Power Play Puts Ford Diesel in Chip Lead

Tom Murphy, Managing Editor

September 23, 2010

3 Min Read
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[caption id="attachment_42" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Ford's Adam Gryglak speaks at Best Engines Diesel Shootout. "]Ford's Adam Gryglak speaks at Best Engines Diesel Shootout.

Gryglak Ford diesel presentation

[/caption]

Adam Gryglak likes a good poker game.

The Ford powertrain engineer even gets to play on company time, and he’s getting pretty good.

In his latest game, he’s the chip leader after pulling off a wicked smooth “check-raise” in launching the all-new 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 in the Ford Super Duty pickups.

At poker tables, the “check-raise” is a sneaky tactic some players use when they’ve landed a primo hand.

Rather than start the betting – and ostensibly chasing others out of the hand – the player checks and lets others fill the pot.

When the betting comes around, he calls the bet, then raises – big time. The other players now squirm as they decide whether to fold and surrender their bets, or pay up to see the player’s hand.

Call it a very expensive form of sandbagging.

Gryglak, chief engineer for the Power Stroke, has played his cards in the same fashion in bringing this thoroughly modern turbodiesel V-8 to market.

Last spring, when the Super Duty arrived in showrooms, the engine made a potent 735 lb.-ft. (997 Nm) of torque and 390 hp.

Four months later, rival General Motors trumped the bet with 765 lb.-ft. (1,037 Nm) and 397 hp from the revised Duramax turbodiesel V-8 in its all-new heavy-duty pickups.

Unwilling to stand pat and allow GM even a moment of spec-sheet bliss, Ford announced a software tweak that pushed the Power Stroke to 800 lb.-ft. (1,084 Nm) and 400 hp.

If you bought one of the earlier Ford Super Duties, a visit to the dealership will yield the missing 65 lb.-ft. (88 Nm) of torque, no charge.

By the way, the earlier version of the Power Stroke recently won the Best Engines Diesel Shootout between Detroit’s three new HD pickups. Read all about it under “special reports” at WardsAuto.com.

http://wardsauto.com/ar/ford_power_diesel_100920/

Sure, it looks like Ford is dealing from the bottom of the deck. But truth is, Detroit auto makers have been hatching these leap-frog horsepower schemes for decades.

Consider the Power Stroke bid a retaliation against GM for magically finding more horsepower in the Chevy Camaro’s 3.6L V-6, right about the time Ford was launching the all-new Mustang 3.7L V-6.

That Ford engine laid claim to the highest V-6 horsepower rating (305) until the Camaro was tweaked to produce 312.

“This sort of thing goes on all the time,” shrugs Gryglak, who readily admits he knew long ago the Power Stroke could make 800 lb.-ft. of torque.

Although confident in his Power Stroke, he portrays anxiety, fully expecting GM to counter with even more torque from the Duramax.

Meanwhile, the drama builds. In the high-stakes world of engine development, you gotta know when to go all-in.

About the Author(s)

Tom Murphy

Managing Editor, Informa/WardsAuto

Tom Murphy test drives cars throughout the year and focuses on powertrain and interior technology. He leads selection of the Wards 10 Best Engines, Wards 10 Best Interiors and Wards 10 Best UX competitions. Tom grills year-round, never leaves home without a guitar pick and aspires to own a Jaguar E-Type someday.

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