is a dramatic improvement for Ford Super Duty truck buyers and the results
are immediately noticeable while driving. The shifts from this transmission
are firm, without being too firm, and nearly imperceptible. We drove 6
different Super Duties over a 10 hour period. The vehicles included 4
different pickups and as riders in two Excursions. In every case the TorqShift
shifts were the same, firm while being nearly transparent. This shift
feel was no accident and is the result of Direct Electronic Shift Control
(DESC). DESC uses computer controlled solenoids to control the shifting
of the TorqShift.
this transmission the key was to make the shifts fast and firm without
the bumps that are normally associated with automatic transmissions. Those
bumps are caused by a delay in filling the transmission clutch pack. The
TorqShift addresses this problem by leaving the clutch pack full and then
applying pressure and, of course more, fluid to the clutch pack when a
shift is required. This pre-filling of the clutch pack provides for nearly
seamless shifts both on the way up and on the way down.
of the way down, like the Allison the TorqShift also offers drivers a
tow/haul mode to assist with grade braking during trailering descents;
but the TorqShift's transmission feels more intuitive. The Allison analyzes
brake pressure, throttle position and road speed to determine when a downshift
should occur. The TorqShift also analyzes brake pressure, throttle position
and factors in road speed like the Allison, with the addition of a second
detent in the brake pedal that tells the transmission to downshift faster.
using both the Allison and TorqShift transmissions in tow/haul mode using
7,000 pound trailers on a descent that varied between 3% to 6%. The trucks
compared were a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD SRW 4x4 Crew Cab Duramax and
a Ford F-350 Super Duty DRW 4x4 Power Stroke. The results: the TorqShift's
tow/haul mode was a pleasure to drive, aptly helping us to control and
hold the speed of our descent smoothly and with the minimum amount of
extra braking. Press the brake moderately once and its shifts down a gear.
Press again and it drops another. Press with more force and you can drop
up to two gears as the tow/haul mode interprets your request for extra
braking assistance. All of the downshifts were as smooth as the up shifts
and seemed to come just as needed. Compared to the Allison transmission
available for our tests, the TorqShift consistently performed better.
All and all
if the Ford engineers benchmarked the Allison then they have at least
for now built a better performing transmission. And diesel truck buyers
should love this competition, it brings out the best from everyone involved.
To sum up our impression of the TorqShift: Smooth, capable and intelligent
invited us to come to the Livonia, MI to learn more about the TorqShift
and do a comparison with the Allison. We will report on the visit later
this year so stay tuned.
testing of these trucks wasn't all we did.