Heavy-duty truck customers often want a pickup that can haul stuff up seriously steep grades, but do you ever wonder how companies ensure their models are up to the challenge? Ford uses a high-tech trailer that engineers tow behind a truck, and the sled can simulate climbing a 30 percent even on completely level ground. It’s the perfect solution for testing at the Blue Oval’s very flat Arizona Proving Grounds. Watch video here.
The sled contains a dynamometer that can generate up to 5,620 pounds of pull on the truck, which simulates the resistance of climbing a steep grade. The engineers can even load the profiles of known slopes like the Davis Dam and Townes Pass. By doing this testing from the concealment of the proving grounds, the Blue Oval can evaluate prototype trucks to these difficult trials without exposing them to the public’s prying eyes.
The video above shows how this device works in the real world, and the way test drivers inside the truck can adjust the sled’s simulated load on the fly. Before this new dynamometer, Ford used the same one for 25 years, but the 2017 F-Series Super Duty had no problem pulling it. So the engineers came up with this even more powerful unit.