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2013 HD Diesel Trucks Are Here!

What’s new for the big pickups from the Big Three

Text By Trevor Reed, Photography by The Manufacturers

If you bought a brand-new truck last year, it may be time to start shopping for a ’13 model year pickup. Even if you haven’t broken the 100,000-mile mark, your truck has already experienced up to four seasons of weather. Plus, as a ’12 model, your truck is already last year’s model to potential used truck buyers. So now you’ve got a good reason to tell your boss or spouse (sometimes one in the same) why you should upgrade to a brand-new diesel truck—but there are also other factors. Whether your preferred brand is coming out with an all-new model this year (congratulations, Ram fans!), or you’re very comfortable with a current model and want to grab one of the last trucks before it makes a generational change, you’ll get all the diesel power you’ve grown used to, along with brand-new technology and option packages that haven’t been available until now. Here’s a look at what the new diesel trucks from Detroit’s Big Three—Ford, General Motors, and Ram—are offering for 2013.

Ford Super Duty
Ford’s 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine, which was introduced for the ’11 model year, is still good for 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque straight from the factory. The engine is backed by the manually shifted 6R140 TorqShift six-speed automatic, which has two overdrive gears.

The latest addition to the Super Duty family is the top-of-the-line Platinum model, which has an urban look and includes (or can be ordered with) just about every feature you can imagine in a fullsize truck. Special standard features include: a unique satin mesh grille, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, power telescoping exterior mirrors, audio and video inputs, SD memory card slot, a heated steering wheel, and 10-way seats with unique premium leather and embroidery, “Platinum” badging, and chrome bits all over the truck.

The Platinum edition will be available with two unique interior colors: Midnight Black, or a tan color called Pecan, which has gray accents along the stitching. Its exterior paint colors are called Ingot Silver, Kodiak Brown, Ruby Red, Tuxedo Black, and White Platinum. Fans of the country-themed King Ranch premium model need not worry, because it will still be available alongside the Platinum edition. The F-450 Super Duty model is also still available and can even be ordered with the King Ranch and Platinum trim levels.

An all-new, truck-specific, MyFord Touch system is making its debut in ’13 models, with larger redundant knobs for the audio and climate system. It uses a big, 8-inch touch-screen display that can also operate those functions, along with showing the available navigation map and rearview camera display. Ford’s hands-free voice control SYNC system is now standard for all Super Duty models and allows drivers to wirelessly connect and control a phone or media player through Bluetooth or USB, operate the audio system, and it includes lifetime access to Vehicle Health Reports and 911 Assist. A new color, called Blue Jean Metallic, will be available on most models.

Ford Super Duty
Engine: 6.7L Power Stroke V-8
Turbo System: Single sequential with variable geometry
Head Material: Aluminum-alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Horsepower: 400 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Transmission (auto): 6R140 TorqShift manually shiftable six-speed
Front Suspension 2WD: Independent twin I-beam with coil springs
Front Suspension 4WD: Solid axle with coil springs
Rear Suspension: Solid axle with leaf springs
Axle Ratios: 3.31, 3.55, 3.73, and 4.30
(As published at the time this article was written.)

GM Chevrolet Silverado HD/GMC Sierra HD
The General Motors ¾- and 1-ton trucks have the oldest design of the Big Three, and that will change for model year ’14 when the newest version arrives. So buying a MY2013 can be comforting to a buyer who doesn’t want to feel like a guinea pig behind the wheel of a pickup in the first year of a new generation. There are also people who are content and want to extend their time with a design they know gets the job done.

Just because the GM trucks are taking a victory lap for another model year is no reason to write them off. The popular 6.6L LML Duramax engine is still available and comes with 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque. While the engine is proven and has always been a big hit with the public, buyers also get the Allison 1000 transmission that’s legendary for being stout and predictable—it was even used in the Hummer H1. It’s been around longer than the automatic gearboxes used in the Fords and Rams, and the version in the current GM trucks has a manual-shift mode and six speeds that include two overdrive gears.

Advancements to GM’s exclusive OnStar system are the main changes for the ’13 GM diesel pickups. OnStar controls have new, universally recognizable buttons, but the system still has the same long list of features to keep you connected, productive, and safe. These attributes include voice navigation, accident notification, vehicle ignition disable in case of theft, and multiple concierge services that allow you to talk to an actual human being. Plus, the constantly improving RemoteLink app for smart phone communication to your pickup gives you an extra level of personal control. For ’13 model year vehicles, it allows iPhone, Blackberry, and Android phone owners to perform acts such as remotely starting the vehicle, locking and unlocking the doors, turning the lights on and off, sending an address to the vehicle navigation system, checking fuel and oil levels, checking tire pressures, honking the horn, and viewing the lifetime mpg. It also has the option of FamilyLink, which sends alerts of your vehicle’s current location when someone else is using it (perfect for fleet managers and protective parents).

New colors for the Chevy Silverado HD are Deep Ruby Metallic and Blue Topaz Metallic. New colors for the GMC Sierra HD are Sonoma Red Metallic and Heritage Blue Metallic. That last color is not available on the top-of-the-line GMC Denali HDs, which are the most feature-filled versions of the Duramax diesel pickups you can buy.

GM Chevrolet/GMC
Engine: 6.6L Duramax LML V8
Turbo System: Single with variable geometry
Head Material: Aluminum-alloy
Block Material: Cast Iron
Horsepower: 397 hp at 3,000 rpm
Torque: 765 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Transmission (auto.): Allison 1000 manually shiftable six-speed
Front Suspension 2WD/4WD: Independent short/long-arm with torsion bars
Rear Suspension: Solid axle with leaf springs
Axle Ratios: 3.73
(As published at the time this article was written.)

Ram HD
The biggest news for diesels in 2013 is the debut of a brand-new line of Ram HD trucks—not just an update, or a refresh, but a from-the-ground-up, complete redesign. Since this is Diesel Power magazine, you’ll probably be most interested to know the Ram 3500 will be offering a high-output version of the Cummins with a massive 850 lb-ft of torque and 385 hp. Trucks ordered with that engine will come with a new version of the high-capacity Aisin six-speed manually shiftable automatic transmission that can handle more power while operating more efficiently. Plus, the 68RFE and six-speed G56 manual will still be available on lower-output Cummins trucks.

Fuel economy is increased on four-wheel-drive models by up to 1 mpg, thanks to an electronic front axle disconnect system. Further improvements in efficiency and durability are accomplished by lowering operating temperatures and a new, high-efficiency selective catalytic reduction urea injection system. Intake temperature drops of up to 25 percent are achieved with an optional active ram-air intake, a new cooling system with dual radiators, a high-efficiency fan for more heat expulsion, a larger high-flow EGR system, and an advanced diesel exhaust fluid injection system that is less complex than the ones used by Ford and GM. Ram claims the new engine operation improvements and the DEF system will actually improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent compared to the previous generation.

The powertrain is definitely not the only new feature of the ’13 Ram HD family. The 1-ton trucks now come with a new three-link front suspension attached to brand-new framerails placed 2 inches wider apart and eight crossmembers, including a rear crossmember designed for fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch mounts. The body on top of that frame is upgraded with features such as LED lights and a brand-new interior, which has an available 8.4-inch screen connected to the navigation and audio system, along with a new version of the Uconnect.

There are so many upgrades to the new Ram, we cannot fit them all into this article. For a full report on the brand-new ’13 Ram HD, turn to page 70.

Ram HD
Engine: Cummins 6.7L inline-six
Turbo: Single with variable geometry
Head Material: Aluminum-alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Horsepower: 385 hp at 2,800 rpm (high output)
Torque: 850 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (high output)
Horsepower: 370 hp at 2,800 rpm (standard)
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (standard)
Horsepower: 350 hp at 2,800 rpm (manual trans.)
Torque: 660 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm (manual trans.)
Transmission (auto high output): Aisin AS69RC manually shiftable six-speed
Transmission (auto standard): 68RFE shiftable six-speed
Transmission (manual): G56 six-speed
Front Suspension (2WD): Independent short/long-arm with coil springs
Front Suspension (4WD): Solid axle three-link with trailing arms and coil springs
Rear Suspension: Solid axle with leaf springs
Axle Ratios: TBA
(As published at the time this article was written.)

SOURCES
GMC
888-988-7267
www.gmc.com
Chevrolet
P.O. Box 33170
Detroit
MI  48323
www.chevrolet.com
Ram Trucks
P.O. Box 21-8007
Aubum Hills
MI  48321
800-726-4636
http://www.ramtrucks.com
Ford
N/A
MI
800-392-3673
http://www.fordvehicles.com
By Trevor Reed
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