Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GM Confirms Eight-Speed Transmission for Half-Ton Pickups

After much speculation, GM confirmed it will be using a brand-new eight-speed transmission for the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks equipped with the 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V-8 engine (several full-size SUVs also will get the eight-speed).

The new electronic transmission, called the 8L90, will replace the previous 6L80 on select models, but it is likely to make its way (after some slight modifications) into the smaller 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8 as well. The only other pickup with an eight-speed transmission is the Ram 1500 that uses two different versions (the ZF 8HP45 and 8HP70, with a gear spread from 4.71:1 to 0.67:1) to accommodate Ram's three-engine lineup. There is no word about whether GM will offer a smaller, lighter-duty eight-speed to accommodate the smaller EcoTec3 V-8 and standard V-8.

GM notes that the new eight-speed will have an overall gear ratio spread of 7.0. This is likely to mean a much deeper first gear (possibly around 4.65:1) and implies that GM might be able to offer new gear sets to provide much better fuel economy while still offering strong towing numbers.

In a brief press release, GM said that the new transmission will still allow these new powertrains to adhere to Society of Automotive Engineers' J2807 towing standards, providing a segment-leading towing capacity of 12,000 pounds. GM's Toledo, Ohio, transmission plant will begin production of the new eight-speed in the fourth quarter this year and be available for 2015 models. Fuel economy estimates for the new powertrain will be released closer to the production date.

Late last year Ford and GM announced that they were working together on nine- and 10-speed transmissions (presumably for cars). At that time we caught a heavily camouflaged Ford F-150 heading out of GM's Milford Proving Grounds facility. Of course, it's possible the new F-150 could be doing something unique as well. No word whether GM or Ford will use something similar to Ram's rotary dial.

The available gear ratios for both 2014 Ram 1500 eight-speed transmissions are: 1st (4.71:1), 2nd (3.14:1), 3rd (2.10:1), 4th (1.67:1), 5th (1.29:1), 6th (1.00:1), 7th (0.84:1), 8th (0.67:1) and Reverse (3.30:1).

Available axle ratios for the 8HP45 (Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6): 3.21:1 and 3.55:1.

Available axle ratios for the 8HP70 (EcoDiesel 3.0-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 Hemi): 3.21:1, 3.55:1 and 3.92:1

From by Mark Williams |

Monday, July 28, 2014

2015 Ford Super Duty F-450

Mark Williams, of, checks out the 2015 Ford Super Duty F-450.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

All-new Ford F-150 takes on Ram and Silverado in an uphill towing battle

Even though the new 2.7L EcoBoost is up against much larger engines from Dodge and Chevy, it rises to the occasion in a grueling uphill competition.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2015 F150 Reveals Two Powertrains

We've been hearing about new all-aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 since the beginning of the year when it was revealed at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but details on the truck's engines have been kept under wraps. Ford is now slowly beginning to peel back the layers of secrecy surrounding two of the F-150's powertrains, releasing some (but not all) specifications for the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine and the brand-new turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost motor.

The new standard V-6 will provide 283 horsepower and 255 pounds-feet of torque, enabling the base 2015 F-150 to tow 7,600 pounds and carry a payload of 1,910 pounds. This is a best-in-class tow rating for V-6 light-duty pickups, according to Ford. But the more interesting power option comes in the form of the new turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, which is rated at 325 hp and 375 pounds-feet of torque. It's as powerful as most other truckmakers' midrange V-8 engines and enables an F-150 equipped with the 2.7-liter engine to pull 8,500 pounds and haul a payload of up to 2,250 pounds. The company believes that this is likely to be its volume engine, comprising fully half of its expected engine mix. It makes sense, Ford said, given that 85 percent of F-150 buyers tow less than 8,500 pounds and carry a payload less than 2,000 pounds.

Ford demonstrated the efficacy of the new 2.7-liter motor through a comparison with three competitors: the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado with its midrange 5.3-liter V-8, the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with its 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 and the 2015 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 (an unusual choice) featuring a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine.

The company showed a video at a special news conference at the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., that showed the 2.7-liter-equipped 2015 F-150 out-performing the Ram EcoDiesel up the Davis Dam run in northern Arizona, and besting the Chevy in two out of three runs up the same steep grade while towing a 7,000-pound enclosed trailer. The Toyota was included as a demonstration of what the an engine of comparable displacement can achieve — the 2.7-liter EcoBoost produces 166 more hp and 195 pounds-feet more torque than the big four-cylinder in the Toyota.

Sadly, no fuel economy numbers were made available by Ford; those are likely being reserved for yet another press conference in the near future. Ford did, however, demonstrate something that the public has been asking to see for months — a direct weight comparison between the outgoing truck and the new one. Ford had two F-150 Lariat models on display, one a 2014 crew cab with the 5.0-liter V-8, and the other a comparably equipped 2015 model with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6. Both trucks were rolled onto electric scales, with the 2014 model weighing in at 5,674 pounds, while the new 2015 model totaled just 4,942 pounds, a difference of 732 pounds. Ford spokesman Mike Levine said that even if the 2015 had been equipped with a comparable 5.0-liter V-8, the difference would have been just 25 pounds less.

Stay tuned for more F-150 news and specs (hopefully including some fuel economy ratings) as the year progresses.

To see the video and the press release, click here.

Images from manufacturer

by Mark Williams,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chevrolet Trucks are Work-Ready

When you're ready to get the job done right, Chevy trucks are work-ready. Our diverse truck lineup offers outstanding performance, pulling power, payload, fuel options, innovation, safety and capability — all designed with your success in mind.

We offer diverse cab types and configurations to fit the job at hand, including standard, crew, and extended. Plus, they run on a wide range of alternative fuels, providing you with the value and versatility necessary to meet your business needs.

For more information, including locating a GM Medium Duty Authorized Service Center go to our GM Medium Duty Consumer website.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Raybestos Rattlesnake™ 2014 Toyota Tundra is Ready to Strike!

Raybestos Brakes and Chassis have assembled an automotive dream team in the Phoenix desert to build a venomous off-road monster -- the Raybestos Rattlesnake™ 2014 Toyota Tundra. This desert sidewinder is carefully being hand crafted by Addictive Desert Designs, with help from the boys at Joe Gibbs Racing, TRD, Mickey Thompson, Dick Cepek and it's finished with a custom wrap created by world famous tattoo artist Corey Miller.

The best part, is that you can win it! Just enter at for your chance to win this monster of a truck!

Opening track: "Fausto's Flamenco"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Hits the Road

Nissan just held its full-line preview for the auto media in Nashville, Tenn., and in attendance — thanks to Cummins engineers who drove it from Columbus, Ind. — was the same concept Frontier Diesel Runner we saw at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Even while filming our video of the concept, we saw people wandering to the display stand and drooling.

Since we didn't make it to Nashville we weren't able to take it on the short loop Nissan had setup for those interested in driving the Frontier. Thankfully, our friends at Green Car Reports did attend, and they had a few things to say about how it drove. They may not be truck people, but they enjoyed the little Frontier for its rugged torque and fuel efficiency.

They noted that Cummins still has more testing to do and possibly a few integration bugs to sort out, but overall the diesel Frontier offered a pretty good ride. Of course, much will be dependent on price for an engine option like this, and with a new Cummins coming in the next-gen Titan (set to debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in January), much will be riding on the acceptance of the 5.0-liter turbo-diesel V-8 before the little 2.8-liter inline-four-cylinder Cummins gets the green light for the next Frontier.

We hope to get a ride in the Nissan/Cummins concept soon, as well as the coming Titan and its new V-8 trubodiesel.

Images by the manfuacturer