel engine has been offered in the half-ton F-150. Under the hood is a 3.0L Power Stroke V6 turbo-diesel that is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This particular configuration of the truck has at a maximum towing rating of 11,000 lbs and a payload capacity of 1,314 lbs.
We hooked up the CM Trailers Cargo Mate with a total weight of 8,700 lbs and used a weight distribution GenY Hitch. The truck and trailer offered a comfortable and stable ride. We did not experience any trailer sway.
Update (May 11th, 2018):
We heard back from Ford with an update to the issue we encountered. The truck you see here is a pre-production unit. Ford inspected the truck, identified the calibration issue, and said the calibration will be fixed when first production trucks start shipping to dealers within the next several weeks (end of May or in June 2018). When asked, Ford did not provide specifics of the calibration issue. However, the company said that all customer trucks will have this issue corrected.
The truck performed very well during the first five miles of the downhill, but then went into a “Reduced Engine Power” mode. The transmission went into 9th gear and was unresponsive to further manual gear change requests. Once we safely negotiated the remaining three miles of the downhill, the truck remained in this “limp home” mode. It allowed us to move at a maximum of 6-7 MPH, while we got to the nearest parking lot. All gauges were showing normal temperatures and pressures (coolant, engine oil, transmission fluid, etc). The DEF tank was at about 75% full. There were no leaks or smells.
Once we shut the truck off, waited about 10 minutes, and restarted the truck – there were no more warning messages and the truck behaved normal. After waiting another hour (during lunch) – we were able to drive back up the Ike Gauntlet, and the truck behaved normal. It was not the fastest, but it showed the best MPG result with a trailer of over 7,000 lbs.
We contacted Ford to help us identify the cause of this limp home condition, and we hope to test another F-150 Diesel on the Ike Gauntlet™ and our 100-mile MPG loop soon.